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I may find her personally repulsive and reprehensible, but she has served me well in the past, and I need someone whose conscience will not get the better of them.
Gabriel Agreste/Hawk Moth on Lila Rossi, Cut My Life Into Pieces, This Is My Last Resort.

The usual relationship between the Big Bad and their minions is that the villain is the worst of the worst, while their minions are often less bad in comparison. The Dragon may be equally evil, a Noble Top Enforcer, or a total joke, but usually does not overshadow the Big Bad in evil.

However, sometimes the Big Bad is a sympathetic Anti-Villain of some sort... and it's their minion who is the total asshole.

This can manifest in several ways. Typically, the Big Bad is a Well-Intentioned Extremist and/or Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, but their minion does not care one bit about the boss's cause, and just signed up for the chance to kill people. The minion may be a Dragon with an Agenda who supports their boss for the sake of getting power or some other benefit in return. Sometimes the supposed minion is outright plotting to usurp their boss. This can sometimes cause It's Personal with the Dragon, where The Hero has a much more intense rivalry or bigger beef with an underling than the Big Bad. Sometimes, just to make it explicit, the minion will eventually commit an act so vile that even the boss is disgusted and calls them out on it.

Note that this is not simply cases where the minion is a Jerkass while their boss is Affably Evil — the minion has to be at least as heinous as their boss and more heinous than a jerk.

Compare with Overzealous Underling and Psycho Supporter. Contrast Dragon-in-Chief, which is when a minion is more competent and has more power than their supposed boss, and The Man in Front of the Man, where the minion secretly controls their boss — in both cases, the minion is not truly a minion, so this trope does not apply. Also contrast Noble Top Enforcer, where The Dragon is nicer than their boss; Minion with an F in Evil, where any minion is nicer than their boss; More Hateable Minor Villain, when an unrelated minor baddie is easier to despise than the main villain; and Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey, where the minions are more comical than their boss. A Sub-Trope of Sympathetic Villain, Despicable Villain.

Has nothing to do with the Minions from Despicable Me, who are not this, but the complete opposite instead.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Big Order: Hanzo Hattori aids Gennai Hoshimiya in his plan to risk a Second Great Destruction to create a utopia, and also aids his daughter Sena in chasing mass destruction. But unlike his bosses who have sympathetic motives, Hanzo himself helps them cause mass destruction and kill people merely for his own amusement.
  • Blade of the Immortal: While Habaki Kagimura is the leader of the Mugai-Ryu carrying out war with the Itto-Ryu, he is a noble man who loves both his family and his subordinates. But Shira is a Depraved Bisexual and Serial Killer who is the vilest member of the Mugai-Ryu and far worse than his boss.
  • Bubblegum Crisis: Quincy is the head of Genom, but is still a pragmatic villain. Brian J. Mason, his dragon, is a madman who routinely murders innocents, and is willing to harm both human women and Sexaroids. When he reappears as Largo, he causes even more deaths and outright tries to usurp his boss to become a god.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Flamma of the Right is the leader of God's Right Seat who is The Chessmaster and not well-liked, but he does do a Heel–Face Turn eventually. Terra of the Left, one of his subordinates, hates all non-Catholics, aims to kill them all, and has no good guy turn.
  • Code Geass:
  • Dancougar: Emperor Muge Zorbados is at least a Benevolent Boss and does not do much, but General Gildorome, one of his two generals, is the one causing the greatest amount of carnage in the series and has a fondness for Mind Rape.
  • In the various Devilman works, Jinmen the turtle demon serves as a recurring Psycho for Hire who is employed by many Big Bad characters, and manages to be worse than all of them. While Satan, leader of the demons, is an Anti-Villain who truly loves Akira Fudo, Lord Xenon stays in the shadows, and other bosses tend to have redeeming qualities, Jinmen slaughters innocent humans, then eats their souls and traps them in his shell so he can hear their screams. Even other demons are disgusted by his sadism.
  • Dr. STONE has this with Tsukasa and his right hand man Hyoga. He's originally portrayed as a Well-Intentioned Extremist, while Hyoga seems to just be lusting for power. After the fall of the Tsukasa empire, it's revealed that he was doing what he did so that he alone would bear the blame for killing the petrified people as he thought it impossible to revive all of them. Hyoga, meanwhile, was revealed to be even worse than before.
  • In Fate/Apocrypha, the leaders of the Yggdmillenia Clan, Darnic Prestone Yggdmillenia and Vlad the Impaler, are both Affably Evil and honorable. Meanwhile, Celenike Icecolle Yggdmillenia is the vilest member of her family and far more despicable than either of them. A sadistic Master who delights in torturing whoever she comes across, she loves taking the noble qualities of a Servant and then violating said nobleness; and in comparison to her other Yggdmillenia clan members, she's the only one who really doesn't have any redeeming qualities. She's also not a team player, when everyone in Yggdmillenia are reserving their Command Spells for whatever can help their war effort, she's specifically reserving her Command Spells solely for the aforementioned 'breaking the qualities of a Servant', she's more interested in her personal lust than family-based war effort and her final moments showcased how she's wasting all of them at once because her Servant was being disobedient and the war isn't over yet.
  • Fractale: Barrot is the second-in-command to Archpriestess Moeran, but whereas Moeran is driven by loneliness and is pragmatic, Barrot aids her in her dystopian designs while helping her make thousands of clones for him to rape, and is a narcissist only in it for himself, so vile that he disgusts even Moeran herself.
  • In The Garden of Sinners, Omnicidal Maniac Souren Araya commits many atrocities and is responsible for all the deaths in the series, but is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to destroy everything to end the suffering of life. But his right-hand man, Cornelius Alba, is a sadist far more concerned with surpassing his rival Touko Aozaki, willingly helping out his boss commit mass murder and human experimentation for his own sick pleasure.
  • Holyland: King may be a Smug Snake, but Yagi kidnaps, drugs, and leaves Yuu's love interest to be raped on camera while his thugs beat Yuu up, a depth that not even King sinks to.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • K: Nagare is every shade of Anti-Villain but in the name of his plan to empower all of humanity he manipulates the evil Colorless King for his ends. The latter is a monster who revels in chaos, blowing up a blimp above Tokyo for the chance to use his body-stealing powers during the distraction, threatens to rape a child, laughs sadistically at all the misery he causes by pretending to be other innocent people who get blamed for his crimes and attempts to bring about total destruction by making a superpowered King become unstable to have him destroy an island populated by high school students.
  • Linebarrels of Iron: Hisataka Katou, leader of the Katou Organization, is Affably Evil and does want to save the Earth. Riku Ousei is a Mad Bomber who just likes to blow up innocent people for his own amusement.
  • Michiko & Hatchin: Shinsuke Rodriguez is a vicious gangster under Satoshi Batista but lacks any of his boss' nobility, charm, or intelligence. After betraying Satoshi, Shinsuke spends the rest of the series cowardly running for his life and when finally drawn out by Satoshi, has his men easily dispatched and pathetically dies crying and begging for his life.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam:
      • Ostensible Big Bad Jamitov Hymem is quite hands-off in his villainy, even as the commander of the horrific Titans forces and seems to be genuine in his intentions to want humanity to live on Earth. By contrast, his right-hand man Bask Om is a total nightmare who oversees experimentation on children to create unstable super soldiers and gasses colonies opposing him. He's even far more personal, having been the one to order the death of hero Kamille Bidan's mother.
      • The actual Big Bad, Paptimus Scirocco, is a suave Dark Messiah who operates on a (possible) Well-Intentioned Extremist agenda. His number one minion, Yazan Gable, lacks such complexity, openly admitting to signing up to join the Titans to legally commit murder, betrays Jamitov for Scirocco when there's a split in the ranks out of a firm belief in I Fight for the Strongest Side!, and makes sexist remarks about women occupying ranks in the military.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans: Rustal Elion is definitely no saint, but while he does a lot of bad things he's at least pragmatic enough to avoid doing anything evil if it's not necessary. Iok Kujan, his subordinate within the Arianrhod Fleet, lacks Rustal's pragmatism and commits atrocities out of his own distorted sense of honor, even bombarding ships carrying women and children for no other reason than to show how ruthless he is. And Nobliss Gordon, another of his associates, aids Rustal in his atrocities solely to line up his pockets. Tellingly, whereas Rustal comes out on top in the end, Iok is brutally killed in the final battle by Akihiro, and Nobliss is assassinated afterwards by Ride.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Fate and Dynamis are the leaders of Cosmo Entelechia, but their goals are ultimately noble (to save their world from destruction) even if their methods are not. One of their minions, Tsukuyomi, talks about blood and murder the way others would discuss their hobbies. She also attempts to rape one of the heroines in the story. It's made clear that they only keep her around because they're short on hands who can fight.
  • Naruto: Pain/Nagato is the leader of the Akatsuki, but he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to end the state of war, and he has a sympathetic past in being a war orphan who lost his best friend. He later commits a Heroic Sacrifice to bring back Konoha after Naruto restores his faith in the world. Hidan, a member of the Akatsuki, is on the other hand, an Ax-Crazy member of a Religion of Evil, who is never shown to be anything other than a psychopath who enjoys bloodshed.
  • One Piece: Admiral, now Fleet Admiral Akainu is a thoroughly despicable human being, with at least one genocide under his belt and a willingness to kill both civilians and his own men en masse if it means killing pirates as well, but he does genuinely believe in his brand of justice, and he hates the Celestial Dragons as much as anyone else. His subordinate new Admiral Aramaki, on the other hand, doesn’t even have that much going for him; Aramaki worships the Celestial Dragons and everything he does is to tighten their grip on the world, morals be damned.
  • Platinum End: Kanade/Metropoli Man is the villain who wants to kill all the other God candidates to become God, but it turns out he wants to resurrect his dead sister. Yamada Mimimi/Misurin already killed several of her classmates for being prettier than her before becoming employed by Kanade, and uses the Red Arrows he gave her to manipulate people into killing each other and using it to rape a girl.
  • Pretty Cure:
  • RahXephon: Maya Kamina is the leader of the Mu but a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants what is best for her people, while Masayoshi Kuki is willing to kill thousands for the sake of power.
  • Red River (1995): Queen Nakia is the cause of all the deaths in the series as part of her plan to make her son Juda king, but she has a Freudian Excuse and loving relationship with Urhi. Zuwa, one of her enforcers, skins his victims alive for their Genuine Human Hide and likes child skins in particular.
