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The Redeemer

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"Good people, huh? I'd say it's more out of habit than any goodness in our hearts. You have Goku to thank for that, I suppose. Almost all of us were his enemies at one point. Even me. I fought alongside him initially only because we had a common enemy. But somewhere along the way, it became natural for us to fight side-by-side. I guess in some way, I grew to trust him. Same for the others. Now we're just a bunch of crazy former enemies."
Piccolo, Dragon Ball Fighter Z

Most people have heard of those that seek atonement and redemption for their crimes. However, there are those who forgive and absolve others of their sins. These people are often the most noble and compassionate people around, and will sometimes go to great lengths to help those that have fallen. Some actively seek to better those that are evil while others do so by accident or nonchalantly.

Almost every villain this character faces ends up making a Heel–Face Turn because of their influence. A common way to make the enemy stop being a threat is through Defeat Means Friendship, as opponents are more inclined to follow or learn from whoever has bested them in some way.

Said character is oftentimes an All-Loving Hero, but that doesn't always have to be the case. They may believe that Rousseau Was Right and avoid Murder Is the Best Solution whenever possible. If the enemy isn't particularly vile, Save the Villain can prove a hero's worth very quickly.

A particularly cruel villain may exploit this trait. However, not all are bleeding heart weaklings, and if they face someone who is an unrepentant monster, things can get ugly really fast.

Unlike the Knight Templar or The Fundamentalist, these people are NOT overly zealous, although they may be naive or overly loving. They seek to change people for the better or forgive them for their crimes by giving them the choice to do so. These people fully believe The Power of Friendship, The Power of Love, or the person's inner good nature will persuade the wicked to become better people.

Related tropes include The Conscience, Warrior Therapist, and Go and Sin No More. Contrast The Corrupter. Not to be confused with the comic book The Redeemer and its Redemptionist cult. Often overlaps with Messianic Archetype.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Touma Kamijou of A Certain Magical Index picks up previously enemy friends and allies via Defeat Means Friendship. It gets to the point that he gains enough allies to form his own "Kamijou Faction", 20,000+ members and counting.
  • Dragon Ball: Goku is one of anime's best examples of the trope. Many of his friends are former enemies, and while he may not be able to redeem the worst of the worst, they still hold begrudging respect towards him. The only aversion is Zamasu who went on to make their feud VERY personal.
  • Expecting to Fall into Ruin, I Aim to Become a Blacksmith: Kururi is specifically a believer in redemption through hard work, as an All-Loving Hero. The number of enemies he ends up recruiting like this is quite long. This is part of him checking most of the boxes of a Messianic Archetype.
  • In Flint the Time Detective, Flint Hardrock is able to convert Time Shifters out of their villainous Con forms through The Power of Friendship.
  • Fruits Basket: On top of being The Defroster, Tohru also manages to help redeem some of the worst of the Sohmas. Shigure began as a self-serving Manipulative Bastard who openly admitted he only cared about himself and would do whatever it took to get his way, but Tohru's influence allows him to make peace with himself and become much kinder. In the end, it's because of Tohru's kindness and compassion that Akito, who had spent years being an abusive Yandere to the entire Sohma family, realizes what a monster she's become and changes her ways.
  • Miho Nishizumi from Girls und Panzer came to Oarai Academy under a cloud, yet her quiet charm earned her a circle of close friends. When the Absurdly Powerful Student Council buttonholed Miho into leading a sensha-do team, she did so, displaying a knack for getting buy-in from her teammates and a sound knowledge of on-field strategizing. Even the Bratty Half-Pint president of the Council softens considerably toward Miho. As the elimination tournament progresses, Miho wins the admiration of her opponents for her skill and determination, as well as her grace in victory. Most telling of all is that Miho's mother, who had declared Miho an outcast, ends up applauding her daughter for taking a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits into the championship, turning them into a Lethal Joke Team.
  • In Kyo Kara Maoh!, Yuuri performs this on just about everyone. Yuuri wants everyone to be friends, war to never happen, and everyone to simply... stop hurting each other. And because of his genuine belief this can work, several people come to like him and follow him, including a man who defected from Yuuri's kingdom long before Yuuri was even born, and Sara, the Manipulative Bastard king of another kingdom. He even manages to redeem The Great One who had been corrupted as is basically God in the setting.
  • Moriarty the Patriot: While William was already wracked with guilt and primed for a full-blown Redemption Quest, as the one cast as the Hero in William's story by William himself, it was up to Sherlock to drive home the point that William dying was just running away from the harm and damage he caused and that if he really wanted to be The Atoner, he'd have to make the difficult decision to live on and actually do something about it. And with the extra bonus of an agreement to atone alongside William for Milverton's murder—it worked.
  • My-HiME: If Shizuru was The Defroster to Natsuki, then Natsuki was The Redeemer to Shizuru after the latter went on a Psycho Lesbian spree of murder against other HiME and District One. Natsuki saves her nemesis, Nao, from Shizuru and snaps her back to sanity with a Big Damn Kiss and a Cooldown Hug, then ensuring they were Together in Death. They get better.
  • Naruto: Naruto has an uncanny ability to make friends and redeem others. Gaara began as an Ax-Crazy villain who committed murder as a matter of course, but Naruto's influence helped change him for the better and reconsider his philosophy. In the end, he's even able to redeem Sasuke despite the rest of Konoha and the Ninja World at large considering him a lost cause.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in The Redeemer, where the titular character's idea of redemption involves setting the sinner on fire. Similarly, the Redemptionist zealots get so carried away with burning heretics and killing mutants that Imperial authorities declare them outlaws as well.
  • Wonder Woman has long had a habit of turning her villains into allies with her loving and forgiving nature.
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Paula von Gunther goes from being Wondy's first recurring villain to a lifelong friend and constant ally willing to sacrifice herself to save Wonder Woman after the Amazon listens to her and figures out just why Paula is working for the bad guys.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): When Leslie Anderson defects from Veronica Cale the Amazon ambassador welcomes her with open arms and offers her protection and friendship.
    • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): Diana befriends Mayfly while the villain is in prison and is the one to come pick her up at the gates for a celebratory meal when she's served her sentence.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Angels with Dirty Faces, Father Connolly spends a good chunk of the movie working ever so subtly to try and get Rocky on the straight and narrow. In fact, the reason he's okay with Rocky helping out with basketball is in hopes working with the kids will motivate him to be a good influence.

