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Non-Malicious Monster

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Aw look, he's just a harmless creature! note 
"I think their attitude is more that of the cyclone, which comes with the gracious purpose of cooling off a sweltering village, and is not aware, afterward, that it has done that village anything but a favor... People who blame a cyclone, do it because they do not reflect that compact masses are not a cyclone's idea of symmetry."

One step below a typical Anti-Villain (or above, depending on how you're counting): a creature that could be called monstrous, but can't actually be viewed as evil, since it lacks any actual malice or sapience.

This is not to say that these monsters are not a threat; they're usually literal monsters, and if they're not dealt with, many people will die. It's just that, in theory, options besides killing the monster exist.

Note the difference between a Reluctant Monster and a Non-Malicious Monster is that the Non-Malicious Monster is always an antagonist; the Reluctant Monster can be a protagonist. In addition, the Reluctant Monster is usually sapient or can sense people's responses to its monstrosity (see, e.g., Casper the Friendly Ghost). The Non-Malicious Monster is more along the lines of a completely instinctive beast with no sapience; in other words, it's just reacting to stimulus in incredibly dangerous ways without bearing malice towards anyone. Imagine a 100 foot tall Rottweiler if you will. If these monsters do have any sapience, it's a case of being Obliviously Evil. Typically True Neutral.


Certain portrayals of Eldritch Abominations go out of their way to portray the Abominations as, well, dangerous only because we're in the way. Remember the last time you cared about the bugs you step on when walking in your yard?

Sometimes compared to a more normal villainous character, frequently a Complete Monster, to make the distinction between "monster" and "evil" more explicit and obvious (although authors using this particular variation should be warned that said normal bad guy is especially prone to becoming a Designated Villain). Expect early victims to be Assholes for the usual reasons: we don't feel as bad about a giant dick being killed, and it doesn't hurt any sympathy we may have with the monster.

For the purposes of Stock Monster Symbolism, a Non-Malicious Monster usually is used to further a "nature vs. civilization" theme, or more rarely a "disaster (man-made or otherwise)" theme.


Compare Not Evil, Just Misunderstood and Predation Is Natural. See also Monster Is a Mommy, a Sub-Trope of when the monster in question is fully justified or even doing objective good in its monstrous actions, Why Isn't It Attacking? when the non-malicious behavior is noticed, and Benevolent Monsters, which is when a monster is actively kindhearted instead of just neutral.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Some of the Arrancar in Bleach are like this. It's explained that the process of becoming an Arrancar removes a Hollow's Always Chaotic Evil nature and gives them their sense of reason back. Most of the Arrancar we see are bastards anyway, but there's a few exceptions (Nell and her friends, Starrk and Lilinete, some say Harribel as well). Harribel and her Fraccions' actions at the end of the whole Aizen thing — and the Backstory as to how and why they came together (while they were still standard Hollows) proves it.
  • Dragon Ball:
  • Subverted by Berserker in Fate/Zero. He seems at first, like Fate/stay nights Berserker, to be rage personified without actual malice, but is revealed to have a very personal grudge against Saber.
  • Gluttony from Fullmetal Alchemist has the mental capacity of a toddler and does not seem to realize that his actions hurt people, he even apologizes after accidentally eating Edward.
  • Hell's Paradise: Jigokuraku has Rokurota, the Giant of Bizen. A humongous mountain of a man with Super Strength, he can easily kill a person with a single strike. But despite being on death row for numerous murder charges, Rokurota is not really malicious or evil. Instead, due to his mental deficiency, he's really just a confused toddler throwing a tantrum (which, given his power, inevitably kills the people unfortunate enough to be nearby) because he's always hungry and bored. Of course, since he's uncontrollable and therefore a danger to everyone around him, the heroes have no choice but to put him down.
    Rokurota's inner thoughts: I'm hungry. I'm bored. I wanna play! [...] Why am I never full? Why won't anybody ever play with me?
  • Some demons in Inuyasha, like Jinenji, who is more of the case, as he'd prefer to run away, hide, and cry when confronted.
  • The Mobile Suit Gundam 00 movie, Awakening Of The Trailblazer, has an example. The ELS learn about things through assimilation, and combining their forms together is merely an efficient form of communication. Humans find assimilation to be a very painful way to die. This leads to the unfortunate situation where the ELS are a peaceful race looking to learn about and communicate with humans and don't understand why humanity is trying to kill them for doing so, while humanity thinks it's defending itself against a hostile invasion. It's unclear whether the ELS even recognise themselves threatened, or if they just perceive the violence as a part of human communication, and respond in kind. The whole concept of verbal intercourse is completely incomprehensible to them after all, whereas battles are physical affairs like their assimilation.
  • Interestingly, the Tailed Beasts from Naruto can be tamed as Jinchuriki. Each has a different personality and can unlock tremendous abilities for the individual. However, it seems the more tails the beast has, the harder it is to fully befriend and tame. The Nine Tails Kurama only just recently became agreeable towards Naruto, and that took several YEARS to accomplish. The lore states that the Ten Tails itself is the absolute worst, to the point that the other nine fear just talking about it.
  • The Angels of Neon Genesis Evangelion. As the offspring of Adam, they seek only to unite with their progenitor, and set off The End of the World as We Know It to claim (or rather, reclaim) the planet. The destructive Sachiel aside, only when something stands in their way will they actually attack.
  • Most of the citizens of Makai (demon world) in Rave Master fall under this trope.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman villain Humpty Dumpty seems to be mentally challenged, but he has a knack for analyzing mechanical systems and figuring out how to subvert or disable them. After the deaths of his parents and constant abuse from his grandmother, he started trying to fix machines he perceived as broken out of irritation, but since his knowledge only came from library books his repairs often resulted in horrible accidents. He is just trying to do what he believes is a good thing for everyone. Even when he eventually "took apart" his grandmother, he did so in a misguided attempt to find the root of her meanness and fix her.
  • Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!:
    • The unnamed swamp monster wasn't malicious, possibly because the issue was a Whole Plot Reference to King Kong. Cap even points this out after the monster has been dispatched.
    • The egg monsters of Easter Island show no signs of intelligence above the animal level; they just meander around looking for water to absorb. People are, unfortunately, 70% water.
  • A Marvel story involves Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch confronting a giant extra-dimensional beast rampaging around the city. The monster seems almost unbeatable, but then Strange reads its mind. As it turns out, the rampage is just a reaction to being plucked out of its home realm and deposited in a strange world; it is scared, lonely, and simply wants to go home. Strange complies, ending the threat.
  • The Incredible Hulk is often portrayed this way, especially in the early days. The big guy just wants to be left alone, but being constantly hounded by supervillains and General "Thunderbolt" Ross' Hulkbuster unit doesn't leave him much alternative but go berserk and cause untold property damage fighting them.
  • The Marvel Comics Captain Ersatz of King Kong, Gorgilla, falls into this category.
  • One possible interpretation of Bizarro from Superman — he doesn't mean to do harm, but his simple-mindedness combined with Superman-like powers makes him terribly dangerous.
  • In Valhalla, the huge wolf Fenris (who was the most dangerous monster in Norse mythology) turns out to only be an over-sized dog, who was controlled and abused by the evil giant Surtr.
  • In Vampirella, the early Pantha. Her one and only response to being threatened, annoyed or being given a parking ticket was instinctively turning into a panther and mauling the nuisance (and mostly, grieving afterwards about what she had done). Later, she got a retcon and an amulet to control herself.