  • Riki-Oh: Mukai wants to Kill All Humans because he believes that is the only way to end their suffering, and he does love Bireh-Oh and Riki-Oh. Mizuguchi Kikuya, leader of the Mizughi Yakuza gang under Mukai, is a cannibal who poisoned 10,000 homeless people and wants to become Mukai's right-hand man for the sake of power.
  • Rosario + Vampire: The Masked King, Alucard/Miyabi Fujisaki, is revealed to be the true Big Bad and leader of anti-human organization Fairy Tale but is revealed as a genuinely tragic figure and a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wishes to unite the human and monster worlds. His Unwitting Pawn and commander Gyokuro Shuzen though is a petty, smug Abusive Parent who plans to wipe out humanity to spite her love rival.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: While Enishi, the second Big Bad, goes rather extreme in his methods, his actions are driven by the ultimately sympathetic goal to avenge the death of his older sister Tomoe. His Dragon, Gein, on the other hand, is a Mad Artist and Psycho for Hire who turns corpses into puppets, and tags along just for the purpose of satisfying his own bloodlust.
  • Speed Grapher: Shinzen Tennouzu and her dragon Chouji Suitengu (actually the real Big Bad) are initially built up as evil, greedy villains but are revealed to be more sympathetic than they first seem, with Suitengu in particular being a Well-Intentioned Extremist who is vindicated in the end, and most of their Roppongi club minions are either also sympathetic or generic. But three of them- Mikunozuchi, Ran Yurigaoka, and Chief Ekoda- are even worse than their bosses, being hedonistic Serial Killers who prey on innocent women to satisfy their sick lust.
  • Ushio and Tora: For how evil Hakumen no Mono is, he/she is revealed to have a Freudian Excuse and dies wanting to be born as a human baby with a loving mother. Guren has no such backstory, instead having been a psychotic mercenary as a human and becoming worse as an Azafuse, eating innocent humans for centuries.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Elder Toguro acts as the right-hand man to his brother, Younger Toguro, but unlike his honorable younger brother whose actions are driven by his tragic past, Elder Toguro is a sadist who tortures and murders people for fun. Nearly being killed by his own brother who was disgusted by his actions, Elder Toguro begins working for Sensui instead. But, similar to his relationship with his brother, while Sensui is trying to cause the apocalypse due to his tragic past, Elder Toguro wants to bring about Hell on Earth to get petty vengeance on Yusuke and his friends.
  • Zambot 3: Gaizock is a murderous AI that is nevertheless still carrying out its programming in finding and exterminating evil. Killer the Butcher eagerly aids his boss in mass murder of humans simply because he loves bloodshed and thinks of it as a game.

    Asian Animation 

    Fan Works 
  • Cut My Life Into Pieces, This Is My Last Resort: Lila Rossi/Volpina serves as one for Hawkmoth and Mayura, lacking any of the standards or morals of the adult villains. While the latter two are both sincerely horrified by Marinette's apparent death, arguing with each other about whether or not they've come too far to give up now, Lila is utterly thrilled that her petty grudge got Marinette killed.
  • In The Heroes of Legend, the Rising Sun Company consider Astor to be more evil than Calamity Ganon. For all that Calamity Ganon intended to destroy the world, that was its nature, and it could not have even tried to be anything else. Astor, however, had free will, and he used it to try to make sure Calamity Ganon would be able to destroy the world, simply so the gods and the dead would curse his name for all eternity.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: The titular Wolf is Affably Evil and only targets Asshole Victims, but has a Slaanesh-blessed champion working for him named Kruissla Iron-Skin, a Combat Sadomasochist who gets his name from the innumerable iron darts (cast in the shape of Slaanesh's symbol) pierced all over his entire body (he's actually always naked, but the darts make him look like he's wearing chainmail). He spends all of his onscreen time delivering a Curb-Stomp Battle to Jaime Lannister, at least until Jaime is given a functional hand again. According to the Wolf, Kruissla puts a new dart in for every kill, regardless of whether it was a Worthy Opponent or not, and is mentioned to have slaughtered (and presumably raped) his way through a Shallyan nunnery.
  • Volpimania has Hawkmoth learning the hard way that he can't control Lila Rossi as effectively as he'd believed, as she terrorizes and murders several of the heroes.
  • War of Remnant: A RWBY Anthology:
    • Salem is transformed into a Well-Intentioned Extremist who genuinely wants the best for Remnant and believes destroying the old world is necessary for building the new one. She cares about her subordinates and does what she does for a greater good. Two of her direct subordinates, Dr. Arthur Watts and the Wendigo, are not nearly as noble. Watts is a petty, sociopathic narcissist who is willing to scorch earth for being passed over by Pietro and General Ironwood. He sees nothing wrong with casual murder of innocent people for nothing than amusement. Wendigo is a murderous Grimm/human hybrid who takes pleasure in slaughtering villages for fun and doesn't seem to care that much about Salem's true goals.
    • While the White Fang under Sienna Khan is much more brutal than in canon, Sienna still believes in her cause and justifies the brutal violence she commits as necessary for the Faunus to survive. The same cannot be said about Adam Taurus, who is a bloodthirsty maniac using the guise of the White Fang's mission to cover his bloodlust. And that's before getting into his petty murder of Winter's family and his rape and abuse of Blake. The same can be said of the arms dealer and businessman Damian Void. He has no pretenses about helping the cause and only does what he does to hurt people.
    • Volume 4:
      • "CFVY" and "Vacuo" arcs: The leader of the Crown Jax Asturias is a human trafficker, floods Vacuo with dangerous drugs, and plans a False Flag Operation to take over Atlas and Vacuo. All for his narcissistic delusions of his royal bloodline. He has no problem with casual murder and will torture even his own sister to prove his points. He is a thoroughly monstrous person. And yet even with the bar already that low, one of his Co-Dragons, Miranda Spot, somehow manages to be even worse. She's a vicious sadist who only joined the Crown to exercise her bloodlust. She's also an incestuous rapist who sexually abused her son Ink ever since he was five. When Ink escaped, she raped her husband to have seven more sons for her to abuse.
      • "Rise of the Tiger" arc: Lurker is a Snuff Film facilitator and Professional Killer who broke Ronald Atwood, a serial Faunus child molester, out of prison to continue making more films for his business. While Lurker is vile, he does not directly participate in the snuff films. He just provides ways to evade police and obtain victims for Serial Killers. Atwood is a cowardly man who targets children for his sick and depraved desires while pathologically denying and deflecting responsibility.

    Films - Animation 
  • A Bug's Life: Hopper is a tyrannical, ruthless gangster with very few redeeming qualities, but if nothing else, he at least understands the value of restraint to a degree. The same cannot be said for his deranged, Ax-Crazy lieutenant Thumper who the other grasshoppers have to quite literally keep on a tight leash.
  • Fantastic Planet: While Master Sinh and his fellow high council members are overseeing the horrific subjugation of the Oms, they are only trying to prevent overpopulation since on their planet, humans are equivalent to fast reproducing vermin. Sinh is also a loving father to his daughter Tiwa(who he gave Om protagonist Terr to as a pet) and is fascinated with studying human potential as sapient beings. By the end he proposes a peaceful solution when he realizes how alike Oms and Draags are. The other prominent council member Master Taj has no such qualities and fervently pushes to wipe out the Oms, even when it's clear they're sapient and want to survive.
  • The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire: Pterano is the Big Bad for most of the film, but he is a Well-Intentioned Extremist with a tragic past who Wouldn't Hurt a Child. His two minions Sierra and Rinkus are much more selfish and cruel than he is, and they're planning to betray him as soon as they no longer need him.
  • Monsters, Inc.: Big Bad Henry J. Waternoose is a Well-Intentioned Extremist whose actions fall under an I Did What I Had to Do mentality and who genuinely respects protagonist James P. Sullivan, being reluctant in his efforts to eliminate him and Mike Wazowski once they discover his plan to obtain sufficient human vocal energy by any means necessary and refuse to let him go through with it. His enforcer Randall Boggs, on the other hand, is the openly and consistently antagonistic Arch-Enemy of Sully and Mike from the film's outset while Waternoose's villainy is the subject of The Reveal, the actual designer of the torture device which Waternoose's allowing to be used to his intended ends constitutes the latter's Moral Event Horizon, and motivated entirely by egotistical spite.
  • South Park: Post Covid: The Return of Covid: Eric Cartman is the Big Bad here, but has become a loving husband and father whose reason for wanting to prevent the Bad Future from being fixed is so that family won't disappear. Clyde Donovan, who joins Cartman's side, has become a selfish Anti-Vaxxer who has no reason to help Cartman in his plan other than to spite everyone for trying to get him vaccinated. Of course when Cartman performs a Heel–Face Turn, Clyde takes over his role as Big Bad.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Doc Ock is the More Despicable Minion to the Kingpin. Whereas the Kingpin is risking shattering reality for fairly humanizing if morbid end goals (getting his wife and son back by finding their counterparts from an alternate universe), and it's implied he's not thinking clearly due to his unresolved grief, Ock/Liv is apparently just in it For Science! and is more conscientious than Fisk is of the existential risks, yet only makes the minimum effort to warn her boss before continuing with the work and is a lot more needlessly sadistic compared to the Kingpin's anger-fueled brand of Ax-Crazy.
  • Treasure Planet: Long John Silver is one of the most sympathetic Big Bad characters in a Disney film, as he genuinely cares about the hero and eventually makes a Heel–Face Turn. His henchman Scroop, on the other hand, is a murderous asshole with no redeeming qualities.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • Batman Begins: Ra's Al Ghul becomes a Well-Intentioned Extremist after his family is taken from him, and his plan to destroy Gotham is based on his desire for justice (though born from Black-and-White Insanity). His dragon Dr. Jonathan Crane, AKA The Scarecrow, is only interested in money and conducting his twisted fear-based experiments. Zig-zagged when Ra's Al Ghul tells Bruce that Crane was made to believe that they were going to hold the city ransom, not destroy it, but when Crane finds out the truth, he doesn't object.
  • The Black Hole: Dr. Reinhardt is just as terrified of his robot enforcer, Maximillien, as the heroes are. With good reason, as while Reinhardt is a Mad Scientist obsessed with learning the black hole's secrets, Maximillien is a straight-up sadistic warbot that clearly enjoys killing and is only just barely under control, having to be constantly kept from realizing how easily he could murder his "master". When Reinhardt is trapped and mortally wounded in the climax, all pretenses of him being in charge are destroyed and Maximllien leaves the man to die as he goes to confront the heroes.
