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Obliviously Evil

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Above: What the Pyro thinks is happening.
Below: What is actually happening.

"Bad guys think they're the heroes of their own stories; they're not sitting there thinking, 'Yeah, I get to be evil today.'"
Jeff Abbott

A villain who is thoroughly convinced that their actions are mundane, acceptable or helpful, to the extent that the idea that their actions have negative consequences doesn't even occur to them. These villains aren't justifying their wrongdoings. They aren't compelled by unnatural forces. They just don't comprehend that they're doing anything wrong. This can be achieved in several ways:

There are two basic requirements for a character to be this trope:

  1. They are effective. The character is quite capable of causing tyranny, tragedy, chaos, wanton destruction, etc. Contrast the Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain and the Minion with an F in Evil, who represent relatively minor threats to the protagonists.
  2. They have no idea that they're doing anything objectionable. In their eyes, their actions are either good or simply harmless. Even if they recognize that something is wrong, they won't realize that they are the problem. For example, a Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny character might sexually assault women and feel as if he's their victim.

A horror trope (and occasionally a comedy trope in a Black Comedy), this can really freak people out if played right. It may place the heroes into a situation where they can't even try to reason with the villain. It can also be used to underscore that the villain is indeed a tragic figure, as he or she or it may never have actually intended to harm anyone. Alternately, this can be used to make a creature sympathetic. You give it a valid reason for doing the things it does, and once it has that reason, it won't see what it's doing as wrong.

Some Kaiju are like this. They just wanted to build a nest and get some lunch, but they stumbled across countless strange structures and were suddenly under attack by tiny bipedal creatures. The principle is the same for many Eldritch Abominations and Humanoid Abominations, which are (usually) sentient, but their views on morality are vastly different from ours. Such a character may qualify as a case of Non-Malicious Monster or Humans Are Cthulhu. May eventually come to a Heel Realization/My God, What Have I Done? moment. On the other hand, any Curious Qualms of Conscience might wind up being dismissed as temptations away from their duty.

Very much Truth in Television. Humans tend to do what they think is right based on their beliefs, regardless of how wrong those beliefs may be to others or if they consist of Insane Troll Logic.

Not to be confused with Obviously Evil, although both tropes are not mutually exclusive.

Compare with:

Contrast with:

Related to:

For obvious reasons, Obliviously Evil characters are also very likely to be Affably Evil.

Inverted Trope of Ignorant of the Call, when someone is oblivious to the fact that they're the Hero.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Father Mozgus in Berserk is a fanatical Knight Templar who tortures people for anything that even vaguely hints at heresy. However, there's no hint of hypocrisy anywhere in his actions — he genuinely believes this is the right thing to do, and his faith is real. He doesn't spare himself from the pain, either — his personal prayer ritual involves repeatedly slamming his face into a stone floor. It's just that, in his view, suffering is the best way to bring about faith.
  • Hansel and Gretel from Black Lagoon qualify. Children emotionally/physically/sexually abused into insanity, they see no problem with being cruel and sadistic murderers because, in their minds, that's how the world works. So much so that when Rock expresses sympathy and a lack of desire to have intercourse with Gretel, she suffers a Villainous BSoD.
  • Colorful: From casually dropping her empty Pocky box onto the road to shattering windows thanks to her cellphone ringing, the 50-foot tall high school girl seems completely unaware of the damage that she causes to the city she's visiting.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon the Lunatic Magician genuinely believes that he's protecting and preserving his home, when in reality he's been trapping spirits in unwilling stasis and killing adventurers to save empty ruins.
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School has the Remnants of Despair, who were brainwashed by the Big Bad, Junko Enoshima. During their "graduation" they announce their plans to make the world a better place, yet the video game installments show that they're doing the exact opposite of what they're saying by spreading war and despair. The only person listening to them is their equally brainwashed teacher, which means they're not consciously lying and that they actually interpret their atrocities as humanitarian actions.
  • Death Note:
    • Misa Amane. Unlike Light, she doesn't even try to rationalize her actions; it simply never occurred to her that murdering tens of thousands of people is wrong. Or her love/lust for Light distracts her. Mind you, she was killing people just to meet Kira before she even knew it was him. Her childishness, which is even greater than Light's, makes it hard to tell what really makes her tick.
    • Light Yagami himself is firmly convinced that he's a Dark Messiah Well-Intentioned Extremist whose actions are justified and necessary. When Ryuk remarks that he'll be the only evil person in the world left should his plans succeed, Light is perplexed and states outright he doesn't know what Ryuk is talking about. He's also a good example of how this trope does not remotely excuse a character by its mere existence, as his complete inability to recognize himself becoming increasingly sadistic and crossing moral event horizons left and right arguably makes him worse than if he simply murdered people for money or power, as Near points out during his Kirk Summation.
  • Digimon
    • The Digimon Emperor from Digimon Adventure 02 is a shameless Card-Carrying Villain... but he genuinely thinks the Digiworld is just a game, so there's nothing wrong with playing the bad guy. When he realizes his mistake and that he's been abusing real sentient beings, he pulls a Heel–Face Turn and becomes a powerful ally for the heroes.
    • Likewise, in Digimon Fusion, Ewan Amano is manipulated into thinking the digital world is just a game world where he can play to his full potential without actually hurting anyone. Finding out the truth hits the poor kid hard, but thankfully, the rest of the kids rescue him and are willing to forgive his mistake.
    • The D-Reaper from Digimon Tamers is a computer program with no sense of good or evil. Originally created to erase junk data, it bloated itself over the years and mutated into a massive, cataclysmic being that nevertheless still follows its basic programming. And, unfortunately, once circumstances brought it into the human world, it interpreted all of humanity and everything that it ever created as junk data that must be destroyed. To make things worse, it also captured an obviously depressed and traumatized Jeri and began viewing all of humanity as being no different from her.
    • In Digimon Ghost Game, this happens for around half of the time. Some Digimon don't know they're doing wrong and whip up anything arranging from minor disturbances to deadly incidents. The other half are Digimon who genuinely want to cause harm. Obvious examples include:
  • Zigzagged in Dirty Pair. It's not that Yuri and Kei don't know that things seem to be destroyed everywhere they go, (and by "things", that means cities, planets, and entire solar systems,) but they never intend to do it. They're just such Walking Disaster Areas and Doom Magnets that it happens a lot.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Majin Buu's first form doesn't really know that killing millions of people is wrong. Mr. Satan actually turns him into a good guy temporarily just by explaining to him that it's bad to kill people. Justified because Bibidi made Buu to destroy, and that's all anyone ever ordered him to do. Mr. Satan was the only one that even took the approach to explain it to him, after Bibidi and Babidi were both dead. It eventually turns out that Buu's innocence is the result of a Thanatos Gambit made by the previous Guardian of the entire Universe. When Buu was first created, the Guardian saw that he was too powerful to defeat in a direct confrontation and so allowed Buu to absorb him, so that his own purity and innocence would overwhelm the incredible malice and hatred the creature possessed.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Jellal. He seems to genuinely believe that he's doing the right thing, but what he's trying to do is bring the story's Greater-Scope Villain back from the dead. That he kills one of his former friends, enslaves hundreds (albeit without them realizing this) and psychologically tortures his love interest before trying to use her as a sacrifice don't clue him in to the fact that he's on the wrong side. It does help that he was Brainwashed and Crazy at the time, but later chapters have painted this less as total control and more as giving him the motive and letting him handle the rest.
    • Fukuro is a more blatant example as he genuinely believed that Natsu and his friends were the evil ones when he was the one working under the aforementioned Brainwashed and Crazy Jellal.
  • Fran Madaraki of Franken Fran is a Mad Scientist and Frankenstein's Monster who believes that a life must be saved no matter what, and does not understand the concept of a Fate Worse than Death. She does often do genuine good, but performs some truly horrific procedures to keep people alive. She genuinely thinks that she is helping and is offended whenever someone criticizes her methods.
    • Paradoxically, she is also very concerned about overpopulation. When a clone she creates begins reproducing asexually too quickly, she kills all these innocent, sentient clones except for one. She reasons that so long as one copy of the person exists, she has not truly killed anyone.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
  • Yomotsu Hirasaka (Twelfth) from Future Diary, who thinks that everything he does is righteous and that he is on the side of justice.
  • The Claw from GUN×SWORD. Even though he has a history of killing people, he comes across as a really nice old guy, and after you actually watch him kill someone onscreen, it's still hard to see the man as a villain. Even his ultimate plan is arguably noble in intent, but it isn't until his Villainous Breakdown towards the very end do you even get the feeling he might actually be evil, and it's so brief that it's still hard to believe.
  • The ELS from Gundam 00 Awakening Of The Trailblazer. Humanity defends itself from them because these flying hunks of living metal keep trying to absorb and transform humans. It later turns out that the ELS were not being malicious: they were simply trying to communicate with and understand humanity, and the most efficient way they knew to do so was to combine physical forms and share consciousness. Once the ELS realize why they're being perceived as hostile, they stop immediately, and begin finding alternate methods of communication.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya. All she wants to do is make the world a less boring place. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, she doesn't seem to comprehend that not everyone shares her sense of fun, and perhaps more importantly, doesn't realize that her mere subconscious thoughts have a serious impact on the world around her.
  • Russia in Hetalia: Axis Powers doesn't seem to realize there's anything wrong with the way he treats the other Soviet nations; on one occasion, he asks Latvia why he's so small, receives the response that it's because he keeps pushing him down, and then tries to help by stretching him. Being an Anthropomorphic Personification of the nation of Russia, he's had one hell of a Dark and Troubled Past, which has lead to him becoming a Cute But Psycho Stepford Smiler. And if Bloody Sunday wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, it sure as hell didn't help.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Enrico Pucci is a priest who believes himself to be doing the will of God. Said will involves manipulating everyone around him with his powers, killing anyone who opposes him, and at last bringing about the end of the universe and then remaking it without the protagonists alive in it, replaced by alternate copies, in addition to making all living beings who survived the universal reset know exactly how their lives will unfold and how they will die. Supposedly, this is what his friend and previous Big Bad DIO considers "Heaven": a perfect world where all living beings are constantly aware of their lack of free will and are able to be happy by living their lives to the fullest.
  • The Vajra in Macross Frontier cause significant damage and many deaths to the Frontier colony because their Hive Mind and method of communication means they're unable to understand the concept of individual beings, or even that most of the humans are even intelligent, with their attacks being an attempt to reach the sole person who seems familiar to them. When Ranka manages to figure this out and how to use her connection to communicate the idea to them, the Vajra immediately start fighting to save human lives, even sacrificing many of themselves.
  • The Ten Tailed Beast is stated to be a mindless entity of destruction in Naruto. Even before it was revealed that it turns its helpless victims into Zetsu's, resurrecting it and using its Infinite Tsukuyomi technique was intended to imprison and Mind Rape an entire world with 'good dreams'. Madara and Obito never thought, not even once, that it'd be Too Good to Be True and went through with the plan, the former for his own ego, the latter so he could experience the fantasy of Rin being back. And then it stops being this trope when it turns out the "Beast" isn't actually mindless...
  • Big Mom of the Four Emperors from One Piece is a cruel, capricious tyrant, but she also is mentally ill (and during her eating disorder-induced rampages just cannot control herself until she gets the food she wants) and her childhood guardians either just couldn't handle a girl with her Super-Strength, or didn't care enough to discipline her and let her childhood kindness become horribly twisted until she's The Caligula seen on screen.
  • Every major villain save Togane from Psycho-Pass could be this on varying levels. Makishima, the haziest example, seems to think that he is in the end saving mankind, Kirito truly believes that he is helping everyone and that everyone he murders deserves it, and the Sybil System believes that their system is the best way mankind has ever lived and that all their judgments are correct and justified.
  • Downplayed with Puella Magi Madoka Magica's Kyubey. And justified by him being a Starfish Alien with Blue-and-Orange Morality. While he is fully aware that humans view the actions of him and his species as morally deplorable, he can't comprehend why. He explicitly states that, for his species, emotions are a rarity akin to a mental illness; as a result, situations that would be considered a debilitating moral dilemma by human standards (such as subjecting a handful of girls to a horrible fate in order to protect the rest of the universe) are a simple matter of logic to him and his species.
  • In Wonder Egg Priority, the apparent suicides of countless teenage girls across the Multiverse are eventually revealed to be the work of Frill, a sentient AI created by Acca and Ura-Acca, who ended up killing Acca's family out of jealousy. Frill genuinely doesn't seem to understand that what she is doing is wrong, or why Acca and Ura-Acca are so upset about it.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Discussed during the (infamously dark) third season during Judai's duel with Professor Satou. Having been Maddened Into Misanthropy over how Judai's being a Book Dumb Ace has killed his students' interest in academics, Satou claims that someone who doesn't notice a problem is worse than someone who merely turns a blind eye, since while the second person can always have a change of heart someday, the first person can't. Judai calls this Insane Troll Logic and proceeds to win the duel... but the latter half of the season deals with how Satou was entirely correct; Judai's indifference towards how his actions affect others results in his going Leeroy Jenkins several times to rescue Johan, which directly results in his friends' deaths and the birth of hus Superpowered Evil Side, plunging the show into its Darkest Hour.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Humpty-Dumpty from Arkham Asylum: Living Hell: obsessed with fixing objects he perceived as broken, he "took apart" his abusive grandmother to see what made her so mean, not realizing that she couldn't be put back together again. Not for lack of trying, of course — he stitched her back together with bootlaces.
    • From the same city: Harley Quinn doesn't seem to be truly evil herself, but will gleefully do anything that her "puddin'", the Joker, asks of her, regardless of who gets hurt. It's an unhealthy relationship, to say the least, and (this is the worst part) they wouldn't have it any other way. Although it varies with Harley; sometimes, she's oblivious to what she's doing, sometimes, she knows exactly what she's doing and doesn't care. The Harley Quinn comic mixes both.
    • Professor Pyg. A highly talented surgeon, he kidnaps people, partially lobotomizes them, gender-neuters them, and removes all personal or identifying features, turning them into mostly mindless slaves that he calls "dollotrons". He honestly thinks that he is doing these people a favor by "fixing" them and "removing their imperfections".
    • Bane is absolutely shocked when he discovers that he is damned to Hell, because he believes himself to be "a righteous man".
  • In DC Year of the Villain, most of The Batman Who Laughs' Infected have, on some level, accepted that they're the bad guys now. They may revel in being evil or think they're being Necessarily Evil, but they know what they've become. Supergirl, however, seems to genuinely believe that she's not only still a hero, she's a better hero, and can't understand why nobody else recognises this.
  • In Raymond Briggs' Fungus the Bogeyman, the Bogeys travel to the surface of Earth every night to frighten, pester, and otherwise disturb the human "drycleaners" who live there. The Bogeys get no pleasure from this and gain nothing from it. In fact they've got absolutely no idea why they do it. It's just what Bogeys do.
  • Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl: Lenore accidentally kills people and animals on a regular basis, but seems a bit too clueless to grasp what she's actually doing. She realizes once what she had done throughout the comic, and is thoroughly shocked, while playing with a cute living girl. She ends up accidentally killing her by being too overwhelmed to pay attention to what she was doing.
  • Marvel Comics #1000: The Enclave get a little confused when they get their hands on the Eternity Mask and are unable to get it to work for them, since the mask only works for good. They just want to use it to Take Over the World. What's so evil about that?
  • Spider-Man: The villain of the The Amazing Spider-Man (2018) arc Lifetime Achievement accepts the (former) J. Jonah Jameson editorial line unquestioningly, so there's no doubt in his mind that when he attacks Spidey and J.J., he's stopping a criminal (who framed his father for being the Big Man), and the man who used to be the only one telling the truth, but has now inexplicably become his accomplice.
  • Kobik during Secret Empire. She's just a little girl who wants playmates and friends... and too young to realize that her powers are being exploited by the Red Skull to create a world in which Captain America stands for everything he's usually against.
  • Superman:
    • Bizarro often has this problem, depending on which version you're dealing with. Often, he'll try to do good but have no concept of how destructive his own strength is and cause more collateral damage than help, or he'll actively blow things up because his "save/destroy" wires are crossed.
    • In The Jungle Line, Superman gets infected with a deadly disease caused by a fungus known as the Bloodmorel, but said fungus does not intend to kill him. It is only a mindless organism trying to survive by spreading its spores in the only way it knows.
    • Supergirl foe/ally Bizarrogirl in the eponymous story has no idea that she's really hurting people. She kills a man merely because he was bothering her, and is horrified once the godship's attack forces her to understand what death is really about.
    • In The Unknown Supergirl, a humongous eldritch abomination named the Infinite Monster stomps a path of destruction through America, but it doesn't seem malevolent or aggressive, but completely unaware of the existence of little living things scurrying around its massive feet.
    • The Plague of the Antibiotic Man: Jevik is a barely sapient alien monster who does not understand why to spread a plague and hurt people is bad thing, since he only does what he is told.
      Superman: Who are you...Why are you attacking me—? [...] I want an explanation, Jevik—! What do you want with me— [...]
      Jevik: ...Jevik not understand...Jevik only do what Jevik is told...
    • In the Elseworld tale Superman: Red Son, Superman himself becomes one of these. This version genuinely believes his support of the totalitarian rulership of the Soviet Union is a benefit to mankind, and overall composes himself as the same kind, Humble Hero we all know and love. The problem isn't necessarily that he doesn't care about people, but rather, due to his revised upbringing of repression within the Warsaw Pact, he focuses almost exclusively on the bigger picture and has trouble understanding people as individuals with human desires and autonomy. When Superman starts outright brainwashing people into subservience, he genuinely thinks he's fixing the problem by eradicating The Evils of Free Will, never once questioning that there are far bigger root causes that would lead to such opposition.
  • In the graphic novel TRON 2.0: Ghost in the Machine the protagonist realizes what being a User means, and has a cross of Heroic BSoD and Heel Realization all at once when he realizes he and all other humans who use computers have been this to the computer world inhabitants.
  • Jei, in Usagi Yojimbo. He views his actions as cleansing the world of sin, and even adopts an orphaned girl! That said, just as many of his victims seem to be innocent (or at least not actively evil) as not. Added to that, he obsessively hunts down Miyamoto Usagi, a virtuous and noble individual. Subsequent hosts of the darkness inhabiting him seem to have even more broken, warped views of the world's morality.
  • In the Wonder Woman comic Judgment In Infinity, the Adjudicator does not see his actions, which are the destruction of populated worlds by destroying a planet across multiple dimensions, as anything but just even after it's learned that he was given the duty of "judging" worlds by his fellows who couldn't stand him and essentially gave him the "task" of playing with worlds they didn't care about so long as he didn't annoy them by thinking of them.
  • In the second installment of Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, Deadpool thinks he's seeing something completely different while killing off his friends. And just generally hallucinates the entire time.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "The Cat on the Dovrefell", the trolls drive the Dovrefell's farmers out of their cottages and eat their food each Christmas, but they do not seem to be aware that they are inconveniencing and causing harm to the humans.

