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It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Übermensch!

"It's what I do. Just keep moving, doing good, saving folks, and living as free as the wind. Living by my way. My own way."

In 1883, Friedrich Nietzsche published a book called Also sprach Zarathustra, in which he elaborated his ethical ideal, the Übermensch. The name came from the concept about ordinary humanity believing there would be no morals or reasons to live if there was no objective Other (such as God, society or even science) to define morality, reason and one's meaning or purpose in life. Transcending this illusion, achieving independence, and through sheer willpower, creating one's own values (which Nietzsche called "Transvaluation") makes one an "over-man".

This was a person, or for us, a character, who rejects the norms of society ("slave morality") and lives by his own created and unique code of morals, virtues or laws. They are often portrayed as megalomaniacal villains with God complexes out to remake Human Civilization In Their Own Image (see also: the Dark Messiah), but sometimes, they can also be heroes — in fact, Heroic Willpower is one of Nietzsche's main criteria for qualifying as a Übermensch. Depending upon the character's role in the story and how cynical the story is, the Übermensch may be characterised as either The Fettered or The Unfettered.

The Anti-Nihilist is the more benign, kinder and less narcissistic/sociopathic version. Both the Übermensch and the Anti-Nihilist are similar answers to the question of life's meaninglessness or the futility of objective morality, but while the Übermensch is selfish and ruthless in pursuit of his goals, the Anti-Nihilist is selfless and benevolent throughout. Compare with Above Good and Evil, Blue-and-Orange Morality, Byronic Hero, Moral Sociopathy, Pure Is Not Good, Well-Intentioned Extremist, The Social Darwinist and What Is Evil?. Contrast with the Straw Nihilist, who believes themselves to be this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Eren Yeager from Attack on Titan embraces this trope after travelling to Marley. He is of the conviction that freedom is the ultimate purpose of life and will stop at nothing to achieve that end. Friendships, rules and morals do not matter to him. It is best exemplified when he unleashes hordes of Wall Titans and commands them to obliterate the world outside Paradis.
  • Claire Stanfield of Baccano! is an interesting take on this. When a villain tries to give him a speech about how mercy is a weakness, he admits that this is completely true — which is why only the strong can afford to be merciful. Also, he's a solipsist who thinks he's God (or more specifically, he believes that he can create God simply by thinking Him into existence).
  • Griffith of Berserk is a subversion. He is charismatic and impresses nearly everyone he comes across, who are content to follow him in order to fulfill his dream of his own kingdom. Meanwhile, he is a Manipulative Bastard who easily takes care of his enemies in the Decadent Court, and The Chessmaster who takes care of his enemies on the battlefield. However, when The Lancer decides to leave his team and beats him in combat, he throws a temper tantrum and in one fell swoop undoes everything he and his followers had worked for and attained up to that point, just because he can't stand the idea of someone being better than him. And eventually, he sacrifices his followers to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence just so he can get another chance to fulfill his dream. Griffith's selfishness is thus destructive rather than constructive and does NOT benefit everyone else.
    • Lampshaded in Berserk Abridged, where Griffith talks to Guts about the idea of the Nietzsche Superman. Guts ends up confusing it for Necromancer.
  • Sosuke Aizen from Bleach. His declaration that he will supplant God in heaven pretty much clinches it, although he could possibly just be an extreme egomaniac. Egomania is almost a requirement for the Übermensch, the main difference being that the Übermensch can back up most of his claims.
  • Captain Harlock, the Space Pirate who has sworn to fight only for what he believes in. The rest of humanity in the various versions of the franchise are somewhere between the Last Man and Vichy Earth; the original anime is ridiculously Anvilicious about the corruption of humanity.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Aleister Crowley describes himself as of the Aeon of Horus, one who rejects the old laws and wants to create a new world with new laws. He refers to most of the other characters, mostly the Christians, as being of the Aeon of Osiris, saying they are stuck in the old laws and unable to advance like him.
    • Yukami Hisako's plans include turning herself into an AIM thought being to rise above the weaknesses of humanity, and using the Agitate Halation Project to create a world without heroes, saying heroes are uncertain elements that interfere with the advancement of society.
  • Lelouch, Schneizel and Emperor Charles in Code Geass are all examples, having their own ideas of how to supplant the status quo with their own ideals. The status of Lelouch as a Übermensch could be in question due to the two of his first motivations being resentment and pity (two qualities Nietzsche detracted), but that doesn't mean he is the Last Man. Instead, The Last Man are the masses who are content with Britannian policies and prefer to live in slavery rather than take action. E.g. the Japanese guy who gets beaten up by an aristocrat and doesn't even think of fighting back. Or those faux-Japanese gangsters on whom Lelouch abuses his Geass in R2. Perhaps the most obvious example would be from the very first episode, after Kallen's truck crashes and Britannians(!) all around just stand there, take pictures with their cellphones, and lazily ask if someone called an ambulance. And cheer passively when a single person (guess who?) actually gets down there to help the driver.
  • Death Note:
    • Light Yagami is both a textbook example and a deconstruction. He is exceptionally smart, the envy of his classmates, and could conceivably accomplish anything he set his mind to. Word of God states that, without the Death Note, Light would've become a renowned member of Interpol, solving crimes across the world along with L. He clearly knows it too. However, when he actually gets the means to put himself above the common man and dictate the fate of the world, he immediately turns into a mass-murderer with a godhood complex who ultimately dies pathetically. The obvious message to take away from the story of Light Yagami is that no matter how brilliant or competent you are, you are not exempt from common morality, or even human error.
    • Certainly Near as well. "Even if there was a god and I had his teachings in front of me I would decide for myself what is good and what is evil."
  • Ergo Proxy has Proxy One, a nigh invincible master manipulator as a villainous example of this. The protagonist, Vincent Law, pretty much starts out as a Last Man, being a sniveling weakling desperate to conform and be a "perfect citizen". Over time, he largely sheds this. ironically, Vincent is also the titular Ergo Proxy, who is a clone or something like that of Proxy One — thus, the Übermensch and Last Man are effectively the same guy.
  • Kuze, from Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. He intends to build a superstructure of human cognition, with plans to radically alter human social institutions to adopt a more egalitarian means of solving social issues.
