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Morality Chain / Anime & Manga

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  • Sagara Yoshiharu is this towards Oda Nobuna in The Ambition of Oda Nobuna. Being forced to play the part of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (who incidentally, was killed saving Yoshiharu) to this timeline's Oda Nobunaga (who also turns out to be a girl) during the Sengoku Period in Japan, he changes a lot of things around largely by pleading to her merciful side, such as forgiving her brother for his small rebellion rather than kill him as the real Nobunaga did. When Yoshiharu is presumed killed later in the series, she goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, which puts fears to her rivals, but concerns her allies that she may be crossing a Moral Event Horizon.
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  • In Bamboo Blade, Miyako "Miya-Miya" Miyazaki has her boyfriend Danjuro Eiga as her morality chain. It's fairly evident throughout the series that she only cares to keep her repressed aggression in check whenever he's around.
  • In Berserk, Casca is this to Guts. Being Guts's lover driven insane by the actions of Griffith and the Godhand during the Eclipse, she is the only reason why he refuses to completely give into his Super-Powered Evil Side. Said evil side, a Hellhound like beast, is fully aware of this and constantly importunes Guts to kill her so it can take over his mind and turn him into a being of pure hatred. The Beast is literally chained thanks to Guts' devotion to Casca, though it promises Guts that it will be free one day.
  • In Black Butler Elizabeth's entire reason for existence seems to be keeping Ciel from falling into the abyss.
    • Luca who was Alois / Jim's little brother was implied to be this for Alois / Jim. Alois was very protective of Luca, wished death on people who hurt Luca, and when Luca died Alois fell into despair, became very ruthless and quickly swore revenge on whomever he suspected to have had a hand in Luca's death.
  • In Black Lagoon, Rock acts as a morality chain for Revy that moves her from Neutral Evil to Sociopathic Hero, willing to help Rock pull off good endings in the Yakuza and El Baile de la Muerte arcs (failure and partial success respectively). Suffice it to say that in the event of Rock's death, Revy would make the events of the Nazi arc look like cheerful shoujo by comparison.
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    • The Lovelace family is this to Roberta. Her Roaring Rampage of Revenge in El Baile de la Muerte started when Garcia's father, the leader of the Lovelaces, was blown to smithereens.
  • Yachiru from Bleach is this to Kenpachi, to an extent, even though she can be just as violent as him at times. Kenpachi may be a savage now, but before he took in Yachiru he was little more than an animal with a sword. All he did was kill; he didn't even care that he had no name. He may be on the bottom of the morality ladder now, but before meeting her, he wasn't even aware it existed.
  • A Certain Magical Index
    • Last Order as the Morality Chain and Berserk Button of local Anti-Hero Accelerator. Every time she goes missing or is otherwise threatened, he reverts from Jerk with a Heart of Gold to sadistic serial killer. Why is that a bad thing? For one, he's got a shotgun. For another, he won the Superpower Lottery and can manipulate movement vectors. And the kicker? If you really piss him off like Kihara did, he'll become a fucking angel and kill you Deader Than Dead.
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    • Shiage Hamazura eventually becomes the chain for Shizuri Mugino. Before she fell in love with him, she was perfectly willing to kill her comrades and "friends" (including him) for betraying or pissing her off enough. Now she acts more like a good guy and tries to tone down her more sadistic and murderous tendencies even when he's not around, if only because she doesn't want him to hate her after he forgave her for her past actions.
  • Nao for Yuu in the finale of Charlotte. Before leaving to plunder all the abilities in the world, Nao promised that she would become his girlfriend upon his return and gave him some English flashcards. As he gathers abilities, the sheer amount of them start to tear away at his memories and his sanity. Eventually, he declares himself god and decides to take over the world... until he sees the cards. Even though he doesn't remember her, the sight of them is enough to make him continue his mission.
  • Danganronpa 3: Yukizome is supposedly this to Munakata, but it turns out to be a subversion, when it's revealed that Yukizome was Brainwashed and Crazy, and all the time she was being his Living Emotional Crutch, she was actually pushing him into despair.