  • Con Air: "Johnny 23" is the worst of the convicts working under Cyrus "the Virus". While Cyrus may be an Ax-Crazy, sadistic Serial Killer, he is also pragmatic, respectful of his henchmen of different races, and despises rapists, which is why he barely tolerates the smug, misogynistic, and equally sadistic Serial Rapist Johnny who boasts of having committed 600 rapes. Cyrus outright threatens to throw him out of the plane if he tries to rape the female guard Bishop (which he later indeed attempts), and even the other inmates on the plane hate his guts.
  • In Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Baron and Baroness Bomburst are too entertaining to be truly despicable, but the sinister Child Catcher in their employ more than makes up for it. As evidenced by his name, he's as creepy to parents as he is to younger viewers.
  • The Death of Stalin: Lavrentiy Beria carries out Stalin's dirty work, often ensuring that people are horribly imprisoned, tortured, and killed. In addition, he also has women brought to him to be raped. What makes him unique is that as a real-life deconstruction, he illustrates that in a situation where there is no objective "good guy", the only person to be in charge of eliminating people for Stalin would have to be incredibly loathsome in their own right. As such, when Stalin kicks the bucket, Beria goes from being his dragon to being a contender for control of the USSR.
  • DC Extended UniverseThe Suicide Squad: While President Luna is a ruthless individual, his henchman General Suarez is even worse. Luna at least cared for his birds, whereas Suarez has them burned alive as soon as he takes his place as president.
  • The Devil's Double: Uday is the son and heir to President for Life Saddam Hussein, but he is far more Ax-Crazy and dangerous to be around because of his Hair-Trigger Temper than his comparatively restrained dictator father, whose crimes are much less direct and Out of Focus. There is certainly no evidence presented that Saddam is a Serial Rapist like his son.
  • Hercules Against the Moon Men: Redolphis, the leader of the Moon Men and main antagonist, is genuinely loyal to his queen whom he is trying to revive via mass human sacrifice. But the human Queen Samara, who serves Redolphis, is only out for power, tries to kill even her own sister, and is generally far worse than her master.
  • Indiana JonesRaiders of the Lost Ark: For all his faults, René Belloq is an Affably Evil villain who treats his enemies with respect and has a few standards. And the leader of the Nazi forces, Colonel Dietrech, is at least professional and doesn't engage in petty acts of sadism. The most despicable villain of the film is undoubtedly Major Arnold Toht, a sadistic Nazi murderer with a fondness for Cold-Blooded Torture who lacks any redeeming qualities.
  • Ip Man: The Japanese general Miura, though a commander of an occupying invader force, at the very least genuinely respects Chinese martial arts and while he desires to prove the superiority of karate, he wishes to do so in an honest match. His underling, colonel Sato, is meanwhile a sleazy and barely-controlled psycho who outright murders people at the first moment he can pass it off as following the letter of his orders.
  • It: Even though he's certainly a cruel asshole, Henry Bowers, the leader of the Gang of Bullies, is shown to be abused by his father, which makes him somewhat sympathetic. The same cannot be said for Patrick, a deranged pyromaniac with zero redeeming features.
  • James Bond
    • GoldenEye: Alec Trevelyan's plan to use the GoldenEye satellite to return the United Kingdom to the stone ages is horrifying, but he at least has a genuinely tragic Freudian Excuse, with the British government having been responsible for his parents' deaths when he was a child. His Dragon, Xenia Onatopp, is nothing more than a Psycho for Hire with a sexualized love of killing.
    • No Time to Die: This applies to two of Safin's main henchmen, Logan Ash and Dr. Valdo Obruchev.
      • Logan Ash is never given a Freudian Excuse or any of Safin's redeeming qualities like his hatred of Spectre or his Would Not Hurt A Child attitude towards the young Madeleine and Mathilde. He's just a smarmy traitor who sells out and murders Felix Leiter and ultimately proves himself to be a Dirty Coward with the way he pathetically begs for Bond's mercy when it's clear he's been defeated.
      • Unlike Safin, who claims to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to use Heracles to make the world a better place, and at least partially backs up this claim by using it to eradicate Spectre, it's clear that Obruchev's only interest in the weapon is the power it gives him to commit mass murder, and he even threatens to use Heracles to wipe out Nomi's entire race.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: The Samuel L. Jackson-played Big Bad Valentine is far too affable, funny and dorky to be particularly hated, while his Red Right Hand Gazelle is a deadly Handicapped Badass who is usually quite respectful and calm herself. Most of Valentine's "chosen people" whom have conspired with him to cull humanity, however, are rich, elitist snobs, two of whom particularly stand out: Chester, who hates Eggsy just for being raised in a working class background and makes it abundantly clear, and Charlie, a rich kid who bullied Eggsy throughout the latter's training and who failed the Kingsman initiation because he proved to be a total pussy when his life was on the line.
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Roland Tembo is the leader of the InGen hunters sent to round up the dinosaurs on Isla Sorna and bring them back to the mainland, but he's a reasonable guy who cares about his men, and even the others are largely guys who are just doing their jobs and aren't really breaking the law in any way. The henchman Dieter Stark, however, is a sadistic jerk who tortures animals For the Evulz.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • The Incredible Hulk: While he's an asshole who wants to dissect Bruce Banner, General Ross has a few redeeming qualities (like his genuine care for his daughter) and can be reasonable on occasion. His soldier Emil Blonsky on the other hand is a cruel bully who gets worse and worse after taking the Super-Soldier serum and eventually becomes an Ax-Crazy monster who ravages Harlem For the Evulz, forcing Ross to team up with Banner to stop him.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: Despite his goal of killing half the universe, Thanos has a tragic backstory (he's the only survivor of his planet), loves his children (especially Gamora), and genuinely believes he's trying to save the universe. Ronan the Accuser, who works for Thanos during the events of the film, is a brutal, bigoted, sadistic bastard who plans to destroy entire planets and even betrays Thanos in the end.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:
      • Taserface starts off as this to Yondu. While Yondu is a Noble Demon, Taserface is a prick who betrays Yondu for becoming "too soft".
      • Played for Laughs with Taserface's henchman Gef, who is enthusiastic at the idea of smashing Baby Groot with a rock, which is something even Taserface thinks is too cruel.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming: Adrian Toomes may be the Big Bad, but he's a sympathetic character who became a criminal to provide for his family and has a code of honor. His employee Jackson Brice is a selfish jerk who acts like he's having fun when he's selling weapons and shooting at a teenage superhero.
  • The Neverending Story: While the Nothing is what's actually destroying Fantasia, Gmork is a more tangible threat and has a sadistic personality, revealing himself to be an opportunistic nihilist working with the Nothing so he can rule the despairing lives left in its wake, making him seem even more vile than the Nothing itself.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West: Mr. Morton is certainly unethical, but there are options he prefers over violence, such as using diplomacy and buying people out. His minion Frank, on the other hand, is a cruel and sadistic psychopath who seems to take a particular joy in making children suffer.
  • The Raid 2: Berandal: The mob boss Bangun is certainly not a good guy, but his son Uco is a spoiled, sadistic schemer with no sense of honour, who views his father's scruples as weaknesses and conspires to have Bangun murdered so he can take over.
  • The Rock: General Francis Hummel may be the Big Bad but he's quite sympathetic; his sole motivation to take Alcatraz hostage and threaten America with chemical weapons is to get compensation for the families of soldiers lost under his command, he is calm and competent, A Father to His Men, and ultimately is bluffing and refuses to kill innocent people. The movie compensates by having him work with Captains Frye and Darrow, two sadistic thugs who want nothing but money and will kill anyone and everyone to get it.
  • Star Wars: Count Dooku is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who defected from the Jedi Order, became a Sith Lord and founded the Confederacy of Independent Systems. He appoints Kaleesh cyborg Grievous as the general of the droid army. Grievous doesn't care about Dooku's cause or have any sympathetic qualities, he just wants an excuse to murder Jedi. Supplementary material subverts this, however, revealing that Dooku and some of his corporate allies intentionally altered Grievous's brain to change him from a well-intentioned if ruthless revolutionary into a sadistic Card-Carrying Villain because they wanted a scapegoat for the Confederacy's atrocities and a boogeyman to help motivate the Republic to become the Empire.
  • In Super Mario Bros. (1993), President Koopa's motivation for invading Earth is to plunder our world's resources after turning Dinohattan into a dystopian Police State, and he's adamant that what he cares about is the future of the dinosaur world's species. In contrast, his lover Lena is purely power-hungry and intensely jealous of Princess Daisy to the point of trying to kill her, stabbing Yoshi when he helps Daisy, and attempting to backstab Koopa and dominate the universe herself.
  • Total Recall (2012): While Chancellor Cohaagen is very evil, he does seem to genuinely care for his former henchman Hauser and is despondent when he attempts to kill him. His henchwoman Lori, on the other hand, has no redeeming or likable qualities, kills several innocent people, goes against Cohaagen's order not to kill Quaid/Hauser, and is more than happy to help Cohaagen in his plan to wipe out the Colony so the UFB can take it over.
  • X-Men: While Magneto has a tragic past and genuine respect towards Charles Xavier, his henchman Sabertooth (and Pyro as well later in the series) is just a sadistic thug who enjoys making his enemies suffer.
  • ZorroThe Mask of Zorro: While the Big Bad Don Rafael Montero is certainly evil, he has a few redeeming qualities, like caring about his adopted daughter. His Dragon Captain Harrison Love is a deranged and sadistic man who is far worse than his boss, more than willing to have innocent families die as part of their evil plan.

    Literature 
  • Animorphs: Visser One is the highest rank in the Yeerk military hierarchy. At the start of the series, Edriss 562 is Visser One and came up with the strategy to enslave humans through subterfuge. Though unscrupulous, ruthless and ambitious, she's also pragmatic and capable of love. Her subordinate in charge of operations on Earth is Visser Three (Esplin 9466 the primary) an Ax-Crazy psychopath who is known for murdering subordinates at the drop of a hat and eating his enemies alive. He's also the Animorphs' primary nemesis as the most visible antagonist and wants to supplant Edriss 562 as Visser One, which he does following Edriss 562's death and launches direct war on Earth.
  • Anno Dracula: The main villains of the first novel are Serial Killer Dr John Seward and Greater-Scope Villain Dracula. Seward has a fairly tragic descent into insanity while Dracula himself, despite his vast evil, only makes small appearances and is at least charismatic, which makes them both hard to hate. The actual targets of hate are two of Dracula's henchmen, Vardalek and Von Klatka. Von Klatka is a smug, cruel killer and all-around scumbag while Vardalek is the only pedophile of the series and oozes revolting smugness.
