This trope usually manifests in the powers of The Dark Side being treated as equal compared with the powers of Light, coming with the same acknowledgement and worship that people offer to the Light.
Usually, this kind of darkness takes the form of a "pure" darkness as opposed to the "corrupted" darkness that is typically used by villains. The philosophical interpretation behind this is acknowledged that light and darkness can and must exist only simultaneously. Darkness can still be associated with aspects such as death, but expect this to be treated in a positive way, such as death being an important part of the cycle of rebirth, being natural and therefore necessary for the world. Also, a dark god may simply be doing an unpopular, but still very important job, rather than being a villain. This kind of darkness may not be nice, or comfortable, or maybe it is even outright terrifying, but it nonetheless radiates a dignity that cannot be denied and, like it or not, you know that the world would be worse off without it.
"Pure" darkness powers can often easily be distinguished from their "corrupted" counterparts. A One-Hit Kill spell by a villain using corrupt darkness will probably involve a lot of pain, mutilation, or brutality; a pure darkness spell of that kind, on the other hand, might result in something resembling a peaceful sleep or simply just dropping dead. Pure darkness powers tend to avert the more obviously negative aspects of darker powers such as Mind Rape or Torture and instead tend to be more spectacular and flashy, or involve beautiful stuff, like conjuring up the star-filled night sky, or awesome stuff like summoning a black raven or other creature associated with the night. For instance, if a hero's signature move is a combo attack where he cloaks his blade in light magic, a "pure" darkness counterpart to that move would simply involve cloaking the blade in shadow instead.
Despite this, it may still carry some of the usual problems of dark powers, such as the Noble Demon spirits empowering the Sword of Plot Advancement deciding that their user is not worthy enough to use them, or simply the usual problem of prolonged exposure to the darkness being dangerous to the mind. Note that "sacred" does not have to equal "good." More often, these characters embody a morally neutral concept or ideal. On rare occasions, villains can use The Sacred Darkness, but usually this only works when they are opposing another villain who is using the corrupted variant in an A Lighter Shade of Black situation.
It can also be interpreted as necessary and holy when it's part of a Yin-Yang Bomb. In a similar vein, the pure/corrupt interpretation can be done for Light in a Light Is Not Good scenario, such as a "corrupt" light spell that gives the enemy radiation poisoning. See also Light/Darkness Juxtaposition.
This trope is the logical conclusion of Dark Is Not Evil but it does not strictly exclude Dark Is Evil. Please note that this trope is not just Dark Is Not Evil. The usual variant of said trope is that a good person is donning dark motifs and/or using dark powers despite their villainous and problematic connotations for the sake of good. That is not really this trope. This trope is about some kind of darkness that exists in a form where you can reasonably justify its existence for the good of the world or when darkness is treated in some way as equally holy or good as Light would be treated. Generally, if your hero can make a "World of Cardboard" Speech or Rousing Speech involving the virtues of their particular brand of darkness, it qualifies.
- The Digimon Franchise:
- Digimon Frontier: Kouichi embodies this and also nicely illustrates the change between "corrupted" and "pure" darkness; he starts out Brainwashed and Crazy using a twisted set of Darkness spirits — the creepy, borderline-Eldritch Abominations Duskmon and Velgemon — and upon undergoing a HeelFace Turn, the spirits are purified into the Black Knights Löwemon and KaiserLeomon, the embodiments of the sanctity of the element of darkness. For an added bonus, Koji, the one who wields the DigiSpirits of Light, is his twin brother whom he was seperated from.
- Digimon Tamers: Given that it turns his eyes from the more aggressive red into an honest green and gives him wings, one might argue that Beelzemon, who is in the broader canon one of the Seven Great Demon Lords - goes through a "dark purification" as well when he obtains Blast Mode. Similarly, his Digimon Xros Wars incarnation (which is very similar to Blast Mode) is an outright holy warrior, being reborn into that form using a mask of the goddess he once served, and is one of the noblest and most loyal characters in the series; whenever he DigiXrosses with Shoutmon, the end of the sequence plays a brief high note of a Cherubic Choir.
- Kara no Kyoukai: Ryougi Shiki uses the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception, a very rare and unique power that allows her to see the inherent death of all things. Essentially, this makes her the human personification of the Grim Reaper. Nonetheless, she is good enough to serve as a hero for this story and to get an almost holy-sounding Theme Music Power-Up. It helps that she's essentially the goddess of the void.