  • Yin in Darker Than Black is the Anti-Hero Hei's Morality Pet in the main series, but could definitely qualify for this, since he's fairly upbeat at the end of the first season and in the interquel even though he's lost his other teammates. It's when he loses her to a forced Face–Heel Turn that he Took a Level in Jerkass for the second season.
  • A variant of this appears in Devilman, wherein Akira reasons after humanity turns on itself that only Miki Makimura and the love he has for her makes him stay human and have hope for humanity... what makes this all the more heart wrenching is that by the time he says this, Miki has already been killed off by a paranoid mob. When he arrives to find the psychopaths parading her head and dismembered body around on pikes, he is enraged to the point that he completely incinerates the crowd while bellowing inconsolably. When Akira finally returns to his senses, he cradles Miki’s head in his arms and laments the loss of all hope, turning his back on humanity entirely and resolving to fight only for the other Devilmen against Satan and his army of demons.
  • Deadman Wonderland:
    • The only thing really holding Genkaku (while he was a child) back from going completely Ax-Crazy was his little kitty.
    • Minatsuki deserves special mention. Before Ganta and her brother become her morality chain, she was a sadistic sociopath. After this she's mostly Yandere with shades of Sociopathic Hero.
    • It's only implied but, there's the general vibe that if Ganta died, very bad things would start happening in Shiro's vicinity.
  • A bizarre example in Death Note: Ironically enough, Light Yagami is this for L, though it's fairly subtle and most noticeable after Light's Memory Gambit in the Yotsuba arc. Light's role as the tale's Villain Protagonist forces L to play the role of the hero to counteract it, despite their being Not So Different; at his core, L would gladly go to vicious extremes to satisfy his "justice" — and occasionally he does fall into darker territory, like in his torture of Misa — but Light holds him back, both by literally refusing to allow L to take certain measures and by inflaming L's desire to be better than his opponent, both intellectually and morally. Of course, it's a strange example in that L actually hates Light, Light himself is The Sociopath, and they're literally chained together.
    L: Let's show him... that the good guys always win.
    • Subverted with Light's little sister Sayu; she seems to be this when she interrupts his killing spree to request help with her homework and he stops, but ultimately he cares about her about as much as everybody else... which is to say, not at all.
    • Light's other morality chain is his father. While he certainly isn't somehow an influence that stops his son from using the death note and killing hundreds of people easily, he is the one person Light said whose name he never would write into the death note and kill. But when Soichiro dies, Light's final chain breaks and things go to hell.
  • Nana from Elfen Lied has her father. She's the only diclonius with a loving parent, and the only one who hasn't gone on a massive killing spree.
  • Code Geass: Euphemia is this for Suzaku. After she dies, he goes sliding down the slippery slope: selling out his best friend Lelouch in exchange for a promotion, eschewing his Thou Shalt Not Kill philosophy for cold pragmatism, then eventually agreeing to use a Fantastic Nuke in a battle that destroys half of Tokyo.
  • Fushigi Yuugi: With Amiboshi around, Suboshi was as much a Jerkass. When Suboshi thought he was dead... all he needed was a push from Nakago to fly off the deep end and kill Tamahome's family in revenge.
  • Hare in Guilty Crown, to an extent. Her death causes the main character to metaphorically rape the person closest to him, and marks his travel all the way down to the slippery slope's bottom.
  • Gunslinger Girl plays this oddly with idealistic former Europol officer Victor Hillshire, where Triela, the girl he rescued from the set of a snuff film and threw away his career in the hopes of getting her rehabilitated is his chain to an Italian wetwork squadnote . He would have thrown his life away rather than cooperate with the Social Welfare Agency, but who would take care of her?
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya, an important point is narrator Kyon's role as this for Haruhi. Before Kyon, she was a sociopathic, melancholic jerkass and with him, she's a sociopathic but cheerful Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Kyon also is the only one who can hammer some sense of right and wrong into her. It is a very credible possibility that, should Kyon ever die, the universe would be destroyed. Ryoko Asakura tried to test this theory by attempting to kill Kyon herself but she is stopped by Yuki Nagato.
  • Hellsing: Integra to Alucard, being the person he acknowledged to serve.