  • Discworld: In Hogfather, Lord Downey is the head of Assassins' Guild and while he doesn't have morals, he does have standards and is revolted by one of his own assassins, Mr. Teatime. Most assassins pride themselves in killing cleanly and dispassionately while keeping collateral damage to a minimum, but Teatime is a child-like psychopath who relishes in causing unnecessary bloodbaths. Downey was thinking of having him killed until his Guild was contracted with an assignment so crazy, only someone like Teatime could pull it off.
  • The Dresden Files: In Summer Knight, the Big Bad Lady Aurora is a legitimately tragic character who genuinely believes shifting the balance of power to the Winter Court, which would end the world is for the best. In contrast, her right-hand man Lloyd Slate is a strutting sadist and rapist who wants to help her because he doesn't like his current boss Mab.
  • The Deathless Girls: Dracula is the main antagonist but proves himself a Noble Demon of sorts as he keeps his word and seems to genuinely be fond of the heroes. In contrast, his Boyars like Valcar are sociopathic rapists and slavers whose repulsive deeds are emphasized.
  • The First Law
    • Red Country has Grega Cantliss a greedy, narcissistic sociopath who murders families and kidnaps their children to sell off just to pay off a debt to his boss. His boss, meanwhile, is an affable crime lord who always keeps his word and is disgusted upon finding out his henchman repaid him by trafficking in children. Cantliss even serves as this to Waerdinur, the leader of the Dragon People whom he sold the children to. While Cantliss believes Waerdinur plans on doing something horrific to the children and doesn't care, Waerdinur and his people merely plan on raising the children as part of their culture as they're unable to have kids of their own.
    • The Age of Madness sequel trilogy has Judge, the psychotic leader of the Burners. After being given control of Adua she wipes out her rival faction, the Breakers, then conducts show trials where thousands of innocent people are proclaimed guilty of made-up conspiracies then thrown to their deaths from the Tower of Chains for no reason other than to satisfy her bloodlust and fanaticism. Her master, the Weaver, remains mostly hands off in his own revolution and turns out to be working for Sand dan Glokta, who started the Great Change as a Staged Populist Uprising in order to break Bayaz's hold on the Union and give power to his competent but less morally ambiguous, daughter, Savine.
  • The Godfather:
    • Don Vito Corleone is an Affably Evil Mafia leader, caring for his family and friends. In contrast, his henchman Luca Brasi is a sadistic brute he employs for his pure brutality and who once had his own newborn son thrown into a furnace because the mother was Irish.
    • After taking over, Michael Corleone would have his own version with Albert Neri, a former cop with a violent streak, dismissed for Police Brutality after he had beaten a suspect to death, who harbors racist ideas and will have even fewer restrictions on his innate violence now he belongs to the mob.
  • During the fifth year of Harry Potter, the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge shows himself to be a vain, petty, tyrannical coward who will abuse his position to discredit and silence those who pose a threat to the supposed stability that he wishes to project. And yet for as low as he falls, his secretary Dolores Jane Umbridge makes it impossible to measure up to her lows. With her being such a depraved sadist to the point of threatening someone that she doesn't even know with a Fate Worse than Death for merely inconveniencing her boss with his claims and strongly implying that he would have qualms if he knew about it, there is no doubt who the bigger monster is, despite him having a higher social status than her.
  • Project A75: While Mr. Pink is clearly a bad person, he is also a genuinely Affably Evil and a Well-Intentioned Extremist, and one of the villains he recruits, Ryan Rhodes, is a sadist who wants to kill for fun.
  • Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: The Storm King is the ultimate villain of the trilogy but he's a Fallen Hero who turned to dark magic to save his people from humanity and tragically ended up turned into an undead monster who wishes to wipe out all mortals and let the world be consumed by Unbeing. One of his chief servants is Pryrates, a sociopathic human sorcerer who craves all knowledge, no matter how dark and forbidden, and spends his time performing horrific experiments on people when not assisting the Storm King's return. Pryrates tries to betray the Storm King and enslave him to his will. It does not work out for him.
  • Modern Faerie Tales: Mabry is the Big Bad of Valiant but is working for Queen Siluriel who is the ultimate main villain of the entire trilogy. Siluriel is pretty affable all things considered and only wants to conquer the Unseelie Court for her father. Mabry is a petty, gloating Psycho for Hire who enjoys how evil she is and assists her in her attempted civil war so she can regain her position.
  • The Otherworld: Balaam is the demon lord who set the plot of the final novels in motion to rule the world but is affable, calm, and seems to honestly care for his daughter and granddaughter. Gilles De Rais /Giles Reyes who serves as The Heavy who he sent to set the plot in motion in contrast is a sadistic and smug psycho who gleefuly assists him.
  • Skulduggery Pleasant: Mevolent technically had three, in his Three Generals. Based on his alternate counterpart, Mevolent is genuinely Affably Evil, even ending up as Valkyrie's Friendly Enemy, believing in respect where it's due. He's popular enough that even decades after his death, he's seen as the messiah by his followers.
    • Nefarian Serpine is a Faux Affably Evil sadist, gleeful Card-Carrying Villain who loves targeting loved ones ( though his alternate counterpart is actually on the cusp of reforming at the end of the second series. Main Serpine finds this disgusting).
    • Baron Vengeous is a cold, humourless murderer and religious fanatic, who in an alternate universe runs the State Sec based on thought-crime.
    • However, even Serpine and Vengeous have supporters. The same cannot be said for the third, final, and most powerful General: Lord Vile. Absolutely no one wants him back. And given that he's a nigh-unstoppable killing machine of uncertain motives, who only joined up with Mevolent because it gave him the most opportunity to kill people, almost entirely silent and inscrutable behind his armour, this is understandable. It becomes even more understandable when you realise that he's an Omnicidal Maniac.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Tywin Lannister is brutal and violently crushes all dissent, but he has scruples and a genuine loyalty to his family. This contrasts him with Gregor Clegane, his choice of Psycho for Hire, who has no standards or restraint, is basically the human equivalent of Rape, Pillage, and Burn and rumored to have killed his own father, sister and first two wives.
    • Ramsay Bolton serves as this to his father Roose. While Roose is a clear sociopath who continues his family's tradition of flaying people alive, he also embodies Pragmatic Villainy, only embellishing his sadism in private so it doesn't threaten his power, and though he's not capable of genuine love, he can at least feel "fond" of people like his true-born son Domeric and wife Fat Walda. His bastard son Ramsay, on the other hand, not only embodies Stupid Evil, but takes his father's sadism up to eleven by publicly flaying people alive and hunting women for sport. Even the Northern lords who don't like Roose admit they've survived worse men but they're terrified of the idea of his monstrous son one day ruling the North.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy: Grand Admiral Thrawn is the epitome of a classy villain that fans absolutely Love to Hate (if they hate him at all). Unfortunately, several of his plans require the services of the starship thief Niles Ferrier, an unbearable Smug Snake whose petty vendetta against Lovable Rogue Talon Karrde ends up being a Spanner in the Works for Thrawn's meticulously-laid plans multiple times.
  • In Treasure Island, Long John Silver is a Manipulative Bastard pirate who has no problem killing, but is humanized by a genuine affection for the Kid Hero, Jim Hawkins, and is ultimately one of fiction's more iconic instances of the Lovable Rogue. This is in contrast to two of his underlings, George Merry and Israel Hands. George is a nasty, drunken brute who is consistently gunning for command, while Israel is smarter and more-or-less loyal to Silver, but has none of his scruples. Both of them Would Hurt a Child without hesitation, while Long John goes out of his way to keep Jim safe.
  • In Warbreaker, Denth is working to start a bloody war between the nations of Idris and Hallendren, and to that end has killed innocents, caused riots, and taken children hostage, but he views this as Just Business and doesn't go out of his way to cause more pain than he thinks necessary. His sidekick Tonk Fah, by contrast, is a straight-up psychopath who revels in the opportunity to torture or hurt others.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Boardwalk Empire: Gyp Rosetti, a capo in the Morello Crime Family, serves as this to Joe "The Boss" Masseria. Masseria, like the majority of gangsters in the show, has no regard for other people's lives but is motivated by money and power instead of a need for senseless violence. Rosetti, on the other hand, is a psychotic lunatic with a Hair-Trigger Temper who thrives on senseless violence. Rosetti routinely murders people in gratuitously brutal ways over perceived slights and even launches a Mob War without his boss's blessing because he believes Nucky Thompson insulted him by wishing him good luck. His boss nearly kills him for being uncontrollable until Gyp manages to convince him of the "necessity" of the war.
  • Cobra Kai:
    • John Kreese may be a ruthless monster (who is a corrupting influence toward his students), but his backstory makes him at least sympathetic to a degree; the same can be said for his dragons, Robby and Tory. The same cannot be said for one of his students, Kyler, who even before Cobra Kai, was already a vile prick who picks on weaker people just For the Evulz, and (upon joining Cobra Kai) goes as far as to beating Miguel, who just came back from a life-threatening injury.
    • Terry Silver is also a Tragic Villain with a monstrous streak, but his Dragon, Kim Da-Eun doesn't have enough backstory that makes her sympathetic. As a matter of fact, she's far more openly cruel and sadistic than the two Cobra Kai founders combined, who at least has Pet the Dog moments with their students.
  • Doom Patrol (2019): The second episode of Season 3 has Garguax and Samuelson, the former being a green alien and the latter a red one; the latter is also the manservant of the former. They are tasked with killing Rita Farr and have been waiting almost a century for her to show up. When she does, Garguax has been through enough background character development that he doesn't want to kill her, and besides, they haven't received any more transmissions from the people who hired them (the Brotherhood of Evil) since Niles Caulder destroyed them. Just as they're leaving, a transmission comes, and while Garguax wants to ignore it, Samuelson shows just how much more bloodthirsty he is than his boss, killing the Doom Patrol and Garguax with a laser-gatling-gun.
  • Galavant: Kidnapping and conquering aside, King Richard is really nice, almost in spite of himself. His right-hand man and Only Friend Gareth, however, is brusque, pragmatic, and much more comfortable with violence. When he gets forced to be Madelena's henchman in the second season, however, the dynamic is flipped, with her crossing lines he and Richard never dreamed of, and him even becoming her Morality Pet after a while.
  • Highlander had two examples.
