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It's a common literary conceit to have Mooks that are so persistently evil that heroes can freely slaughter them. Subversions are usually on a case-by-case basis, and rarely justify recategorizing the race as a whole as neutral. That means it's time for a deconstruction!

In short, this trope is a subversion of Always Chaotic Evil, since it turns out that these Mooks or Mooks in general are not always evil.

Some authors will throw us a twist and reveal that these guys aren't naturally evil... or at least, there's a whole lot of them out there, and we've only seen the bad apples. This can take many forms:

Whatever the case, these Mooks are not worth less than a normal person, and will gladly perform a Heel–Face Turn or go and live a peaceful life if given the chance. Of course, there is also the chance that the peaceful mooks will end up the victims of Van Helsing Hate Crimes. If said crimes fail to kill said mook but does scar him mentally or physically expect him to embrace his inner darkness.

Given that this trope involves revealing something contrary to what the viewer is initially expected to assume, most examples are spoilers.

Related to My Species Doth Protest Too Much, where, it turns out the Planet of Hats has a lot more diversity than it first seemed to. See also Minion with an F in Evil, Mook–Face Turn, Token Heroic Orc and The Man Behind the Monsters. Compare Heel–Race Turn, where a race ends up changing from evil to good, and Fantastic Racism, when a species is stereotyped as being always evil due to prejudice.

This trope should not be confused with Good All Along, which applies to a character who was thought to be a bad guy but is revealed to have always been good.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Beastmen in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann are introduced as an Always Chaotic Evil race, but after their evil overlord is defeated by the heroes, they're revealed to be perfectly capable of peaceful co-existence with humans.
  • The Hades chapter of Saint Seiya revealed the previously completely evil Spectres were lied to, and they thought Hades, lord of the dead, would end the world to bring about a paradise where everyone was immortal and there was no suffering. As it turns out, Hades has this sort of vaguely defined distaste and loathing for the living in general and humans in particular, and wants to freeze the world to death just because. It's unclear whether his Spectres would have survived or if he had any loyalty towards his minions, to begin with. In the end, the last six or so Spectres rush one of the heroes, Ikki, saying they'll fight him to help Lord Hades's vision. He kills them, but you feel somewhat sorry for them.
    • Kurumada drove the point home by having Thanatos channel General Ripper, stating that they don't give a damn about the Spectres, calling them mere "slaves", and saying him and Hypnos could fully do the job themselves.
  • The vampires in Trinity Blood. They get fleshed out throughout the anime as being just like humans, except with different dietary needs and a longer lifespan, and it's revealed that the Rosencruez vampires are terrorists who are trying to instigate an all-out war between humans and vampires, with no concern for the massive casualties that would befall both sides.
  • The black knights in 11eyes tried to kill Kakeru and his companions because they fear the Voidstone fragments within all of them will unseal the Big Bad evil witch Liselotte Werckmeister. Kakeru was surprised and said "They are actually the good guys??" upon learning the truth from Shiori.
  • Tweeny Witches: Arusu's encounter with the mysterious Sigma convinces her that not all the warlocks are enemies, a notion Sheila disagrees with. As it turns out, however, all the civilians in Wizard Kingdom are shown doing completely normal, innocent activities like eating and playing. It's Grande, military commanders, and soldiers who are the really evil ones. Even Sigma and Luca, who are part of the warlock military, are not purely evil; the former actually seeks the savior for his dead father's sake while the latter regrets Jidan's Disney Death when the human's children reunite him with his young son. While the dictatorship uses technology for Bread and Circuses, oppression, and war, some warlocks in The Adventures show that science can be used for good as well; Magica from "The Secret of Dragon House" uses his computer skills to stop the Civilization Destroyer created by his Mad Scientist father, while the escape pods created by Weazel and Molza from "Magical Girl Squad Storm and Stress" save the Magical Girl Squad.
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Ikon and their spawn (the monstrous iyo and the humanoid jinyo) are a type of ayakashi recently created by urbanization, which are at first assumed to always be dangerous and predatory to humans and even other ayakashi. But it's eventually shown not only are the sapient ones able to gain morality beyond their base instincts, some are benign to start with, probably because the emotions they're born of are less negative. The protagonists even discover they'd been friends with an iyo since they were children and their English teacher was a jinyo.

    Comic Books 
  • In El Eternauta, we discover that "Los manos" ("the hands") and the attack-bugs are both very noble creatures (and pretty smart and sensitive, in the case of "los manos"). They only serve the Big Bad (only known as "Ellos" ("They")) because they are forced to do so

    Fan Works 
  • Between Dreams and Memories Universe:
    • The Captain initially chronicles Dreamons as slowly corrupted by their own power and will eventually become megalomaniacs, and advises the readers to "[r]un as fast as [they] can before things get out of hand". Later Between Dreams and Memories chapters counter this and introduce two Dreamons as characters, specifically Minx and Drista, who are fairly benevolent.
    • Sources, being the predecessor forms of Dreamons, are often regarded as Always Chaotic Evil and ought to be destroyed. At one point, The Captain even writes that if someone becomes a Source, others should Mercy Kill them "for the safety of everyone". Phil, who personally knows at least two Sources, flips this idea on its head by stating that this is because Sources with destructive tasks are the easiest to spot, while other Sources are not necessarily devoted to destruction, and are sometimes even called gods.

