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YMMV / Fu Manchu

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  • Draco in Leather Pants / Rooting for the Empire: Much of this is due to Values Dissonance. Even with the original books basically being racist screeds — or perhaps even because of it — Fu Manchu really comes off as cooler, more honorable, and more interesting than the "heroes," especially considering most of his plans are comparable to real-life white imperialists of the time.
  • Evil Is Cool: There's a reason the name Fu Manchu is better known than Nayland Smith.
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  • Fair for Its Day: As racist as the original books are, the character is notable for being depicted as a brilliant, sophisticated, and even at times honorable Magnificent Bastard who could easily outwit the "good guys". Given that most propaganda at the time depicted other ethnic groups as brain dead savages and lunatics who would rape and pillage the lands if given the chance, it could almost be called progressive in comparison. Almost.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Fu Manchu himself is the single most compelling character in the Sax Rohmer novels. Despite his villainy, Fu is charismatic, bold, educated and with a vision for the future to see his nation restored to greatness. Ruler of the Si-Fan syndicate, Fu returns time and again with brilliant schemes that are only ever matched by his enemy Sir Dennis Nayland Smith through sheer tenacity, as even Nayland Smith admits Fu is his intellectual superior by far. Fu schemes to conquer the world and subvert entire nations, but he is not without a code of honor. At times, Fu has even arranged for the downfall of fascist and communist leaders, and will always keep his word, as well as sending Nayland Smith a gift for his enemy's wedding. A brilliant archcriminal and one of the first supervillains of literature, Fu Manchu repeatedly demonstrates his superiority, with little being able to do anything but delay him in his schemes.
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