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Villainous Crush

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One of the downsides to being Ms. Fanservice is, occasionally, you get the wrong attention from the wrong sources.

"Just fear me. Love me. Do as I say, and I shall be your slave."
Jareth the Goblin King to Sarah, Labyrinth

This trope applies whenever a villainous character has romantic and/or sexual feelings for a heroic one.

If this crush takes a turn for the perverse (and most such crushes tend towards this), this can lead to tropes like I Have You Now, My Pretty, Forceful Kiss, Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me, And Now You Must Marry Me, Scarpia Ultimatum, and Go-Go Enslavement where the villain tries to force their desires upon the character, although none of those require a Villainous Crush. Additionally, the villain may become a Stalker with a Crush. If the crush itself is a motivating factor in their Start of Darkness, then it's Love Makes You Evil. If a particular character is a magnet for creepy crushes like this, they may very well be So Beautiful, It's a Curse.

This trope isn't always negative, though. This trope can conversely be a very humanising trait for an Anti-Villain. The heroic character may become a Morality Pet, and can be fairly certain that their villainous admirer will never harm them or allow harm to come to them, barring certain exceptions. They may even step in to protect them from other villains who have fewer compunctions. Taken all the way, it may become Love Redeems and/or Defecting for Love if the villain choses to switch sides to be with his crush.

If the feelings are mutual or an actual relationship develops, then it's Dating Catwoman instead. When this is purely subtextual, see Foe Romance Subtext. The specific variant when the Evil Empress captures the hero to seduce him is Villainesses Want Heroes. Not to be confused with Foe Yay Shipping, which are purely audience reactions. Sometimes overlaps with Bigot with a Crush, if the bigot is depicted as a villain.

Contrast All Girls Want Bad Boys and Reformed Rakes. Though the former can overlap if the hero the villain admires is an Anti-Hero.

No Real Life Examples, Please!

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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Sick Monster has a crush on Careful S., despite the two being a villain and a hero respectively. In Season 6 episode 3, Sick Monster is constantly holding a plush of Careful S., and at the end of the episode, Big M. holds the plush on a string to encourage her to ride a space bike back to Planet Guling.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Pintosmalto, a queen who attends the wedding feast immediately falls in love with the titular handsome youth and takes advantage of his innocence to abduct him.

    Films — Animated 
  • Steele for Jenna in Balto, but she's into the titular main character.
  • Batman: The Killing Joke: Paris Franz has a massive interest in Batgirl.
  • Gaston to Belle from Beauty and the Beast, developing from a simple Jerkass Prince Charming Wannabe to a Yandere out to Murder the Hypotenuse and throw her father in the asylum if she won't submit to him.
  • Frollo to Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as pictured above. The Villain Song "Hellfire" is about his conflict over him lusting after her when she's a gypsy and he's a "righteous" man of the church.
  • The titular king, actually a painting of the real king, of The King and the Mockingbird falls for the Shepherdess, another painting come to life, and the main conflict of the film revolves around the king trying to marry the Shepherdess while not letting her be with her actual love, the Chimney Sweep.
  • The Lion King (1994):
    • A deleted scene has Scar trying to make Nala his queen by making sexual advances at her and cornering her, but she claws him into making him stop. He won't take no for an answer, so he declares to the pride that he chooses Nala to be his queen, but she rejects him. Scar then makes the pride banish her out of Pride Rock, but they refuse to do so. So he orders the hyenas to banish her themselves. This deleted scene was supposed to be a reprise of Be Prepared, but it was used in the Broadway version during the song, The Madness of King Scar.
    • In The Lion King (2019) adaptation, Scar is attracted to Mufasa's wife Sarabi and, after Mufasa's death, he tries to force her to be his queen.
  • Megamind:
    • The title character towards Roxanne since before the events of the film, as confirmed by the filmmakers' commentary. Neither of them realize until he starts dating her as his alter-ego Bernard and everybody had assumed she and Metroman were an item (turns out they were Just Friends).
    • Hal/Titan, who only wanted to be a superhero to get Roxanne's attention. When she rejects him, he turns into a villain.
  • Maynott for Lucille in A Monster in Paris. It's obvious he's eager to have her as a Trophy Wife.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, Rameses tries to make Tzipporah his concubine and calls her a "desert flower", but Tzipporah almost bites his hand off her face, thus making Rameses scared of her and calling her a "desert cobra". He would then offer her to Moses, who would later free her and meet her again in Midian, her homeland, and they would get married.
  • Ruber tries to make Juliana kiss him in Quest for Camelot, but she slaps his hand off her face and calls him an "impertinent pig".
  • In Strange Magic, Roland wants fairy princess Marianne, as it would make him king. She nearly fell for it until he cheated on her on their wedding day. Now, he's still pursuing her despite her aversion to him.
    • To a lesser extent, the Bog King is painted as evil and takes pride in his villainous title, and is obviously impressed by Marianne from their first meeting. Unlike with Roland, however, Marianne realizes Bog's feelings are genuine, and ends up returning them.
  • The Super Mario Bros. Movie has Bowser who, in typical Koopa King fashion, is motivated by his desire to marry Princess Peach, even having his own song dedicated to her. It gets to the point that any instance where Mario has the potential to win her over will trigger his Berserk Button. Unfortunately for him, conquering countless worlds and stealing an Invincibility Power-Up doesn't exactly provide the best first impression.
  • Tom and Jerry's Giant Adventure: The giant has an unrequited crush on the heroic fairy Red, flirting as they fight and going gaga while watching her cabaret performance.

