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The Good, the Bad, and the Evil

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Many conflicts in fiction are about good vs evil. It's simple and easy to follow, but its straightforwardness might make it stale after a while.

Enter this trope - where a third faction is introduced, the "bad guys" - or the "grey faction".

That the good guys are good and evil guys are evil is a given, but it's the added "bad guys" or "grey guys and other good guys" that stirs the whole dynamic. They aren't quite good but not that bad, and their motivations might be either similar to one side, to both sides, or neither. There are multiple ways this can go about:

  • The grey faction is presented as an antagonist alongside the black faction (who may either ally with each other, be against each other, or simply be running around at the same time), while the white faction opposes both. The white faction may either sympathize with the gray one and perhaps try to convince them to go good, or they may show the same animosity that they show towards the black faction until it's revealed that the gray guys may not be so bad after all.
  • The grey faction is presented as an ally to the white one, and both of them oppose the black one. Either the gray faction was simply a morally ambiguous faction without any relation to the white faction prior to the story, or the gray faction was once antagonistic and/or allied with the black faction, in which case the alliance is a case of Enemy Mine and that an Enemy Civil War had occurred.
  • It can also be just an all-out Mêlée à Trois, where only one can win, depending on the story. Often in this case, all sides are after the same MacGuffin but for different reasons.
  • When there are varying moralities and loyalties in the members of the bad faction, it may balance out as grey thanks to some of them being as bad as the evil ones, while the rest are Anti-Villains at worst.

In fact, at least some of the "bad" guys most of the time have to be Anti-Villains (any of its flavors) in order to clearly stand as morally superior to the "evil" ones, or if nothing else display that Even Evil Has Standards. The "black" faction (or at least, its leader/prominent members) may also possibly be in just For the Evulz.

Compare Morality Kitchen Sink, in which characters from everywhere on the moral spectrum are present but aren't conveniently sorted into white, gray, and black factions. Compare also to Evil Versus Oblivion, where both sides are definitely evil, but the "Evil" side is nominally "better" (if only due to Pragmatic Villainy) than the "Oblivion" side, so the other factions decide that the latter absolutely must not win (although the reverse is not unheard of either). Also to Angels, Devils and Squid and Nice Mean And In Between.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Sanctuary: Granted it's an oversimplification, but humans and Evils are generally the Good (in spite of the latters' name), Lucifer, the Satans and their ilk are the Bad, and the Angels are the Evil. Granted, there are a few good angels, (Adam Kadamon, Alexiel, Anael, Zaphkiel, Raziel and Gabriel), and a few others who are more neutral (Michael, Raphael, Uriel, and the Metatron), but the ruling powers (Rosiel, Sevothtarte, Sandalphon, YHWH) are all bad, and even the good angels are occasionally antagonists.
  • The final arc of Aura Battler Dunbine causes the many factions to split into three such groups. The various resistance groups opposed to the villains rally around Queen Ciela (Big Good), the visionary and pragmatic Drake who leads a bunch of anti-villains and Noble Demon form the "Bad" and a splinter faction that broke away from Drake lead by King Bishott and made up of an Evil Overlord, a Mad Scientist and a bunch of Axe-Crazy minions form the "Evil". Drake and Bishott still technically have a nonaggression pact but Drake knows it's just a farce and Bishott will kill him once the heroes are gone so during the final battle he feigns an emergency and sends Bishott's army out first so that the heroes would shoot him down and then strategically places himself behind Bishott's battleship so he can't run away when things start going bad.
  • In Cheat Magician Life That Started From Being Judged Useless, the city of Volzard has an entertainment district that is run by three bosses, the pleasant and jovial Menendez, who is the "good" of the three, the Loan Shark Volent who cooks his books and abuses debts to sell people to other countries as slaves, and Olivia, the evil, who not only straight up murders people and feeds the corpses to monsters but is very, very vindictive and just will not rest until she retaliates against any offense, real or imagined, and doesn't care if she drags innocents into her quarrels, being well known for Revenge by Proxy if she can't go after the target(s) of her ire directly.
  • In Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, the Future Foundation can be divided into the Good, which are Makoto, the survivors of class 78 and the ones helping them (Tengan, Great Gozu, Gekkogahara, and Mitarai); The Bad, composed by the Radical Faction, Munakata, Sakakura, Kimura, Andou, Izayoi and Yukizome and The Evil, who is the one behind the Final Killing Game. As time goes on, it delves more into a Morality Kitchen Sink. Munakata goes into Sanity Slippage after Episode 5, and his actions seem to be a lot more within the Evil range, until episode 10 when it's revealed Yukizome was a Despair and manipulating him (placing her in the Evil category), and Naegi manages to get through to him, and he ends the series in between Good and Bad. Gekkogahara is revealed to be a robot duplicate of the real person placed into the game by Monaca, who really just wanted to observe; however, considering her past actions (and the fact that she killed the real Miaya), she's pretty clearly in the Evil category, even if the most she does is pretend to kill Hina. Tengan is also placed into the Evil category when it's revealed he masterminded the killing game, seemingly for the sake of pushing Mitarai to the breaking point in order to get him to brainwash the world.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The first third of Dragon Ball Z's Frieza Saga is a three-way war between Gohan and Krillin (the Good), previous saga villain Vegeta (the Bad), and Big Bad Frieza and his army (the Evil). The good and the bad end up joining forces when Frieza summons the Ginyu Force. The exact words of the trope were used by Cartoon Network to advertise it at one point, referring to Goku, Vegeta and Frieza respectively.
    • It comes up again in the Cell Saga, with the Z Fighters as the good, Androids 16, 17, and 18 as the bad, and Cell himself as the evil.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Tower of Heaven arc: Fairy Tail is the good, Erza's old friends are the bad, Jellal (possessed by Zeref) and Trinity Raven are the evil.
    • In the Tenrou Island arc, Fairy Tail is the Good, and while Grimoire Heart or Zeref could possibly be considered the Evil, there is a far greater Evil than them in play, that being Acnologia.
    • The title guild enters the Grand Magic Games to reclaim the reputation they lost during the Time Skip. Sabretooth, the current #1 guild, isn't very nice to anyone trying to unseat them, but at least they aren't cheating like Raven Tail.
    • Erza is one of the few people who knows the true story behind Jellal's crimes. Kagura is in the dark, only knowing that Jellal killed her brother, Simon. So when Kagura sees Erza talking to Jellal, Minerva uses Kagura's rage (and holds Millianna hostage) to goad her into fighting Erza so she doesn't have to face them both herself.
    • The three God Slayers. Sherria (Good) is a cute, clumsy Little Miss Badass who quickly befriends her Dragon Slayer counterpart. Orga (Bad) is an arrogant Jerkass, but is a member of a legal guild and is horrified when his Guild Master seemingly killed one of their own. Zancrow (Evil) is an Ax-Crazy sociopath who kills his own men and is a member of the aforementioned Grimore Heart one of the Darkest Guilds in the series.
    • Another example from the Sun Village arc: Fairy Tail is the Good, trying to save the frozen village and revive the Eternal Flame; the treasure hunters are the Bad, not caring about the village and trying to steal the flame for themselves; and Succubus Eye is the Evil, trying to kill Fairy Tail, the treasure hunters, and destroy what's left of the frozen village.
    • In the Alvarez Empire arc, Fairy Tail and all of the other Fiore guilds are the Good; the invading Alvarez Empire and its Spriggan 12 are the Bad; and Acnologia is the Evil.
  • Gundam:
  • Hellsing has the Hellsing Organization (mostly good), the Iscariots (bad), and Millennium (evil). At the end of the series, the Iscariots briefly leave Hellsing alone to fight Millennium but when Maxwell goes off the deep end and crosses the Moral Event Horizon by ordering the people of London killed for being Protestants, they end up being annihilated along with Millennium by Alucard.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable features more morally grey characters than previous parts, many of whom are young people just discovering their powers and have not yet been tempered by a good ass-kicking. The only truly evil characters are Angelo and Kira, who have been monsters their whole lives, and as such are the only villains never offered redemption.
  • This situation happens at the turning point of Kill la Kill, when Satsuki betrays Ragyo. At this point, Ryuko and Nudist Beach are the Good, Satsuki and the Elite Four, who had been running a brutal fascist dictatorship for the eventual greater good, can be seen as the Bad, while Ragyo and her minions, at the forefront of an alien invasion, are the Evil. Satsuki and the Elite Four do come to regret the atrocities they have committed, and by the end of the anime they are also The Good.
  • Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force seems to have been heading this way before its untimely cancellation/permanent hiatus, with Hayate's Special Duty Section 6 as the obvious and traditional Good guys, the Hückebein as the (very) mercenary and self-absorbed Bads, and the Vandein Corporation and, in particular, its enigmatic leader Hades Vandein as the Evils. Interestingly, the manga started off by trying to present SDS6 as the Bads by having them pursue the new protagonist trio (Thoma, Lily, and Isis) and the Hückebeins as the Evils, by first introducing their more Ax-Crazy members. Only later did it turn out that Thoma's gang were pursued for their own good, while the Hückebeins eventually gained the third dimension by showing their more sane (and obviously more influential) members and also their familial interactions with each other and Thoma. Hades' apparent villainy, meanwhile, wasn't revealed until the last published arc.
  • Muhyo and Roji has the eponymous duo and their friends, the Goryo Group and Ark. The first group ekes out a living helping send lingering spirits on to the afterlife and is eventually drawn into the fight against forbidden magical law users. Goryo's group is a highly successful and corrupt organization of magical law practitioners that takes possession of Muhyo's office. Ark is a long-standing organization of forbidden magical law users that is allied with Enchu. The distinction between the latter two groups becomes clear when the Goryo Group, which is still a legal organization despite its shady dealings, tries to go on the offensive against Ark, only for Ark to set fire to their headquarters and abduct Goryo. Muhyo then end up having to save Goryo from Ark. Nana, who'd hated Goryo, remarks that Tomas, Goryo's former teacher and abductor, is much more loathsome than Goryo is.
  • In Saint Beast, the Saint Beasts are the good, Lucifer is the bad, and Zeus is the evil, although initially the latter two seem the other way around. The angels know things aren't right with the missions Zeus is sending them on but reject Lucifer's offer to join him because they know he's responsible for demons attacking humans. However, when they finally decide to rebel against Zeus they end up on the same side as Lucifer without actually agreeing to work together.
  • Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas; Athena's army is the good, and Pandora splits up from Alone upon learning that he was never truly possessed by Hades.