    Films — Animated 
  • Fire and Ice (1983): There's a race of Neanderthal-like humanoids. They do the bidding of the evil sorceress and her son and are pretty brutal about their business. However, towards the middle of the movie, one of them gets injured a hell of a lot, while pursuing the escaped beautiful princess and is literally limping towards her out of sheer willpower. While she kills it, you can't help but feel sorry for him, trying so hard and through such pain (then again, the sorceress is pretty brutal). After the sorceress and her son are beaten, the hero wants to kill a random survivor Neanderthal but the same princess stops him. She tells him now it's time to forgive them since without the sorceress they're basically harmless.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, dragons aren't evil but are being controlled by the Green Death, a giant dragon that's essentially their Hive Queen. They have to bring back food or they get eaten. Once the Green Death is killed, the Vikings of Berk can coexist with the dragons. Sadly, the damage has apparently been done, since some people continue to slay dragons; it reach a point where Berk is give up their dragons for their protection in How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: It turns out that the Duplo aliens, General Mayhem, Queen Watevra, and every other member of the Systar system were actually just trying to become friends with the Bricksburg citizens. Watevra's Suspiciously Specific Denial about not being evil is genuine, and her wedding to Batman is an effort to prevent Armamageddon, not bring it on.
  • The other toys in Sunnyside Daycare (such as Ken) in Toy Story 3. The real reason why they were all evil in the first place is they were all afraid of Lotso.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The alternate ending of the 2007 I Am Legend movie had Robert Neville discover the ghouls were people despite being victims of a Viral Transformation. The lead ghoul not only learned to adapt Robert's tactics against him but was only attacking him because he had kidnapped his girlfriend/wife/mate to try and see if his newest cure was working. The revelation causes a near Heroic BSoD as he looks at the wall of ghouls he'd killed trying to "cure" them. This is similar to the ending of the book and first film, in which a good many vampires/zombies were still fully sentient, just nocturnal, so Robert had been murdering innocent people along with the mindless zombies.
  • The armed band of natives in The Ruins. From the point of view of the protagonists, they're murderous villains; but in the big picture, the protagonists really shouldn't be allowed to leave the ruins alive.
  • Thor: Thor gets banished at the beginning of the film because he thinks nothing of breaking a thousand-year-old treaty with an enemy race, seemingly because he thinks of the Frost Giants as always chaotic evil and therefore doesn’t see any problem with trying to wipe them all out. While Odin seems more upset about how the war Thor provoked would affect other Asgardians, he also most likely doesn’t share Thor’s views that Frost Giants are always evil, considering that, if he had, he most likely wouldn’t have adopted Loki from that race.

  • Used powerfully in Animorphs. When we first see them, the two main alien races controlled by the Yeerks are the Hork-Bajir - who are giant and appear to be basically made of knives - and the Taxxons - who are giant, all-devouring centipedes who allied with the Yeerks willingly. The protagonists have little if any compunction about killing either, though they go out of their way to avoid killing humans controlled by the Yeerks. As the series continues, things get more complicated.
    • The Hork-Bajir are peaceful vegetarians whose blades are used for removing bark from tree trunks.
    • The Taxxons, while not "good", are slaves to their overpowering hunger (to the point where they'll eat themselves if there's nothing else around) and accepted Yeerk control to escape this.
    • The Yeerks themselves are blind and deaf slugs for whom controlling other beings is really their only way of interacting with or experiencing the world; at the least, they're not the Always Chaotic Evil race the reader is initially intended to see them as, and some Yeerks opposed the invasion for ethical reasons.
      • They also have a "sister species" in the Iskoort, a quite literal Planet of Hats across the galaxy who have single hosts for their entire lifetimes. The host Isk is barely sentient and cannot survive without the Yoort which controls it; the Yoort, meanwhile, is a Kandrona-eating Yeerk in all but name, with one modification: it, too, needs the Isk, not just to experience the world but to survive at all. The fact that they could teach the Yeerks that there is another way makes them a Cosmic Keystone in the "game" between The Ellimist and Crayak.
    • Probably the best example are the Howlers, who commit savage murders and have wiped out other species. When the main characters morph them, they find that they are playful like dolphins, raised (they were created by an evil Sufficiently Advanced Alien to wipe out peaceful species) to think it's all a game and don't realize their actions are wrong. The species have a Hive Mind, and so when the heroes managed to "contaminate" it with their own memories, it's implied that the entire race abandons their violent ways.
  • Cthulhu Armageddon: Despite taking place in H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos, the majority of monsters are Blue-and-Orange Morality rather than evil and even things like the Deep Ones or ghouls are no more malicious than the human beings in the setting. A few are even allies of the protagonist. The lone exception are the Elder Things that are treated as Always Chaotic Evil due to being a race of eugenicists and slavers.
  • Ender's Game: A running theme of the Ender-centered books. Of the two intelligent alien species humanity meets, both perform actions that humanity perceives as evil, but later find out that said aliens are no more evil on average than a given human, it's biological and social differences that prompted their actions. The Formics mass-murdered humans because they didn't understand that humans were individually sentient, as opposed to their own Hive Mind, while the Pequeninos in Speaker for the Dead ritually vivisected some human scientists in a misguided attempt to honor them (the vivisection would not have killed a Pequenino, and is, in fact, necessary for a Pequenino's maturation). Once both sides figure out each others' customs and biology, co-existence is not only possible but even easy.