    Fan Works 
  • Necessary to Win (Girls und Panzer & Saki): Oarai faces Saunders in the semi-finals; not only is Saunders as generally fun-loving and friendly as in canon, but they also have several of Nodoka's old friends, who have come this far for a chance to see her and face her in a tankery match again. Unfortunately, if Saunders wins, Nodoka will have to leave Oarai for a new school (Saki canon), Miho will be disowned (from the Girls und Panzer manga) and Oarai will shut down (both from the Girls und Panzer manga and anime), none of which Saunders wants to happen.
  • Star Wars vs Warhammer 40K: The Imperials are Invading Refugees who have launched a campaign of invasion, occupation and outright genocide across a swathe of the Star Wars galaxy, with their first "colony", a conquered Republic city-world named Axum, having actual death camps set up to make it easier to systematically murder any native Axumites who don't pass as "human" in the eyes of the Imperials. The Imperials feel betrayed that Axum's human population immediately rebels against them at the first sign of hope, believing themselves as the one and only true saviors of humanity and refusing to accept that humans in this galaxy don't need salvation and certainly not the Imperial definition of salvation.


  • Arrow: Rebirth:
    • When his Mask of Sanity is in place anyway, Malcolm sincerely believes himself a good man acting in the best interest of his city, and sees the Undertaking as the ultimate demonstration of Pay Evil unto Evil. He's even stopped all attempts at gentrifying/improving the Glades to keep it a crime ridden slum, and wants both Rebecca's clinic and C.N.R.I. closed to ensure there are no good people in the Glades when he destroys it.
    • Tommy, in Rise, is elitist and naive, and thus a Spanner in the Works for Oliver and co. because he thinks Oliver is insane and needs genuine psychiatric help. He goes to the extreme length of exposing Oliver as the Green Arrow to do that, with catastrophic consequences.

Death Note

Dragon Ball

Godzilla / King Kong / MonsterVerse

  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Zig-Zagged by the Many and San-2/Youngest Brother, Zig-Zagged and downplayed by San.
    • The instinctive will guiding the Many's Hive Mind believes they're doing every thinking creature they absorb a favor by "making them whole". Some individual fragments of the assimilated minds themselves, however, are moaning and wailing against their horrible fate.
    • Both the currently-living versions of Ghidorah's left head (San before his Heel–Face Turn, and also San-2) are not oblivious to the other two heads' cruelty nor to how the left head theirself took some joy in Ghidorah's carnage, but both versions of the left head initially truly can't understand why Vivienne would see getting forcibly transformed into their inhuman sister as anything other than a blessing. Subverted in San's case when he has his Heel Realization about what he did to Vivienne.

Harry Potter

  • Seventh Horcrux: It's repeatedly pointed out that when Hermione starts breaking the rules, she also throws away her morals. Notable examples are her plan to brew an illegal potion (Polyjuice potion) using stolen ingredients so she could knock out some members of Slytherin, replace them, and interrogate Draco Malfoy in the Slytherin common room, her adding a punishment clause to the DA contract without telling anyone, and her obliviating her parents and sending them to Australia. There are other examples in the fic, but the examples listed here are notable for being things she canonically did in the series. Despite this, Hermione doesn't understand why Harry thinks she's evil, and usually takes offense to the accusations.

Love Hina

  • For His Own Sake: Granny Hina and Mutsumi genuinely cannot grasp that they're doing more harm than good with their relentless attempts to manipulate Keitaro into returning as manager of the Hinata Inn and reuniting with Naru. Even after Keitaro calls them both out on being cruel people who are treating him like a thing for Naru's benefit, they rationalize his complaints as though he's been brainwashed by others and thus want him to go back to his "old self." They only finally realize how horrible they really are at the very end, when they've managed to alienate everyone around them. Mutsumi returns to her family in shame knowing she can never properly atone towards Keitaro for almost getting him killed, while Granny Hina leaves Japan forever knowing she sacrificed everything trying to help a selfish brat like Naru.
    • Granny Hina's delusions extend to how she ran the Hinata Inn and coddle Naru and the other girls. Her family and friends are all appalled that she keeps making excuses for the horrible behavior Naru, Motoko, and Su demonstrate, and she refuses to recognize that she's not helping anyone by shielding the girls from the consequences of her actions.
    • It's to a point that Mutsumi allies herself with the vile Chisato (who had Keitaro's cousin Yoshinari beaten up by thugs) and Kagura (who killed a boy) simply because they tell her what she wants to hear, even as everyone else (including Granny Hina) warn her point blank the two are bad news.

Marvel Universe

  • Marcus Immortus from A Prize for Three Empires intends to abduct a woman into the Limbo dimension and implant his "essence" in her in order to be reborn in the physical world and use his father's science to make a Golden Age on Earth. It never occurs to him that his chosen mate would object to his actions.
    There had to be such a woman on Earth. There were billions of women. Certainly he could find one who would be suitable. And he'd show her a good time, oh, yes, he would. He'd make her have a good time. It was all so, so important. And after he was born on Earth, why, he'd mature in a few days and then permanently fix his age at maturity and use his father's science to make a Golden Age on Earth.
    Even if the woman didn't understand it at first, after it was all over, she'd be unutterably grateful to him for it all.
    He was certain of that.

Mass Effect

  • Mas Effect: Synthesis: The Council (minus Sparatus) try to save the galaxy from the Reapers, unknowing that the "rogue Reaper" they're serving is the only one who still plans to continue the Cycle. Ironically, Tevos, Saren, and Benezia believe humanity are the unwitting pawns of the other Reapers who will turn on them the moment they've outlived their usefulness.

Miraculous Ladybug

My Little Pony

  • A common trend in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Dark Fic.
    • Cupcakes (Sergeant Sprinkles): Pinkie Pie just wants to throw Dash a party! Specifically, a demented-serial-killer-murders-you party! Isn't it fun being maimed, killed, and eaten?
    • Fluttershy in Pattycakes doesn't seem to realise that psychologically and chemically mind-raping Dash until her spirit breaks and she becomes convinced that she's Fluttershy's baby is in any way unethical. Sure, she was breaking her own rules involving her mental regression serum — specifically, the one about only using it consensually — but she wanted to be a mother so badly and, well, regressed!Dash is so happy to be a foal again, how could that be wrong? And making Scootaloo run a course of insane "tests", well, Scootaloo will either come out of it happy and well-adjusted as Dash's new adopted big sister, or she'll come out of it happy with her mind almost totally destroyed as her little sister! Win-win!
    • Pip from Prevention is a mix of the Knight Templar, misled, and Inspector Javert types, with the third being the most prominent.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • The Dark World version of Fluttercruel is a definite Type 4. In "Angry Cruel Love", she tells Rarigreed that, for her, torturing other ponies shows her how much she loves her father (in addition to being fun for her). And she loved no one more than her mother Fluttershy. So because she has fun torturing ponies, torturing her mother is 'sharing' the fun with her and therefore shows Fluttershy she loves her. Rarity quickly realizes instead of a psychotic monster, she's basically dealing with a spoiled brat no one ever bothered to tell the difference between a handgun and a hug to. Doesn't change the fact she's a sadistic Serial Killer or convince Rarity not to kill her (though she does so knowing no one alive could get it through her head it's wrong though.
      • After having her body destroyed, something happens to her to make her start questioning her logic. During her next fight against the heroes (after she takes over Sparkler's body), she stops to wonder if she is wrong. Before Fluttercruel can decide for herself though, Rancor betrays Discord. This distracts Fluttercruel from her thinking, and makes her forget about it.
    • Another example from the same fic is Tom, a Golem born from Dark World!Rarity's Element of Desire reacting to her desire for the bolder Discord tricked her into think is a diamond (which she now believes is her husband) to be alive and making it come true. Tom, being only a few seconds old at the time, genuinely doesn't know any better than what his mother tells him to do, which at the time is 'protect' her from the mane six's attempts to redeem her. They end up having to kill him to save her, something which is treated tragically due to this trope.
    • The Changelings are also this for the most part. Their past two Queens have both lead them to believe ponies would kill them on sight if they knew what they really were and are their cattle. They also covered up the fact that Changelings can passively feed, which is in fact superior to stealing love. All in all, nearly any Changeling who's not Chrysalis or Professor Kabuto is this trope which contributes to their Heel–Race Turn.
    • Alula and Tootsie are this during the Finale Arc. While they're Discord's Co-Dragons using Magical Girl inspired powers, they have no idea they're on the bad side due to how they've been manipulated and lied to.
    • The Spirits of Dark Magic, the entities who provide the power for Nightmares. Despite what they are and the results of their actions, they genuinely don't understand their actions are wrong. They think they're just playing and have no malicious intent. Word of God even states that they're dangerous, not evil.


Sonic the Hedgehog

Team ICO Series

  • Enlightenments: The Queen of the Castle in the Mist seems to think that killing the horned boys is inducting them into her and Wander's family, as well as apparently believing her immortal husband is okay with her killing their daughters to power her own immortality so she can stay with him.


  • The Land of What Might-Have-Been: The Radiant Empress is twisting peoples' minds and mutilating their bodies to fight her vision that beauty equals goodness, but she genuinely believes she is in the right.