    Comic Books 
  • In Legacy, it is finally established for good in Star Wars canon. The Empire is split into Darth Krayt's Sith Empire (the evil) and Roan Fel's Empire (dictatorial but not really evil).
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Of course Wonder Woman is good and the Nazis are evil, but Ares, who was initially presented as evil does not actually support Nazi dogma and is only promoting conflict because he needs it to survive is bad but not evil, and Zeus, who was initially presented as good is acually at least as bad if not worse than the Nazis.
  • In G.I. Joe, this eventually happened in Cobra's ranks. Serpentor's splinter group the Coil fought against Cobra proper. Of course, matters only become more complicated when you realize that Cobra was already a little shaky, being an alliance between Cobra Commander's actual Cobra forces, Destro and his Iron Grenadiers, Zartan and the Dreadnoks, Tomax and Xamot and the Crimson Guard, independent contractors like Dr. Venom, Kwinn, Major Bludd, and Blackout, and Firefly and the Arashikage ninjas, with each group constantly vying for ultimate supremacy… Cobra's got to be one of the least stable factions in all of fiction, really.
    • Marvel's GI Joe Comics did this fairly often too. The Joes often went up against the Winter Guard (Chummy Commies) or Kwinn the Eskimo (purely mercenary), only for both sides to team up against the much Eviler Cobra.

    Fan Works 
  • Better Bones AU: Done with the three political factions of the Clans. Fire Alone is the "good" ideology that treats outsiders with respect and is willing to change some of the harsher practices of the Clans that lead to constant battles and xenophobia. Thistle Law is the clearly "evil" ideology, accentuating normal Clan obsession with war and discrimination against outsiders, rejecting some of the more merciful parts of the Code like the Queens' Rights and being the cause of much violence and tragedy throughout the series. Traditionalism represents the "bad" middle ground, still seeing Clan loyalty and Code-following as important in a way that has led to much violence and destruction in itself, but respecting softer parts of the Code and not going as far in its violence as Thistle Law. This dynamic is embodied by the Traditionalist Mistystar, who is responsible for cruel actions of her own in enforcing the Code when the Imposter is in power in the rewritten The Broken Code, but nonetheless recognizes Thistle Law as the enemy and does everything she can to root it out.
  • The Bridge has an arc that more or less is this. The Dark Hunters mercilessly kidnap Princess Twilight, with the Terran Defenders and the Rainbooms trying to save her. As it turns out they, along with the Sirens, were targeted by the human Twilight Sparkle, who stole Sonata's necklace, and they mistook Princess Twilight for her. She, along with Wallflower Blush, are in league with a psychotically evil group of Wendigos, albeit because the former have convinced the latter that they are fighting for a noble cause. It culminates in a large storyline where each side is fighting one another.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: Act 2 and Act 3's main factions on the Train side consists of the Red Lotus Trio/Quarto as the Good (wanting to stop the Apex for good with Amelia hoping to save Hazel from Grace and Simon), Henry and Walter as the Bad (who wish to enact a ritual in the Fog Car that will trap the Apex for good) and the Apex, particularly Grace and Simon as the Evil (killing and slaughtering denizens). By Act 3, Bad and Evil get swapped when Simon dies and Grace decides she wants nothing to do with her cult and Henry and Walter still want the Apex to die despite this.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: The main conflict boils down to this with Jaune and his friends as the Good, Cinder Fall and her faction as the Bad, and Darth Nihilus as the Evil. Whereas Cinder wants to be feared and powerful, Nihilus seeks to consume all life on Remnant.
    • The overarching conflict is also like this with Ozpin as the Good, Salem as the Bad, and Darth Nihilus (again) as the Evil. Ozpin wants to unite humanity and redeem them in the eyes of the Brother Gods, Salem wants to destroy humanity in order to end her curse of immortality, and Nihilus just wants to kill everything.
    • This dynamic changes up a bit after Jaune falls to the Dark Side. For the first half of the third act, we have team JNPR and RWBY as the Good, Dark Side Jaune as the Bad, and Cinder Fall as the Evil. Even under the Dark Side's influence, Jaune still wants to protect his friends, but has become an unfettered sociopath in the process. Unlike Dark Side Jaune, Cinder is just plain evil and is driven solely by a lust for power.
  • In Left Beyond, this is the whole point: whether you think God is Good and Satan is Evil in that universe, or vice versa, the Omega are definitely Bad, and by design: they are a quasi-AI designed specifically to be amoral, all they care about is the survival of enough human beings to propagate the species.
  • Maris Stella: Maris Stella, Tenechat, and the Order of the Guardians are the unambiguously good side, fighting to stop Riodinidae and Paravani, and later Madame Butterfly. Riodinidae and Paravani turn out to be the grey side, Anti Villains who seek the Wish for noble purposes, but are a danger to the public in how they do it and are willing to inflict the price on innocents. And the unambiguously evil side ends up being Madame Butterfly, after Alexton manages to take the Butterfly Miraculous for herself, who wants to Take Over the World solely to feed her own ego.