- Lyrical Nanoha: Hayate Yagami holds the title "Mistress of the Night Sky" and is the heiress to the Book of Darkness' power, as well as the only mage in canon who can use elemental Darkness to power her spells. However, she is also the Big Good and nobody minds her darkness much, neither magical, nor inner. In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, there is even the "pure-corrupted" dichotomy: the old Book of Darkness (or rather, parts of it) is "corrupted", while Hayate herself and Reinforce (the Book after being reprogrammed and cleansed by Hayate) are "pure" Darkness. It is strongly implied that the Book itself was "pure" Darkness upon its first creation but it got worse along the way. More specifically, it was originally called "the Tome of the Night Sky", and was simply a repository of magical knowledge. Being such a thing, various douchenozzles over time took to obtaining that knowledge for the usual reasons evil people would seek it. Their manipulations, across time, resulted in the Book becoming corrupt.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the Gentle Darkness not only is a force for good, it's what actually created everything in the first place. This isn't commonly known information, but it's true nevertheless.
- Sailor Moon: Both Sailor Saturn and Sailor Pluto possess a heroic destiny as senshi, even though Saturn's element is Destruction. While Pluto's domain is primarily Space-time, she still has an obvious Darkness-theme going on, in that she is also called 'The Guardian of the Underworld' and her very first attack the Dead Scream. Also present in their aura colours (deep purple and black respectively in manga), and uniform colours, with Saturn being shown with deep purple with bronze/dark maroon bows, and Pluto being black with veeeery dark red bows.
- Mahou Sensei Negima! presents pure Light as "the ability to go with your gut, to hold to your convictions and draw great strength from them" and pure Darkness as "the ability to look beyond first impressions and search for deeper meaning, to take in anything and accept it", which are treated as equally virtuous philosophies but difficult to combine. Beings of corrupted Darkness are those who came too close to the things they dislike about themselves, and rejected them instead of making peace with them. Despite using Elemental Powers typically associated with Cosmic Light (electricity, wind and... light), and greatly admiring Light-aligned heroes, Negi's personality means he is strongly aligned with Cosmic Darkness, and his journey to embrace both paths at once ends up invoking Messiah Creep.
- The most prominent example of Sacred Darkness in Negima is Magia Erebeanote , a spellcasting discipline which extends "take in anything and accept it" to allow for Energy Absorption, fusing normally incompatible types of magic with each other, and even fusing with your own spells to become an Elemental Shapeshifter. After learning Magia Erebea, Negi's darker impulses occasionally flare up and cause him to transform into a monstrous demon that attacks everything around him. However, once he comes to terms with his inner darkness, Negi allows the transformation to complete its course, causing him to permanently become a demon with a white aura and a fully human mind and appearance.
- Magic: The Gathering:
- While Black magic is often focused on unpleasant things like necromancy, corruption, selfishness, and Mind Rape, it is not inherently evil, and also encompasses necessary forces such as death and self-preservation. Not only have some protagonists been pure Black but, like all colours of mana, Black is necessary for planar stability.
- Taken to its logical extreme in the Theros Block, where the gods reside in the realm of Nyx, basically Heaven represented as the nightsky, a paranormal realm also associated with dreams. The non-malevolent Black god also has an important role as the caretaker of the dead, but he's ironically cut off from Nyx: in the Sun-less Underworld, the nightsky is absent.
- Even more prominent in RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse than in canon My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. As the name suggests, in this reality it was Celestia who fell into madness and Luna who saved the ponies and has ruled for the past millennium. Furthermore, while in canon Nightmare Moon was all but forgotten, in the Lunaverse everybody still fears Corona, even a thousand years later. And while in canon the Elements of Harmony purged the Nightmare and restored Luna to her right mind, in the Lunaverse Corona was still consumed by her madness even after the Elements defeated her first attempt to regain the throne.
- In the Pony POV Series:
- Dark Magic is not evil, it simply runs on emotions that can be hard to control. If properly controlled, it can be used for good. Sweetie Belle is a prodigy in it, and Luna helps train her to use it correctly, making her a great help during the Rumors Arc.
- Luna, naturally, is this. She's also a master of dark magic.
- It turns out Tirek's Rainbow of Darkness was originally this trope. In it's pure form, it is just as beautiful as its twin the Rainbow of Light and both emerged from the Tree of Harmony at the same time and uplifted Ponykind. It was originally owned by Spike's ancient ancestor, who used it for good and was a wise dragon teacher and leader. Unfortunately, after his death, it fell into Tirek's hands who corrupted it for evil. Magic Star eventually forged the original, purified Alicorn Amulet from the regenerated Rainbow of Darkness and used it for good until it was corrupted being used to imprison most of the evil Pure Magic Being Lilith's power to defeat her. It's implied Trixie is destined to one day purify the Amulet and return it to this trope.
- In Dark World, after breaking free of Discord's mind control, the Mane Six keep the Elements of Chaos he gave them, now purified, and use them against Discord and Nightmare Eclipse. After the world is saved, they purify the Alicorn Amulet and use it to make a new set of physical Elements of Chaos, and use both sets to destroy Grogar once and for all.
- An underlying factor in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series is that there is a prophecy regarding Life and Death; the Avatar of Death embodies this trope.
- The Spanish Renaissance poem "The Dark Night of the Soul" (La noche oscura del alma) by the mystic Spanish poet and saint, Juan de la Cruz, uses the metaphor of night, as a cherished time during which a lover may meet his beloved in secret, as an allegory for the soul finding unity with God.