    Fan Works 
  • Castlevania: Nocturne of Ruin:
    • The tribe of mermen who live in the fountain of Castlevania's garden. While xenophobic and somewhat Jerkasses, they prefer to be left alone and are at worst simply annoyed when Maria inadvertently pollutes their home while washing une slime out of a cloth.
    • Catoblepas. While they have petrifying breath and are stated to be dangerous by Alucard, as he also points out, they're not aggressive and don't actively attack people; he even pets one.
  • The embodiment of the Elements of Harmony in Elementals of Harmony. They range from neutral to friendly but are breaking the universe by existing. Two actually commit suicide when they learn this. The only ones that have to be fought head-on merged with ponies and were twisted. Loyalty merged with Scootaloo and lost it after being rejected by Dash, and Magic merged with Twilight and drove her existing tendency to fix everything with magic and Control Freak issues Up to Eleven by giving her enough power to fight two planeswalkers and Luna.
  • He Had No Fingers's Naruto is (or started out as) this in a way. A lot of what happened with him is mostly done out of instinct (like what happened with Kakashi) than anything else.
  • The first chapter of Imperfect Metamorphosis ends with Rumia being disintegrated by a Blob Monster, which then takes a twisted version of her as its form and heads straight for Eientei and almost destroys the place in the ensuing battle. Turns out Rumia is still alive after being absorbed, the absorption was the only way said blob could move and communicate, the transformation was entirely involuntary, it went to Eientei to talk, and the battle was in self-defense after being attacked by half a dozen trigger-happy Blood Knights. Naturally, things get much worse from there.
  • InThe Infinite Loops, Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has the dubious honor of being a Malicious Looping Entity for no other reason than outright lethal stupidity instead of any ill intentions. He has managed to get a number of very old and extremely powerful loopers killed (in Anakin Skywalker's case more than once), and crash three supposedly uncrashable Safe Mode loops, all completely by accident.
  • Land Before Time Retold: Strongfang, the brother of Sharptooth. Unlike his brother, he only hunts for food, his father having taught him that herbivores are their equals and only to hunt when hungry.

    Film — Animation 
  • Chunky the Macawnivore from The Croods is shown initially as a vicious predator hunting down the titular caveman family. However, when trapped alone in a dark cave with the family's patriarch Grug, it's revealed that Chunky is simply as lost and frightened as the Croods themselves. Ultimately, he and Grug work together to escape, and at the end, he's accepted into the family and befriended as one of their pets.
  • How to Train Your Dragon:
    • In the film version, the dragons are raiding the Viking village for food because they're being forced by a larger dragon to feed it or be eaten themselves. Once the larger dragon is killed, the other dragons are more than happy to coexist with the Vikings.
    • Drago's Bewilderbeast in the second film is powerful, destructive, and responsible for the deaths of both Valka's Bewilderbeast and Stoick. However, he's not inherently malicious on his own: he had been abused and enslaved by Drago since he was a hatchling to become his own personal war machine, and the poor thing is so terrified of his cruel master that he obeys all his commands and never tries to defend himself even though he's grown a hundred times bigger. Fortunately for him, it's revealed in the third film that after being defeated by Toothless, he's come to live peacefully with the other dragons of the Hidden World with his vile master left behind.
  • The Momma T. Rex from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs is introduced going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to get back her babies who were "adopted" by Sid. She eventually warms up to Sid gradually over the next few days, however, and in the finale saves him from the real Big Bad, Rudy the Baryonyx.
  • The Dragon from Shrek is the terrifying guardian of Princess Fiona's castle prison, but after it's revealed that she's actually rather friendly and in love with Donkey, she's ultimately freed and disposes of the evil Lord Farquaad by eating him. She and Donkey later have a litter of "dronkeys".