    Films — Animation 
  • The three parties looking for the Wishing Star in Puss in Boots: The Last Wish fall into this moral arrangement.
    • Puss in Boots, Kitty Softpaws, and Perrito are the Good; Puss is a heroic, if arrogant (at first) outlaw, Kitty is a hardened but ultimately good-hearted thief, and Perrito is a cheerful All-Loving Hero dog following the former two for support.
    • Goldilocks and the Three Bears are the Bad; even though they're feared criminals, they could qualify as Villainy-Free Villains, as they're ultimately quite endearing and redeemable, with Goldi having a sympathetic wish and the Bears as her loving adoptive family — and in the end, they help Puss's group take down the badder guy, Jack Horner, by destroying the Wishing Star map.
    • And as previously stated, "Big" Jack Horner is the Evil; he's a ruthless crime boss who proves himself repeatedly to be nothing but a selfish, sociopathic monster, and a Card-Carrying Villain who will happily disregard the lives of anyone around him just to get the Wishing Star. He has zero redeeming qualities, and could probably count as the ultimate Big Bad of the movie, considering his wish would have devastating consequences for the world if he won. He's given the comeuppance he deserves in the climax.
    • The outlier is the Wolf, who's in a category all of his own. In fact, he has no alignment with anyone after the Wishing Star and doesn't partake at all in the conflict surrounding it, showing up only to antagonize Puss. This is because he's an Eldritch Abomination-esque version of The Grim Reaper, so the desirability of the Wishing Star doesn't apply to him — his only reason for following along with the plot is to hunt down Puss for his final life before the latter can wish for his lives back.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The final battle of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) has this, with The Xandarians and The Guardians as the Good (Stopping Ronan and Securing the power stone), The Ravager as the bad (Steal and selling the Power Stone), and Ronan with his Armies as the evil (Destroying Xandar).
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (which is unsurprisingly a partial Trope Namer) has Bounty Hunter Blondie (The Good) as the (antiheroic) Good, Bandito Tuco (The Ugly) as The Bad, and Professional Killer Angel Eyes (The Bad) as The Evil.
  • The film Hard Rain does this with its three main characters. Tom (Christian Slater)'s security guard is the good, with Jim's (Morgan Freeman) armed robber apparently the bad, as his gang attempts to rob Tom's armoured car, and were responsible for killing Tom's uncle Charlie (Ed Asner). In a twist, the Evil is the corrupt Sheriff who likewise goes after the money from the truck, which Tom had hidden. When Jim is revealed to have been in cahoots with Charlie and had not wanted to kill anyone, he teams up with Tom, kills the Sheriff and Tom lets him escape.
  • Heat has a mostly good LAPD squad led by Lieutenant Hanna (who's the grayest among them), Neil McCauley's crew who have either loved ones or standards as the Bad, and Waingro, a vicious psychopath who has a feud with McCauley over senseless violence and has serial killings investigated by Hanna as the Evil.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. has America's best agent team up with Soviet Russia's against the greater threat of an evil crime syndicate building its own nukes. It's pretty subjective whether the American or the Russian is the Bad; indeed, a recurring point is that they're not that different.
  • The B-Movie Redline uses this, which has Natasha Martin, Carlo and Infamous (combined with his crew) being the Good, Michael being the (anti-villainous) Bad, and Godfather being the Evil.
  • Similar to "UNCLE", The Spy Who Loved Me has James Bond pressed into working alongside those Dirty Commies he usually fights to defeat a much more threatening villain.
  • In the Star Wars franchise, you have the Jedi (usually hooked up with some version of the Republic or the Rebellion) as the white, the Sith (hooked up with the Empire or the First Order) as the black, and an absolutely vast criminal underworld as the grey, ranging from lovable antiheroes like Han and Chewie, to Punch Clock Villains who are Only in It for the Money like Boba Fett, to total scumbags like Jabba.
  • Thor: The Dark World does this with an Enemy Mine between Thor and Anti-Villain Loki. Loki is in prison for trying to subjugate Earth, but Thor needs his help to stop the Dark Elves, who plan to destroy the universe. The fact that Loki wants revenge for his mother's death helps, too.
  • Truth or Consequences, N.M. On one side, there's a gang of four Villain Protagonists who steal drugs from the Mafia and intend to sell them for money. On another side is the FBI chasing the misfits. And on another side is a gang of mobsters led by a ruthless hitman who has no problem torturing an innocent man by cutting off his fingers.
  • X2: X-Men United: The X-Men are the Good, Magneto and his Brotherhood are the Bad, and Stryker and his goals of mutant genocide are the Evil.

