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The Starscream / Anime & Manga

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Starscreams in anime and manga.


  • Hagall from Ah! My Goddess. In fact, she's only introduced when she's actually successfully deposed Hild as the leader of hell. Unusually for this trope, she did this because of her Undying Loyalty to Hild. Hagall usurped Hild because one of Hell's laws states that when the current ruler of Hell's term expires, the ruler must also die.
  • Spectra tries to usurp Prince Hydron in Bakugan: New Vestroia. It's unknown if Hydron actually knows of Spectra's machinations, but he's still going to get labeled as a traitor...because Mylene convinced the prince to retreat from New Vestroia and blame Spectra for the Vestals' failure there. She then tells the other Vestals, who think the prince is useless, that "he'll make a good fall guy", revealing that she is also planning to usurp both Spectra and Hydron.
  • Bleach:
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    • Utegawa in the Bount Arc tried to take control of Jin's scheme, but failed to account for Jin's bodyguard.
    • Barragan was originally the ruler of the Hollows and was overthrown by Aizen. He wanted to take his kingdom back but died unable to achieve it.
  • Code Geass: For most of the series, Prince Schneizel el Britannia appears just to be The Dragon to his father Emperor Charles, and shows no signs of disloyalty. However, as soon as other senior figures in the Britannian Imperial government begin to doubt the Emperor, Schneizel jumps at the chance to take the throne for himself.
    • Does Schneizel el Britannia qualify? By the middle of R2, he clearly has no respect for his father anymore and is clearly angling to hear "Yes, your Majesty" rather than "Yes, your Highness." In fact, he even puts out a hit on his own father, only to have his half-brother beat him to it. The only reason to hesitate is that, for all of R1 and the majority of R2, he's perfectly content with his role as Prime Minister, and its only after he starts feeling that his father is a hindrance to The Empire that he begins to plot to take the throne. Most people in Schneizel's situation, when told that the Emperor did not care about "mundane" issues, would consider a coup to put in effective leadership too.
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    • Schneizel mentions Damocles in season 1 - and considering what Damocles is, it could not have been built by Todomo in the one-year time skip. And in the Suzaku of the Counterattack manga, he kills the Emperor and becomes the Big Bad.
      • It's hinted at/foreshadowed by Schneizel himself in an R2 episode that the only part of the Damocles project that hadn't been completed was the development of nukes powerful enough to make the plan work.
  • Dancougar: Shapiro Keats makes it pretty clear that his ambitions reach higher than working for Muge Zorbados. Unfortunately, he alienates Luna, a very important potential ally, and Zorbados betrays him first.
  • Digimon features this in its fourth season. Mercurymon, the Legendary Warrior of Steel that was turned evil, was more interested in bolstering his own power than following Cherubimon's orders. Cherubimon knows this, but doesn't consider him a threat, and indeed, even though Mercurymon proved to be the most intelligent villain the series, the power he managed to get through an elaborate Xanatos Gambit proved nowhere near Cherubimon's power.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
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    • Vegeta was essentially this to Freeza until his Heel–Face Turn. Freeza was aware of this, but was so far out of Vegeta's league that he never considered him a threat and that when he did turn on him he could kill him easily. He proved right, but Vegeta managed to be a Spanner in the Works regardless.
    • Majin Buu is this to Babidi.
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Faust is this to Queen Shagotte.
    • Ultear to both Jellal and Hades.
  • In Freezing, Elizabeth Mably, third year student and second strongest of west genetics, has never liked the lenient rule that her President, Chiffon Fairchild, has on the student body. Mably feels that the rules should be enforced more strictly up to the point where they become law. P.S. Elizabeth has never liked Chiffon herself either. Mably even went as far as forming her own entourage to counteract the peace and quiet that her boss already established, effectively making her a "starscream".
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Greed to Father in the manga, and to Dante in the 2003 anime. They're also his creator, but he'll attempt to backstab as he's too greedy to be a team player. They both know this about him and use the knowledge to get rid of him when he isn't useful.
