A Villain Episode is a type of Lower-Deck Episode or A Day in the Limelight which focuses on the antagonist. In all cases, the villains get the majority of the screen time. The heroes might not appear at all, or they might appear but get much less screen time than usual. Either way, a villain episode presents an alternative view of the show by showing details of the villains' daily life, their hopes and dreams, and how they interact with their minions during downtime.
In an episodic show, a villain episode is usually used just for the sake of something different. For example, if a show normally revolves around a group of heroes fighting a Monster of the Week, being defeated, learning a valuable lesson, and defeating the monster, a Villain Episode shows the villain coming up with an evil scheme, creating a monster specifically to take advantage of a problem being faced by one of the heroes, and releasing it, only for it to be defeated again.
In an arc-based show, a villain episode is a good opportunity for Character Development. It allows the writers to reveal details about what drives the villain and how they feel about the constant defeats at the hands of the heroes. Often, the villains become more sympathetic after getting such exposure. In quite a few cases, these are considered some of the best episodes by fans.
Sometimes the entire episode will be mostly Villains Out Shopping. Sometimes literally.
- Attack on Titan: Multiple chapters, as well as one episode of the anime adaptation, could be considered this through their relatively sympathetic focus on the villains. Episode 23 and its counterpart, Chapter 31, focus primarily on Annie prior to The Reveal that she is the Female Titan. Later on in the manga, Chapters 46 through 48 primarily focus on Reiner and Bertolt and provide significant Character Development for them.
- In the anime version, Tier Harribel of Bleach got one of these in the form of a Whole Episode Flashback, largely to make up for the fact that in the manga, she's one of the only Espada ranked among the top 6 out of 10 that doesn't either get a fair amount of Character Development or a flashback explaining their motives. This episode ended up turning her from possibly the least developed Espada to one of the most developed.
- Dorohedoro, in all its ambiguous glory, usually has at least one every couple of chapters.
- Any early filler episode of Dragon Ball Z features Vegeta and Nappa interrupting their journey to Earth to stretch their legs. They land on a planet of insect people ruled by a tyrant, and allow themselves to be thrown in his arena for their own amusement. They depose the king and leave as heroes - until Vegeta decides the planet won't fetch a decent price and vaporizes it. Just as the Starcrossed Lovers were reuniting.
- Lust received one in the 2003 version of Fullmetal Alchemist called "Reunion of the Fallen".. It's basically scary as shit, depressing as eternal damnation, and a Downer Ending rolled into one Villainous Joint.
- The "Yoshikage Kira" chapters of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure part 4. Part 4 in particular does this so often with Kira that it seems like half the story is being told from his perspective.
- To a lesser extent, the chapters with Doppio (who's Diavolo's alter-ego) in Part 5, particularly the "King Crimson vs. Metallica" sequence.
- The 'Oingo Boingo Brothers' and 'Hol Horse and Boingo' arcs from Part Three center around Boingo and his attempts to use his precognitive stand Thoth to help his current partner defeat the Joestars. In both cases the arc eventually turns into something almost akin to Looney Tunes.
- King Dedede and Dr. Escargon/Escargoon of Kirby: Right Back at Ya! have several episodes dedicated to themselves.In "Escar-gone" nobody recognizes Escargoon due to the effect of Boukyakku/Erasem being inside his body. In "Sweet & Sour Puss" Togeira takes away Dedede's ability to get angry and makes him stay calm and friendly through all of the pain inflicted on him by everyone else just to store his anger for one big crazy mega-attack.
- Zenigata (who is a Hero Antagonist) in Lupin III has a television special (Lupin III: Crisis in Tokyo), focusing more on his daily activities as the inspector in the Tokyo Metropolitan, and his successful efforts in arresting a criminal far worse than Lupin. This is also one of the few television specials where he is not as Butt-Monkey-ish, but more focus is given on his badass aspects.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has a few of these. In particular, in the second Sound Stage of the first season, which featured the backstory of the then Dragon Fate, and in two volumes of the second season's supplementary manga, which portrayed the daily lives of Hayate and the Wolkenritter, Nanoha didn't even appear at all.
- Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch episode "Separated Sisters", which focused on the Black Beauty Sisters.
- The Ecchi anime Musumet did one when it focused on their Evil Counterparts.
- My Hero Academia does a villain arc around volume 24-25, which focuses on the League of Villains' fight against the Meta Liberation Armynote that tries to wipe them out.
- One Piece:
- After being blown away by Luffy, the One Piece anime spent two episodes following Buggy around as he tries to retrieve the rest of his body and find his crew. This was, at first, a story cover-arc in the manga, but was important enough to warrant the anime to expand on it.
- Other villains (Or members of a Quirky Mini Boss Squad) are given their own cover-story arcs; 'Django's Dance Carnival', which shows Black Cat Pirate Django the Hypnotist joining the Navy, 'Hatchi's Sea-Floor Stroll' where Arlong Pirate Hatchan the fish-man becomes a Takoyaki salesman, 'Wapol's Omnivorous Hurrah'...the list goes on. They also combine these with Villains Out Shopping.
- Persona 4 Golden: The Animation: Episode 6 "I told you Yu" focuses on the Serial Killer Adachi.
- Team Rocket has over a dozen episodes of Pokémon themed around them, individually or as a group. They tend to be considerably more dramatic than other episodes, have an emphasis on their friendship, and be quite sweet. More than a few use the Recycled Plots of "A member thinks of leaving; drama occurs" and "Pikachu teams up with Meowth".
- "Go West Young Meowth" is Meowth's origin story. He was born in Hollywood and lived without any parents or a litter for all of his kitttenhood. When he was older he fell for a pampered, pet Meowth but she rejected him. Meowth learned to walk on his hindlegs and speak like a human in order to impress her however that only made her think he was creepy.
- "Holy Matrimony" is about James and his background. It reveals that James comes from a very wealthy family but ran away as a child to avoid marrying his abusive fiancee.
- "Meowth Rules" is about Meowth getting stranded on an island that worships Meowth. It turns out they worship Meowth due to their ability to use Pay Day, a move Meowth doesn't know.
- "Sweet Baby James" is a Sick Episode for James' Chimecho that takes place in a Hoenn cottage of James. It's also the introduction of Mime Jr.
- "Noodles! Roamin Off" is Meowth themed episode where Meowth temporarily leaves the team to work at a ramen shop. Jessie and James also almost get killed by a wild Pokemon.
- "Crossing Paths" is a Jessie episode that directly parallels "Butterfree's Goodbye". It deals with Jessie's Dustox falling in love with another Dustox.
- "Dressed for Jess Success" combines this with a Sick Episode. James crossdresses for the first time in years in order to pass as Jessie for a Pokemon Contest.
- "A Fork In The Road! A Parting Of The Ways!" has Jessie falling in love with a doctor and almost leaving Team Rocket.
- SD Gundam Force, season 2 has two episodes that focuses on the Quirky Mini Boss Squad's attempts to survive.
- Big Revival! We're the Heroes?! stars Zapper Zaku, Grappler Gouf, Destroyer Dom and the Zako Soldiers as they reorganize and try to take over the Gundamusai after their capture at the end of season 1. They are suitably repelled by the Gundam Force.
- Genkimaru; Samurai Number One! features that same gang wandering around Lacroa's caverns after they fell from the Gundamusai. Meanwhile, Bakunetsumaru discovers Talgeese, thought to be killed by Demonic Possession.
- A few episodes of Tamagotchi focus on the Spacey Brothers and their villainous schemes. One of the earliest, "Beep Beep! Ready to Take Over Tamagotchi Planet" (episode 13a), has them coping with everyone in Tamagotchi Town besides them suddenly disappearing.
- Urusei Yatsura Chapter 60 is told from Ran's point of view, with Lum spending the duration of the installment Bound and Gagged in an equipment locker.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! there was the Battle City episode featuring Marik's duel against Bakura. Yugi appeared only for brief scenes.
- Happy Heroes: Season 8 episode 18 is centered more on the villains than the heroes, with its plot being about Big M. training Little M., Huo Haha, and a few dark wizards to be more ruthless when he realizes they may not be evil enough.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf:
- I Love Wolffy and I Love Wolffy 2 are wolf-centric.
- Mr.Wolffy, Mr.Right! is centered around Wolffy and his relationships.