  • The Dresden Files:
    • Johnny Marcone turned out to be such an intensely awesome Anti-Villain that he's on Harry's side more often than not. This irritates Harry, who really, really wants to be able to write him off as "criminal scum," but has some trouble with that when Marcone is going to incredible lengths just to try to get a girl out of a coma.
    • The purpose of the Winterfae is to protect humanity from the Outsiders. The purpose of the Summerfae, meanwhile, is to protect humanity from the Winterfae.
  • The later books of the Harry Potter series sets up this dynamic with the heroic Order of the Phoenix, the irredeemably evil Death Eaters, and the steadily more and more corrupt Ministry of Magic.
  • Honor Harrington does this with the second coup d'etat of Haven, firmly putting the Anti-Villain group in control of the government, and a lot of the former SS and power-hungry types out on the run as renegades. Notable for having it simply flip the status quo in a few areas: there're still bad Havenites, but now they're the exception rather than the rule. Even before the second change of government, Haven filled the role of "the bad" when it came to the relationship between Manticore, Haven, and Mesa/Manpower Inc. There were references that Manticore and Haven not only shared a loathing for Manpower, Haven was considered, even by Manticorans, to be the more dedicated opponent to slavery.
  • In Mistborn you have several levels of this—Vin, Elend, and Sazed are the good, Kelsier and most of the skaa rebellion are pretty good, the Lord Ruler and most of the human bad guys are the bad, and Ruin and the Inquisitors are the evil.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien 's The Silmarillion, the Noldor elves under Fingolfin and his and Finarfin's descendants could qualify as Good, showing the most respect towards both the Valar and the rest of the Children of Ilúvatar, while Fëanorians are certainly Bad, being willing to kill innocents to get the Silmarils back, and they both face Morgoth and his minions, who are nothing short of Evil. The individual differences of the members of the house of Fëanor manage to even things out with characters such as Maedros and Maglor leaning more towards the nobler side while Celegorm, Curufin and Fëanor himself have more similarities with the dark forces that they have sworn to fight against.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, this dynamic appears again between the three main characters who wind up going to Mordor itself. Frodo qualifies as the Good (despite failing at the end of the quest); if you consider Sam to be the true hero of the story, he falls in that category too (Sam might be a purer example). Then as the Bad, you get Gollum: treacherous, corrupted, murderous, but ultimately driven insane by the Ring and his dual personality, and a pitiful and sad being. And as the Evil, you have Sauron, the Lord of the Rings, who is nothing but the closest thing to absolute evil, has no redeemable features, and is bent on dominating the entirety of Middle-earth.
    • It also appears among the kingdoms and races. The Elves, Dwarves, and the kingdoms of Rohan and Gondor, plus other wild men like the Drúedain, are clearly the Good, despite the defects they might have. The Men of Rhûn and Harad are the Bad; they are servants of Sauron, but they are men, and many of them are noble and decent people fighting on the wrong side. And then Mordor is the Evil, with the Orcs, Trolls, Nâzgul, Shelob, and of course, Sauron himself.
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, the popularity of southern-fried Psycho for Hire Billy-Ray Sanguine means that more often than not his later appearances feature him aiding the protagonists; first in order to contain the Remnant outbreak and later during the War of the Sanctuaries.
  • After the Emperor's death, the Empire in the Star Wars Expanded Universe started breaking up.
    • Various captains and admirals left with their forces and became warlords, sometimes rejoining the Empire later, sometimes the New Republic, sometimes becoming isolationist, and most often fighting everyone. The Courtship of Princess Leia and three books of the X-Wing Series deal with the New Republic's campaign against Warlord Zsinj. In Courtship he's a cardboard baddie, but in the X-Wing Series he's really clever and nasty. Enough so that both the Empire and the New Republic form task forces to take him down, and surreptitiously they end up working together, both aware that this wouldn't last and if this cooperation was ever reported they'd face treason charges.
    • Warlordism and the attrition that comes from a new leader rising to the fore, striking the New Republic, and getting beat down eventually whittled the Empire down small enough that Captain Pellaeon, who'd patiently served under each leader and picked up the pieces after, was forced to join a warlord. Eventually, during the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Daala talked the various warlords into meeting together to try and get them to join forces; she and Pellaeon sat out their arguing, then put on gas masks and watched the warlords die. Then Daala lost a good portion of this newly-replenished Empire and left it to Pellaeon. A few years later, and Supreme Commander Pellaeon worked to make peace with the New Republic, while other elements of the Imperial Remnant fought furiously to prevent this. Decades after that, Grand Admiral Pellaeon was one of the heroes' most reliable allies until he was assassinated by the Sith.
  • In the Warrior Cats book The Darkest Hour, ThunderClan and WindClan, the two heroic Clans, team up with ShadowClan and RiverClan, the two villainous Clans, to fight a worse evil; Scourge, who wants to take over their territory.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The second season of The 100 has the Arc dwellers aka "Sky People" teaming up with their former adversaries the Grounders to oppose the inhabitants of Mount Weather. Since the show operates on Grey-and-Gray Morality it's more muddled than the usual case but Mount Weather is definitely the darkest shade around.
  • Big Bad Beetleborgs: Flabber and the children are good, the Hillhurst monsters are bad, and the Magnivores are evil.
  • Breaking Bad has some elements of this, though who's where depends on which season. In the beginning, Hank is The Good, Walt and Jesse are The Bad, and the various drug lords and cartels that are the antagonists (Tuco, Gus, etc.) are The Evil. Given that the show is the very archetype of the Protagonist Journey to Villain arc, this changes a bit in the final season. In Season 5A, Hank is The Good, Mike is The Bad, and Walt is the Evil. While in Season 5B, Hank is The Good, Jesse is The Bad, while Walt, Jack, and Lydia are The Evil.
  • Better Call Saul mostly runs on Black-and-Gray Morality. It has Jimmy and the more honorable criminals like Mike and Nacho dealing with the eviler cartel villains like Hector. Unlike Breaking Bad, there is no heroic lead to play The Good most of the time. In Season 6 however, the trope comes back. Howard becomes The Good, Jimmy, Mike, and Kim are The Bad, and Lalo Salamanca is The Evil.
  • The season 2 finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ends with Buffy teaming up with Spike to stop Angelus from destroying the world. As Spike explained it, he likes the world; lots of fun things to do and plenty of humans to eat.
  • The Cape now seems to have established something like this with the Cape as the Good, the Carnival of Crime as the Bad, and Fleming/Chess as the Evil. it may even be a four-way with Scales somewhere between the Carnival and Fleming or as Evil, just opposed to Fleming.
  • Starting in the third season, Cobra Kai takes this approach with its three main dojos. The titular Thug Dojo is the "Evil", prioritizing aggression over all else; Miyagi-Do is the "Good", focusing on a Martial Pacifist philosophy; and the newly-formed Eagle Fang is the "Bad", being an Anti-Hero Team of former Cobra Kai members who try to combine their former dojo's Combat Pragmatist approach with a sense of honor and restraint. The third-to-last episode of the season lampshades this trope with its title, "The Good, the Bad, and the Badass".
  • Continuum has a variant of this in the third season finale. Good and Bad (Kiera, Brad, and Liber 8) team up to take out, not a bad guy who's Eviler than Thou, but a former good guy ( the original Alec) who's sliding down the slippery slope. Overall, the show starts out with Liber 8 as the Evil and Kiera and the police (represented by Dillon) as the Good but shows an increasingly Knight Templar-ish Dillon sliding into the Evil spot.
  • Deadwood, once George Hearst shows up in season two. Seth Bullock is the face of the Good; he's not the morally purest person around, but his devotion to justice makes him at least more heroic than others. Al Swearengen's faction, Bullock's antagonists in the first season, are the Bad; they're a pimp and his cronies attempting to prevent the town from rising above the status of Outlaw Town so they won't have to deal with the government. Hearst, though, is a Nietzsche Wannabe mining magnate who will see the town utterly destroyed if it attempts to resist his complete domination.
  • To say Dollhouse uses this trope a lot would be to understate dreadfully. While actives themselves are good, Paul Ballard is good-ish, and the entire LA Dollhouse staff is deeply grey. We all just agree Alpha is evil as are the people in charge of Rossum as a whole. And by the end, this has fragmented even further. The surviving staff of the LA Dollhouse are firmly on the good side, and so is, surprisingly enough, Alpha. Victor and a few others have gone grayer, but by now the only true evil people are the remnants of Rossum.
  • The Flash (2014) has Barry Allen/Flash and his friends in Team Flash as the good and speedsters such as Zoom and Savitar as the Evil. As the Bad, Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash is a recurring ally and mentor for Team Flash while still remaining a murderous supervillain.
  • In the first two seasons of House of Anubis, this applied. Sibuna and their allies were the good guys, the Secret Society were bad, and then Rufus Zeno was pure evil. In season 2 it's more complicated with another addition to the pure evil side—Senkhara—who was also competing against Rufus and the society as they all wanted the mask, and Sibuna were the ones who had to get it for her. So it was pure evil forcing good to end up fighting against bad and evil again.
  • Inazuman has this with its three mutant factions. Inazuman and the Youth League are the "Good" as pro-human mutants. The Phantom Army are the "Bad", being Fantastic Nazis who want to genocide humanity. And the Despar Army are the "Evil", being a Renegade Splinter Faction of the Phantom Army who split off from them because they weren't genocidal and Nazi-ish enough for the Despar Army's tastes.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Gaim has this, though the roles keep shifting as more and more is revealed. It starts off with Team Gaim as the Good, the rival Beat Rider gangs (particularly Team Baron) as the bad, and the Yggdrasill Corporation as the "Evil". Later on, as the Beat Riders become more unified and the true stakes become apparent, it becomes Kouta as the Good, Kaito as the more aloof Good, Yggdrasill as the Bad and the Overlord Inves as the Evil.
    • Kamen Rider Drive has this. The Good are the Special Unit, who protect people from the Bad, the Roidmudes, who seek to dominate the humans because of their negative emotions programmed by the Evil, their inventor, who seeks to Take Over the World. The only thing though is that the Evil doesn't show up until the final leg of the show.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid starts out with the Doctor Riders as the Good, rogue Doctor Rider Taiga Hanaya as the "Bad" and Parado and Kuroto Dan as the Evil, but these roles shift as infighting in the villains occurs and greater threats emerge. And then Masamune Dan becomes the Eviler, prompting everyone else to ally against him.
    • Similar to Gaim, alignments in Kamen Rider Build continually change as the stakes keep getting bigger.
    • Zigzagged in Kamen Rider Zero-One, where the Good are Aruto Hiden and his allies, but multiple antagonists exchange the roles of the Bad and the Evil among them.
      • For much of the show,, a terrorist cell of rogue HumaGear androids led by one called Horobi, comprise the Bad faction. Like in Drive, the Evil faction only comes into play midway through the series, with Gai Amatsu and his ZAIA Enterprise not only providing an Eviler than Thou foil but is also revealed to be The Man Behind the Man for MetsubouJinrai.
      • However, this eventually flips, as MetsubouJinrai revives their leader AI, the Ark, and becomes far more of a threat; while Gai faces severe Villain Decay as karma for his earlier actions.
      • But then even MetsubouJinrai realizes just how insane and hate-filled the Ark is, abandoning its Evil and repositioning themselves as just Bad. Meanwhile, Gai has a Heel Realization and starts trying to be Good.
      • And in the final story arc, the Ark is destroyed and its Evil is taken off the table, but now Aruto and Horobi are caught up in a Cycle of Revenge that the rest of the cast (Good and Bad alike) is desperately trying to stop before an all-out war starts.
    • Kamen Rider Saber starts off with a fairly simple Good vs Evil plot between the Sword of Logos and the Megid, but in the second arc a split occurs when it's discovered there's a Hidden Villain within the Sword of Logos. Touma Kamiyama leaves the SOL to hunt for the traitor and effectively forms a new faction that becomes the "Good", his former comrades in SOL's Northern Base become a reluctant "Bad" after they're convinced he's a traitor, and the Megid stay as the "Evil". Later on, as Touma attracts more and more people to his side, new Bads crop up in Kento as the new Calibur, who is determined to avert the Bad Future he saw by any means necessary, and the Shindai siblings, who are hunting Touma for similar reasons as Northern Base was, but are far more ruthless about it. The Megid meanwhile are joined in the "Evil" category by Master Logos.
  • During season 4 of Lost, Ben, Affably Evil and Magnificent Bastard that he is, talks his way into sort of teaming up with the good guys against Psycho for Hire Keamy and his men, although Ben still had his own agenda the whole time.
  • Lost Girl in spades: the Light (good), the Dark (bad), and the monsters (evil). Though the Light and Dark are actually lighter and darker shades of grey.
  • Season 2 of Nikita is shaping up like this, with Nikita and her allies as the Good, Division and their Man Behind the Man Oversight as the Bad, and Gogol and their Man Behind the Man Zetrov as the Evil. Following the status quo changing events about midway through the season, the list changed: Team Nikita is still the Good along with the Heel Face Turned last living members of Oversight, but Zetrov's head Semak is now closer to the Bad, and the Evil can be best represented by Amanda and her partner Ari (Semak's Starscream), with Percy still somewhere between Bad and Evil.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Emma and her family are (usually) the Good, while Rumplestiltskin is the Bad; he has dark powers and is The Chessmaster, but he has sympathetic motives and is often able and willing to help the good guys...for a price. The Evil of season 1 is Regina, but she herself shifts to gray and then to good as the series goes on, and other characters like Cora, Zelena, Hades, and the Black Fairy take the part of the Evil. Spinoff Once Upon a Time in Wonderland also followed this; Alice and Cyrus were the Good, the Red Queen, Will and the Caterpillar were the Bad, and Jafar was the Evil.
  • Sons of Anarchy takes this and shifts it a few steps down the morality scale. Through most of the show, the Sons are Nominal Heroes or Anti Heroes who team up with local law enforcement and other gangs to take out even worse gangs, like skinheads.
  • In Star Trek, particularly Deep Space Nine, the Maquis fill the role of the grey (with the Federation as the white and the Cardassians and/or the Dominion as the black). The Federation really did leave them hanging in a terrible situation, making their position feel pretty well justified or at least sympathetic, but they still resort to morally dubious tactics that bring them into conflict with Starfleet on a regular basis. Still, it's highly debatable just how justified the Federation is in its ongoing beef with them. Ensign Ro outright defects to them, and half the cast of Voyager are ex-Maquis.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger: The Hurricanegers are the Good, the Gouraigers (a rival Sentai duo to the Hurricanegers) are the Bad and the Jakanja are the Evil.
    • Juken Sentai Gekiranger, sort of. The GekiJyuKen school is the Good, represented by the heroes and their Martial Pacifist teachers. RinJyuKen school is the Bad — represented by our heroes' main rivals and some faux-Darwinist teachers. GenJyuKen is the Evil — not so much a school as a front for an immortal monster who wants to destroy civilization out of boredom.
    • Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger is set up like this, with the twist that the "Bad" faction, the Lupinrangers, are not actually villains. They're presented as heroes alongside the "Good" team, the Patrangers; but they're Anti-Hero Phantom Thieves that clash with the Patrangers on the police force who want to arrest them. Both are against the Evil, the Gangler crime syndicate, for their own reasons — the Patrangers want to serve justice for their crimes, while the Lupinrangers are after the Ganglers' treasures.
    • The faction dynamic in Avataro Sentai Donbrothers shapes up as this, with the Donbrothers being genuine heroes even in spite of their personal issues (the Good), the Nōto being The Unfettered who nevertheless also seek to stop the Hitotsu-Ki like the Donbrothers (the Bad), and the Jūto who are a threat to both humans and The Metaverse alike (the Evil). It's later revealed that the Jūto are tragic monsters — leaving the Evil side to be the Nōto Council, The Man Behind the Man of the main trio.
    • Ohsama Sentai King-Ohger plays with the usual binary morality of the series. The titular Ohsama Sentai use their powers to protect their world, Tikyū (the Good), Racules the king of Shugoddam is revealed to be a power-hungry ruler working against them and the Bognaarok alike (the Bad), and the Bognaarok seek to destroy all life on the planet's surface (the Evil). Sixth Ranger Jeremy/Spider Kumonos later adds a fourth, Neutral side to the conflict during his introduction, serving as an enigma to all other sides.
    • Power Rangers Samurai, the first season featured a Nighlock called Deker, who while wasn't strictly evil, wasn't good either. He would sometimes ally with the Rangers to fight against the other Nighlock but he could just as easily oppose them such as when they almost killed Dayu, but ultimately all he wanted was a Worthy Opponent and that was to fight Jayden.
  • The Wire: Starting roughly in Season 3, the cops of the Major Crimes Unit (no angels, but on their side—most of the time) are the Good, the Barksdale Organization and Proposition Joe's Organization (well-established Baltimore drug dealers, willing to use violence but preferring peaceful settlements as better for business) are the Bad, and the Stanfield Organization (run by the utterly ruthless and cold-blooded sociopath Marlo Stanfield, who has zero compunctions about murdering anyone for any reason) is the Evil.

