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Tragic Villain / Visual Novels

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  • Kirei Kotomine, the Big Bad of Fate/stay night. He was born with a mental defect that made it so that the only thing he could find pleasure in was the suffering of other people. However, he still had a conscience, and every time he enjoyed someone suffering, he recognized that it was wrong. Disgusted with himself, he tried out a number of different vocations in the hopes that he would be able to enjoy one without bringing harm to others— he even married an Ill Girl, whom bore him a child to try and feel familial love. But when she killed herself to try and prove that he could feel emotions, he realized that he would have been more satisfied if he had killed her himself. He gave up at that point, setting the plot of the game in motion.
    • Also Archer in the Unlimited Blade Works route, who fought so hard to be a hero and save people, only to break under the realization that he couldn't actually accomplish anything and make a deal with Alaya to become a Counter-Guardian. What came after death was for him a personal hell, leading to his desire to kill his past self before he can pursue that path.
    • Fate/hollow ataraxia gives a tragic backstory for Angra Mainyu, the evil that corrupted the Grail. Originally an ordinary villager, one day he was deemed the source of all evil thoughts in the village. He was bound and brutally tortured before being sealed in a stone shrine where he suffered until he died of natural causes. Because his existence allowed the people to find "salvation" for their evil impulses, on death the villager's soul was enshrined in the Throne of Heroes. On being summoned as Avenger, the Grail recognized the "wish" engraved on his soul by the villagers and attempted to create a god of evil, all of which led to the events of the Fourth and Fifth Wars.
  • Every murderer, with the notable exception of Junko Enoshima, Tsumugi Shirogane, and Korekiyo Shinguji from the Danganronpa games. They all kill because of the horrifying situation they've been put into.
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc:
      • Leon Kuwata: accepts a late-night invitation from Sayaka Maizono, but she attempts to kill him and he is forced to defend himself. The manga makes him more sympathetic by showing that the fatal blow was actually accidental and that he was tortured by memories of what he did.
      • Mondo Oowada: kills Chihiro Fujisaki in a fit of rage after Chihiro reveals his secret to him, enraged by the seemingly pathetic Chihiro being strong enough to be true to himself while Mondo himself had never gotten over his brother's death. It's strongly implied later in the game that a similar event happened in the less stressful pre-Despair, with Mondo accepting Chihiro and the two becoming good friends.
      • Hifumi Yamada: manipulated by Celestia Ludenberg into thinking Kiyotaka Ishimaru had stolen the AI he had befriended (It Makes Sense in Context), made to kill Taka as a pawn, and then is betrayed and killed by Celeste. Celeste may have committed been less sympathetic, but she was compelled to kill after being offered enough money to live out the European-style castle fantasy she had dreamed of, thereby casting off her hated former identity of Taeko Yasuhiro. According to the manga, as Taeko she was so plain and unremarkable she had to endure a lifetime of isolation and loneliness that, once she discovered her gambling talent, she made up the persona of Celeste to make sure she never goes back to that life, even if she has to die as Celeste the ruthless gambler.
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    • Super Danganronpa 2:
      • Teruteru Hanamura: mistakenly kills "Byakuya Togami" while attempting to foil Nagito Komaeda's own murder plot, and after his guilt is revealed, his only thoughts are of the health of his mother and his desire to find out if she's alright.
      • Peko Pekoyama: believing she is a tool to her "young master", Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu, she kills Mahiru Koizumi in an attempt to get him off the island. She tries to get Fuyuhiko to take credit for the murder so the others will vote wrong, thereby letting him escape, but he loves and cares about Peko too much to see her as a mere tool and condemn her to death. Fuyuhiko even tries to save Peko from her execution, but is injured himself and Peko shields him as she is executed.
      • Mikan Tsumiki: catches the Despair Disease, causing her to regain memories of her past as Ultimate Despair and, in a desperate attempt to appease her beloved (Junko), kills Ibuki Mioda, as well as Hiyoko Saionji whose only mistake was to stumble upon the scene. The circumstances that lead to Mikan joining Ultimate Despair in the first place are equally tragic; she was bullied all her life (explaining her Extreme Doormat personality) and devoted herself to Junko because she was the first to show her "true kindness", all the while letting herself be manipulated.
      • Gundham Tanaka: makes a death pact with Nekomaru Nidai, in which both will be sacrificed so the remaining students will not starve in the Fun House.
      • Even one part of the Big-Bad Ensemble is this. Izuru Kamukura aka Hajime Hinata: He volunteered for a project that would give him every single talent in existence, in the name of becoming the Ultimate Hope for humanity; however, the academy deliberately withheld information about how it would completely destroy his personality and emotions. The betrayal from the people he worshipped, along with his lost humanity, utterly broke Izuru, leaving him vulnerable for Junko's manipulations. Worse yet, he went through with the surgery to (in his mind) become worthy of the real Chiaki, but lost his memories of her. This leads to him standing by as Junko brutally executes his former love interest, which he ends up regretting when he finally does remember. While he is responsible for bringing Junko's AI into the virtual reality, kick-starting the killing game, he states he did so to get back at her and to test if Chiaki's legacy will overcome Junko's.