- 2000 AD has occasionally had episodes from the point of view of various Judge Dredd foes, including a series of stories focusing on events from the pasts of the Dark Judges Mortis, Fear, Fire and Death.
- Fantastic Four:
- Issue 4 of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac ended with Johnny successfully dying at last. The next issue was all about two of his prisoners trying to escape the Torture Cellar, with Johnny himself only appearing in a few panels at the very end.
- Astro City:
- The Eisner Award winning story "Show 'Em All" is devoted to showing a typical superhero tale from the villain's perspective.
- And "The Voice of the Turtle" detailed the life story of Anti-Villain Mock Turtle.
- Another issue is devoted to a shapeshifting alien spy, who is deciding whether or not he should give a go signal to invade the Earth. He does.
- Despite technically being the Samaritan Special, one issue concerns Samaritan's archenemy Infidel far more than his heroic counterpart.
- "The Deep Dark Woods" is this for a lowly Mook.
- One issue had a fairly brief sub-story in which Lex Luthor thought-balloons about what to get his little nephew Val for his birthday. His Mooks speculate about what scheme he's working on as Lex demands not to be disturbed in his laboratory, figuring he's coming up with a way to defeat Superman or Take Over the World. Lex then dodges police as he surreptitiously delivers his invention to Val's doorstep, and is caught and led away to jail immediately afterwards. Val opens the mysterious package to discover someone has given him a Superman cape that even stretches like the real one. Val is thrilled, but at the end says, "Too bad it isn't a Batman cape. He's my REAL hero."
- There's also Lex Luthor: Man of Steel, which goes into Luthor's motivations for opposing the unknowable alien whose effortless superpowers make a mockery of mankind's efforts. Subverts the 'makes them sympathetic' aspect, however, in that while we've gotten a glimpse into how Luthor thinks and what would seem to be a more sympathetic approach to his worldview, it's still made pretty clear that he's evil, and all the worse for it because he's deluded himself into believing he's righteous.
- Paul Cornell made Lex Luthor the main character of Action Comics for the duration of The Black Ring story arc.
- "Second Born: The Secret Origin of Superwoman" describes the events of Who is Superwoman? from the perspective of the eponymous villain.
- The second chapter of The Unknown Supergirl introduces Lesla-Lar, narrates the events of the first chapter since her point of view, and goes into her motivations to mess up with Kara.
- Several issues of Avengers: The Initiative during the Secret Invasion crossover event are told from the perspective of Crusader, secretly an advance scout for a Skrull invasion. Key word there — a Skrull invasion. The particular Skrull invasion featured in Secret Invasion was a surprise to even Crusader himself.
- Another issue focused on Johnny Guitar, a z-list villain recruited by Norman Osborn's take on the Initiative to essentially be cannon fodder.
- A "Faces of Evil" Fifth Week Event from DC consisted of villain spotlight issues of many of their major titles. An earlier Fifth Week Event was "New Year's Evil".
- Geoff Johns' run on The Flash featured periodic issues spotlighting one of the Rogues.
- Robin #85 focuses entirely on The Joker, who gives a warped-but-mostly-accurate rundown of his history with all three Robins so far.
- An issue of Green Lantern, intended to be a prelude to Blackest Night, shows us what William Hand's childhood was like and how he eventually became the supervillain Black Hand. The main books in the Blackest Night saga focused on Black Hand's thoughts on each of the emotional spectrum corps at the end of each book in a feature called The Book of Black.
- Dark Reign was basically one long villain episode for Marvel. The Dark Avengers concept was specifically revisited in New Avengers #18, which centered around Norman Osborn assembling a new incarnation of the group and forging bonds with HYDRA, A.I.M., and the Hand. Not a single hero — much less an actual member of the Avengers — appeared in the issue.
- Marvel put out a series of one shots celebrating Captain America's 70th anniversary. Each one-shot starring one of Cap's allies. However two of these one-shots star two of Cap's villains. One has Crossbones as the protagonist and the other has Batroc the Leaper.
- During Mark Waid's run there was an issue focusing on the Red Skull ... which was subjected to such Executive Meddling that Waid had his name removed from it. (Essentially, Waid's attempt to get into the head of a Nazi was stymied by a ruling that a) the Skull was a Card-Carrying Villain, and b) despite this, he couldn't actually be racist.)
- Sonic Universe managed to pull three villain arcs in a row, for a full year's worth of issues.
- The "Scourge: Lockdown" arc is all about Fiona and the Destructix helping Scourge escape from Zone Jail.
- The "Babylonian Rising" arc was mostly about the Babylon Rogues and the Battle Bird Armada competing to get into the Babylonian Gardens. Sonic and his friends show up midway, though it's still mostly the villains' story.
- And finally, the "Scrambled" arc is about Eggman dealing with Snively's latest betrayal.
- Post Genesis Wave, we have the "Eggman's Dozen", which focuses on Eggman and his Egg Bosses trying to take back Eggmanland from the Naugus Twins.
- September 2013 was when Forever Evil debuted and was also Villains Month, in which all the heroic ongoing series were replaced with one-shot issues featuring various villains. While many were about the origins of the villains (Darkseid, Relic, etc.), some were tie-ins to Forever Evil (Black Manta), and some were both (Deadshot, Harley Quinn).
- Issue #30 of Paperinik New Adventures, titled "Phase Two", is almost completely told from the perspective of the Evronians and Two.
- My Little Pony: FIENDship Is Magic is a five issue mini-series all about various My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic villains and their origins. My Little Pony: Friends Forever #16 focuses on Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon trying to outdo the Cutie Mark Crusaders. While not nearly as bad as some of the examples on the list, at that point the two had been nothing but antagonistic throughout the franchise.
- Nominally, the JLA one-shot in Tangent Comics was one of these, the Justice League of America being a government agency dedicated to neutralizing superhumans by any means necessary. In practice, the issue is mostly about the heroes the JLA targets (namely Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, the Green Lantern, and the original Atom) fighting them off and forming an alliance; little is learned about the JLA's history, inner workings, or individual motivations.
- Spider-Man has done this quite a few times:
- The Superior Foes of Spider-Man is essentially a Spider-Man story told from the perspective of the average, D-List supervillains, showing Boomerang and his gang as they try to keep the lights on and eventually get tangled up in a local gang conflict. Spider-Man only appears in (mostly silent) cameos as a vague threat feared by many.
- One issue of Dan Slott's run is told from the perspective of the Sinister Six as they prepare their latest evil plan and get into conflict with another supervillain gang. Spider-Man never appears, only being obliquely mentioned as the Six's enemy.
- Another Slott-penned story was told from Hobgoblin's perspective as he tries to escape or fight off a vengeful Norman Osborn. Hobgoblin later got another spotlight story during AXIS, in which he attempts to go straight in the worst manner possible.
- Issue 39 of Transformers: More than Meets the Eye leaves the two protagonist groups (the Lost Light crew and the Scavengers), and instead focuses on the main villains, the Decepticon Justice Division. The issue gives a peek into their everyday lives, shows how they've come to consider each other family, and explains why they do what they do.
- A notable story in The Batman Adventures is told from the perspective of the Joker. Specifically it starts immediately after a typical Batman story, showing how he has to make his way back to his hideout after getting punched off a blimp to his supposed doom for the hundredth time. The Killing Joke is another notable "spotlight story" for the Joker, showing his point-of-view on his conflict with Batman, Multiple-Choice Past, and motivations.
- Trinity 2016 #7 stars Lex Luthor, Ra's Al-Ghul and Circe, complete with their own versions of the narrative captions Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman usually provide.
- X-Men: Black is a miniseries showing average days for various X-Men villains. Some, like Magneto and Mojo, are shown to have more sympathetic sides to them. Others, like Mystique and Apocalypse, just come off as even more evil. Either way, the X-Men play little role and when they do appear, its usually at the last minute to interrupt whatever situation the villains are involved in.
- Star Wars (Marvel 2015):
- Issue #21 follows a special Stormtrooper unit called SCAR Squadron as they fight a Rebel unit, all while their sergeant narrates why he believes in the Empire's vision.
- Issue #37 once again follows SCAR Squadron as they raid a Rebel outpost, in order to prove their continued merit to Darth Vader.
- Justice League (2018) has occasional issues focusing on the activities of the Legion of Doom, complete with appropriate cover art. So far, these issues consist of #5, #8, #13, and #18.