    • The Big Bad of the third season was the immortal Kalas. He was a Wicked Cultured musician and scholar who wanted revenge on Duncan, the man who ruined his life twice. He was relentless in trying to ruin Duncan's life in return (by hurting everyone associated with him), but made clear that raping women was never one of his vices. Kalas' henchman was Nino, a mortal psychopath who simply loved killing. He was not particularly interested in Kalas' agenda, he took pleasure in taking out whoever the boss wanted, using the most brutal ways available. He also lacked Kalas' intellect and learning.
    • Kronos' was the closest thing to a Big Bad in the fifth season. A feared raider from the Bronze Age, he had trouble adapting to the modern era and his plan was essentially an effort to relive his "glory days". He was a Plague Master, who managed to control other "evil" immortals through a combination of wit, manipulation, and intimidation. One of his favorite henchmen (so-called "brothers") was Caspian, an immortal Serial Killer, implied cannibal, and former mental patient. Caspian had no redeeming qualities, and was disliked even by his surrogate family.
  • Kamen Rider:
  • Lost: Although Charles Widmore seems like an outright bastard when first introduced, and is ruthless enough to turn Benjamin Linus into A Lighter Shade of Black, he does have some more sympathetic layers added to his character later on, and even makes a Heel–Face Turn in the final season. His Heavy during the events of Season 4, Martin Keamy, is one of the most despicable characters in the series, a Sociopathic Soldier who wages an all-out war on the Barracks even after being told there is a baby there, coldly executes Ben's 16-year-old daughter Alex just to make a point, and doesn't even care when he accidentally kills his own loyal henchman Omar.
  • Narcos: Pablo Escobar, while brutal, still loves his family and has some degree of sympathetic traits, even as he loses them over the course of the series. By contrast, Poison is one of the more vicious members of the Medellin Cartel. His actions include murdering numerous people, ranging from targets to random civilians, just to have a higher body count that his fellow assassins, even running a random pedestrian over to earn a "point". On another occasion, he murders a random hostage to send a message to authorities.
    • La Quica arguably upstages Poison, not only taking part in some of the worst atrocities of the cartel, but even going so far as to assist in recruiting Child Soldiers.
  • Oz:
    • Simon Adebisi is an Ax-Crazy psycho, but he's too charismatic and badass to hate. His initially sympathetic henchman Kenny Wangler, however, quickly degenerates into an arrogant bully who spends his days acting like a big shot while bullying weaker inmates and people who cannot retaliate. He in turn has his own more loathsome sidekick Junior Pierce, who is just as much of a bully and lacks Wangler's (admittedly few) redeeming qualities.
    • Vern Schillinger is a disgusting and bullying Neo-Nazi, but he has several Pet the Dog moments over the course of the series and is never treated totally without sympathy. His various Dragons, however, are loathsome all the way.
      • His first is Scott Ross, an arrogant, lecherous ass who blackmails Wittlesey into helping him with a smuggling operation while sexually harassing her the whole time. He's stupid enough to let her get the drop on him during a chaotic prison riot after he shoots her lover McManus in front of her, which ends about as well for him as you'd expect.
      • The second is Mark Mack, who's just an annoying jerk who's constantly making an ass out of himself and bullied and threatens Busmalis and Rebadow, a pair of kindhearted old men who keep to themselves, eventually hijacking their plan to escape through an escape tunnel Busmalis dug and leaving them behind. Unfortunately for him, they sabotaged the support beams and he's Buried Alive.
      • The third, James Robson, is a brutish thug who's just as much of a racist bully as Schillinger and constantly enables his worst behavior whenever he comes close to a Heel Realization. It's subverted in the final season, where Robson becomes more sympathetic and has a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers in Space: While Astronema is a serious villain, she's still sympathetic and tragic and has some notable Pet the Dog moments, and Dark Specter isn't around much and lacks a strong personality. Their henchman, the mercenary Darkonda is a much more vile character who's responsible for the people of KO-5 abandoning their colony, regularly betrays his allies, and is responsible for Karone's kidnapping and brainwashing into Astronema and ends up betraying and killing Dark Specter.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Scorpius and his daughter Trakeena are both the major antagonists of the series, but they have redeeming qualities such as care for each other and charm to their characters, preventing them from being too hateable on their own; and brief Arc Villain Captain Mutiny has not much personality despite his despicable actions. No such thing for their collective underling Deviot, who's a backstabbing, cruel and petty villain who sets Scorpius up to die by making him think the Rangers are holding Trakeena hostage and later on manipulates her into becoming worse and worse, culminating in Trakeena merging with him accidentally, with his evil influence making her into a heartless monster who goes as far as killing her mentor, Villamax.
    • Power Rangers Samurai: Master Xandred is the leader of the Nighlok and the Final Boss, but he has quite a bit of comedic moments and does not do much himself. Serrator, the Nighlok King who joins him halfway through, is not only more proactive but far worse, being personally responsible for Dayu and Deker's torment and having a plan to crack open the Earth and kill millions of humans, even sacrificing his own Nighlok and betraying his boss to do so.
    • Power Rangers Megaforce: Emperor Marvo is a horrible person but he genuinely cares for his two sons. His youngest son Vrak is by contrast an icy sociopath with little care for others and is the one who enacts plans to kill humans on Marvo's behalf. He also has no issue manipulating his allies to their deaths, notably mocking his most loyal henchman, Metal Alice, when she sacrifices herself for him, and later thanks the Rangers for killing his brother before attempting to destroy the Earth.
  • Primeval: April to the final human Big Bad Philip Burton. Although they're both working towards converting the Anomalies into an infinite green energy source, and although they're both pretty ruthless at different points, April never displays any of Philip's more sympathetic qualities. Unlike with Philip, April appears to see Connor solely as a tool to reach their ends and nothing more, any and all personable charm that April displays is purely a cover, she's antagonistic towards Abby behind closed doors whilst trying to drive her away from Connor, and she never redeems herself as she dies before New Dawn's activation. Tellingly, when Future Beetles infest the ARC, it's April who actively encourages a hesitant Philip to go through with destroying the facility and killing everyone inside it just to ensure the Beetles getting out won't hinder New Dawn.
  • Supernatural:
    • The angel Zachariah is ultimately a More Despicable Minion to his top superior, the archangel Michael, once the latter debuts. Both of them are smug, disdainful of humanity, and perfectly willing to get half the world killed as part of their machinations to kill Lucifer in the way that was prophesized; but Michael's personal (and troubled) relationship with God means that he has understandable reasons for being so Holier Than Thou, whereas Zachariah (who, like most angels, has never met their Creator in person) is just plain full of himself. Michael during his limited screen-time comes across as being more sincere in his efforts to be civil with a human, he has the Freudian Excuse that he's basically a cosmic Manchild who's desperately trying to please a dysfunctional father who abandoned him via the only way he knows how, and he actually becomes a better being after his defeat. Zachariah is just an ugly celestial slimeball of compressed condescension and faux cheer, who is ultimately just in on the plot to bring Armageddon so that he can serve the celestial bureaucracy and advance himself, and he gradually but increasingly becomes outright malicious when the Winchesters won't stop defying him and keep humiliating him with every new defeat.
    • In Season 6, the Alpha Vampire may be an epoch-old bloodthirsty monster who intends to help his Mother turn or kill all the humans on Earth, but he at least is very cultured and refined, and he can even be reasoned with in later seasons in addition to having a paternal side. By contrast, one of the Alpha Vamp's middle management underlings who helps him with this global takeover plot, Boris in "Live Free or TwiHard" (who is introduced before the Alpha like with the above example), is a crass, lecherous creep who gleefully molests and demeans the young female vamps he turns (and possibly also the males too based on his interactions with a temporarily-turned Dean) whilst speaking very ill of the very hobbies, fandoms and fantasies which got those vampires lured into his clutches and turned by him in the first place.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Denji Sentai Megaranger: Doctor Hinelar cares for his "daughter"/creation Shibolena and his underlings, Bibidebi and Yugande; while Electro-King Javious has no real personality or anything to stand out and make him hatable. In contrast, their underling, Guirail, is portrayed as a deeply shameless murderer, backstabber and opportunist who commits as much atrocities as his superiors with much more murderous intent and betrays his own teammates for the sake of a power boost. The other Nezirejia eventually turn on him after he forcibly fuses Yugande to himself.
    • Seijuu Sentai Gingaman: Captain Zahab is a vile Space Pirate who's committed several crimes and implicitly murdered hundreds if not thousands of people and tries to have Earth destroyed, yet he has redeeming qualities such as legitimately caring about his crew, mourning each loss in secret. No such thing for his first general, Gun Boss Sambash, who is portrayed as an arrogant, rude, boisterous and murderous jerkass who holds true loyalty to no one, not even Zahab, and even tries to use the Lights of the Galaxy for his own purpose and is the only member of Balban with no redeeming traits of any kind.
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger: Doukoku Chimatsuri is the main antagonist of the show overall and the final threat who tries to drown the world in the Sanzu River's waters which would end all life, and is a Bad Boss overall but despite that his milder qualities and passiveness make him far less detestable than either Juuzo Fuwa or Akumaro Sujigarano; Fuwa was once a human but willingly turned into an Ayakashi to continue his killing sprees he'd already been making as a human, while Sujigarano plotted to destroy Earth without any benefit to the Gedoushu, all purely for his own sadistic enjoyment.
  • In Tin Man, while Wicked Witch Azkadellia has standards even as she tries to conquer the OZ and tries to fight back while possessed, her main henchman, Zero, is a sadist who revels in the pain he caused Cain and his family, forcing him to watch his torture and murder of them on a loop for eight years.
  • The Walking Dead Television Universe:
    • Joe is pretty much the Token Good Teammate of the Claimers who has a sense of honor, loyalty, and honesty. His men wouldn't think twice about ripping each other apart if Joe wasn't around to keep them in line. That said, Joe is still evil, he just has some standards his men don't.
    • Gareth is the cannibalistic leader of Terminus but shows he was a Fallen Hero who only became evil due to being broken by the torture he and his friends and family endured. He's still plenty evil, but even he pales in comparison to his right-hand man Martin, who crows even more openly about how evil he is and is the first to threaten to kill baby Judith.
    • Negan is the tyrannical leader of the Saviors, but he has a genuine desire to rebuild civilization and has several boundaries he won't cross. Many, many of his henchmen do not have his vision, heart, or humanity, and are swaggering bullies who kill, maim, and torture on a whim. Simon, the official second-in-command of the Saviors, stands out as far more evil than Negan who even later stages a coup when Negan won't allow him to wipe out survivors on a whim like he wants. The spin-off show The Walking Dead: Dead City also reveals that the Croat, a former Savior, was so vile and evil that even Simon was put off by his mindless sadism.