  • In Norse Mythology, more than one of the jotuns (frost giants) tried to woo Freya (goddess of love), either by trickery or blackmail. Thyrm was a giant king who stole Thor's hammer, hoping to blackmail Asgard into giving him Freya. (They pretended to agree with this, and Thor went dressed as Freya; Thrym and his court, being nearsighted, stupid, or both, was fooled by the disguise, and was crushed - literally - when Thor got it back). Also, there was giant who disguised himself as a laborer, and offered to build a wall around Asgard in exchange for Freya. (They only agreed to this if he could do so in three seasons, without help; when it looked like he might succeed - he was a giant in disguise, using an enchanted stallion to haul materials - Loki took the form of a mare and seduced the stallion. The guilder got angry, his disguise slipped, and was struck down by Thor.)

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In Ring of Honor, Jimmy Jacobs has it bad for good guy Adam Cole. He's open-mouthed kissed Cole on at least one occasion, and taking this to an unusually meta level, has propositioned Cole for sex on Twitter.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun adventure Harlequin's Back. In the Backstory, a Horror fell in love with Queen Thayla and refused to leave her, even though his presence was destroying her land. She eventually decided to leave with him to save her people from destruction.

  • Judge Turpin of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street developed two of these. The first was on Sweeney's wife, Lucy Barker, which ultimately led him to kick off the plot by having Sweeney transported for life, followed by luring her to a masked ball and raping her. The second was on Sweeney and Lucy's daughter Johanna, who he adopted out of remorse for what he did to Lucy but came to desire as more than a daughter as she grew older.
    • Mrs. Lovett has one for Sweeney Todd himself, though they're both more Villain Protagonist than heroes.
  • Jud for Laurey in Oklahoma!, though how much one considers Jud to be a villain is up for debate.
  • Count Gregor for Sophia in Fools.
  • Abigail Williams has one on John Proctor in The Crucible.
  • J.D. and Veronica of Heathers are actually dating for the majority of the show, and are nearly in Unholy Matrimony territory (Veronica being manipulated into participating in J.D.'s murders rather than doing it of her own free will is what stops it from being a straight example of the trope). After Veronica finally gets tired of his shit and dumps him, J.D. still remains very much in love with her, which makes it this trope.
  • Downplayed in Hamilton: Burr briefly shows attraction to the Schuyler sisters (primarily Angelica) in "The Schuyler Sisters" and "A Winter's Ball", but the subject is pretty much dropped after Alexander and Eliza's marriage. However, Angelica is clearly put off by it (leading to the brilliant line "Burr, you disgust me"/"Ah, so you've discussed me"), which makes it more of a straight example.
  • The titular character in Attila for Odabella. Many productions show it develop into real love on his side. She exploits it and stabs him to avenge her father's murder.
  • In Sonic: Live in Sydney, Robotnik develops a crush on Sally Acorn, much to her disgust. Once he captures Sally, he asks he why she likes Sonic, but not him.