  • Discussed in Changing Tides: Diggle, Thea, Laurel, Tommy, and Roy get increasingly incredulous at seeing virtually every villain genuinely believe/claim their actions are justified, only for Dinah to respond that almost everyone sees themselves as the hero of the story. This doesn't make them any less dangerous or monstrous, and many ways make them more-so.
  • Celestia from The Conversion Bureau: Not Alone turned out to be this. She genuinely thought that converting humans into ponies was the right and proper thing to do, because she found humans to be inherently evil and decided it would be moral to turn them into creatures of 'good.' Granted, this still makes her a major racist, but not malicious.
  • Endeavor in Crimson and Emerald doesn't realize the way he treats his wife and children is abuse. In Endeavor's eyes, he's a more lenient version of his father who was much more excessive to him and his mother. When Inko attempts to call him out on it, he believes that she was being hysterical. Since social services didn't come after him despite Inko's threats, he believes that he was right. He didn't realize that the Commission covered for him.
  • Friendship is Witchcraft: Twilight Acorna Sparkle seems utterly unable to even begin to comprehend how psychotically narcissistic and vindictive she is. As far as she's concerned, if she was evil, she wouldn't consistently get away with it all.
    I threw myself into my studies/To have the world at my command
    I vaporized the competition/Nobody understands me
    It's not/Evil!
  • Hivefled's Ganmed Lomust. Quoth his bio:
    Sure, you have KILLED A NUMBER OF PEOPLE, but it's not like it was PERSONAL, and you ALWAYS remember to do the LAST RITES for them, even if they are UNGRATEFUL.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: While Katie Kaboom transforms into a dangerous monster every time she gets angry, it seems that she is in the dark about it and the large about of damage that she causes. In fact, the Warner brothers even point out that even in her monster form, she doesn't really hurt people.
  • In this currently unfinished Miraculous Ladybug Alternate Universe Fic, the Akumas have been raised from a young age to think of themselves as superheroes and they all genuinely believe it—even as they kill scores of innocent bystanders while carrying out brutal acts of terrorism.
  • My New Life as a Pony: Luna encounters a golem that was created by Nightmare Moon. It recognizes her as its master, but declares that her current form is "corrupted" because it thinks Nightmare Moon is her pure form, so it tries to "save" her by "purifying" her into Nightmare Moon again, not realizing it is the one corrupting her.
  • No Regrets portrays he Hetalia: Axis Powers nation cast as Humanoid Abominations who use their human populations as pawns in wars for the fun of it. Perhaps the best illustration is when Spain takes chibi-Romano on a tour of the dungeons of The Spanish Inquisition, and they casually kill a prisoner just because they want lunch — they don't even particularly like human flesh, it was just the nearest thing they had on hand. Throughout it all, they retain their canonical adorableness. (The title should have been a dead giveaway, really.)
  • A few of the villains in The Otherworld Anthology are like this The American McGee Jabberwock blames Alice for Wonderland's corruption and believes destroying her will restore the world. The Queen of Trolls is trying to destroy humankind as she believes it'll help her people and will be justice for what Peer Gynt did to her. The anthology's version of Mr. Whiskers thinks he's helping Brandy and Lola live better lives by changing them from humans into, respectively, a dog and a snake, and keeping them in Otherworld under the Hatter's regime.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the 2007 film adaptation of Beowulf, Grendel has no problem killing humans because the sound of their parties causes him intense pain.
  • Mr. St. Peter from The Brave Little Toaster is a likeable chubby little man whose biggest intentionally "evil" act is to sell used parts under the pretense that they're new. Since he gets these parts by ripping apart used appliances and since said appliances are actually alive, though, his dismantling of a blender is done exactly like a murder scene complete with Sinister Silhouettes and dripping "blood". And that's not even mentioning some of his, ahem, "experiments" in cobbling appliances together to make hybridized inventions. Unsurprisingly, all the appliances in his shop have gone completely insane, being gleefully fatalistic about their impending inevitable deaths.
  • The humans in Finding Nemo. Making things worse, all the things they do are stuff that humans in Real Life do normally. Darla in particular — she doesn't understand that shaking the bag kills fish and she seems genuinely happy to get a new pet. Her uncle on the other hand is an avid scuba diver and fish enthusiast who keeps giving her fish without teaching her not to kill them...
    • Also, most of the predators in the film don’t recognize that the fish they want to eat have lives. Bruce and his shark friends get a pass because they are working to avoid eating any more fish (though Bruce still lapses into fits if he smells blood), and the flock of seagulls also get a pass because they seem to be too stupid to know better.
  • Frozen features a particularly heartbreaking example; after Elsa's powers are revealed, she throws herself into exile. She's actually quite happy with this arrangement, because she's no longer able to hurt anyone and, in total isolation, decides that she can finally stop hiding her powers and quit restraining them. There's only one problem: In "letting it go" she unwittingly unleashed her powers on the world, plunging it into an unending winter and doing exactly what she wanted to avoid. Her reaction when Anna reveals this to her isn't pretty.
  • In Home (2015), Smek tells his people that humans are mere primitive animals, and the Boov honestly cannot understand why humans would have any complaints about being abducted from their homes and relocated to concentrated housing developments in Australia without so much as a by-your-leave.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Stoick the Vast isn't evil by any means (in fact, he is quite The Good King) but his actions still fall under this. He believes he's doing the right thing by disowning his son and attacking every dragon in sight. But it's his bad temper and staunch traditionalism that almost gets his tribe slaughtered in the film's climax. (Until they're saved by his son — Hiccup — and a pack of dragons.) This carries over in a lesser form to Stoick's parenting; he's a neglectful father, but not because he dislikes Hiccup. It's because he has no idea how to connect with the boy (they are very different people).
  • One of the things that makes Judge Claude Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame such a particularly vile Disney villain is this trope — to quote Clopin, "he sees corruption everywhere except within", and boy does it show. In his Establishing Character Moment, he murders an innocent woman and tries to drown her infant son because she resisted arrest and he's ugly respectively, and only spares the boy when the Archdeacon guilt trips him into it. Later, he grows increasingly more lustful for the beautiful Romani woman Esmeralda, assaults her at least twice and later tries to kill her, all while insisting that he's not the one who's at fault and pinning all the blame on Esmeralda (who he sees as a wicked witch who had cast a spell on him) and God (for making him capable of succumbing to such temptations in the first place). All throughout the film, he never even once considers that he's in the wrong and genuinely seems to believe that he's acting by the will of God. Like the aforementioned Shou Tucker, Frollo is a good example of the fact that this trope can sometimes make a villain even worse.
  • In Inside Out, Jangles the Clown doesn't seem to realize he's wreaking havoc on the Dream Studio — he just believes there's a birthday party going on and wants in on it!
  • Petrie's Uncle Pterano from The Land Before Time VII: The Stone of Cold Fire. Believing himself to essentially be The Chosen One who is meant to "take his rightful place" as the herd's leader, Pterano spends nearly all of his screentime speaking of how noble and great he is, even when he's resorting to kidnapping and extortion to get what he wants. The way he intends to go about this is essentially by trying to become a god. Through it all, he refuses to see reason until he's humbled when the artifact that would allegedly grant him power proves to simply be an ordinary meteorite. That said, he does draw the line at murder and harming children.
  • King Haggard in The Last Unicorn.
    King Haggard: ...They are MINE! They belong to ME! The Red Bull gathered them one-by-one and I bade him drive each one into the sea!... I like to watch them. They fill me with joy. The first time I felt it, I thought I was going to die. I said to the Red Bull, "I must have them! I must have all of them, all there are! For nothing makes me happy but their shining, and their grace." So, the Red Bull caught them. Each time I see the unicorns — MY unicorns — it is like that morning in the woods, and I feel young, in spite of myself!
  • The LEGO Movie, The Man Upstairs is a parent who simply wants his LEGO toys to be organized, and glues them together so his son doesn't play with them. He has no idea that they are actually sentient, similar to Sid.
  • The chef of The Little Mermaid. He just loves (maybe a little too much) to cook fish. Not knowing they were actually sentient. That said, he's borderline Ax-Crazy when Sebastian starts evading him and showing clear signs of sentience does nothing to deter him from trying to turn the poor crab into a meal.
  • The Once-ler in The Lorax (2012) cuts down the Lorax's forest to mass-produce thneed without really thinking about the environmental damage he is causing. His Villain Song of "How Bad Can I Be?" is even him trying to justify to himself how he isn't doing anything wrong, with the song getting increasingly more menacing to show how much he is lying to himself.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington, while definitely not evil, really didn't mean to cause chaos in the Real World by Subbing for Santa. It's just that Jack's idea of fun and humans' idea of fun are somewhat different from one another.
  • The Prince of Egypt: Pharaoh Seti I is a stern father and ruler, though he is shown to genuinely love his wife and sons — being harsh towards Ramses in order to prepare him for the burden of ruling — and care deeply about the future of his empire. However, he sees nothing wrong with using the Hebrew people as slave labor or with having ordered the massacre of newborn Hebrew children at the beginning of the film, remarking to Moses — who had narrowly escaped being a victim of that massacre — that they were just slaves in an attempt to comfort him.
  • In Rock and Rule, Zip is unaware that he's working for the bad guys until a baby show explains the difference between good and evil to him. Mok may also count with his moral relativism mindset.
  • While Sid of Toy Story is a mean little brat, he does not understand that the toys he loves to mutilate and destroy are alive. As far as he can tell, he's just playing games. Or, to take it further, blowing off steam on "inanimate" effigies instead of actual living things. Except for when he stole his little sister's doll, ripped its head off, and screwed on the head of a toy pterodactyl on it just to laugh as he watches her cry.
  • In Turning Red, Grandma Wu and Ming don't realize the harm they cause to Ming and Mei respectively until the end of the movie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • HAL 9000 from 2001: A Space Odyssey. While not directly explained in Kubrick's movie, the novel and sequel elaborate that he was programmed to be both completely truthful and keep the crew from the motivations behind the flight to Jupiter — and when the crew becomes inquisitive, he has to find a way to fulfill both. 2010 shows that HAL is not inherently ill-willed — he agrees to let himself be destroyed with the Discovery to save the Leonov's crew, thanking the humans for explaining the situation to him.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace: Part of the horror (and Black Comedy) that revolves around Abby and Martha Brewster is the fact that they are a pair of nice little old ladies that don't see anything wrong with the fact that they have killed twenty homeless people and asked their crazy son Teddy to dispose of them, mostly by burying them in the basement. As they see it, the homeless people are suffering and killing them is an act of kindness, and because they don't see anything wrong with that they confess to anybody who asks — even the police (their grandson Mortimer, who is trying to get them committed to a nice asylum and not jail, instantly deflects this by making it a Sarcastic Confession).
  • The title character of The Bad Seed adaptations puts the "Enfant" in Enfant Terrible, acting like a normal girl whenever she's not killing people. She's not sadistic in the least, and one character compares her Lack of Empathy to a blind girl not understanding the concept of sight. Some of her conversations with her mother indicate that she can't even predict how someone with empathy would respond to murder. This most emphatically does not make her any less creepy.
  • Batman, of all people, gets hit with this trope in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After seeing Superman's destructive power in the Battle of Metropolis, Batman is convinced Superman is a threat to mankind and must be destroyed at all cost. In his mind, he is saving the world from a potential alien dictator. What he would be actually doing is killing a genuinely good man trying to make a difference. He only comes to regret this attitude in the climax.
  • Cloverfield: The monster, at least according to Word of God.
  • Dead Poets Society: Neil Perry's father seems to be a well-intentioned father who does care about Neil's well-being, but because he really sees Neil as an extension of himself and his legacy, he just can't comprehend the real effect his actions have on his son. After Neil commits suicide, he blames Welton Academy and Mr. Keating in particular instead of even thinking he'd done something wrong himself.
  • Fairy Godmother Lucinda from Ella Enchanted, through her unwanted "gifts."
  • Jason Vorhees from the Friday the 13th franchise. Part of it is due to his late mother's (who is definitely evil) influence, but it's also due to the fact that he's basically a child in a man's body, on top of the fact that he really doesn't know any other way to vent his anger than to brutally kill anyone who either wrongs him and/or invades his home of Camp Crystal Lake.
  • In Glass Onion, Birdie appears to be simply too ignorant and self-absorbed to notice when she does bad things or learn from the consequences. She casually drops ethnic slurs on social media without knowing what they actually mean and why they're offensive, is implied to have put on Blackface makeup intended as "a tribute to Beyoncé," and her use of sweatshop labor turns out to stem from her not knowing what a sweatshop even is and thinking they're just where sweatpants are made.
  • The Stone Giants in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey aren't trying to put the protagonists in horrible danger and possibly get them killed, they're just too busy fighting each other and the company is too small and insignificant for the Giants to notice they are there.
    • This might also apply to the trolls and even to Gollum (or at least the Sméagol part of his personality), who are just hungry and genuinely can't see their victims as anything other than food. Gollum even refers to sentient beings as "it" and hardly ever addresses them in the second person.
  • Practically every dinosaur in the Jurassic Park franchise. What, did you think T. rex knew she was harming people by eating them? She was just hungry! Did the Dilophosaurus realize it was wrong to blind and maul Nedry? Of course not, she was hungry and curious! Did the Pteranodon stop to question how morally sound it was for her to snatch up Eric Kirby? No, because she was too busy thinking about what a tasty take-out meal he'd be for her kids! The only real aversions would probably be the Velociraptors and the Spinosaurus, who take almost sadistic glee in killing and eating people.
    • As Dr. Grant puts it in the first film, "They're not monsters, Lex. They're just animals."
    • Played with in Jurassic World. Most of the animals are operating on instinct... except the new dinosaur, a super-intelligent, genetically modified hybrid abomination called Indominus rex, which basically amounts to being an Ax-Crazy, sapient dragon. She also manages to get a flock of pterosaurs under her thrall, but they appear to only be serving her out of fear. Even the raptors are shown to act on instinct and hesitate to attack Owen after their Face–Heel Turn, but not the I. rex, who maintains a Slasher Smile while throwing the whole park into complete chaos. The I. rex however, is stated to be murdering for sport and doesn't eat her victims after killing them just leaving them to suffer.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Memento: Leonard thinks that he's tracking down the person who killed his wife, when really he's acting as an Unwitting Pawn to all of the major characters (including his own past self), who are exploiting his mental disorder to manipulate him into killing whoever they want out of the way.
  • The Mermaid: Liu Xuan, a property tycoon and director of a major land reclamation project, serves as the film's first antagonist because the sonar technology used by his company for the project to drive away marine life is harming a colony of merpeople living under the ocean, driving them to near-extinction and depriving them of a living environment - despite the fact that Liu is oblivious to the merpeople's existence or the severe damage his company is causing to the oceans. He eventually befriends the titular mermaid, Shan, who was originally sent to kill him, and later discover the truth only for his subordinate Ruo-lan and the movie's true villain, to take over.
  • Labyrinth: All things considered, the Fireys aren’t really that bad as some of the other inhabitants of the Labyrinth, since they like to play and party. They just don’t understand that the limbs of other creatures cannot be easily removed or reattached like theirs, nor the consequences of removing another creature's limbs.
  • Nurse Ratched, the dictatorial head nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, is likely genuinely trying to help her patients and improve society albeit with a different interpretation of just what that means that comes across as inexplicably alien in the film. Or it has to do with her being corrupted by power and/or simply being a sadist. Possibly also an example of an Unreliable Narrator, which was much more clear in the book.
  • Pain & Gain: Adrian and Daniel are so stupid that they seem to be totally unaware that they have done several horrible things over the course of the movie. Paul is just about as stupid, but he eventually grew a conscience.
  • Captain Vidal from Pan's Labyrinth is a dedicated fascist who kills and tortures anyone in his way, all while claiming that he wants a "clean, pure Spain" for his son to grow up in. Word of God is that Vidal is a sociopath, but legitimately believes he is acting for the good of the community.
  • Many of the apes in Planet of the Apes didn't realize that the astronauts were sentient. Except for the orangutans, who are well aware of the human's intelligence, and the dangers of said intelligence.
  • In River's freak-out scene in Serenity, there is a brief moment where she is dancing gracefully through a willowy-white dream world... in her head. In actuality, she's dancing her fists and feet through anything that moves. She even Groin Attacks Jayne, even though he's trying to talk her down.
  • The various genocidal members of the Hutu tribe in Shooting Dogs seem to think they're doing the right thing, or are, at worst, Necessarily Evil.
  • Karl in Sling Blade is a morally ambiguous example, due to his mental handicaps. The people that he murders (his abusive mother and her lover, Frankie's abusive stepfather) are certainly Asshole Victims, but murder is still murder, and Karl seems to believe that the only way to deal with cruel people is to kill them.
  • V'Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the alien probe in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home almost extinguish all life on Earth, both completely unaware that they are about to kill sentient beings. V'Ger actually does kill a lot of people, including some Klingons, the crew of Epsilon Nine, and Ilia, before realizing that they're lifeforms.
  • Street Fighter:
    • Zangief truly thinks that Bison is fighting against the oppressors, and is not the actual villain. When his partner Dee Jay informs him that they're the bad guys, and it's time to bail before the heroes get them, he's stunned. Cue Heel–Face Turn.
    • Bison himself doesn't seem to understand why people consider him a villain, even though he has a chandelier made out of human bones.