- Batman Black and White: "The Riddle" is about the Riddler breaking into a private collection of memorabilia to steal a valuable document containing the answer to a famous unsolved riddle, with Batman only showing up on the second-last page.
- JSA Classified: While the rest of the book focuses on the JSA the "Honor Among Thieves" arc is all about the Injustice Society, and how the core members will risk their lives and livelihoods to save one of their own even when there is nothing else in it for them.
- Chlorophylle: The "Zizanion le Terrible" album has the eponymous villain hog all the screen time.
- One chapter in Aeon Natum Engel is focused to the cultists and the citizens of the Order controlled Iceland, and with what will happen later, it will make you feel somewhat sympathetic for them.
- The Homestuck fanfic "IMP". Focuses on one of the eponymous imps, as he keeps getting killed by The Hero and respawning elsewhere, accepting this fate in a happy-go-lucky manner.
- Chapter 60 of The Tainted Grimoire focuses on Khamja and Duelhorn ending with Duelhorn declaring war on Khamja.
- A planned miniseries for Avatar: The Last Airbender Revised would have introduced and developed Azul, the series' Big Bad, leading up to her main-series introduction in the eighteenth chapter, which would've been entirely from her perspective.
- Queen of All Oni already has Jade as a Villain Protagonist, but chapters still tend to be evenly mixed between focusing on her and on the J-Team's attempts to stop and capture her. Then comes chapter 10, where aside from two very short cameo scenes, the heroes don't show up at all, and the chapter focuses on Lung's attempts to break Jade to his will, and Left and Right's attempts to save her.
- The following chapter, the heroes likewise barely appear, as the plot focuses on Drago's attempts to alter history in his favor — the heroes do eventually confront him, but only after he's spent the entire chapter dealing with Karasu and Blankman. The rest of the chapter deals with The Queen consolidating her hold on Jade's mind, and Jade herself recovering from the previous chapter's events.
- Dr Wood gets one of these in A Posse Ad Esse.
- The Nuptialverse has "Metamorphosis", which is all about Chrysalis reflecting on her recent defeat, remembering her Start of Darkness, and finally swearing revenge.
- In the Pony POV Series Chaos Verse, the last third of Luna and Celestia: Unwanted Half is written from the perspective of the Big Bad Nightmare Phobia.
- Three different chapters of You Got HaruhiRolled! have focused on the Anti-SOS Brigade. Chapter 39 is a story about what would happen if Sasaki found a Death Note. Chapter 64 makes fun of the Love Dodecahedron trope by applying it to the Anti-SOS Brigade.note However, the greatest example is Chapter 84, named "Fun Times with the Unfab Four", which contains three short stories that, put together, tell the story of the Anti-SOS Brigade members' daily lives, written specifically for his friends, who are fans of the Anti-SOS Brigade.
- In Perfection Is Overrated, the chapter "A Common Enemy Without A Common Cause" focuses on the SUEs (Parody Sues who are in opposition to the Himes), specifically what would have happened if they had been forced to work together. They end up killing each other before they even encounter the Himes.
- In The Prayer Warriors, the fifth chapter of "The Evil Gods Part 1" has Percy Jackson meeting with Satan, who demands that he kill Jerry and says that there is a traitor among the Prayer Warriors.
- The Getting Back on Your Hooves side story/sequel "Another Happy Mother's Day" is written from the perspective of Checker Monarch after her defeat and decent into insanity at the end of the main fic.
- In the Pony POV Series, the first half of the Dark World Series is this, taking place from the Chaos Six's point of view and not switching over to a heroic POV until Twilight's HeelFace Turn.
- "A Fading Future" (not the Recursive Fanfiction "Fading Futures", though it's basically the same with an alternate ending), which revolves around Nightmare Eclipse/Paradox's Start of Darkness. While she starts a heroine, by the end she's become a villain and forgot the reason she reset time in the first place.
- "Nightmare House", which involves Nightmare Eclipse and her Psycho Rangers discussing an attempt by Eclipse to find a Nightmare of Rarity and failing, then her interacting with Nightmare Mirror. In a twist, we're shown them trying to imitate their old lives to some degree...and failing due to what they've become.
- A lot of chapters from Bad Future Crusaders focus entirely on the villains and shows that a lot of them (particularly the Mooks) are actually fairly decent and reasonable ponies. Even the high-ranked characters like Princess Dinky and Captain Rumble are shown to have redeeming qualities.
- Equestria's First Human: The prequel story Tale of Hellfire explains how the titular character lost his family to a dragon, lost his mind, and became the maniac who would threaten Ponyville in the first story.
- The final released chapter of Sonic Generations: Friendship Is Timeless , "The Doctor and the Chaotician", takes place from the villains' point of view. It also explains a few inconsistencies within the story, such as how Eggman got Discord in the first place, where King Sombra's horn came from, how the additional characters were added to the cast, and how Eggman was controlling Trixie during her duel with Twilight.
- Several tie-in oneshots of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines put the focus on the bad guys. The Cipher, Guzma and Black Rose Tournament Interludes depict what they're up to in the present time, while the Dakim, Twenty Gyarados Bill, Sabrina and Mars Gaidens focus more on their origins and how they came into villainy.
- Though they hardly qualify as villains, one chapter of Chrysalis Visits The Hague is dedicated to the prosecution, focusing on the trials and tribulations of prosecutor Serafina Pierman and her two equine helpers, Indigo Beam and Ms Harshwhinny.
- Chapter 24 of Guardians, Wizards, and Kung-Fu Fighters is focused entirely on Daolon Wong, both his Start of Darkness and the implementation of his plans to usurp Phobos. The only members of the heroic cast who even show up are Uncle and Tohru, in a brief scene where Uncle gets the willies as he senses Ludmoore stealing Wong's magic.
- Parodied in Looping Back to the Beginning. Todoroki Shouto spends a loop as a villain after accidentally murdering his father Endeavour (Shouto had a particularly bad loop and started this one with his father putting him through a grueling training session) and forced to go on the run to avoid arrest. He's subsequently "taken in" by his older brother Dabi and Toga Himiko and goes on a crime spree with them to kill his boredom.
- RWBY: Scars:
- Chapter 42 centers around the backstory of Roman and his daughter Neo. It shows why Roman and Neo are criminals.
- Chapter 77 is a Blake and Ilia short themed around Ilia's past. It centers why she joined the White Fang.
- Cinder gets two chapters dedicated to her backstory, showing what spurred her to become the cruel woman she is.
- Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee:
- The story "Cretaceous Hunters and Pennsylvanian Giants, Oh My!" focuses on Eggman and N, during the time when the latter was still part of the Eggman Empire, where N has a disagreement with Eggman on whether or not Pokémon should be modified by humans when he sees the doctor modifying two seperate fossils to create the Mythical Pokémon Genesect (Formerly Omnisect).
- In a Russian movie The Secret of the Snow Queen, said Queen has many in-built episodes in which her personality is explored.
- A Song of Ice and Fire plays with is; the first book is told almost entirely from the point of view of the face family, the Starks. A few characters who are introduced as villains early on - most notably Jaime and Cersei Lannister, and the red priestess Melisandre - get their villain episode later in the series, but rather than be a one-off, they become recurring POV characters and get a lot of Character Development that calls into question their villainy (some more than others). Varamyr Sixskins' sole chapter might also be an example.
- The 2020 Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids side-story Darius and the Discordias saw the villainous Director Darius encounter the Drove of the Discordias, eventually enacting a reluctant team-up with Blackheart. The story mostly pulls this off because insane as Darius might be, the Discordias are worse.
- The 87th Precinct novel He Who Hesitates is told from the POV of the murderer with the cops who are the usual protagonists of the series only appearing when they cross the killer's path.
- Visser, of the Animorphs series, is told from the perspective of Visser One as she's put on trial by Visser Three and their bosses, the Council of Thirteen. It provides back story about how she began the invasion of Earth and reveals some startling details about her motives.
- Individual chapters of Hork-Bajir Chronicles are written from the perspective of Esplin Nine-Four-Double-Six, the Yeerk that would later become Visser Three (and, even later, the other Visser One).