- O guiding dark of night!/ O dark of night more darling than the dawn!/ O night that can unite / A lover and beloved one,
- Chronicles of the Emerged World: One of the Eight Lands is the Land of Nights, which is covered in eternal darkness. Nevertheless, the darkness is also one of the eight sacred elements needed for the Talisman of Power, and the spirit of darkness is the kindest and most helpful. By contrast, the Light spirit Glael comes across as a Psychopathic Man Child who's willing to resort to Demonic Possession to end his solitude.
- Toyed with in Book 7 of The Dresden Files, Dead Beat, in which Kumori claims that Necromantic magic (Always Chaotic Evil) can be turned to good purposes (such as when she brings a recently dead man back for long enough for the paramedics to save him), as ordinary magic can be turned to evil, her reasoning being that if death is defeated, the genii of history could live for ever. Harry considers this for a moment, then points out how close this is to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope.
- A Court of Thorns and Roses: The Night Court.
- Explored in the Dragonlance novels, pertaining to the different mage orders of White, Red, and Black. At least one character wonders why the "good" mages allow the Black Robes to exist in their order, and it's explained that darkness has its own purpose and that there must always be a balance; tipping the scales either way leads to catastrophe, and in fact, the Cataclysm that devastated Krynn was caused by the Kingpriest trying to tip the scales towards the side of "light"; the same applies to priests, since the evil gods need worship just as much as the good gods. Also explored by Crysania in "Time of the Twins" in the same series, when she muses that fear of the darkness is childish and stupid, and that lighting candle after candle to keep the darkness at bay only results in a house burning down because people can't understand that the darkness has a purpose.
- The Dwarfs of the Discworld, being belowground-dwellers, have many values opposite to those of humans. One of them is that they consider darkness sacred, and their equivalent of priests keep themselves in it whenever possible, many shunning daylight altogether and believing it to be blasphemy. They recognize different kinds of darkness — including malevolent kinds like the Summoning Dark — but generally think of it as a good thing; one dwarf priest uses the metaphor that the eyes grow wider in darkness, but shrink in light. For example, their creation myth:
"The first Brother walked toward the light, and stood under the open sky. Thus he became too tall. He was the first Man. He found no Laws, and he was enlightened. The second Brother walked toward the darkness, and stood under a roof of stone. Thus he achieved the correct height. He was the first Dwarf. He found the Laws Tak had written, and he was endarkened."
- Taken to the extreme in the Black Jewels Trilogy and subsequent books. In-world, the Darkness is the source of the characters' power, receives the characters' prayers, and inhabits the Abyss. As an extension of darkness being one of the most positive traits, possessing a darker Jewel confers a higher position in the society's hierarchy.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Tom Bombadil (the oldest being in Middle-earth) mentions that he "knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless—before the Dark Lord came from Outside". The association of the starry sky with Elves and the Elder Days ensure this trope is always in play in Tolkien's works, even though Morgoth and Sauron are textbook examples of Dark Is Evil: this is an example of the "uncorrupted darkness" idea.
- Also part of Tolkien's universe: when the sun and moon were created, one of the demigods, Este, whose domain is sleep and rest, asked that the sun not always illuminate the Earth, and that there be a period of darkness every day so that creatures could sleep. Este's gift of darkness is meant to be a daily refuge during which we can heal our wounds, cure our illnesses and ease our difficult emotions.
- Tolkien in general seemed to have an affinity for "Sacred Darkness": Varda, the one among the Valar who Morgoth hates and fears the most, is the mistress of starlight and night, not sunlight and day. Likewise the Elves are always associated with nighttime and soft light to the point that they are even said to experience sunlight as too bright and harsh. They are even mentioned as being somehow more beautiful under moon/starlight and the association goes so far that Samwise is surprised at how Lothlórien is the most "Elvish" place he has ever seen, despite the brilliant, golden light that lives in the forest.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Faith of the Seven believes the new gods to be the seven faces of a single benevolent deity, one of which represents death and the unknown. Meanwhile, a competing religion regards R'hllor as the one true god of life, light and flames, but also of the shadows they cast, which are contrasted with the shapeless darkness of his enemy the Great Other. Judging from the shadows, this might in fact be Evil Versus Oblivion.
- The Old Gods appear to feature this theme, too. When Bran Stark discovers the truth behind them, his mentor teaches him not to be afraid of darkness, lives in a dark cave and controls ravens, traditionally ominous birds.
- In The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin, practitioners of the Zen/Taoist flavoured religion of Karhide say 'Praised be to darkness and creation unfinished', to express appreciation that there remains scope for growth, change and discovery.
- The The House of Night series uses this trope extensively. The titular House is a beloved, sheltering Extranormal Institute, and the protagonists are all nocturnal vampyres.note The vampyres' main goddess, Nyx, combines this trope with Light Is Good; she is most frequently associated with shadows and night, but comments that others worship her as Dawn.