  • The band GWAR follows this heavily.

  • In the The Bright Sessions, Dr. Bright and most of her patients are generally good, Damien is usually bad, and the AM is largely evil. However, there's an element of Black-and-Gray Morality and Morality Kitchen Sink, as Dr. Bright manipulating her patients for personal rescue missions is less than ideal, and Agent Green has good intentions despite being a party to the AM's evil.
  • Dice Funk usually has this in each of its seasons
    • Dice Funk Season 1 Stoneroot has the player characters, aided by Lord Earlan, as the good, though they're still morally dubious, the invading people of Acamoros led by Phiro and the Stonerotten gang led by Tamsin, as the bad, and the Eldritch Abomination Gorfinax as the mindless, destructive, evil.
    • Dice Funk Season 2 Lorelei has the crew of the Violet One as the good trying to save as many people as they can from the apocalyptic flooding, most of the people they come in conflict with, including the Knight Templar Serial Killer Jem, the vengeful Manipulative Bastard Welch the Blue and the Blackhearts, as the bad and the Hidden Villain Zavala aka. Billy who cause the flooding as the evil.
    • Dice Funk Season 3 Ilium zig-zags this due to all of the conflicting parties but in general the Avant Guards (especially Zoey and Roland) and Warden Light are the good, the Lillies and some of the more evil residents of Ilium are the bad, while the forces of Count Danto, and Ghaunadaur are evil. Veltari slowly transitions from evil to good over the course of the season while Theodora ends up going from bad to evil

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The "core" factions in both of the Iron Kingdoms lines fall roughly into this, although with four categories instead of three - call them Good (...ish), Fanatical, Bad and Evil for simplicity (whether a given Fanatical faction is better or worse than a Bad faction varies). Typically, the two factions in a given category don't get along either, to ensure grounds for any matchup - Cygnar and the Trollkin (Good) have a lot of bad blood, Khador and the Skorne (Bad) are both expansionistic and imperialistic and so are unlikely to find common ground, the Protectorate of Menoth and the Circle Orboros (Fanatical) worship mutually opposed Jerkass Gods (and the other major Fanatical faction, the Retribution of Scyrah, want to kill all non-Iosan mages and as such view everyone concerned as potential targets), and Cryx and the Legion of Everblight (Evil) are mutually opposed because the dragons who lead them genuinely cannot coexist.
  • Endemic in the Old World of Darkness.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the Tau Empire, Harlequins, the Imperium, and the Craftworld Eldar are the Bad; the Necrons and Orks are the Evil; and Chaos, Dark Eldar, and Tyranids are the Really Really Evil. The Tyranids are a threat to everyone so huge that all the other factions would unite and fight them in a united front if needed. Of course, the alliance won't last long, but still. Tyranids can also account for Blueand Orange Morality as the Hive Mind is not capable of higher thought other than strategy, tactics, and its imperative of evolution. The Orks and some Necrons can also have a case of being Really Really Evil, as the former are simply incapable of understanding why other races don't consider war super awesome fun and some Necron dynasties are dedicated to destroying all life. Additionally, some Chaos worshippers are in near-constant blind rages and don't really care about such pathetic concepts like self-preservation or common sense and will happily throw themselves at an Imperial trenchline as Tyranids are eating the planet.
    • It's fantasy counterpart, Warhammer, has a similar setup. The Empire, Bretonnia, the High Elves, the Wood Elves, the Dwarfs, Kislev, Grand Cathay, and the Lizardmen are the Good (At least as good as they can be); the Dark Elves, the Greenskins, the Ogre Kingdoms, the Vampire Counts and the Tomb Kings are the Bad; the Chaos Daemons, the Warriors of Chaos, the Beastmen, the Chaos Dwarfs and the Skaven are the Evil.
    • Warhammer's sequel/successor Warhammer: Age of Sigmar has a similar set-up, with each faction falling under one of four "Grand Alliances." The Alliance of Order are, relatively speaking, the Good, as their main goals are the spread of civilization, the protection of their peoples, and the defeat of Chaos (and the other two alliances when they cause trouble). Death and Destruction are the bad; the former is made up of undead creatures, and although they oppose Chaos and protect their own as well, are ruled by the tyrannical Nagash who wants to dominate all the Realms for himself. The latter is comprised of such savages as the Orruks, Ogors, and Grots, who pretty much only care about fighting and eating, and will happily do both to whatever or whoever is in their way. And as always, Chaos is the evil, with very little about them having changed.