- The ninth Everworld book, Inside the Illusion, is told from Senna's point of view. Not only does she manage to play some impressive Xanatos Speed Chess against Merlin, the readers find out that she plans to take over Everworld by importing a cult of gun nuts who think she's a god.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince acts as this for Lord Voldemort. Several chapters are devoted to flashbacks to his childhood and journey to villainy. Ironically he doesn't actually appear in this book in the present time. The second book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets dabbles in this as well - with The Reveal being that the boy Tom Riddle we've heard so much about is Voldemort's teenage self.
- The Magic: The Gathering novel Nemesis is this to the Weatherlight Saga, set almost entirely in and around the Stronghold as various characters attempt to fill an Evil Power Vacuum.
- The Night Watch (Series) novel Day Watch centers upon and is told from the perspective of the members of the Day Watch, who would be the bad guys of any other series. Anton and the other Night Watch protagonists are relegated to secondary roles.
- In Relativity, the story "Rune" is the origin story of the villain, and aside from a couple of extremely brief appearances from the major characters, the entire focus is on Rune himself.
- Second Apocalypse has the Atrocity Tales, which are short story prequels about the beginnings of the villains.
- The Star Trek Expanded Universe novel The Final Reflection served as this. Nowadays a Star Trek novel from the Klingon point of view would hardly be considered a Villain Episode, but it was published in 1984, well before their status as a Proud Warrior Race had been codified.
- Star Wars Legends:
- In the Sword of Truth series, a novel called The Pillars of Creation deals with two half-siblings of the main protagonist. He has no idea they even exist until they meet towards the very end of the book, when the main cast shows up to interact with them. The only main character of the series to show up in the novel at any point up to that is the main antagonist (to manipulate the half-siblings) and the First Wizard, who blows up half the big bad's army in one scene. But, other than that one scene, the novel was the second-worst of the series.
- For The Wheel of Time the short story "River of Souls", comprised of material cut for pacing and worldbuilding reasons from the final booknote , that focuses on fan-favorite villain Demandred and deal with his rise to power in Shara.
- In The Machineries of Empire, the chapters written from Hexarchate POVs are sometimes interspaced with messages one of the heretics is sending to another.
- The Doctor Who Expanded Universe short story anthology The Missy Chronicles focuses on the titular Arch-Enemy of the Twelfth Doctor. Some stories are standalone adventures, while others lead into, happen parallel to, or take place during a Time Skip of the televised continuity, filling in details about how she hatched certain schemes or made important decisions in her episodes. A key point is that the Doctor himself never appears, although his presence is sometimes alluded to (as in "Lords and Ladies", which is set during the events of "Heaven Sent") and the final story "Alit in Wonderland" has him as a significant offscreen presence (as it's set during the two-week Time Skip in "The Doctor Falls").
- A second short story anthology, Twelve Angels Weeping, features twelve short stories themed around the villains of the Doctor Who universe. Not all of them fit the remit (some have the Doctor or his allies as main characters, with the villain just being the villain) but others play it straight. The stories include:
- A Cyberman who keeps encountering the same human soldier on different planets it invades.
- The Sontaran Subliminal Education Matrix rapidly educating a Sontaran on his race's history, in the ten minutes between his birth and landing on his first battlefield.
- A crew of low-level villains (a Krillitane spy, a Sea Devil hacker, an Auton duplicate robot and a Human executioner) team up to rob the universe's largest black market, and come up against the market's resident Ood.
- The Master calling himself "the Doctor" and travelling around the universe with wide-eyed companions, mostly to see how hard he can break them.
- A second short story anthology, Twelve Angels Weeping, features twelve short stories themed around the villains of the Doctor Who universe. Not all of them fit the remit (some have the Doctor or his allies as main characters, with the villain just being the villain) but others play it straight. The stories include:
- Warrior Cats:
- The novella Tigerclaw's Fury shows what happened to Tigerclaw after his exile from ThunderClan and how he became ShadowClan's leader.
- The manga The Rise of Scourge shows the Back Story of first-series villain Scourge.
- The novella Mapleshade's Vengeance is a full version of Mapleshade's downfall that she'd briefly summarized at the end of Crookedstar's Promise.
- The episode "Tricksters" of The Flash is partially one. While the main plot involves the Flash and his allies foiling the latest villain of the week, the subplot is a series of flashbacks which tell the story of how the Reverse-Flash got stuck in the present (as he is from the future) and how he took the identity of an innocent scientist in order to kickstart the events of the series proper.
- The Legends of Tomorrow episode "Legion of Doom" is mostly about the partnership between the three villains, and shows them going from a state of constant jockeying for position and resenting needing each other's help to actually working together. The Legends themselves appear throughout the episode, but while their storyline is important to the Arc, it doesn't involve any actual superheroing.
- Babylon 5 episode "The Corps Is Mother, The Corps Is Father", which focused on Bester and the Psi Corps. The opening is even modified replacing the Babylon 5 shield with the Psi Corps insignia.
- The Battlestar Galactica episode "Downloaded" for the Cylons, and later an entire villain movie ("The Plan"), focusing mainly on Cavil.
- The Breaking Bad episode "Hermanos" gives some special focus on Gus Fring, showing his backstory.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The fifth-season episode "Fool For Love" focuses on Spike and his backstory. At that time, present-day Spike wasn't that much of a villain any more, but flashback-Spike certainly was. "Who Are You" focused on Faith.
- One half of the Season 9 comic The Hero Of His Own Story focuses on the pasts of Pearl and Nash and Whistler explains his backstory to Angel in the other half.
- The Criminal Minds episode "True Night" is arguably an example of this, as it has about 75% of the screentime going to the killer. We don't even get to see the BAU deliver the profile, which is otherwise a Once per Episode occurrence. Instead, we see the different parts of the profile on a whiteboard in the police station when the killer is brought in.
- The episode "Killer" - as its title suggests, it focused on the murderer.
- The later episode "Working Stiffs" also has the perp as the main character.
- The eighth episode of Daredevil, "Shadows in the Glass", gives special focus on Wilson Fisk, telling his backstory, exploring more about the difficulties he's facing, and developing his relationship with his love interest Vanessa.
- The Enemy at the Door episode "The Prussian Officer" is one for the SS officer Reinicke. It expands Reinicke's backstory and puts him in a difficult situation that the viewer can empathise with — which he then handles badly, because he's Reinicke, leaving the viewer feeling sorry for Reinicke and confirmed in the opinion that he's a terrible human being whose sorrows are his own doing as much as anyone else's.
- The third-season Farscape episode 'Incubator' focused on Scorpius, his backstory, and how he came to be the person he is.
- The Fringe episode "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" is partly told from the perspective of one of the Shapeshifters, named Ray Duffy. The episode spends a significant amount of time developing Duffy, showing that he started a family while in his current disguise and steadily became the mask. He's established as a tragic and reluctant figure who's secretly scared of both being called back into duty (he would have to change forms again and thus be separated from his family) and that his family would view him as a monster if they learned his true origins. In the end he's murdered by Thomas Jerome Newton after his clash with Fringe Team, as Newton realizes that Duffy won't willingly aid him anymore because of his devotion to his family.
- Game of Thrones: Well, "villain" may be a heavy term, but the Season 4 episode "The Laws of Gods and Men" is the closest to that. This is the only episode in the series that does not have the appearance of a single Stark, and all the groups of characters that appear are enemies of the Starks, in practice or in theory, at this very moment in the plot: Stannis, the Boltons, Daenerys and the Lannisters.
- The third-season finale of Homicide: Life on the Street, "The Gas Man".
- Millennium: "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me". The show's main character Frank Black only appears sporadically, with the episode proper centering on four demons discussing their different strategies about how to spread misery and death. All things considered, these demons are actually pretty lame.
- Once Upon a Time has numerous episodes devoted to the villains. They'll usually get two or three per season.
- Rumplestiltskin has "Desperate Souls", which shows how he became the Dark One to save his son from being killed in the Ogre Wars. Later on there's also "The Stranger", which reveals his son's eventual fate and his reason for getting Regina to cast the Dark Curse. He later gets other focus episodes but they don't fit this trope.
- Regina has "The Stable Boy" - where we discover that she grew up with an abusive mother who wanted her to be Queen - going so far as to murder her lover (the titular stable boy). Season 2's "The Doctor" shows her actual FaceHeel Turn in action.
- Cora has "The Miller's Daughter" - revealing that how she went from poor peasant to Prince Henry's wife, as well as her history with Rumplestiltskin.
- The Reveal is that the episode "Think Lovely Thoughts" is one for Peter Pan.