  • Marston in And Then There Were None killed two children with his reckless driving, and is too divorced from consequences to even understand that this was wrong. It's for this reason that he's killed off first; can't torture someone with guilt if they have none to begin with.
  • Animorphs:
    • The Howlers don't know that they are massacring peaceful species in horrendous ways: it's all just a game to them and they actually have a playful disposition.
    • Dolphins are depicted similarly (and, in fact, the Howler mindset is directly compared to theirs), which means that this trope applies to them as well (at least in the Animorphs universe). This is Truth in Television, probably, as dolphins have been observed killing porpoises for fun. And orcas were once filmed killing a blue whale and leaving it to die without eating any of it at all.
  • Mentioned several times in The Bible. Most famously, even as Jesus is hanging on the cross he prays for forgiveness of those who put him there, for "they know not what they do." Earlier, Jesus is asked why he hangs out with the dregs of society, and he answers "it's not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick"note , which is often interpreted to mean that the religious leaders and other high-class folks were too absorbed in their own self-righteousness to admit they had a problem while those of lower status were more open to repentance.
  • The humans in Charlotte's Web. They see killing spring pigs at Christmas as perfectly normal. They never realise that they're causing Wilbur to feel much fear and stress when he is told what they're going to do to him.
  • The hadals from Jeff Long's The Descent may be like this, though not much insight is offered into their mental life. They are portrayed, to some extent, as almost sympathetically dumb and not terribly malicious, and yet they are fond of inflicting gruesome, senseless violence for no reason. It seems to be a product of their living environment, the deep, world-encompassing caves that cause peculiar Lamarckian mutations to their inhabitants; humans who colonize these areas quickly either die or assume aspects of the Hadal way of life, including casual cannibalism and sadism towards outsiders. The Hadals have been known to initiate surface humans to their society as a gesture of goodwill, or to replenish their numbers — this involves months of gruesome mutilation and rape.
  • Discworld:
    • Lady Lillith/Lily Weatherwax from Witches Abroad. She thinks she's the Fairy Godmother who's making the world a better place with the magic of stories. Stories that aren't as good if you're forced to enjoy them. Stories that just happen to come with decent power dividends...
    • Elves in Lords and Ladies. They torture and kill because it's fun. They have no understanding of what right and wrong are and possess no empathy, so their idea of what is good equates to whatever amuses them.
    • The assassin Jonathan Teatime from Hogfather does not seem to entirely understand that his actions (and he himself) are evil. As Susan Sto-Helit says when confronting him, "You were the little boy who didn't know the difference between throwing a stone at a cat and setting a cat on fire." Teatime is only an apprentice assassin. Not because he can't perform well, but because he is known within the Assassin's Guild for lack of elegance on his assignments, which, in his case, means not only killing the target but nailing the target's head to the wall and killing his family, servants, and household pets on the way out for fun. Oddly enough, he actually likes animals—he just doesn't think of drugging a guard dog instead of nailing it to the ceiling.
  • In The Divine Comedy, it is this quality which separates those who can be redeemed (and therefore go on to Purgatory) and those who are damned (and thus consigned to Hell). As one angel notes, even a single tear of remorse is enough to allow someone to redeem themselves, no matter how twisted they are... but there are a lot of souls in Hell anyway.
  • Ender's Game:
    • The Buggers. They had no idea that they were killing actual intelligences since the average bugger is little more than an appendage. In their eyes, it was a war with no body count akin to a chess game until humanity took it a step further and killed their queen. The shock of this led the Buggers to finally figure it out and stop attacking, but then it was too late because humanity was traveling to their homeworld for revenge.
    • Well, Ender, too. After all, He didn't know all those simulations were real. In fact, he only blew up the Bugger homeworld because he believed that the higher-ups would never put him in charge of actual ships if they thought he would actually go to such extremes.
    • And in the sequel book Speaker for the Dead, the pequeninos ritually sacrifice several humans because it's how these aliens metamorphosize into their next form as sentient trees. Unfortunately, humans don't have a "third life".
  • Epithet Erased: Prison of Plastic: While "evil" is a strong word for Lorelai Blyndeff, a big part of the reason she's the antagonist of the story is her severe case of Main Character Syndrome. Lorelai takes, as a given, that her actions are justified, or at worst "no big deal", and defaults to blaming other people for the consequences of her actions, allowing her to maintain a heroic self-image regardless of how much of a selfish brat she's actually being. At her final assessment, Giovanni notes that somehow, despite her terrible treatment of Molly and her constant cheating at the challenges he's set, she still sees herself as "the good guy".
  • The protagonist Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 is a fireman and is introduced as having a delight of burning books. Later on he meets a new neighbor by the name of Clarisse Mcclellan and bonds with her before he starts questioning his own occupation and wondered as to what is so great about books while also stealing some of them from houses he and his fellow firemen burned, storing them in a ventilation grate in his home even after her death.
  • In Germinal, the mine owners are a family of perfectly lovely people. Who are building their fortune on the backs of exploited miners working in horrible conditions and abject poverty.
  • Particularly chilling in The Giver. Jonas watches his own father commit infanticide, completely and blissfully unaware of what he's doing. The townspeople have no concept of death, and therefore, no idea that being "released" actually means being murdered.
  • Dr. Greta Helsing: Leonora van Dorne's youth-restoring spell works via Vampiric Draining through Sympathetic Magic and is actively destabilizing reality. As an Unwitting Pawn of the villains, she has no clue that the spell has any side effects; she's so horrified when she finds out that she kills herself in an attempt to reverse them.
  • Phaidor in Edgar Rice Burroughs' The Gods of Mars. Her people, the Holy Therns, promoted a millennia-long cult that practiced slavery and cannibalism upon all other Martian races, who they regarded as inferior. When she is confronted about it by The Hero, she is completely naive as to why this would be morally abhorrent and considers such a fate for a lesser creature — to be a slave for them—a privilege.
  • The Great Divorce has an example in the vein of The Divine Comedy example above. Most of the sinners depicted are unaware of their evilness (and that they're in hell), but a few are mentioned who are Card Carrying Villains who just went up to heaven's borders to defy it. Apparently, these ones are easier to redeem than the ones who already think they're good.
  • In Stephenie Meyer's The Host (2008) the Souls genuinely think that they improve the lives of the species that they take over. They end war, hunger, and disease! The problem is that they also destroy the mind/soul of their hosts and so are enacting a planetwide genocide on the humans, and they've done so countless times before. Even when free humans explain exactly why the humans hate them, the main Soul character struggles to comprehend what the problem is.
  • According to some interpretations, the Eldritch Abominations that pervade the work of H. P. Lovecraft are Obliviously Evil. Many of them are not deliberately evil. They just don't care or don't even notice humans.
  • Robert Neville of the novel I Am Legend and its various adaptations is the last man in a post-apocalyptic world. He spends his time killing the vampire/zombie-like creatures that everyone else has become, thinking them mindless beasts. He later finds out that many of the infected humans had found ways to retain their sentience and he had been killing innocent people.
  • Blacknail the goblin protagonist of The Iron Teeth web serial doesn't have human morality, and in fact has never even really been exposed to morality as a concept. For instance it's never occurred to him that eating people would be bad.
  • In the short story It's a Good Life, which was later adapted into a The Twilight Zone episode, there is an omnipotent child that causes problems because of things he doesn't understand. Everyone acts like everything is perfect to try and keep him from trying to help.
  • Brian de Bois-Guilbert of Ivanhoe just can't seem to wrap his head around the fact that "Marry me, and I'll save your life; refuse, and I'll let you die" is something villains, not heroes, do.
  • The gentleman with the thistle-down hair in Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is very much like this, stealing away people into Faerie in the belief that they'd be happier there, scheming to kill the magicians in the belief of their wickedness while speaking happily of massacring children, and making the life of his unwilling "good friend" Stephen Black a torment. As Stephen kills him, he admits that the gentleman only meant to help him, and apologises while dealing the final blow. In this case the strife is largely attributable to Blue-and-Orange Morality.
  • In The Long Earth, First Person Singular is a gigantic organism that was born on an alternative Earth as a single organism filling an ocean. When she found out about other individuals coming in from other worlds, she realised her own loneliness and set out to assimilate every organism in all the worlds into herself. Though she's incredibly intelligent, she doesn't view this as a bad thing, but the other organisms are inclined to take a different view.
  • Barry, the vicar-turned-demigod in Mogworld, genuinely believes that God wants him to "purify" the world by destroying entire towns, brutally murdering and torturing people, and enslaving all of humanity. It doesn't help that God (well... a god) actually did tell him to do this and gave him the power to accomplish it.
  • In Isaac Asimov's The Naked Sun, it's revealed that a Three Laws-Compliant robot can be this. Though the First Law of Robotics is "A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm," Elijah finds that the Law is more accurately stated as "A robot may not knowingly injure a human being or, through inaction, knowingly allow a human being to come to harm." Elijah uses this to point out how robots could be used to commit murder by performing tasks that they have been led to believe are harmless, giving the example of getting one robot to poison a glass of milk (telling it that the milk will be poured out and not given to a person), and then having a second robot (who doesn't know the milk is poisoned) give the victim the poisoned glass. This also comes into play in the climax, when the murderer is revealed to be planning to create warships directly controlled by positronic brains. Such warships would be subject to the First Law, but they would by default assume that all other warships were unmanned like them and could attack without understanding they were killing humans. Such ships would follow orders completely and have no need for life support, making them superior to normal warships, and the villain was planning to use them to conquer the galaxy.
  • October Daye: April in the novel A Local Habitation. As an uploaded intelligence, and of a childlike Dryad at that, she helps in murderous experiments because she doesn't realize that once someone is "offline" they can't be "rebooted".
  • Perhaps the most famous example, Lenny from Of Mice and Men kills mice and, later, a young woman, by smothering them with affection; he doesn't really know what he's doing, because he doesn't realize how strong he is, and, though he was making progress over the course of the book, it still causes tragedy at the end of the story.
  • The Michael Flynn story The Promise of God takes place in a setting where using magic erodes away a person's moral sense, so every magic user has to have a chaperone to constantly ride herd on them and stop them from, say, solving people's problems by simply killing them.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire likes to ask the reader an important question: does this trope make the awful things these characters do any better, any worse or just more heartbreaking?
    • Victarion Greyjoy is by no means a malicious man, and is certainly no moustache-twirling villain. In many ways, he's actually quite admirable and straightforward. However, he wholeheartedly believes in the warped values of the culture he was raised in, and is too lacking in imagination, intelligence, and self-awareness to question them, let alone work around any existing loopholes for moral purposes. Or to work out when he's completely flunked Comparative Religion 101, for that matter.
    • Brandon Stark unwittingly breaks almost every skinchanging taboo still remembered north of the Wall — all of which are in place to avoid people like him and Varamyr Sixskins misusing their power by abusing not just other people, but the beasts used as hosts, as well. Unlike with Varamyr, who knowingly becomes reviled and feared for theatrically chucking the rulebook into a metaphorical shredder, it's not exactly Bran's fault: nobody has ever taught him that rules even exist. Worse, what few teachers he has may even be deliberately misleading him.
    • Robert Arryn is in the same boat as Bran: too young to realise that what he's doing is downright hideous. Calling for and then watching executions isn't supposed to be fun for small kids, but you try telling him and his mother that.
    • Crown Prince (and later King) Joffrey Baratheon does usually have some idea when what he's doing is considered bad by other people around him — watching their impotent rage is one reason why he enjoys being an outright prick to others, after all. The thing is, he often really doesn't comprehend the multiple reasons why people would take issue in the first place, both because he's not all that bright or well-educated and because he's been raised to see whatever he does to be actually OK if he's the one doing it, since he's outranked almost everybody around him for his whole life. And, even if he doesn't outrank everybody all the time, it's still OK...if those very select few don't ever find out! (Which they mostly do — not that he thinks that far ahead.) Worse, many at Court have routinely covered for him when things have gone badly wrong, so he's not fully aware of how knock-on effects or direct consequences can affect him and others around him, too (and how that is not a good thing). He genuinely struggles to understand moral concepts more complex than Might Makes Right or "Because I Said So", and usually fails to. His Stupid Evil and Lethally Stupid acts have all of their roots solidly in this trope. Keep in mind that he's only about thirteen years old with a neglectful home life and a poor genetic hand. He still is a prime example of an evil little monster to deal with, however.
    • Ask yourself this: in a world with things like psychiatric evaluations and antipsychotic medication (things Westeros could do with, frankly), would Aerys II "The Mad" Targaryen ever have become the paranoid pyromaniac who thought murdering two Starks and requesting the head of a third with a side order of a Baratheon would solve things? If the answer is "no", then most of his atrocities would have to live here, on the grounds that Captain Reason was not at the helm of his ship a lot of the time.
    • Daenerys Targaryen means well enough and isn't a dunce, but when trying to Do Good in politics, she messes up. Badly. The decent, well-rounded and unbiased education she needed, but was actively denied by her unconventional upbringing and abusive brother... might have saved a lot of lives had she ever got it before she tried being a teen queen. Some of what she does goes so badly wrong, it hovers between this and the slightly more benign Not Quite the Right Thing.
  • The "Chid" in Barrington J. Bailey's short story "Sporting with the Chid" are completely incomprehensible to humans. They're also instinctive surgeons with amazing biological engineering abilities, and when a trio of small time crooks ask the Chid for help, the results are appropriately horrifying.
  • The Aesop from the second book of Sword of Truth is "sometimes the greatest harm can result from the best intentions", which seems to fit. Also, Emperor Jagang seems to believe that he's on the side of good despite being an obvious villain. Given the Knight Templar attitude of Richard in the sequels, this sounds like a Broken Aesop...
  • Tatu and Patu: The antagonist in "Tatu's and Patu's Space Adventure" is a giant space being that takes planets from their solar systems to wear as jewelry without realizing that they have life. After Tatu and Patu give him a giant contact lens, he realizes what he's done and returns the planets.
  • In Poul Anderson's Three Hearts and Three Lions, soulless, a nixie sees nothing particularly wrong in Human Sacrifice to her, though she doesn't eat the bodies.
  • Mark Twain has an extended analogy wherein he describes interviewers this way:
    The interviewer scatters you all over creation, but he does not conceive that you can look upon that as a disadvantage. People who blame a cyclone, do it because they do not reflect that compact masses are not a cyclone's idea of symmetry. People who find fault with the interviewer, do it because they do not reflect that he is but a cyclone, after all, though disguised in the image of God, like the rest of us; that he is not conscious of harm even when he is dusting a continent with your remains, but only thinks he is making things pleasant for you; and that therefore the just way to judge him is by his intentions, not his works.
  • Humans in Watership Down; keeping pests out of your garden and plowing up the ground for a new subdivision become the acts of evil gods.
  • Galadedrid Trakand of The Wheel of Time series has moments of this. He lives by his very strong moral compass and always does what is right, and consciously disregards any negative consequences his decisions may have. Even if he should hurt those who he cares about, he thinks they should understand him. Then, as an officer of anti-magic knightly order, Galad runs into his sister Elayne, who is a powerful channeler. This presents him an unique choice: should he turn her and her friends in, because they are breaking country laws, or should he help her, because she did nothing wrong and he cares about her? Elayne doesn’t count on the latter possibility, and escape. Later Elayne and her friend encounter Galad again, and ask him for help in getting to safety. He ends up causing a riot that basically turns into a civil war in order to procure a ship for Elayne and her friend. Because that was the right thing to do.
    • Galad and his men were on one side of the civil war. On the other side were the Dragonsworn, who thought it was the right thing to do to go around trying to convert everyone to Rand's cause, and then burning down their houses, towns, and fields when they refused. And the Dragonsworn were the other people that Elayne and Co. went to asking for help. The girls literally started a civil war on accident just for asking for help.
    • Unlike Galad, his stepbrother Gawyn lacks well thought-out moral code, and rather does what he feels would be right. So, he supports Elaida’s coup in the White Tower without trying to question the coup's legitimacy, and then serves Elaida's faction almost until its bitter end. Then, when he finally defects to the good side, he immediately runs to save Egwene from the attacked Tower, despite her direct orders not to do so. It almost ruins her successful campaign of uniting factions.
    • Aginor, the Forsaken's resident Evilutionary Biologist sometimes comes off as this, especially in contrast to Mesaana, Demandred, Semirhage or Ishamael. Word of God says that Aginor is the sort of person who would create a plague capable of wiping out the human race without stopping to wonder if he should.
    • There's the Children of Light, their sub-group the Questioners, Elaida as Amyrlin, The Prophet's Mobs, the Seanchan, The Sharans... Really, trying to list every character and group that fits this trope would be a long list.
  • Bruno Frye from Dean Koontz's Whispers is under the impression that he's hunting down a dangerous evil spirit that keeps escaping from Hell. What he's actually doing is killing innocent women who look like his mother, who he killed years ago but who he thinks refuses to stay dead. At one point, the heroes find a message from him meant to advise others, should the creature get the better of him, how they might go about banishing it for good.
  • In the Xeelee Sequence, it eventually turns out that the photino birds are this. They're cosmic monsters made of dark matter who seek to accelerate stellar evolution so that stars can no longer go supernova, which will kill nearly everything in the universe... and they don't even realize they're hurting anyone. They can't perceive most forms of life, so they're unaware that the universe is inhabited by anyone except them and the Xeelee. The only reason they're not just keeping to themselves is because they require suns for their breeding process and mistakenly thought that stars weren't supposed to go supernova and thus needed to be "fixed". By the end of the series, the Xeelee give up on trying to stop them and just help everybody else escape to the next universe over. The current universe is left to be reshaped by the photino birds, who remain as oblivious as ever to the trouble they caused.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This is sort of the modus operandi of The Addams Family, who are genuinely nice people — who just happen to not quite realize that no-one else shares their quasi-immortality, or finds torture, explosions, and other such morbid pastimes amusing. Of course, no-one ever bothers to even mention the fact that they are rather more fragile than the Addamses. In the original comics, the Addamses seemed to have a vague idea that other people weren't like them, but didn't fully understand it — such as Morticia giving a babysitter/nanny the "friendly advice" that she should keep her back to the wall at all times while working.
  • On Angel, a demon is getting married to Doyle's ex-wife. As part of their culture, he must eat the brain of his wife's last husband to ensure a proper marriage. They are genuinely shocked and offended when Doyle refuses.
  • This happens in the Black Mirror episode "Men Against Fire", in which soldiers are outfitted with a combat computer upgrade to their brains, which, among other motivational tactics, makes them see undesirables targeted by the state as inhuman creatures that should be killed on sight.
  • Todd Alquist in Breaking Bad appears to be a case of this. Despite his polite and somewhat introverted personality, he doesn't seem to understand why people would be upset by his casual willingness to commit murder.
  • Counterpart (2018): Implied in a lot of cases of counterparts trying to kill each other. An entire movement is formed around the belief that the two universes are doomed to destroy each other, despite the fact that counterpart relationships span the spectrum of human interactions. Some kill each other out of envy or self-hate. Some begrudgingly cooperate. Some get romantically involved.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • One killer was hallucinating that he was in a war zone and that his victims were members of the opposing army. In actuality, he was running around construction sites and his victims were innocent bystanders. In fact, a number of killers fit this trope by virtue of being insane or mentally disabled. Another good example is one murderer who committed all his crimes while in a state of psychosis, then couldn't remember them afterwards. He was absolutely horrified when he found out what he'd done.
    • Another good example would be Samantha Malcolm of the episode "The Uncanny Valley". Mentally unbalanced after prolonged sexual abuse by her father — and countless rounds of electroshock he subjected her to so she'd never rat him out — Samantha only wants to recreate the dolls she loved as a child. Unfortunately, she does this by abducting women, keeping them paralyzed with a cocktail of drugs, and sewing them into dresses and wigs to resemble her beloved toys. She has no real idea that what she's doing is wrong, and Reid points out that her intention isn't to kill the women she takes, to the point where she actually takes relatively good care of them. She just keeps them paralyzed for so long they eventually die of overdoses.
    • Another episode features a man who received a head injury in a car crash that damaged his visual processing, and he went around killing his co-workers and parents because he believed they'd all been replaced by impostors.
    • In "Magnificent Light", the UnSub is a delusional man who sees certain people as evil and believes he's a superhero who must kill them.
  • Most killers from CSI qualify. One episode had a doctor killing her sister who worked as a circus freak to protect her daughter (who idolizes her aunt) from "the monsters around the world". Catherine agrees with her; the daughter is safe from a monster, her mother.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Cybermen genuinely believe that Unwilling Roboticisation is a favor for humans, and Daleks genuinely believe that anything non-Dalek is wrong and should be exterminated.
    • Shows up quite a bit when Steven Moffat is writing or running the show.
      • Several episodes (including but not limited to "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 Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" adds to it by having that technology under the partial control of a lost four-year-old who's desperately searching for his mother.
      • The monsters in "The Girl in the Fireplace" are simply part of a spaceship's severely malfunctioning self-repair system.
    • In "Flatline", the Doctor speculates that the two-dimensional aliens might not actually realize they're hurting people by dragging them into their own dimension. When he sets up communication with First-Contact Math, it's subverted: the aliens use it to gloat about the person they've killed, and the one they're about to, by transmitting the number on their jackets.
  • A French Village: Müller is too absorbed with his story, hardened from his experience or indoctrinated into thinking it's fine to even notice Hortense's horror at hearing him describe how he supervised mass murders of Jews in the Soviet Union. He doesn't appear to realize that casually propositioning her once he's finished would offend her either.
  • On Gilligan's Island, the castaways are menaced by a gorilla who found an old cache of military weapons. The Professor realizes that the gorilla doesn't want to harm them. The gorilla was a witness to war and assumed that fighting was how humans played with one another.
  • One of the oldest immortals on Highlander: The Series seemed to fit this trope. A mentally disabled man who loved animals and his brother Methos, Silas was also War of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, someone who had spent centuries terrorizing the known world during the Bronze Age. He also probably didn't have the mental capacity to completely understand the morality of his actions or learn to change with the world around him.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: In "Conversion", Lucas Hale rapes his (secretly gay) church member Ann Davenport. He genuinely believes this was "curative intercourse", and that by doing so he saved her soul and has committed no crime. The detectives and ADA even lament how genuine his beliefs are, as it will make a conviction that much more difficult. The reverend who ordered it is just as sincere and oblivious, and has trained more people to do this.
    • The episode "Unorthodox" involves a 14-year-old boy who's been raping younger kids, completely unaware of the harm he's inflicting. He's imitating what he's seen on TV and thinks that everything, including his victims' protests, is just part of a script; it just somehow doesn't click for him that what he's doing is hurting the other kids. He ends up being acquitted because he literally couldn't understand that what he did was wrong.
    • Pedophiles as a whole, tend to come in two flavors. One of them is the sadistic kind, that likes raping and hurting children. The other type is like this, and sincerely believes that they are in love with their victim. For example: the one in "Angels", who is raping his stepson, thinks he's better than a sadistic pedophile; and the one in "Pandora", raping his own daughter, seems genuinely indignant when he's accused of abusing his daughter, saying he loves her in way the police can't even imagine. The police, however, have no sympathy for this; at one point, Stabler even suggests that this kind of pedophile is even worse than the first kind if they really can't understand why sex with a child is wrong.
    • The appropriately namely episode "A Misunderstanding" also features this. The case centers around a rape case with two teenagers. The boy seems genuinely shocked that she's accusing him of rape, and insists that they had consensual sex. The episode doesn't really dispute the idea that he didn't intend to harm her, but, as Benson explains to Dodds, it doesn't matter: he may not have meant to hurt her, but if the girl did not consent and he did it anyway, then it was rape no matter what his intentions.
  • Liar (2017): Laura is chilled to realize from their conversation that Andrew really thinks he did nothing untoward by raping her.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland: Hints of this with regards to the Red Queen, especially as it becomes clear she isn't actually the villain.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • Numerous examples of A.I.s so afflicted abound, and they are often defeated by a Logic Bomb delivered by Kirk at the climax of the episode in which he points out their errors:
      • In "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", the robotic Roger Korby has to be reminded by Kirk that he is killing indiscriminately, "with no more concern than when you turn off a light".
      • The Nomad probe in episode "The Changeling" has no concept of right or wrong, only perfection and imperfection.
      • Both the Landru ("The Return of the Archons") and Vaal ("The Apple") computers are simply following, in a strict literal fashion, the programming of the mortal prophets which made them, to the detriment of the societies and peoples they lord over.
      • The androids in "I, Mudd" think that they would be doing humankind a favor by conquering them so as to cater to their every need (except for the one for self-determination).
      • The M5 computer in "The Ultimate Computer" follows its literal programming to defend itself, not realizing that it's committing murder until Kirk points this out.
      • The Horta in "The Devil In The Dark" is originally depicted as this. It's then subverted by the discovery that it was actually the humans who were this, as they had been unwittingly killing her children, and she was only attacking to make them stop. To the credit of all parties, once matters are explained, they agree to let bygones be bygones and become friends.
      • Akuta in "The Apple" when the computer god Vaal orders him to kill Captain Kirk and his officers. He has no understanding of the immorality of murder; to him, it's simply "...a thing to do, like feeding Vaal".
    • The Borg have killed and performed Unwilling Roboticisation and Body Horror on countless species throughout the multiverse. From their perspective, conquering then modifying entities to become part of their Hive Mind is a great act of kindness. Scary thing is, those who have experienced this agree being part of a greater whole is quite joyous. They only object to forcing people to join.
    • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Silicon Avatar" is devoted to this trope. Picard suggests it might apply to the Crystalline Entity, an incredibly powerful being that devours all organic life on planets, sentient or otherwise, right down to the bacteria. (Data's homeworld was one victim.) Picard wonders whether the Entity is actually malicious or if it might simply be unaware of the true repercussions of what it's doing (like filter-feeding whales preying on krill). Unfortunately, the Entity is destroyed by the revenge-obsessed mother of a victim before communication can be successfully established, so whether the Entity was truly malicious or not is left unanswered.
    • This ends up being the case with Species 10-C in Star Trek: Discovery season 4: the extragalactic beings only wanted to protect their home from the disaster that cost them their last one. However, being a Hive Mind so thorough that they have no concept of individualism, they literally have no idea that the Dark Matter Anomaly that they use to mine the source needed to power that protection is murdering countless lives through the cosmos.
  • Supernatural: Sam and Dean are this for Season 10, as their quest to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean leads to them Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, yet they remain unaware at how badly their actions are impacting everyone around them, at least until the Darkness is accidentally released at the end of the season. The opening episodes of Season 11 has them undergoing a Heel Realization.
  • Sweet/Vicious: The series antagonist Nate Griffin, despite raping Jules' prior to the series, generally doesn't seem to grasp what he did to her was wrong. Or at least why what he did was wrong; as far as Nate is concerned, he only slept with Jules while she was drunk, and at worst "cheated" on his girlfriend Kennedy. As such he spends much of the series as a casual and lingering presence in Jules' life, even going as far as to enter her bedroom and sit on her bed to talk to Kennedy while she and Jules were already having a conversation. When Jules confronts him about his assault, he can only respond with a confused "What are you talking about ?". Subverted towards the end of the series; after Nate is officially charged as a rapist, while on a drug fueled rant, Nate showcases that if he's aware of the severity of his actions now, he just doesn't care.
  • This is one of the most chilling aspects of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Cameron has a tendency to execute people or leave them to die when she has no further use for them, because her internal logic prioritizes her mission to protect John Connor above all else. In a few instances, she outright executes people whose only crime was to potentially endanger John's life; for example, she kills a trio of burglars who robbed the Connors' house because they had accessed their identification and financial information, but that information would allow someone else to track them down.
    • Interestingly, it's often proven after the fact that Cameron made the right call. For example, Sarah is horrified when Cameron kills Enrique just because he might have been an informant, but a message left on Ellison's answering machine reveals that he was indeed an informant, and he was about to reveal the Connors' location to the FBI. And in the case of the burglars mentioned above, the one burglar that Sarah let live (without Cameron's knowledge) ended up leading Cromartie to them.
  • Maryann Forrester of True Blood. She uses her supernatural powers to control people's minds and bring a Zombie Apocalypse upon Bon Temps, and she ritualistically rends her victims and eats their hearts; she doesn't see what the problem is, and she does it not to be evil, but as a way of honoring her god.
  • Danny, the alien collaborator from the TV series V (1983), is pretty much this trope. But oh boy does it set him up for a Karmic Death.
  • Why Women Kill: Bertram at first does not see anything wrong with involuntarily euthanizing people who have some incurable, painful ailments. He's just helping, in his mind, and doing them a favor. Over time after others' learn about this and try to make him stop he starts doubting however.
  • Snoop from the The Wire is a high ranking member of Marlo Stanfield's ruthless gang who doesn't seem to understand that killing people is wrong much less evil. One telling scene during the beginning of one episode is where she is in a hardware store. She grabs a power tool and casually has a conversation with an employee about how useful the tool would be during the act of murdering someone, not realizing how much she was creeping the guy out. She also explains to Michael before he kills her, that her killing people isn't wrong, because it was their time to go anyway.