- "You, Darkness" by Rainer Maria Rilke:
You, darkness, that I come fromI love you more than all the firesthat fence in the world,for the fire makes a circle of light for everyoneand then no one outside learns of you.But the darkness pulls in everything-shapes and fires, animals and myself,how easily it gathers them! -powers and people-and it is possible a great presence is moving near me.I have faith in nights.
- "Tuning Out" by Bastille takes words from a Christmas Carol about the night of Jesus' birth, describing the sacredness of it with the refrain of:
O night, O holy night
O night divine
- "The Night" by Disturbed
In a world beyond controllingAre you gonna deny the saviorIn front of your eyesStare into the nightPower beyond containingAre you gonna remain a slave forThe rest of your lifeGive into the night
- "What a Wonderful World" (sung by Louis Armstrong)
The bright blessed day,The dark sacred night.
- God is associated with... well, everything, but He gets compared to shade and rest just as much as light and holy fire - case in point, He keeps his people in "the shadow of His wing" for protection. By contrast, Satan AKA Lucifer is the "Light Bringer" and the "Bright Morning Star".
But flowers need night's cool darkness, the moonlight and the dew;
- Actually referenced in a Biblical verse, Psalm 139:11-12. "If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."
- For desert-dwellers, shade and shadow are wonderful things. In the Hebrew Bible, references to "shadow" are often positive. During the Exodus, for example, God provides a cloud to shade the people from the sun each day.
- In The Qur'an, nighttime and darkness are almost always portrayed positively.
- Anne Cousin's hymn "The Sands Of Time Are Sinking" associates the night with free will, and emphasizes that although darkness is distinct from the light of God, humanity also needs it.
So Christ, from one who loved it, His shining oft withdrew...
- This trope was also true for several religions, such as various myths about the Moon. Gods of death, the afterlife, etc. also occasionally qualify.
- One of the theories for Stonehenge is that it was built to show that the moon was "higher" (more holy) than the sun: once every few decades or so, both the sun and the moon will pass through one of Stonehenge's windows (or at least, the windows Stonehenge used to have), but the moon will pass through the window above the sun's window.
- In Greek myths, Thanatos was a child of the night goddess, Nyx, and was the personification of death. Rather than being evil, however, many myths associate the god with a gentle, non-violent death, such as passing while asleep. The only bad thing you could say about Thanatos was that he's kind of a dick to mortals and Gods, namely for the dislike of death on the former, and unable to reap gods in the latter. He does appear to get along with his brother Hypnos though (one famous painting has the two napping together as children.)
- Similarly, the only deities directly associated with darkness, like Nyx and Erebus, are not considered evil. They're just kind of there.
- The worst of the lot is Nemesis, the Goddess of Just Retribution. Her job involves taking away undeserved happiness and punishing excessive pride and evil deeds. It means if you meet her on the job, she would give you a punishment, and often a crushing or sadistic one, but also one that you literally asked for...
- The Yin half in the Yin and Yang. It represents the female principle, water, cold and darkness (it literally means "shady side"). The Yang represents the male principle, fire, warmth and light. The Yin is not only necessary for life and existence, but shows that both forces are complementary rather than opposing. It is arguably more benevolent than the Yang, since Yin symbolizes calmness and peacefulness, while Yang is harshness and aggressiveness.
- In Neopagan circles, Spirit/Akasha is the "highest" element, being the cosmic glue that unites all living things and the other elements. It is also frequently described as basically darkness, being defined by emptiness, the cosmos, and represented often in either black or purple. Which is very ironic, as Aether in Greek Mythology (the basis for the modern notion of Spirit) is pretty much the essence of light.
- Keku Semau and its residing trickster god Kek in egyptian mythology.
- In Warhammer, magic is either present in its raw chaotic form, or is refined into eight winds (which can be further refined and weaved together into High Magic); one of said winds provides magic over death, and another over shadows. Both are very distinct from the chaotic magic used by necromancers and worshippers of chaos gods.
- R. Talsorian Games' Cyberpunk supplement Home of the Brave. A religion called Worshippers of the Night considers the night to be a time of rest and spiritual purification. They patrol the streets at night to "protect the night's holiness against the evil that surrounds us."
- In CMON's Massive Darkness Heroes, even if called Lightbringers, gain abilities and bonuses when standing in unlit zones (from roll bonuses to even regeneration), in addition to the possibility of staying unseen - while the enemies, which are more stereotypical creatures of underground, usually gain no advantage in darkness, meaning that it is almost always preferable to fight in the darkness.
- In the Mystara setting of Dungeons & Dragons, the Immortal (Immortals being the D&D functional equivalent of AD&D's gods) Nyx was the Entropic Immortal of darkness, night, and the undead. She is also pretty much the only Immortal of Entropy who is not evil, although her goals would be horrifying to most people. Still, Nyx serves as the key reminder that Entropy is as necessary for the existence of the cosmos as are the other four Spheres of Power, and is not inherently evil.