  • The Major from Hellsing. He has the antisocial behavior, presenting himself as a cheerfully sadistic fat man. And when questioned by Integra on what his goals are, he replies; "To put it into the simplest possible terms Fraulein, our purpose... is a total absence of purpose". His love of war serves its purpose as a twisted value; he even says that he loves war regardless of which side is winning. As for moral restraints, when conversing with Doc, he says that while the prospect of becoming a vampire is enticing, (as he could go one fighting forever) he refuses, wishing to remain human and retain his sense of self.
  • Irresponsible Captain Tylor can be interpreted as either as an Übermensch, a Last Man, or possibly a bit of both, based on the last few episodes where his silly and lazy facade shows some cracks. Either he is an intelligent Übermensch who adopts a Cloud Cuckoolander Obfuscating Stupidity personality in order to rebel against authority and live his life the way he wants to but cares about people and will protect his crew; or he is an juvenile Last Man who realizes that he is just a nobody and refuses to take his responsibilities seriously because of apathy, fear, and/or depression, and hides it all by being a Stepford Smiler. The truth is probably somewhere between those two extremes.
  • In Kill la Kill, being the Spiritual Successor to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and influenced by fiction about Nazis and their influences like Nietzsche, most of the main cast reject the norms of society to pursue their own ambition, each in their own original way. Even when they are following others, they are, in doing so, following themselves. Ryuko Matoi will stand up to absolutely anyone and lives by her own code. So does Satsuki Kiryuin, who'll unabashedly do whatever it takes to achieve her ambition, and look awesome while doing it. Ragyo Kiryuin makes long speeches about embracing sin being the defining trait of humanity. Ira Gamagoori embraces conventional rules and codes with absolute passion even when no one else will. The Mankanshoku do whatever the hell they want at any time without shame or inhibition, with special mention to Mako Mankanshoku, who lives in her own planet. While some of these characters can be manipulated or bribed or charmed into Last-Man-ity, there's always another character whose personal strength and charisma inspires them to be faithful to themselves.
  • Reinhard von Lohengramm from Legend of the Galactic Heroes, a military and political genius who wants to reform The Empire from the inside. He faces two main last men: First of all, the Decadent Court of The Empire, who have grown fat and happy on their repressive and static system. Secondly, Yang Wen-li, his equivalent in The Free Planets Alliance who only entered military service because it was the only way he could get higher education and keeps fighting for increasingly corrupt and incompetent politicians while dreaming of early retirement. A recurring motif in the story is also that "great men build history" and in many ways espouses the Übermensch theory in a historical context — Reinhard is the example we're given during the time period the story is set in, but Rudolf Goldenbaum is also presented as an example in the backstory.
  • Friday Monday from Madlax thinks of himself as this but is in fact too obviously (and inarticulately) crazy to even deliver a half-decent Hannibal Lecture, much less make a better world. The Fettered Vanessa, on the other hand, is discussed as something at least vaguely resembling Nietzsche's ideal, even dying in a manner of her own choosing after breaking out of her Brainwashed state.
  • Kira Yamato and Lacus Clyne, starting late in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and never quite stopping. They ignore pre-existing political institutions and act outside them, Kira fights quite differently from even his own friends, and possess ideals that damn near every protagonist in the franchise starts to abide by.
  • Monster:
    • Johan Liebert, the eponymous monster. He considers himself above the petty squabbles of humans, easily playing with their emotions and manipulating them into his plans, even making some of them commit suicide. He never shows any emotion or need to conform to society's ethics. He claims to have seen the "end of the world" and claims his goal is to be the last living person in the world.
    • Dr. Tenma also embodies this trope as he spends the entire run building his own ethical standards thanks to his interactions with Johan destroying his ability to simply go along with the socially acceptable. He actually becomes the constructive Übermensch that Nietzsche first postulated. Tenma is an Übermensch who embraces what most see as 'old' values. However, by embracing them in such a manner, he reconstructs them! He takes the values people have rejected, and makes them meaningful again. Not what Nietzsche had in mind but it does make him an excellent Knight of Faith (see the Philosophy section below), albeit in a humanistic rather than a religious sense.
  • Naruto: Pain believes himself to be a God, and wishes to show the world the path to true peace by showing them what 'true suffering' is with his power. And he showed he had the power to do so.
  • One Piece: Blackbeard is a brutal, amoral pirate who wants to rule the world through his superhuman strength and gives inspiring speeches about the power of dreams and fate. It is implied that most pirates live by their own code, and because of that they're called pirates.
  • Naozumi Sudo, the sociopathic teenage criminal from Shadow Star who believes that he can change the world, releasing it of its bonds to tradition, customs, and common sense by means of a society based on one's abilities.
  • Vassago Casals/PoH from Sword Art Online. He has the antisocial behavior, presenting himself as a cheerfully sadistic man who believes that the virtual world reveals people's true colors and that people should give in to their murderous impulses and murder each other to their heart's content, which was why he founded the Laughing Coffin Guild so he can murder other players For the Evulz and influence others into doing the same. His love of killing and violence serves its purpose as a twisted value; he doesn't care which side was winning, such as when he leaked the Laughing Coffin guild's location to the raiders or tried to make the Chinese and Korean players kill each other when they start to find out about his scheme, because all he cared about was watching people kill each other. Understandably, most people see his philosophy as little more than murder and sadism For the Evulz, but he was able to influence several of the Laughing Coffin members to his ideals, such as XaXa and Johnny Black. Kirito here would be the Last Man.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
    • Kamina is a heroic example of this. He ignores all conventional morality and designs his own value set that throws aside the self-complacency of the world around him (the fact that the old values literally collapsed the moment the roof of the village did also helped). He never actually tries to lead anyone, his charisma is just so intense that he leads by example without trying. He claims his intent is to break through heaven and not just change his own destiny, but to entirely destroy the idea of "destiny." In the end, the entire universe ends up following his lead. Also, he actually is quite antisocial — he never actually tries to make friends with anyone, he's a complete jerk.
    • And later, Simon grows to be like Kamina, and the role of the Last Man goes to Rossiu (and later is snapped out of it) and later the Anti-Spiral (who didn't get snapped out of it). It also helps that Spiral Energy is basically the Will to Power, thus any powerful spiral/human with enough "belief in the he that believes in himself" can reach Übermensch-status.