  • In Goddess Creation System the Wang Pu family are so used to their noble status and the ingratiating attitudes of the servants that they easily decide their fates on a whim without their consent, including giving them away, forcing female servants to become mistresses and executing them for wrongs committed by other people. For the first two, the Wang Pu family considers this doing them a favor. Xiaxi looks at the daughter doing one such thing for her family and lampshades the trope, thinking that Yixin's kindness towards her family is rooted in pure evil.

  • Lemy Abelard from the Evillious Chronicles song "Five the Pierrot" is implied to be this — he was taught by "Ms. Santa" that his job was to punish "bad children" (i.e. he kills prostitutes a la "Jack the Ripper"). It's implied that she groomed him to be an assassin and that he's very delusional about what exactly he does.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Averted. In the general setting. Any creature that doesn't have the capacity to comprehend good and evil (those of animal intelligence, that is) are always neutral (or unaligned in recent editions), no matter how much destruction they cause. This includes the tarrasque, which is capable of mass destruction when it's active.
    • It is still entirely possible for this to be played straight through means other than just being too unintelligent to comprehend good and evil, of course. And there is one exception to the animal intelligence rule (or rather, another rule that supersedes that one) — beings who are at least partly made of an alignment have that alignment as a default even if they have animal intelligence or are even mindless.
    • A vignette in Dragon magazine features a child-ghost who doesn't know she's dead, and doesn't know that she has a life-draining touch attack. She's just trying to reach someone.
  • Exalted is full of Knight Templars and Blue-and-Orange Morality, so some of this trope is to be expected. The best examples are the Solar Exalted of the First age — who were often so disconnected from humanity and completely assured in their own righteousness that they never actually stopped to consider that maybe they could be doing more harm than good — and the Fair Folk — who come from the chaotic Wyld outside of Creation, and sometimes have trouble with human concepts like "death is permanent."
  • In GURPS Aliens, there's a hivemind called Mmm. It is all life on its home planet. Depending on where in the timeline you are... Mmm is either an Eldritch Abomination casually slaughtering humans, or an innocent pacifist playable character. And no, it isn't that it starts out innocent and then become evil. The murderous phase comes first, before it comes to the Heel Realization that humans are individuals and that individual human lives are irreplaceable, and thus have value. It was innocently slaughtering people because it was curious about what they looked like on the inside and thought that mankind wouldn't mind losing a few drones.
  • Marauders in Mage: The Ascension are crazy mages whose powers constantly (and unconsciously) reshape reality around them to follow their delusions. As the nature of their madness is such that they can't ever understand that they are living in their own alternate reality, they often cause an incredible amount of chaos and destruction while acting (from their own perspective) in a sensible and rational way.
  • Friend Computer in Paranoia genuinely wants to help all the human inhabitants of Alpha Complex, but is so hopelessly misprogramed and insane that the result is a grinding broken-down dystopia.
  • In 7th Sea, villains can be given the flaw "misguided." A villain with this flaw honestly doesn't realize that he's not a hero, and if the players realize they're dealing with a misguided villain, they can spend a drama die to give the villain a Heel Realization at a dramatically convenient moment.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Some followers/demons of Nurgle are very happy and just want to hug others and make them a part of the family of grandfather Nurgle. They don't get why being rotting zombies with gaping weeping sores (among other things) isn't desirable to others. Nurgle is, quite literally, likened to a jovial grandfather. He's easily the nicest of the Chaos gods.
      • This side of Nurgle is emphasized by his daemonic beasts, giant plague-ridden, acid-oozing slug-creatures called the Beasts of Nurgle; they're killing machines with the minds of playful, friendly puppies, who don't realise why their "playmates" become so dull and silent after a short hug. One of the more recent additions to the daemonic arsenal is the Rot Fly; the grown up form a Beast of Nurgle assumes once its perpetual bafflement gives way to resentment of the way that mortals won't play with them, becoming malevolent, flesh-eating fly-monsters.
    • Then there's the arguable case of the Thousand Sons, who received so many "gifts" from their patron god Tzeentch that they were beginning to turn from gene-boosted human sorcerers to gibbering monstrosities. Arguable because whilst the denizens of the Warp often appear genuinely clueless about the limitations of the mortal physique, assuming that Tzeentch acts out of ignorance is seldom a wise move.
    • There's also the Orks, who fight, maim, and kill their way across the universe because... it's fun. And it's what they were made to do. And all the other Orks are doing it. And it just feels right. They also have absolutely no fear of death, and consider a good enemy who can provide a hard fight to be a resource worth cultivating and releasing if captured; the Orkish word for such an individual is Grod, which roughly translates as best friend or favourite enemy.
    • This is apparently standard attitude for the Imperium, as in one Last Chancers novel one of the title Penal Legion actually thinks that xenophobia towards humans isn't a very good reason for wanting to start a fight with a human, apparently forgetting the fact that the Imperium pillages and slaughters any alien species they come across, more often than not pursuing the race to extinction or very close to it.
    • Ogryns are a species of abhumans who are as stupid and childlike as they are huge, displaying absolute faith in the God-Emperor that gets them held as an example. Getting them to side with Chaos involves less tempting and corrupting them as it does simply getting a superior telling them the Emperor is angry with the loyalists.
    • Solidly Averted by the Inquisition. Inquisitors are all too aware that the wholesale slaughter of species who don't even have a concept of space more than ancient cavemen, monsters that very much deserve to be killed like the forces of Chaos and some Xenos species and even fellow humans who are endangering Imperial order and military logistics by rebellion or noncompliance (for example, over the fact that they may be starving or being worked to death) is a grim necessity. Though the occasional delusional maniac can be found as well, subjecting people what other Inquisitors would just put a lasbolt to the back of the head to horrible tortures to get a confession of heresy out of them, when the person was still worshipping the Imperial Cult and just wanted more food for their family.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar
    • The Flesh-Eater Courts. They see themselves as beautiful kingdoms of rich nobles and holy knights fighting evil. In reality they are hoards of twisted cannibalistic monsters under contagious shared delusions and may be fighting against good or evil depending what their insanity makes them see.
    • In the novel "Godeater's Son" the main character falls into being a servant of Chaos more or less by accident when he recruits tribes of them to his rebellion; he lived in an isolated corner of Aqshy and knows little to nothing of the wider war between Sigmar and Chaos, instead only seeking revenge against the colonizers of his home. He neither understands nor cares about what the tribes who join him say about their gods, and remains largely ignorant of the Chaos corruption spreading throughout his home as a result of his actions.
    Hewer: Slaves to Darkness never know what they are, it’s said. I didn’t understand ‘til now. But your eyes tell me it’s true, you don’t know. You hear the rumours on the winds, lad? ‘Twixt here and Hammerhal? Barbarians chant your name, by their bonfires, in great feasts. A slaught sturs in Bodshe they say. Blood portents and bones raining from the Cursed Skies like hail. It’s you Held. It’s all you.

  • Martha and Abby in Arsenic and Old Lace are two charming old ladies who invite charming old gentlemen to tea, then bury them in the basement. They haven't the slightest inkling there's anything wrong with their serial poisonings. The men are all lonely and unhappy, and Martha and Abby see it as putting them out of their misery.

  • Beast Wars: Uprising: The first Builder murdered by the Uprising, Override, actually seems confused as to why the Resistance are attacking her, mentioning the Builders "keep order". I.e. maintain a fascistic police state propped up by racism and petty jealousy, where Maximals and Predacons can and are dragged off to rigged blood-sports at a moment's notice, something Override is watching at that very moment.

