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Token Heroic Orc

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"There might be people who shun you for being a spy, but I would never. You chose to stand up against your own people to help ours. Making that choice makes you stronger than anyone else here."
Virion Eralith, The Beginning After the End

A subtrope of Token Nonhuman and Token Enemy Minority. This trope is to Token Enemy Minority as Token Nonhuman is to Token Minority. It's about a member of the Villain or Mook race who joins the main cast and their good (mostly human or The Federation) organization.

There are many shades of this trope which may appear:

  • Defector from Decadence: He can't abide the evil ways of his people. Often the result of Klingon Scientists Get No Respect.
  • Mook Rebel: Sometimes, if his race are Slave Mooks for the Big Bad, he may have rebelled and joined the opposition to fight his former evil master and free his people.
  • Orc Raised by Elves: The heroes are closer to him than to the rest of his race.
  • Heel–Race Turn: His race used to be the enemy, but has now become neutral or friendly with humans, so having him join the heroes' crew shows that things have changed, and the two races are getting along now.
  • Defeated enemy: His race stops being villainous because they lost. At best now his nation is a Vestigial Empire; at worst he's the Last of His Kind.
  • Enemy Mine: He shares a common enemy with the heroes, in some cases a rival faction of his own race.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: He's personally loyal to his (human or otherwise not of the mook-race) master who goes through a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Assimilation victims: Someone who was assimilated but later saved, now has free will again but doesn't get restored to his original form.note 
  • Rogue Drone: He's a member of an evil Hive Mind who developed an independent personality that happened not to be evil.

See also My Species Doth Protest Too Much, Monster Allies, Pet Monstrosity, and Token Good Teammate.

Examples Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Bleach, Hollows are entirely comprised of soul-eating monsters who are a danger to everyone around them, and Arrancars, Hollows that have jumped over the Bishounen Line and lost much of their Horror Hunger, are generally not much better. The biggest exception to this, though, is Nelliel Tu Odelschwanck, who, even when she was working for the villains, was portrayed as honorable, kind, and disdaining combat to borderline Badass Pacifist levels. At the time she shows up, she isn't even doing that anymore, and her most evil traits are being kind of bratty and annoying (though spending most of her time as an amnesiac child didn't exactly push her any further down the path of evil). Her two caretakers/henchmen, Pesche and Dondochakka, are pn about the same level, actively jumping at the opportunity to not have to see their mistress fight anymore.
  • Chainsaw Man:
    • Denji's demonic Pet Monstrosity Pochita, a.k.a. the Chainsaw Devil, is shown to be one of the only Devils with no inherent malice towards humanity whatsoever. In fact, he deliberately used his Ret-Gone powers on aspects of the world that were massive threats to humanity's safety.
    • Power, the Blood Devil, does have an inherent malice towards humanity, but she's Laughably Evil and one of Denji's closest friends.
    • The Angel Devil was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who on the surface appeared indifferent to humans at best, but proves himself to be capable of caring for people after all.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Most members of the Saiyan race introduced in Dragon Ball Z are vicious monsters. Some exceptions include Goku (who lost his memories of being a Saiyan), his and Vegeta's offspring (although they are part human), Vegeta's younger brother Tarble, and Goku's mother Gine. Vegeta starts off as a villain, but becomes an Anti-Hero through character development. Bardock, Goku's father, also starts off as a villain, but ends up pulling a full Heel–Face Turn in a spin-off manga. In Minus, he becomes more mellow after meeting Gine, although he's still a mass-murderer.
      • Going back even further, the ancient Saiyan Yamoshi is stated to have been a right-hearted Saiyan in an era where those were not common.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Frost, Frieza's counterpart from Universe 6, is the only member of Frieza's race not to be evil. Justified, as we didn't see other members. Eventually it's revealed he is just as evil as Frieza, but he's a lot more clever about it. This isn't the case in the manga, where he's more of an Anti-Hero.
  • Greed of Fullmetal Alchemist is a homunculus like most of the main villains, but rather than blindly obeying his creator, his greedy nature got the better of him, and he'll do whatever it takes to get what he wants. He's Affably Evil and treats his gang of human followers well, rather than as pawns to be sacrificed. After Father kills him and uses his essence to turn Ling into a new Greed, the combination of getting his old memories back and Ling continually Fighting from the Inside eventually leads him to join the heroes.
  • GaoGaiGar has played with it with Soldat J alien cyborg created on Red Planet to fight Primevals and their mechanization virus. He was turned into Zonderian Pizza after Red Planet was conquered and participated in the invasion on Earth. Later, after his Heel–Face Turn Heroic Sacrifice he was restored by Arma to his original form. While fighting Primevals along the heroes, he has to tell them more than a few times that he is no longer Pizza, and Gai correcting himself after calling him "Pizza" has almost become a Running Gag.
  • Discussed in Goblin Slayer: The titular protagonist is specifically asked if there are any good goblins. He concedes that you probably would find some good-hearted ones if you looked hard enough, but considers it a moot point; the only goblins that interact with humans (i.e., the ones Goblin Slayer considers worth his attention) are of the Always Chaotic Evil Rape, Pillage, and Burn variety. Any good goblins simply don’t figure into the story, since they’re just minding their own business.
  • Macross:
    • Millia, Konda, Warera and Loli all eventually qualify as Token Heroic Zentraedi in Super Dimension Fortress Macross. Before Space War One is over, they are joined by Exsedol and Britai; in fact, heroic Zentraedi become fairly commonplace in later Macross series, as large numbers of them have successfully integrated into human society, to the point where several characters (such as Guld from Macross Plus are of mixed human-Zentraedi origin.
    • In Macross Delta, Freyja Wion is the Token Heroic Windermerian.
  • The Harmony Dragons in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid are commonly shown to have just as much Fantastic Racism towards humans as Chaos Dragons, and often engage in Human Sacrifice and other Knight Templar actions for their self-proclaimed desire for "order and peace". Elma, the first introduced and most prominent among them, completely lacks those problems. In the beginning she still had hints of being a Noble Bigot with an emphasis on "noble", but from the start she's been neutral to friendly with humans and actually practices what she preaches about the Harmony faction's ideals, genuinely trying to bring peace and coexistence between the dragon factions and humanity, along with utterly refusing to engage in Human Sacrifice when being fed human-cooked food is much more worthwhile to her.
  • Rooster Fighter: While there are demons that instinctively help their community instead of attacking everyone, Morio stands out by being completely sentient, and turned out this way because his host got a call that his cancer diagnosis was mistaken right after giving to despair.
  • In Soul Eater it's revealed that Kim Diehl is a Token Heroic Witch, who lacks their normal affinity (and love of) destruction because her magic's healing based. Her partner being able to transform into a broomstick is just a coincidence.
  • Grasshop of Spider Riders, once he stops faking his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann had Viral, who's a Beastman, caught and imprisoned after the Time Skip. When Simon is put in the next cell, the two are initially on bad terms... until Yoko busts them out and Simon asks Viral to pilot Gurren (the mecha of Viral's ex-Foil, Kamina) on the grounds that if they fail, the Beastmen will be destroyed as well, not just the humans. He accepts and permanently becomes the Gurren Lagann's co-pilot despite the fact that as a Beastman, he can't use Spiral Power (though the penultimate episode suggests otherwise).
    • Downplayed in that post-Time Skip, crowd scenes show various types of beastmen living and working peacefully alongside humans.
  • Uncle from Another World parodies this concept: when Uncle got isekai'd, his gaunt and homely appearance caused the otherworld's peoples to mistake him for an orc. As far as anyone there knew, this one lone orc was trying to be a hero.