- Hook gets one called "Good Form", to a lesser extent since he's already made a HeelFace Turn by that point.
- Zelena's is "It's Not Easy Being Green", showing how she learned of her true identity and came into her powers. Later on "Kansas" shows that there was a HeelFace Door-Slam in her past.
- Ingrid's is "The Snow Queen", which reveals what happened to her missing sister Helga and how she got trapped in that urn.
- The second season Prison Break episode "Unearthed" is that show's best example of a Villain Episode; while the audience sees newly-introduced Anti-Villain Alexander Mahone operating under the thumb of the series' dragon Kellerman (a new revelation, as he'd previously been portrayed as the Inspector Javert), protagonist Michael digs around into Mahone's Dark and Troubled Past and unearths his deepest, darkest secret.
- One of the "His Story" episodes of Scrubs focused on The Janitor; JD was locked in a water tank at the start of the episode and not released until the end.
- Stargate Atlantis shows the POV of a Wraith named Michael in the eponymous episode, which makes the main characters look morally ambiguous if not downright evil for their treatment of the Wraith-turned-human. The sympathies of the audience remain with Michael during most of the episode, and for a large part of the fanbase, well after Michael became a threat to the team in his own right.
- Star Trek:
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a couple of episodes are concentrated on Jem'Hadar, the Dominion soldiers. And there is one episode where we concentrate on Damar and VU-s... and shortly afterwards Damar makes a HeelFace Turn.
- The Enterprise two-parter "In A Mirror Darkly" focusing entirely on the Mirror Universe characters. Complete with different intro scenes.
- The Supernatural season 9 episode "Meta Fiction" focuses on the evil Angel who has become the new Big Bad. The episode opens as he directly addresses the audience to tell them a story about how he outsmarted the Winchesters and has become as omnipotent as a god. He proceeds to rewrite everything as he sees fit to cast himself as a "hero" against the "villain" Castiel. Even the intro title is changed to reflect his name instead of that of the show.
- The Undeclared series finale episode Eric's POV does this for the most part, focusing on the protagonist's main rival and his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend Eric and his friends. The protagonist and his friends are given subplots and Eric is fleshed out.
- In the fourth-season of The Walking Dead, episodes "Live Bait" and "Dead Weight" focus entirely on the journey of the Governor post Woodbury.
- The X-Files had a few over the years. "Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man" details the backstory and Start of Darkness for the titular character (the Big Bad for much of the show's run), though how much of it is true is debatable, since it's told from Frohike's perspective and parts of it clearly contradict what had been revealed about CSM's past up to that point. "Hungry" and "Orison" both focus on the Monster of the Week, with Mulder and Scully playing supporting roles and the latter barely appearing at all in "Hungry".
- Music/Gloryhammer's three albums are concept albums, although we don't get to see the villainous Zargotthrax's Point of View until their second album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards:
- "Universe on Fire" is Zargothrax fantasizing about utterly destroying the universe.
I wanna set the universe on fire
Feel it burn tonight
Set the universe on fire
There's no end in sight!
- "Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy" is told from Zargothrax' perspective, and this is the Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy talking to him:
This magic crystal
is the artifact you seek
To unleash evil from the sky
You must find the portal
The crystal is the key
All universe alive will die!
- Parts of "Apocalypse 1992" are also narrated by Zargothrax, the dark sorcerer of Auchtermuchty:
My ancestral demon army
Will ride a cosmic sphere
And liberate the multiverse
From slavery and fear
With the power of the crystal
From an ancient galaxy
The force of evil will prevail
It is my destiny
- From their third album comes "Masters of the Galaxy," about Zargothrax and his Deathknights of Crail.
We are the Masters of the Galaxy
We're the Lords of Space Dundee
The destroyers of reality
On a quest for all eternity
We're the Masters of the Galaxy
We're the Lords of Space Dundee
The destroyers of reality
Knights of Evil, arise
- Zargothrax monologues about achieving omnipotence in one verse of "The Fires of Ancient Cosmic Destiny"
Such a pathetic display of valor!
You are naught but insignificant worms before the infinite power of Zargothrax!
Now... the solar conjunction is at hand...
my ascension to godhood is inevitable!
And there is NOTHING you can do to stop me! Worship my omnipotence!
- "Universe on Fire" is Zargothrax fantasizing about utterly destroying the universe.
- While most of the Five Books of Moses focus on the journey of the Israelites, Numbers 22:225:9, or Parshat Balak, instead centers on the perspective of the Moabite king Balak and the Midianite diviner Balaam, who join forces in an effort to formulate an effective curse against the unstoppable Israelite nation and their terrifying God.
- Two in the Interstitial Actual Play one-shots. Both A Touch of Evil and A Rush of Sugar to the Head focus on villainous characters doing evil things on behalf of the Organization.
- Welcome to Night Vale has a few. The Sandstorm, Part B, Taking Off, All Smiles' Eve, and The Mudstone Abyss all focus on neighbouring town Desert Bluffs, while Company Picnic, and Renovations focus on StrexCorp manager Lauren and Desert Bluffs broadcaster Kevin reporting from Night Vale (now 'The Greater Desert Bluffs Metropolitan Area') post-takeover by Strex Corp and Desert Bluffs.
- nWo Souled Out, a pay per view put on by the new World order to prove that "WCW sucks!"
- When Ray González was revealed to be The Mole in IWA Puerto Rico, looking to use his WWC shares to takeover as it's owner, he initially announced the company would now be called Capitol(WWC's old name) and went so far as to put a crude copy of the Capitol logo over the IWA PR website.
- The 320th episode of NWA Wildside was dedicated to the NWA Elite Power Stable, down to John Johnson and Jeff G. Bailey being on commentary.
- Downplayed with ROH A Night Of Hoopla, a pay per view run by Life Intervention Expert Truth Martini. While Martini and his House Of Truth did get more focus than they usually do, they were also much more affable than usual and even in the opening match with Matt Taven, the rest of the ROH roster was having a really hard time taking the whole thing seriously.
- In Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X, you can play an alternative Perspective Flip as Vile after defeating the game as X.
- In Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!, the player characters are all Hyperion mercenaries sent to claim the moon base in behalf of Handsome Jack, the main villain of Borderlands 2. Two of the playable characters (Wilhelm and Nisha) would eventually go on to become bosses in that game.
- There are several of these in Breath of Fire IV, where the player periodically takes control of the God-Emperor Fou-Lu and his own experiences. Though it is debatable as it is these events that set up his motivation rather than focusing on a villain the heroes have faced for a while, and due to the fact that he and Ryu are two parts of the same individual.
- Dishonored has "The Knife of Dunwall" and "The Brigmore Witches" DLCs, which focuses on Daud, Corvo's Evil Counterpart and the Empress' assassin.
- One of the Downloadable Content packs for Dragon Age: Origins lets you play as the darkspawn.
- Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, which focuses on Roxas and his life with Organization XIII in the year leading up to the events of Kingdom Hearts II.
- The Misadventures of Tron Bonne is a prequel starring the Quirky Miniboss Squad pirates of the Legends series.
- Done a few times in the Resident Evil franchise, not counting the non-canon Mercenaries minigames:
- Resident Evil 2 let you play as HUNK of the Umbrella Security Service and follows his escape from the sewers after Birkin destroyed his unit in the beginning of the game.
- The Umbrella Chronicles and The Darkside Chronicles had chapters where you got to play as Wesker and HUNK's mission from RE2. Both of them let you see exactly how evil these two are.
- Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City would be an entire-game example of this, that is if that game existed.
- The various Ada missions could count, depending on where you interpret her vaguely defined spot on the Hero/Villain gauge to be.
- There are six points of view available in Suikoden III, slowly added as you get further into the game, one of which only becoming unlocked upon beating the game with all 108 characters. The final POV focuses on the villains of the story, and what they were up to throughout the game's events. It's actually really interesting, and strikes a good balance between making the villains seem sympathetic while retaining their status as clear villains.
- One of the Downloadable Content for Valkyria Chronicles takes the point of view from The Imperial Army, as led by Selvaria, Prince Maximillian's Love Martyr Dragon.
- Chapter 3 of Mother 3 qualifies as one. It parallels the events of Chapter 2, but is from the villain's (primarily Fassad's) point of view. The Pigmasks that were enemies in Chapter 2 are perceived as allies in Chapter 3... that is, until Salsa gets set free. A lot of the cutscenes in Chapter 2 are repeated in Chapter 3, sometimes with modifications.