- Pathfinder has the Chaotic Good goddess Desna, who is associated with Stars and the night sky. The land of Tian Xia also has the Lawful Good god Tsukiyo, the most prominent Good deity to provide the Darkness domain to his clerics.
- In Dungeons & Dragons, necromancy is usually regarded as a magic of pure evil, and the undead hated as blasphemous, but there are some exceptions.
- In the setting of Tabletop Game/Jakandor, to The Magocracy of the Charonti, necromancy is viewed as a sacred art given to them by their god; ancestor-worshippers, it is believed that their dead give them their bodies to serve as untiring laborers and defenders as an act of kindliness to their living descendants, freeing them of the need to worry about arduous mundane labor and instead concentrate on studying and other intellectual arts, as their god intended. They thusly treat their zombie and skeleton servants with great respect, honoring them for their kindness and seeking to protect them when possible.
- Though most gods concerned with the undead are evil monsters, the 3rd edition goddess Evening Glory is a kindly patroness of love and beauty, who preaches that love should conquer all things, even death, and that undeath is merely an expedient way to preserve love through all eternity. Her followers, then, are passionate believers in love ever-lasting, and embrace undeath so they can be together forever. It is sadly undermined somewhat by Gameplay and Story Segregation; due to necromantic spells carrying the "Evil" trait, all worshippers of Evening Glory must be one of the Morally Neutral alignments to use her magic.
- In Magic: The Gathering, Black Mana, the power of darkness, decay and death, is usually held up as the "evil" color of mana. But, on some planes, there are exceptions.
- On Ravnica, the Golgari Swarm are an order of shamans and druids who worship the philosophy that life and death are two inseparable parts of the same coin, and undeath is a natural part of the circle. They thusly draw upon both Green Mana and Black Mana simultaneously.
- On Amonkhet, a dying world where the dead spontaneously reanimate as mindless yet tormented zombies anyway, the surviving culture has founded itself around the philosophy of seeking a glorious death in battle, to guarantee themselves a prized place when they are resurrected into a new paradise of a world by the God-Pharaoh. To facilitate this, those who perish early, before the final trials, are resurrected as docile mummified undead respected as "The Anointed"; these early returners are the foundation of Amonkhet society, as they undertake all of the labors that civilization requires whilst the living occupants concern themselves with nothing other than training for their ultimate fate of battling to the death in the Trial of Zeal. Additionally, Black Mana is associated with Bontu, crocodile-headed God of Ambition, who teaches that the worthy are those who deliberately strive for glory in life and do not let themselves be burdened by false humility or uncertainty — teachings that are considered one of the five great lessons that the Amonkhetians must learn to attain their glorious resurrection as an Immortal. Subverted when it is ultimately revealed that the Amonkhetian culture has been twisted into an industrialized producer of elite undead minions for the malevolent Planeswalking dragon, Nicol Bolas, and that Bontu betrayed her siblings to Bolas when he conquered their already-dying world generations ago, although before then Bontu was one of the respected and beloved gods of Amonkhet.
- Believe it or not, the will of the galaxy itself in Boktai (literally known as "Dark") is this. Although its followers, the Immortals, seek to destroy humanity to supplant them with their own race of undead, Dark itself wishes to eliminate humanity to return peace to the galaxy, fearing that humanity will otherwise spread unfettered across the galaxy and ultimately destroy it and themselves.
- Fire Emblem: Several of the holy Infinity +1 Swords used by the Precursor Heroes and eventually obtained by the player are dark magic tomes, but are treated with exactly the same level of reverence and usefulness as the other holy weapons; said weapons are Apocalypse and Gleipnir. The exception here is the Jugdral canon, which plays Dark Is Evil very straight - of the holy weapons of the Twelve Crusaders, none of them are dark magic, and the equivalent dark tome, Loptous, was born of a destructive evil god of the same name and is used by the final boss, a descendent of and possessed by said evil god; however, the "holy" blood of Loptous is charted in exactly the same way as the holy blood of the Crusaders. Nontheless, the holy sword Mysteltainn might be an example, as side materials sometimes call it a demonic sword and its destined wielders are always Black Knights on the side of good (like Eldigan and his son Ares).
- The Jugdral backstory tried to invoke the trope with Saint Maira's third option for the Jugdral people: worshipping Loptous willingly and as a savior, rather than an evil God. Naturally, Status Quo Is God, and he failed.
- Gleipnir actually doesn't deal bonus damage to monsters the way the other Sacred Twin weapons do. However, in Radiant Dawn, every unit brought to the endgame gets one of their weapons turned into a holy weapon at a certain point. If the chosen group includes a dark magic wielder, a dark tome could become holy.