    Video Games 
  • AdventureQuest Worlds has the forces of Good led by King Alteon being The Good and the forces of Evil led by Gravelyn being The Bad joining forces in order to fight the forces of Chaos led by Drakath.
  • Alien vs. Predator (Capcom): The humans are the Good, the Yautja are the Bad, and the Xenomorphs are the Evil. Both of the former two sides gang up on the latter out of mutual self-interest.
  • BioWare games often feature this setup:
    • Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn has the Featureless Protagonist as the Good (canonically), the Shadow Thieves as the Bad, and Bodhi's vampires as the Evil. To emphasize how Evil the latter are, some party members will flat-out leave your party forever if you deal with them.
    • Dragon Age: Origins had the Warden (the Good), Teyrn Loghain and his posse (the Bad), and the Darkspawn Horde (the Evil). In-universe, mages and templars see themselves as the Good, each other as the Bad, and Abominations as the Evil.
    • Mass Effect 2 has Paragon Shepard, his/her crew, and Anderson as the only spots of good, the politicians and people like Aria in the grey area, and various mercenary groups, the Collectors, and the Reapers as evil.
    • Mass Effect 3 has Shepard, Anderson, and Hackett as the Good, Cerberus and particularly the geth (who can be pulled over to the Good side) as the Bad, and the Reapers as the Evil.
    • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The Republic as "good" and the Empire as "bad," though it's usually a case of Black-and-Gray Morality or Grey-and-Gray Morality since the Sith Empire has some Noble Demons in their ranks and the Republic has some astonishingly corrupt officers and officials. From "Return of the Hutt Cartel" to the Ossus arc, this has been in play with a variety of "evil," ranging from greedy Hutts to Omnicidal Maniacs.
  • BlazBlue also adheres this, although there's no pure Good or Bad due to the rather gray moralities of both sides. Oppositions of the NOL (Ragna, Sector Seven) is the Good. NOL is the Bad. Hazama/Terumi and Relius Clover are the Evil.
    • Chronophantasma mucks things up within it. The NOL and Sector Seven at large are Bad; some individual members of both groups, and all known entities unaffiliated with either, are Good. Terumi and Relius are still Evil. Things change at the end, however:
      • The Good: Jin, Noel/Mu, Makoto, Tsubaki/Izayoi, Hakumen, Jubei, Celica, Kagura, Rachel, Valkenhayn, Taokaka, Tager, Bang, Platinum (if Luna and Sena survive; Trinity is dead)
        The Ambiguous: Bullet, Amane, Carl, Litchi.
        The Bad: Azrael, Relius, and Nu
        The Evil: Imperator Saya/Izanami, Phantom/Nine by extension
        The Mindless: Arakune and Ragna
    • Central Fiction once again shuffles the alignments up. Most of the cast is established as the Good, so it's better to note the exceptions. Nu, Hazama and Azrael are definitely Bad. Izanami and Terumi/Susanoo are definitely Evil. Relius is Bad, if only because he decided Screw This, I'm Out of Here!. Carl, due to Relius's influence, has the potential to become either Bad or Evil. Nine is Bad for most of the plot, but ultimately performs a Heroic Sacrifice in order to aid the Good. Hibiki straddles the line between Good and Bad. And finally, Arakune is ultimately ambiguous.
  • Bug Fables: The hideout sequence has this dynamic. The Explorer's Association are the Good, as a group of heroes helping out people and defending the kingdoms. The Bandits are the Bad, a gang of thieves who will attack people in the desert unprovoked, but they have a sense of honor and standards. The Wasps are the Evil faction, full of ruthless soldiers who will attack anyone in order to get the Everlasting Sapling for the Wasp King, and have no standards. While the Wasp soldiers are being mind controlled by the King, the King himself is very much on the Evil side and finds those soldiers disposable. When the Bandit leader lets Team Snakemouth go after his defeat and gives them a key item they need because the Wasps didn't hold up their side of a deal with the Bandits, Vi even wonders if he can be called a good guy or a bad guy.
  • Command & Conquer tends to dabble in this whenever a third faction comes into play, with the later-introduced faction acting as the Evil to the former antagonistic faction's Bad, starting with Yuri in Red Alert 2, CABAL in Tiberian Sun, and the Scrin faction in Tiberium Wars (double the fact that the Brotherhood of Nod has received even more fandom by this time). Not so much in Red Alert 3, as the Soviets debatably still function as the Evil and the Empire of the Rising Sun acts as the Bad. And while the Global Liberation Army in Generals is undeniably the Evil, the USA is generally on the side of Good, and China, while sharing the same enemy as the USA, is on a shade of Bad due to their draconian rule towards the occupied Central Asian territories (not to mention their penchant for collateral damage).
  • In the Dune II, Dune 2000 and Emperor: Battle for Dune games you have 3 playable factions (minus the subfactions, you can be allied to those) that fit this trope, the good House Atreides, the insidious House Ordos that is willing to do nasty things if necessary for its endless pursuit of wealth and probably drugs its citizens to make them more submissive, vs. the evil House Harkonnen who are a royal house consisting almost entirely of perverted, deranged psychopaths who enslave, backstab, and a lot of other nasty things and their soldiers are more afraid of them than their enemy.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's Civil War storyline, the Empire and the Stormcloaks are the Good and the Bad, which one is which depending on whose side you choose to support. However, the Thalmor-led Aldmeri Dominion is definitely the Evil, one of the few things both sides agree on. Whichever side wins will inevitably have to deal with the Dominion down the line. And that's without considering Alduin and the return of the Dragons...
  • Fallout:
    • Something like this happens in Fallout 3 with the Enclave splitting up. An interesting variation, as the player is actually given the option of siding with the more evil faction, but not the lesser one, so the game's final confrontation will always be against the same guys, regardless of moral choice.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas the Courier gets to choose whose side he or she can join: the New California Republic, Caesar's Legion, Mr. House, or none of them. Which ones are the good, bad, and evil depends on the player's perspective, but most characters in the game generally agree that the Legion are the worst of the three.
    • And in Fallout 4, we have four major factions, all of which the player can join. The Minutemen, the Railroad, the Brotherhood of Steel, and the Institute. Again, which ones are the good, the bad and the evil depend on your perspective, though the Minutemen are pretty unambiguously good, and most characters in the game are opposed to the Institute.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII: Oh yes. The main character is a mercenary employed by eco-terrorists. Your enemy is a Mega-Corp whose fuel usage is literally killing the planet. That becomes less important when this other guy comes along and plans to kill everyone via Colony Drop to ascend into Godhood. (Said Mega-Corp dedicates its operations to stopping said guy from that point onward.) You can count the named characters who have not killed many, many people (directly or indirectly) on one hand, and by far the most prominent one dies a third of the way through. Yeesh.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics: The protagonists (Ramza and his allies) are the Good, the Church of Glabados and most of the nobility are the Bad, and the Lucavi are the Evil, though the Church and nobility never get together enough to take any kind of concerted actions against the latter. Delita is in an ambiguous space between Good and Bad, and is largely allied with Ramza against the Bad guys.
    • Vagrant Story has this going on from beginning to end with Ashley, Sydney, and Romeo.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: An unusual case of a faction that was The Evil in the past but has swapped to being The Bad currently, with Limsa Lominsa and its treatment of the kobolds. Limsa had signed a peace treaty with the native kobolds, under the ambiguous principle, “To men shall go the bounty of the sea; to kobolds shall go the bounty of the land.” Admiral Merlwyb exploited the ambiguity and knowingly triggered violence between the two groups. Yet, while Limsa is clearly in the wrong, the Warrior of Light is forced to oppose the kobolds, as they take the almost literally nuclear option by summoning their deity Titan as a primal, as summoned primals threaten all life. Later events help break the cycle, but the kobolds are very clear that the injustices done to them have not yet been forgiven.
  • In the Freespace strategy guide, it describes the Terrans as the "Good Guys," the Vasudans are the "Bad Guys," and the Shivans are the "Really Bad Guys."
  • Half-Life: The hero Gordon Freeman and the Black Mesa staff are innocent people trying to escape a hostile situation involving aliens, making them the good. The HECU are a military faction sent in to stop the aliens and save Earth, but they have also been ordered to cover up the incident and ensure the public never learns of silencing the Black Mesa staff...with bullets. While many of them feel remorse about this and are only doing it out of fear of being executed themselves, other soldiers are portrayed as sadistic assholes who enjoy killing innocent people, making them the bad. The aliens are hostile creatures who want to either wipe out everyone in the facility (and possibly the Earth) so they can use it as an outpost to hide from even more violent aliens called the Combine (as is the case with the Xen aliens), or harvest the planet for all of its resources and kill everyone in the process (as is the case with the Race X aliens), making them the evil. The Black Ops could fall into either the bad or the evil. On one hand, they are trying to stop the aliens and protect the world, but on the other hand, they are cold, merciless, cruel assholes who feel absolutely no remorse for killing the staff, resort to torture to get information, and intend to kill the HECU because they failed to cover up the invasion themselves. They are so cold and brutal that they make the HECU look noble by comparison. At best, the Black Ops would be sociopathic nominal heroes.
  • In the Halo series, an Enemy Civil War ends up dividing the Covenant between the honor-bound Elites and the vicious Brutes. Many Elites, having already respected humanity as a Worthy Opponent, join forces with the humans against both the Covenant and the Flood, and eventually make peace with humanity when the war ends, with several Elites fully becoming the Good in their own right.
  • Injustice 2: We have Batman's team as the Good (they want to rebuild after the events of the first game and bring justice back to the world), the remnant of Superman's Regime as the Bad (who seek to Take Over the World again and bring peace and order at the cost of basic freedoms) and Gorilla Grodd's group and Brainiac as the Evil (who stand in as different degrees of kill-happy maniacs: the one that wishes to Take Over the World and kill millions along the way and the Omnicidal Maniac, respectively).
  • In the Kingdom Hearts series, Sora and his many friends act as the Good, often allying with fellow keyblade wielders and heroes from the various worlds he travels to. The Bad are represented by Maleficent, either accompanied by her second Pete or whatever Disney Villain (Hades, Jafar, Ursula, Captain Hook and Oogie Boogie) she allies with in their attempts at conquering their worlds, though their limited perspective pale in comparison to the Greater-Scope Villain Master Xehanort and the rest of his 13 Seekers of Darkness, The Chessmaster who possess a universe-spanning threat through his intimate understanding of its cosmology and mastery over the Timey-Wimey Ball. All three factions are in constant battle with each other, Maleficent and Xehanort both wanting control over Kingdom Hearts and the godlike power it possesses and the warriors of light are out to stop them.
  • Mega Man Zero: Zero, Ciel, and La Résistance are the Good; Copy-X, the Guardians, and Neo Arcadia in general (or rather what Neo Arcadia has become) are the Bad; and Dr. Weil and Omega are the Evil.
  • Monster Crown: Ideal Hero David is Good, though unintended collateral damage and the rest of the setting's cynicism make most people wary of him. The Gangsters are Bad, as they're trying to maintain peace through fear and manipulation. However, both David and the Gangsters hate Beth, the Evil, given that she's a Social Darwinist colluding with dangerous entities in order to gain absolute power.
  • Persona 4 has the three main players in the plot. The Investigation Team is obviously the Good since they're fighting to save people's lives and find the killer. The Bad is Taro Namatame, a well-intentioned but misguided person who throws the party members and Nanako into the TV with the intention of protecting them from the real killer. The Evil is the real killer, Tohru Adachi, who killed two people, inspired a copycat killing, manipulated Namatame into throwing people in the TV, and was willing to watch the fog engulf the world merely For the Evulz.
  • Persona 5 has this setup pop up in the endgame. The Phantom Thieves are The Good, Akechi is The Bad, while Shido and Yaldabaoth are The Evil. The Third Semester subverts it by having the former Bad, Akechi, join the Good, and the new Evil turn out to be an Anti-Villain and Well-Intentioned Extremist.
  • Pikmin 4: The Good are the Rescue Corps, who venture out to PNF-404 in order to rescue Captain Olimar alongside many other castaways. The Bad are the various wildlife inhabiting PNF-404, who are of great danger to the Rescue Corps and their Pikmin but are mostly attacking out of hunger and/or self-defense. The Evil is Louie, a rogue Hocotatian who is actively hostile towards the Rescue Corps, as he wants to stay on PNF-404 and tend to his own hedonistic desires.
  • The three factions of Planetside: the New Conglomerate, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits fighting for independence after the Terran Republic's massacre of Liberty's Call protesters; the Terran Republic, the totalitarian regime back on Earth seeking to retake control of Auraxis; and the Vanu Sovereignity, a cult of scientists "touched" by Precursor technology and looking to "enlighten" the rest of humanity whether it wants to be enlightened or not. 2 makes the New Conglomerate less sympathetic and the Terran Republic moreso, while keeping the Vanu crazy as ever, making the game Black-and-Gray Morality.
  • Psychic Force, by the second game, exemplifies this. The Good is Anti-NOA (no official leader, the closest is Burn), the Bad is NOA (led by Keith), and the Evil is the Army (led by Wong). There are other forces such as magicians (Genma/Genshin) that don't take sides and instead be a Knight Templar and just target all three sides because they're Psychiccers and Psychiccers are EVIL (in their head).
  • In the RosenkreuzStilette series, Spiritia Rosenberg and Lilli are the Good who want to preserve peace between humans and Magi; meanwhile, the two opposing factions, the titular RKS rebellion and the Schwarzkreuz, are the Bad who want to protect Magi and humans, respectively, but resort to violence to do so; and finally, Iris Zeppelin is the Evil for the RKS side who started the war by manipulating the members into striking against the humans, while the Pope is the Evil for the Schwarzkreuz as their founder who orders the persecution of Magi and is actually Iris herself using a homunculus.
  • Tooth and Tail's factions more or less run on this, though with a healthy dose of Black-and-Gray Morality, given that they all engage in Eating the Enemy when it's not actually necessary. The Longcoats are an alliance of bourgeois upper-class types who want to abolish the Lottery of Doom, replacing it with a society where the unproductive are eaten instead. The Commonfolk want to institute democratic socialism instead... But the democracy they envision will be weighted heavily in their favor through sheer numbers (the Longcoat-Commonfolk alliance starts out as the "good", in that while their end goals are incompatible they're able to put it aside for cooperation's sake). The KSR is brutal and wants to institute a return to status quo under a military dictatorship, but they have some standards and their reason for their brutality is to end the war as quickly as possible while civilization can still be salvaged (the "bad"). The "evil" is provided by the Civilized, the faction that made the war inevitable by promoting meat-eating and instituting (and rigging) the Lottery of Doom, and prolong the war in order to exhaust the other factions to make their position even more secure at the end. When the other three factions agree to form a compromise government, the Civilized destroy it because they can't be a part.
  • In Paper Mario: The Origami King, Mario and Olivia (good) team up with Bowser and his army, usually the series' primary antagonistic force but consisting mostly of Punch-Clock Villains (bad), to defeat King Olly, the Legion of Stationery, and their origami minions (evil).
  • Warcraft III's expansion introduced a greyer-moralled faction of Undead: the Forsaken, led by Sylvanas after she was freed from the Lich King's control. When World of Warcraft started, they were part of the Horde, so in theory just as good as the others... but as time went by Sylvanas went full Evil.
  • In the Splatoon campaigns, the players serve as agents of the New Squidbeak Splatoon, the defacto good guys who defend Inkling civilization from all threats. Then there's the bad guys with DJ Octavio and his Octarian Army who ultimately wish to defeat the Inklings and retake the surface world for themselves (even if they're currently stuck at just stealing Inkopolis's power supply), but still have understandable motives, given that their underground habitats are steadily deteriorating. Indeed, from Splatoon 2 onward, numerous Octolings (more or less the "core" Octarian subrace) end up abandoning Octavio to live in peace among the Inklings instead. Then, you have Commander Tartar from 2's Octo Expansion who believes neither society deserves to live and begins blending kidnapped test subjects down into an ooze that he uses to "sanitize" living Octarians into zombies that are completely under his command, with his plan being to completely annihilate the inhabitants of the surface and replace them with his own "supreme" life forms created from the aforementioned ooze. You also have Mr. Grizz in Splatoon 3, who steals Octavio's army and forcibly turns them into Fuzzy Octarians in a ploy to coat the Earth in fuzzy ooze and kill all marine life so mammals can rise again. Neither Tartar nor Grizz care for either the Inklings or Octarians, and are more than willing to kill both sides to push their agenda. In Tartar's case, he's done in by a combined group of Inklings and Octolings. In Grizz's case, this actually results in an Enemy Mine situation where Octavio himself joins the fight against Grizz alongside the new Agent 3.