    Film — Live-Action 
  • While not necessarily presented this way in the source material, Frankenstein's Monster tends to get this treatment in modern media, since he was given a disfigurement, an abnormal brain (in most versions), and then spurned by the person that created him. The only people he befriends are those that either can get past his appearance or can't see it at all.
  • The Ymir of 20 Million Miles to Earth just wants to be left alone. The fact that it's continually growing and is wanted by the government to figure out how it survives on Venus leads to it being poked. The Ymir does not like being poked.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey:
    • The leopard in the "Dawn of Man" segment. It's not even a monster, really, just a mundane predator, but as the protagonists are apes, it's the segment's "villain".
    • HAL 9000 is another example. While there's some ambiguity as to its sentience, what is clear is that his psychotic behaviour wasn't his fault; his programmers accidentally created a Logic Bomb in his programming, and murdering the crew was the only way to resolve the paradox.
  • The Xenomorphs from Alien are barely sentient and mainly just want to find food, reproduce, and guard their territory. Indeed, the company (Weyland-Yutani) generally comes across as as far more despicable and evil than the xenomorphs themselves. After all, you don't see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.
  • The Blob (1958): The Blob is a mindless space amoeba who simply consumes as much organic matter as it can find. It's no more malicious than any other predator.
  • The Blob (1988): Averted. The Blob is the accidental result of a secret government germ warfare project, and shows several signs of intelligence. It seems to enjoy stalking its food and even lays traps for them.
  • Katla from the Swedish fantasy movie Bröderna Lejonhjärta might be a huge dragon. And if she breathes her fire on you, you will soon become paralized. But she was controlled by the evil dictator Tengil, who kept using her to keep his power. And if you only leave her alone, she won't harm anybody.
  • According to Word of God, the Cloverfield monster is not only a Non-Malicious Monster, it's also an Enfante Terrible. J.J. Abrams, the producer, said "He's a baby. He's brand-new. He's confused, disoriented and irritable."
  • Deep Blue Sea: A trio of genetically-engineered, highly intelligent mako sharks sabotage the marine base they're held in to eat the humans experimenting on them. It comes as a surprise at the end when it's revealed that they weren't hunting down the cast For the Evulz, but as part of a Batman Gambit to flood the facility and return to the deep blue sea.
  • When Godzilla is portrayed as an Anti-Hero, it's usually as one of these.
    • A very notable aversion in Giant Monsters All-Out Attack, where Godzilla is portrayed as an undead monster possessed by the souls of the victims of World War 2, and is iconically the one and only time Godzilla himself is portrayed as truly evil.
    • Rodan in the original film. He never directly attacked humans (And in fact ate the monsters who were), all the damage he caused was either the accidental byproduct of the downdraft of his wings as he flew around, or caused by the JSDF's lousy aim.
    • Mothra. She's by far the most benevolent monster in the Godzilla films and only attacks when someone either kidnaps her fairy companions or tries to hurt her offspring.
    • Minya and Godzilla Junior. Justified in that both are infants.
    • Zilla from the 1998 film wasn't specifically hostile in any way, mostly it was acting merely like an animal would, and much of the destruction of New York is actually the military causing collateral damage every time they miss the fast-moving creature.
      Mayor Ebert: (to the army general) You've caused more damage than that goddamn thing did!
    • In the MonsterVerse movies:
      • Godzilla (2014): Godzilla's not particularly interested in fighting with humans and goes out of his way not to fight them even when they are opening fire on him. Like Gareth Edwards has said, humans are like ants to him. You don't go out of your way to stomp on every ant you see, do you?
      • The M.U.T.O.s aren't really evil either, most of the destruction they cause is just due to them being so large, and through the movie, they act like actual animals. There are even sympathetic moments with them, such as the loving moment the couple have sharing a nuke, and the mother crying at the destruction of her nest.
      • King Kong from Kong: Skull Island is normally a Gentle Giant to the island's natives and even willingly protects some of the main characters. He's only pissed because Packard and his crew flew into his home unprovoked and dropped bombs that awoke the Skull Crawlers. However, he kills Packard's crew, sparking a Moby Schtick between the two.
      • The Skull Crawlers themselves aren't being intentionally evil either: their biology has cursed them with a hyperactive metabolism that leaves them constantly on the brink of starvation. Averted with the Big One, however, who is shown to be much more intelligent than the rest, and explicitly cruel and malicious.
      • Averted big time for King Ghidorah in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), who is an alien invader with his own nefarious plans to destroy all life on earth and terraform the planet to his liking.
      • Zig-Zagged with Rodan in this incarnation: on one hand, he was awoken by Alan Jonah's terrorist organization, and only served and fought for Ghidorah out of fear, submitting to Godzilla after Ghidorah's defeat and living peacefully on Mt. Fuji. On the other hand, he does show a mild sense of glee when he barrel-rolls midair to destroy the attacking air force, and seems perfectly happy to eat the ejecting pilots...
  • The Golem from the 1920 silent movie classic The Golem. He is treated as a monster by the humans, but at closer watch, he is only misunderstood (he is mute, after all) and dumb.
  • Goosebumps has Hannah, who isn't a villain and is a ghost.
  • The sharks in Jaws, who are just looking for food. The sole exception being the shark in Jaws: The Revenge, which is not looking for food, but rather, revenge on the Brodys (indeed, it only eats two (or three, depending on the cut) people in the whole movie.)
  • Zigzagged in the Jurassic Park films, given the varying levels of intelligence of the various carnivorous dinosaurs.
    • The Tyrannosaurus rex, Procompsognathus, and Dilophosaurus are simply carnivorous animals that only eat people because they are easy prey. Additionally, they are mostly shown eating people we're not supposed to sympathize with (in one case, it's even Played for Laughs) and, given the opportunity, the T. rex goes after other dinosaurs instead of the humans.
    • The Pteranodon generally snatch up humans only when they wander into their enclosure, and in Jurassic World, they're motivated by a mix of panic and redirected aggression.
    • The raptors, on the other hand, are shown to be intelligent and capable of sadism, though mostly it was born from a lack of early socialization: in the fourth film, a quartet of young raptors are raised by trainer Owen Grady, and they imprint on him and recognize him as their alpha (though they occasionally have moments where they challenge his authority, especially as they grow older.)
    • The Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park III takes Super-Persistent Predator to the point that it seems like it just hates humans, though it's mostly it being incredibly territorial.
    • Completely averted with the Indominus rex from Jurassic World which was specifically bred to be a hyper-aggressive killing machine, shown to be killing for sport. She slaughters an entire herd of Apatosaures and doesn't take one bite. Owen initally believes she was crazy due to not being able to socialize with anything but unknown to him she had a sibling who she ate. She also tries to kill the raptors simply for refusing to kill the humans who posed no threat at the time. She is the first and only dinosaur in the franchise to be genuinely evil.
    • Downplayed with the Indoraptor in Fallen Kingdom. He is clearly shown to enjoy toying with his prey and killing people. However, unlike the I-Rex he is shown to kill for food and was shown to be abused and mistreated by the humans. He also noticeably only kills people who are either armed with a gun or who have just screamed.
  • King Kong. As a description of how this trope fits would be akin to a plot synopsis, we recommend reading the page on King Kong instead.
  • Mighty Joe Young as well, who mostly just wants to be left alone, and only causes trouble when he's scared (or in the original movie, drunk). Unlike Kong, Joe gets to live happily ever after at a ranch at the end of the movie.
  • The mutant from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. As Betty puts it: "I don't think it ever meant to kill. It just didn't know not to."
  • Jeff the giant worm from Men in Black II seems to have the intelligence of a domestic dog at best as it really only wants to move around eating and J firmly but nicely scolds it for leaving its designated area. It's not until T tries to get rough with it that it turns aggressive, and even then J is incredibly reluctant to actually kill it.
  • In Monsters, it's heavily implied if not downright stated that the aliens aren't the aggressive monsters that they are perceived as. Sure they look scary, especially given they're nocturnal and their appearance. They do hurt and even kill people but this is probably curiosity, self-defense, and just their sheer size. During the finale, two of the creatures meet up in an awe-inspiring light show and completely ignore the humans nearby. This is made explicitly clear in Monsters Dark Continent, as none of the onscreen deaths are caused by the creatures, and it's obvious that the locals could adapt just fine to their presence.
  • The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is considerably more vicious than a normal rabbit, but doesn't appear to be any more intelligent. Once the Knights back away from the cave, it doesn't chase.
  • Subverted in Pacific Rim. At first, humanity believes that the Kaiju are just monsters wandering in — but later learn they're manufactured and are being used as biological weapons in a war against humanity. Not to mention that the Kaiju themselves are intelligent and inherently hostile, to the point that one seen in a flashback eagerly goes out of its way to chase down a defenseless little girl and crush her to death, just because it can.
  • The Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean only ever attacks ships when Davy Jones wakes it using a massive hammer. Wouldn't you be a little cranky too?
  • The unexplained alien probe from Star Trek IV could be this, depending on interpretation.
  • Zigzagged in the Terminator franchise.
    • Most Terminators, despite their calculating and merciless nature, aren't malicious or sadistic. They're machines designed and programmed to carry out specific tasks in the most efficient manner possible and are no more likely to inflict unnecessary pain and suffering on anyone than a calculator. In the Directors cut of Terminator 2: Judgment Day it's revealed Skynet ensures its models are designed not to learn too much when sent out alone, as it doesn't want them thinking for itself. So when Arnie's T-800 has this fixed, the Terminator actually learns the value of human life.
    • This seems to not be the case with the T-1000 in T2 who carries out his killings with deadly cold sadism, seems almost intrigued by what he is doing with curious, dog-like head tilts when killing, and at least has the emotional capacity to cruelly taunt Sarah Connor's failed attempt at terminating him with a "tsk tsk" finger-wag. As he also seems capable of genuine shock, surprise, and even fear, if his reactions to being frozen, blown up, and thrown into the molten steel are anything to go by, it's at least possible he is capable of genuine malice as well. Word of God also reveals the T-1000 can't be set to 'read only' mode due to how complex it is and even Skynet itself is afraid of them due to how smart their role necessitates them being.
    • The T-X from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines displays much more overt signs of "emotion", like clear sadism such as a cruel smirk when she's managed to knock the T-850 off of her vehicle, excitement when she's located her primary target John Connor, and even outright screaming in terror when she's about to be terminated, it implies the more advanced models have rudimentary emotions possibly so they will enjoy their "work" or are just naturally inclined toward sadistic tendencies. The now obsolete T-850 all but states he doesn't care if they survive or not but is only protecting them because it's what he was programmed to do, is well aware he was meant to kill humans and was reprogrammed, and even matter-of-factly states he killed John in the future before being captured without even a hint of malice.
  • Ultraman Cosmos: The First Contact, the movie based on the Ultraman Cosmos series, has the Don Dragon, a bipedal, hibernating monster who spends most of its screen-time snoozing and was considered a legend by the local population. Doesn't stop the JSDF Commander from launching a drone attack on it, though.
  • Werewolves in the film Uncaged are aggressive and will attack and kill anyone they encounter, regardless of previous relationships, but Brandon believes that a werewolf can't be blamed for its actions because "it's just a monster", that is, just following its nature and thus not intelligent enough to be deliberately malicious.