  • The Dresden Files:
    • The Knights of the Cross have this as their primary duty. They are three people at any given time who carry with them a Sword. In the hilt of each Sword is a Nail that crucified Jesus Christ. When they come against the Knights of Blackened Denarius, any of thirty people who have taken up a silver Denarius which houses in it one of Lucifer's top thirty Fallen, their first job isn't to smite them or their angel within the mortal, but offer the mortal a chance to be redeemed. The mortal can be freed from the enthrallment if they feel genuine remorse for their actions. One Knight is even a redeemed host.
    • Harry Dresden plays this in an unorthodox way. For about four years he is host to the Shadow of Lasciel, one of the Fallen in the Denarius, after Harry picked the coin up to save a child from touching it. The Shadow starts off as a carbon copy of Lasciel and her first goal is to get Harry to take up the Coin completely and let Lasciel within him. Harry stubbornly refuses. While most humans fall in months if not days, Harry continues to keep her at arms length. He eventually comments to the Shadow while the true Lasciel might be immutable to the influence of one human, the Shadow is as malleable as the material she is imprinted on. So if she can change him to be evil, he can change her as well. He then gifts her the Name Lash, unknowingly bequeathing her a small piece of his soul. This does change Lash slowly over a few days before she realizes as Harry is dying from a psychic attack he would rather die than accept the Coin. Realizing also that she has become truly distinct from her creator, she agrees to take the brunt of the mental attack to the region of the brain she lives in, knowing it could kill her. It does, but her sacrifice for the man she came to love would bring attention to Harry from others in Heaven.
  • Sister Pelagia and the Red Rooster: The eccentric rabbi Emmanuel has the uncanny ability to bring out the best nature of everyone he meets. Combined with his extraordinary perception bordering on mind-reading, it leads to situations like when he completely reforms a hardened killer with a few gentle words while the latter is taking aim to assassinate him. Of course, none of this is surprising, as the novel all but spells out that Emmanuel is actually the time-traveling real-world prototype of Jesus.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel tries to be this, but it fails half the time, or he influences the villain to have at least a Heel–Face Revolving Door. He does manage to get through to Faith during her attempt at suicide by Angel, and she pulls a true Heel–Face Turn that sticks. He then continues to be emotionally supportive of her throughout the rest of the series.
  • Earl of My Name Is Earl is one of the non-"All-Loving Hero" examples. Through his attempts to fix his karma and complete his list, he (and by extension Randy, as well as some others who get roped in) has to not only redeem Earl's own life but the broken lives of those around him.
  • Ultraman Cosmos: Ultraman Cosmos/Musashi break several Ultra Series traditions via their usual methods of dealing with monsters. Which involve mostly calming down aggressive monsters or talking down invaders. Most notably the series' Big Bad, Chaos Header, is eventually redeemed by the positive emotions of Musashi and Cosmos working together, once Musashi refuses to kill Chaos Header and realizes there is inner good in it.
  • In The Flash (2014), this role goes to the eponymous hero, Barry Allen. While he's not averse to going into battle against villains, he will often make a sincere effort to appeal to the good in them, which yields more success with each passing season. The Crisis on Infinite Earths (2019) crossover exemplifies this by making him the "Paragon of Love". However, there are some that even he considers lost causes, such as Eobard Thawne.
  • Supernatural: Dean Winchester, who can often be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, redeems several very powerful entities who had gone dark. This includes his psychic, demon-blood-addicted brother Sam, the Knight Templar angel Castiel and for a time the King of Hell, Crowley. To some extent, he had this effect on The Anti-God Amara as well.
  • Takeru Tenkuji from Kamen Rider Ghost is a Nice Guy who gets angry really rarely and prioritizes others before himself. This compassion eventually brings Makoto and Alain to his side. By the end of the series, this trait becomes a full The Empath power and helps to redeem the entire Gamma race.
  • Lucifer: Father Frank Lawrence tries up to his last breath to redeem teenager lured into drug operations, and only more knowing him done some real criminal actions; furthermore, he has recognized Lucifer as the actual Devil and nudged him to redemption as well. And in the Season 6, Lucifer takes redeeming souls in Hell, therapying them to release their guilt and ascend to heaven, as his profession for the foreseeable future (messianic archetype scale).