    Web Original 
  • In keeping with her role as sex goddess of TGWTG, Ask That Guy with the Glasses is implied to have a crush on Allison Pregler (not so much since he fired her IRL). He's also slept with Anti-Hero champion of the universe Linkara.
  • In Death Note: The Abridged Series (kpts4tv), Light has an obvious crush on L. L, for his part, takes full advantage of this and agrees to go out with him for the investigation.
    Light: Well, we've been outside talking for awhile and we've decided to make it official. I LOVE L! AND HE LOVES ME! I'm going to dump Misa so I can be with L!
    Everyone: Gasp
  • Dr. Horrible, of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, has a crush on a local do-gooder, but his arch-nemesis hero beats him to the punch. Unusually, Dr. Horrible is more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, while the so-called hero is an arrogant bully who only dates the girl to make the protagonist jealous.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Perfect Cell jokes that Android 16 has a "murder-crush" on Goku, since the latter is programmed to hunt down and kill Goku and he is utterly obsessed with it. Cell himself also has a very suggestive attraction to Goku, making numerous sexual innuendos while fighting him and acting like a jilted lover when Goku forfeits their duel and comments that "We both know this was only a fight."
  • Friendship is Witchcraft has Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy as a Shout-Out to Esmeralda and Frollo. Pinkie is a Hot Gypsy Woman while Fluttershy is the cult leader of a Religion of Evil.
  • In King Francis Petty's Jenny Everywhere stories, Jenny Nowhere has a one-sided crush on her archenemy Everywhere and is principally motivated by trying to get Jenny to reciprocate (in extremely convoluted, destructive ways).
  • Resident Evil Abridged: In a scene after the credits, Chris finds a document that turns out to be a fanfic written by his traitorous captain, Wesker. He gets two pages in before it starts to get explicit, prompting Chris to draw his gun and shoot it out of revulsion.
    Chris: [horrified] Ugh! THIS must be the "resident evil!"
  • RWBY: During their time together in the White Fang, Ilia fell for Blake around the same time Blake was falling for Adam. She has been deeply jealous of this fact for a while now and appears to still hold some feelings for Blake as she blushed when finally admitting them; however, they aren't enough for her to side with Blake over the White Fang. She eventually comes around to Blake's way of thinking due to several factors, including her love for Blake, her realisation that her dead parents would disapprove of her choices, and Ghira rescuing her from being crushed.
  • Twig: Sylvester's feelings gradually shifts from subtle, to finally admitting that he doesn't see a difference between admiring someone for their abilities and being romantically attracted to them. Meaning that, yes, he's been crushing on his recurring enemies Genevieve Fray and Reverend Mauer.
  • ProZD: Parodied in failing to keep your crush on the down low around the other villains. The villain makes his sexual attraction extremely obvious, despite apparently trying to hide it.