    Comic Books 
  • Both incarnations of Azrael count as this, though the men under their respective masks may differ.
  • Batman:
    • A rare heroic example is Batman himself. He has his own code and, in most adaptations, only one rule. Batman: Year One informs us that Gotham was once a place where law and order had given up (read: traditional morality has collapsed), and Batman has repeatedly recruited and mentored fledgling superheros (converting others to his ideals). By contrast, the Joker is a Straw Nihilist. An agent of chaos even in more campy versions, he has no code, no purpose in society and no sense of hierarchy, so he'll kill just about anyone for no reason. Spending a month acquainted with him will drive you insane, if poor Harley is any indication. This is actually the key focus of The Dark Knight Trilogy.
    • Ironically, you could flip it around, and say that the Joker is the Übermensch: potent, incredibly charismatic, and terrifyingly dedicated to his goal of stripping humanity from its rotting pretense of civilization. Meanwhile, it's Batman who is caught up protecting the husk of a society he himself may not really even believe in. Accepting no outside value system can get complicated like that...
    • The Batman character that most resembles an Übermensch is the Well-Intentioned Extremist Ra's al Ghul. He rejects the morality of society, but he replaces it with his own. While his goal of destroying all human life seems destructive, he ultimately has the goal of recreating the Earth as a new Garden of Eden.
  • Fantastic Four: Doctor Doom, a genius who runs his own nation and believes in no authority but that of DOOM. His willpower is so absurdly strong that he was able to resist the Purple Man (whose power is to make anyone do whatever he wants) at point-blank range when the guy's abilities had been augmented to planetary scale. His biggest weakness is his crippling desire to prove his superiority over Reed Richards — rather like Luthor and Superman, Reed isn't interested in proving anything.
  • Judge Dredd: Judge Dredd's arch-nemesis Judge Death is an Omnicidal Maniac who grew up in a dark Mirror Universe. Inspired by his father's intense hatred of humans before ultimately supplanting him, he instead developed his own philosophy that life is inherently sinful and the purpose of law is to fight life. Not just in his own universe, but all universes, having entered Dredd's world with his acolytes to continue his crusade. He does not see this as evil, but justice.
    "The laws of physics, nature, and humanity are of no concern to me. In the end, there is only ONE law that matters... the law of death."
  • Miracleman: The title character — who was actually transformed into a superhuman by an ex-Nazi scientist, as it happens. Initially acting more like a traditional superhero, after a villain causes carnage in London, he decides that the best option is to rebuild the entire world as utopia. He is, at least initially, successful.
  • Superman is loaded with Nietzschean subtext, albeit in a very anti-Nietzschean way. Indeed, Lex Luthor may have been purposefully designed to be this, though probably sometime after his creation. The original Superman story was "The Reign of the Superman" and concerned a The Lawnmower Man style plot about a down-and-outer who is given superintelligence and psychic powers, and used them to try and Take Over the World. The writers were very critical of Nietzsche and the story was intended as a Take That! to his writings, even though it ultimately transformed into a series about a benevolent alien superhero. Upon gaining his powers, the subject lost his hair and strongly resembled the future Luthor in appearance.
  • V from V for Vendetta, who seeks to build an anarchist Utopia upon the ashes of the fascist Britain — replacing the morals of the fascists with his own moral code. His incarnation in the movie might also count, but since his death was an intrinsic part of the plan, this lessens it somewhat. Then again, he did mold his co-star into somebody who could carry on his works.
  • In Watchmen, Rorschach and his foil Ozymandias are both examples of this but expressed in different ways. Rorschach is a textbook example of The Anti-Nihilist who, instead of abandoning rules and discipline due to a nihilistic outlook, decides that his rules and principles are all the more important in a world that has no more meaning than the one we impose on it. Ozymandias represents the Nietzchean post-human ideal almost to a tee, being a superhumanly intelligent specimen with his own peerless moral percipience, (mostly) free of any fear from a divine creator's judgment. His vision to unite all the nations of the world under one peaceful society also reflects the Übermensch's role in rejecting the Straw Nihilism that the Comedian embodies, instead providing humanity goals to strive towards. However, in the end, Veidt still demands Dr. Manhattan's appraisal, fueling his doubts.
  • Magneto from X-Men, as written by Chris Claremont. He actually describes himself as one in a supplemental story.

    Comic Strips 
  • Deconstructed with Huey Freeman from The Boondocks. Initially, Huey is the picture-perfect example, or one in progress. However, as the series progresses, he has his faith challenged, forcing him to accept that there are forces that he can't understand and that sometimes, he can't make a difference. Eventually, Huey starts losing hope, to the point of eventually giving up on society and accepting that his Blue-and-Orange Morality is not enough.

    Film — Animation 
  • Ringing Bell has Wolf as the Übermensch and the sheep as the Last Man. Chirin starts out as a member of the Last Man and tries to become Übermensch under Wolf's tutelage. He fails, and becomes a straw nihilist instead.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • If one follows the Nietzschean line of interpretation (which is backed up as a legitimate strand by Word of God) to understand the meaning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Star Child is a visual metaphor for the birth of the Übermensch.
  • Compulsion 1959 (1959) with Dean Stockwell and Orson Welles. Based on the true story of Leopold and Loeb, two gifted teens who were super into Nietzsche and thought of themselves as Supermen. They tried to execute the perfect murder and killed a 14-year-old kid, but they sucked at it (Leopold left behind a very unique pair of glasses) and got sent to jail.
  • The Dark Knight: Both Batman and the Joker follow ideals completely separate from the laws that govern the city of Gotham and the codes of the criminal underworld, with Batman following his own ideas of justice and order, and the Joker completely adhering to the destruction and anarchy of chaos. At one point, the Joker mentions the dynamic between them as an "unstoppable force meeting an immovable object".
  • Tyler Durden in Fight Club. His dialogue reads like an Übermensch checklist, and with the Narrator playing the part of the Last Man. And didn't Nietzsche say something about the Übermensch needing to be willed into existence? Because Tyler Durden is a second personality of the Narrator. Very, very interesting...
    Tyler Durden: You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you. This is not the worst thing that can happen. We don't need Him. Fuck damnation, man, fuck redemption! If we are God's unwanted children, so be it!
  • Anton Chigurh of No Country for Old Men. From what little we can tell about his moral code, a person needs to earn the right to live and he sees himself as the perfect person to carry out that test.
  • John Kramer, a.k.a. Jigsaw from the Saw films. Despite suffering from brain cancer and being dissatisfied with the rest of society, he overcame his suicidal despair and created his own radical moral code focusing on the savouring of life, seeing modern civilization as making everyone waste themselves in hedonism and setting himself the goal of rejuvenating humanity's survival instincts. And his method is not nice, either, he tests his subjects' personal willpower by subjecting them to ironic hells that require severe self-sacrifice to escape lest they die. While most people will see his method as murder despite his claims on the contrary, he is still able to influence the tortured survivors around him to his ideals, even beyond the grave, although Amanda became a Straw Nihilist and Hoffman became a monster. His only disciple who actually adhered to his philosophy was Dr. Lawrence Gordon. It helps that his character is based on Gilles Deleuze's philosophy, which is a lot like Nietzsche's.

  • Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four is the Last Man in Europe, due to his primary motivation being hedonism with freedom and enlightenment added in, yet still doesn't carry enough Will to Power to stick to his individuality and overcome Room 101. Heck, he even chooses to love Big Brother because it's the greater of two pleasures, which is against the Übermensch concept. But the actual "Übermensch" in the book is disputed. Maybe it's Big Brother (who ironically is the God of the book), maybe it's the Party as a whole with their Blue-and-Orange Morality and their obsession with the Will To Power, but Inner Party member O'Brien in particular, as an individual, is less of a Übermensch and more of a Straw Nihilist, since he believes that the only vision of the future is "a boot stamping on a human face forever".
  • The Bible: Alternative Character Interpretations of Satan also include the Übermensch archetype. One such Satan is the Satan from Paradise Lost. After all, tis better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. Probably.
  • Judge Holden from Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian is a deconstruction of the concept, showing just how frightening an Übermensch can be if acting as the antagonist of a story.
  • David Wingrove's Chung Kuo has Howard deVore, who wants to destroy the empire so that history can continue and the übermensch can appear. Either naturally or by design.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo, a.k.a. Edmond Dantes, believes himself above morality, master of all knowledge, and the sole authority over himself. This supreme confidence does not end well for his enemies.
  • Raskolnikov from Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is a Villain Protagonist who wants to be an Übermensch, and spends most of the book wondering if he is one or not. It is perhaps worth noting that the novel was published before Also sprach Zarathustra and that Raskolnikov considers Napoleon to be the archetypical Übermensch, showing that the idea at the very least predates Nietzsche.
  • Leto Atreides II from Dune, fits this trope even more than his father, taking his father's Übermensch qualities to their logical end by essentially becoming a god .hat the idea at the very least predates Nietzsche.
  • In Discworld:
    • Commander Samuel Vimes of Ankh-Morpork. He is intensely charismatic, albeit in a rough and straightforward way, has helped change the city into the relatively stable metropolis it is now, and strictly follows his own code of ethics. As one character says in Night Watch, "In a world where we all move in curves he proceeds in a straight line. And going straight in a world of curves makes things happen."
    • The villains in Discworld books are frequently Last Men who do whatever they want because they know that the universe doesn't care about human notions of "good" and "evil" — and the heroes are frequently people who also knows that, but who have decided that the universe might not care, but they do.
    • Surely Vetinari is a better Übermensch than Vimes? Indeed, he (and Captain Carrot, who may or may not be another contender, though he is more of a catalyst for change) rescued Sam from his fate as a Last Man by encouraging and promoting him to take charge of all policing in the city-state, and creating his modern police force. Vetinari himself is the capable leader whose reign is characterised this and a number of other revolutionary ideas, many orchestrated by him (like an efficient post office).
  • The Draka tend to fall somewhere between a nation of real Übermenschen and a nation of Nietzsche Wannabes, with a good bit of Oscar Wilde-inspired decadence thrown in. In the Drakaverse timeline, both Nietzsche and Wilde relocated to the colony of Drakia in its formative years. It is implied that some native Drakan philosophers took Nietzsche's ideas of the Übermensch and the Will to Power and ran with them, forging them into the basis for the shared Drakan culture built around absolute dominance of "lesser" peoples (i.e. everyone else).
  • In Everworld, Senna Wales has some definite traits of this, notably including strong loner/antisocial tendencies and a reliance on her own code, rather than other's notions of morality. Oh, and she wants to overthrow all the powers of Everworld and turn it into her own personal universe to rule over as a Dimension Lord.
  • Salvor Hardin from Isaac Asimov's Foundation claims that "one should never let morality prevent one from doing what is right".
  • In John Gardener's Grendel, a Perspective Flip of Beowulf, Beowulf himself is one of these. Unferth also tries to be one but can't quite manage it.
  • In Heart of Darkness, Kurtz pretty well fits this.
  • Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials is this but it is interestingly averted when he throws himself into the abyss to allow for others to supplant God and create the Republic of Heaven.
  • C.S. Friedman's In Conquest Born provides an interesting case. It revolves around a pair of archrival generals on opposite sides of a war. Proud Warrior Race Guy Zatar comes from a culture essentially created to forge its nobility into Übermenschen. The other, Anzha, is the wunderkind of an experimental psychic program. Throughout the series, Zatar is actively trying to be an Übermensch, outsting his father, making very public displays of going beyond human limits, etc. while Anzha is much more singlemindedly committed to her goal (destroying Zatar's whole race for killing her family), in the process she almost incidentally realizes a stronger form of psychic practice and uses it to enslave her teachers, revolutionizes faster-than-light combat, infiltrates and manipulates two other societies, and awakens the hidden psychic talents of her enemy Zatar. At that point, it becomes apparent that she was the real Übermensch all along: Zatar was trying to be one in the tradition of his society, while Anzha rejected all other values and as such has been able to cope with her abnormally strong abilities while Zatar is destroyed by them.
  • R. A. Salvatore's Drizzt Do'Urden rejects the ways of his Always Chaotic Evil dark elf people to follow what his own heart tells him is right. He holds onto his ideals in spite of extreme adversity and even though it takes years for him to find a place in the world even after leaving his homeland. He also disdains the idea of venerating a god until pointed to the interpretation that the gods represent mortals' own inner ideals. His ideals are, of course, on the extreme nice end of the scale, conventionally acceptable (though extremely idealistic) by the norms of a human society, but considering where he started out, they are definitely his own. Drizzt is, of course, The Fettered.
  • The main theme of the classic Danish novel Lucky Per by Henrik Pontoppidan is the protagonist Per Sidenius' quest to become an Übermensch. Whether he succeeds or not is still hotly debated.
  • In Malazan Book of the Fallen several characters display Übermensch traits. The most obvious example is Karsa.
  • For a man whose inhuman charisma draws otherwise sane men to follow him to his own obsessive goal, there's Captain Ahab from Moby-Dick.
  • The vampire artist Mikhail Efimov in Oleg Divov 's Night Watcher has some pretensions about this, being a more literal version of Straw Nihilist; he claims that "proper" vampires (the ones that drink blood and receive, among other things, dramatically enhanced senses — and, at least according to Mikhail, emotions and understanding), or the Nocturnals as he likes to call them, are so far above mere humans in every regard as to be justified in doing whatever they want to them, as human lives are so drab and pathetic compared to those of Nocturnals as to be "less than a parody". He also has some things to say about the worldview and way of life of perfect beings, which seems pretty close to this trope. Mikhail tries to position Igor Dolinsky, a vampire that has successfully resisted his bloodthirst, as the Last Man, but Dolinsky is quick to point out that the Nocturnals tend to degenerate into mindless animals within a few years if they even live that long; eventually Mikhail realizes that Igor is right and turns himself in for an experimental treatment, though he doesn't abandon his rhetoric to the end, leading to some humiliating moments at the hands of the local vampire hunters.