  • In the Inheritance Cycle, The Urgals only seem Always Chaotic Evil because they've been brainwashed by The Dragon, Durza. They do a Heel–Race Turn as a species after his death.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Noghri were first introduced as evil mooks serving The Empire Remnant. When Leia found out that they were, in fact, manipulated by Palpatine into serving him, they reject their former allegiance and join the good guys.
    • To an extent, the Yuuzhan Vong. They're introduced as Always Chaotic Evil fanatics, but it gradually turns out that the fanaticism is deliberately instilled in them by their corrupt (and largely insane) leadership to create more pliant minions and their religion is essentially a massively flanderized and corrupted version of its original self. Once this starts coming out, a lot of Vong start turning against their leaders. Then there were the Shamed Ones, who were little more than oppressed slaves and were treated sympathetically from their introduction.
  • The flying monkeys and Winkies in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The flying monkeys served the Wicked Witch because she had an artifact that bound them to grant three wishes, and the Winkies served her because they were afraid of her.
    Hail to Dorothy! The Wicked Witch is dead!
  • In The Silver Chair, the creatures dwelling in the Underland seem like terrifying monsters, but they've been bewitched by the Lady of the Green Kirtle. Once she's dead, they're horrified by the notion that they might have invaded the frigid, exposed surface world and happily go back down to their magma tunnels.
  • It seemed like this would be the case for the wildlings in A Song of Ice and Fire. Then, Stannis showed up. Many of the Wildlings are allowed past the Wall when they make terms with Stannis and the Night's Watch.
  • Early on in The Belgariad, the Angaraks are treated as Always Chaotic Evil servants of the Mad God Torak. As the books go on, its revealed that while Angarak leaders and their agents are as a rule despicable monsters (due to said Mad God filling their culture with the "values" of conquest and Human Sacrifice, natch) the rank-and-file are really just like everyone else, except that they're the ones getting taxed into oblivion and having their hearts cut out on sacrificial altars. By the end, whole kingdoms of Angaraks turn against their oppressors and in the sequel series, more than a few join the True Companions. It shows most in the Mallorean Empire, where the military and bureaucracy predominated over the Grolim priesthood, so most people live ordinary lives and barely pay lip service to Torak.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Seerdomin is an all around decent human being towards Toc during his imprisonment with the Matron: conversing with him to alleviate the torture the latter has to endure, taking him outside to view the sea and carrying him when he grows too weak to walk himself. All of this despite holding the highest military rank in an army of cannibalistic fanatics.
  • This is a central point in Unseen Academicals — everyone remembers that the orcs were the Evil Empire's shock troops, and everyone forgets about the men with whips standing behind them. So they're seen as Always Chaotic Evil, but until the events of the book, none of them were given an opportunity to be anything else.
  • In InCryptid, the Johrlac/"Cuckoos" are a species of Human Outside, Alien Inside brood parasites who use their Psychic Powers to insert themselves into people's lives and use them for whatever they want. It is possible to build a Cuckoo who isn't Always Chaotic Evil, but it takes stripping all of the prenatal psychic imprinting out of them and starting more or less from scratch (as Angela did to Sarah at a young age). The only known Cuckoo who wasn't programmed from before birth to be this was Angela Baker, who can only project telepathically, not receive. Word of God says that all this is because the Johrlac's original home dimension dumped their sociopaths in a dimension next to this dimension, and, well, see "prenatal psychic programming". In later books, we meet Mark, who unlike Angela and Sarah, still got the Ghost Memory that makes all other adult Johrlac Go Mad from the Revelation, but accidentally came to care for his human sister. Johrlac Children Are Innocent, though they usually don't know what they are until their Human Alien Discovery. Sarah also wonders at the Blue-and-Orange Morality of a society that perpetually exiled generations of Johrlac from their home dimension for the actions of the first generation (who are long dead by now).
  • The Secrets of Droon: Ninns are introduced as a (seemingly) One-Gender Race of red-skinned Proud Warrior Race Guys who serve as Mooks for Sparr. Eventually, it's revealed that not only are there female and child Ninns (who show the heroes some kindness and give them food), but the whole race was created from the peaceful blue-skinned Orkins (and can be turned back by magic).note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Alias the people working for the Big Bad thought they were a secret section of the CIA. The Reveal to that came in the 1st episode though, so it might qualify. The reveal then came with Sydney alone, who continued to have to work with the members of SD6 who genuinely thought they were good guys. The reveal for them didn't come until partway through the second season.
  • The Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. As the show progresses, both the humans and the viewers begin seeing that the Cylons aren't merely soulless machines, but complex sentient beings.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel plays this one for laughs. Earlier seasons have all demons as a Card-Carrying Villain and Monster of the Week who would go on a rampage and be killed by the heroes. In later seasons, there are short glances into demon "society" where the heroes meet "civilian" demons who are not necessarily "good", but are at least portrayed as merely working schlubs who are trying to mind their own business and don't seem to require human blood as part of their dietary intake. On the other end are the many Banality of Evil villains in Angel, who really are evil, but in an unglamorous, Punch-Clock Villain way.