    Western Animation 
  • The Ice King in Adventure Time would be a very extreme case of this. Early on in the show, he was known for kidnapping numerous princesses and try to force them to marry him, with Princess Bubblegum being his main victim.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Ty Lee's one-sided crush on Sokka was an amicable example, since he was flattered by it in "The Drill" episode. Though he later tells her that he was already seeing Suki, in "The Crossroads of Destiny".
  • Princess Attea towards Ben in his Incursean form Bullfrag in Ben 10: Omniverse. To Ben's chagrin, the feeling is mutual as Bullfrag.
  • Gravitina from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command is attracted to the titular character, but Buzz firmly rejects her advances every time.
  • CatDog: Shriek, has a crush on Dog. Strangely enough, Cat seems to be attracted to her. A few episodes suggest that Dog reciprocates Shriek's crush. In one where they're all convinced that the apocalypse is coming, Shriek confesses to and kisses him, prompting Dog to go into Post-Kiss Catatonia with a big goofy grin on his face.
  • Martian Queen towards Duck Dodgers. Seriously, the woman veers between wanting to destroy him and wanting to marry him.
  • On El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, this trope is well-done.
    • Manny has Zoe Aves AKA Black Cuervo. At first, she only seduced him to manipulate him into hurting Frida, whom she hates. But after he saw her true colors and defeated her, showing his ferocious side, the crushes were swapped.
    • Frida herself has Diego AKA Dr. Chipotle Jr. and Sergio AKA Senor Sinestro, who have turned on each other to compete for her affections, then teamed up to destroy Manny, who they saw as romantic competition. She also has Django of the Dead.
    • Manny’s father, White Panthera, dated Voltura AKA Carmelita Aves, Zoe’s mom before he dumped her and went on to marry Maria. Years later, she’s still bitter over it.
  • Gravity Falls:
  • Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law plays this for laughs twice:
    • X's obsession with Harvey and getting his crest drifts into this territory as he's remained obsessed with Harvey ever since getting that assignment, despite the fact that Harvey has retired from superheroics and the organization that hired X to get his crest no longer exists.
    • Hero-villain relations is seen as a metaphor for sex in "Peanut Puberty" when Peanut achieves 'superty' and gets his powers. He gets advice from Black Vulcan, who describes his first time fighting a villain (which ends with them smoking cigarettes together) and the episode ends with Peanut introducing his 'villain friend'.
  • Looney Tunes. A 1935 Merrie Melodies short, The Little Dutch Plate subverts it. The villainous Vinegar Bottle (all the characters are household items) who has been pursuing the Girl on the Little Dutch Plate gets in a fight with the hero (a little Dutch boy saltshaker), who literally knocks his block off (Vinegar's head is just a bottlestopper, after all). Looking for his head, he accidentally puts on a girlish one from a perfume bottle. The Girl sees his new Pretty Boy looks and immediately defends him from the Boy, walking off with him while cooing "You handsome man!"
  • One time on The Simpsons Marge got a job at the nuclear plant and Mr. Burns developed a thing for her. However, when he realised how much Homer and Marge were in love, he withdrew his jealous affections and instead let them go on the fancy date he had prepared for Marge and himself. With a captive Tom Jones no less.
  • The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode "The Gamemaster" not only hints that Zartan has something like this towards Scarlett, but that she reciprocates it!
  • In the "Super Powers Team" incarnation of Superfriends, Darkseid had a crush on Wonder Woman and constantly tried to make her his bride.
  • In one episode of Teen Titans, Red X flirted with Starfire after pinning her to the wall with one of his gadgets, calling her "cutie" and remarking that the "only crime" between them was that they hadn't gone on a date. (Her only response was to blast him with her starbolts through her eyes.)
  • Pyro once tried making a pass at Rogue in X-Men: The Animated Series. She replied by throwing him through the wall as a non-subtle "No".
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:
    • Agent Bishop is very affectionate towards Karai when he has her captured in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) (despite his threat to Shredder to chop her into "a supersized pile of Highland julienne fries" if his demands aren't met), spending half the episode kicking the asses of Hun and the Turtles, and the other half admiring Karai and going on about how lovely she is.
    • While we're talking about the Turtles, in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), the Shredder seemed to have a thing for April. This gets parodied in a Robot Chicken sketch where they become full on Star-Crossed Lovers.
    • One episode of the 80s TMNT 'toon, Green With Jealousy sees one of Shredder's henchmen Rocksteady develop a crush on April after eating a pizza laced with a love potion. He proceeds to kidnap her and plot out a wedding, even instructing his pal Bebop to swipe a ring and kidnap a preacher. The crush is entirely one-sided, though April at one point tries to openly flirt with Rocksteady in order to buy the Turtles time to rescue her.
  • Played for Laughs on WordGirl, with Tobey McCallister's crush on the titular character. She almost always rebuffs him, but there are some cases of legitimate Ship Tease between them.
  • Grossology: While Chester is already shown to have a thing for Abby, it's far more pronounced in his Kid Rot persona.
  • Kaeloo: The main antagonist of the show, Mr. Cat, has a massive crush on the protagonist, Kaeloo; Kaeloo seems unaware of the fact, but she reciprocates these feelings.
  • Gene for Pepper in Iron Man: Armored Adventures, but his feelings were seen more through actions than words. They started off not liking each other, but they got close when Gene saved Pepper from the Maggia. He even sacrificed himself for her in the season one finale, which led to him getting all five Makulan rings. After revealing himself to be the enemy, Gene fights and acts harshly to Tony and Rhodey, even calling them by their last names to reinforce his hatred. However, Pepper is the only one he apologized to and is the only person he doesn't want to fight/hurt. When he showed up at Team Iron Man's base, he has a heated conversation with Tony, but when Pepper stepped in, he changed to a much softer tone for her; Pepper was the only person he still cared about. Ultimately, when Pepper became Rescue, he said that he didn't want to fight her, but he still did.
  • Wander over Yonder:
    • Emperor Awesome has a thing for Sylvia (who he insists on calling "Rebecca" or "Becks") and even suggests forcibly adding her to his entourage after capturing her in "The Party Animal." She's always quick to shoot him down.
      Sylvia: You can't handle this.
    • "The Loose Screw" implies that this kind of relationship is ongoing between aging villain Mandrake the Malfeasant and his likewise-aging superhero nemesis Stella Starbella. Though he complains that he "could never conquer [her] heart," they're definitely Friendly Enemies at this stage if they weren't already, with Stella even bringing him back to her ship for cookies after capturing him.


Video Example(s):


General Deathzero

Believing that having a good woman as his wife will motivate him to fight harder, General Deathzero sets his sights on Spielban's cute sidekick Diana.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

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Main / VillainousCrush

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