    Comic Books 
  • Birthright: Rook is a literal Token Heroic Orc. Most of his people fight in God-King Lore's army, but Rook not only leads one of the resistance cells opposing Lore, he summoned and trained the Chosen One prophesied to defeat him. Though, given the nature of the series, the results weren't entirely what he was hoping for.
  • Blade: Blade is a half vampire who hunts vampires, his ally Hannibal King is a friendly vampire who steals blood from blood banks in lieu of killing humans.
  • Bone:
    • Bartleby is a young rat creature who runs away because he doesn't like the harsh life of his fellow rat creatures. Fone and Smiley Bone help Bartleby rejoin his kind, but he likes the Bones better and eventually runs away again to permanently join them.
    • The two stupid, stupid rat creatures that the Bones keep encountering. They are quick to surrender to human forces during a fight, are even quicker to avoid a fight in the first place, and in the end work out a tentative truce with the villagers that allows them to live in the woods on the condition that they don't eat anyone with a name.
  • The Eternals: Karkas is a friendly but monstrous-looking Deviant who hangs out with his people's traditional enemies, the Eternals.
  • Marvel Universe has several members of the villainous Skrull race who for different reasons ally with various Earth's heroes.
    • Lyja from Fantastic Four, who posed as Alicia Masters and hooked up with Johnny for seven real-life years (which was explained via Retcon so as to not destroy the real Alicia's relationship with Ben). But while she did genuinely fall in love with him and has helped the FF on occasion, she sometimes finds herself stuck in the Heel–Face Revolving Door when she's not riding the bus.
    • Hulkling from Young Avengers, bonus points from being half-Skrull, half-Kree, Kree being another race Earth has bad history with.
    • Xavin from Runaways is a heroic Skrull.
    • John the Skrull and Skrull Beatles from Paul Cornell's Wisdom and Captain Britain and MI13
    • She-Hulk's ally Jazinda, daughter of the Super-Skrull.
    • Crusader, from Avengers: The Initiative
    • In a divergent timeline where he was the last remaining Olympian, Hercules wound up with an elderly Skrull named Skyppi as his sidekick.
    • Even Kl'rt the Super-Skrull, the most iconic of Skrull villains is more willing to team up and work together with humans after he and Skrulls as whole were forced to pull on an Enemy Mine with other races and few human cosmic heroes during Annihilation.
  • Nemesis the Warlock: Purity Brown is a prominent member of the pro-Nemesis faction on Termight, and one of Nemesis' closest confidants; due to being a human, she is often mistrusted by the Cabal. Notably, when Nemesis flies into a rage after hearing that his wife and son have been murdered, she along with Hammerstein calls out Nemesis on his intention to kill every human, citing herself as an example of a human who isn't evil.
  • New Gods: Orion, son of Darkseid, raised by the New Gods of New Genesis. Also Big Barda, a former fury of Granny Goodness who helped Scott Free escape and eventually married him.
  • The Incredible Hulk: No-Name in Planet Hulk is member of the Brood, a race of evil bug aliens and Xenomorph Expies that fight against the X-Men on regular basis. No-Name on the other hand is a Rogue Drone that fights alongside the Hulk as a Warbound member. She proves to be an exceptional individual unlike the rest of her race (who are by large sadistic and evil) during World War Hulk when she shields civilians from the impacts of Hulk's blows against Sentry, stating that they only came to make the people responsible for their home's destruction would pay, not to destroy another world.
  • Rat Queens: The two orc main characters, Braga and Orc Dave, are heroic but have different origins:
    • Braga was originally next in line to be her tribe's chief, but left after her brother killed her boyfriend and tried to kill her to seize power and she realized she would never be able to reform them from their warlike ways. We don't know for sure, but she may have also feared they wouldn't accept her being Transgender.
    • Orc Dave is a Gentle Giant Friend to All Living Things who was raised alone in the woods by his father, separate from any orc tribe.
  • Several years before Worf, DC Comics' movie-era Star Trek spinoff comic series introduced Konom, a Klingon defector who joins Kirk's crew.
  • Star Wars: Republic subverts this with Volfe Karkko, an Anzati Jedi Master. The Anzati are, essentially, a race of Force-sensitive, brain-eating vampires who view other sentient beings as prey. Karkko went centuries without indulging in his people's vampiric ways, but eventually his curiosity got the better of him, and he decided that eating a brain just once couldn't hurt. This one taste got him hooked, and he promptly fell to the dark side, devouring the brains of his fellow Jedi until the Council defeated and imprisoned him.
  • Superman: In Superman Unchained, Wraith is an alien that was raised by the U.S. military and has helped protect Earth since 1938. He serves as a Hero Antagonist to Superman due to their ideological differences. In the finale, Wraith sacrifices his life to save Earth from his own people.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Miss Martian, through she is a White Martian hiding as a Green Martian who suppressed her nature and turned it into a Superpowered Evil Side.
    • Raven is the daughter of the demon Trigon but has long been an ally of the Titans, not counting the occasional Face–Heel Turn.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): Count Dendum seems to be the only Saturnian who honestly feels bad about the empire's history of kidnapping and slavery and doesn't want to return to the system or start a war with earth.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Wondy's '90s Anti-Hero substitute Artemis was one, hailing from the violent, man-hating, arms-dealing Bana-Mighdall Amazons, who split from the main tribe in antiquity. It should be noted that the Bana-Mighdall Amazons in general were treated as more of a persecuted race after George Pérez left the book, but Artemis remains the White Sheep of the tribe... comparatively speaking. Akila, their champion, is also more decent than the average, preferring scholarship to war.
  • X-Men: Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men includes a notable Deconstruction of this trope, where we learn that the character who's set up as the Token Heroic Orc is actually the arc's true Big Bad. It turns out that the prophecy that kick-started the story's events (that one of the X-Men would destroy the home planet of that story's "Orcs") was actually planted by said character, who wanted it to come true because she thought that living under her Emperor's barbaric rule was a Fate Worse than Death. The story points out that, even in an alien culture that seems evil to us, a person willing to completely reject every underlying value of their species' culture probably wouldn't be a paragon of mental health.
    • Broo, a member of the Brood born with a mutation that gave him intelligent thought. He became a student at Xavier's academy and an ally to the X-Men.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In the story's last chapter and in the AbraxasVerse Timeline by the author, Camazotz is an inversion. Whereas the other awakened Titans have submitted to Godzilla and are genuinely loyal to the maintenance of Earth's natural balance so long as Godzilla remains the dominant Alpha, Camazotz disappeared from the surface after Godzilla ended King Ghidorah's control of the Earthborn Titans in Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019), and he re-emerges solely seeking to take over Skull Island for himself, and he risks destroying all life on the island in the process.
    • Recursive Fanfiction Abraxas: The Clash of Silver: Among the Zmeyevich created by Ghidorah in the main fic; the ones featured are either evil or their morality is ambiguous, except for Aleksandra, who was raised in Monarch custody by a human caretaker. Despite the Zmeyevich's origins and monstrous appearance, Aleksandra is ultimately a sweet girl who just wants to play games and have a relationship with her father, and she placates Kiryu and pilots him to fight Abaddon and Megiddo's Mechagodzilla.
      • Hrodvitnon, the author of the original Abraxas, incorporated this recursive fic's take on Aleksandra into this non-canon Abraxas snippet.
  • My Abominable Monster Classmates Can't Be This Cute!: Out of all the Grimm Artificial Hybrids at Salem's Academy of Evil, Ruby retains more of her humanity than the others due to her Silver Eyes' magic. Even before unlocking her aura enables her to access more of her lost humanity, Ruby both generated and sought a staggering amount of positive emotion (which is usually discouraged and considered repulsive among the hybrids), she dueled a Grimmified Cardin for rights to a live dog that Cardin was going to eat and she then kept the dog as a pet instead of hurting it, and she latches onto Jaune when he's the first person besides Yang to show her real compassion. Make no mistake though, while Ruby isn't sadistic like most of her classmates, she's just as much of a killer Grimm as any of them.