    Podcasts 
  • Dice Funk Ilium: While the Vampire Lord Danto genuinely cares for Veltari and Bumbershoot and is generally friendly if smug and sadistic, the Captain of his Personal Guard, Gylan Cadun, is a racist former paladin who sold out his order to Danto, kidnaps dozens of innocent people to be drained of their blood for him and the other vampires, and has no redeeming qualities.

    Video Games 
  • Angels of Death: Reverend Abraham Grey is the creator of the Tower and the boss of the killers, but is Affably Evil and never directly kills anyone himself. His killers are all more violent than him, but Catherine Ward in particular is a sadistic Knight Templar who is fond of giving her victims a Fate Worse than Death, had a prolific career as a Torture Technician even before working for Reverend Grey, and is the one character with no redeeming qualities (even the Dragon-in-Chief Danny loved his mother, while Cathy reacted to her parents' murder with total apathy).
  • Bleeding Sun: While Ichiro is already a vile feudal lord, he at least cares enough about his son that he'll commit seppuku to save the latter. In contrast, his servant Chiyo has no redeeming qualities whatsoever and has a more sadistic streak, since she zombifies people as opposed to killing them.
  • Celestial Hearts: While the Graveharts are driven by grief over their matriarch's death, their hired Mad Scientist, Shujin, is a selfish opportunist who only works for them for money. When Shujin discovers the futuristic technology of Scitech, he seeks to use that technology to backstab the Graveharts and rule the world. Once he joins Lilith, he's a downplayed version of this trope to her, since she lived through the trauma of being controlled by an evil deity while Shujin has no sympathetic backstory whatsoever.
  • Cyberpunk 2077: Saburo Arasaka is an Imperialist who rules one of the most powerful corporations in the world and yet, despite his treatment of his son (who succeeded him after committing Patricide), cares about family and was shocked when Yorinobu attacked him. Adam Smasher, on the other hand, is a sadistic misanthrope who revels in collateral damage and considers mercy to be disgusting. He is also single-handedly responsible for the Downer Ending of the spinoff Cyberpunk: Edgerunners through gruesomely killing David and Rebecca and leaving David's lover Lucy a broken survivor, so players introduced to the series through Edgerunners will thus be motivated to play 2077 for the chance to avenge their deaths and make scrap out of him.
  • Disco Elysium: Lely, the hanged man whose murder the player is investigating, was the leader of a squad of mercenaries that consisted entirely of psychos for hire. While Lely was a monstrous war criminal whose squad was deployed to Third World countries to massacre natives for corporate interests, he's humanized by his tragic past and was mostly defined by his ruthless pragmatism, often committing atrocities to stop his subordinates from committing worse ones. Raul Kortenaer, his subordinate and foster brother assumes command upon his murder, and proves himself unsuited for the task because, like the rest of his squadmates, he's a racist, depraved sadist who can't function in an environment where he doesn't have free reign to Rape, Pillage, and Burn. To illustrate the absurdity of Lely being A Lighter Shade of Black compared to Kortenaer and the other Krenel mercenaries, at one point it's revealed Lely had a native woman gang-raped and murdered by his squad. While Kortenaer recounts this incident with horrifyingly fond nostalgia, Lely only did it as a distraction to keep his bloodthirsty men from murdering hundreds more natives.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Loghain Mac Tir is the father of Queen Anora and is the human of the two Big Bads in the game. He's made a lot of terrible mistakes, but — especially when supplemental material is taken into consideration — is at heart an honorable person who loves his daughter and his country, and is even willing to give his own life if that's what it takes to save Ferelden. His right-hand man is Arl Rendon Howe, a guy whose crimes include arranging the murder of his best friend's entire family so he can usurp their lands. The fandom is divided about Loghain, but absolutely no one likes Howe, whose only redeeming feature is that he's voiced by Tim Curry.
  • Dyztopia: Post-Human RPG:
    • Downplayed. Although Akari has a more thoroughly explained backstory than Zazz and is presented as a tragic figure, her end goal is actually much worse. While Zazz at least seems to genuinely want humanity to prosper, albeit in a classist apartheid society, Akari cares nothing for humans and only sees them as a means to hurt as many people as possible, with the implication that she wants humanity to make the entire planet uninhabitable and doom themselves too.
    • The February 2024 update to the game adds Detritus 7, who is so sadistic that even Zazz was somewhat disturbed by his creation's brutal reign over the Vulcanite Mines and genocide of the Kolfos.
  • Elden Ring: Ranni the Witch is a morally ambiguous individual with the well-intentioned goal of ushering in the Age of Stars to free the Lands Between from fate and the Greater Will's influence. Unlike her or her close-knit allies, however, Preceptor Seluvis is truly evil, spending his time converting people into soulless People Puppets that he sexually abuses, with his ultimate goal being to turn Ranni herself into one of his puppets. He's only kept around as a necessity, and the moment Ranni gets the item she needs to accomplish her goal, she has him killed off without a second thought.
  • Fallout:
    • The first game's Big Bad, The Master, is a deranged Mad Scientist trying to turn the people of the Wasteland into mutants, but he genuinely wants to rebuild civilization, and is only turning people into mutants in hopes of making them immune to radiation, toxins, and illnesses. His Co-Dragons, the Lieutenant and Morpheus, lack his good intentions and only serve him out of a desire for personal power.
    • Fallout 2 has President Dick Richardson of the Enclave, who plans on committing planetary genocide against everyone who's ever been mutated by radiation no matter how minor. He doesn't relish his plan, and views it as Necessarily Evil in order to save "true humans" so they can retake the world. In contrast, his bodyguard, Frank Horrigan, is a Sociopathic Soldier driven by jingoistic hatred of all "muties" and goes out of his way to murder them in ways so violent that even his fellow Enclave soldiers find him sickening.
    • Fallout 3 has Mr. Burke serving this role towards Allistair Tenpenny. While it's implied Tenpenny did some horrible things in his past, and he does serve as the Arc Villain to a few side quests, what crimes he gets up to onscreen are fairly tame. Tenpenny does task Mr. Burke with nuking the town of Megaton because it obscures his view, but he wanted the town evacuated before it's destroyed, while Mr. Burke ignores the order and wants to kill everyone. Tenpenny can also be convinced to allow ghouls to live in his hotel despite his Fantastic Racism, which may lead to him and every other human being killed due to the ghoul in charge, Roy Philips, being bigoted against humans. If Mr. Burke has survived up until this point, he expresses admiration for Roy's ruthlessness and becomes his right-hand man instead, while still wanting to blow up Megaton For the Evulz.
    • Fallout: New Vegas:
      • Non-Action Big Bad Caesar, a Wicked Cultured Visionary Villain who employs his eponymous Legion to bring his idea of order to the wasteland; he has shades of Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist and Jerk with a Heart of Jerk, among his biggest sins being his tolerance of the atrocities routinely committed by his men, most of whom thusly fall under this trope. This is highlighted in the different possible versions of an ending where the player has sided with the Legion, in which things will be significantly less brutal if Caesar himself remains alive. The standout example has to be Vulpes Inculta, who specializes in war crimes and has his Establishing Character Moment in the aftermath of just having wiped out an entire town.
      • Played with regarding Lanius. In-game dialogue makes Lanius out to be a truly vicious killing machine, murdering people for minor slights, brutally punishing his own men, and caring little about his own casaulties (to say nothing about the absolute destruction he plans to unleash). However, when finally confronted, Lanius does show some Hidden Depths, and can even be convinced to cease his campaign against New Vegas, showing that while he does live up to his reputation as Caesar's attack dog, he's more than just some mindless thug. However, if Caesar dies, Lanius will assume control of the Legion, and the ending where the Legion triumphs depicts Lanius's rule as devoid of any of Caesar's scant Pet the Dog moments and far more brutal and horrific for the Mojave overall.
      • New Vegas also features Cook-Cook of the Fiends, whose monstrous cruelty as attested to by multiple survivors thereof stands out even among the Always Chaotic Evil group he belongs to, let alone its leader Motor-Runner, who is actually the only named member thereof whom it is possible in-game to hold a civil conversation with.
  • Far Cry:
    • Far Cry 4: Pagan Min, dictator of Kyrat, likes protagonist Ajay and has other good qualities in spite of his insanity, making him a Noble Demon. His second-in-command Yuma Lau has no such qualities, running a Hellhole Prison where she Mind Rapes and drugs the prisoners and is brutal to her enemies. She also plans on usurping Pagan Amin and attempts to rape Ajay.
    • Far Cry 5: Joseph Seed, leader of Heaven's Gate, is a Dark Messiah who loves his siblings and believes in his cause. The Cook, one of his subordinates, is a sadistic pyromaniac who starves his victims before burning them alive (often against the orders of his superiors), once force-fed body parts of a couple to their children, and only cares about ascending to Heaven while listening to the screams of his victims.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • The Big Bad Duumvirate duo of the Agartha chapter are Scheherazade and Phenex who planned out the whole Singularity as both of them are Death Seekers who want to undo the wonder of Mystics so that the two can die for real. While their plan involves creating three Crapsaccharine Worlds led by Dahut, Assassin of Nightless City and Berserker of El Dorado, their last piece in the plan is Rider of Resistance AKA Christopher Columbus, who without alterations to his mind showcases most of the most despicable traits you can portray him with, with the three civilizations being born from his own greedy desires.
    • In the Cosmos in the Lostbelt storyline, one of the Disciples of the Foreign God is Ashiya Douman, rival onmyouji to Abe-no-Seimei, who serves two antagonists, Amakusa Shiro and the Foreign God. Amakusa is only evil because he snapped while wandering between timelines after realizing that his rebellion was always doomed to failure and decided to lash out at human history. While the Foreign God is implied to be Brainwashed and Crazy by the Foreign World, Douman's sole drive is surpassing his rival at any cost necessary and the secondary goal of being a Card-Carrying Villain who loves to spread misery and chaos everywhere for his own delight and curiosity. The Foreign God's fellow Disciples are Grigori Rasputin, who only does malicious acts at his master's behest and not at his own prerogative, and Senji Muramasa, who is a pure Punch-Clock Villain that only abides by the God's orders because of his contract. Taking all this into account, it's no surprise that everyone on the antagonistic side besides those who he directly serves all dislike Douman at best.