  • Continuum: As we learn more about the corporatocratic future of 2077, it is revealed that instead of basic terrorists, Liber8 are a group of Well-Intentioned Extremist freedom fighters, albeit a particularly violent one in response to the corporations' oppressive government. That being said, many of them are dangerous psychopaths.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Slitheen, who tried to wipe out the human race, turn out to be not at all typical of their species; their aggression against Earth would earn them the death penalty if they ever went back home. Additionally, it turned out that the species were the Raxacoricofallapatorians; the Slitheen were just a single criminal family.
    • In "The Curse of Peladon", the Ice Warriors turn out to be among the good guys. In previous stories, they had been the villains. Other stories set in this era show there are still Ice Warriors who follow the old ways but they are in the minority.
    • The Time Lords count as this, in the new series. Their reintroduction in "The End Of Time" takes pains to establish that Rassilon had decided to wipe out reality so the Time Lords could Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, only one Time Lord had voted against this plan, and everyone else was cheering him on. This allows us to accept the Doctor sending them all back into the War to die as a sad necessity to save everything else. When "The Day of the Doctor" shows us Gallifrey, however, we're reminded that the Doctor's victims also included Time Lord leaders who were too hopeless or afraid of Rassilon to try anything else, innocent civilians who didn't get a vote of any kind, and children. Which is why the Doctor(s) save everyone at the end.
  • The Others in Lost. For the first three seasons, they're the show's main antagonists and seem pure evil. In Season 4, they team up with the survivors to battle a greater threat. By the end of the series, it's clear that they should never have been the enemy in the first place, had they had more contact with their leader, Jacob. He himself was built up to be the Big Bad, turns out he was the Big Good the whole time.
  • Near the end of The Invaders (1967) we learn that there's actually a sizable number of aliens back on the homeworld who are against the whole idea of invading Earth, but we've never seen them before because, obviously, they're not part of the invasion force that came here.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Orcs are the archetypal of Always Chaotic Evil race, and they are introduced kidnapping innocent people from the Southlands only to enslave and abuse them. When, Region, Arondir and Medhor get kidnapped by the Orcs, they witness them talking with so much respect about their mysterious commander, Revion even makes a point how impossible he finds that the Orcs are capable of reverence. When Adar is finally introduced, he has no choice but to Mercy Kill a mortally wounded comrade, which the other Orcs mourn. The Second Age Orcs are portrayed in much more a sympathetic light, and are the first in the franchise to be shown being taken as prisoners than outright being killed.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Canaanites in The Bible. Israel prepares to leave no survivors in their invasion of Canaan at first (due to the whole people being complicit in evils), but as they travel along they find people among the Canaanites who are willing to turn back on their evil ways.
  • In Islam, the Djinns (the race which includes The Devilnote ) are not always evil— they are even capable of going to Heaven, since they are also judged just like humans. However, humans are advised against socializing with them, since they have vastly different common sense from that of humans'. Muslim Djinns are actually fairly well-represented in hadith and Islamic apocrypha.
  • In Indian mythology, there are a whole lot of rakshasa villains (Ramayana comes to mindnote ), but there are some rakshasa firmly choosing the side of goodnote .

    Video Games 
  • The Scions in Battlezone 2 are actually Phlebotinum Rebels. The player is offered a chance to join them halfway through the story.
  • Several monster races in Black Desert Online have civilian examples. For example, Khurutos will try to kill you on sight at Khuruto Cave or the Abandoned Iron Mine, but the storage keeper in Tarif and the jewelry vendor in Calpheon are also Khurutos. The are also civilian examples of Rhutums, Giants, Catfishmen...
  • Dawn of Crafting features Homo erectus tribes as an antagonistic faction, and its people do attack you, but one Erectus attacker, who reveals his name as Eroca, can be interrogated to find out that he was forced to attack you due to being banished. He needs to bring back the head of a Homo sapien to come back. If you spare him, he doesn't continue his attempt to kill you, but he notes that he is still exiled, and has nowhere else to go, leaving after. Another example of a kind Erectus is the late Margira, who was the wife of Alf, a Homo sapien. She was killed by members of multiple villages conspiring together to destroy Alf and Margira's multi-race village due to being home to some of their exiles and outcasts. Overall, the story ends up showing that the problems with the Erectus tribes are also an issue with human tribalism in general, Homo sapiens included.
  • The Liberation Front in Deus Ex were revealed to be the good guys less than half-way through the story, vindicating the players who stuck with non-lethal force to fight them. Of course, there are still recurring examples of how good the people of the original organization were, so the Triads and MJ12 were introduced for the player to spend their live ammo on guilt-free.
  • The demons of the Disgaea series are Card Carrying Villains who believe Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad (with a healthy dose of Insane Troll Logic). Each game makes it pretty clear that demons are more concerned with appearing evil than actually being evil, and underneath it all they're fairly decent individuals. To drive it home, whenever the demons encounter a truly despicable character, they recoil in disgust and are more than willing to beat the tar out of them.