  • In Hell Teacher Nube, the students of class 5-3 become Minki's Morality Chain altogether unwittingly — she believes she's still a nasty evil Oni who doesn't disregard human life as much as enjoy extinguishing it... until she sees Hiroshi, Kyoko, and Miki in danger, leading her to shielding them with her own body. Similarly, her big brother, Baki, gleefully shifts from Laughably Evil to Neutral Evil depending on his whims, but will go insane with fury if anyone hurts his beloved sister. Therefore, when she decides to fight him to protect her friends, and he sees Nube give HIS life to protect Minki, Baki immediately allies himself with Nube on the condition that he should never hurt Minki.
  • Hunter × Hunter: The Chimera Ant King only avoids slipping past the Moral Event Horizon because he takes care of a heavily handicapped girl when she's injured.
    • Possibly you could state that on the blimp, Gon played this part for Killua. In the anime, he was about to kill a girl named Anita when he heard Gon still fighting for her outside, and it brought him back to his old self; since then, he's actually seemed to avoid killing people if there was an alternative.
    • Gon, Killua and Leorio play this for Kurapika during the Yorknew arc, keeping him from Jumping Off the Slippery Slope in his quest for revenge.
  • Inuyashiki: Shion is the morality chain to Hiro Shishigami after sheltering him, she convinces him to stop killing people, and use his powers to heal others with terminal illnesses instead. When Shion and her grandma are shot by the police after Hiro is discovered, Hiro goes back to his old ways.
  • Tatara Tostuka in K is this for the Red King, Mikoto Suoh. He is killed just before the start of season 1, sending Mikoto and the rest of his Clansmen on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. The problem? If Mikoto overextends his power, his Sword of Damocles will fall and devastate a large area around him, as the previous Red King's did. He doesn't care. He also doesn't care that the only alternative is for his Foe Yay love interest, the Blue King, Reisi Munakata, to slay him personally, which is what happens. And that his clan will be without a leader after he dies.
  • Kämpfer: Natsuru to Kampfer!Akane.
  • Kara no Kyoukai plays it straight. The only reason Shiki doesn't go around killing people is because she understands that she would break Mikiya's heart if she betrayed his trust. It's only after she's (incorrectly) told of his death that she decides to kill the one responsible. He's diced into half a dozen pieces before he even hits the ground.
  • Precia's Cat Girl familiar Linith from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Sound Stages was this for her since the already very disturbed Precia demonstrated normal human reactions from time to time while Linith was around. As soon as she was gone things became very dark...
  • Reigen in Mob Psycho 100 is this to Mob, being the young psychic's moral compass and the reason he has a rule about never using his powers on humans.
  • Biscuit Griffion from Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans is the Bridge Bunny for Tekkadan and is a friend of Orga, starting from his death, Mikazuki and Orga declared they will no longer fight for survival, but instead, they will crush whoever blocks their ways. Mika proves it by systematically dismembering Biscuit's killers, who wanted to arrange a duel and possibly a truce afterward.
  • MW: Garai makes ineffectual attempts to be this to Michio, and instead ends up being a subverted Morality Pet - the one person Michio really cares for, but not treated any better for it.
  • Naruto: Rin certainly is an interesting case. She is the one person that glues together her team, and when she dies, The Team falls apart. Obito becomes a masked terrorist under the alias of Tobi, Kakashi becomes a pathetic self-loathing man wracked with chronic guilt and depression. Had she not died, both men would not have become the broken men they are now.
    • Izuna Uchiha was this to his brother, Madara Uchiha. Madara is the man he is today because of Izuna's death, and Hashirama believes that everything that's happened in the series that has any connection to Madara is just him lashing out in his grief.
  • Shion is this to Nezumi in No. 6 with all the Ho Yay implications that come with it.
  • One Piece
    • In some ways, Fisher Tiger was this to Arlong and some of the other crew.
    • Koala could be argued to be this for Tiger since her innocence convinced him that there was a hope for positive relations between fishmen and humans, an ideal that he finally believed on his death bed.
    • The Dark and Troubled Past of Doquixote Doflamingo shows that pretty much the only person he showed genuine love to was his mother. After she died of illness, he blamed his father for her demise and killed him.