    • Crypter Beryl Gut. He might look Affably Evil amongst the Crypters, but as it turns out, he's only in this whole mess so he could continue his hobby of killing people. Because of that, when he learned that his leader, Kirschtaria Wodime, was planning to elevate humans to be better, to be equal to gods, he responded by betraying him and murdering him in cold blood, simply because a world like that would bore him. Even in the Lostbelt where he's stationed at, the ruler, Morgan, who has her own lion's share of accidental sympathetic points when dealing with chaotic and also despicable faeries, want him dead, so he hung around with the Crypters in order to escape Morgan's wrath. Add up with how much he's a creepy Ephebophile with a very twisted love towards Mash Kyrielight, and you've got yourself one monstrous person amongst the otherwise Anti-Villain-ous Crypters.
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
  • Gears of War:
    • While series villain Queen Myrrah has a sympathetic backstory of being forcibly experimented on, General RAAM helps lead her armies to Kill All Humans purely to sate his bloodlust.
    • Ukkon notably experienced the exact same experimentation that his boss Myrrah did, but unlike her, he reveres his tormentors and works to continue their experiments among the Locust.
  • Genshin Impact: Played with. Childe is a genuinely pleasant person usually but only serves the Tsaritsa as it gives him opportunities to sate his bloodlust on the battlefield, with him even mocking the other Harbingers for avoiding battle and using less bloody schemes to get what they want. However, he himself describes the Tsaritsa as someone who declared war because she is really a gentle soul who wants peace but had to toughen herself.
  • Many examples exist in Grand Theft Auto:
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Whereas Samuel L. Jackson's performance as Officer Tenpenny does make him a fun to watch antagonist and Big Smoke does at least have a somewhat tragic send-off, Eddie Pulaski is an obnoxious dick who frequently throws around insensitive and racist remarks at CJ. His "greatest hits" include:
      • Taunting CJ about the possibility of his brother being raped and potentially killed in jail.
      • Describing how Beverly Johnson's corpse was mishandled by police.
      • Bragging about being able to spy on Kendl and Ceasar's sexual encounters, even asking CJ point-blank "Can I fuck your sister?" when cornered.
    • Grand Theft Auto IV: Vlad Glebov is a bully, extortionist, and all-around scumbag who treats everyone around him as peasants. Frequently insulting and abusing the Bellics and forcing Mallorie to sleep with him to mitigate Roman's debts, the guy never stops being an unlikable prick, which ultimately results in his death. It says a lot about a guy when even his psychotic boss isn't sad about his death. Niko's exchange captures him best:
    Vlad: You know for a dumb yokel, you're a pretty funny guy.
    Niko: [laughs] Yes, and for an annoying dick, you're really an annoying dick!
    • Brian Jeremy is Billy Grey's right-hand-man and quickly establishes himself as an obnoxious boot-licker, sucking up to Billy no matter how wrong. He frequently antagonizes Johnny, from insulting him for his Jewish heritage to mindlessly taking Billy's side in any argument. Then, on Billy's behalf, he helps backstab Johnny and starts a civil war in the gang. Even without being an obnoxious jerk he's so spineless and annoying that there is nothing likable about him. Any attempt he makes at being menacing or badass backfires, from being bitch-slapped by Johnny during the Lost's civil war at least two times (three if Johnny spares him, which he repays by leading him to an ambush) to childishly mimicking him during an argument.
  • The Great Ace Attorney: Mael Stronghart, the true Reaper of the Bailey, is a despicable Indirect Serial Killer and Control Freak who masterminds the events of the duology, but out of a genuine (if twisted) desire to gain the power to purge London of crime, is indicated to regret his actions by the end, and cares for the parakeet Madame Rosie. Jezaille Brett/Asa Shinn, his Psycho for Hire hitwoman and the Starter Villain, lacks the noble intentions of her co-conspirators, instead committing gruesome murders out of sadism, and she has an outright xenophobic hatred of the Japanese.
  • Halo: Even in an empire as evil as the Covenant, the Brutes as a whole are the most vicious race in the empire, being sadistic, man-eating savages who even the Elites loathe. When the Prophet of Truth turns on the Elites, the Brutes step in to follow their bidding, being the first in line to kill their rivals and humanity.
  • The Hex: Lionel Snill is the one who destroyed the various game franchises seen and the lives of the characters, but he had no idea that they were sentient beings, is treated sympathetically for all his faults, and regrets his actions by the end. Admin T. Irving, his assistant, is just a thug who gleefully carries out his orders, usually by beating someone up, and takes pleasure in screwing over the characters any way he can. Furthermore, unlike Lionel, he knows full well that his victims are sentient beings and simply doesn't care.
  • Killer7: While Kun Lan is a terrorist who kills a lot of people, he's a very good friend to his enemy Harman Smith and his motives are very ambiguous. Curtis Blackburn, in contrast, is a pedophilic human trafficker who kidnaps and rapes young girls before using their organs to create more Heaven Smiles for Kun Lan, and he's one of the few characters in the game that no one has anything nice to say about.
  • While NESTS from The King of Fighters is a very corrupt organization that has no qualms with torturing youths in their experiments, most of its high-ranking members do have admirable qualities: top dog Igniz is genuinely devoted to his mistress, Zero is a Noble Top Enforcer who at the very least tries to raise the kids in an ideal environment, and Krizalid is portrayed in a sympathetic light once he's betrayed and murdered by his own superior. The same cannot be said for Zero's clone - taking Clone Degeneration to a monstrous extreme, he's an utter bastard who is the above superior that killed Krizalid for his failure, wants to topple the organization solely to conquer the world himself and has no qualms using a Kill Sat to wipe a city off the map, horrifying his source in the process.
  • Love of Magic: The Outsiders are giant monsters bent on destroying the world, but Sarah wants to make people suffer in the process.
  • Mass Effect 3 gives us Kai Leng, The Dragon to the Illusive Man. While the Illusive Man is a xenophobic hypocrite, he at least stood against the Reapers, making him a Well-Intentioned Extremist, until he got indoctrinated, anyway. Kai Leng, on the other hand, is just a xenophobic bully who gets off on killing aliens and is perfectly prepared to kill humans, too, if it suits him. On a more personal level, the Illusive Man is impeccably polite, no matter how far down the rabbit hole he goes, and makes it clear in every encounter with Shepard that while he views them as his ideological enemy, he has nothing but the utmost respect for them. Kai Leng is a petty asshole who views Shepard as a Category Traitor and looks at them with nothing but contempt, even taking the Illusive Man's attempt at a genuine compliment by comparing him to Shepard as a grave insult.
  • Master Detective Archives: Rain Code: Yomi Hellsmile and the Amaterasu Corporation Peacekeepers are an organization of dirty cops who have zero empathy for Kanai Ward's residents, and have no restraints on their behavior, which leads to them committing all kinds of immoral transgressions just to spite their enemies. On the other hand, their boss, Makoto Kagutsuchi, the CEO of Amaterasu Corporation, wants to protect the residents by any means necessary, and in fact loathes the Peacekeepers for being so insolent, which leads him into becoming a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Despite this, he's still a despotic Corrupt Corporate Executive, and is the game's Big Bad, which makes Makoto A Lighter Shade of Black at best.
  • Mega Man Star Force: Pegasus, Leo, and Dragon: Cepheus, the king of Planet FM, seeks to destroy Earth because he believes humanity is plotting an invasion of his planet, having been driven to paranoia due to the constant attempts on his life. He makes a Heel–Face Turn after Mega Man saves his life from Andromeda and spares his life, leading him to help the Satellite Admins restore the Planet AM to atone for his actions. His Dragon-in-Chief, Gemini, is revealed to have manipulated Cepheus into destroying Planet AM by taking advantage of this paranoia and personally leads the invasion of Earth.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid: While the leader of FOXHOUND, Liquid Snake, took command of Shadow Moses hoping to recreate Outer Heaven to prove that he is superior to his "father," Big Boss, Psycho Mantis only joined to kill as many people as possible.
    • Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Senator Armstrong is a corrupt social Darwinist, but he's also a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to end war as a business and create a world where everyone is free to determine what they believe in and fight for it. Sundowner, on the other hand, is a deranged sadist who loves the war economy and wants to turn children into ruthless killing machines.
  • Metroid: Played with in terms of Mother Brain and Ridley. Mother Brain herself is an irredeemably evil biomechanical life vein who seeks complete control over the galaxy, but Ridley has no such ambitions and only wishes to cause as much death, misery and destruction as possible - not just so he and the Space Pirates can pillage exotic riches, but also for his own entertainment. Ridley may not be that much worse than Mother Brain, but he is inarguably the more dangerous villain.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2: If you decide to work for the Thieves' Guild when you first arrive in the city, your first handler, Moire, is a cruel Control Freak who approves of you using brutality to inspire fear in the guilds enemies and will go to any lengths to demonstrate the guild's power, culminating in her ordering you to burn down a City Watch post in the docks. After this, you stop reporting to her and start taking orders directly from her boss, Axle, who's Affably Evil and a big believer in Pragmatic Villainy, who chews you and Moire out for starting a war between the thieves' guild and the City Watch which he desperately wanted to avoid.
  • Octopath Traveler II has Deputy Cubyari, Kaldena's underling. While Kaldena is pretty evil, she has a sad motivation driving her: She's the Last of Her Kind after the Moonshade Order exterminated the tribe she belonged to when she was just a little girl. She also shows some amount of Villain Respect to Temenos (who brushes it aside because he's having none of it). Cubyari, on the other hand, has no sort of Freudian Excuse and takes absolute pleasure in rubbing it in to Temenos that she helped murder Crick.
  • Professor Layton and the Last Specter: "Third Eye" Jakes is Misthallery's corrupt Police Chief. A Fat Bastard of the highest order, Jakes is supposedly a talented officer whose "Third Eye" allows him to peg the criminal of any case, but in truth he is a Manipulative Bastard who uses his men to force a confession out of anyone he doesn't like. He goes so far as to threaten Layton and crew, even sending his men to attack them, including the mayor's son Luke. He happens to be in league with the Big Bad Jean Descolé, who conspired with Jakes to capture the supposed spectre Loosha and get her executed in front of the whole town. Thankfully, the professor exposes his lies and he loses his power and respect by the end of the game. Lacking the charisma and later revealed sympathetic backstory of Jean Descolé, Jakes is nothing more than a bully with a badge.
  • Quest for Glory IV: Ad Avis is this to Katrina. Katrina is trying to summon the Dark One specifically for the darkness it would bring, because as a vampire she cannot survive sunlight. Ad Avis just wants to use it to Take Over the World.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: Micah Bell III starts off as this to Dutch Van der Linde. While Dutch begins the game as a thief and killer, he has numerous sympathetic moments, noble aspirations, and cares about the members of his gang as if they were his family. Meanwhile, Micah is the most morally reprehensible of the group who shows zero redeeming qualities, cares nothing for the members of the gang, and is sadistic enough to shoot up half a town and murder a former friend and the man's wife just to retrieve his favorite guns. In the final acts, Micah stops being a minion, taking advantage of Dutch's Sanity Slippage to corrupt him into committing worse acts while simultaneously selling the gang out to the Pinkertons.