  • The Unseen Hunt: Blake and Adam in this RWBY AU fic are actually sentient Grimm who are on the heroes' side, unlike the majority of Grimm who are wild, man-eating predators, and unlike Leviathan, Cinder and the Lord of the Skies whom are all malevolent Elder Grimm. Same with Ruby, although her motives for siding with humanity are more altruistic than Blake and Adam's.
  • Monti Iwatani from Family of the Shield was initially just a Chimera hatched from an egg Naofumi had cut from the belly of the Chimera Wave Boss, because of the kind upbringing he was given by both Naofumi and Raphtalia along with gaining three more siblings in the form of Filo, Teal, and Leon; he identifies more as a part of the Iwatani Family and as a resident of Raphtalias' World than as a Wave Monster. He even uses his Cannibalism Superpower to grow stronger still by hunting and devouring other Wave Monsters and Wave Bosses. By the time Monti Class Upgrades, he becomes a [Wave Boss] himself, and can generate his own Wave of Catastrophe that he can control the Wave Monsters of, or use that same power to usurp control of a natural Wave from its' own Wave Bosses in order to immediately close it to cut off additional Wave Monsters from showing up: provided that the Wave Bosses in-question have lower health and stats compared to Monti.
  • Played with in Dungeon Keeper Ami as part of the A Lighter Shade of Grey theme. Ami's employees are predominantly amoral, evil, sadistic, stupid, or some combination thereof. However, Ami herself, as an unquestionably heroic heroine, enforces laws in her domain that generally discourage the aforementioned tendencies in her minions. As such, her goblins begin to show pride in their work — even in work that includes mopping floors and being clean. The dark mistresses show restraint (after one insists on Ami torturing her). And the youma have shown signs of genuine loyalty to Ami, their first decent employer in centuries.
  • Son of the Black: While Gumm-gumms are thought of as Always Chaotic Evil, feared and reviled by the rest of troll-kind for their warmongering, Jatar turned against them and fled. He does not hold the same taste for blood as the rest of his kin and has no problem with humans or other trolls, even if he feels like he no one would accept him. While reluctant, he agrees to act as the trollhunter until he can figure out how to dismantle the enchantments on the amulet, mainly so that he can protect Barbara and Toby from being hurt.
  • Star Wars vs Warhammer 40K: Trandoshans are a race of vicious Lizard Folk who are infamous for hunting Wookiees for sport on their homeworld, and the ones seen in both Star Wars canon and Legends are usually either criminals or bounty hunters. One of the major heroes of Season 1 is a Trandoshan Jedi Knight named Renphi, who is no less noble or selfless than any other Jedi in his order. Throughout his appearances, he is unwavering in his commitment to establishing a peaceful relationship between the Galactic Republic and the Imperium of Man, even when first contact is sabotaged by the Sith and war seems inevitable.

    Films — Animation 
  • An example of Defector from Decadence is Tiger in Don Bluth's An American Tail, a cat that can’t stand the evil ways of his people and choose not to hunt mice again, helping the protagonists against other cats.
  • Back to the Outback: Downplayed. Norine is not only the only child to not be afraid of the protagonists upon seeing them, but the only human in the entire film they encounter who realizes at first glance that they aren’t actually doing anything to try and hurt anyone, and as a result decides to try and help them escape so they can find their way to the outback.
  • Friendly baby Tyrannosaurus rex Chomper in the The Land Before Time sequels seems to be there to show that the Sharptooth are not just mindless flesh-eating beasts. This leads to the obvious Fridge Logic of what's going to happen when he gets too big to subsist on bugs anymore... Though this will probably never be explored because they never age the characters.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Critters Attack has the heroes encounter and befriend a female Crite who they name Bianca, who actually helps them in wiping out the rest of her kind.
  • Evolution (2015): Stella, the Sea Monster assigned to look after Nicolas during his first pregnancy, comes to regret her role in his fate and ultimately smuggles him back to human civilization after he survives being surgically delivered of his twin daughters.
  • Godzilla:
    • Invasion of Astro-Monster: Amongst the Xiliens invading Earth, Namikawa was sent to Earth as a spy but came to sincerely care for her human lover, to the point that she betrays the invasion force by revealing the Xiliens' secret weakness.
    • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): The Queen MUTO is the only member of her species thus far who's demonstrated that she's capable of coexisting peacefully with Godzilla. The MUTO pair from the previous movie and the "MUTO Prime" from the spin-off graphic novel Godzilla: Aftershock sought to kill Godzilla and flood the world with a new generation of MUTO spawn at any cost — the Queen MUTO however, though initially serving King Ghidorah alongside the other Titans in creating global destruction, bows to Godzilla as her new Alpha without a fight following Ghidorah's death at the end of the global apocalypse.
  • Gremlins: Gizmo, one of the main characters of the series, is seemingly the only one of his kind whom is truly benevolent. Gizmo's personality is just as cute as his appearance, and he outright acts in heroism against the gremlins in both movies; whereas the Mogwai that spawn from Gizmo in both movies are mischievous or even outright vicious from birth, and are actively interested in metamorphosing into their even-more-dangerous gremlin forms as quickly as possible.
  • In Society, Clarissa and her mother turn out to be Token Heroic Shunters, even helping the human heroes escape in the end.
  • Stake Land: A couple of the vampirized characters.
    • The morning after the attack where he was bitten, Officer Harley retains both his sentience and his humanity as he talks to the main characters about how his town will rebuild and advises them on a safe manner of travel.
    • Lady in the sequel seems to have a little more control over herself than the rest of the vampires, to the point where she knowingly forces Mister to kill her.
  • Nova (from the Apes' perspective) is this in War for the Planet of the Apes as she's a good human, as for them Humans are orcs.
  • The Witches (1990) introduced one such witch as a plot device to turn the hero back into a boy in the end. In Roald Dahl's original book, no such character existed, and the hero was doomed to permanently remain a mouse (which also meant that he probably wouldn't live very long). Dahl did not take kindly to the changes, reportedly going so far as to stand outside his local cinema with a megaphone urging moviegoers not to see The Witches ([1], [2], [3], [4]). Mind you, this was mere months before the man died; that's how pissed off he was.

  • Most of the pigs in Animal Farm, especially their leader Napoleon, end up just as tyrannical as the human farmers they overthrew. But it's worth remembering that the original revolution arose from the idealism of a prize boar named Old Major, though he didn't live to see the revolution itself.
  • Bazil Broketail: Inverted. While dragons are good guys in this setting, Smilgax is the only one who is unambiguously an antagonist.
  • The Beginning After the End:
    • A rare human example with Director Cynthia Goodsky, who is revealed to be the Token Heroic Alacryan (the inhabitants of the other continent who have fallen under the sway of the Vritra), having turned against her own kind. Even though she is genuinely on the side of Dicathen, once her true nature is revealed several people refuse to believe she is anything but The Mole. This even briefly included the Council, who while under the sway of the Vritra almost used her as The Scapegoat for the attack on Xyrus Academy (the very school she founded) before its corrupted members were disposed of. However, during the events of Volumes 8 and 9 (in which Arthur finds himself living incognito among the Alacryans in the aftermath of the war), he comes to learn that the Alacryans aren't completely evil and are as much victims of the war between the Asuras as the Dicathians are. Indeed, in Volume 10 a full-scale revolt against the Vritra occurs in Alacrya staged by the Alacryans who were close to Arthur during his time there and who were inspired by his recent feats in undermining the authority of the Vritra.