  • Animorphs:
    • The main shock troops of the Yeerks, the Hork-Bajir and Taxxons, only act with malice when controlled by their parasitic masters. The Hork-Bajir, despite having enough blades on their bodies that they have been described as walking Cuisinarts, are actually peaceful herbivores who use all that hardware to strip tree bark and are actually quite friendly. The Taxxons are more dangerous, but not maliciously so — they are cursed with a permanent all-consuming hunger that makes them desperate for food, and will even eat themselves if necessary. They simply can't help it.
    • Also, the Howlers. When Jake morphs into one he's expecting the instincts of some insane killing machine, and is shocked to discover that their minds are more similar to playful dolphins—the only reason they kill is because Crayak has kept them from realizing that their victims are any more sentient than a video game character. The particular band the Animorphs are fighting actually get destroyed as soon as they realize the truth, since Crayak can't let this knowledge spread to the rest of the species' Hive Mind. They get some of it anyway, forcing Crayak to abandon them as shock troops.
  • In the Japanese novel Another we have two. The first is a curse which kills off students and teachers in a particular classroom and their immediate relatives. The second is an extra member of the class, a different person every year, who is Dead All Along, which is the cause of the curse. Neither could be considered actively malicious. For one thing, the "extras" aren't even aware of their status and mean no harm. Their mere presence, unfortunately, is what triggers the curse. As for the curse itself, it's trying to do the same thing the human characters are, root out the "extra", but simply does not discriminate between targets while trying to get the right one.
  • Katla from The Brothers Lionheart might be a huge dragon. And if she breathes her fire on you, you will soon become paralyzed. But she was controlled by the evil dictator Tengil, who kept using her to keep his power. And if you only leave her alone, she won't harm anybody.
  • In the Conan the Barbarian short story "The Tower of the Elephant", our hero fights his way up a tower containing a valuable jewel that is rumored to be guarded be a monster. When Conan finds the monster, it is a harmless alien that has been enslaved by an evil wizard. Even Conan, who is a ruthless barbarian, feels sorry for it.
  • Cthulhu Mythos:
    • The Great Old Ones and Outer Gods— either they are simply far too powerful to even register humans as worthy of moral consideration, or they have no comprehension of lesser life or, in the extreme cases, anything else at all. Their actions are not malicious in a strict sense, as they scarcely notice us. Azathoth is a pure example, being a blind, deaf god who will destroy all creation, but completely mindless - he does not know what he is doing, and is really more akin to a single cell than a sentient being.
    • Subverted by the Outer God Nyarlathotep, who is every bit as powerful, but is fully aware of the relationship between himself, humanity, and the rest of the cosmos, and manipulates mankind.
    • In The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, Doctor Willard accidentally summons a spirit in the secret underground laboratories of Joseph Curwen, which the immortal sorcerer had not yet dared to awaken, not being sure that even with his own experience and power he would be able to keep it obedient. When Willard awakes from his unconsciousness in the house above, all entrances to the underground laboratories and the hundreds of trapped spirits within it have vanished without a trace. Sometime later, he learns that the other two immortal sorcerers of Curwens cabal in Europe have been killed in a fire and explosion that completely destroyed their mansions. All that is known about the spirit is that it knew how to write Latin in a script used in England in the 9th century.
  • In Dragon Bones, the Basilisk, or stone-dragon, as some call it.. While it is a monster and does eat large mammals, like, for example, humans, it is not more sentient than a dog, and doesn't even kill more than it can eat. Oreg eventually turns it back into stone, saving it from dying in the cold climate, and the humans around it from being eaten. It is also described as looking quite pretty, being the kind of monster that could fascinate even someone who isn't a biologist.
  • Dresden Files:
    • Newly-made Red Court vampires and White Court vampires whose demon has just awoken can be this.
    • Many wizards don't have guidance when they come into their power (mid-teenage years). They don't know how not to use their power or the consequences of misusing their power and start down the paths to being warlocks (wizards of substantial caliber who violate the laws of magic). Many warlocks are malicious, and Harry has brought a few of those down himself, but he's really disturbed by the White Council's zero-tolerance policy towards this trope. He views Molly as this when he presents her to the White Council and manages to get her on probation instead of executed on that count, claiming he can teach her how to use her power for good.
  • The titular monster in Julian May's short story "Dune Roller". Long ago, it crashed to Earth, with many small parts of itself (its "children") being widely scattered. It doesn't go out of its way to harm other creatures, but if you get in its way when it tries to reabsorb its children, it will go Mama Bear on you.
  • The Buggers in Ender's Game only kill humans because they don't realize that individual humans are intelligent, thinking beings, instead seeing them as trivial elements of a Hive Mind like theirs, making killing a few thousand of them more like smacking someone to get their attention.... When they realized that individual humans were sentient, they were horrified, but by the time they figured out how to communicate with a human, it was too late.
  • In the Fighting Fantasy book Creature of Havoc, the titular protagonist is a horrific monster who starts as a non-sapient creature of instinct, but gains intelligence and language and ultimately becomes a Horrifying Hero to defeat an evil Sorcerous Overlord. Justified in that the Creature Was Once a Man who fell victim to a Baleful Polymorph.
  • A group of cannibals in Galaxy of Fear turn out to be this. Even the protagonists go from fearing to pitying them.
  • The egg monsters and most of the ghosts in Goosebumps.
  • Averted by the basilisk from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets It was beholden to "the heir of Slytherin" and did as it was commanded, but Harry's parselmouth abilities gave him insight into its thought processes, and it was every bit the murderous bastard its master was.
    "Come... come to me... Let me rip you... Let me tear you... Let me kill you. [...] I smell blood! I SMELL BLOOD!"
  • Pretty much every "monster" in The Iron Teeth web serial is a type of animal, and thus non-malicious. They may be 500-pound killing machines but they kill to live, not because they are evil. This is true even though many of the animals are both named after and resemble mythological creatures such as: harpies, trolls, ogres, drakes, and giant spiders.
  • Mistwraiths are the resident boogeymen of Mistborn, and superstitious skaa believe that they kill, eat, and replace those who wander into the mists at night. While they are terrifying, hulking monstrosities that look like a skeletal chimera dipped in gelatain, they're harmless scavengers that eat carcasses and try to form bodies around the bones.
  • In the short story "Elegy for a Demon Lover" (part of the The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth), Kyle realizes that even though Ivo is (obliviously) a life-force-draining incubus, "he did love me. To him, I was the world."
  • In the novelization of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis Jill briefly muses over how the titular Nemesis had merely been programmed by Umbrella to hunt them down, but that she doesn't care and takes extreme pleasure in killing the thing once and for all:
    It had killed Brad Vickers and tracked her mercilessly through the city. It had murdered her rescue team and stranded them in Raccoon, it had infected her with disease, it had terrorized her and wounded Carlos — and that it had been programmed to do these things didn't matter; she hated it with everything inside of her, despised it more than anything she'd ever despised.
    Jill: You want S.T.A.R.S? I'll give you S.T.A.R.S. you piece of shit.
  • In The Stormlight Archive Nergaoul is an embodiment of mindless slaughter that makes war addictive, causing people to continue the battle as their city burns down around them. In Oathbringer when it's rejected by one of its favorite people to influence Dalinar rather than being angry it's confused and sad, like a big friendly dog whose owner doesn't want to play anymore. It just doesn't understand people have interests beyond butchering each other, which is why it often influences both sides of a battle.
  • Super Minion has Tofu, an escaped bioweapon. He's not cruel or evil, but he is self-serving and amoral, and has no compunction about killing anyone it is convenient to kill.
  • Villains by Necessity: Kimi tells the story of how the local townsmen ganged up on and killed a wyvern nesting in the bay, who wasn't so much a monster as it was a territorial animal that the local fishermen could avoid without that much difficulty, as its claimed territory wasn't very large. In fact, up until some adventurers goaded them into hunting down the beast, that is exactly what everyone in the area had been doing for years. Further, she relates the wyvern was female and had an egg, making it likely more aggressive than usual in protecting its young. Kimi tried to rear its hatchling, but sadly it died. Sir Pryce also later says in his rant that many other beings who did no one any harm were labeled "evil" and hunted into extinction.
  • Despite the fact that nearly every space-going civilization has demonized it as evil, the Swarm Mother and its "children", from the Wild Cards series is essentially just a mindless, city-sized predatory space-going omnivorous mushroom who destroys whole ecosystems solely because it needs biological material with which to reproduce. It has all the malicious intent for the civilizations it destroys as a car windshield has for a bug.
  • A common theme explored extensively in The Witcher, both the novels and the video games based on them. One reason the witchers are running out of work is that humans are simply learning to live with monstrous creatures, such as a mayor in one story who refuses Geralt's offer to kill a troll because it keeps the bridge in good repair without asking for anything in return, even if it does occasionally break someone's leg for refusing to pay the crossing toll. Some larger beasts like wyverns, griffons, and drakes are just protecting their territory or their young. Even succubi are largely friendly and mean no one any harm, only killing in self-defense or by accident. Humans, meanwhile, are as capable of evil as any supernatural creature.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: Shows up quite a bit, particularly when Steven Moffat was writing or running the show.
    • Several stories ("The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances", "The Curse of the Black Spot", "The Girl Who Waited") feature medical equipment wreaking havoc by innocently trying to "cure" members of species they are unfamiliar or incompatible with.
    • "The Girl in the Fireplace": The clockwork droids are simply part of a spaceship's severely malfunctioning self-repair system. True, they dissect the crew for parts, but only because they were never programmed not to.
      • Subverted when the clockwork robots return in ''Deep Breath''; the robots have been around for so long, adding so much organic matter to themselves, that they have developed sapience and understand the implications of their actions, so they can now be reasonably considered malicious.
    • "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" plays with the trope: the Doctor mentions that the Vashta Nerada are normally benign and live off roadkill. The aggressiveness of the huge swarm that's taken over the Library is highly unusual.
    • "Flatline" outright subverts it: the Doctor thinks the aliens might not realize they're hurting anyone, but when he gets through the Starfish Language barrier, the aliens just use it to mock and gloat.
    • "The Pilot": Discussed, the Doctor mentions that just about everything in the universe is dangerous, but few things are evil, while many things are hungry — which is easily confused with evil when you're on the wrong side of it.
    • "Smile": The Vardy robots were programmed to help humans be happy, but the optimistic people who built them didn't anticipate them dealing with negative emotions. When they see a family grieving for a loved one, they deduce that grief is a virulent disease and start killing anyone who doesn't look happy.
    • "Arachnids in the UK": The Giant Spiders are confused by the fact they've mutated to several times their natural size, and are just trying to follow their instincts to survive, which unfortunately means preying on humans rather than insects.
    • "The Tsuranga Conundrum": Despite the huge danger it poses to the ship and its passengers, the Pting isn't actively trying to hurt or kill anyone. It's just really hungry, and sees the ship as food.
    • "It Takes You Away": The Solitract is just lonely and wants company. Unfortunately, this threatens the existence of both universes.
  • The eponymous dolls in The Haunting Hour episode "Worry Dolls". The way they work is pretty simple: You tell them what you're worried about and they fix it. While well-meaning, they're not particularly selective about how they do it. So if you, say, tell them that you want your parents to spend more time with you instead of always going on the road for work, they'll make your parents obsessed with spending time with you to the point of never leaving you alone and becoming psychotic if you try to spend even a minute by yourself.
  • Discussed in Stargate SG-1, on the topic of the Replicators. Teal'c points out that they're simple, self-replicating machines not programmed with any thought beyond self-replication, making them "no more evil than a virus". O'Neill responds "A really evil virus", indicating that he doesn't much care about the Replicators' morality or lack thereof. The Replicators do eventually develop higher intellect, and with it, more varied motivations (some good, mostly evil), though their primary goal remains self-replication above all else.
  • Star Trek:
    • The Horta from Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Devil in the Dark". Its apparent unprovoked attacks against the mining colony (and two crew members) turn out to be because the colony was destroying its eggs, which they thought were nothing more than worthless silicon spheres. After Spock is able to deduce this by speaking to the creature, peace is made (and the young are actually able to help the colony dig up precious ore).
    • The Crystalline Entity from Star Trek: The Next Generation, despite being a fearsome creature with a habit of scouring planets of all life, is never evidenced to be malicious. Captain Picard refuses to destroy it simply for being hungry, except as a last resort to protect other intelligent life.
    • Discussed in Star Trek: Voyager "Hope and Fear", about The Borg of all species whom Arturis compares to a force of nature.
      "You don't feel anger toward a storm on the horizon; you just avoid it."
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Cameron tells John in one episode that, while Terminators are killing machines, they are not programmed to be cruel. Cromartie's actor, Garret Dillahunt, even outright describes his character as a Punch-Clock Villain:
    Dillahunt: I like him. They're really not bad guys - they're doing their job. He has no hate in him. He's like: "Look, it's my job, sorry... Gotta snap your neck."
  • Almost every entry in the Ultra Series will have a handful of Kaiju of the Week that are portrayed as such. In accordance with What Measure Is a Non-Human?, the defense teams and Ultra heroes will either kill it anyways or try to help/protect it, depending on if they realize the monster is not truly villainous. Ultraman Cosmos is a good example of this, with the title hero often choosing to spare the monsters and instead take them to a new home instead.
  • In some Narrative-Driven Nature Documentary series like Walking with Dinosaurs, the antagonists are just predators trying to survive.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The original interpretation of the Kraken in Norse Mythology served as this. They weren't vicious predators, but their sheer size made them a threat because they would cause whirlpools when they submerged.
  • According to Japanese Mythology, the Hone-Onna is this, as, besides not knowing she's dead, she's looking for love and just that. However, unfortunately, she doesn't know that looking for love (and getting it) involves draining her lover of their life force.
  • The modern depiction of the werewolf tends towards this, with the werewolf being an innocent victim whose human form goes to great lengths to prevent others from coming to harm. Even the wolf version is less a sadistic beast and more of a confused (but very dangerous) wild animal.