    • Disgaea: Hour of Darkness and Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice star characters that try to live up to the demonic ideal but then find that they're better people than they thought they were. Makai Kingdom, which is not a Disgaea game but is set in the same setting, has something similar. It also shows that high-level demons are willing to look out for each other, even though they may also be rivals. Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten stars the noblest of Noble Demons, a character who is just a few steps shy of being an actual hero. Finally, one of the characters in Disgaea 5 is shocked to find that his demonic allies genuinely care about each other and other people. The character is secretly an angel that was framed as a spy by other angels. The fact that demons can be better people than angels throws him for a loop.
  • Elohim Eternal: The Babel Code: Although Shedim make up the majority of touch encounters, some dialogue states that they were tameable in the past. Later, Beyoz's sidequest boss is the Sphynx, an intelligent Shedim that is benevolent, but seeks to test Beyoz's riddle-solving skills and combat skills to determine if he's worthy of his mother's sword.
  • Fake Happy End: A community of sane monsters formed on floor 41 who kept their human minds. Unfortunately, the feral ones still go after them and most human explorers attack them on sight out of fear.
  • Unless they're an Orc, chances are the Beastmen in Final Fantasy XI simply have some really bad differences with the player races:
    • None of the Beastmen willingly wanted a part in the Crystal War. The Shadow Lord either forced them or tricked them into fighting for him.
    • Bastok's conflict with the Quadav is because Bastok keeps taking over, mining, polluting, and outright keeps destroying the Quadav's homes, leading to the Quadav going all out to protect their home. Of course, the players themselves know from the get-go that Bastok needs it's mining to stay a solid nation, and with both sides having people that don't know the meaning of the words "peace and compromise", it's one of the Grayest conflicts in the entire game.
  • In the original The Legend of Zelda you could find Moblins who were not only not hostile, but would give you money as a gift, asking you to not tell other moblins that they were doing it.
  • The smaller factions of the beastmen tribes in Final Fantasy XIV are this compared to their evil counterparts. Beastmen, in general, are considered enemies by the spoken races because beastmen summon primals when threatened and summoning primals drains aether, which is the planet's life force. What also didn't help was some of the beast tribes became hostile because the spoken races did some unsavory things to them first. There are other factions of beastmen of the same species that are not hostile and either want to be left alone or are willing to work with the spoken races for peace between them.
  • Galaxy Angel: The Valfasq race turn out to be this in the first trilogy. Despite their initial belief that they were a race of Always Chaotic Evil Galactic Conquerors, towards the end of the third game Tact and his chosen Angel witness Wein's sacrifice for Lushati, and come to believe that the Valfasq could potentially be turned to the good side if their emperor Gern gets taken out of the picture. Four years later, in the Galaxy Angel II trilogy it seems to be proven right, as several of their members have joined the Transbaal Military ranks and become part of the United Parallel Words organization.
  • Turns out that Saturos and Menardi were motivated by purely good intentions in Golden Sun 1.
    • Hardly believable, given the fact that while they were Proxian soldiers sent on a save-the-world mission, that never stops them from using unnecessary brutal force, kidnapping, and taking sadistic pleasure in harming innocents. Heck, they even nearly kill two children! However, Karst and Agatio, the duo that replaces them in the sequel follow this trope up to code, making it quite clear that they're against this kind of violent behavior unless necessary. See the whole showdown in Saturn Lighthouse if you need proof.
    • A lot of fans believe that Saturos and Menardi were so because they knew of Alex's master plan, the whole of it, and wanted their share of the Golden Sun's power. Much unlike Karst and Agatio, who were in solely to save their homeland, which was dangling in the edge of a world abyss. Though it could simply be so because Alex didn't tell them of the Golden Sun phenomenon this time, seeing how the previous Battle Couple went way too adamant in their mission thanks to a chance to reach godliness.
  • The Vortigaunts are enemies in the original Half-Life, but at the end of that game you free them from their mind control and they become allies to humanity.
  • Ash Crimson from The King of Fighters series. Watch the ending of KOF XIII.
  • King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella: Edgar may look like a deformed little green hunchback though that isn't his true form, but he does plead with Lolotte to spare Rosella, gives her the means to escape (attached to a red rose), and doesn't grieve overmuch after Rosella kills Lolotte with a love arrow. It's just easy to miss as the poor fellow's too shy to speak up for himself.
  • The Heartless of Kingdom Hearts fame are mostly mindless creatures with an instinctive drive to eat hearts and are always evil in the storyline. In gameplay however, we have a select few exceptions:
    • Most Mushroom Heartless are harmless encounters that just want to play games—White Mushrooms play charades, Rare Truffles want to be juggled, Pink Agaricuses do a dance after you hit them under the effect of Stop magic, and the Mushroom XIII do a variety of minigames—and hand out prizes for them. The only ones that are genuinely dangerous are the toxic Black Fungi, but apart from them, the worst thing any of them will do is vanish in a huff if you mess up their games.
    • Kingdom Hearts III introduces the Flantastic Seven, giant fruit flan Heartless that challenege Sora to various minigames depending on what world they're found in. A few of these minigames involve the Flans attacking or trying to gobble Sora whole, but they pose no actual threat to him.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, you will meet a man named Zherron in Dantooine, speaking with a deep, grave voice, having dark features and is involved with the mercenaries who is harassing the settlement. It turns out that he was spying against the mercenaries.