    • Among the Scythes, Seris Vritra becomes sort of an enigmatic ally of sorts to Arthur, having taken an interest in him since she first met him during the war. Not only does she help cover up for him during his time in Alacrya as an Anonymous Benefactor, but she is also responsible for masterminding the revolt against the Vritra in the first place.
    • After it is revealed that the Indrath are no better than the Vritra when it comes to their treatment of mortals and are responsible for committing a genocide in the distant past (of which the Vritra's attempts to expose the truth led to the main conflict in the story), Sylvie and her late mother Sylvia can be seen as the Token Heroic Indrath, with the former being a Raised by Humans example as she was entirely raised by Arthur as his bond and the latter not only genuinely caring for Arthur unlike the rest of her kind who only treated him as an ally with begrudging reluctance, but also being the one to inform him of the truth behind the war in the first place. Sylvie is even a double example as she is also the Token Heroic Vritra, given that she is revealed to be the daughter of both Sylvia and Agrona, the latter being the leader of the Vritra Clan and the Big Bad of the novel.
    • As for the rest of the Asuras, Aldir ends up becoming a Defector from Decadence example after he becomes disillusioned with Kezess and the Indrath for ordering him to use the World Eater technique on Elenoir. He disobeys his liege's orders to kill off the remaining Lances by instead sending them to the sanctuary of the Dicathian resistance, where Kezess has sent another Asura to finish them off for going against his plans. Afterwards, he departs Kezess's service for Dicathen (though not without consequence, as Kezess sends some of Aldir's former disciples to hunt him down, and in the process of defending himself Aldir ends up discrediting himself in the eyes of the other Asuras). There is also Wren, who was never loyal to Kezess and harbors similar opinions to Aldir over how Kezess's leadership has been leading the Asuras astray. The novel later introduces Mordain, a former Asuran prince and friend to Kezess who was exiled and Un-personed from Epheotus after he stood up against the Indrath for committing genocide. After being cast out, he established the Hearth, a hidden enclave within the Beast Glades that became a haven for Asuras who opposed both Kezess and Agrona, Djinn who survived the genocide, and the Semi-Divine hybrid offspring of both. Aldir and Wren later find refuge in the Hearth after they leave Epheotus.
    • Downplayed with Mica Earthborn. During the war between Dicathen and Alacrya, it becomes clear that the dwarven kingdom of Darv has been the most compromised by the manipulations of the enemy, with much of its ruling elite including its own King and Queen having become pawns of the Vritra. In spite of how divided her people are over their allegiances, Mica remains loyal to the Dicathian cause. Naturally, she plays a key role in helping the dwarves realign themselves with the rest of Dicathen once Arthur returns from Alacrya and helps the resistance retake Darv.
  • The BFG, or Big Friendly Giant, is the only friendly member of his species, the rest of whom are Always Chaotic Evil brutes who prey on humans.
  • Discworld: In Unseen Academicals, Mr. Nutt, a non-human Raised by Humans (and vampires) discovers that he actually is an orc. He takes it upon himself, as the first and possibly only orc people will meet, to become a Token Heroic Orc and show everyone what his species is capable of. (Turns out that while they are incredible fighting machines, they're also great at learning and teamwork off the battlefield, including on the football field.)
  • The titular novella of The Dream Eaters and Other Stories by Louise Searl is about a war between dragons and wyverns. It's from the dragons' point of view and portrays them as the heroes - but there is one sympathetic wyvern, Theeg.
  • In The Edge Chronicles, Hekkle is a shryke, a member of a usually antagonistic race. He actively serves as a respected, trusted, and resourceful spy for the heroes. Another, female, shryke, Mother Bluegizzard, is also benevolent and kindly, in contrast to the other female shrykes met in the series, who are for the most part bloodthirsty warriors and slave-traders. Even Mother Horsefeather, although a greedy Jerkass, is nowhere near as vile as the shrykes encountered later in the series, and has a friendly relationship with Cloud Wolf if nothing else. Sister Bloodfeather is another example, being the only shryke ever to captain a sky pirate ship and close personal friends with at least one other captain — and shrykes in general are not on good terms with the sky pirates.
  • Harry Potter
    • Werewolves aren't inherently evil, but they are dangerous when their condition isn't properly managed, leading to widespread prejudice. At the time that the series takes place, this discrimination has driven them into the arms of Voldemort, who promised them better treatment. It doesn't help that the sadistic Fenrir Greyback, a werewolf supremacist who attacks people even when not transformed and who takes a creepy interest in infecting kids to recruit them, sided with Voldemort and enforces the party line among other werewolves. This makes Remus Lupin, the one werewolf we encounter who didn't join Voldemort, a Token Heroic Werewolf who serves as the good guys' spy among his kind.
    • Most of the giants likewise sided with Voldemort because he promised them better treatment than they were getting under the current regime. Nonetheless, a few giants do side with the heroes, including the half-human Rubeus Hagrid and Olympe Maxime along with Hagrid's fully giant half-brother Grawp.
    • The only Acromantula who behaves in an at least somewhat civilized manner is Aragog, who refuses to eat human flesh because Hagrid raised him from an egg (though he won't prevent his offspring from eating humans other than Hagrid, who's not even fully human himself).
    • Though not exactly evil, centaurs are standoffish and sometimes outright hostile toward humans—except Firenze, who even briefly stands in for Sybill Trelawney as Hogwarts's Divination professor. This leads the other centaurs to shun him as a Category Traitor. The character of Firenze may be a Shout-Out to the Greek centaur Chiron (mentioned below under Mythology).
  • Adam from I Am Number Four is a heroic Mogadorian.
  • The Legend of Drizzt:
    • Drizzt Do'Urden, a Chaotic Good drow, started out as this before he inspired a Fountain of Expies and quickly lost his uniqueness.
    • From The Thousand Orcs into The Orc King, King Obould Many-Arrows starts out as a homicidal warlord bent on dominating everything like most other orc warlords, but after becoming the avatar of the orc god Gruumsh, One-Eye he calms down considerably, becoming able to see things in a far broader perspective than any orc before him, which has already led to speculation as to a pending change in orcish society under his leadership. In the prologue of The Orc King, a hundred years have passed, and the kingdom which Obould created, the Kingdom of Many Arrows, has survived the years, establishing trade agreements and treaties with the surrounding cities of the "goodly races", and with a descendant of Obould, Obould VI, in control but being contested fiercely by shamans of Gruumsh who believe in the old ways of being self-dependent and not being peaceful with the good races. The situation being as it is in The Orc King furthers the growing desire for peace within Obould I. This, of course, is only strengthened by the story of the prologue, which obviously shows Obould's vision of the future as an inevitability.
  • Implied in The Lord of the Rings. Tolkien, a devout Catholic, struggled deeply with the idea of a race that was purely evil, even taking into account the fact that the orcs and trolls were corrupted rather than created. At the Council of Elrond, it is mentioned that ALL races (save the Elves) were found on both sides of the conflict, meaning that there must have been at least some orcs and trolls fighting against Sauron.
  • Piilomaan pikku aasi: Most of the villain's lackeys are foxes, and all of of them are evil when first seen. The evil fox witch Kuva Kuva eventually changes sides, and she's the only fox not banished in the end.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars, Tars Tarkas starts out this way, as a Defector from Decadence among the Proud Warrior Race of Green Martians, in contrast to the civilized and more human-like Red Martians. As the story goes on, however, we learn that not all of the Red Martians are as benign and noble as we had first assumed, and when Tars Tarkas gets a Klingon Promotion to become the chief of a major Green nation, it's the Green hordes who ride to The Hero's aid to sack a Red Martian city.
    • In the later book The Chessmen of Mars, we meet a group of bizarre Puppeteer Parasite aliens called Kaldanes, who pride themselves on their absolute logic and fealty to an evil Hive Mind. When one of the Kaldanes, Ghek, hears the heroine sing and realizes the value of beauty and emotion, he has a crisis of faith, eventually undergoing a Heel–Face Turn and helping her escape. He remains an unsettling presence throughout the story.