  • Odd John, the superhuman mutant from the Olaf Stapledon novel of that name.
  • Ayn Rand liked this trope.
    • Atlas Shrugged features John Galt. The Last Man would be Robert Stadler, who allows his research and good name to be appropriated by Strawman Political interests.
    • Howard Roark in The Fountainhead. His progress as an architect is contrasted with that of Peter Keating, who becomes an abject sell-out. Rand also deconstructs the most commonly held popular interpretation of Nietzsche's philosophy through the character of Gail Wynand (whether or not this most common interpretation is a correct one is another subject entirely).
  • Wolf Larsen from The Sea Wolf by Jack London.
  • Anasarimbor Kellhus from Second Apocalypse, as well as all the rest of the Danyain.
  • Reiner Grossvogel from Thomas Ligotti's novella The Shadow The Darkness is a relentless deconstruction of this trope. In as few words as possible, he does exactly what he must as an "efficient organism." There is no other priority.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Holmes could fit here according to Some mostly due to his Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! attitude, that has driven him to break the law in several occasions and seeing it as a viable way to solve a case. Watson used to object to this behaviour but later he encouraged it and demanded to go along.
  • The Sith philosophy as elaborated in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, even though it actually represents the conventional morality for the Sith, basically calls for its adherents to become the Übermensch — which is seen as involving giving in to the Dark Side and becoming The Unfettered. Its ideas seem to be based on the corruption of the Dark Side and thus be delusional, but it sometimes seems those who really achieve the goal of becoming the Übermensch are so good at being evil that for them the illusion becomes reality, and they have no weakness. Darth Revan is a good example of a Sith Übermensch — immensely charismatic, the best at everything, and seemingly able to keep from slipping so far into the Dark Side it would destroy him or even compromise his rationality while embracing its corruption fully. Even more so, there is the Sith'ari, a prophesized "perfect being" by Sith standards. In Darth Bane: The Path of Destruction, Bane gradually becomes the Sith'ari, first simply learning by harsh experience to think he can trust no-one but himself, then gradually absorbing more of the Sith philosophy and the Dark Side until he becomes completely unhindered by human emotions such as compassion and any sane moral code, though he is still entirely dedicated to upholding the purity of the Sith. He also fulfills the very Übermensch-appropriate role of the Sith'ari in prophecy of making the Sith stronger by destroying them; his Last Man is the entire Sith order at that point, and especially its leader Lord Kaan, who have sought to eliminate conflict from the order by making it one of apparent equals; the very opposite of what Bane believes to be the nature of the Sith. Darth Bane hands Kaan an intangible Artifact of Doom that he knows will destroy all the Sith when they try to use it in their final stand against the Jedi, and before the dust that was once hundreds of Sith and Jedi has settled, goes out to look for an apprentice to apply his new Rule of Two with.
  • Valentine Michael Smith in Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, who was also a Messianic Archetype.
  • This is the attitude of The Supervillainy Saga protagonist, Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless: The Supervillain without Mercy. He rejects the morality of superheroes while maintains his own personal morality in place of it when dealing with both the government as well as supervillains. Played with as he still identifies as a religious Jew but fully acknowledges, "I am a terrible one." His unpredictability beyond his own values has made him a Wild Card in his world.
  • Lestat de Lioncourt from The Vampire Chronicles is another good example.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40000 Horus Heresy novel False Gods, Magnus the Red is determined to study the warp and gain power, because
    Notions of good and evil fell by the wayside next to such power as dwelled in the warp, for they were the antiquated concepts of a religious society, long cast aside.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Max Brennan, Temperance's father in Bones, is repeatedly described as a man who follows his own ethical code, one wherein killing people and hanging their burning corpses on makeshift crosses is a perfectly normal thing to do to protect his family.
  • The Mayor from Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Rather than wanting to destroy the world, he wants to attain god-like power to improve it, and has no qualms about killing thousands of people to get there. He also believes in keeping his promises and using family friendly language.
  • Dexter from Dexter evolves into one of these by necessity. He can't obey normal laws of morality because of his "dark passenger," so he must follow his unique "Laws of Harry," which place him above the likes of common murderers, who live by no code at all. Furthermore, the "Laws of Harry" were handed down from his adoptive father, but he has learned that he needs to evolve them and make them his own. The interesting thing about Dexter is that he actually regresses as an overman. As the show progresses he becomes more attached to the people around him, and more concerned with normal social problems.
  • Whedon also plays with this in the final episode of the Alpha arc in Season 1 of Dollhouse
    Echo: We're not gods!
    Alpha: Fine, Übermensch. Nietzsche predicted our rise. Perfected, objective, something new.
    Echo: Right, new superior people, with a little German thrown in. What could possibly go wrong?
  • In Firefly, Mal, from what we've seen, seems to be one who lost his will to keep trying. He has his own set of morals, he's very charismatic (as we see with him dealing with the crew, especially when he was about to space Jayne). He had belief in a way to make the 'verse better, but the Alliance beat the side he was with.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim: Kaito regularly says that the world favors the strong and his pursuit of power is seemingly because he goes along with it, but in the end, he reveals that he hates the world for that "rule" and seeks power to destroy and replace it with his own. DJ Sagara describes Kaito as this trope to Kouta, who in turn is inspired to ignore the "rule" that moral and lives have to be sacrificed for the greater good.
  • MythBusters: A fun way to look at Adam Savage: I reject your reality, and substitute my own! Granted, it would be a far more family friendly variation, but it would be expected in a show where the main motivation is For Science!!
  • Smallville may have referenced the idea with regards to Hawkman and Clark, but the true example is Lionel Luthor, the Trope Codifier for Magnificent Bastard. His Alternate Universe counterpart, Earth-2 Lionel may be an even better example, having more or less taken over the world and imposed his view of how things should be.
  • Khan Noonien Singh from Star Trek: The Original Series (and of course The Movie The Wrath of Khan. From The Other Wiki: Professor William J. Devlin and co-author Shai Biderman examined Khan's character compared to the Übermensch and found that Khan's blind pursuit of revenge is in fact against Nietzsche's ideals of transcendence and self-creation of a meaningful life. Instead, the authors offer Spock's self-sacrifice in The Wrath of Khan as a better example of the Übermensch.
  • Omar Little from The Wire, a criminal who preys only on other criminals in strict adherence to his own personal "code". Also a Badass Longcoat who happens to be gay. He is also the only character in that series who makes it a point not to swear, and his use of language is idiosyncratic only to himself. There are very slight hints during Bird's trial that he may have been inspired to adopt that personality during middle school, although the prequels show him displaying the same traits at a very young age.