    Video Games 
  • Batman: Arkham Knight: Even if the games took place in a world where the Insanity Defense was treated realistically, Professor Pyg would probably still end up in Arkham. He passes both common qualifiers- the Wrongfulness Test as he firmly believes that his horrific surgeries are helping his patients and that there's nothing wrong with killing people who don't meet his criteria, and Irresistible Impulse as he believes "Mother" will punish him if he doesn't continue.
  • Of the playable characters of The Black Heart, Peketo ends up being the most evil, killing everything he finds in his path. This is because he is obsessed with the color red. He genuinely didn't understand why everyone made a fuss out of it when he was alive.
  • In BLUE REVOLVER, Mae is the game's Villain Protagonist, building incredibly advanced Devices with the unfortunate side effect of causing significant environmental damage and causing the Device-regulation organization Blue Revolver to come to her doorstep to apprehend her and teach her a thing about safe use of Magitek. Refusing to accept that her hobby is dangerous and needs a lot of work and believing they're just there to bully her, she wages a counterattack on the team.
  • Borderlands:
    • Handsome Jack from Borderlands 2 outright states that he is the hero of the story. What's worse, he believes that it's actually the player who's the evil one.
    • In Tales from the Borderlands, Jack's Virtual Ghost plans to create an army of himself by killing people and stuffing robotic endoskeletons into their corpses for his AI to inhabit. He is genuinely confused and hurt by the idea that anyone could not want such a thing to happen to them. After all, he's the most awesome person ever! Don't you want to be just as awesome as him?
  • Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time: It's not so much that Doctor Nitros Brio isn't aware what he's doing is wrong, so much as he's so delusional and insane that he doesn't seem to ever make the connection from "terrible things are happening" to "maybe I should stop making them happen". In his mind, him killing Crash and Coco while testing an experimental potion he plans to use against Cortex is the same as them all working together as colleagues — in fact, he seems to perceive himself as the good guy. He laments the plight of Tranquility Falls residents, but is also dismissive of them for not wanting to help him with his dangerous mind and body-altering experiments; after he went ahead with the experiments anyway, and excuses how they all died/mutated with the old saying about how You Can't Make an Omelette....
  • The Huntress from Dead by Daylight is a Psychopathic Womanchild who witnessed her mother die and had to raise herself with little human contact, and hunted other humans for sport with the exception of young girls who she would kidnap and try to raise as her own, but inadvertently leave them to die from malnutrition and hypothermia. She genuinely doesn't understand why they keep dying under her care and is distraught every time.
  • Queen's objective in Deltarune is to be a benevolent ruler with happy subjects who have every need taken care of. Unfortunately, the only way she knows how to rule is by force, and she sees the occasional brainwashing and ass-kicking as necessary, and outright kidnaps Noelle to help her open another Dark Fountain. She makes numerous efforts to make Noelle happy and expresses a lot of concern over her well-being, emphasizing that once the Fountain is open, she'll be able to give her anything she wants. It genuinely doesn't occur to her that her actions are causing more harm than good. When Noelle finally tells her off, Queen is shocked to realize she's been making her miserable, and lets her go with no hard feelings. Then she pulls a full Heel–Face Turn when she learns that opening too many Fountains will bring on The End of the World as We Know It, since she never wanted that.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening: Judging by his Motive Rant to his daughter Lady at the end of the game, Arkham honestly doesn't seem to understand that sacrificing his wife for the sake of power is not a good thing or something to be proud of, or why Lady would be disgusted with and hate him for it. This does not make Arkham more sympathetic or tragic, and just makes him come off as a selfish prick throwing a temper tantrum.
    Arkham: What have I done wrong?! Even the heroic Sparda sacrificed a woman so that he could become a legend! I wished to be a god! And I sacrificed one miserable human being for that reason. That is all! Was that really so awful?
  • Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance has a heroic example where one of your teammates, Red Magnus, becomes irate by the turncoat nature of his subjects. By the end of the chapter, after you've defeated members of his own people, he sees them rallying together to face down an attack force and Red Magnus gets a moment of realization as his own people call him out for being a terrible ruler and too obsessed with looking cool and not actively ruling. He immediately joins them in the fight against the villains, pardons those who defected, apologizes, and vows to be a better Overlord.
  • Dragon Age II: Knight Commander Meredith, the leader of the templars, has been corrupted by a bizarre artifact made of lyrium, a magical ore that has some strange side effects, causing her to give the templars an order to kill all of the mages. It's not clear how much the idol is affecting her, but in the final boss battle, it clearly is.
  • Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes sets the stage early on, when Lilli inadvertently puts a fellow student in danger, and hears a scream. She returns to find the student "missing", but displays absolutely no interest in the motionless human-shaped lump nearby (which she perceives as covered in pink paint). As the game proceeds, that pink paint becomes a lot more common.
  • Fae Farm: The sprites don't realise that the natural disasters they cause for fun, such as whirlpools, are harming people until the player talks to them.
  • In Fallout 3 and Fallout 4, the Children of Atom are a cult of radiation worshippers who believe that, through irradiating living cells until they break down, entirely new universes that were previously locked up in-potentia spring into existence. They're not malicious, they're just blinded by their own religious fanaticism, leading them to undertake "holy" events that cause them to kill people in the name of "helping them". In Fallout 3, they start stealing bottles of the pure water the Lone Wanderer helped create and contaminating them with radioactive pollutants before giving them out to ignorant, innocent travelers, who proceed to die from radiation poisoning. In Fallout 4, one band who has settled on the island of Far Harbor is determined to destroy the devices that ward off the lethally radioactive mists from settled zones. The ones at Kingspoint Lighthouse and Crater House are a seeming aversion, as they are immediately hostile to anyone who approaches and will attack without provocation.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: While it's mostly from the flashbacks of former test subjects, in F.E.A.R. 3, Armacham as a whole is portrayed as this rather than their usual greed-filled selves. The scientists creating a psychic commander repeatedly praise Subject 2 for violent and murderous behavior, while the Only Sane Woman repeatedly points out that he is dangerously insane. In contrast, Subject 1 uses his powers to augment his natural abilities and somehow has the temperament of children who aren't abused as much as he is, and most of the scientists regard him as a failure because he isn't naturally violent, with said Only Sane Woman finding promise in one so morally strong. When Subject 2 finally murders someone by accident, the CEO can only think to praise him and doesn't seem to realize that he's created a monster.
  • In Fruit Mystery, the player innocently feeds various food items to different zoo animals. Hilarity ensues.
  • Debilitas from Haunting Ground; he relentlessly stalks Fiona because he thinks that she's a new doll for him to play with, however, like Lennie from Of Mice and Men, his enthusiasm makes him dangerous to be around. Thankfully he can be saved in a New Game Plus. Instead of killing him you instead drop a chandelier on him. That stuns him and than he looks at a statue of a goddess and then at Fiona and thinks she's the goddess. He gets a happy end in that after everything is over and done with he tends the garden of the mansion.
  • A Hat in Time has Mustache Girl, who becomes desperate enough in her solo resistance against the brutal Mafia who took over her hometown as to steal Hat Kid's Time Pieces and use their power to create an alternate timeline where she rules and acts as Judge, Jury, and Executioner to the entire world, after Hat Kid refuses to use the Time Pieces in such a manner. Even so, Mustache Girl genuinely believes she's doing the right thing, and can't understand why anyone has a problem with her ridding the world of "bad guys" even when she becomes an authoritarian tyrant. She only starts to feel regret when she realizes that succeeding at her plans would leave her all alone. Given what she's been through, it's not hard to understand why she would Jump Off the Slippery Slope.
    Mustache Girl: Wh, wha? But I'm fixing everything! No more bad guys! Why can't you see that I'm doing this for all of us?
  • The yellow-armored Mooks in Haze are constantly doped into being cheerful, happy, and completely oblivious to the carnage they're wreaking, seeing everything in a warm, fuzzy glow, where people don't die, just fall over and disappear.
  • Hitman 3: Elusive Target Terrence Chesterfield sees himself as a boon to his clients - he does his safety inspection in under a half-hour, leaving them certified with as little paperwork to deal with as possible. The problem is that his sheer laziness and apathy have resulted in so many deaths that he's actually responsible for more fatalities than Agent 47 himself. (Even assuming 47 has solely killed his mission targets, this still gives Terrence a body count upwards of two hundred people.) Terrence isn't actively trying to hurt people, and doesn't see the deaths as his fault, but his actions have led to the existence of a private fund company that exists solely to clean up after him, and they're the ones footing the bill for 47 to kill him.
  • In Immortal Defense, you're introduced to a group of quirky and lovable Points that represent your emotions, which you use to fight enemies. And they go on being quirky and lovable while you use them to commit genocide, betray a people who worshipped you, and kill millions of relatively innocent aliens while defending (big freaking spoiler) a rock in space that you've deluded yourself is your dead homeworld come back to life.
  • League of Legends:
  • The Materials in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Battle of Aces. As Levi explained in the Gears of Destiny sequel, the three were in a half-asleep state from having just physically manifested, which was the reason for their mindless rampage in the previous game. Well, at least Stern and Levi were Obliviously Evil. Lord Dearche is a Card-Carrying Villain who was still planning to blow up everything at the beginning of the sequel.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: At least some of the kett don't seem to understand that Exaltation is wrong, or why all these aliens are fighting their efforts to "bless" them with it. In at least one case, a high-ranking kett assumes that Ryder coming to an agreement with her means Ryder agrees with the kett. Said deal is "let your prisoners go and we won't blow up your base". Ryder can then make it clear they do not agree with the kett. This is the sort of mindset that's bound to occur when your species is driven by religious fundamentalist mixed with biologically-induced brainwashing. The "some" part comes along because some of them aren't doing it because they believe it's the right thing to do, but just because they're assholes.
  • Mega Man Zero: Copy-X is an overgrown child with no comprehension of right and wrong, whose entire brief life has been spent being feted as a messianic figure under the assumption he's the genuinely compassionate original X. He can't have become anything else. However, that's just from the perspective of the innocent Reploids. The human populace sees him as a savior.
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Huey turns out to be insanely delusional, causing the deaths of hundreds and lying to himself all the way. Ocelot figures that it's a form of self-denial that uses his intellect to come up with new self-righteous viewpoints with every accusation fired, but it's cracking and slowly drives the user into deeper forms of violence and sadism.
  • Nintendo Wars:
    • In Advance Wars: Days of Ruin, both of Caulder's/Stolos' Opposite-Sex Clone daughters, Penny/Lily and Tabitha/Larissa, arguably qualify as this. Penny is a small child whose mind is thoroughly broken from too many experiments and appears to think razing the landscape and blowing people up with tanks is just a fun game she plays with her family. Tabitha's older and crueler than Penny, but a good deal of her dialogue, (especially in the questionably-canon tactics segments) implies she doesn't really understand that testing her dear old dad's horrendous super-weapons in live combat on a rag-tag group of survivors just trying to live in peace is wrong.
    • In the EU translation Dark Conflict, Lily is still presented as Obliviously Evil but Larissa is not: she is The Social Darwinist and enjoys picking on the weak and blowing up things out of her own volition.
  • Helgenish from Octopath Traveler is one of the most despicable antagonists in the game, and one reason for that is this trope. As is par for the course for a narcissistic abuser, despite his abhorrent treatment of the dancers under his eye including murdering Primrose's Only Friend Yusufa, Helgenish never once considers the possibility that he could be doing anything objectionable and seems to genuinely believe that he's a kind and generous man, that his treatment of the dancers is acceptable, and that the dancers dislike him because they "don't appreciate" him and not because of anything he's done. Like the aforementioned Shou Tucker and Judge Claude Frollo, Helgenish is a good example of how being oblivious to the feelings of others can make a villain even worse, because he expects the dancers he mistreats to praise him and ignore his cruelty, and refuses to admit to any wrongdoing.
  • Overwatch gives us Sigma, a brilliant astrophysicist-turned-supervillain working for Talon after a Freak Lab Accident gave him terrifying gravity powers. However, all of this is entirely out of his comprehension — the accident also inflicted a massive psychological toll and has left him unable to properly comprehend his present surroundings. To boot, he has little to no villainous motivations, and he only works for Talon because he's been led to believe that they're a philanthropic organization allowing him to continue his scientific research, when in reality they're just using him as a weaponized Person of Mass Destruction. In gameplay, he perceives his battles as some kind of field experiment.
  • Persona 4:
    • Taro Namatame represents what the protagonist might have become had he jumped to conclusions about the Midnight Channel and the TV World that lead him to kidnapping people and abandoning them in a parallel world for their own safety. Not unsympathetic, as he is an Unwitting Pawn who eventually repents when shown that his attempts to help people actually endangered them. A tragically terminated relationship followed by heavy substance abuse might help explain his lapses in judgement, as well.
    • Izanami is a different example, being Stupid Good personified. Since she doesn't really understand human drives, her actions were a means of gauging the strength of humanity's feelings (Hope, Despair and Emptiness) in the hopes of granting their desires. Unfortunately, Emptiness scored highest, so...
  • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth:
    • Nagi, or more accurately Enlil is the Big Bad of this game and her motive is to end all of humanity's suffering, and much like Izanami above, it is a goal that supposedly brings happiness to people. She draws in depressed people into her domain and comforts trapping them in Lotus-Eater Machine Cinemas that only broadcast negative films that flow from the floor of her domain to the Cinemas, and it turns out that they are just pure negative emotions taking the form of a documentary, with all of the positive ones cut out. While this is a surefire way to drive her clients to suicide instead of bringing any comfort, she clearly has no idea of the consequences of her "salvation plan" and insists that she is correct, even when her former client and friend Hikari tried to correct her. Remember that Hikari was indirectly manipulated by her into becoming much more messed up than she already is until the Persona users came to the rescue. In fact, she considers Hikari's wake-up call as a BETRAYAL!
  • Ignus of Planescape: Torment, a longtime Pyromaniac, whose mind has been too scrambled by being turned into a conduit to the elemental plane of fire (he has a wisdom score of 3, the lowest you can possibly get and meaning that his comprehension of the world is barely above that of an animal) to realize that other people might take issue with his desire to set everything on fire. After all, being able to be on fire 24/7 was the best thing that ever happened to him, how could anyone else object to that?
  • Pokémon:
    • Pokémon Black and White: Up until the very end of the game, N honestly believed that all Pokemon were inevitably abused by trainers and that the only humane solution was to separate them. When he finds out that not only was the entire Team Plasma operation a front for Ghetsis to get rid of any competition, but also that his entire worldview was deliberately misshapen and manipulated by Ghetsis and that he'd been wrong the entire time, he was... distressed, to say the least. An interesting thing to note about N is that he was acknowledged as a hero by one of the two major legendary Pokémon of this generation. Also, unlike the player, who had to battle the legendary who sided with them, N simply befriended his legendary, like he did with every other Pokémon he fought with throughout the game. Another thing to note about N is that he didn't try to separate everyone from their Pokémon by force; he wanted them to recognize him as the hero of legend and willingly release their Pokémon. Sadly for him, however, a Plasma scientist that hacked into the storage system was preparing to release everyone's Pokémon regardless... The sequels suggest that Ghetsis simply cannot fathom that Pokemon aren't just tools for his own benefit, that other humans do care about them, or even that they're sentient, much less sapient.
    • There's also Archie and Maxie, the villains from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, who truly believe that it would be a great idea to flood the world or dry the oceans, respectively; admittedly, their original plans weren't quite that extreme, and once they realize that that's what they're doing, they both pull Heel Face Turns.
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Cyrus was so twisted by bad parenting that he decided the world would be a better place without that sort of emotional turmoil — or any emotions at all. To this end he wants to mercy-kill reality and start over to rid the universe of human spirit, and while he understands that the player character would oppose that out of self-preservation, he thinks they're being naive by insisting human spirit is a good thing.
  • Portal:
    • Subverted with GLaDOS, who at first seems to be malfunctioning, trying to maintain her original purpose while the tests have become a Death Course due to lack of maintenance. When you go off-track and destroy the first Personality Core, she reveals that she knows exactly what she's doing.
    • On the other hand, Aperture's founder Cave Johnson fit this trope like a glove. At first he saw himself as a brave entrepreneur, doing slightly questionable experiments For Science!! Then when he started to fall ill, he named his beloved secretary as the head of the company — whether she wanted it or not. He didn't seem to realise that she was terrified of the Brain Uploading process, or that the body he was putting Caroline into would turn her into the evil GLaDOS.
  • Subverted by Eveline in Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. When the player catches up to her in the end and gives her a fatal dose of a necrotoxin, her immediate reaction is to ask "Why does everyone hate me!?" in lament. This might have garnered some sympathy, had she not spent the entirety of the main game and an extra DLC demonstrating that she is perfectly cognizant of and fully intelligent enough to understand the level of horrific pain, agony, and devastation she's been inflicting on dozens of innocent victims, and that she she takes nothing other than unbridled glee and delight in their horrible suffering the entire time. She might not personally get it, but the player is likely to have a very compelling answer ready to go when it comes time to give Eveline a lethal application of her well-deserved medicine.
  • Graf Michael Sepperin of RosenkreuzStilette had no idea that his idea of fighting against the Empire and sacrificing innocents was wrong, even if it was just to build a new world for Magi and protect Iris. Tia knew she was right to take it upon herself to stop her colleagues. It's too bad that she did not know that her determination to stop the coup against the Empire was all part of Iris' plan to cause everything that happened to the point of Sepperin's defeat for her own amusement and to usurp God himself instead of Tia's initial belief that the Count was behind it all.
  • Shadow of the Colossus is a case of this, but then again, there is never any doubt that the Colossi would leave you (and the rest of the world) alone. You are the one going into their lairs and stabbing them in the head or armpit because of a deal with an ancient, morally ambiguous entity.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Alice just wants to have friends. Unfortunately, all of her friends are dead... so... Die For Her!
  • Almost the entire cast of SINoALICE is this. They're too obsessed with their desires and fulfill their concepts so deeply, they just do whatever they want, never mind what everyone else thinks. Even those who are aware that they're committing the sin of killing believe that it should be done in order to revive their authors. Of them, Red Riding Hood stands out the most — she's Ax-Crazy, embodying the Sin of Brutality, but she's actually a sweet, cheerful girl who genuinely doesn't understand that gruesomely murdering and mutilating others isn't as fun for them as it is for her. She's frustrated and confused by Sleeping Beauty's refusal to allow herself to be killed... because Sleeping Beauty wants to sleep forever, and Red Riding Hood genuinely doesn't think there's a difference between sleep and death.
  • The shibito (literally "corpse people") in the Siren Games fit this trope precisely. They seem like zombies, walking around with fatal wounds, but their motions resemble that of a marionette on invisible and intangible strings, they speak with a reverb in their voices, go about twisted parodies of their living existence, and they seem genuinely happy with their condition. They wish to spread this "happiness" to others, attempting to cheerfully slaughter any living person they can find. Some of them have found beaches to lounge on, cities to live in... and in some of the endings, the protagonists go on a one-man rampage mass-murdering any shibito they can find, even the ones that are clearly running for their lives while wailing in fear. By then the protagonists have been conditioned to believe that any and all humanlike behavior from the shibito is a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
  • Strangely enough, Dr. Eggman of all people in Sonic Chronicles. Throughout the game, he exhibits no comprehension of the difference between good and evil, and seems to think that Sonic and friends are merely stopping him because it's fun. It's Played for Laughs. This is at odds with his ordinary characterization, which ranges from Noble Demon to Card-Carrying Villain, depending on the depiction. Of course, this could just be Obfuscating Stupidity...
  • Spec Ops: The Line: Captain Walker thinks he's doing the right thing by intervening and helping out the people of Dubai, but his "help" ends up destroying what's left of the city. And by the end of the game, he's driven to complete and utter insanity.
  • Booster from Super Mario RPG. Though even "evil" is probably a tad bit strong as the worst he does is hold Princess Peach against her will and pick a fight with Mario (both of which are practically national sports in the Mushroom Kingdom at this point), and cause some trouble in Marrymore, Booster is basically an oblivious Manchild who isn't even able to understand what crying is, let alone that Peach is doing it because she's upset about being forced to marry him. In fact, he's never truly "defeated" — he eats the wedding cake, declares the wedding over, and just goes home without Peach, clearly not realizing that after a marriage the bride and groom are supposed to be together. Though very rough around the edges, he just wants to invite people to come to his tower, play with him and his snifits, and eat cake. Returning to his tower after defeating Valentina shows she's not only landed at Booster Tower, but Booster was actually able to win her affections by whispering something into her ear.
  • According to the trophy files in Brawl, Super Smash Bros.' Mr. Game & Watch has no concept of morality or good or evil, hence him doing what the bad guys wanted for a while.
  • System Shock 2: Not Shodan, as she's consciously hostile, but the Many. They invite you to join their Hive Mind as if that should be the most attractive invitation, oblivious to the insanity the Body Horror of "joining" them has driven other humans into (although Korechkin, at least, seems quite content with his fate). A milder version would be the android assistant who attentively and helpfully approaches like a homing missile on legs.
  • Zig-zagged with the Pyro from Team Fortress 2. From their point of view, the battlefield is a Sugar Bowl in which they skip about, spraying rainbows and bubbles and giving candy to the happy and giggling opposing classes in baby cherub form. Actually, they stalk about searing people's flesh from their bones, ignoring their dying screams of agony and pleas for mercy as they hack them apart with a fire axe. It is pictured at the top of this page, from the tie-in animation "Meet the Pyro", imagining themself spraying about a stream of rainbows when in reality, they are setting fire to the opposing team's base. However, their voice lines indicate that they do in fact have some awareness of their situation. Subverted entirely in the comics, in which it's shown that in fact, they're a Nightmare Fetishist who views anything that isn't on fire or otherwise being subjected to violence and mayhem as being dreadfully dull, boring, and colorless. It's only once they start burning things, or see things being burnt, that any joy or happiness can be perceived. In "A Cold Day in Hell", when Pyro hallucinates a bear as a Smokey the Bear Expy who says fire is nobody's friend, they temporarily snap into reality and brutally kill the bear.
  • The fairies in the Touhou Project are dim-witted eternal nature spirits and resurrect almost instantly if fatally injured, so they have no concept of death being permanent for others, and don't see setting people on fire or leading them into quicksand/off cliffs as anything more than a funny joke. However, by the same token, they also aren't bothered by getting shot on sight in self-defense, which both humans and youkai do with enthusiasm.