- Fire Emblem Awakening brings up an interesting new thought in regards to curse magic. It is a type of spellcraft that forces an effect against the natural order, but in of itself is not evil. For example, one could curse a vital organ to heal from an injury that would have normally been fatal... or curse an illness that has no cure to become nothing more than a common cold. As Tharja put it:
Don't be fooled by the name. Curses are a kind of magic that gives life to dreams. Whether it is a dream of joy or horror depends very much on the victim.
- Fire Emblem Fates has the Siegfried Holy Sword, Prince Xander's personal weapon, which is at the same level of the other four Holy Weapons in this universe: Prince Ryoma's Raijinto sword (lightning), Prince Takumi's Fujin Yumi (wind), and Prince Leo's Brynhildr (gravity). Whether Xander is an opponent or not, it depends on which path is chosen, but he's always described as at least an Anti-Villain.
- Kingdom Hearts skipped into this occasionally. While usually Dark Is Evil and Light Is Good, some parts of the story regarding Riku have felt like this, especially in Chain of Memories, where he's told to accept his darkness and uses it to beat Zexion.
- King Mickey outright tells Xemnas that the Worlds are made of both Light and Darkness, and that "you can't have one without the other."
- By Dream Drop Distance, while the corruptive aspects of darkness are still in full play here, Riku himself has become the living proof of this trope, having become immune to said corruption from so much exposure to it, thus freely able to wield dark powers while being more of a good guy than he has ever been, showing where Terra and Sora have failed to conquer, and making Xehanort's use of darkness rightfully look worse by comparison.
- Shining Force. The Sword of Darkness, despite being a cursed weapon, might count as this, since it's needed to form the Chaos Breaker.
- This might actually be closer to a Yin-Yang Bomb.
- Heroes of Might and Magic V has the dark elves, who worship Malassa the Dragon of Darkness, and the necromancers, who worship the "death" aspect of Asha the Dragon of Order. Both ultimately work for the "good" side in the campaign.
- The Umbra Witches in Bayonetta are the counterparts of the Lumen Sages but are not presented as evil as such, even though they get their powers from a Deal with the Devil. The two clans paid each other great respect (before they started waging war to each other, that is) and each one protects one Eye Of The World. These "Eyes" represent Darkness and Light and are both necessary to awaken Jubileus.
- It also helps that neither force is depicted as good either. Characters and texts in-game suggest that both forces have influenced humanity for good and bad, but for most of history have not actually attempted to take a permanent stand. At least, not until the events of the game, when the Angels finally attempt to revive their Creator.
- In Illusion of Gaia, the hero exclusively wields dark powers, while some of the monster he fights used to be human before they were touched by the light of an evil comet.
- The sequel, Terranigma, goes further. Dark Gaia's purpose is to impel the world through its natural cycles of death and rebirth. Light Gaia opposes this cycle and the main character's actions.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- In Ocarina of Time, the Sage of Light sends the hero on a quest to awaken the Sages of Forest, Fire, Water, Shadow and Spirit, all forces of good required to defeat the Great King of Evil.
- This theme is further explored in Twilight Princess, with events such as the Blade of Evil's Bane being blessed by the gods of the Dark World.
- The Sheikah tribe have this as their main cultural motif. Nicknamed the "Shadow Folk" and associated with darkness and stealth, they're nonetheless a Tribe of Priests dedicated since the early days of creation to following the will of Hylia and protecting the Royal Family of Hyrule from harm. This is most apparent in the aforementioned Ocarina of Time, where Impa of the Sheikah is Zelda's bodyguard and nurse dedicated to protecting the princess and eventually awakening as the Sage of Shadow to help Link, and Breath of the Wild, where undead Sheikah monks have been waiting in their darkly-lit Shrines for 10,000 years for the prophesied Hero to complete their trials and prove worthy of receiving Spirit Orbs.
- In Luminous Arc, the Twilight Witch is Cecille, formerly of the Luminous Church. Her powers of Darkness counterbalance the Dawn Witch, Lucia's, once it's revealed that the Witches are not evil.
- In Universe at War, the Masari are masters of both Light and Dark. They advocate maintaining a balanced vision above all else and are definitely not evil. Their Light powers give offensive buffs (longer line of sight, extra damage to enemies over time) while their Dark powers boost defenses (increaced speed and Dark Matter Armor, a self-regenerating second health bar).
- The Undead element serves as this in Skylanders. There are references to the undead attacking the living, but some have shown themselves to be friendly; plus the Eternal Undead Source is one of the components of the Core of Light, and the Skylanders themselves include a number of Undead members (even if one is a Token Evil Teammate and people are wary of the dark powers of two others). It should be noted though that while undeath is all right, darkness is still portrayed as evil.
- Trap Team then played it straight by adding Dark as an element, including Dark Is Not Evil Skylanders.
- Occasionally has a minor part in Final Fantasy games. In Final Fantasy III, it is stated that previously the world was saved by Dark Warriors fighting against light. In Final Fantasy IV there are 4 light crystals and 4 dark crystals.
