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Playing With / Villainous Badland, Heroic Arcadia

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Basic Trope: The heroes of a work live in a pleasant and flourishing land while the villains live in a dark and degraded one.

  • Straight: The peaceful kingdom of Brightland is a blooming pastoral Arcadia ruled by Bob the Benevolent. They are invaded by the militaristic empire of Vileshade under Evulz the Cruel, which is a polluted wasteland where few plants grow and landscapes are mostly gloomy greys and browns. When the army of Vileshade takes over an area of Brightland, within a few years of their management it has turned just as bad as Vileshade.
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  • Exaggerated: Brightland is such a Sugar Bowl that every time you leave your house you are surrounded by adorable chirping birds and cute rabbits. There is never bad weather and the plants are magically blessed to never rot and die. Meanwhile Vileshade is nothing but desert interspersed with giant heaps of garbage, with no plants or animals in sight. As soon as a resident of Vileshade sets foot in any other land, it instantly turns into the same decrepit wasteland.
  • Downplayed: Brightland is a typical temperate area with generally mild weather (cool summers and warm winters) while Vileshade tends to get a lot of rain and overly hot summers and cold winters, but is livable and occasionally has good weather.
  • Justified:
    • The people of Vileshade would normally live peacefully just like the people of Brightland, and their acts of conquest that make them the villains of the story are all motivated by obtaining enough arable land so they don't starve. Brightland was chosen to take over because it was the most prosperous region.
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    • Vileshade is Fascist, but Inefficient, so it has trouble making any headway in environmental legislation. Brightland's functioning government allows it to avoid destroying its environment.
    • Vileshade's obsession with conquest means it depletes all of its resources to engage in constant war, slowly ruining its environment, while Brightland's general avoidance of war means it conserves its resources.
    • Each land is ruled by a Fisher King. Brightland is sustained by The Good King, while Vileshade has been ruined by an evil emperor.
  • Inverted: The Barbarian Hero was shaped by cold, harsh wastelands where his valorous tribesmen live, while the decadent Evil Sorcerer lives in an tropical paradise that easily supports a sprawling Vice City.
  • Subverted:
    • (1) We are first introduced to Bob from Brightland, who lives in a house with a beautiful garden, and Violet from Vileshade, a soldier fighting in a barren wasteland. We later learn that Bob is very wealthy and most people in Brightland live in less pleasant parts of the area, and Violet was traveling through an area devastated by war but the rest of Vileshade is quite green and beautiful.
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    • (2) Brightland is vivid, colorful, flower-covered and rife with fauna, while Vileshade is a barren, depressing wasteland nearly devoid of life... except it became that way due to an invasion by the Brightland army ages ago that utterly devastated Vileshade. As a side effect, it motivated General Evulz, the highest-ranking officer of Vileshade military who survived Brightland's onslaught, to declare himself Emperor and rule the country with an iron grip to build a military force that could return the favor to Brightland.
  • Double Subverted:
    • (1) This information is told to us by a propagandist for Vileshade, who is trying to make Brightland look bad by emphasizing their income inequality that is really far more mild, with everyone living in beautiful pastoral areas, and wants to hide that many in Vileshade are living in horrible conditions and starving.
    • (2) However, the Brightland's invasion actually was a counter-offensive to a conquest started by the previous king of Vileshade in an attempt to grab the most fertile territories of Brightland. While Brightlanders admittedly went rather too far with "Screw the Rules, They Broke Them First!" in their retribution, most of the fertile land in Vileshade was depleted before that war due to mismanagement and poor farming practices.
  • Parodied: ???
  • Zig-Zagged: It soon becomes apparent that both sides are trying to make their living conditions look better for the sake of propaganda, and both Brightland and Vileshade are so vast in area that they can have both idyllic areas and degraded ones, so no character is really sure which one is in better shape overall or can find a reliable source to tell them.
  • Averted: Brightland and Vileshade look basically the same.
  • Enforced: "This is a kids' show, and we need the kids to be able to tell which people are good and which people are evil."
  • Lampshaded: "Wow, there's so little growing here that I really don't understand how the emperor of Vileshade is feeding his army!"
  • Invoked: The villains were former inhabitants of Brightland who were exiled to Vileshade as punishment for their villainy.
  • Exploited: To win the war against Vileshade, the heroes try to engage them in a drawn-out war that drains their resources, knowing that in the state they are in, Vileshade will run out far earlier.
  • Defied: The emperor of Vileshade engages in a tree-planting program, funds farmers, and runs a pollution clean-up initiative to make sure his empire is in good shape.
  • Discussed: "Hey, a lot of the enemies we fight tend to live in pretty horrible wastelands." "Yeah, it kind of makes me reluctant to leave my home... but we have to go to Vileshade to save everyone, even if it won't be fun."
  • Conversed ???
  • Implied: The story is set in neither Brightland nor Vileshade, but in a different area that hosts many adventurers from both lands. Two Brightlandian adventures reminisce about their beloved home, and a Vileshade spy looking in on them, who has earlier said that she has no interest in going back home, seems sad and angry at them when she hears their conversation.
  • Deconstructed: Brightland beats Vileshade in a Curb-Stomp Battle because everyone in Vileshade is starving and they aren't able to have good weapons since they don't have the resources to build them or trade for them.
  • Reconstructed: Vileshade is a hard, cruel land, but the volcanic soil regions are very fertile, the rest of the region raises tough people, and there's a lot of mineral wealth to be had beneath the earth.

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