  • Vampire Lucilla working for the vampire-hunter private agency known as the Raven Corporation in Ravencraft series.
  • Semiosis: Stevland is a sapient bamboo-like Plant Alien who chooses to live in a mutualistic relationship with human colonists. Late in the book, his narration reveals that most bamboo are brutal warmongers and he made a deliberate choice to break from that mold.
  • Shannara: Slanter the gnome in The Wishsong of Shannara. He befriends Jair Ohmsford and helps him on his quest to destroy the Ildatch. He is the only heroic gnome in the entire series. Otherwise, the gnomes are almost always faceless cannon fodder for the Big Bad.
  • The Ship Avenged has the return of the Kolnari from The City Who Fought. During the events of City, a nasty Synthetic Plague was unleashed on the Kolnari. Belazhir escaped at the end of the book and in the intervening ten years spread the disease to all his people for Social Darwinist reasons, with disastrous results. So few Kolnari survived, and repopulation has been so tenuous despite their rapid breeding, that children who would normally be killed for being insufficiently dominant and warlike have been allowed to live - like Belazhir's eldest surviving son Karak, tauntingly called 'Poet' by his fellows. Karak's first contact with any non-Kolnari is with a Defiant Captive who he completely fails to establish dominance over and who actually manages to befriend him. Soamosa regards him so differently and thinks in such unfamiliar ways that he's completely taken with her and finds himself Defecting for Love, escaping with her and being entirely willing to take her lead in all things.
    • In The Ship Who Won, the mages of Ozran are intensely competitive and disloyal. Almost anyone who becomes a mage does so by killing a mage and taking their items of power, which they have to guard jealously. Plennafrey, who became a mage by defending herself from her father as he tried to kill her and accidentally becoming a Self-Made Orphan, is gentler and less aggressive than her fellows - when the offworlder Keff is captured and tormented at a dinner with a host of mages, Plenna intervenes and rescues him. He decides to repay her with Rescue Sex, and she's so taken with him as a kinder person than any mage she's met that she really wants a full, enduring romance.
  • In 'A Song of Ice and Fire', we get a nasty take with Craster. The Wildlings north of the Wall are seen by the Night's Watch as bordering ontologically evil, but they ally with Craster, a Wildling who gives them lodging and information. This makes him their token Wildling ally. However, out of all the Wildlings, he's one of the most evil, depraved, and downright unlikable; while most of the actual enemy Wildlings aren't as inherently evil as the the Southerners believe.
  • In Space Captain Smith, Suruk the Slayer is one of these, and as the series is "The British Empire Recycled In Space", he has some inspiration from examples like the Kipling one below. Suruk is a Morlock (which in this case seems to be a Space Orc), and is a Proud Warrior Race Guy who loves a chance to use his ancestral weapons.
  • Starsight: Deconstructed. Brade is from an aggressive, warlike species who have been quarantined to protect the rest of the galaxy. She was raised by a more peaceful species, but she is still angry, violent, and refuses to work with anyone else. Everyone is constantly suspicious of her, which she believes is only justified—she understands how dangerous she is, and repeatedly calls herself a monster. The deconstruction is that she is in fact human. Spensa, who is also human (but in disguise) is horrified that the aliens have convinced Brade that she should be thankful for being kidnapped from her family at age seven, and it's clear that most of Brade's problems arise from being told her entire life that she's a monster. Note that Spensa is considered an eye-rolling Blood Knight by her Proud Warrior Race, but even she is far less aggressive and violent than Brade.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Yuuzhan Vong warrior Vua Rapuung takes this role in the New Jedi Order book Conquest. He's almost (but not quite) a Defector from Decadence — he has a very specific bone to pick with his people, and he's more than willing to help the Jedi to get his revenge, though he doesn't object to their ways on the whole. He does soften up some across the book, and finally gets Redemption Equals Death.
    • Thousands of years before Vua was Blotus, a Hutt Supreme Chancellor. Hutts are infamous for being crime lords, but Blotus was a benevolent ruler whose economic reforms and actions led to prosperity and had a term of over two hundred years and even thousands of years later is known as one of the greatest to hold the office.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Rlain was the only Parshendi to defect to the side of the humans, and is quite possibly the only one left who hasn't evolved into a Voidbringer.
    • As is typical with Brandon Sanderson, it gets more nuanced than that. By the end of Oathbringer, Venli has chosen to be a hero and become a Knight Radiant despite being a prominent member of Odium's army, Moash, once Kaladin's brightest protégé, has joined the Fused, and the Skybreakers, an entire order of Knights Radiant, have decided the legally required thing to do is to fight on the side of the Parshmen/Voidbringers.
  • The War Gods: Subverted in that the hradani — an ogre-like sub-race of humanity known for being enslaved by evil wizards a thousand years ago as their shock troops in the cataclysmic war that toppled civilization — aren't so much Always Chaotic Evil as they are barbarians with The Berserker (a magical curse inflicted on them by their wizard overlords) as their racial hat. However, they are so feared and loathed by the rest of humanity that when one of them is selected as a champion of the God of War, Truth and Justice for the first time in a thousand years, he winds up getting treated this way almost everywhere he goes at first.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The titular heroes of Akumaizer 3 are a trio of demons from the Akuma Clan who rebelled when their Clan began a war against humankind, mostly because their leader is a half-human half demon and the other two are demons who swore loyalty to him after he saved their lives. As the series goes on however, the three gradually gain more allies in likeminded demons, until eventually they're able to reform the Akuma Clan and make peace with humanity, which ironically leaves Big Bads Mezalord and Geberu as the Token Evil Orcs.
  • Andromeda:
    • The show has two in one cast; Rev Bem (Reverend Behemiel Fartraveler), a member of a Horde of Alien Locusts converted by peaceful religion, and Tyr Anasazi, a member of the Nietzschean race of genetically-enhanced humans who are screwing the galaxy (Pride wiped out by the dominant Drago-Kazov Pride), but he never claimed to be on the Hunt side.
    • In the later seasons Tyr switches sides and is replaced on the crew by Telemachus Rhade, another Nietzschean who is somewhat ashamed of his species.
    • In a one-episode alternate timeline that may or may not have been the original one, another Nietzschean, Gaheris Rhade, was part (actually leading) the crew, and unlike Tyr and Telemachus he was firmly committed to the goal of restoring the Commonwealth... as he had had a hand in helping it fall, and was really angry with what the Nietzscheans had become instead of what he'd dreamt of. So firmly committed, in fact, that once genuinely convinced that it would be better if the protagonist of the rest of the series was the one to survive in the past and end up leading the effort he barely even hesitates to go back in time, take his old self's place and ensure that's precisely what happens, despite knowing it'll ensure he'll forever be remembered only as a traitor to his captain and to the Commonwealth.
  • While the spin-off Angel has Lorne, a friendly demon working for Angel Investigations, an agency of demon hunters for most of the seasons. Although Lorne is far from token, since demons are shown to be no more evil or violent than humans. Angel's first sidekick Doyle is a half-demon, and he dies in the process of them saving a group of demons. Indeed, Angel spends nearly as much time helping innocent demons as he does humans.
  • Hawk in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century is a variation of this. He is the Last of His Kind because his people were persecuted by Evil humans. However he sides with the heroes because they are Good humans.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer Angel and then Spike both act as the token vampires on the show, only serving this role at the same time in the series finale. In Angel's case this is due to soul curse, in Spike's because of a control chip that stops him hurting people. And then because of getting a soul.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Considering the general moral bankruptcy of Time Lord society, heroic Time Lords like the Doctor, Susan Foreman, K'anpo Rimpoche, Romana, and Jenny could count.