    • Roy Mustang is the heroic version of this to King Bradley. He's fairly subtle and very patient, but all Roy's nearest and dearest and most of high command know, especially Bradley. They let him play; they could kill him anytime, but he's extremely useful and essentially harmless, considering all the cards they hold and that he'd never compromise far enough to really get into their circle. Not killing Roy eventually does come back to bite them, however, since letting him around for the series when he knows that his superiors know he's plotting against them gives him time to launch a coup.
    • Solf J. Kimblee is this to Greed in the first anime.
  • In F-Zero Falcon Densetsu, Zoda at one point sabotages the Crystal Cup race by disabling the astro-shields protecting the track floating in orbit around Earth from being bombarded by meteorites as part of his plan to get rid of Luna Ryder. Soon Black Shadow appears in his Black Bull to rescue her from the meteors and takes a hit from one of them making Zoda think he got rid of Black Shadow as well. With that, the overjoyed Zoda decides to take over as new leader of Dark Million, but what he didn't know was that the Black Bull that took a hit from the meteor to save Luna was a copy sent by the real Black Shadow. As soon as he returns to Black Shadow's throne room, he sees to his surprise that both Black Shadow and Luna are still alive. Voicing his suspicions that Zoda would try plotting something to get rid of her and the fact that he came up with a plan of his own to save her, he then gives him what he deserves for all the trouble he went through by pulling on the cord connected to his head and yanking it hard enough to cause him to scream in agony as oil spills all across the throne room.
    Black Shadow: I suspected you would try plotting something to get rid of Luna. So I came up with a plan of my own to save her.
    Luna: You deserve something for all the trouble you went through.
    Zoda: No! That's not necessary!
    Black Shadow: It certainly is. (yanks Zoda's cord and causes oil to start spilling)
    Zoda: AAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!
    • This isn't the only time Zoda acted Starscreamy — he continued to attempt annihilating Luna and overthrowing Black Shadow many more times throughout the series before his final appearance.
  • Suspage of Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu knows that he's better than the rest of the Compass Generals and is determined to prove it, whether by simply besting them or by foul play. His one attempt to actually kill Proist is what leads to his downfall.
  • Gundam has a long and noble history of Starscream villains. Observe:
  • InuYasha:
    • Naraku had something of a problem with this. Hakudoushi was the ultimate example of this trope, followed very closely by the baby and Mouryoumaru.
    • Renkotsu steals jewel shards, even from his teammates, to acquire enough power to defeat his leader, Bankotsu. Bankotsu knows what he is up to, but holds back to see if Renkotsu can redeem himself. When Bankotsu does kill Renkotsu it's to demonstrate that, even with several jewel shards, Renkotsu is no match for him.
  • Loki, one of the Eight Fists of Ragnarok in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple attempts this against the gang's leader, Odin. Going so far as to assemble his own group of Fists and attempt to convince Odin's Dragon Berserker to become the new leader. Loki failed, due to Berserker's lack of interest in being in charge and was promptly beaten down by the unpredictable fighter for his effort.
  • In Kill la Kill, Satsuki Kiryuin, much like Roy Mustang, was also a heroic version of this trope to her evil mother from the very beginning. And unlike most bearers of this trope in general, her reasons for being so are far more just and pure: first she wants to save the world from a most gruesome fate, and after that, revenge for the years of being Ragyo's sex toy as well as the murder of her father and baby sister.
  • Oskar von Reuenthal from Legend of Galactic Heroes is somewhat of an example. He actually is loyal to Kaiser Reinhard, but also a highly ambitious person himself. After Reinhard openly told Reuenthal to come at him whenever he wants if he really wants to challenge him (which he did rather because he just suffered a Heroic BSoD, not because he actually thought Reuenthal considered treachery), he begins to contemplate treachery but is kept in check by his good friend Mittermeier and his loyalty. It just goes to show what a conflicted person he is. He later does commit treachery, but more out of pride (which makes him a classic example of a Tragic Hero) and not because he wanted to overthrow Kaiser Reinhard. Reuenthal knew he would fail and in the end shows that he's still loyal to Reinhard after all.
  • In Makai Senki Disgaea all hell inhabitants have this as mandatory trait. Etna serves for Laharl with hope to backstab him and take throne. She finally admits her ambitions to her master, who then just says, it would be unusual if it was in other way.