- Final Fantasy Dimensions takes many story elements from FF I-VI. The world is shattered into overlapping light and dark halves, and your party is broken into 2 groups; 4 Warriors of Light and 4 Warriors of Dark. Both sets start the game with the same basic jobs, but as the story progresses they obtain divergent jobs and even the basic jobs are able to learn mutually exclusive abilities. Even near the end when the 2 groups come together and the player can freely form their party of 5, the jobs and abilities stay unique.
- MARDEK has this as a major plot element. Every element is required for the world to function properly, and even though dark is often evil, it's still necessary, most notably to spur on technological and magical progress. Rohoph is unwilling to accept this, which begins causing problems at the end of Chapter Two.
- In Knights of the Old Republic II, despite being a Humanoid Abomination capable of drawing power from Force-Sensitive individuals and creating Force-Bonds to sway them to their point of view, the Jedi Exile is still nonetheless a Light-Sided Jedi.
- Tenebrae in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is the Centurion of darkness. He feels most at home in the Shadow Temple, though he finds the darkness in the Earth Temple to be unsettling
- The Dark Templar of StarCraft fame are a nomadic people who revere the darkness and Void Psychic Powers, which are derived from the vast expanses between planets. Their favored powers include invisibility, the Flash Step, and huge "warp blades" that can slice through armor, which they use to perform ninja-style infiltrations and assassinations. Despite this, they are far and away more friendly than their light-using High Templar counterparts. They see the shadows as safety from the "prying light" of the Khala, a psionic connection between High Templar that allows instant communication at the price of privacy. They are likewise dedicated to the concept of protection, as shown in their blessing adun toridas: "Adun hide you" or "shelter you".
- In Shin Megami Tensei, the demon Black Maria, based off an interpretation of the Virgin Mary with black skin, is stated in the Compendium to be a holy mother of the dark. Likewise, the demon Alciel, the "Black Sun", of "King of Gehenna" has added commentary in the Compendium saying darkness is a part of rebirth.
- Although not a dark type, Cresselia from Pokémon fits this Trope perfectly; she represents the crescent moon and is part of the Lunar Duo with Darkrai. While Darkrai represents bad dreams and is an example of Dark Is Not Evil, Cresselia is an entity of pleasant dreams and peaceful nights. Generation VII also introduces Lunala, a Legendary representing the avatar/concept of the moon, revered as a divine guardian.
- In Dark Souls, the Humanity that keeps you from becoming a Hollow seems to be literally made of Dark, and it turns out the progenitor of humanity had a unique Lord Soul—the Dark Soul—which every human has a piece of, making them inherently beings of Dark. While Artorias of the Abyss revealed that overabundance/lack of control of Humanity turns people into horrific monstrosities, it's still unclear if this is because Dark Is Evil or because it was misused. Even if it is the former, Dark is also stated to be an unavoidable product of the disparity the First Flame brought to the world. Without Dark there would be no fire/light, and thus only the homogenous, unchanging Age of Grey preceding the Age of Fire, as embodied by the Everlasting Dragons.
- In the sequel, while hexes, which are some of the most devastating spells in the game, come from the Dark, those who study the Dark frequently describe it as a thing of peaceful serenity.
- And the third game's final DLC finally puts the discussion to rest by revealing that the only reason the Dark became dangerous was because of Gwyn's paranoia leading him to brand humans with fire to limit their control of Dark, creating the Darksign, the Undead Curse, and all the suffering in the series as a result. If he hadn't everything would've worked out just fine after the Age of Fire ended.
- The Arrakoa Outcasts in World of Warcraft expansion Warlords of Draenor use shadow magic and many worship a dark raven god but mostly just want to be left in peace; placing them in Dark Is Not Evil. A particular branch of them worship the raven god Anzu, who herself notes this group is a little mentally unhinged, but cares for them anyway as someone should.
- Trolls lean more towards this as well. The loa are dark gods but not true evil. Their shadow spells are of a clean and natural variety, opposed to the corrupting shadow of the demons/Old Gods.
- The night elves are a dark-skinned (read: purple) sect of elves who are nocturnal by nature and worship the night, particularly the moon goddess Elune, and the ancient animal demigods she empowered. They are directly and vehemently opposed to the Burning Legion and the Old Gods. Illidan Stormrage plays with this trope, as he actually imbued himself and his followers with demonic power in a bid to become strong enough to stop the Legion. Both he and his demon hunters treat this power with careful reverence, as they believe that the only way to stop the Legion is by turning their demonic power against them.
- In World of Mana games, Shadow is the Mana Spirit of Darkness, and he grants spells with the pleasant names of "Dark Force" and "Evil Gate." However, he's always unquestionably on the side of the heroes, attempting to help them prevent The End of the World as We Know It and preserve life on the planet.