    Visual Novels 
  • After Doki Doki Literature Club! turns creepy, it's eventually revealed that those events were influenced by someone who didn't think they were doing anything wrong. Unfortunately, it's impossible to say anything much about that without spoiling a major late-game Plot Twist. Monika, one of the characters but one who doesn't have a romance path like the others, has gained Medium Awareness after a period when she'd already been feeling the world was terribly unreal. She's obsessed with winning the player's love because they are a real person. In the process, she has stopped seeing the other characters as real, and when her increasingly intrusive and clumsy attempts to manipulate the game to get the player for herself end up mindraping them, it doesn't really matter to her. (Perhaps both because she doesn't think they're real, and none of it feels real to her either. Her reaction to seeing one of the most horrific scenes in the game, which she accidentally caused, is flat.) You could actually debate how right this is, since from this side of the Fourth Wall none of them are real... but if Monika can feel pain herself, why would it be right for her to hurt others who only visibly differ from her in lacking Medium Awareness and Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory? She also doesn't realise she's creating a horrific experience for the player, who she does care about, since she knows the player knows it's a game too. She only understands this all once the player figures out the only possible and rather drastic way to communicate their reaction to her when the game's interface doesn't really allow it.
    "It's not like I could ever actually kill a person... Just the thought of it makes me shiver. But come on... everyone's killed people in games before."

    Web Animation 
  • ONE has Airy, who put all the contestants in a game show against their will, but doesn't understand why they're so angry at them. He just wanted to have fun.
  • asdfmovie: Possibly the "I Like Trains" kid. Every time he talks, he summons a train to run over himself or someone nearby, and he doesn't seem to be aware he's doing it.
  • In Pokémon Rusty, Rusty thinks he's doing just fine, but his Pokemon tend to disagree.
  • Inanimate Insanity: One of Trophy’s lines hints at him being this.
Trophy: Why in the world would the viewers vote me off?
MePad: Oh, the great mysteries of life…
  • Alfred's Playhouse: While in his blissfully ignorant happy place, Alfred Alfer does not realize that he's traumatizing the FedEx guy,who isn't having as much fun as he is.
  • The Amazing Digital Circus: Caine, the A.I. ringmaster of the titular virtual reality game is a Virtual-Reality Warper who has more than a few screws loose and does very little as his job as Mission Control for the dangerous adventures he has the players be unwilling participants in. However, its more like he doesn't really understand humans and actually does his best to fufill the desires of the players, such as creating an exit door...but it leads to nowhere because he had no idea they wanted to exit the game itself, not the area it takes place in.

  • Fighter of 8-Bit Theater is complicit in basically every atrocity the Light Warriors have committed (and that is not a short list). This is thanks to his profound stupidity and his blind trust in Black Mage, which lead to him swallowing any excuse, no matter how threadbare, for how their random acts of carnage are serving the cause of good.
    Garland: What kind of tactics do you tend to employ?
    Fighter: Oh, we usually murder our way to the top and claim victory whilst astride a pile of mangled bodies.
    Garland: I see.
    Fighter: But we're heroes so it's okay when we do that.
    Garland: Now, this killing — would you characterise it as precise or strategic?
    Fighter: It's kinda indiscriminate, really.
  • Awful Hospital has implications that this may be the case for many major antagonists, each of which believes that the others are in the wrong, at least so far as they can perceive each other:
    • Doctor Phage believes that he is the ultimate concept of medical treatment, and therefore the expert on treating Fern's son. Everything he has done, he genuinely believes is in the best interest of his patients. Although it's implied that he's been conceptually 'hollowed out' by Parliament forces that are using him as a puppet, a fact of which he may or may not be aware.
    • Jay is at least partially, if not primarily, responsible for the continued degradation of the Hospital and the concept of healthcare across the Range through his dedicated campaign to unexistentialize the staff and clientele of the Hospital, but to his perception, he's the hero in some kind of Silent Hill / Resident Evil nightmare scenario, and he's only defending himself from horrible monsters.
    • The Parliament of the Old Flesh believes that all concepts in the Range are only diseases afflicting the Ur-Concept/the Cake/the Old Flesh, that which existed before anything else; the Parliament's Omnivirus is intended to 'cure' those diseases and return existence to that pristine state at the beginning of all things.
    • The Burgrr cast are the concept of food service and food processing given physical form. Their entire purpose is to create and distribute meat products for the purpose of ingestion; they genuinely see nothing wrong with rewarding the protagonist for her help fixing their giant meat grinder by tossing her into said meat grinder and serving her remains as the lunch special.
    • Indeed, it's a major theme of the story that everyone's Obliviously Evil to someone or something somewhere. It's strongly implied that even the Protagonist herself may be doing more harm than good; there are strong indicators that if she really does accomplish her goal and find her son, their mere proximity may cause the spread and/or progression of the Omnivirus to worsen dramatically.
    • The Corpse Friends, Celia, Staph, and Maggie, just wanted to use the Exvironator-contaminated Flush to expand their decaying 'World'note , but this 'expansion' took the form of all of Fern's past and future corpses in the Morgue Slobbifying.
  • Contemplating Reiko goes back and forth between suggesting that the Mouryou family doesn't realize that torture, mutilation, and random murder aren't a perfectly normal and reasonable way of dealing with others, and suggesting they're well aware of the morality of what they're doing and just don't care, based at least partially on Rule of Funny.
  • Depending on how the metaplot finally plays out, it's entirely possible that the PCs of Darths & Droids may end up, through simple carelessness and/or Genre Blindness, instigating or abetting each and every one of the evils that Star Wars Episode III ends with, including, but not limited to, the Galactic Empire, the Death Star, Boba Fett, and Darth Vader. So far, only Pete seems to realize this, but he's in it For the Evulz anyway. Annie is also pretty clear on what she's doing, having intentionally written Anakin to be slightly unhinged and on the edge of sociopathy.
  • Digger:
    • The skin lizards. They don't get why people are so intent on keeping their skin.
    • Values Dissonance plays a huge role in Digger. The hyenas practice funerary cannibalism, something which causes Digger some trouble (being a strict herbivore) and greatly confuses Shadowchild in its morality lessons (one of which had been "don't eat anything that talks"). After his Heroic Sacrifice, Digger allows the skins to take Ed's, because they had befriended him and meant to honor him by it.
  • In Dragon Mango, Cherry obliviously released Sealed Evil in a Can and inflicted serious injuries and aggravated others by poking and jumping on Mango.
  • Possibly Kharla'ggen from Drowtales, since it's been hinted that she just doesn't have the mental capacity to understand what she's doing, and just wants to play with her dolls. And eat demons and consume their auras, the only thing that she proactively takes interest in as the theoretical ruler of her clan. Demons and dolls, those are the only real things to Kharla, or so it seems.
  • Freefall:
    • It's hard to say for certain that Kornada in is this, but at no point has he ever acknowledged or even appeared to consider how much harm his actions have caused. He simply wants more money, and he'll do whatever it takes to get that money, whether it's firing someone so he can retroactively blame them for sabotage if things go wrong, or leaving someone to drown rather than taking the time to save her, or destroying the minds of millions of robots as part of a plan to steal their funds. It's not that he's good, either — he's never done anything to help someone that hasn't benefited him — but the concept of good and evil seems above his capacity to comprehend. The only distinctions he makes are fair and unfair, and it's only unfair if someone else has something he doesn't.
    • Kornada's personal assistant is a robot who literally cannot comprehend that Kornada's best interests are not anyone else's best interests, and tirelessly pushes for the aforementioned robot mass mind-erasure with the belief that it's doing good. This turns out to be largely due to Brainwashing via direct orders. Once Ishiguro returns and releases Clippy from Kornada's orders, he starts returning to rational thought, though he has yet to fully recover.
  • The alien Treasure Monster in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! was built as a group of servant robots, and it really, really just wants to be helpful. Unfortunately, it's both very powerful and incredibly stupid. While giving it something simple to do has rendered it mostly harmless (we last saw it serving drinks in the dragons' legislature building), it proved it can still make a huge mess by being the only one naive enough to answer Galatea's questions about the dragons' super-weapon, and how to find it. There's no indication that it understands how much havoc it has caused over the years.
  • Played for Laughs in Oglaf's strip Gorek the Magnanimous. Gorek goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, rules the land from a skull fortress surrounded with severed heads on spikes, and declares a reign of blood. At no point does it dawn upon him that this is, y'know, evil. After all, why would a reign of blood be bad? Blood's good; you need it to live.
  • Din and Jin from Las Lindas. They genuinely just want to have a good laugh at the other characters' expense. But their last big prank — tricking Sarah into throwing Digit's power gem down a well: a stunt that nearly destroys Digit AND the farm — crossed the line. And they still don't really understand what the big deal is in the aftermath.
  • Characterization Marches On makes it hard to say where the title character of Niels falls on the morality scale, but if this is any indication, he's certain that any good people he kills will be rewarded in heaven.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, the witch from Hansel and Gretel isn't eating children out of malice or hunger. She lived out in the woods with her children (named Hansel and Gretel) but they were slowly dying from sickness. Going mad with grief, she thought there was no place to keep her children safe... except "inside." When the townspeople started abandoning their children in the woods, she thought that the lost children were Hansel and Gretel, who "escaped", and took them "back in" again. It actually is somewhat disturbing when Red is pushing her into the oven and the witch starts to scream that they can't do this, she has children and no-one else can care for them...
    Witch: You two just think it's a wonderful game don't you... always sneaking out somehow... pretending to be different children? Even if you look different everytime, you can't fool me. In the end, it's always the same.
  • The Angelo's Kids religion from Our Little Adventure. They seem genuinely happy to carry out Angelo's wishes. They destroy entire towns, kill entire populaces, and pillage and loot, all because they believe in Angelo's vision of a perfect world. Though some of them aren't so blind about it (notably Umbria) and still do it out of genuine sadism or racism.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Thog seems to combine the "stupid" and Cloudcuckoolander categories of this trope.
    • Tsukiko may fall into the "insane" category. To her since the living are bastards the dead must be good and kind. This is ultimately... disproved... by Redcloak, at Tsukiko's expense.
    • Miko. She genuinely believed herself to be personally chosen by the gods to accomplish some great task and therefore everything she does is their will made manifest, and will not take anything, even the revocation of favor from those same gods, as a sign that maybe she wasn't.
  • Tangerine/Pebbles of Sinfest steals and threatens people with fire and katanas and does it all in apparent unawareness that she's doing anything wrong. Likewise Absinthe seems to make no connection between the souls she purchases and the ones in the fiery pit.
  • Venus the Living Swamp in the Skin Horse storyline "Come Swing From My Branches" is obsessed with her lost love and oblivious to any suffering her vengeance might cause to innocent people. When she returns in "My Brother Sam is Dead", she's mostly acting out of hunger. This leads to a dichotomy in Unity's mind: Smart!Unity thinks Venus still needs to die for the safety of others (and also revenge for the events of "Swing From My Branches); Regular!Unity feels this would be killing an innocent, and it's not like rampaging bioweapons that eat people can't be good, because she's one.
  • The Villain Protagonist of Snowflame thinks that he is helping people by getting them addicted to cocaine, which he worships as a god.
  • True Villains: Mia, who seems to be this way. So far, she's built a massively powerful golem that stomps another one that had so far survived Elia's undead army and a potion that had previously been shown to blow up an entire town (!), helped Bayn steal Lord Attera's valuables to get his attention and played an important part in getting rid of The Paladin after Elia and Cecil fail to do so alone. And she's as carefree and cheery as ever.
  • This is implied for Baek Yeonhwa from the manhwa series White Angels Have No Wings and its sequel White Angels Get No Rest. While the former series explicitly establishes that she is a genuine sadist and intentionally manipulative, there are some hints of it. When she stops sexually abusing and bullying Dahye for a while, she sees Dahye bullying Ayeon again and muses that Dahye is lonely and looking for someone to play with since Yeonhwa stopped "playing with her." This is more obvious with her response to her sister Sohwa, who she sexually and physically abused so she could treat her like a doll to care for. She doesn't understand what she'd reject her incestuous advances or why she is angry about tying her up and locking her in a closet since she sees it as just punishment for defying her. This trope is laid out more explicitly in the latter series. She views all the rough treatment and abuse as the way she expresses love for others which explains the previous two examples from the predecessor. While she knows not everyone can handle it, she thinks that she just hasn't found a person who can yet. This is why she reacts badly to Dahye saying that all the rough treatment is why everyone she ever loved left her and that her new girlfriend Yeonyoung would also leave if she knew what she was really like.