    Myths & Religion 
  • Jesus is an Ur-Example of the trope, to the point that he was willing to die for peoples sins.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: A fifth edition paladin who takes the Oath of Redemption becomes this trope. They seek to solve problems nonviolently if at all possible, working on the presumption that everyone starts out innocent and can be turned back to that path with the paladin's example.
  • Pathfinder has multiple examples:
    • Paladins (1st Edition) and Champions (2nd Edition) of Sarenrae are expected to behave like a rational version of this trope. Their code states: "I will redeem the ignorant with my words and my actions. If they will not turn toward the light, I will redeem them by the sword."
    • Even more merciful are the Paladins / Champions of Shelyn: "I am peaceful. I come first with a rose. I act to prevent conflict before it blossoms. I never strike first, unless it is the only way to protect the innocent. I accept surrender if my opponent can be redeemed—and I never assume that they cannot be. All things that live love beauty, and I will show beauty’s answer to them."
    • The Champion class (as of April 2021, good and evil are out: neutral are planned) in 2nd Edition are of any alignment, with each alignment picking up a code and a reaction to fulfill that alignment's nature. The Neutral Good Redeemer subclass has the following code: "You must first try to redeem those who commit evil acts, rather than killing them or meting out punishment. If they continue on a wicked path, you might need to take more extreme measures. You must show compassion for others, regardless of their authority or station." Their reaction, Glimpse of Redemption, forces a foe to forgo the damage on an attack against an ally or be significantly weakened.
    • Likewise, in 2nd Edition, the gods have certain anathema they refuse to let their followers commit. Sarenrae has as part of her anathema: "deny a repentant creature an opportunity for redemption"
  • The Abbot in Curse of Strahd is this, truly believing that if he can build Strahd the perfect copy of his lost love, he will become good. By the time the module takes place, Strahd has thoroughly corrupted him into stealing and mutilating corpses for a Frankenstein-style bride and driven him insane with the promise of being good someday maybe.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Sigmar Heldenhammer, the God-King and Big Good of the setting, firmly believes in redeeming and rehabilitating those corrupted by Chaos. He recognizes that for every misanthrope who sold their soul to the Dark Pantheon out of a lust for power, a hundred more were tricked, or simply desperate, and he and his Pantheon of Order were too busy feuding amongst themselves to help. Since the end of the Realmgate Wars, more than one champion of Chaos has been redeemed as one of his Stormcast Eternals