  • Subverted in Marilyn Manson's Concept Album Antichrist Superstar. The story is told from the perspective of Wormboy, part of the servant caste of a world ruled over by morally and physically superior beings — the Übermenschian The Beautiful Elite. He sets out to overthrow their stifling plutocracy and exercise his will to power (in the classic Nietzschean sense), but becomes increasingly disenfranchised with the mindless, adoring masses, who merely transfer their adoration from them to him, instead. Passing the Despair Event Horizon, he sheds his outdated morality but does not replace it with a new moral framework, evolving into the titular Antichrist Superstar — also known as The Disintegrator. Concluding that people do not deserve to be liberated, he spirals into nihilism, using his newfound power to usher in the apocalypse. The album finishes with a serious Downer Ending, the desolate anthem "Man That You Fear".
    Pray now, baby, pray your life was just a dream
    The world is in my hands
    There's no one left to hear you scream
    There's no one left for you
  • David Bowie's 1970 song "The Supermen" draws from this trope. Bowie later said he was "pretending to understand" Nietzsche and translating the latter into his own terms.

    Mythology & Religion 

  • Søren Kierkegaard, as Johannes de Silentio, discusses Knight of Faith, which predates Nietzsche's Übermensch by decades. De Silentio's knight of faith and Nietzsche's Übermensch, simply speaking, are men who live by an individual moral code independent of the world's. Whereas Nietzsche's Übermensch is decidedly atheistic (Nietzsche was a former Lutheran-turned-atheist), de Silentio's knight of faith is theistic (Kierkegaard was a devout Lutheran with Pietistic leanings). The knight of faith's life is wholly dedicated to God and thus can act independently of the secular world's morality.
  • Naturally, Friedrich Nietzsche is the Trope Namer and/or Trope Codifier for the modern understanding of this trope/character.
  • In the 1920s/30s, Soviet ideologues such as Leon Trotsky had espoused the possibility and necessity of creating a 'New Soviet Man' which the new socialist state would create in time, and who in turn would bring about true Communism society in the Soviet Union and eventually the whole world. These 'New Soviet Men' would by nature be 'selfless, learned, healthy, muscular, and enthusiastic' about World Revolution, in complete mastery over their own selfish 'animal' impulses and being completely loyal to the Marxist-Leninist ideology. Naturally, nothing came of these ideas in the end.
  • This trope is basically what Laveyan Satanism is about.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted dances around this archetype in several of its heroes. The most obvious example are the Solar Exalted, who begin to play the trope straighter and straighter as they reach into their personal toolkit of transhumanism. Conversely, the Green Sun Princes turn their backs on this trope as they advance; their natures lead them to abandon humanity rather than perfect it.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, Phyrexian mythology depicts Yawgmoth as an Übermensch and Rebbec as the Last Man.
    • On the color wheel, Black’s philosophy is the one most closely tied to that of the Übermensch, by rejecting traditional values of morality such as good and evil and exalting the value of the individual. Other aspects of the Übermensch are fulfilled by Red’s emphasis on emotion, self-expression and its shared values with Black towards individuality, and Blue's rejection of tradition alongside Black and its desire to innovate and improve. Therefore, the Black/Red pair (also called Rakdos), the Blue/Black pair (Dimir), the Red/Blue pair (Izzet) and the Blue/Black/Red trio (Grixis) are the most fit to represent the Übermensch.

  • Unknown Armies has a lot of this character type, to the point where it's practically expected of Cosmic level PCs to be this trope. Also deconstructed and reconstructed, as the various difficulties and implications that come with being driven to tear down established values and replace with your own are frequently pointed out. Amongst the canon NPCs, Alex Abel and Randy Douglas are the two most obvious examples of this trope. To a certain extent, every adept and most ambitious avatars have varying of this trope as well.
  • Warhammer 40,000': The Emperor of Mankind... and he's the Messianic Archetype of the setting.
    • The Emperor's sons, the Primarchs, would also qualify given that they almost invariably became the rulers of their adopted home worlds through great social, political, or military upheaval. The only one who did not was Angron, and even then he completely flipped the established order of Nuceria on its head through slave rebellion.