  • Saints Row: Benjamin King is ruthless and self-serving, but he has a certain amount of honor and never indulges in violence for its own sake. Tanya Winters, one of his top lieutenants, is a brutal sociopath with no loyalty to anybody who goes behind her boss' back to force women into prostitution. Tellingly, after she usurps King and takes control of his gang, many of said gang's members drop their flags or rebel against her.
  • Shadowrun Returns: In the Dragonfall campaign, the Big Bad of the conspiracy the Berlin Crew runs into turns out to be a lot more morally grey than Audran, The Dragon and main enforcer of the conspiracy. In the Director's Cut of Dragonfall, Vauclair can be talked down from his plan by citing the numerous flaws in the bioweapon's design and how he inadvertently killed his own brother over it, but Audran can't and will happily go through his boss just to deal as much misery as possible.
  • Super Mario Bros.: If one considers King Boo as technically being a minion of Bowser, then he would definitely qualify. While both Bowser and King Boo are genuinely cruel and remorseless villains, Bowser is at least portrayed in a more positive light due to his genuine love for his son Bowser Jr., while King Boo, in terms of sheer villainy, is much, much worse.
  • As the Tales Series typically has sympathetic Big Bad characters, if the local Hate Sink isn't an unrelated More Hateable Minor Villain, they'll be this.
    • Tales of Destiny 2: Elraine, for all her evil, genuinely wants to save humanity by removing their free will. Barbaros Goetia, her personal assassin, also believes himself to be a hero but is much more disgusting about it, being a sadistic, mass-murdering maniac who loves to kill and who wants to rewrite history to force it to recognize him as a hero.
    • Tales of Symphonia: Lord Yggdrasil is a despicable dictator who nevertheless wants to end racism in his own twisted way and does love his sister. Two of his Grand Cardinals, Kvar and Rodyle, are a pair of Mad Scientists who eagerly aid Yggdrasil in committing atrocities for their own selfish purposes; Kvar in particular disgusts even his own men, and both he and Rodyle plan on usurping Pronyma as the elder of the Cardinals and even Yggdrasil himself.
    • Tales of Hearts: Creed Graphite, the one stealing everyone's hearts and emotions, is doing it to save his homeworld. Geocron Striegov joins him for the chance to steal the Spiral Cores of living beings and take pleasure in their suffering, out for nothing but power and personal gratification.
  • Wild ARMs 2: Odessa's leader, Vinsfeld Rhadamantus, is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to Take Over the World to unite it in harmony, as does his boss, Irving, who wants to unite the world against the Kuiper Belt that threatens to devour it. Judecca Ducet, his marksman, is a sadistic Psycho for Hire who resorts to methods that disgust even his fellow members, like imprisoning a town's population to torture and execute as he pleases, attempting to blow up the ARMS headquarters uncaring of the innocent bystanders who would be killed, and attacking Hoist to frame ARMS for it. Justified as Vinsfeld hired him specifically to commit all the dirtiest, most heinous crimes that he felt needed to be done to accomplish his mission.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles:
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 1: Egil is the leader of the Mechon Army with a goal of total extermination of all life on Bionis. But he is a noble man who cares about his people, the Machina, and is revealed to have a sympathetic backstory. The party have a far more personal vendetta with his subordinate Metal Face/Mumkhar, who is responsible for things like the burning of Colony 9, Fiora's death, the death of the High Entia Emperor, actively aiding the plan to genocide his own people, and generally going out of his way to make the party's lives as miserable as possible while being as smug about it as possible. Unlike his boss, he does not care one bit about the Machina or anyone else — he just wants to show up Dunban.
    • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Consul D is the game's Expy of Metal Face, and he proves just as despicable, if not more. While most of the Mobius are awful enough people already, D pretty much embodies everything wrong with the world. Before he became Mobius, he was Blackblaze Dirk, an Agnian soldier who loved killing so much, he turned on his own allies and collected the heads of his kills to preserve as trophies. After becoming a Mobius, he relished in the fact that not only did he remember all the killing he'd done in his past lives, but that he'll also be free to keep killing to his hearts content and add to his "collection" for as long as he wishes. He's killed at least one colony to harvest their lifeforce (which included a past incarnation of Eunie), murdered Mwamba, Hackt and Guernica, and nearly killed Nia if not for her Healing Factor.
  • Yakuza 0: Daisuke Kuze, The Heavy of Kiryu's story, is a Noble Demon who has a lot of respect for Kiryu and an absurd amount of Villainous Valor. His lackey, Yoneda, on the other hand, is a Sadist with no redeeming qualities, which is best displayed when he shows glee in killing Tachibana. Kuze, pissed off that he killed their lead, ends up smashing Yoneda's face into the floor.

    Webcomics 
  • Girl Genius: Captain Bangladesh DuPree, who absolutely terrifies everyone she meets, can barely be contained by the Well-Intentioned Extremist Baron Wulfenbach or his son, and loves violence.
    DuPree: Isn't that always the way? Management thinking it knows what works in the field? Why, if I were here alone — and you people were still standing around — half of you'd be dead!
  • NIMONA has a rare Villain Protagonist version of this. Ballister Blackheart may be a supervillain but he goes out of his way to avoid casualties and mainly wants to prove to the Kingdom that the Institution is the real evil. His titular sidekick Nimona, on the other hand, is perfectly happy to kill anyone who gets in the way of their plans and doesn't really care much about Ballister's ideological goals so long as the two of them "win". She later goes on a rampage that kills countless people including the King, and while she remains sympathetic due to her Freudian Excuse and genuine friendship with Ballister, she also makes it clear that she doesn't really care about the people she's killed.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Sir George is the founder and leader of the anti-alien organisation, the Forever Knights, but is a Noble Demon and Anti-Villain who brims with Evil Virtues. This doesn't apply to his underlings like Enoch or Chadwick, who are racist, petty, and smug murderers in contrast to their boss.
  • Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has NOS-4-A2, a robotic energy vampire created by Zurg with the intent of helping him conquer the galaxy by draining the energy of Star Command's technology, most notably XR. Unlike Zurg and his henchmen, composed mostly of grubs, hornets, and brains, who are Laughably Evil, though Zurg is far more threatening, and are portrayed in a sympathetic manner, NOS-4-A2 is far crueller and has little to no comedic moments nor does he have any redeeming qualities, and even plans to betray Zurg, thus making him the darkest adversary to Star Command.
  • Gargoyles had this dynamic within the villainous group the Pack. The leader was Fox, a Dark Action Girl, Machiavellian schemer, and Cultured Badass with an interest in philosophy. She married another villain out of love, and turned out to be a competent and loving mother while never losing her ruthlessness. Of her four subordinates in the Pack, only Dingo was not this, and not coincidentally, he was the first besides Fox to leave the Pack, and the only one to make an unambiguous Heel–Face Turn. Wolf and Hyena were brutal and bloodthirsty killers who only cared about the thrill of the fight, and neither ever displayed anything approaching a redeeming quality...unless you count the fact that they were at least not as bad as Jackal, who tried to kill everyone in the world for the fun of it.
  • Hazbin Hotel:
  • Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous: Dr. Wu may be an amoral Mad Scientist, but he has some standards. Hawkes, the leader of the mercenaries he hired, is much worse than he is, as shown when Wu has to talk him out of shooting the children.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina: While Lord and Lady Briarwood are the main villains of the first season and have committed some truly heinous acts of cruelty, they are still very charismatic (though in a Faux Affably Evil way) and love eachother deeply. Professor Anders, one of their minions, is disgusting even compared to the Briarwoods. He blames the De Rolo children for the fact that their parents kept him employed as a tutor and wouldn't fund his greater scientific ambitions, which are implied to be for self-gain rather than the benefit of society. When the Briarwoods contacted him for help in their attempted coup, he jumped at the chance to work with them instead, murdering most of the De Rolos and handing Percy (aged 18) and Cassandra (aged 13) over to Ripley to be brutally tortured for information they didn't even have. When Percy eventually returns to Whitestone and finds out that Cassandra is still alive, Anders slits her throat in front of him, outright mocks him while he helplessly tries to stop her from drowing in her own blood, then uses his Compelling Voice to mind control Vox Machina and get them to kill Percy for him. While It's Personal with most of the people Percy hunts down during the Briarwood arc, Anders is a very special case.
    Percy: We trusted you. You were our teacher! We would have done anything you asked! And you betrayed us when we needed you most. You're the face I saw when murder entered my heart.
  • The My Little Pony 'n Friends serial "The Glass Princess" showcased this with the Raptorians. Their boss, Princess Porcina, was vain and obliviously evil, but they planned to use her to turn Ponyland and everyone in it into glass, then get rid of her when they no longer needed her. Porcina has a Heel–Face Turn by the end of the episode, while the Raptorians are turned into glass.
  • The Space Kidettes: While Captain Skyhook will use every dirty trick he can to get the Kidettes treasure map, he draws the line at actually hurting or torturing them. His first mate Static on the other hand is always quick to suggest doing something violent like baking or disintegrating them.
  • The Transformers: Megatron is a ruthless warlord who has no qualms about destroying all in his path if it means the complete and total conquest of the universe. Starscream, on the other hand, is far worse because, while his master thinks (in a rather twisted way) that he's being evil for the good of the universe, the treacherous back-stabber is only out for his own aims — and that makes him far more willing to cross lines that even Megatron wouldn't dare touch.
    • However, even Starscream at his worst isn't even a patch on Motormaster, who bullies and abuses his already psychologically unstable minions in the Stunticons for fun. The result is their combined form Menasor is an unstable ball of rage.
  • Wakfu: Amongst the Brotherhood of the Forgotten (a.k.a. the Siblings) whom the Big Bad of Season 3 leads, there's Toxine. Neither of Toxine's bosses can be called good people, but whereas Oropo and Lady Echo (and most of the Brotherhood for that matter) have their humanizing moments and are operating at least partly on the belief that they're going to make the universe better, Toxine is just a rampant gleeful psychopath who revels in hurting others, and she doesn't seem to care about even the other Siblings. Adamaï at one point addresses the elephant in the room by asking what the hell Oropo was thinking in bringing a demigod like her onboard with their plan to supposedly elevate the Siblings to godhood.

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