  • It's implied in Phantom Blood that Dio Brando's mother was this to him, as his flashbacks to his abusive childhood particularly emphasize his father Dario's mistreatment of her, to the point of her death. Given this, one can assume that Dio's intense ambition and twisted nature came from his mother's death at the hands of Dario's abuse.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 not very subtly hints that Yui Ikari was this to Gendo before she died. It's certainly seeing her face when he looks at Rei (whose relationship to him and/or Yui is all but spelled out in the same OVA) that convinces him to agree to her proposal for him to start reconnecting with Shinji. Sadly, they never get the chance.
  • In Rosario + Vampire Tsukune is this for Inner Moka.
  • Rurouni Kenshin features this for everyone's favourite Hitokiri; Kaoru's presence during Kenshin's duels with everyone prior to Saitou was what kept him from falling all the way back into the ways of the Hitokiri. Yahiko also briefly functioned as this during Kenshin's Curb-Stomp Battle with Raijuta; he told Raijuta that the fact that he was still alive (ie; Raijuta hadn't killed Yahiko) was the only thing stopping Kenshin from murdering the man.
    • Prior to the Kenshin-gumi, his first wife Tomoe Yukishiro's presence makes Battousai less of a cold, ruthless killer. As his employer, Choshu clan head Katsura Kogoro, asked of Tomoe, she serves as "the sheath to temper his mad justice."
  • It's kind of scary to think of given how unbalanced the cast is already, but several episodes of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei indicate that Itoshiki-sensei fills this role for his class. Without him, their loneliness and mental instability would drive them completely over the edge.
  • In the final Slayers light novel arc (currently Japanese-only), Milina serves this role for Luke. When she dies, Luke's anger and despair trigger the Second Resurrection of the Dark Lord, causing him to become Luke-Shabranigdu.
  • Invoked with Marie Mjolnir for Franken Stein in Soul Eater: they're paired up in the hope that her positive wavelength will keep him from falling (deeper) into madness. Unfortunately, thanks to Medusa's machinations, he has a pretty hard time of it even with her around.
    • From what little we've seen of Stein, Marie's influence now that Medusa's snake is gone seems to be doing the trick. His reaction to Marie after BJ's death showed that in some way he really does care.
    • Spirit may have something of this, although his role seems to be to keep Stein in line - he states during the Medusa fight it's his "job to control this crazy kid". However, he does seem genuinely concerned about Stein's welfare and is the one who allows him to 'escape' and search for BJ's real killer.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: To some extent, the title character to Ryoko. She's still a Jerkass, but nowhere near as bad as she could be if she didn't have her affections for Tenchi.
  • Suzuya from Tokyo Ghoul deserves special mention. Before Shinohara become his morality chain, he was a sadistic sociopath. After this he's mostly behaving in front of him and has shades of Sociopathic Hero. When Shinohara is horribly injured in front of him, Suzuya loses it and tries in vain to save him. When the older man falls into a coma from the injuries, Suzuya is rather calm about it, having changed for the better, thanks to Shinohara's influence.
  • Wolf Guy - Wolfen Crest: Aoshika-sensei "graduates" from Morality Pet to this, for Inugami. But in an horrifying twist, once Haguro realizes it... he actively seeks out to break her completely so Inugami will go back to him. Even by brutally raping and torturing her, if needed.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Malik's Superpowered Evil Side takes over after his loyal servant/adoptive brother Rishid is knocked unconscious. Later, when Rishid wakes from his coma, he is able to persuade the real Malik to overcome his evil side.
    • Yugi and his True Companions are this for Dark Yugi/Atem. They have stopped him from injuring or killing others several times.
      • Yugi especially, seeing how, in a Filler Arc, the very same day Yugi's soul is taken, Dark Yugi loses his cool after Haga tears up a card in front of him claiming it was Yugi's soul.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Yukina for Hiei.
    • Likewise Shiori for Kurama.
  • In Zettai Karen Children, Minamoto is the only thing keeping Kaoru from taking one look at the Fantastic Racism shown towards espers and saying "Then Let Me Be Evil." The driving question of the series is whether he'll be able to prevent her from turning against humanity anyway.

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