  • Benjy from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues is transformed into a bug monster as a result of the Mass Super-Empowering Event. He retains his kind-hearted personality while in his new form, and even when he hulks out and loses control of himself, he acts on instinct and with no actual malice.
  • The Mutant Dinos of Dino Attack RPG. Although the Maelstrom drove their urges to destroy, the dinosaurs themselves were not actively malicious and more akin to confused animals acting on instinct.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • A lot of monsters have their alignment listed as True Neutral, because they're basically oversized plants or animals which may or may not have supernatural powers. Since they're not sapient, they can't make moral judgments.
    • The ultimate example of this may be the Tarrasque - a giant reptilian monster, nearly indestructible and as large as D&D size measurements get (Colossal), which rises from its slumber every few centuries to cause untold havoc as it eats everything in sight. As it digests you and your entire village And Your Little Dog, Too!, you can take comfort in the fact that it bears no ill will towards you. If Spelljammer is taken into account, it's even suggested that ordinarily the Tarrasque would be as harmless as a being larger than many houses can be — it just that it's either (essentially) poisoned or suffering from deprivation, as the air of its native world seems to be different to that of most others.
    • The Gray Render stands out as being a two-ton armour-skinned nightmare of claws and teeth... that likes to "adopt" random people or animals, protecting them from harm and bringing them food.
  • In the New World of Darkness, the Leviathan is an incomprehensibly vast monster in the furthest depths of The Underworld, ruling an infinite black ocean that dissolves the memories and identities of people who enter. While the other Underworld rulers delight in inflicting horrible punishments on those who violate their laws, the Leviathan simply, dispassionately grabs offenders and moves them somewhere they can't continue what they were doing.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Tyranids have no malice to them whatsoever. They reduce entire biospheres to bare rock because they need to eat, and are essentially nothing more than a rapidly-evolving swarm of intergalactic locusts. But because they divide the entire universe into "us", "food", and "inorganic matter", there is no way to deal with them other than to kill them or get out of the way... and planets are rather restricted in their movement.
  • Leviathan: The Tempest has Typhons, Leviathans whose bestial self has overwhelmed their human and divine natures. Lacking the divine self's cruelty and megalomania, or even the human self's sapience, they are ruled entirely by their bestial instincts, and many end up dying because they are unable to stretch their ruling instinct to cover the necessities of life (for example, a Typhon whose instinct is to enlarge and protect its Dragon Hoard might remain on that hoard until it starves to death). They can still be incredibly dangerous if disturbed, but most Leviathans leave them alone unless their instincts are such that they pose a considerable threat of harming other Leviathans or attracting attention.