- In Doctor Who Legacy, the color-coded Personality Powers that characters use to attack are red for fire, blue for ice/time, green for nature, yellow for electricity (or lightning)...and black for darkness (with attacks creating the brief image of a wailing face when they hit). Darkness is just as powerful and vital as the other four attacks, and like those is used by both villains and heroes; it's also both weak to and powerful against electricity (and vice versa). Among the good guys who use darkness as their primary attack are several incarnations of the Doctor himself (Eight, Nine, and Twelve, reflecting their sadder, darker personalities, plus Signature Series Six).
- In Fallen London, the Liberation of Night seeks to destroy all of the suns, creating a universe free from light and therefore law.
- Nexus Clash is brimming over with straight examples of Dark Is Evil, but Hashaa, the personification of Death is this trope instead, seeking to quiet the noise of the universe and enforce death as a law of the universe that she sees as fair and just. She gets a bad reputation because Humans Are Bastards who dish out death indiscriminately, but Hashaa's goal is to limit suffering and some of her followers can be downright saintly.
- In Ori and the Blind Forest, dark spirits are no better or worse than the light spirits, and include the motherly Naru who shelters and takes care of the protagonist.
- In The Elder Scrolls series, Nocturnal is the Daedric Prince of Darkness and the Night who is also associated with Thieves and Luck. Given the nature of the series' deities, she is essentially the embodiment of the night and darkness. The darkness that Nocturnal represents is treated as protective, as well as beautiful, welcoming, and awe-inspiring to those who appreciate it. However, Nocturnal is quick to withdraw her favor (and thus the protective qualities of darkness) if she is displeased, and those who appreciate the darkness more often than not tend to be thieves and criminals.
- Persona 5 takes the Dark Is Not Evil route with its characters right up until the protagonist's Ultimate Persona, which is Satanael, a being which is explicitly stated to be Satan before he fell from God's grace. He's still dark all over and extremely demonic-looking (even being referred to as a "demon lord"), but he somehow manages to be a Messianic Archetype despite the obvious Mind Screw. He's the embodiment of Tokyo's desire for freedom, and comes to remake the world into a place free from control and oppression.
- In Warframe, the Warframe Equinox's Night aspect reflects this idea, representing the soothing protection and safety of night, in the form of healing and protective auras that assist other nearby Warframes and allies. Her Day aspect, on the other hand, reflects the destructive potential of the sun and light.
- The orc gods of light and darkness in Dominic Deegan are supposed to form a balance of death and rebirth - bad things happen to both when it is disturbed.
- Void God Tier powers may count since they are heavily associated with the infinite darkness of the Furthest Ring, but the two concrete examples we can see of them include using the control over nothingness to remove that concept from an object and thus bringing it into existence and using it as a Psychic Block Defense against scrying and unwanted detection by forces you don't want seeing you. The fact that Void is one of 12 confirmed Aspects also shows that it is treated with the same sort of reverence as other cosmic forces like Time, Space, Light, and Life.
- In addition, the trolls of Alternia are a nocturnal race: their world's sun is so hot and bright that only one caste can endure its light, and the roles of light and dark are generally reversed in their thoughts.
- Welcome to Night Vale: Visions of the dark planet seen by residents of Night Vale may fit here, especially when contrasted with the threat of a Smiling God. Notably, the dark planet was shown to be Cecil's vision of perfection.
- This also reflects the underlying theme of the story: Just because something seems dark and ominous (undetectable earthquakes, clocks not being real, etc.), that doesn't mean they are, and in fact they can be quite harmless and even beautiful (the lights above the Arby's at night, a young man who's hopelessly in love with you).
- This becomes a plot point in Moonflowers when Hades and Persephone, concerned that Alima Song's presumed-dead parents have ignored her offerings for months, step in to check on her. They find out that Alima's parents are alive (if cursed by The Wild Hunt), but also that the entire family is cursed to be victims of The Wild Hunt's upcoming Fairy Raid on Samhain/Halloween. Hades was already mad about the Folk abducting a woman's parents and letting her think they're dead, but the second part makes him go ballistic.
- The Dark God in Tales From the Gas Station isn't so much evil as he is inept. He's even kind of upset when the protagonist calls him on his title, stating that a thousand years ago, the God of Darkness meant something quite different. He brings back te remains of the local Apocalypse Cult after their Kool-Ade party, because "When that Jesus guy came back, everyone thought it was cool." However, he brings them back wrong. His plan for getting his cheif servant elected as mayor was to increase environmental protection, but his Chosen Ones best friend is the town bully.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has Luna, the alicorn Princess of the Night.
- In ages past, she felt that her subjects did not appreciate her night, especially in comparison to her older sister, Celestia, Princess of the Sun. Luna's jealousy turned her into Nightmare Moon, and Celestia was forced to banish her to the moon to protect their subjects from her eternal night.
- After a thousand years, Luna's banishment ended, and the Elements of Harmony were used to heal her. Since then, Luna has returned to her duties as Princess of the Night, raising the moon each night, but also watching over her subjects' dreams.