    • Strax belongs to a hostile Proud Warrior Race called the Sontarans but nonetheless appears as an ally in several episodes.
    • One episode features a Dalek who makes psychic contact with the Doctor and becomes a Hunter of His Own Kind (although the Doctor doesn't view this as a Heel–Face Turn so much as a redirection of the Dalek's inherent drive to kill).
  • In Farscape Aeryn Sun is a Rebel Mook (former Peacekeeper, the main villains) although later characters like Crais and Scorpius have similar roles.
  • In First Wave, Joshua believes that his people, the Gua, are making a huge mistake planning an Alien Invasion of Earth. In his mind, if even 1 in 117 humans have the same The Determinator qualities as Cade Foster, then the invasion is doomed to fail, or, at best, will be a Pyrrhic Victory. However, Joshua doesn't technically join Cade. Their interests merely align most of the time.
  • Goosebumps (1995): In the episode "One Day At HorrorLand", one lone green-skinned horror tries to warn Lizzy and Luke that they are not safe in HorrorLand and begs them to get out while they still can. His motives turn out to be somewhat less than heroic; he's just bitter that he wasn't chosen to host the Sadistic Game Show run by the horrors, although he still helps the Morris family with their escape.
  • Grimm Adalind is the most obvious example, as a former Hexenbeist (one of the most agressive of the Wesen).
    • To some extend also Monroe, granted, the series shows that many Blutbaden live normal lives not harming humans, but also is hinted that he, in the past, was as wild as many others.
    • In general the relationship of Nick with several Wesens (Monroe, Rosalee and Renard) is something that his mother, a more traditional Grimm, can't understand. Since Grimms are The Dreaded among Wesen for the Van Helsing Hate Crimes some of them committed in the past, Nick is this to the entire Wesen community.
  • In any Kamen Rider series, there's usually at least one member of the Monster of the Week species who is a supporting protagonist or at least not all that villainous. Faiz has three Orphenochs living together Being Human-style (before Being Human!) and then reveals that the main Rider is also one. Kiva from the same series has a trio of monsters from other monster races that were all but wiped out by the series' villains, the Fangire, with Jiro/Garulu being the one who really holds the role in the cast. There are several non-evil Fangire, but mostly one-shot civilians - the one that's a main character is again, our hero. Or at least he's half Fangire. Kabuto has the Native Worms, though they're not on the level, in the end. However, more than one character turns out to be a Worm and is genuinely good. No, it isn't Kabuto himself this time. There's the -taros quartet of Imagin in Den-O (as well as Sieg, Deneb, Teddy, and a few more), Ankh in OOO, Chase in Drive, and more. Also, most series have Rider Transformation Trinkets being refined versions of the tech that created the monsters, or at least work on the same principles, making heroes and Orcs the same thing. (See Fourze, Double, and several of the older ones.) When compared to some of other works by Shotaro Ishinomori, it becomes clear that this is part of the theme he generally has, that the line between the physically human and inhuman are blurry, but humaneness is not strictly inherent to natural humans; sometimes, the most evil monsters are natural humans, while the most humane are the ones that physically aren't human.
    • In both Rider and Super Sentai this is a fairly common Monster of the Week, normally with either a reveal that they're just faking it or the monster dying somehow. Especially notable is Kamen Rider Ghost as the Gazai Ganma actually survives and becomes a regular (if background) member of the team, renamed Cubi.
    • In Kamen Rider Amazon, the Mole Beastman failed to take out the hero, and was saved from You Have Failed Me by him. He went on to become a main character and ally. Unfortunately, he does not survive to the end.
    • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid has this in the form of Poppy Pipopapo, a mascot character of a rhythm game who is also a Bugster. Emu and Hiiro already had it figured out long before she revealed herself though, as her human name, Asuna Karino, is an anagram of kari no naasu, meaning "provisional nurse", and a human with a name that fits their profession is tad suspicious. Later on, she also gains the power to become a Kamen Rider.
      • Later in the same series, The Rival Parado, who was one of the major villains since the start, makes a Heel–Face Turn after dying and being resurrected, giving a comprehension of death, how valuable lives are in context of it, and how awful all his actions were in light of this new understanding.
      • Also, Kuroto, another major villain, manages to come Back from the Dead as a Bugster due to his data being saved into a Gashat, and it's revealed that his plan was to to make humanity immortal by saving them as data and resurrecting them this way. Kiriya, a Rider who was killed early on, was also resurrected this way, though at the end of the Another Ending trilogy, he gets his human body back.
    • Technically this goes all the way back to the series origins with Kamen Rider. Takeshi Hongo was scouted by Shocker to morphed into their next generation cyborg kaijin, but he managed to be rescued by a sympathetic scientist shortly before the brainwashing could be carried out. Later, Hayato Ichimonji was forcefully modified into a cyborg of an identical type to take out Takeshi; only for his predecessor to save him from his fate. This means both of the original Kamen Riders were of the same manufacturing as the Shocker Kaijin they fought and it's implied through other media they were even supposed to be scouted to be Executive class cyborgs.
  • Cara the ex Mord-Sith in Legend of the Seeker. The Mord-Sith are evil in the show, she joins the heroes.
  • Isaac in The Orville once we learn that the Kaylon are actually intending to wipe out all organic life in the galaxy.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Teal'c rebels against the Goa'uld and joins the SGC in the first episode, becoming a Shol'vah (Renegade) in the eyes of the other Jaffa for most of the series. His reasons for rebelling were because he realized that despite their claims, the Goa'uld are not all-powerful Gods and despite acting as their enforcers and slave-masters, the Jaffa are just as much slaves as the Humans on their worlds.
    • Master Bra'tac, Teal'c's mentor and predecessor as First Prime, who spent over a hundred years working as a Noble Top Enforcer for Apophis, before finally telling his "God" where he can shove it at the beginning of the second season. He goes onto founding the Jaffa Rebellion, which grows in strength over the course of the rest of the series and becomes a major faction responsible for ensuring the eventual downfall of the System Lords.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Worf is a Klingon, the primary antagonists from The Original Series, raised by humans (and belonging to a former enemy race now allied with the Federation) and the Enterprise's head of security. Captain Kirk would be shocked.note 
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • Head of security Odo, originally thought to be be the Last of His Kind, retroactively became this trope after the second season, when his people became the Big Bad.
      • The Cardassians were the villains in TNG and remain so in this series, but DS9 has a resident friendly Cardassian in the tailor Garak, although he is often suspicious and has a murky background in Intelligence.
      • Nog, a Ferengi who joins Starfleet and serves on the Defiant. To a lesser extent, his father Rom who becomes a non-Starfleet station engineer, and Quark who is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold but is on the side of the heroes when it really counts. Most Ferengi encountered in other series are Space Pirates even after the attempt to make them the new Klingons was abandoned.
      • Julian Bashir is an unusual example. While genetic engineering is banned within the Federation due to the risks of Khan-style threats, Bashir is genetically engineered himself and is a heroic member of Starfleet.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Seven of Nine was a Borg drone, and she doesn't fully become human again. Again, having a Borg on the crew would be unthinkable for Picard.
    • Star Trek: Picard: Elnor is the first heroic Romulan character who's part of the main cast in the franchise, being a member of Jean-Luc Picard's motley crew and is even the latter's surrogate son. The Romulans were the enemies of Spock's Vulcan people in TOS (and they still are enemies of the Federation in this series), so the younger Picard could not have predicted that his elderly self would embrace a Romulan as family. Elnor is the most un-Romulan Romulan in the Trek Verse because he follows the Way of Absolute Candor as taught to him by the Qowat Milat.
      • And then there are Laris and Zhaban, Picard's loyal housekeepers at his chateau, who are both former agents of the Tal Shiar (the Romulan secret service)!
    • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds: Subverted with the Klingon Dak'Rah. He claims to the Federation that he killed his subordinates and then defected because he was disgusted by the war crimes they committed. In fact, he ordered them to commit said war crimes, and when they were killed by M'Benga ran away in cowardice and defected to the Federation, meaning that both the Federation and the Klingons would view him for different reasons as a despicable bastard.
  • In Supernatural, angels are "monsters with good publicity", as Dean puts it, but Castiel is a regular (if not the most reliable) ally, and counts as a Defector from Decadence.
  • Super Sentai:
    • Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger has Charcoal Grill Org who is the sole good member of the otherwise Always Chaotic Evil Orgs, his turn to good leads to him being harrassed and targeted by Highness Duke Org Rasetsu, who wished to force him back into evil so that Grill Org would make good food for him; when he continues refusing, Tsuetsue and Yabaiba brainwash him into going berserk but GaoYellow and GaoBlack, who befriended him after learning that he was genuinely good, snap him out of it, sadly the two Duke Orgs and Rasetsu kill him on the spot and resurrect him as a giant mindless monster whom the Gaoranger have to tearfully kill. The ending of his episode implies that he survived or was resurrected by GaoGod, however.
    • Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger has Trinoid #12 Yatsudenwani who becomes a comic relief sidekick type character to Mikoto Nakadai/Abarekiller after the latter had seemingly destroyed the day he was deployed to attack. By the end of the series, he works for the Dino Curry restaurant (and later on becomes the CEO). And in that series the villains are not a species or altered humans — he was created for evil but isn't particularly good at it and got too infatuated with Ranru to oppose her and her teammates.
  • V (1983) has Willie who is a Visitor, but plays on the humans' team, as does Ryan from the new series. It turns out, though, that there is an entire underground of Visitors who resist the leaders from within.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The Ur-Example could very well be Chiron of Classical Mythology, one of the few centaurs who's not a booze-swilling, sexually predatory brute. This could be because other centaurs were begotten in an incident of Attempted Rape.note  Meanwhile, Chiron was the son of the Titan Kronos/Cronus.
  • Celtic Mythology: By birth, Neit note , god of war (one of many), was a Fomorian, a race of primordial demons from beneath the sea and deep places of the world who raided and oppressed the world above, and mortal enemies of the Tuatha De Danann, the Irish gods. However Neit not only sided with the Tuatha De Danann, but married the goddesses Badb and Nemain, sisters of The Morrigan, one of the Tuatha De Danann's chief goddesses. When the final great battle against the Fomorians occurs, he fights and dies alongside his wives to ensure De Danann victory.
  • Norse Mythology:
    • Several jötnar join the main pantheon (the Aesir) and live in Asgard. Loki before his Face–Heel Turn is probably the most famous thanks to pop culture, but other examples include Gerd, the wife of Freyr, and Skadi, wife of Njord and goddess of hunting and skiing. Freyr and Freyja may count as well as they were Vanir, not Aesir (both lineages of gods were at war for a time, after they make peace two of each kind went to live with the other faction as peace hostages). However while Aesir and Vanir were frienemies, Aesir-Vanir and jötnar were outright opponents.
  • In the Book of Genesis, Noah and his family are this to the corrupted antediluvian human race, hence why God spared them from The Great Flood.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Gary Gygax once related a tale of his original group, when one of the players (Lord Robilar, played by Rob Kuntz) decided to try recruiting a lone orc named Quij. Fast forward a few sessions of play and some amazingly good rolls on Quij's behalf, and he got promoted to the party's full-on sidekick and started advancing in class levels, a pretty significant thing for the "monster races" at the time.
    • Needless to say, token heroic orcs are very popular concepts for player characters in all editions, fueling an oft-contentious demand for legitimate monstrous player character race options. Indeed, the Half-Orc race was initially born out of a desire to support this, and this trope is why the Drow and Tiefling races became corebook options by 5th edition.
      • 5th Edition's Volo's Guide to Monsters gives the player options to play six different monster races: bugbears, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, orcs, and yuan-ti. While all of their racial traits will say that their alignments very rarely stray away from the evil variety, there is technically nothing stopping a player from making a good character from these races if they so desired. In fact, bugbears, hobgoblins, goblins, and orcs appear in Eberron: Rising from the Last War and Explorer's Guide to Wildemount, with goblins also showing up in Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica. Then there's the Duergar, the Dwarf counterpart to the Elves' Drow, who show up in Sword Coast Adventures Guide and Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Other races could also go either way — Good, Neutral, Evil, Lawful, Chaotic, or some combination.
  • One of the class options GURPS Monster Hunters provides is the Inhuman, allowing you to play as a demon, vampire, Half-Human Hybrid, Fallen Angel, or lycanthrope.
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • Xantcha, from the novel Planeswalker was likely the first, and possibly only Phyrexian to go against Yawgmoth's vision and help Urza in his crusade against Phyrexia.
    • When Mirrodin was corrupted into New Phyrexia, the Red Praetor Urabrask became the second, having inherited the individualism and emotionality associated with red mana. Like all Phyrexians, he still desired the assimilation of all non-Phyrexians, but preferred consenting converts, and consciously took no action when the Mirran Resistance fled into his domain, the Quiet Furnace. Later this evolved into open rebellion when the White Praetor Elesh Norn seized power and began planning multiversal conquest. Downplayed, however, in that he only fought her because he didn't like her leadership, not for any moral reasons.
  • Middle-Earth Role Playing: Utumkodur was the only dragon not to be a purely evil, destructive monster. Instead, she was distinguished by possessing a noticeably even temper for her kind, and for developing a peculiar fascination with the Men of Hildor and teaching them sorcery.
  • Paranoia: In Orcbusters, the Troubleshooters get stuck with Randy the Wonder Lizard when the evil wizards abandon him. "Heroic" may be an overstatement, but he does try to help ...
  • Space 1889 Red Sands' version of the game allows you to play a High Martian who, unlike the vast majority of his race, is not brutal, filthy and bestial.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • There a quite a few vampires who have heroic intentions that stand out against the rest of their kind. For example Gashnag the Black Prince is a Strigoi who is protective of the people he rules over, even going so far as to exempt his subjects from the packs of wolves that plague the forests at his behest. Similarly, the Lahmians Genevieve Dieudonne and Ulrika Magdova are notably much more heroic that the rest of their kind, even being protagonists of their own works where they work alongside living humans against the undead. Even Vlad von Carstein, while an antagonistic figure responsible for instigating the Vampire Wars and wanting the Empire to either serve him in life or slave for him in death, was a Noble Demon who was genuinely beloved by his own people and cared not just for them but his own wife Isabella. In Warhammer: The End Times, he is at last officially recognized as the Elector Count of Sylvania by the rest of the Elector Counts and dies defending his land against the forces of Chaos.
    • While the Tomb Kings are a neutral force with aspirations of conquest (not helped by the fact they are all undead albeit technically [Revenant Zombie), High Queen Khalida is noted for being willing to work with the forces of Order at times. She has even been likened to an undead paladin given her hatred of vampires, in particular her sister Neferata who was responsible for her death in the first place.
  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar: Soulbound: It's entirely possible to play members of Destruction (Orruk, Ogor, Grot, Troggoth) or Death (Vampire, Wight, Nighthaunt, Necromancer, Bonereaper) in a Binding belonging to one of the Gods Of Order; the associated faction books even give specific information on how this might come to happen, and how average people will react to you. It's generally easier for Destruction races, as they're already known to work with Order races as mercenaries; Death characters often have the obstacle that most of them lack freewill, and a tremendous amount of Heroic Willpower is required for them to even conceive of betraying the Death God Nagash and seek out one of the Order gods.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Despite his monstrous appearance, Sylvan Guardioak is quite faithful to his fellow Sylvan. Also, he doesn't have the Dark attribute.