    Video Games 
  • Bendy and the Ink Machine: Chapter 4 introduces the Lost Ones, humanoid ink monsters with glowing eyes who are ultimately harmless, doing nothing more than standing around weeping or silently staring at Henry. They're implied to be former staff members at the animation studio whose minds are mostly intact.
  • Big Daddies in the BioShock series are only really interested in finding a Little Sister to escort, and then keeping her safe while she harvests Adam from corpses. As long as you leave them alone and don't get too close to their Little Sister they're content to leave you be, and even just getting too close or bumping into one will typically only elicit a good shove and a warning croon. Attack them or mess with their Little Sister however and you'll learn pretty quick where their name came from. However... separate one from a Little Sister for long enough and they'll eventually either fall into a coma or fly into an uncontrolled vicious rage and attack anything they see, like the Alpha Series encountered in BioShock 2.
  • In Bloodborne, both the Beasts and Great Ones qualify as this. The Beasts are mere victims of a plague caused by Blood Ministration, while the Great Ones are implied to be trying to help humanity in their own ways, not meaning nor intending any harm, but humans inevitably bite off more than they can chew and the knowledge drives them crazy. Rom, as a Barrier Maiden of a dreamcatcher, is actually shrouding people from the sinister Mensis Ritual to protect them. Ebrietas chose to co-exist with the Healing Church and granted knowledge to them, which the church would misuse later.
  • Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night has several:
    • Rul'sha is a winged demoness who will not attack Miriam unless attacked first; in fact, she will cry out "How could you?!" if Miriam does. However, if Miriam waits long enough, Rul'sha will bless her with a stat boost and then disappear.
    • Harrier is a unique Ninja "enemy" in the Den of Behemoths who challenges Miriam to a race. If she wins, he will die on the spot and relinquish the one-of-a-kind Accelerator shard.
    • Orlok Dracule is a vampire found in Livre Ex Machina who will actually help Miriam, as well as allow her to take out books, over time allowing her to take more books and even granting her an especially rare one. However, if Miriam travels to the endgame area with that book still in her inventory, Orlok will become a hostile Bonus Boss. If beaten, he begrudgingly goes back to being non-malicious and, in fact, regards Miriam as his new mistress.
  • Dying Light has a couple of types of special infected who, despite being infected by a mutated form of rabies, aren't aggressive toward the player:
    • Bolters, true to their name, will take off like a scared rabbit if they spot you or spook them. In fact, they are not directly a threat to the player at all, outside of their killed remains attract Volatiles.
    • Screamers, what you get when very young children get infected, react with fear toward Kyle rather than aggression. The problem is their scream is so deafeningly loud it not only harms Kyle, but attracts every other infected within range. When left alone they either huddle in rooms in fear crying or, in one case, laugh while watching cartoons, and one of Kyle's means of dispatching them is to get close and comfort it in his arms until it stops screaming and he can snap its neck.
  • The monsters in Evolve fit the bill. Their goal is to destroy the Patterson Tech, which is an anathema to them. The massive body count they rack up is in response to the human counter-attack.
  • In Factorio, the native Biters are content to ignore the player as long as the player stays away from their nests. They'll only start to get aggressive when the noise and pollution from the player's ever-expanding factory starts to irritate them, at which point they become hyper-aggressive and will rip apart every machine they encounter.
  • Zig-Zagged with the primals of Final Fantasy XIV. Many primals are malicious, from the fiercely protective Titan to the genocidal Garuda, but others still are well-spoken and cordial, such as the sage Ramuh, or the fun-loving Susano. The fact remains that in spite of their demeanor, they are a dangerous threat to the entire world whose mere existence is potentially apocalyptic, and they must thus be destroyed.
  • Most of the alien enemies in Half-Life are just hungry animals that are very disoriented and confused from being abruptly teleported away from their home, including the unspeakably horrible headcrabs. Half-Life 2 introduces the antlions, which are again Big Creepy-Crawlies which just see humans as food.
  • The first antagonist in Haunting Ground is Debilitas, a mute, mentally impaired giant of a human who just wants to play. The only way Fiona can make him understand that she is not a doll is to fight him. Notably, he is the only Hunter in the story who can be spared- all the others just come after Fiona again, once their injuries heal.
  • The Heartless of Kingdom Hearts are named as such because they act on instinct and nothing else if left to their own devices.
  • Elementals from MARDEK don't attack so much as leak energy when disrupted. Not that it doesn't hurt.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Thresher maws are giant wormlike creatures that are highly territorial and aggressive, though non-intelligent. Standard protocol for dealing with them involves the local equivalent of tanks. Lots of them.
      • Subverted with Kalross "the Mother of all Thresher Maws". When a Reaper thwarts her first attack, she observes the use of the forward facing beam weapon, circles around from behind and then attacks again, this time making sure her foe couldn't use any of the techniques it used the first time. Kalross ends up crushing the Reaper like a tin can and most likely, eating the Reaper offscreen.
    • The Thorian claims to be only acting in self-defense, but the fact that it's mind-controlling humans into being its slaves and absolutely refuses any attempts at negotiation or reconciliation casts doubt on its words. In the end, Shepard has no choice but to kill it, despite it being the only known example of its species.
  • Two of the final bosses from Mega Man Battle Network qualify. The LifeVirus from the first game only has the brutish intelligence of virus-kind, while Alpha from the third game is basically just a giant amoeba set to "eat".
  • Metroid:
    • Most enemies are simply local wildlife with no real beef with Samus. Even the eponymous metroids themselves are this; the Space Pirates have spent years trying to control them for use in battle, but so far they've only gotten as far as "dump a bunch of metroids in a room and run away."
    • Super Metroid: A plausible interpretation of Crocomire, who doesn't attack you unless you attack him or approach too close. There are several other monsters that can also damage you if you approach them the wrong way, but otherwise won't hurt you and can help you (which may be required to do a 100% run); these include Shaktool (which will clear away the sand in the way of the Spring Ball) and Kame/the Tatori (which can allow you to reach the Energy Tank), both in Maridia.
    • This was the case aboard the BSL Research Station in Metroid Fusion, where most of the wildlife kept there for research are simple wild animals doing what wild animals do, and some were even outright docile. Then the x-parasites got aboard, assimilated and took control of all of them, in many cases mutated them into more aggressive combat forms, and ran rogue, and the parasites actually do have a beef with Samus as she grows stronger from absorbing them rather than becoming infected due to her metroid dna: they intelligently make plans to kill her, even being willing to eradicate themselves to kill her to ensure the safety of the X on SR388.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • The entire series is full of them. Most will attack the hunters, but this is due to their instincts (correctly) perceiving the hunters as threats. This has been part of the series' design philosophy from the start; the developers never wanted to portray the monsters as evil, simply a part of the natural order humanity had to struggle against - in fact, one role of the Hunter's Guild is to prevent any species of monster from becoming endangered due to overhunting.
    • The Gore Magala of the fourth entry of the series is the closest thing the games have had to an outright antagonistic monster, and even it falls under this trope. It's actually an Elder Dragon living out its one-in-a-generation maturity cycle. It just happens to turn into a living rabies vector while it does, and it's smart enough to recognize that it keeps getting into scraps with the same Hunter.
    • Monster Hunter: World:
      • Even some returning monsters are less aggressive than they once were. There are some species that attack a hunter on sight, but this is noted as being evidence of aggressive or territorial behavior, not malice. Some monsters will now give a warning roar and leave it at that if the player leaves, some will only attack if the hunter dances around like they're trying to get its attention, and a few couldn't care less until the hunter attacks first.
      • This may or may not be the case for Xeno'Jiiva. On one hand, it does not display the typical malice for it to be called evil, and it's more or less a newborn. On the other hand, in a world filled to the brim with cataclysmic monsters, dragons who can raise the dead, and city-eating octopus, THIS monster is considered too dangerous for it to even leave its nest. Although the game never goes into details about what would have happened if you didn't kill it. Doesn't help that it willingly causes the Elder Crossing, the entire reason why the Research Commission is in the New World in the first place, so it can leech off of the dead Elder Dragons' Bio Energy so it can grow.
    • Lao-Shan Lung is known for being a massive dragon trying to run through several fortified walls protecting a town. It's doing this because it's running away from a Fatalis, a far more dangerous dragon. You either kill it or it finally notices the alternate path in the final area and leaves peacefully.
    • Fatalis, often considered the most powerful and dangerous of all monsters, is an aversion - the lore unambiguously makes it clear that the events of the Great Dragon War have molded each member of the species into a Misanthrope Supreme, and they very bluntly hate all of mankind. Fatalis has an especially prominent hatred of monster riders, as they are the only ones who can purify the black blight it produces.
  • Path of Exile: The Beast is a mountain-sized horror of flesh with immeasurable power, but was created only to suppress the world's Jerkass Gods, and means no harm. The problem is that it's actually too peaceful and passive. It lacks any ability to defend itself beyond its titanic bulk and near-impenetrable hide, which meant that when the demented thaumaturge Malachai burrowed inside, he was able to hijack its power for his own ends.
  • The Ultra Beasts of Pokémon Sun and Moon are initially presented as bizarre Lovecraftian creatures with powers and abilities that appear to defy whatever passes for logic when applied to regular Pokémon. It would be easy to think that they're invading and causing havoc on purpose. It turns out that they're actually trying to find a way to get back to their own dimension and are disoriented from being flung into one that's just as alien to them.
  • The Typhon in Prey (2017) are intelligent (or at least capable of complex problem-solving) and trying to kill everyone on Talos 1, but as Alex notes at one point, they can't be called 'evil' because they lack mirror neurons, and as such are biologically incapable of seeing humans as anything but food. And depending on how you play the game, an experiment in giving a Typhon mirror neurons could result in said Typhon becoming incredibly protective of human life and going out of its way to save others.
  • The Sasquatches from Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. "We eat BERRIES and MUSHROOMS, you fool!
  • Lisa Trevor from Resident Evil is aggressive, but comes off as territorially protecting where she lives rather than acting out of malice. In her first appearance she even knocks Jill or Chris out and lays them by the fire, leaving them alone until they come to and then only chases them from the cabin, and later in the game she keeps to the caves around her home and never chases the player beyond them. It's later revealed she's still fairly intelligent, capable of lighting fires, making toys, and harvesting plants for food, and even capable of writing in broken English, and notes she's left behind reveal she's simply searching for her mother. In her final appearance she attacks again, this time apparently trying to chase you away from her mother's coffin, and if you open it for her she sadly reclaims her mother's skull and leaves.
  • Tuska from Runescape is a boar-like goddess called the World Devourer, who destroys every plane she comes across (including Guthix's native plane). However, she's not a sapient being- she's a regular wild animal who managed to gain godhood, and as such she destroys based solely on instinct.
  • Many of the Colossi from Shadow of the Colossus, with special mention to Phalanx, the 13th Colossus.
  • The Monster from some SimCity games may be destructive but is noted in the manual as not probably acting in malice. The Monster's just ignorant of the damage it's causing.
  • A couple of the antagonists of Star Control.
    • The Mycon, a race of sentient fungus, are so alien in their thinking that it's hard to ascribe any malice to their actions, even when said actions involve turning life-bearing planets into volcanic wastelands. Talking to them, it's readily apparent that they are either completely mad or just so different that doing this is just their nature. It's also implied that they aren't natural creatures, and were created by ancient aliens as a terraforming device before they went haywire.
    • The Slylandro Probes. The Slylandro people themselves turn out to be perfectly friendly and peaceful creatures who wouldn't harm a fly — and couldn't; they are sentient pockets of gas and can't interact physically or leave their gas giant planet. So they bought some handy self-replicating probes from the Melnorme to explore the galaxy and meet new friends for them. But they are new to this computer thing and set the priority of the self-replicating behavior much too high. Now the probes hail your ship, give you a cordial greeting, and then try to reduce your ship to raw materials, becoming the game's Goddamned Bats in the process.
  • The Villain Protagonist of Tasty Planet is a non-sentient bit of nanotechnology that ends up bringing about a Grey Goo scenario due to its uncontrollable instinct to eat anything smaller than itself.
  • There are a few monsters in Ultima IV that are this. Every monster in the game is described in the manual, and somewhere in that description it will specifically identify it as evil or non-evilnote , which is important to becoming an avatar, as you must let them run if they try and escape you in battle. They also act differently on the main map, wandering more or less aimlessly, while evil monsters will home in on you relentlessly.
  • Xenoblade:
    • Most of the creatures you fight in the series are more or less just wild animals and aren't inherently evil. Elma even lampshades the trope in Chronicles X, saying that they mostly leave the local fauna alone, only attacking the wildlife that actually poses a threat and/or attacks first. Most of the missions that require you to kill a certain number of creatures are justified as the animals being territorial around supply convoys or are otherwise interfering with construction and transport.
    • Telethia the Endbringer in Chronicles X is a stand-out case: it flat-out will not attack unless attacked first. It saves the protagonists in their first encounter with it (whether intentionally or not is unclear). In a later sidequest, the player is asked to retrieve one of its scales, necessitating a fight with it. The player is extremely unlikely to be anywhere near strong enough to truly challenge Telethia at that point, but if they do so anyway, Telethia basically drops a scale after a few attacks and goes away without further conflict, suggesting it knew why the player attacked it and wasn't offended/threatened by the attack.
  • Among the many, many monsters that are featured in Zombies Ate My Neighbors, the one who stands out as the least malicious one while still being one of the deadliest ones is the Titanic Toddler. It is actually a normal baby (apart from its size obviously enough) and as such can easily crush, squish and destroy everything and everyone around it by just toying with them without even really realising what it is doing. No worse than any other human during that time in their lives which means that Dr. Tongue managed to make a normal human being with too much power one of the most dangerous of his horror army. In fact once it is dealt with, it becomes a regular-sized infant and one more victim to be saved by Zeke and Julie.