  • Blip. Heaven is run by Knight Templars willing to ruin the lives of humans for the sake of preserving order. Hell is run by a genuinely nice guy, who nevertheless wants to plunge the world into chaos by amplifying the titular blip in God's plan. The real good guys aren't allied with either side.
  • Save for a few independent characters with their own goals, most of Girl Genius can be sorted into these three camps. The "Good" would be Agatha Heterodyne and her companions, although it's worth mentioning that many of her companions were originally with one of the two other factions. The "Bad" would be the The Empire of Baron Klaus Wulfenbach who mostly wants to enforce peace whatever the cost, and who fears Agatha might secretly be in the "Evil" team (though Gil, the Baron's son, is both on the empire's side and Agatha's). The "Evil" would be the network of those people who swore loyalty to the Other (aka Lucreizia Mongfish); but since the Other is currently a Greater-Scope Villain frantically clawing their way over to Big Bad territory, those on their side are very fractured and prone to infighting.
  • Homestuck:
    • Although Bec Noir is incredibly powerful and is responsible for over half of the deaths seen so far, Lord English is powerfully evil, threatening the very existence of paradox space itself.
    • In the "Game Over" Mêlée à Trois, naturally, our protagonists are the "Good"; Aranea, a Well-Intentioned Extremist who does want to defeat Lord English, but goes to horrifically Knight Templar levels in doing so and kills several heroes in the process, is the "Bad"; and the Condesce, a genocidal fish-lady tyrant, is the "Evil". Played with, though, in that when the "Evil" kills the "Bad" at the end of the fight, the former is the more sympathetic one in this case. Gamzee, who plays a smaller role and is on his own side, also counts as an "Evil" here until he gets killed off fairly early into the skirmish.
  • Rather than splitting the evil, Sinfest splits the good. God and Satan Are Both Jerks, but Buddha acts as a neutral figure in the conflict, ironically acting more "good" than the supposed good faction. (The protagonists themselves are all over the place—Slick in particular has declared allegiance to all three factions simultaneously.)
  • Sluggy Freelance has Torg and his friends (the Good) sabotaging Hereti Corp, No Fun, and other ruthless organizations (the Evil) by working for the supervillain Minion Master (the Bad).