    Video Games 
  • SKX (Serial Killer X) of Condemned: Criminal Origins starts out like this, his whole Serial-Killer Killer spree inspired by his own uniquely twisted morality. That is until this is completely subverted in Condemned 2: Bloodshot, which introduces "The Oro" a whole Ancient Conspiracy of Übermensch, who exist with their basic goal being to "influence human evolution". The Sorting Algorithm of Evil comes into play, and SKX abandons his quest to "become justice" having gained new purpose in worshiping the Oro who have "such power" as to leave him in total religious awe. At the end he becomes a twisted version of the Ascended Fanboy, being inducted into the Oro himself.
  • Lucian in Fable II, who seeks to rebuild the Tattered Spire in order to eradicate the world of Albion, to erase all traces of human corruption and rebuild it anew. According to Theresa, this has happened once before and was the reason of the destruction of the old world.
  • The Jackal in Far Cry 2: He quotes Friedrich Nietzsche's The Will To Power in the game's opening sequence, is an arms dealer who defies both factions in an african civil war for the sake of the civilian populace, and convinces the player to join his side through the force of his personality and the rightness of his cause.
  • Emperor Mateus Palamecia in Final Fantasy II. He is utterly convinced of his right to rule over all around him, and, being a Sorcerous Overlord, has the power to back it up. The heroes killing him merely results in him taking over Hell, and the remake shows that the "light" half of his soul tried to overthrow the game's version of Heaven. In the crossover game Dissidia Final Fantasy, he plans to overthrow the Gods and is insulted when Garland compares him to Kefka, who he dismisses as a "gibbering nihilist".
  • A rare heroic example in form of Tidus from Final Fantasy X. Tidus is not the most obvious example, but in the world of Spira, he fits the trope perfectly. Tidus does not give a crap about social norms and definitely lives by his own moral code, he is plenty charismatic, he will have Yuna live and be happy, even if all of Spira wants her to sacrifice herself. He even goes up against and kills a god to do so.
  • Final Fantasy XII:
    • Vayne. "The tyranny of the gods has ended, and man shall keep his own order" — and if you happen not to like his order, he'll go Kung-Fu Wizard on you. On the other hand, he did have a god (Venat) whispering in his ear the entire time
    • Which means that Venat was the true Übermensch all along, rejecting the views of her fellow Occuria that the people of Ivalice were weak and needed the guidance of higher powers. And in the end, Venat won.
  • Jin Sakai's entire character arc in Ghost of Tsushima is about embracing this especially under his namesake Ghost persona.
    • Early on in the story he witnesses the treachery of the Mongols and believes that they cannot be defeated if he adheres to bushido. Instead he resorts to a number of tactics deemed dishonorable, often underhanded and psychological, and at many points says he doesn't care about honor or what the nobility thinks. He cares only about liberating his homeland from the Mongol invaders and inspires everyday people to resist them.
    • These Übermenschian traits even extend to his friendships. He encourages his companions to follow their own path even if they resort to actions he doesn't approve of.
  • Gothic has the "necromancer" Xardas, a former priest of Innos, who spends most of the three games in a plan to kill the three gods of the realm (Innos, Adanos and Beliar), so people may be free of their influence. He succeeds by the end of the third game. Interestingly, he and the protagonist are on the same side.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn sees two Übermenschen:
    • First is The Fettered Player Character Aloy. She will do what she thinks is right, not caring for opposing hidebound tribal superstitions in the way. However, she believes in everyone's right to exist, taking care not to tread on those who didn't actively oppose her, and she also at worst makes flippant remarks about tribal superstitions that aren't specifically at odds with her intents. The difference in fetterings with the other Übermensch in the setting, Sylens, is the basis for their mildly antagonistic alliance of mutual interest. She does not necessarily see herself as "above" those around her (unlike Sylens), but a large number of people whom she has interacted with on more than a passing level recognize her as extraordinary. Her disposition of being of the Fettered variety has led to many giving earnest support to her effort, in stark contrast, deconstruction, and retort to Sylens' cynical take about trust being fragile and mutual interest being superior.
    • Conversely, Sylens is The Unfettered. He believes himself above the conventional morality of the post-human tribes, and considers himself superior to them. Indeed at one point he tells Aloy not to let "primitive tribesmen" to stand in their way. This would be acceptable if he wasn't the guy who formed, created, empowered, and armed that specific primitive tribe he has contempt for. His unfettered nature and cynical view on interactions with others, where trust is "for fools", has led to him being a loner and prone to exploiting and betraying others.
  • Kreia in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords is Nietzsche's counterpart in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Her ultimate goal is the death of the Force (or at least its influence over the lives of sentients), and she admires the Jedi Exile because of the Exile's status as an Übermensch who forsook the Force to escape death. Her Last Man is both the Jedi order and the Sith because of their dependence on the force and their dogmatic traditions. In the game, she uses her massive, galaxy-spanning Gambit Roulette not to end the force or to destroy the Jedi order, but to impose her philosophy upon the Exile, restarting the Jedi Order through her in order to correct what it is suggested throughout the game she believes are flaws in the Jedi teachings which led to Revan's Fall and the Jedi Civil War.
  • Link, specifically in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, is one of these. Termina is a world consumed by Wangst and nihlism because the moon is crashing into Termina in three days. His status as Heroic Mime drives him to always act, never succumbing to fear or sadness. Link rejects the hopelessness of the herd, in order to save them through sheer force of will. The nature of his task and his ability to control time put him Above Good and Evil; ergo rendering all his actions just, even at their most selfish, because his selfishness benefits all. After curing everyone of their hopelessness through his actions, he defeats a demonic mask to change the world's fate and allow people to make their own future.
  • In Mega Man ZX, Serpent sees himself as this, believing that as a Mega Man, The Chosen One, he has the right to rule and dictate the course of the world with Model W's power as a "shepherd". In fact, he believes all Mega Men should aspire to be this, scornfully stating to Giro and Vent/Aile near the beginning after crushing them that their weakness is proof that not all Mega Men are fit to rule and his final boast to Vent/Aile before they battle his One-Winged Angel being a challenge to see which of them is destined to rule the world. The four enemy Mega Men, particularly Atlas and Aeolus, from Advent have similar philosophies.
  • Persona:
    • Awakening a Persona in Persona 5, as the Phantom Thieves and Goro Akechi do, essentially entails becoming an Übermensch. Because the Phantom Thieves got sick of the corruption of powerful people in modern Japan (which unfortunately screwed the lives of most of them), they rise to reform society by Heel–Face Brainwashing most of their targets, not caring what normal citizens think (despite a fansite tracking their public approval). Speaking of which, The Last Men in this case are the Apathetic Citizens of Tokyo and Yaldabaoth, moreso because Tokyo's collective palace means they're conforming with a society which can screw individual people and not caring in the slightest, unwittingly keeping themselves in a ultra-secure prison of their own making.
    • A notable example of this is shown in the Updated Re-release Persona 5: Royal. During the newly-added third semester, the new palace ruler uses their power to warp reality and create a paradise where everyone's deepest desires are fulfilled. While the Phantom Thieves all reject this new reality, it is most deftly shown in Goro Akechi, who rejects the reality not just because it's fake, but because they explicitly believe a reality without challenge and suffering is a boring and stagnant one. He holds fast to this even when presented with the possibility that he could be a figment of the new reality created from Joker's memories, saying he wouldn't be honest with himself if forsook his ideals just to keep existing.
  • Phoenix Point: Tobias West, no matter your judgement of the man's morality, is a man who believes deeply in the supremacy of human will over the animalistic instinct of the Pandorans, and that his organization is an extension of that will and the means by which he imposes it on the world. He has a clear vision of what he wants and how to achieve it, and will stop at nothing to do so. Even in-universe, West is highly controversial; some decry him as a hypocrite who profited from the same wars he denounced, some see him as a megalomaniacal dictator, hell-bent on imposing his own vision of humanity on the world no matter the cost, yet others see him as humanity's only hope.
  • N of Pokémon Black and White wants to change the very nature of the Pokémon world's society, and possesses a superhuman will and drive. When the protagonist defeats N in their final battle, where N rejects his ideology in favor of the protagonist...only for N's father Ghetsis to reveal that he deliberately manufactured N to be an Übermensch since birth and manipulated him the whole time. This may indicate that Ghetsis is the true Übermensch.
  • Zurvan from Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones. Before reaching his goal of transforming into a "god" with the sands' power, he first restorts to treason to take over India by killing the Maharaja and using his army to take over a Persia, using the power of the sands to transform everything in their path. Then in the final battle, He starts using the "such is the price paid for progress" kind of lines when questioned by the Prince about the murder of the King, the guard and the hundreds of InnocentBystanders.
  • Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne:
    • Hikawa wants to destroy the world and then rebuild it into a silent paradise of order and harmony. He succeeds at the first part within the first few scenes of the game, so it's up to you to stop the second part... or not. Your choice.
    • For that matter, all three Reasons are representative of the trope: the Reason of Shijima (presented by Hikawa) is just the most nihilistic one (naturally; the organization sponsoring it is the Assembly of Nihilo. But the Reason of Musubi and the Reason of Yosuga also present their own revolutionary ideologies for the Demifiend (the player character) to support.
    • On the other hand, Yuko Takao might very well be the Last Man to all three Reasons; not only did she fail to come up with her own Reason due to lack of personal conviction, she congratulates the Demifiend in the True Neutral ending, where the world is restored to the same state prior to the Conception (bringing a quite literal meaning to Status Quo Is God.)
  • Sly 2: Band of Thieves has the Contessa. A member of the Klaww Gang who works for Interpol under the guise that she's "reforming" criminals when she's actually using hypnosis on them to unveil their stolen valuables. When pressing Sly to give her the MacGuffin, she points out that she's above his childish sense of morality. Sly points out that saying that only makes her even less trustworthy.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog is another heroic example. With a moral code consisting of being "free like the wind" and doing what feels good, he stops his arch-enemy Dr. Eggman's plans both for the fun it brings and because he dislikes the idea of others being oppressed. His character profiles state that he has no regard for authority, and his Image Songs and Sonic and the Black Knight make references to how he doesn't care about who's right or wrong and follows his own path, always fighting for what he believes in. In the latter he declares that he doesn't mind if this makes him "the bad guy" in front of the rest of the world. Sonic X examines this trait of his, with Rouge explaining to the President that even though he helped the government fight Eggman in the past, he was never on their side — he just did what he felt like doing, and would turn on the law without hesitation the very instant this one started conflicting with his goals.
  • Dimentio from Super Paper Mario wants to destroy the universe to create a new, perfect one. Count Bleck, on the other hand, is the Last Man.
  • Alice in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World is one of these, sort of. Before your last fight with her, she casually mentions that she's an Übermensch. It never gets mentioned again or even built up to before this point, however.
  • Alexei from Tales of Vesperia can count, as witnessed before his Villainous Breakdown, he mentions that his goal was to free humanity from the grip of the Entelexia and build the world anew, though he crossed the Moral Event Horizon one too many times in the pursuit of his goal, crossing the line into complete monstrosity.
  • Sylvanas Windrunner in World of Warcraft, starts to show elements of this as her motives become clearer in the Shadowlands expansion. It's revealed the undead are cursed to a tormented existence in the afterlife should they be killed in their undead state; something Sylvanas refuses to abide note . In turn, she made a deal with a being known as the Jailer, who is empowered by the essence of dead souls. To this end, Sylvanas aids in empowering the Jailer by causing as much death as possible while being a leader of the Forsaken and the Horde. By helping the Jailer become strong enough to break free of his prison in Torghast, Sylvanas seeks to destroy the current cycle of life and death, not only to avoid her otherwise inevitable fate, but to — in her words — free people from the shackles of fate, unable to change their own destinies in both life and death. So to reiterate: Sylvanas seeks to destroy the cosmic laws of life and death just to avoid an afterlife of eternal suffering.
  • Krelian from Xenogears. After the death of his beloved Sophia, he came to believe that there was no God in the world, and resolved to make one himself to end humanity's suffering and make a better world.