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    • New Danganronpa V3:
      • Kaede Akamatsu: She set up a trap that was intended to kill the mastermind, it just happened to be someone else who triggered it. She urges Shuiichi to reveal she is the killer to the others, and feigns resistance to make it more believable for them. Subverted later on when it turns out the ball missed, and someone else killed the victim with it afterwards.
      • Kirumi Tojo: She is a "civil servant" (read: prime minister) fighting against a great calamity, which she uses to justify her reason to be let off the guilty verdict. She practically exploits this trope and sways the others' opinion so much that, despite Kaito and Ouma calling her out on her The Needs of the Many utilitarianism, several of the students still volunteer to be executed in her stead. Furthering that, many students encouraged her as run away from her execution knowing, suggesting they could fully understand her feelings over the matter.
      • Gonta Gokuhara: He only killed Miu in his misguided attempt to "save" everyone after learning about the state of the outside world, something Kokichi used for his own reasons. Because of the bug, he is unable to recall anything he did, and he's horrified when he finds out.
      • Kaito Momota: As an attempt to save Maki from being executed for poisoning Kokichi, both Kokichi and Kaito willingly agreed for the latter to kill the former.
  • Villain Protagonist Fuminori in Saya no Uta, who falls in love with an Eldritch Abomination thanks to a unique case of agnosia that causes him to see everything around him as utterly revolting and covered in or made out of meat and organs, while Saya - the aforementioned Eldritch Abomination - is the only thing that appears normal to him, leading her to become his only reason for living. After he finding out that living with her has eroded his sanity and caused him to commit murder and cannibalism, he's given the offer to have his sight returned to normal. Choosing no leads to him accepting that there's no turning back and happily crossing the Moral Event Horizon.
  • The Ace Attorney series has a number of examples:
    • The original game has Yanni Yogi, whose fiancée was Driven to Suicide after he was arrested under suspicion of murder. His lawyer got him an insanity verdict, but Yogi lost everything. Years later he killed his lawyer and tried to frame Edgeworth.
    • Justice For All has Mimi Miney, who lost her sister and was horribly injured in a car crash after being blamed for causing the deaths of several patients. To try and escape her old life and the accusations, she posed as her dead sister. Years later she killed the man blaming her for the deaths and tried to frame Maya for his murder.
      • Made worse in the anime where Mimi is forced by Morgan Fey to go through with the plan.
    • The same game has Acro. He and his brother were abandoned by their parents at a young age. They were adopted into a circus, and Acro came to see the ringmaster as a father figure. After a prank gone wrong, Acro ended up being crippled in a lion attack while his brother was placed in a coma. Acro tried to kill the ringmaster's daughter (who was responsible for the accident) but ended up accidentally killing the ringmaster instead. He ended up unintentionally framing an innocent man for the crime. He wanted to turn himself in and clear the other man's name, but couldn't because he was still waiting for his brother to recover from his coma.
    • From Trials and Tribulations, there's Godot. His plan to kill Misty Fey could have been entirely avoided had he just gone to Phoenix for help. But he hated both Phoenix and himself for failing to protect a woman in their lives. Godot's desire for Revenge nearly got Maya killed, and required Godot to kill Misty Fey to get what he wanted. Godot even admits his faults when Phoenix exposes his crimes.
    • Dual Destinies' DLC case, Turnabout Reclaimed features Marlon Rimes, whose girlfriend was an orca traner who died on the job. He spent years resenting the orca he felt was responsible for her death, and wanted to kill Orla the orca, when he in his murder attempt accidentally caused the death of the aquarium's manager, or captain, Jack Shipley, who was one of his closest friends. Despite his best efforts, Shipley fell to the bottom of the empty tank. Electing to at least make some use of himself by exacting his revenge on Orla, he has to learn that not only is Orla not guilty of murder, neither was her sister, who he thought had killed his girlfriend, and he had spent all these years resenting an innocent soul. The poor guy begs for his death penalty at first.
  • Kennyo from Ikemen Sengoku used to be a genuinely kind and caring monk until Nobunaga Oda burned down his temple and scarred him. This caused him to become so consumed by hatred towards Nobunaga that his desire for revenge drove him to become even more ruthless than the Devil King himself. It's shown in multiple routes that he takes no pleasure in the many atrocities he's committed in his quest for revenge and still displays glimmers of the kind man he once was, but is ultimately too far gone to turn back from his destructive path.
  • The Mysterious Girl from A Light In The Dark. As it turns out, the reason why she kidnaps Hao-Chen is because her father has accumulated numerous amount of debts and abandoned the family, and her mother has committed suicide due to being broken by her work and the debt collection attempts. She and her younger sister are being harassed by a cruel debt collector. As a result, she kidnaps you in a desperate attempt to pay the debt.

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