  • Mazinger Z: Two Dr. Hell's servants fit the trope: Viscount Pygman and Archduke Gorgon. The former disobeyed orders the whole time and finally betrayed his creator, taking over the Institute on his own and refusing handed over the control of it to Hell. The later allied himself with Hell but spend the whole time insulting and scorning Hell and his henchmen, undermining his authority and scheming to overthrow Hell at the first chance. He was successful. Gorgon subverted the trope slightly since he was not planning replacing Hell with himself but with the Emperor of Darkness.
  • In the two-episode OVA version of Mezzo Forte, it's revealed that the old man who hired Mikura and her crew to kidnap a powerful mob boss, was actually the mob boss' dragon in disguise and was trying to take over the organization. Things seem to go well when the mob boss dies by accident, but Mikura and her crew already knew that the old man wasn't who he seemed, because when the old man went through their security system during their first meeting, they saw the body didn't match that of an old man.
  • Several examples in Naruto:
    • Orochimaru suggests that Kabuto may be planning on betraying him, but in the three instances in which he appears to be planning to do so, he remains loyal to him (It helps that he started out as one of Orochimaru's former Akatsuki partner Sasori's spies).
    • Sasuke also did it to Orochimaru. While Orochimaru was thinking all along that Sasuke wants to obtain more powers and would happily give up his body in return, Sasuke not only obtains those powers, but absorbs Orochimaru instead using Orochimaru's own technique.
    • In the Three-Tails arc, Rinji appears to be planning to betray Kabuto and usurp his position and gets killed offscreen for it.
    • Hidan, as he has expressed his desire to kill his leader, but has no real desire to lead, he just wants to kill people.
    • Now that Kabuto has mastered Orochimaru's remains and Edo Tensei, many think he's in a position to be The Starscream to Tobi now that he's allied with him. Some evidence is how the Edo Tensei zombies are performing in the first battle of the war- like Deidara not attacking like he normally does and Sasori being under armed for combat.
      • The speculation was likely true, but Kabuto is defeated by Sasuke and Itachi before he gets the chance.
    • Obito for Madara. He was using Madara in order to become the jinchuuriki of the Ten Tails himself and never had any intention of reviving him.
  • NEEDLESS: Saten, Arclight's right hand man (which is exactly what Saten means) strikes against his master when he it as his peak of power. However, it is quickly revealed that Saten IS Arclight and the "Arclight" up until now (excluding the flashback) was only a clone.. So, the trope is subverted, as Saten isn't Arclight's subordinate, but the other way around, even though "Arclight" didn't know.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gendou Ikari is this to SEELE; he goes along with their plan for the Human Instrumentality Project for as long as he feels he has to, at least until the time is right to start his own Instrumentality.
  • In One Piece, there are several examples.
    • Hannyabal is the Vice-Warden of Impel Down, subordinate to Magellan, the Warden of Impel Down, is so ambitious that he outright states his ambitions to be warden himself in earshot of Magellan, and makes several attempts to get him in trouble, including allowing escaped prisoners Buggy the Clown and Mr. 3 to pass him. Unfortunately, their stupidity forced him to beat them up and capture them. The only time he deals with troublesome prisoners other than this is when his own job is on the line, as Luffy and Inazuma charging into Level 6 of Impel Down. Despite all of this, he works hard at his job and believes in their collective mission, so much so that Magellan will only allow Hannyabal to be his replacement. Hannyabal eventually succeeds, becoming the warden while Magellan was demoted to vice-warden.
    • A flashback reveals that Portgas D. Ace, of all people, started out as one before developing fanatical loyalty to Whitebeard. This is exactly as Whitebeard had hoped, as he had wanted Ace to be the next King of the Pirates anyway.
    • New Blackbeard member Avalo Pizarro, after some setbacks outright challenges Teach for his post as Captain. He steps down after Lafitte threatens to kill him, but who knows later...
    • Technically, Blackbeard himself could be considered a double Starscream since he was under Ace's command before defecting and starting his own crew. What makes it worse is that he succeeded in having both of his superiors eliminated, defeating and capturing Ace and turning him over to the Marines, thus leading to his execution then attacking Whitebeard when he was at his weakest with an army of the most powerful pirates that were in prison, followed by somehow using his Devil's Fruit powers to steal Whitebeard's own. Offhand, it would appear that Blackbeard became the most powerful and unopposed pirate in the series. Hopefully Luffy can give him a run for his money. He also betrayed The World Government by defecting from the Shichibukai after his crew's raid on Impel Down.