    Visual Novels 
  • A central and recurring theme throughout the Shinza Bansho Series is that of characters forming their own beliefs and moral codes that breaks not only the the social norms, but the norms of the universe itself and then imposing that belief upon the world. The hegemonic gods are those that has managed to take this all the way, to make their beliefs the new reality.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • General Tarquin rejects conventional morality and wants to make the Western Continent free of power struggles and endless warfare.
    • The Dark One and by extension Redcloak also reject conventional morality and seeks to lead the goblins into becoming a sovereign race with equal rights as other humanoid species. Though this gradually gets deconstructed, as while their grievances are legitimate and their dedication to their fellows is admirable, their continual rejection of any kind of compromise plunges them deeper and deeper into the Sunk Cost Fallacy for a plan that won't even work because they're missing key info they would have learned if they cooperated with the heroes.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation: A curious example is that of the Ethics Committee, which is considered by the rest of the members of the Foundation as a joke and a useless organization, but in reality it is perhaps the most powerful group within the organization, since that they know everything the Foundation does, and it is they who authorize or not any of its actions. In short, it is a committee whose members must establish new parameters of what is right and what is wrong, all in order to protect Humanity, thus becoming — without wanting it — Übermenschen.
    Remember this: the Foundation is not evil. We do not torture people "just because". We are against unnecessary cruelty. Which means somebody has to decide when cruelty is necessary. And that somebody is us.
  • Played for Laughs with the Sigma Grindset memes. Though the way it's presented, a "sigma male" is someone who plays by their own rules. However, as the memes show, these "rules" are absolutely absurd, ranging from Word-Salad Humor to Black Comedy.
    "What're you talking about??, Sigma Male?, you're just lonely" -my Therapist 2020 (before I hit them with my car, don't let others fool you from achieving your grindset kings)
    —- A YouTube comment
  • In Ultra Fast Pony, Celestia is immortal. As she herself says, the great thing about being immortal is that you can do whatever you want, and no one can stop you. Though she rejects society's rules, it's unclear what her guiding philosophy is — although tea seems to be important.
  • Harry in French Baguette Intelligence believes that morality doesn't have any real meaning, and only really cares about long-term benefits of actions — no matter how severe the short-term harm.

    Western Animation 
  • Phaeton in Exosquad, before he loses the last bits of his dignity later in the second season.
  • Gargoyles:
    • David Xanatos is most certainly this. He owns a corporation that spans several nations. This naturally makes him rich and powerful. He possesses huge amounts of charisma, which affects the characters and even the viewers watching the show. He wrote the book on how a Xanatos Gambit is done. He does not hold grudges or fall into the "sucker's game" of revenge, which already causes him to be so much better than Lex Luthor ever was. He also has a butler, who is Puck, a member of the Fair Folk, and quite the trickster. If he could have someone like that serving him, how could he not be an Übermensch? The Manhattan Clan seem to be the Last Man. At least, Goliath realizes that Xanatos has it all and Goliath has next to nothing. Of course, while Xanatos is too smart to hold grudges, it takes Fox for him to develop any motivation besides his own profit or amusement, whereas the gargoyles risk their lives to protect others with no thought of personal gain. The fact that Xanatos's accomplishments won't stop him from growing old and dying like everyone else seriously scares him, and his attempts to gain immortality only get him a lecture from the older, wiser Hudson.
    • Fox could be an Übermensch as well. She proves to be a match for Xanatos in terms of coming up with schemes — as well as beating him in chess games. In one episode, she is reading a book on philosophy (Sartre, for those of you without instant-pause reflexes) and she is asked why she reads that stuff. Her response is this: "Because Nietzsche's too butch, and Kafka reminds me of your little friends over there!" (The person she's talking to is shooting cockroaches with a rubber-band slingshot) She clearly knows some things about philosophy.
  • Zaheer from The Legend of Korra is a good candidate, he is an admirer of the culture of air nomads and much of his philosophy is inspired by that of an airbender monk, yet he has rejected the pacifism of air nomads and has become an Well-Intentioned Extremist who believes that the world will only know true freedom if all hierarchy and authority figure is abolished, even if it is through violence.

Alternative Title(s): The Ubermensch, Uebermensch, Lives By His Own Moral Code