    Visual Novels 
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • As opposed to every other spirit, D-Man is not murderous, and rather is polite and well-spoken. Even after he was turned into a spirit, he continued to assist the characters of Spirit Hunter: Death Mark with their spirit hunting.
    • In her specific Bad End, Rosé is revealed to be some form of spirit. While spirits are usually malevolent and blood-thirsty, she has been helping the protagonist all throughout the game, and even her decision to transform him into a spirit himself was done with good intentions at heart.

    Web Animation 
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device has Magnus the Red, a Daemon Prince of Chaos who (reluctantly) joins the Emperor. Somewhat downplayed as a Daemon Prince is a Demon of Human Origin (being one of the Traitor Primarchs) and thus was on the Emperor's side before he became a daemon (with him falling to Chaos only reluctantly when the Emperor accused him of being one of the traitors and sending the Space Wolves after him).
  • Minecraft Endventures: Clickclack, Boom and Nobraynes are a good skeleton, creeper and zombie respectively.

  • Hawk from City of Reality may count as this: in his original society he was a low-ranking drone in a vast army; on his new team, he is considered special.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Discussed in Adventure Time when Flame King claims the people of the Fire kingdom are Always Chaotic Evil, including Finn's Love Interest Flame Princess. He notes that it would be theoretically possible to make Flame Princess into a Token Heroic Orc by having her hang out with good guys, but warns that she would take a penalty to her experience for acting out of alignment. Ultimately played with; Flame Princess does become heroic, but it's hinted the fire people were never actually "evil" to begin with, just normal people living in a culture that prizes deceit and cunning. Once Flame King is overthrown and Flame Princess starts reforms, they become noticeably more friendly and open.
  • Tara in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! is a tomato working with the good guys, albeit only Chad knows she's a tomato. Same can be said about F.T. the tomato-dog. Of course, other tomatoes are shown to be not evil including a parody of the Creature from the Black Lagoon and an Elvis Impersonator tomato.
  • Castlevania (2017): Alucard, the dhampir son of Dracula, is the only inhuman creature in the setting who is genuinely on humanity's side for genuinely-noble reasons without ulterior motives, and as far as we know he's rarely if ever killed anyone who didn't have it coming. All the vampires and other creatures, even the ones with plenty of sympathetic qualities such as Dracula and Lenore, only care about the fate of humans insofar that it affects their own interests, or in Dracula's case only tolerated mankind while they had a Morality Chain in place. Even all the Forgemasters introduced in the series, who seem to be more empowered humans than supernatural monsters, are anything but saints and have hundreds to thousands of humans' blood on their hands.
  • Disenchantment: In this show's universe, Ogres have a reputation of being blood thirsty, man eating brutes. And while that's true for the majority of them, the season 2 episode "Our Bodies, Our Elves" reveals that The Ogre Queen is secretly not as blood thirsty as the other Ogres. She even helps Bean and Elfo to escape the Ogre Homeland with the Legendberries they came to collect there. She also apologizes for killing and eating Wade.
  • Exo Squad: At least several Neosapiens count as much, but none are more notable than Marsala. Still loyal to his people, he led the original rebellion against humanity (who originally created the Neos as a Slave Race), but opposed Phaeton's because he didn't want Neosapiens to become the ones who enslave others.
  • As in the example in the film section, in the animated series Fievel's American Tails based on Don Bluth's film, Tiger is a friendly cat that is one of Fievel's (a mouse) best friends in a town full of mean cats. This becomes even polemic at some point as Fievel's parents do not fully approve the friendship.
  • Similar to Tiger, the cat Fencer in Foofur is a cat that belong to a gang of stray dogs, and is Foofur's (the eponymous dog protagonist) best friend. Fencer's loyalty is never questioned even when most cats shown in the series are antagonistic, and even when Fencer decides to live among cats he is unable to adapt. Nevertheless the series does show that Fencer is not the only nice cat, as Cleo (Fencer's Love Interest) seems to be too.
  • Downplayed in Hilda. The elves are not evil, they just operate on Blue-and-Orange Morality. However, Alfur is the only elf who comes to Hilda's defense when the rest of the Little People try to evict her from the woods. Later on, he ends up joining her on her adventures.
  • The Lion Guard, a spin-off of The Lion King:
    • Jasiri is a hyena whom Kion meets and finds out she's not like any of the other hyenas, who are portrayed as Always Chaotic Evil. She even explains that most hyenas besides her are good.
    • Leopards throughout the show usually play the Cats Are Mean trope straight, particularly Makucha. Badili, however, is the only one whom the Guard befriends and is genuinely friendly, even after being taught to be fearsome.
    • While most large predatory reptiles tend to lean to the abhorrent side (though crocodiles have been on both sides), pythons seem to be the only exceptions to this. Even if they only appear as background animals, they have the same pleasant appearances as other "good" animals.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The Season 6 episode "The Times They Are a Changeling" introduces a good Changeling named Thorax, who spends the bulk of the episode trying to win over the trust of the ponies with the help of Spike. In the season finale, he ends up causing a Heel–Race Turn for the rest of his kind and becomes their new leader, implying that most of their villainy was due to Queen Chrysalis' influence.
    • Spike the Dragon as well, with his race being greedy and self-centered jerks while he was Raised by Ponies. His friendship with Dragon Lord Ember has started to change that, however.
    • Gabby the Griffon isn't like the rest of the griffons of Griffonstone, who are penny-pinching grumps. She's bright, optimistic, and very friendly towards others with a big heart of generosity and enthusiasm.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: The Origins Episode "Lad and Logic" reveals that Mr. Logic, the robot hairdresser who owns a shop at Lakewood Plaza Turbo, was actually created by Boxmore to serve as an advisor. After Logic turned against him, Lord Boxman was so enraged that all his future robots were programmed to be mentally incapable of performing a Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Slimer, a ghost who helps hunt other ghosts.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: In the latter half of the show, we meet Horde Prime and his hundreds of clones, all of whom exist to serve his evil will and help him carry out his conquest of the universe. However, the previous Big Bad used to be one of them, but was cast out for having free will and subsequently developed a personality and motivations of his own, showing that the clones aren't inherently evil beings, but are instead connected to a Hive Mind run by an utterly evil man. Hordak, while still a villain, is much more sympathetic and nuanced than his "brothers", with plenty of Pet the Dog moments. In the fifth season, our heroes accidentally disconnect a random clone from the hive to prevent him from alerting his brothers of their presence, which causes him to freak out, since he's never not been mind-controlled in his entire life. Nicknamed "Wrong Hordak", he winds up going home with the team, and joining them, revealing that when he's not being forcibly controlled by Prime, he's a sweet, curious person with the enthusiasm of a child, who only wants to be helpful to his new "brothers". Once he realizes Prime is a liar who doesn't care one ounce for his clones, Wrong Hordak becomes one of the loudest dissenters. The series ends with Prime's death, meaning that the hive mind is gone for good — which means there's now hope for his underlings.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: D'Vana Tendi is the first Orion series regular in the franchise and the first Orion Starfleet officer seen in the prime timeline. Her species is mostly portrayed as villainous criminals.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The Citadel arc features a trio of Separatist battle droids that have been captured and reprogrammed by the Republic to serve under R2-D2's command as infiltrators for a rescue mission behind enemy lines.
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: Despite the Galra Empire being the main antagonists, there are a few among their race who ally with this protagonists. The most notable instance is the Blade of Marmora, a secret organization of Galra agents who have been covertly working against the empire. It turns out that one of their members, Krolia, is the mother of Keith, making him the Token Heroic Galra among the Paladins.

Alternative Title(s): Token Enemy Nonhuman