  • LunarLux: The Boss Murk, Chronos, tries to negotiate with Bella, showing that not all Murks are feral. Unfortunately, negotiations break down and the boss battle happens anyways. After the fight, Chronos says the word "protect" in human language and dies protecting Bella from a large group of Murks.
  • In Bungie's Marathon series, the S'pht, an alien cyborg race, fight alongside the real bad guys, the Pfhor, because they are under control. After a mission in which they are freed, they become fantastic allies, mowing wave after wave of Pfhor.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 2, Legion, the geth who saves your life aboard the dead Reaper, explains to you that the Reaper-worshipping geth whom you've been slaughtering for the past two games are actually just a small percentage of the whole geth population and are considered to be "heretics," and have split from the main geth population. Besides the heretics, the geth just want to be left alone.
    • In the first game, you run across a rachni queen who tells you that the rachni that the Citadel fought against two thousand years prior were driven insane by an external influence (believed to be Reaper indoctrination), and that rachni are actually a peaceful race. Letting her go and loading the save in Mass Effect 2 reveals that the rachni remnants live on uncharted planets on the edge of known space, repopulating their species, apparently to aid Shepard in the final battle against the Reapers.
    • Throughout the series, batarians were portrayed as pirates and slavers and were pretty much universally hostile. A couple of times in Mass Effect 2 and to a much greater extent in Mass Effect 3, you meet batarians who are just ordinary people, if somewhat cautious around you due to the bad blood between your species. It's explained that due to their isolationist nature, most people have never met a batarian civilian, and the ones that venture outside their home systems are renegades, criminals, or those loyal to the corrupt regime that rules the species, so it's no wonder most have a bad impression of them.
    • The vorcha are a primitive race which have never developed space travel, but some stowaways on spaceships find work as expendable mercenaries or pirates, so the only ones you encounter are hostile. It's explained they come from a very hostile planet with scarce resources, which makes them naturally tribal and violent as they have to constantly fight each other for what little there is. They have a powerful Healing Factor and a very short lifespan, which contributes to their violent tendencies (they can adapt to very hostile conditions and survive otherwise fatal injuries, and if they die, it doesn't really matter because they only live about twenty years at maximum). The other races consider them a pestilence, but it's been proven that their aggression is cultural, not inherent; a vorcha raised in a kind and empathetic environment will also grow to be kind and empathetic. They will also join the other races in the battle against the Reapers in the third game.
  • Monster Hunter: World: the Gajalakas are a tribe of Lynians that attack the player on sight, and generally make pests of themselves during High Rank hunts. However, completing one sidequest leads to the Lynian researcher deciphering their language and assisting in making friends with one sub-tribe, allowing you to gain their help as Tailriders. Other Gajalaka will still attack you, though.
    • Completing an extra mission in The Witcher crossover event results in more Gajalaka tribes agreeing to ally with the Hunters.
  • In NieR you spend most of the game killing Shades left and right. Then you find out that Shades are actually the real humans, unlike you and most of them were completely innocent, only attacking you in self-defense.
    • NieR: Automata: Most of your enemies are Mecha-Mooks hell-bent on killing the player, with the stated goal of dominating Earth for their alien masterminds. Except most chapters are about said mooks emulating human culture in a ridiculously funny manner. Some have defected from the horde and just want to be left alone. Oh, and they killed their overlords for being even more soulless than they were.
  • The Paper Mario series, which just loves to deconstruct its parent series, contains large numbers of nice Goombas, Koopas, and other enemies.
  • Rave Heart:
    • Although the Draconians are portrayed as valuing power and authority above all else, Zazir, a Draconian-Granian hybrid, has none of these traits, showing that such values are learned rather than an inherent part of their race. It's implied that Niredia's harsh environment fostered the Draconians' darwinist mindset.
    • The Farians of Planet Kardel are known for resorting to crime, but the Farians on Planet Yurielle live peacefully. Like with the Draconians, this is due to the latter planet being more bountiful and habitable than the former.
    • The Tellians are a winged-race that was among the invaders from the Ursula galaxy. One of them, Ser Herdinon, decides to defect from the army and live the rest of his live in peace with the Farseen.
  • The Sinking City: The game heavily emphasizes the point that, even though it's pointless to deny that EOD is a clearly evil doomsday cult intent on subverting human society from within (and the Deep Ones' long-term plans probably aren't too good for humanity either), not all Innsmouthers are culpable for their actions (if only because most of them are too low on the food chain to know what's really going on) and many are just ordinary people trying to get on with their lives who just happened to be born with a fishman for a parent. While most Innsmouthers you meet are assholes, Reed points out that their social ostracization means they have little choice except to radicalize and turn to fanatical groups like the EOD for support. While dealing with Robert Throgmorton the only dialogue options involve challenging his prejudices, instead of agreeing with him "yeah, fuck those fishmen" after they've tried to kill you numerous times in the past.
  • Amazingly enough, it turns out, in StarCraft II that the zerg Overmind was not evil, it had just been compelled by a biological Obstructive Code of Conduct implanted by the Xel'naga to destroy the Protoss. Seeing no other option, the Overmind executed a Thanatos Gambit to create a new being, free of the Xel'naga directive, and put it in command of the zerg swarm by attacking the Protoss homeworld, which was effectively suicide. That's one Alternative Character Interpretation, anyway. With what little information was given so far, it could just as easily have been that the Overmind was still evil, but it had a vendetta against a rogue Xel'naga who had the nerve to claim to be Eviler than Thou.