- The Ryder White DLC for Dead Island. In the main game he's the final boss basically on account of losing his head and injecting himself with the so called cure, only to become infected. When playing as him we learn that he's after the cure for his wife despite his orders to kill her, only for her to become infected and die. He's essentially a villain in name only.
- The expansion packs for Descent II and 3 have you play as mercenaries of Dravis.
- Assassin's Creed: Rogue has as its protagonist an Assassin who defects to join the Templars, the Ancient Conspiracy who are the villains of every other entry in the series. The protagonist in question is very much an Anti-Villain, with sympathetic motivations for all of his actions, but he's still working for a group of sinister plutocrats who believe in The Evils of Free Will, he's the first Assassin's Creed protagonist who is allowed to injure or kill civilians, and the ending reveals that he has jumped off the slippery slope and will become the prime mover in devolving The French Revolution into the Reign of Terror.
- Minigames found in Spooky's House of Jump Scares feature the game's antagonist Spooky as the playable character, and they are also pastiches of other popular arcade games such as Pac-Man. They are also very gory, although it is all Played for Laughs.
- Pirate Queen's Quest in Shantae Half Genie Hero is a Perspective Flip game where you play as series Big Bad and Shantae's Arch-Enemy Risky Boots.
- "Episode Ardyn" for Final Fantasy XV focuses on the chief villain Ardyn and his assault on the crown city of Insomnia years before the events of the game's events.
- Every end of chapter segment in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has Bowser as a playable character. Due to Bowser being regulated as the game's Butt-Monkey, he's always a step behind Mario, gets humiliated in every way, most NPCs won't take him seriously, and any brief moment of success is quickly yanked from him. There's also three chapters where the player gets to control Bowser through some platforming levels, which are a parody of Super Mario Bros..
- Three of the stages in The Legend of Zelda game Hyrule Warriors focus on Ganondorf's conquest of Hyrule after the defeat of Cia. Cia and her cronies are also the protagonists of their own scenario, which focuses on how they met and their own conquest of Hyrule.
- From Dies Irae there exists the side slash prequel story called Interview with Kaziklu Bey which is from the perspective of a mayor side antagonist from the main novel. It is framed by the character Dinah Malloy interviewing Wilhelm Ehrenburg (a.k.a. the titular Kaziklu Bey) about himself and his past as she was fortunate enough to catch him in a good and talkative mood. The story then switches perspective to that of Wilhelm for the remainder of the story as the events from his past play out.
- Strong Bad Emails on Homestar Runner started out as this; they became so popular that they ended up eclipsing the original concept of the site and turned Strong Bad into a comic Villain Protagonist. Although some of the emails are just Strong Bad making fun of other people, other times they go more into Strong Bad's personal life, such as his relationship with his whiny brother Strong Sad.
- The Most Epic Story Ever Told in All of Human History: Ridiculously Epic, the Big Bad, takes center stage and is treated as the main protagonist during episodes 2 and 7, Ten Steps to Saving the World that Totally Wont Work and The Most Epic Supervillain Origin Story respectively.
- Volume 3, Episode 7, "Beginning of the End" focuses on Emerald and Mercury, Cinder's loyal allies, and how Cinder recruited them. In addition, it shows how Adam Taurus came to work for Cinder, as well as teasing us with a little bit of Cinder's past, and showing us how Cinder defeated the Fall Maiden Amber.
- Volume 5, Episode 9 "A Perfect Storm" has two thirds of it dedicated to exposing the villains' plans to the audience, featuring Cinder, Emerald, Mercury and Arthur Watts striking a deal with Raven Branwen in order to break into Haven Academy and steal the Relic of Knowledge. Interesting to note is that this episode is one of the very few across the entire show where Ruby Rose doesn't appear in any fashion, nor do title characters Weiss and Yang. Blake, however, does make an appearance on the final third of the chapter.
- Volume 8, Episode 6 "Midnight" is almost entirely dedicated to Cinder, finally revealing her backstory after ninety-seven episodes, and her exact motivations for working for Salem. On top of that, the final third of the chapter connects said backstory with Cinder's current working relationship with Salem, and marks the beginning of the latter's assault on the Kingdom of Atlas.
- Star Trek Logical Thinking:
- Some videos take place in the brig and have Cyrano Jones and Harry Mudd talking.
- Some videos take place in the mirror universe and have the evil counterparts of Spock, Chekov, Sulu, and (as a background character) Uhura.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Emergency Exit does this for Kyran and the 'villains' from time to time.
- Monster of the Week has Musings of Cigarette Man in which Cancer Man goes philosophical.
- Sluggy Freelance did this with the "Meanwhile In The Dimension Of Pain" strips. Depending on where you place Oasis on the Good/Evil scale, the "Phoenix Rising" story arc might also count, and the appropriately named "Year in the Life of a Villain" arcs focuses around Dr. Schlock and Hereti-corp.
- Homestuck: The Midnight Crew Intermission, which focused on the alternate universe counterparts of the Big Bad and his cohorts. We are later given a proper one after Jack murders John and Rose's parents.
- There's also the Doc Scratch intermission.
- Act 6 Intermission 4 follows Caliborn, who is the Big Bad Lord English before he became so big. Still pretty bad though.
- Voodoo Walrus has regularly shot back to stand alone pages and entire storyarcs following baddies Mac and Shmeerm. These always stand apart from the more regular pages in that the sex, violence, language, and mayhem are all turned up to eleven.
- Archipelago has one in the fifth chapter, entitled Snowflakes. It centers around the Captain Snow going and finding his (equally evil) wife and child. The chapter constantly zig zags between Pet the Dog and Kick the Dog moments, with Snow showing genuine concern for his child, then asking whether or not same child has tried to burn down the school.
- Precocious has two Villain-centric story arcs. Though it is the main cast playing villain.
- The Tails of Lanschilandia story "Ooze Busters" (referred to as a "Tales of Alluvia" story) is centered on Those Two Bad Guys Bad Bat and Batty pursuing an escaped monster for the Big Bad without featuring any of the heroes at all.
- One arc of Awful Hospital sees the commenters taking control of Jay.
- Depending on how one defines a 'villain', all of the 'Character Chats' could be considered this; one centers around Doctor Phage giving an employee evaluation to Doctor Mizer, one sees Phage and Tori discussing the deteriorating situation in the Surgical Ward, one sees Jay meeting Doctor Man for the first time, and the fourth depicts a Parliament meeting.
- AH.com: The Series did this twice, once with the "Counterfactual" three-episode miniseries in Season 2 and then again with the episode "Whatever Happened to the CF.netters?" in Season 5.
- Chapter 9 of Reasoning doesn't feature any of the protagonists, focusing instead on the Venator, the Architect, EYE, Erihsehc, and Solphoros, all of whom are responsible for killing dozens of innocents and putting the four leads in their current perilous situation.
- In T.O.T., chapter 7 focuses entirely on Maximus Slade hanging out with a bunch of vandals and delving deeper into his backstory and character.
- In Twig, the end of each arc (group of chapters) features an Enemy chapter, told from the POV of an adversary to the Lambs. After Sy and Jamie desert the Academy, these chapters change their titles to "Lamb".
- The Whateley Universe has done this several times. The story "It's Good to be the Don" centers on Don Sebastiano, the head bad guy of the Alphas at Whateley Academy. "Ask Not For Whom Belle Tolls" centers around four supervillains at the school who have some problems of their own to handle — like covering up a murder. "Bad Seeds" focuses on a campus club that you can't get into unless you're the child of a supervillain. In all three, Karma is both swift and merciless. Interestingly enough, the Bad Seeds are all Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains at worse, though Jobe is competent. Jadis herself wants to be a hero!
- In Worm, the author regularly writes "Interludes," scenes told from a perspective other than Taylor, and never uses the same character for an interlude. Thus, interludes have involved supervillains, superheroes, civilians, or none of the above.
- The plot twist of Truth in Journalism is that it's a Villain Episode for Spider-Man. Specifically, it's about Venom getting an amateur documentary crew to film him and see what he gets up to when hes not tormenting Spider-Man or murdering hapless criminals. Pointedly subverts and deconstructs the "make them sympathetic" part; not only does Venom arrange the documentary in a deluded effort to improve his public image, but getting his side of the story just makes him look like a crazy, pathetic loser.