    Visual Novels 
  • Unlike the other spirits in Spirit Hunter: NG, the Screaming Author doesn't go out of its way to hurt anyone - on the contrary, it begs people not to get close to it, and they only die because they ignore that warning. The only time it's actively malevolent is when it's destroyed instead of pacified, which is when its grudge consumes it and leads it to kill one of Akira's companions in retaliation.

    Web Animation 
  • Dreamscape: Keedran looks terrifying, but she's benevolent. In fact, she prefers her monster form over her One-Winged Angel form for this exact reason.

  • The denizens of Bright World in The Hazards Of Love don't seem to be evil per se, but it doesn't change the fact that they don't see humans as people and have no issues with enslaving or eating them.
  • The Hulking Shyster from A Moment of Peace is an absolutely massive monster who can't hunt or kill anything because he's debilitatingly shy.
  • The Reichtangle of Polandball fame, which typically represents Germany's Superpowered Evil Side, is nevertheless often depicted as a creature of instinct rather than malice, driven by an insatiable urge to absorb other countryballs into itself.
  • The giant beast in Tower of God in the 21st floor's test. It doesn't do anything, except belly-flop. You don't want that thing do belly-flops!

    Web Original 
  • From Killerbunnies:
    • We have this with Mayze, who is a baby who just so happens to have very sharp teeth. However, like most babies, she is very affectionate and only wants to play, be that roughly, the implications of this would be that she probably shows affection and playfulness by biting.
    • Mikie who, while created as a test subject, is anything short of harmful, noted to be pleasant, although she is can be a nuisance, as she is prone to tasting, as well as eating things out of curiosity. Apparently, she's eaten livestock.
    • From what can be guessed, Reverie might be this, as, according to her deviantArt description, she likes to hug and her profile states that she means well, just that she runs on Blue-and-Orange Morality (and not understanding it), however, she's a plaguemistress and is Patient Zero to a rabies outbreak.
  • SCP Foundation: Many SCPs qualify, but special mention goes to SCP-053, a little girl whose powers cause anyone that attacks her to instantly drop dead, while at the same time giving anyone in her vicinity an uncontrollable urge to attack her. She has no control over this.
    • Likewise, SCP-1471. It bills itself as an app about making friends without the awkwardness. If you download it, you'll start seeing a fairly creepy, shaggy monster with a canine Skull for a Head just out of your line of sight and get phone notifications that are essentially selfies as it gets close to you. Despite that, it has never yet taken any hostile action and seems content just to hang around you. (Fanon suggests that the app's description is for the monster.)
    • SCP-2703 is a multi-limbed, tentacled and horned gryphon creature that appears when you call a number in Bathroom Stall Graffiti. She's also a charming and educated companion who wants to go on platonic dates with nice people, which is precisely what she meant when she wrote "For a good time, call..." Unfortunately, since even in the SCP universe sometimes Humans Are the Real Monsters, this has led to her getting her heart broken before.