  • The demon world of Formido Heim from Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier. They started a bloody war with a neighboring world ten years ago, and appear to be up to no good again when their elite task force starts showing up in other worlds. It turns out that the war was started by the Einst, who killed and impersonated their king. Their ridiculously evil-looking commander actually killed the imposter and ended the war, and has spent the past ten years rebuilding his devastated world and secretly ensuring that the Einst wouldn't be able to harm the rest of the multiverse. This doesn't stop the random encounters with Formido Heim's denizens, possibly because they didn't actually know that they were Good All Along.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Fantastic Racism sets half-elves up this way at first: humans view half-elves as cruel, greedy oppressors because the most prominent group of them - the Desians - is exactly that. However, it's gradually revealed that a) most half-elves join the Desians because humans have a tendency to do things like burn their villages and slaughter their families, and the Desians are their chance to fight back and gain the upper hand, and b) there are a number of half-elves who disagree with the Desians, and are really just trying to live peaceful lives, hampered by racism from the humans. And that's before the fake ending and subsequent plot twists...
    • Later, another group is revealed, the Renegades, who are another variant of this trope. They look just like Desians so that their activities remain hidden from the Big Bad, but they're actually fighting back against the Desians' plans. And you, if you get in their way. Their ultimate goal is to save the world, and as far as they're concerned, they don't need some Idiot Hero mucking that up.
  • In the UFO: After Blank series, it's revealed that the aliens that nearly destroyed humanity in Aftermath are actually a rebellious faction of the Reticulan race. They wanted to try creating a gigantic supercomputer brain, and the rest of their species said no. The rebellious Reticulans then split from their race and destroyed Earth. This is all just interesting backstory until the UFO Afterlight, when the non-evil Reticulans show up and propose an alliance with the remnants of humanity in an attempt to tame Mars. Of course, they will still try to screw you over, taking some of the most resource rich territories on the planet, but attempting to kill them is much more difficult due to their significantly more powerful technology.
  • Undertale. The entire premise of the damn game. Monsters, although wanting to kill you, are given personalities and lives past i am monster must kill, and the player can spare them after interacting based on that personality.
  • The Warcraft universe:
    • The Always Chaotic Evil orcs from Warcraft and Warcraft II were afterward retconned to have been under the control of demonic magic after their leaders made a Deal with the Devil. Thus they were not originally inherently evil as a species after all, and after the demonic influence wore off, were left as a much more human Proud Warrior Race.
    • One quest in World of Warcraft requires you to kill a seemingly random mook, who then drops (as loot) an unsent letter to her father revealing that she was blackmailed into service in the evil organization, and was trying to sabotage it from inside. The NPC you turn in the letter to comforts you, saying that "there is no way you could have known".
  • Warframe has splinter factions of both the exploitative and hypercapitalist Corpus and the dogmatic and fascist Grineer who can ally with the player as Syndicates. The Perrin Sequence seek ethical trade and hate the all-consuming greed of the mainstream Corpus, while Steel Meridian deserted from the Grineer and now vow to protect the weak rather than conquer them. Interestingly, while both Syndicates are nominally good versions of their given race, they also hate each other, because Grineer and Corpus have been at each other's throats for centuries, and they still don't trust or approve of the methods used by their counterparts.
  • XCOM traditionally leaned hard into Aliens Are Bastards, but XCOM 2 starts to show things from their perspective as it's emphasized that the various alien species fought by La Résistance were ultimately slaves to the Ethereals just like humans now were, with the Skirmishers being an entire faction of former ADVENT troops helping fight back. In XCOM: Chimera Squad, after the Ethereals were overthrown aliens slowly began to peacefully assimilate into human society (except the Andromedons), making the Alien Autopsy scenes in the previous game a bit awkward in retrospect.
  • While there are plenty of malevolent and deadly spirits in Yomawari: Night Alone, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows, and Yomawari: Lost in the Dark, there are a few that will not harm the main character. Some are simply minding their own business while others want to play around with her, though their definition of "playing around" usually means scaring the living daylights out of her. Some malevolent spirits may relent and aid the main character if she does something nice for them.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • Girl Genius: Even though the Jägerkin are currently working for the Baron who saved the people of Europe from being all but wiped out and their previous master is remembered as a beloved hero everywhere outside of Mechanicsburg and the surrounding towns people will always kill them on sight because they are thought of as bloodthirsty monsters. The Jägers were all once human, and despite their loyalty to murderous mad scientists in the past most of Europe is run by similar Sparks and Jägers are very much individuals, who do really love fighting.
  • The Order of the Stick
    • The Order meets some Good goblins. It turns out they're teenagers who became good to hack off their Always Chaotic Evil parents. Unfortunately, one of them grows out of it in time to betray them.
    • Then there is this page, where La Résistance finds a hobgoblin among the freed prisoners, who says he is Good All Along because he hates (regular) goblins, including Redcloak. The elves speculate that he might be a plant, but the truth is left unknown, as the elves execute him on the spot for being a goblin.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Sirithai are introduced at the beginning of the Vanna arc as violent human-eating monsters but are later revealed to be misunderstood victims of persecution from the Clergy of Artemicia which was manipulating the Grand Alliance to get rid of them. They still won't hesitate to brutally slaughter and eat captives but they're also willing to listen to reason once their opponents have proven their worth to them.