- The first season of lonelygirl15 includes a three-part villain story, "Subjects Apprehended"/"Psychological Torture"/"Communication Terminated".
- When The Nostalgia Chick is captured by Dark Nella, the latter decides to do a review of TRON in an effort to understand (and mock) the nerdy mind.
- Flander's Company: Well, technically the protagonists are villains already, but their Evil vs. Evil rivals of the C.C Corporation have 3 episodes focused on them in Season 3. Those even have their own Special Edition Title, with "C.C Corporation" instead of "Flander's Company" as title, and its cast replacing the latter's in the opening credits.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force has "The Last One", which focuses on the Mooninites gathering together every villain in the series so far, to destroy the Aqua Teens. Predictably, all of them fail miserably.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender had two:
- "Zuko Alone", in which Zuko was the only main character to appear, except in flashbacks, which are used to further his development and show more of his tragic backstory. It's a variation on the usual take as Zuko is not the least bit malicious in the episode, turning down a chance to rob a couple after seeing the woman is pregnant, and selflessly fighting a group of bullying Earthbender soldiers to protect a town, only to be shunned after revealing he is the exiled prince of the Fire Nation.
- "The Beach", which spent substantially more time on the Zucrew sunbathing and Breakfast Clubbing than on the Gaang being pursued by Sparky Sparky Boom Man, because Evil Is Sexy.
- Batman: The Animated Series had a couple. "The Man Who Killed Batman" followed a two-bit thug who was thought to have killed Batman, while the titular hero was obviously absent through most of the episode. "Harley and Ivy" was basically "The Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy Show" with the Joker as the guest star. "Almost Got 'Im" also qualifies. Batman had a bigger role in "Harley's Holiday", but Harley was undoubtedly the star.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold goes one step further giving the Joker his own episode complete with a cold open where he destroys the future earth (with an appearance from obscure DC character Kamandi), his own title sequence renaming the show "Joker: The Vile and the Villainous" and a plot featuring him teaming up with obscure DC villain The Weeper against Batman.
- Big City Greens has "Reckoning Ball", which focuses on Chip Whistler being forced to apologize to the Greens by his dad, and he invokes a HeelFace Mole on them.
- The Boondocks gives us "The Uncle Ruckus Reality Show" and "The Story of Jimmy Rebel", both of which star Boomerang Bigot Uncle Ruckus (no relation) and relegate the Freeman family to minor supporting roles. The episodes usually try to portray Ruckus as a slightly sympathetic figure (but only slightly). In the first, his self-hatred almost drives him to commit suicide. In the second, meeting him convinces a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Johnny Rebel to give up anti-black music (but not racist music).
- Codename: Kids Next Door had several, including "Operation: P.A.R.T.Y." and "Operation: "F.L.U.S.H."
- Dexter's Laboratory had two episodes devoted to Mandark. The first centered around his attempts to impress Dee Dee in a surfing contest, with Dexter not appearing at all. Though the effectiveness of that episode wavers a bit considering, other than using his science to cheat in a surfing contest, he wasn't up to anything particularly villainous. The second was pure Villains Out Shopping, with Mandark going through his morning routine to the meter of his Evil Laugh before going out to battle Dexter. Taken one step further when a set of shorts were all dedicated to Mandark — even the intro was altered with Mandark electrocuting Dexter instead of Dee Dee and the usual Dexter's Laboratory title card reading Mandark's Laboratory. Though Dexter does get back at him by the end of the show when he tricks Mandark into electrocuting himself much like Dexter in the intro.
- The Fairly OddParents - "Back to the Norm"-it focuses on Norm the Genie and Crocker as they try to destroy Timmy Turner. Norm spends most of it Deadpan Snarking Crocker. Later on there's "Crock Talk", focusing on Crocker gaining notoriety through his online talk show.
- David Xanatos of Gargoyles has two of them. In the first one ,"Eye of the Beholder", Xanatos struggles to save Fox after he gives her the Eye of Odin as a gift to seal their engagement. Fox turns into a werewolf and Xanatos is shown for the first time with worry and panic, something he's not known for. Ultimately, it serves as an episode to reveal that Xanatos is not the ruthless villain he wants people to believe, because he's capable of loving someone besides himself. Another Xanatos episode is, "The Gathering", where he battles the King of the third race, Oberon, after he starts the Gathering, calling all of his children back home. Turns out Fox (now his wife) is the daughter of Oberon's wife Titania, but wasn't born with any spiritual powers. Her son by Xanatos on the other hand, was born with great power potential. In the end, Xanatos is able to defend his home, and because Goliath helped him during both examples, it would ultimately foreshadow his HeelFace Turn at the end of season 2.
- Invader Zim inverts this with several episodes that focus on Hero Antagonist Dib rather than Villain Protagonist Zim, with a few episodes leaving Zim out altogether. One could argue this happens so much the show has two protagonists, breaking the usual hero/villain mold. Also "Game Slave 2," which focuses on Gaz rather than Zim or Dib. She's not technically a villain...but she's pretty close.
- Iron Man: Armored Adventures had two:
- "Pepper, Interrupted", despite its title, focused mostly on Gene and his dealings with the Maggia and Pepper's attempts to form a friendship with him.
- "World on Fire" covers Gene's childhood backstory and hints at what his ultimate goals are after he collects the five Makluan rings.
- The first is "The Bands Break Up". Stormer is the Token Good Teammate but she's still a Misfit nevertheless. It involves her and Kimber breaking up from their respective bands and forming a duet. It's also infamously subtext laden.
- "Roxy Rumbles" is both A Very Special Episode and a Roxy episode. After leaving the band after being mocked for being illiterate, Roxy wins the lottery and decides to lead her own life. It fails but it's a good characterization episode that shows Roxy's nicer side and has her learning to read.
- "Britrock" is basically Jetta's episode. In it the Misfits go to Britain and we learn Jetta is (unsurprisingly) lying about being rich and important. She tries to keep the charade up with help from her parents and almost scam Pizzaz out of millions but gets caught. The Misfits are furious they toyed with her but don't kick her out.
- Clash, the resident groupie of The Misfits, gets one in "Video Wars". It's also her last episode. It doesn't end well. She makes The Misfits mad one too many times and they abandon her.
- Pizzazz doesn't get a proper one though the episode "Father's Day" does discuss her backstory and Daddy Issues.
- Riot has "Riot's Hope". In it we find out how his dad disowned him for being a musician and have them reconciling.
- Minx's Villain Episode is "A Change Of Heart". After nearly dying she tries to make amends with Jem and The Holograms but her bandmates kick her out due to her personality change. Rio ends up becoming her Living Emotional Crutch when she's suicidal and with nowhere to go, but her gratitude soon becomes annoying.
- Justice League Unlimited has "Alive!", focusing on the Secret Society's Enemy Civil War, with the heroes only showing up for a few seconds at the end (without any lines) and "Task Force X", where four Badass Normal villains infiltrate the Watchtower to retrieve the Continuity Nod stored there.
- The Legend of Korra episode "Skeletons in the Closet" focuses on telling Amon's and Tarrlok's backstories.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- The rather infamous "The Mean 6" focuses generally on Chrysalis and the negative clones of the main characters made by her. Although the real ponies are present, they only get about 14-16 minutes of the total screentime, and half of that is shared with their clones when both groups intertwine. The heroes only get about 5-8 minutes of scenes showing just them without any clones present.
- "Frenemies" marks the first time in the series' run that an episode focuses exclusively on the villains, particularly Grogar's Legion of Doom — Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow — learning to work together and forging a Villainous Friendship over their shared hatred of the Mane Six, who don't appear at all throughout the episode, though Chrysalis shapeshifts into Twilight during one scene to mock her.
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "Hail Doofania!" turns the show's usual formula on its head by focusing on Doofenshmirtz's daily scheme, inverting some of the lines (Phineas spouts the "entire tri-state area" line, Norm asks "Whacha doing?"), and instead of Phineas and Ferb's plan for the day being disposed of by Doofenshmirtz's invention, their invention disposes of his.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
- "Just Another Manic Mojo" features Mojo Jojo going through a normal day—which, for him, consists of getting breakfast, reading the paper, and plotting to destroy the titular heroes. The Powerpuffs themselves show up later on, but the focus still remains on Mojo.