    Western Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Series:
    • One episode has a monster that eats magic and almost devours Genie and Carpet, but he's just like any animal who has to eat to survive.
    • There was also a sand shark with the treasure of a thousand sultans' vaults stuck to its underbelly. It was a shark but didn't go out of its way to hunt down humans. It just happened to come across humans every now and then and thought "Oh hey, food!" Later on, said shark was killed and eaten by a group of small humanoid creatures. While fearsome hunters, it turned out that they weren't evil themselves, just the slaves for a powerful evil wizard. Once the wizard was defeated, and a new leader stepped forward, they became a lot nicer.
  • An episode of Dexter's Laboratory featured an underground monster who couldn't get any sleep with all the noise of civilization, so he went up to the surface to ask humanity to quiet down. Naturally, the humans freaked out at the sight of a monster, and one thing led to another...
  • The Incredibly Stupid Swamp Monster from Garfield and Friends is a prime example of Dumb Is Good, being a Gentle Giant.
  • Love, Death & Robots: In "Beyond the Aquila Rift", there is a horrifying spider-like Starfish Alien that catches starships in her stellar hive accidentally. She subjects the crews to comforting psychic illusions to cover the horror of their situation and seems to do it as a genuine act of mercy.
  • Megas XLR has a big, grim, dark, evil species of rhino-like monsters...however, that was just because they were being mind-controlled; in reality, they were cultured, gentlemanly creatures.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Recurring akumatized villain Gigantitan is just a baby in his normal state and even akumatized, he doesn't have the cognizance to intentionally wreak havoc in Paris.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The second episode has Twilight and friends come face to face with a manticore. They attack the beast, which is acting in a threatening manner, before Fluttershy yells for them to stop. She then cuddles up to it and finds a thorn in its paw, which she removes. Once the thorn — and the pain — is gone, the manticore becomes a lot calmer. Everypony else is amazed by this.
    • Fluttershy is a master at dealing with this trope. When a dragon's hundred-year nap threatens to cover Equestria in smoke, she gets it to leave simply by firmly telling it about what will happen to the ponies (after making it burst into tears). When Cerberus starts rampaging through Ponyville, Fluttershy calms him with belly rubs and says he's just a big dog that got out of his yard.
    • The Ursa Minor that Snips and Snails lure into town is this as well. Turns out it's just a baby that's ticked that it was pestered in its sleep, and all it needs is some warm milk to calm it right back down.
    • The Parasprites, like any Explosive Breeder, are only concerned with food and breeding, and even then they aren't too bad until Twilight's botched spell causes them to eat everything except food.
    • Princess Flurry Heart in her debut episode is, personality-wise, your standard sweet-natured baby: unfortunately her mind-blowing level of magical power combined with said baby whims wreaks havoc on the Crystal Empire, culminating when she is separated from Pinkie Pie and cries, unleashing a sonic blast that shatters the Crystal Heart and nearly dooms the city to a freezing death.
    • In Generation 1, the Smooze was a purple slime creature that washed over Dream Valley and nearly induced a Sugar Apocalypse until stopped. It was fully aware of the effects its actions, and if anything seemed to enjoy doing what it did. In Friendship is Magic, it's an amicable green slime creature that attends the Grand Galloping Gala as Discord's plus-one. The trouble it causes during the event is not so much malicious as a result of an irresistible urge to eat shiny objects and annoyance with its treatment by the one who brought him there.
  • The Filmation series The New Adventures of Superman has several, such an extraterrestrial creature that devours iron and steel, and the Fire Phantom, which Superman himself describes as "just a fire that wouldn't go out."
  • A number of the ghosts from The Real Ghostbusters are mindlessly lashing out due to Unfinished Business or something from their life that they're desperate for, such as the ghost of Charles Foster Hearst from Ghostbuster of the Year who just wants his childhood sled "Rosebud". Typically these ones pass on peacefully rather than being busted and trapped like the actually malevolent ghosts they typically go after.
  • Steven Universe: In "Keeping It Together", the Hand Cluster isn't actually violent, despite its terrifying appearance. When it grabs Garnet, it does so less out of aggressiveness and more because the fallen Crystal Gems it's made of seem to recognize her. The actual case is revealed later, with the actual Cluster: it and its prototypes, the human-sized Gem fusion-mutants, are made of forcibly-combined shards of shattered Gems. Their only instinct at this point is to attempt to seek out the rest of their matching shards and properly regenerate.
  • The Teen Titans episode "The Beast Within" has Beast Boy turn into the Beast, which plays the part of the Monster of the Week until misunderstandings are cleared out and the real culprit apprehended.

    Real Life 
  • Animals, particularly large mammals, like bears. They're not hostile to humans. Humans, being large primates at the top of the food chain, are typically much more dangerous to other animal species than those animal species are to them. Even so, there is cause for alarm when bears start digging through human trash: normally wary of humans, a bear that comes to associate food with people will end up coming into human settlements in search of food, and in unfortunate rare cases, may even consider people and pets as potential prey.
    • Despite being seen as some of the scariest real-life animals, venomous snakes are actually this: since they can't eat humans (none are large enough, unlike constrictors), they don't like to bite us at all, saving their venom for actual prey items unless they're seriously threatened. If they have an escape route, they won't bite, which is why most bites happen when someone is trying to cut off the escape route and kill the snake.
    • Spiders as well, for all the fear surrounding them. Save for a small handful of spiders known for their nasty tempers, they're just scared the massive spindly Eldritch abomination is near them and would much much rather just scurry away or not even be seen in the first place. They tend to only bite as an absolute last resort, and would rather save their venom for all those yummy bugs attracted by the light, shelter, and food provided by human homes.
  • In some degree, orcas and domestic cats may in fact be seen as subversions of this trope, as they are known to hunt and kill other animals seemingly for sport. Domestic cats, despite being well fed by their human owners, still often go after small prey, play with them for a while and then kill them without eating the victim. Orca whales, on the other hand, are known to play a form of "soccer" with live seal pups, tossing them into the air and batting them with their tails, but only rarely eating the crushed pinniped once they're done playing.
    • At least in the case of cats, it's theorized that the instinct to hunt and kill is not actually connected to hunger, but rather to the movement of prey. Orcas, being more intelligent, might in fact being doing things "for the lulz," but ultimately we may never know.
    • In a related example of this trope, many predators (particularly those that remain at the same kill site for a while or that cache food for later) will engage in what is called "surplus killing," killing more prey than they can eat when times are plentiful because there may not be enough later on.
  • Harmful bacteria and viruses. Contrary to what you might have read on yogurt packets, there aren't really any bad or good bacteria, in a strict sense, obviously as they lack the mental capacity to make any moral decisions whatsoever. They only happen to be beneficial or harmful to humans, but not due to any cognitive difference.
  • Cancerous tumors, if those can be considered creatures. They don't want to kill the person they are attached to, but are just following their corrupted "programming", which tells them to grow as big as possible no matter what body parts get destroyed in the process.


Video Example(s):


Ceratosaurus Standoff

Darius and Kenji encounter a Ceratosaurus and after a brief standoff, the carnivorous dinosaur doesn't attack them and walks away much to their surprise.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / NonMaliciousMonster

Media sources:

Main / NonMaliciousMonster