  • /tg/ loves to bring this trope to its ultimate form: "The Tarrasque is actually a pretty swell guy".
    • Kharn: What a fun guy.
    • The Tarrasque is actually a border-line example in the source material: the Tarrasque isn't evil as usually encountered (it is neither made of evil nor intelligent enough to hold any malice), but it is suggested in Spelljammer that in their natural habitat, they are docile lithovores (with the solitary aggressive consume-everything of other worlds being a result of something in the atmospheres).

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Adventure Time has Finn trying to convince Flame Princess she is this, even though all fire elementals are supposedly evil. the jury is still out on whether he was right or not. Although Flame Princess is definitely capable of caring about others, it also seems that fire elementals have a very strong inborn desire to wantonly burn and destroy things. This is consistent with an earlier episode where she tried to burn down a goblin village just because "it needed more fire", and Finn had to stop her.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Most Fire Nation civilians. It's the Fire Lords of the Sozin dynasty — and a few fanatically loyal and self-aggrandizing military commanders — who are the really evil ones. Even the military firebenders with their skull-faced helmets, parties to genocide, are carefully shown to be basically just guys. Our heroes have killed a lot of them, though never face to face.
    • Even Sozin was not purely evil. He originally wanted to share the greatness of the Fire Nation with the rest of the world, and this, unfortunately, led to him leaving his former best friend to die, committing genocide against the Air Nomads, and starting the one-hundred-year-long war. He died deeply regretting the horrible actions he committed and the man he became, with no way to fix it. Unfortunately, his descendants were worse, until Iroh and Zuko came along.
  • In the 2006 revival of Biker Mice from Mars, the main villains are a race of cat-like aliens called Catatonians, but the episode "Surfer Cats of Saturn" has the Biker Mice end up teleported to Saturn, where they encounter some surfing Catatonians who cut off ties with their race because they were disgusted by their intent to conquer other planets. Throttle, Vinnie, and Modo manage to get along with the Catatonian surfers just fine.
  • In Danny Phantom, ghosts are portrayed as Always Chaotic Evil until the episode "Bitter Reunions", wherein the Ghost of the Dairy King frees Danny Fenton and tells him, "Not all ghosts are evil, you know, some just like to be left alone."
  • Hyenas have been presented as antagonists since the first The Lion King film. In the first episode of The Lion Guard, Simba's son Kion learns that not all hyenas are jerks and learns to deal with his Fantastic Racism towards them. It actually establishes that most hyenas are, in fact, good. The fact that all the hyenas seen have been evil except Jasiri is just a coincidence.
  • Played for Laughs in one The Looney Tunes Show music video that has Marvin the Martian explaining in song that not all Martians are Scary Dogmatic Aliens and they're just like us... then concludes by threatening an Earth-Shattering Kaboom in response to being insulted. In the actual show he's a Token Evil Teammate that still wants to destroy the Earth, but doesn't really act on it.
  • Mike Chilton in Motorcity used to work for KaneCo but was never a villain and had good intentions all along. He just wasn't aware that Kane was willing to harm innocent people in their line of work.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Changelings.
    • There's at least one Changeling who'd rather peacefully attend a wedding than conquer (Word of God is that he's a friend of Matilda). He's even since been released as a friend-class in the CCG named Kevin.
    • In later episodes, we have Thorax, a good-natured Changeling who defected from the hive after being inspired by the main character's friendship and becomes good friends with Spike. He later helps Starlight, Trixie and Discord foil the Changeling's second invasion attempt by encouraging the other Changelings to share love instead of stealing it, which cures their Horror Hunger and transforms them into rainbow-colored creatures. Most of the Changelings were just evil because they were following Queen Chrysalis, and after she leaves and Thorax takes over as their new leader, they become more peaceful.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil at first had the monsters of Mewni as the titular forces of evil, whom the protagonists Star and Marco regularly have to fight. Initially, Star believes they are all evil by nature (as do her family and entire species called Mewmans), until the episode "Lobster Claws", which explores the possibility that this may not necessarily be true. "Mewnipendence Day" details the history between Mewmans and monsters, revealing that the Mewmans essentially slaughtered and drove the monsters out of their own land. Star doesn't take this well. As a result, she begins to show more kindness and understanding towards the monsters, starting with Buff Frog. In the second season, Buff Frog becomes a viewpoint character, which, combined with his recently acquired fatherhood, really helps humanize him as a decent monster struggling to make ends meet given the lack of non-evil opportunities available to the monsters.
  • In one Tom & Jerry Kids short, the duo encounter an evil witch and her Frankenstein monster henchman. After chasing them outside, the monster tells Tom and Jerry he's really a good guy and has been trying to get out of the witch's castle for a long time. The episode ends with the three of them walking off.
  • The orcoid things in W.I.T.C.H. — they are initially presented as just mooks, but it later turns out they've been misled by Phobos' propaganda. A large number of them help the rebels in the Final Battle and later help with reconstruction.

Alternative Title(s): Was Actually Friendly