- In "Custody Battle", Mojo and Him fight over who gets to be the father of the Rowdyruff Boys.
- In "Prime Mates", Mojo has to deal with Mopey Popo (the girls appear briefly in the latter).
- Samurai Jack:
- "Aku's Fairy Tales" where Aku, tired of all the hero worship Jack gets from the children, decides to tell stories with him as the hero and Jack as the villain. Jack himself only shows up in these stories.
- Two more showed up in the fourth season: "The Princess and the Bounty Hunters" concerned an Anti-Villain bounty hunter who convinces several others to gang up on Jack to capture him. Jack shows up near the end and defeats them easily. "The Tale of X9" involves an old robot of Aku's with a Personality Chip forced to go after Jack after Aku steals the only thing he cares about. As you could expect, it doesn't end well.
- The Simpsons has three of them for Sideshow Bob:
- "Day of the Jackanapes" has Bob brainwashing Bart Simpson into becoming an Action Bomb in an attempt to kill Krusty the Clown and then Bart once he is done with Krusty.
- "The Great Louse Detective" has Bob investigate who the unknown assailant is and how s/he is so bent on killing Homer. Once the case is solved, he resorts to killing Bart, but can't do it because he has grown accustomed to the boy's face.
- The "Treehouse of Horror XXVI" segment "Wanted: Dead, then Alive" has Bob having the entire segment to himself once he has finally killed Bart; but then he quickly finds out that life is meaningless without Bart around, and that the only joy he had in his life was killing his Arch-Enemy, so he creates a Reanimator machine and brings the boy Back from the Dead only to use him as a cosmic punching bag over and over again in a Death Montage. Thankfully, Bart pulls through with help from his family (and Santa's Little Helper) and defeats Bob once again by having Homer cut off Bob's head and mixing his head with other animal parts before reanimating him as a Mix-and-Match Critter.
- Plankton on SpongeBob SquarePants has had his share of villain episodes. "The Algae's Always Greener" and "Plankton's Army," to name a few.
- The Spliced episodes "Outsmartered", "Octocataclysm", and "Of Masters and Minions". In the first, Smarty Smarts builds a machine to make everyone smarter, but gets annoyed when he's now become the dumbest one. In the second, Smarty Smarts becomes too depressed to do evil, causing Octocat to take over for him and turn out to be a Hypercompetent Sidekick, though Smarty Smarts sees it as betrayal. In the third, Octocat becomes fed up with being blamed for everything and leaves him for Peri.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil has two episodes in Season 2 that focus on Ludo to the extent that (outside of a single flashback) the heroes don't make any appearance at all. Episode 1B, "Ludo in the Wild", shows his transition from a hapless joke villain into a legitimate threat. Episode 18B, "The Hard Way", highlights Ludo's motivations and reintroduces the real Big Bad when Ludo is possessed by Toffee in the final scene.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars, via the anthology format, had entire story arcs focusing on minor villain characters. One involves Asajj Ventress' and her betrayal by Count Dooku, and her trying to take revenge and later rebuilding her life as a Night Sister and, later, a bounty hunter. Savage Oppress also has his arc where he locates an exiled and mutilated Darth Maul and their story bridges together a couple of other arcs involving pirates, bounty hunters, crime syndicates (like the Hutts) and Deathwatch. In most Jedi only appeared in supporting roles or not at all.
- Star Wars Rebels episode "Through Imperial Eyes" mainly focuses on Agent Kallus being helped by Ezra (who has planted himself in Imperial custody and later disguises himself as an Imperial officer) in deflecting suspicion that Kallus is The Mole, having had a HeelFace Turn at the beginning of the season, while Grand Admiral Thrawn, Governor Pryce, and Colonel Yularen (as well as Lieutenant Lyste) try to figure out who the spy is.
- Storm Hawks episode "Power Grab" focuses entirely on the main villains of the series. Master Cyclonis and the Dark Ace leave Cyclonia in Ravess' hands while on a mission, and her obsessive control drives her brother and fellow commander Snipe to take command from her. However, his idiocy drives Psycho for Hire Repton to take over, and then his brothers. Through it all, a nameless Talon commander tries to get the rank and prestige he wants.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has three episodes:
- "Aliens Among Us", focusing on Agent Bishop as he plans his own alien invasion and kidnaps the president in order for him to get respected.
- "Insane in the Membrane" has Stockman attempting to regain a human body, but it all went wrong.
- "Hun on the Run" focuses on Hun as he tries to rescue Karai from Bishop.
- The Teen Titans episode "Lightspeed" focuses on the H.I.V.E. Five confronting Kid Flash while the regular Teen Titans are out of town. Despite the title, it focuses more on the former, especially Jinx. Notably this episode also serves as a vehicle for Jinx's eventual HeelFace Turn.
- Happens occasionally on Transformers
- Generation 1:
- "Triple Takeover" was about Blitzwing and Astrotrain wresting leadership of the Decepticons from Megatron. The Autobots did appear, but didn't really do very much.
- "Starscream's Brigade" similarly focused on the Decepticons' internal problems, following Starscream as he concocted a new scheme to overthrow Megatron.
- "Webworld" follows the Decepticons as they try to cure the madness Galvatron has been afflicted with. The Autobots only appear very briefly at the beginning and end, and are otherwise only passingly mentioned.
- Armada had "Rebellion" in which the Autobots only appeared for a few seconds. Sideways even narrated the episode instead of Rad.
- Animated would've had one in Season 4 for Blackarachnia in the form of a Whole Episode Flashback, titled "What a Tangled Web We Weave". Megatron becoming a Triple-Changer brings back memories of when Blackarachnia experimented on Blitzwing to turn him into the first Triple-Changer, as well as how she first joined the Decepticons and how she adds to her Predacon army in the present.
- Prime had "Crossfire", "Patch", and "Thirst".
- Generation 1:
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, "Me Time" ends up being this for Doctor Octopus. The episode focuses on Doctor Octopus trying to capture Spider-Man himself lest he be played off by Osborn, showing him winning the fight between Spider-Man, as well as implying that his Evil Cripple condition has taken a toll on his appearance, hygiene, and sanity. Before this episode, Doctor Octopus was scarcely seen except in scenes which are in his lab.
- The third season premiere of The Venture Bros. centers almost entirely on The Monarch, Dr. Girlfriend and their respective Mooks, only briefly involving Dr. Venture and Brock Samson, neither of whom have any lines. The title characters are nowhere to be seen, and are even replaced in the opening sequence by the Monarch and Dr.
GirfriendMrs. the Monarch.
- Visionaries has "The Overthrow of Merklynn", in which Darkstorm deposes Merklynn and seizes control of the Shrine atop Iron Mountain. But, in his arrogance, he summons the Sacred Secret Spell, only to find that he has "unleashed forces that none can contain"; the rest of the episode, from which the Spectral Knights (whom Darkstorm turns into statues) are almost entirely absent, sees the Darkling Lords racing to return Merklynn's crystal orb to its rightful owner. Darkstorm then learns that the Sacred Secret Spell is simply a fail-safe, designed to prevent power-hungry mortals like himself from stealing magic from wizards and using it to cause destruction.
- Wakfu has a bonus episode focusing on Nox's Start of Darkness. It's as much a Tear Jerker as one would expect.
- Wander over Yonder has many episodes focusing on Lord Hater and Commander Peepers: "The Bounty", "The Brainstorm", "The Fancy Party", "The Gift 2: The Giftening", "The Date", and "The Buddies", to name a few. These become more common in season 2 as Hater progresses into full Villain Protagonist territory.
- According to Word of God, the writers were somewhat restrained on this point by Executive Meddling during season 1—because the title of the show was Wander over Yonder, they weren't allowed to do episodes that didn't include good guy protagonist Wander in some way. They got around this in "The Funk", the first episode to focus on Hater and Peepers with no Wander-related plot, by giving him a brief cameo at the end (arriving on the planet that the bad guys have just left, without interacting with them at all). The success of such episodes allowed the writers to do entirely Wander-free outings in season 2.
- In the Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? Christmas Episode "Just Like Old Times" Carmen 'kidnaps' The Chief. He suffers memory loss due to a virus and still thinks Carmen is an ACME agent. She uses this to her advantage and gets him to help with her thievery. In a twist on the usual formula, Ivy and Zach give out clues to Carmen about Christmas-related things to steal.