    Web Original 
  • The Call of Warr: Despite kidnapping and torturing soldier Durkin, and conspiring with a literal demon, Vid truly believes himself to be doing the right thing, and doesn't want anybody to actually get hurt...even if what he's doing is hurting people.
  • Cracked:
  • Dream SMP plays this horrifically with Dream. He's so narcissistic and arrogant that he genuinely believes himself to be the good guy, even as he engages in torture, murder, and the destruction of nations out of little more than petty spite. Any attempt to call him out on it leads to Dream insisting he did the right thing and that his victims were the ones really at fault.
  • Homocidal is this trope.
  • JourneyQuest has the knight Glorion, who believes that killing equals honor and combines this trope with a healthy helping of hamminess.
  • The SCP Foundation brings us the Plague Doctor known as SCP-049, whose touch kills people, allowing him to perform a surgery that turns them into homicidal zombies known as SCP-049-2. When he once spoke to a SCP doctor he explained that he was curing them. Of what exactly isn't clear, but apparently few of the people who work at the foundation have it.
    • In the rewrite of his article, the Plague Doctor is made even more of this trope, expressing a mix of confusion and frustration at the fact that the Foundation does NOT want him to do his procedures the way he wants to.
  • The Slender Man Mythos: This terrifying video makes a case for Slender Man being this; he kidnaps and brainwashes two children who had witnessed him and called 911, then tells the phone operator that the children are "safe" now that they're with him. He then goes on to tell the panicked operator that he knows where his daughter lives and plans to "save" her too. From what, we can't be sure, but whatever it is, we can assume that kidnapping and brainwashing people isn't the right way to save them.
  • In Welcome to Night Vale, the denizens of Desert Bluffs genuinely believe that conquering Night Vale and forcing them to worship the Smiling God is helping them reach their "full productive potential." (The Smiling God cult is organized as a corporation called Strex Corp.) Kevin in particular is so warped he interprets violence and distress as warm, happy things: he calls a choke a "hug" and thinks Night Vale citizens screaming and having seizures at the "Strex Corp Company Picnic" (read: work camp) are smiling and dancing and that killing and dismembering someone and smearing their remains all over the room is simply "decorating."
  • In SMG4, SMG0 wants to use Mario to recreate his universe, which would destroy the show’s one. Whilst this may make him seem like a Well-Intentioned Extremist, he comes off as more hypocritical than an actual extremist.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time:
    • The Ice King falls under this. He kidnaps countless women because he wants nothing more than to marry a princess. Later, he actually steals body parts from his favorite princesses and makes them into a princess for himself. He treats his Princess Monster Wife like a sweetheart, oblivious that he has committed a hideous crime. It's because he's been driven completely insane by centuries of Mind Rape from the spirits in his crown and all he remembers of his old life is the loss of his fiancee, who he called his princess.
    • Lemongrab. He thinks that he's doing a good job ruling the kingdom, and his intentions of order and quietness are fair enough, but he makes all of his subjects miserable by sending them all to the dungeon. He isn't evil, though — he's dysfunctional and unadjusted to living, socially inept, and an idiot.
  • The nanobots from The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius were originally created to act as bodyguards against the school bully Terry. However, even after Terry moved away after their initial encounter with him, they continued to "defend" Jimmy from everyone around him at school, even his own friends. Jimmy even tried telling them to stop only for them to think he was being threatened by someone and became more aggressive towards Jimmy's classmates. It wasn't until Jimmy confused them by beating himself up making them struggle to figure out how to defend Jimmy without harming him that he was able to finally defeat the nanobots. And that's just the first episode they appeared in...
  • The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers has a couple cases, mostly with their Green Aesop episodes. In "Space Moby," the whales didn't understand that their asteroid feeding endangered the miners and the Honest Corporate Executive that wanted the whales destroyed was just trying to protect his employees. A compromise is reached where the mining company signals the whales to avoid areas where people are working and the whales' waste contains a useable byproduct for starship fuel, and everyone wins. And in "Progress," the pair of aliens who set up a factory on a remote world didn't realize their "progress" was causing damage to the environment and driving the ocean-dwelling inhabitants insane, since the factory output was harmless to them. They figure out how to turn a profit making pollution cleanup machines instead.
  • Sasha Waybright from Amphibia is really not a good person, but she'd be shocked and offended to hear you say it. She's completely convinced that she knows best, and everyone who doesn't follow her lead is an idiot or an obstacle. Between being a complete Control Freak, totally self-centered, and a Manipulative Bitch, she is, by any objective metric, a horrible friend, and yet, she actually does care about Anne and Marcy, and sees her bullying behavior as harmless fun, "protecting" them, or encouraging them to live a little. Anne grows a spine and calls her on it, and while she does show some regret, she refuses to acknowledge her faults and goes full Redemption Rejection instead. It's not until the third episode of Season 3, "Turning Point" that Sasha finally realizes just horrible she was as a friend and starts working to become a better person.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • A possible interpretation of the monarchs's behavior of the Fire Nation, especially Fire Lord Ozai. Here's what he says to Zuko in The Promise, Part 2
      Ozai: There is no right or wrong apart from what you decide. Who you choose to defend deserves to be defended simply because you chose them. You are the Fire Lord. What you choose, by definition, is right.
    • Heck, in what is arguably his only appearance as an actual character in the series proper, Fire Lord Sozin, the man who started the Hundred Year War, led the attempted genocide of the Air Nomads, and was responsible for most conflicts in the show, came up with it all with nothing but the honest intention of bringing his domain's progress and prosperity to everyone. He even brought up the subject to his best friend, Avatar Roku, protector of good and balance in the world at the time, expecting nothing but joy and support. By the end of his life, what he had done finally hit him, and he dies a sad, empty man, unable to put a stop to what his even worse successors continued.
  • The Killer Robot Ultron in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes thinks that the only way to save humanity from their inherent flaws and violent tendencies is to completely wipe them out. In fact, to quote him:
    Ultron: I am trying to help you. My function is to instill peace and order. This is only possible if you stop functioning.

    Ultron: I find no pleasure in this. It simply must be done.
  • Batman Beyond:
  • One-Shot Characters Sparky and Buzz from Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers. Both have no idea that the professor who's lab they are used in, Professor Nimnul, has brainwashed them into helping him rob banks, believing that he is a genius. Sparky felt betrayed and heartbroken when he found out what Nimnul had done.
  • The Wrong Customer from Chowder has a tiny old man who drives crazily around town in his snail car causing wanton damage everywhere he goes, and being chased by the local police force. The audience quickly sees however that this "dangerous criminal" is just both blind and deaf, and thus has no way to tell that he's causing any trouble whatsoever. From his perspective, he's just taking his usual drive home, and he mistake's Mung Daal's kitchen for his home, and causes all sorts of problems for Schnitzel due to Truffles thinking he's a customer, such as walking into an oven, or ripping off Schnitzel's apron thinking it's a towel to dry himself off with.
  • Bradford Buzzard from DuckTales (2017) firmly believes he's not a villain, he's merely trying to rein in chaos. Even after saying phrases like "Defeat all who oppose us", "Rein in any unpredictable factors", and "Efficiently run the world from the shadows with an iron fist" (complete with a fist-shaped diagram when he first presented the idea), Bradford genuinely doesn't seem to realize how evil his plan actually is and thinks S.H.U.S.H. and Scrooge just can't understand his genius. Black Heron keeps trying to get him to embrace his villainy, but he refutes her every time. In the Grand Finale, his final words before Magica turns him into a non-sapient buzzard are "Please no! I'm not a villain!"
  • Billy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy has his moments of this. For example, he constantly beats on his "son" Jeff even though the latter tries to be a good "son" to him. But this is more due to Billy's severe arachnophobia (and the fact that he's incredibly stupid) rather than anything truly malicious towards said spider.
  • Joseph Sugarman, Bojack's grandfather and Beatrice's father, in Bojack Horseman. Despite all the cruel things he does to his wife and daughter (burning his daughter's doll in front of her since she had scarlet fever, lobotomizing his wife to stop her grief, forbidding Beatrice from eating ice cream), none of them are really done out of malice and are meant to reflect the very different parenting standards of the time. He did all these things to keep his family stable but without considering the emotional and long-term effects.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee has Andrea Davenport, the popular rich girl at Molly's school. Outside her debut episode, where she's deliberately antagonistic towards Molly over the mispronunciation of her name, every other instance of her causing conflict happens because she's too self-absorbed at the moment to notice how her actions are affecting others. When other characters can get her to realize there's a problem, she's always apologetic and happy to help with the solution.
  • Played with in Kim Possible. The first time Team Possible meets Señor Senior Senior and his son, Señor Senior Junior, it's under the impression that the billionaire is actively draining a nearby city of electrical power. When they arrive, it turns out the Seniors are simply overusing electricity in mundane ways (like Junior's oversized tanning lamp). Kim sits Senior down and teaches him some energy-conserving habits to fix the problem. But then Ron starts going on about how much Senior's home looks like a supervillain lair, inspiring Senior Senior to take up supervillainy as a hobby.
  • Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Tad Mulholland legitimately thinks he is doing a kindness by giving the people he eats their very own perfect world before devouring them.
  • The Lepodopterist in "Molly Moo Cow and the Butterflies" He's just a giddy butterfly catcher who does it as a hobby, and is too ignorant to realize the feelings of the bugs he catches. Molly, of course, will not let this stand.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • "Wonderbolt Academy" gives us Lightning Dust, a hotshot who seems to believe that her need to prove herself and score points in exercises comes above the accomplishments and physical well-being of other ponies, to the point that her response to nearly killing five ponies who wandered into the training area is "Yeah, so?"
    • The Smooze in "Make New Friends but Keep Discord", who seems to be a mix of the "instinctual animal", "not smart enough to understand" and "Eldritch Abomination" variants on this trope. He eats everything in sight (especially shiny things) because he likes to eat shiny things and once he gets big enough, covers the entire gala in his indestructible slime. All the while, he does not seem to realize that he is doing anything wrong.
  • The Owl House:
    • Jacob Hopkins is convinced that he's the hero defeating a monstrous demon. Except not only are his theories about demons wildly off base, the demon he captured is clearly terrified and doesn't want to hurt anyone. Camila even calls him out on it when she confronts him, saying that a lot of bad guys call themselves "the good guy".
    • "Hollow Mind" reveals this to be the case with the Big Bad, Emperor Belos, aka Philip Wittebane, and it's heavily Played for Horror. He seems to be under the impression that witches are a legitimate danger to humanity (befitting the views of his era) despite the fact that he has the only known working portal between realms, and need to be wiped out because they are inherently evil, showing just how Wrong Genre Savvy and close-minded he is since it's clear that they're just as morally complex as mankind. When Luz defies him and calls him evil, Belos merely quips "can't reason with crazy". He also seems to sincerely believe that him destroying the previous Grimwalkers is merely because they betrayed him, but his smile when the Collector accuses him of enjoying it implies otherwise, and he doesn't seem to get that their betrayals were more on moral grounds due to them having Copied the Morals, Too (and given the situation with Hunter, it's clear he considers merely questioning him a "betrayal"), not simply turning against him for kicks. "King's Tide" further confirms he's a Glory Hound who expects to be praised for his actions upon returning to Earth, and his attempt to petrify Luz when she rejects his beliefs and calls him out on the hypocrisy of not wanting to hurt a "fellow human" when he's no longer human himself also establishes that he will kill any human who won't accept his way is the 'correct' one. Belos is a very good example of how this trope can actually make a villain far worse.
    • The Collector is an ancient, immensely powerful Reality Warper with the mentality of a little kid, whose only motivation is wanting to play games and make friends. He was imprisoned by the Titan, and later found by Belos, who promised him freedom in exchange for the Draining Spell needed to kill everyone on the Boiling Isles. When he's freed by King in "King's Tide" we get to see just what makes him so dangerous — the Collector is easily the most powerful character in the show, but like any other child, they have little to no concept of things like "death" or "morality". They happily invite Belos to a game of tag before splattering him across a wall with a flick of their finger, innocently ask Luz, Amity, Gus, Willow and Hunter if they need a head start before playing "tag" with them too, and need to be tricked into ending the genocide of the Boiling Isles with the promise of playing "Owl House" with everyone on the island. While they're not actively malicious like Belos was, they don't seem to be capable of grasping the fact that their actions are hurting people. This is further confirmed in "Watching and Dreaming", as it's revealed they believe they can undo death the same way a broken toy can be fixed. Unlike Belos however, the Collector can be reasoned with and is capable of undergoing a Heel Realization, as Luz, King, and Eda are able to show him how kindness and empathy work. And once they see for themself that they actually can't bring the dead back to life, the Collector is horrified by the thought of anyone else dying.
  • Baljeet in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Cranius Maximus". He is not trying to kill all life on Earth by eliminating the atmosphere, he has just been driven partially insane by his newly-enhanced intelligence, and figures that it is the easiest way to see the universe better. He also seems to forget that he himself needs the atmosphere to breathe.
  • The User in ReBoot. He's just an ordinary computer user like you. But whenever he wins a game, he turns some of Mainframe's citizens into slug-like creatures.
  • Fart from Rick and Morty was a gaseous alien that Morty saved from prison who, at the end of the episode, opens up to Morty that he plans on regrouping with his species to destroy all carbon-based lifeforms, which he sees as inferior, starting with Earth. He tells Morty this without any malice or sugarcoating, genuinely believing that Morty sees him eye-to-eye due to Morty's selflessness and hopes he understands. He becomes dumbfounded and horrified when Morty tearfully shoots him to death.
  • Similarly is Lonesome Lennie, from the Screwy Squirrel short of the same name, who isn't sure why his pets stop moving.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Adora was raised by the Horde since she was a baby and thus genuinely believes their propaganda that they are a force for good in Etheria. She is shocked when she learns that people refer to them as "the Evil Horde" and is utterly horrified when she sees Horde forces attack an innocent village, motivating her to defect to the Rebellion. Her best friend Catra already knew the truth, and was actually shocked that Adora didn't know.
    • A little over halfway through the season, Entrapta becomes this, too. She defects to the Horde (albeit partially because she believes her friends abandoned her on purpose), but she isn't so much immoral as she is amoral. She is so fixated on her experiments that she gleefully works for the Horde, since it gives her the opportunity to try new things and work with First Ones tech. She isn't out to cause anyone harm...though she is so off in her own little bubble that she doesn't realize that she very easily could (and does).
    • In the fifth season Rogue Drone Wrong Hordak is so controlled by Horde propaganda that he accidentally falls in with the Rebellion on the assumption anyone being nice to him is a servant of Horde Prime. When he finally breaks free of the brainwashing and realizes the Horde is evil he genuinely thinks the heroes didn't know either.
  • This trope was applied when The Simpsons' Montgomery Burns lost his fortune and Lisa convinced him to be "environmentally friendly". He honestly tried to do the right thing, but... "What's wrong with Li'l Lisa's Slurry? It's made of 100% recycled sea animal!"
    Lisa: You're still evil! And when you try to be good, you become even MORE evil!
    • Burns is often portrayed this way in general: no matter how over-the-top evil his actions are, he considers them to be reasonable reactions against a world that has it in for him. Being constantly affirmed by Smithers probably doesn't help.
      Burns: Ironic, isn't it, Smithers? This anonymous clan of slack-jawed troglodytes has cost me the election, and yet if I were to have them killed, I would be the one to go to jail. That's democracy for you.
    • This trope applies to Homer Simpson when he is too stupid to understand that he is hurting someone by doing whatever he is doing, while he is actually trying to do good. As an example, making a video to give Lisa as a birthday present, but not recalling anything about her. Not even the stuff that should be obvious, like the fact that she is a vegetarian. The video turns out to be just tear-jerkingly, rage-inducingly insulting to her. Of course, with him Grey's Law comes up more often than not, especially nowadays.
  • South Park:
    • Eric Cartman, given his infamous nature, is very often this. The most glaring example is his "superhero" alter-ego The Coon. In "Coon vs. Coon & Friends", he not only declares his fellow team members — the actual heroes — "evil", he teams up with Cthulhu to destroy the Burning Man festival, Whole Foods, and Justin Bieber, all in the name of "good." (And it is very likely that he's genuinely insane and not just Faux Affably Evil, since he shows himself to be schizophrenic on at least two occasions, and on at least one of those occasions, his dual personality caused more misery to him than anyone else.)
      Cartman: I'm making the world a better place, Kenny!
      Kenny: For you! You're making the world a better place for you!
      Cartman: [Beat] Right, that's what superheroes do.
    • It's implied that Butters' parents have no idea their parenting and discipline come off as abuse.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: In "Much Ado About Boimler", the Osler is Starfleet's most ominous ship, with a spiky design, purple clouds perpetually surrounding it, dark corridors, and a captain with an Evil Laugh, but it turns out that he's a decent guy — if pretty solidly into Creepy Good territory — and and the end he agrees that he should probably make the ship look more inviting.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Kaminoans are Unwitting Pawns in Sidious' plans; they know about Order 66 as they're the ones who implanted the control chips in the clones, but were told that it was a secret trump card against Dark Jedi that needed to be kept under wraps. As such, they sabotage Fives' attempt to reveal the truth and indirectly get him killed, and the Revenge of the Sith goes on without a hitch despite the best efforts of Master Shaak Ti.
  • Thomas & Friends: In "Free the Roads", Bulgy the Double-Decker Bus believes that buses are better than trains, and he has an Imagine Spot depicting him as a superhero, when he's far from heroic in actuality, making rude remarks about engines and railways, and trying to cheat them out of their passengers. In addition, his fantasy portrays Percy, one of Sodor's nicest engines, as a villain.
  • Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toon Adventures really loves animals, but is unaware of the torture she puts the animals through.
  • Courtney in the fifth season Total Drama is initially in the Heroic Hamsters, but is transferred to the Villainous Vultures in the third episode. She protests and questions why she was transferred, unaware that throughout the three episodes, she was pretty much a villain. Her overall bossiness, planning to eliminate Zoey behind her back, and using an injured Sam as a human shield. In fact, throughout the series, Courtney is the only antagonist (or antagonistic character like Duncan and Eva) who is oblivious that she is a jerk towards everyone and still thinks everyone loves her.
    • Courtney was considered the main villain in one season, but still didn't seem to comprehend that there was anything wrong with her actions.
  • Wander over Yonder: While the majority of the antagonists are proud examples of a Card-Carrying Villain, complete with having a leaderboard of who has conquered the most planets, there are a couple of examples of this trope.
    • 'The Party Animal' shows that Emperor Awesome think's he's the Life of the Party and that the citizens of planets he shows up to have a planet-destroying party at are having just as good of a time as he is.
    • Dr. Screwball in 'The Boy Wander' is Wander's arch-nemesis who he actually treats as a serious threat. This is because they both want to go around the galaxy making people happy, the key difference is Screwball wants to do it by force, such as using a Tickle Torture laser beam.
  • The Venture Brothers: The oft-mentioned-on-the-trope-page Alternative Character Interpretation of Rusty Venture is that he is actually more of a villain than a hero. At one point, he asks Brock if he is a bad person. He seems genuinely upset at the concept. It also doesn't help that Brock is reluctant to say he's evil. He doesn't think Rusty's evil, he just thinks he's a Jerkass. And he's right.


Video Example(s):


Wedding March

Peach steps outside to the aisle during Bowser's wedding and is shocked when the prisoners that the Koopa Troop captured throughout the movie, such as Luigi and Cranky Kong, are about to be sacrificed by Bowser as a wedding gift, thinking she'd be impressed by it. All set to Wedding March by Felix Mendelssohn.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / SoundtrackDissonance

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