    Web Originals 
  • In Tales From My D&D Campaign, Humans are the Good, the Illud are the Bad, and the Deluvians are the Evil.
  • There Will Be Brawl: Red, Peach and Luigi are Good; Link and the remaining mob bosses are Bad; and Kirby, along with Ness and Lucas, is completely batshit evil incarnate.
  • In Worm, there are the heroes and villains, who generally spend all their time fighting against each other, but who will (usually) drop everything in order to team up against the Endbringers or the Slaughterhouse Nine. However, in the end, even the Endbringers eventually ally with everyone else in order to fight against Scion.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The first and second seasons have this, with Aang and friends being the good, Zuko being the bad, and Zhao and Azula being the evil in the first and second seasons, respectively. At the end of the second season Zuko would subvert the opportunity for a Heel–Face Turn, but eventually do it in the third.
    • This is actually true for most of the show. In the first season, Aang and co. are the good, Zuko is the bad, and Zhao is the evil; in the first part of the third, the good and bad roles are the same, but with Ozai joining Azula in the evil. After Zuko's Heel–Face Turn the system breaks down, though at the very end, you have Team Avatar as the good, Azula as the vicious yet pitiable evil, and Ozai as the stone-cold irredeemable sadistic evil.
    • This even shows up among the main firebenders in the first season. Iroh is the Good, being Good All Along whose main motivation is to help Zuko and the world at large, Zuko is the Bad, chasing the Avatar while having a lot of standards in the chase and willing to reach out a hand to help his uncle or crew, and Zhao is the Evil, a Jerkass who is willing to cross the Moral Event Horizon if he deems it necessary.
  • Danny Phantom turned into this pretty early on and kept building on it. It used to be that Team Phantom was the good and the various ghosts he fought were the evil. Now, Team Phantom is good, Vlad and Valerie (along with a few more sympathetic ghosts) are the bad, and most of Danny's Rogues Gallery is the evil. By the end, however, Vlad is the evil and most of the Rogues Gallery is the bad.
  • Gargoyles did this often in the second season, most notably with Goliath and Xanatos (who may be the king of self-interest trumping morality, but isn't evil per se) teaming up against the out-of-control transformed Fox in "Eye of the Beholder" and the serial-killing Demona in the "City of Stone" arc.
  • Season 2 of Huntik: Secrets & Seekers has the Huntik team as the Good, the remnants of the Organization as the Bad, and the Blood Spiral Brotherhood as the Evil. The Huntik team wants to Save the World. The Organization wants to avenge the Big Bad of the first season and eventually Take Over the World. Lastly, the Blood Spiral Brotherhood serves a race of Eldritch Abominations and wants to bring about the apocalypse in their name.
  • In the Grand Finale of Justice League, Darkseid was inadvertently revived by a ritual Lex Luthor intended for Brainiac but was sabotaged by Tala as payback. Luthor rather sensibly went straight to the League and explained there was going to be an alien invasion now and the planet needed saving, let us help. The League gave them a five-minute head start afterward.
    • Darkseid's role as the Evil of this trope was cemented early on in the series (even as far back as Superman: The Animated Series), in that he's the only one to whom Superman will show no mercy in battle, even to the point that he's fully prepared to sacrifice himself if it means that Darkseid goes down with him.
  • In the fourth season of Kim Possible, Affably Evil Dr. Drakken and his Deadpan Snarker dragon Shego developed into "the bad". First by toning down their evil throughout the season and in the final episode by putting them in an Enemy Mine position against a race of Always Chaotic Evil alien invaders.
  • Ōban Star-Racers has the Earth Team(Eva Wei/Molly, her father, and their friends) as the good characters racing to save Earth with the "Ultimate Prize"(and in Molly's case, bring back her mother), though Don is admittedly a stubborn jerk at first. Other aliens like Satis, Prince Aikka, and Rush are heroic as well and offer some aid to the humans they're competing with. The other alien racers, like Sul, Spirit, Lord Furter, and Ning and Skun are the "bad", being ruthless and intolerant of humans, but they're not truly malicious and have their own legit reasons for being in the Great Race. The only two truly evil factions are General Kross, representing the Crogs, and Canaletto, the monster manipulating the tournament to his own ends. Both are genocidal fiends whose victory would mean untold devastation, and come to brutal KarmicDeaths while most of the racers survive.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man Spidey is the good and most of his Rogues Gallery are the evil, with Tombstone as the bad- he's unquestionably a villain and a very ruthless one, but he sees his criminal empire as a business first and foremost and tends to avoid pointless cruelty. He (briefly) teams up with Spidey on a couple of occasions against the blatantly psychotic Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus.
    • It's not just him, either - Sandman, Black Cat, and (to a much lesser extent) Rhino are just in it for the money, and don't really go out of their way to hurt anyone (except Spidey himself, in Rhino's case). Sandman even gets to team up with Spidey for Redemption Equals Death in the course of saving a little girl.
    • And Molten Man was working for the truly psychotic Green Goblin, but against his will - it was a pretty clear set-up for a Heel–Face Turn, but the show was canceled just two seasons in.
  • The season three premiere of Star vs. the Forces of Evil does this, with Star briefly joining forces with her usual foe and Harmless Villain Ludo in her quest to defeat Toffee, who aims to destroy all magic in the multiverse. If only because Toffee has been using Ludo's body on-and-off as a Meat Puppet since the middle of season two, thus making this the only way to get close to him.
  • In the fifth season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Darth Maul tries to deal with other rogue factions in the galaxy:
    • In the first episode of the arc, Maul (Evil) tries to take control of Hondo Ohnaka's pirate gang (Bad) while the Jedi (Good) are hot on their tail.
    • By the end of the arc, Maul has teamed up with the Mandalorian Death Watch, and a split in the ranks has caused a civil war between the Evil faction loyal to Maul and a Bad one that opposes him. And then the Even More Evil gets involved, as the fighting catches the eye of Darth Sidious, who goes to beat some sense into Maul. While Good does have a part in the conflict, its presence is minimal; with Duchess Satine caught in the crossfire and Obi-Wan intervening to rescue her. Even so, the merely-Bad Death Watch does come to Obi-Wan's aid at the end.
    • This continues into Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir, a set of unproduced scripts which were adapted into a comic book. In this case, Maul and Mother Talzin are Villain Protagonists and just the Bad; going up against the Evil of Sidious, Dooku, and Grievous. The Jedi are once again the Good and only briefly involved, though in a reversal of the usual situation their intervention causes the Bad and the Evil to team up against them for a time (instead of Good and Bad fighting off the Evil).
  • The Teen Titans had an alliance with Slade against Trigon that lasted all of 2 episodes. In season 4, Red X also temporarily sided with the Titans, without accomplishing a full Heel–Face Turn. He originally competed with the Titans and every other villain involved, just to get a Macguffin for himself, but apparently had hidden reasons that made him let Robin win.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003): The characters are mostly either good or evil, Karai (when she isn’t obsessed with Avenging the Villain) and the Affably Evil Dr. Chapman are criminals, but significantly less evil than Shredder. Bishop is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who has committed countless amoral acts but is genuine in his desire to protect humans from alien threats.
  • By the end of Total Drama: The Ridonculous Race, the hosts consisted of Don (good), Chef Hatchet (bad), and Chris McLean (evil).
  • In Xiaolin Showdown there are varying degrees of bad and evil, while the Monks are unquestionably good, though they dip their toes in the darkside sometimes, there is Jack on the bad side but he wants to be the Big Bad. Chase could be considered bad also as he spends most of his time helping the monks while trying to fulfill his own goals. There is Wuya who is evil, but mostly harmless except when she reveals herself to be a Not-So-Harmless Villain, and finally Hannibal Bean who is very evil.
  • X-Men: The Animated Series had one of the most memorable and sympathetic portrayals of Magneto ever to exist, out to defend mutantkind from its human oppressors, who were generally portrayed as pretty heavily bigoted. Of course the show couldn't have him be too evil with such a sympathetic cause, so he got thrust into Enemy Mine situations in all but his very first appearance against villains who were more evil than him at his worst.
  • Season 2 of Wander over Yonder shifted to this with Wander as the good, Lord Hater as the bad, and the Viler New Villain Lord Dominator as the evil.