    Video Games 
  • In Dante's Inferno, this is a gameplay mechanic. The player is given the option to absolve people damned in Hell, sending them to Heaven if a minigame is completed successfully, or punishing them further. Many players prefer the absolve option, although some get so tired of the minigame they stop doing this. Most players at the very least try to absolve all the Unbaptized Baby enemies because they are just unlucky innocent babies.
  • Mass Effect: Paragon Shepard is this. Throughout the three games, s/he can spare many foes and convince them to become better people, from a crime boss who switches over to running a charity organization to talking their own Token Evil Teammate into becoming a better person to inspiring fiercely loyal members of Cerberus to defect to stopping the Geth/Quarian war and making peace between the two. To potentially even redeeming the Reapers if the Control ending is chosen.
  • Octopath Traveler II: Partitio Yellowil and Agnea Bristarni, two of the playable travelers of the game. The former is easily a forgiving man as he is able to help every antagonist and/or villain reform (Giff, Thurston and Roque Brilliante) even one that he is unaware of (Ori). The latter wants to bring smiles around the world with her dancing as she helps Dolcinaea (and by proxy, Veronica) loosen up and become a better person. Although it’s Played for Laughs with La'mani who becomes horrified in the final chapter to find that he’s become a fan of the dancer after being moved by her performance.
  • Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous: Your companion Ember firmly believes that everyone in the world—Crusaders, demon cultists, gods, demons—only lashes out at others out of fear, and just needs some convincing to become better people—and that the effort is always worth making. Initially she doesn't get much traction, but as time goes on, she attracts a following as a street preacher and then acquires a group of former cultists of Baphomet as self-appointed bodyguards after the cult's attempt to use her as an Elven Sacrifice goes sideways. She goes on to attempt to redeem the demon lord Nocticula, Queen of the Succubi, and potentially even succeeds. Though if she fails, the stress of it gives her a permanent malus to her Intelligence score.
    • A Gold Dragon Commander who follows Hal's teachings and stays Good will also lean heavily into this trope, always offering mercy and second chances to the repentant, up to and including Arleelu Vorlesh herself. The Gold Dragon ending sees the commander stay with Arleelu as she becomes the Barrier Maiden of the Worldwound, and guiding her to become a better person who eventually sheds her demon half and escapes being sent to the Abyss after death. Needless to say, a Gold Dragon Commander and Ember will get on extremely well.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Amy Rose has managed to redeem a fair number of antagonists in the franchise: Gamma, Shadow, Trip, along with setting Silver on the path to his Heel–Face Turn. In most cases, she does this simply by showing kindness and talking to them.
  • In Soul Sacrifice Delta, this is the goal of Sanctuarium, an organization founded by sorcerers who formerly worked for Avalon and left that group out of remorse for their bloodshed. Sanctuarium's members seek to redeem all Archfiends by saving them after whittling them down, regardless of their brutal past. This is also a gameplay mechanic, as saving Archfiends increases your defense and recovery at the cost of your base damage, effectively turning you into a Stone Wall. Saving Archfiends not only turn them into recruitable allies for the Player Character, many of them join Sanctuarium out of gratitude and atonement.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: Jedi Master Tol Braga is a staunch believer that any Sith can be redeemed and even managed to do so with a member of the Dark Council. Braga becomes so convinced of his ability to redeem anyone that he leads a team to capture the Sith Emperor so they can turn him to the light. Deconstructed: Learning that the Emperor cannot be redeemed breaks Braga, who becomes convinced that a galaxy where such evil is possible does not deserve to exist.