    • The Shichibukai as a whole are generally a downplayed example, as although they may work for the World Government, they display very little loyalty to them, often abusing their position of power to get away with absolutely heinous crimes. In two cases (Crocodile and Donflamingo), they used their positions to try and overthrow the leaders of countries in false flag operations, one major no-no that the World Government won't overlook. It's also implied that most, if not all of them, are simply using their title as a means to an end (this is confirmed with Blackbeard, who only used his position to gain access to Impel Down, and then resigned).
  • Spoofed in a strip of Pop Team Epic, where Star Ice Cream abandons his friend so he can take control of the Sugar Bowl they live in.
  • In The Promised Neverland, the People Farm is ruled by the sole Isabella, until some of the "cattle" children happen to learn the truth and start to plan an escape. Enter Sister Krone, who is sent to help Isabella keep her merchandise in line until the next shipment. Except the position of "Mom" seems to be quite an enviable one and Krone is more set on taking Isabella's place than quietly obeying her. Which the latter is fully aware of, if not outright taking advantage of it.
  • Queen's Blade has a weird aversion of this trope: Despise having all the personality of one, and even despise having the power for pulling a one, Elina seems to be happy with her role as the enforcer of her family, rather than be a leader. The closest thing to be a Starscream is Melona, and she is not really interested in ruling: just in having fun in her own twisted way.
    • This is one of the reasons why Count Vance (Leina and Elina's biological father) distrusts Claudette, but just like Elina, she's more or less happy with her role in the family, despise having her own, not-so-evil, ambitions. She later pulls one, but not by her own will, thanks to Leina after winning the tournament and forfeiting the title to her, and her father went into large after the rest of the nobles went after him for that move from Leina.
  • Near the end of Ringing Bell, Chirin actually teams up with the evil wolf just so he can be powerful enough to kill him.
  • In the manga of Sailor Moon, Queen Beryl, late in her career, makes some overtures toward wanting to steal the Silver Crystal herself, take over the world, and leave Queen Metallia to rot in D-Point. She never comes particularly close before she dies in battle and gets supplanted by a new catspaw.
  • Quamzin, the overzealous Zentradi warlord in Super Dimension Fortress Macross. While Vrlitwhai is a charismatic Magnificent Bastard who is just so cool that he manages to keep his badass persona even after his Heel–Face Turn, even when he blatantly says he's only doing it to save his own skin, as Boddole-zer would kill him and his fleet for being tainted, Quamzin is just a dick who will stab anyone (especially his own superiors) in the back for another chance to attack the humans, or, well anyone else, really. He's such a loose cannon that the other Zentraedi have given him the epithet "Quamzin Ally-Killer". He's not really interested in taking control of the Zentradi fleet though, he's just Axe-Crazy and doesn't care about collateral damage among his allies.
  • In Tamako Market, Kanna makes no secret of her plans to steal the baton club captain seat from Midori.
  • Subverted in Tenchi Universe, where Princess Ayeka is accused of being this. She's not just being set up, but the one who does so is the Big Bad Kagato, who wants to force Ayeka's old fiancé and the real heir to the throne (Tenchi's grandpa Yosho/Katsuhito) into a definitive fight.
  • Tower of God: Kim Lurker had it with his bratty, immature leader, the son of his employer. So, he made Rapdevil ambush Prince after making sure that his subordinates captured Yeon and then became the most menacing villain of the series for a brief time.
  • Hayes from Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle seems to loyally obey her eldest sister, Listelka, in their evil plans to conquer the world under the banner of the Holy Arcadia Empire, but only because she's resigned to being unable to surpass the latter. Once Hayes fuses with Sacred Eclipse, she reveals that she always envied Listelka for being more privileged than her and attempts to take over Avalon by herself. Unfortunately for her, Listelka knew all along that Hayes's loyalty was only skin-deep, so she tricked the latter into gaining power, only to dispose of her once the heroes are incapacitated.


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