    Visual Novels 
  • Makoto Naegi in Danganronpa is known for being massively forgiving and trusting towards everyone, including people like Byakuya and Genocide Jack, which allows them to perform heel-face turns. Makoto even protects the Remnants of Despair so they can be rehabilitated in the Neo World Program. While many still couldn't be redeemed in the end, he's not called the Ultimate Hope for nothing.

    Web Video 

  • The Order of the Stick: When O-Chul is held prisoner by Xykon in the conquered Azure City, he spends his time trying to show the Monster in the Darkness how to think for himself and not be the mindless pawn of Xykon. Over time, it eventually seems to work: the monster (inadvertently) helps O-Chul and V escape Xykon during their darkest hour and in the later arcs, actively attempts to divert Xykon's evil plans.

    Western Animation 
  • Charlie's goal in Hazbin Hotel is to become one of these. She believes that every demon in hell can be redeemed if they try — and she even opens up a hotel to help said demons work toward redemption so they can go to heaven.
  • Kipo of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is this trope. She manages to convert most enemies into friends, including Scarlemagne, the seemingly insane unrepentant villain. When she fails at being this trope, it hits her hard. Dr. Emilia attempts to take advantage of Kipo's relentless optimism and redeemer beliefs in her attempts to take out all mutes, and even to try and get Kipo to let her guard down by claiming she'd change too only to try and kill Kipo, making her the one person whom Kipo is unable to redeem after Emilia suffers a Fate Worse than Death at the hands of Fun Gus.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Lilo proves more than capable of turning many of the evil experiments to good, having started with Stitch in the original movie and Sparky in Stitch! The Movie. From there, it is most often because of her that all of the other experiments follow suit. She even manages to influence Gantu into making a turn in Leroy & Stitch, despite all of the crap she and Stitch gave him throughout the series.
  • Whether it be villains or jerks, the mane six as a whole in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are (in)famous for this.
    • Being the Princess of Friendship, Twilight Sparkle has the highest track record of reforming previous villains, forgiving and succeeding with Starlight Glimmer, Sunset Shimmer, Tempest Shadow, and Stygian (with some pushing from Starlight).
    • Princess Celestia encouraged Fluttershy to do the same with Discord, when the other main characters were hesitant to do so or thought it wasn't worth the effort, it worked and Discord became one of her best friends.
    • Starlight Glimmer herself also tries to give antagonists a second chance, being the one responsible for reforming all but one of the entire Changeling race. She even tried doing the same with Queen Chrysalis, but was rejected.
    • The Equestria Girls counterparts are just as forgiving, Sunset starting out as the main antagonist of the first movie, to basically the main hero for the rest of the series. She and the rest of the girls managed to befriend others who had grudges against them as well, in four different specials.
    • All this being said, the ponies do have their limits and are just as quick to pass judgement if they feel someone is Beyond Redemption. The biggest case being Tirek, Cozy Glow, and Queen Crysalis in the series finale, who nearly destroy all of Equestria in their efforts to get revenge on the mane six.
  • Steven Universe: Almost every gem that Steven has fought against ends up making a change from his influence. Lapis, Peridot, Bismuth, the diamonds, and Spinel all turn over a new leaf because of Steven. Jasper's turn is somewhat downplayed, as her turn is more because of Steven beating her in one-on-one combat rather than any influence he would have made on her as she continues to act like she did before.
  • Wander over Yonder: Wander is an ever-loving orange fluffball who believes that an enemy is just another friend you haven't made yet. Two good examples of the people he has changed for the better are Sylvia and Major Threat. The only one he absolutely failed to do this to is Lord Dominator. Although there might be hope that Lord Hater can also be redeemed after the show ended as seen with the ship’s smile.