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Cleanup thread: Magnificent Bastard

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  • Why do a cleanup?: This trope definitely exists and has has a well documented history of use. That being said, it frequently gets misused to a character who meets one of the components, namely that they are smart, charming while not necessarily even being a villain, or create good plans. While these are components, there is also a certain personality required, not to mention that all of the above are required to be present for a character to be a true Magnificent Bastard. As the trope attracts interest, it unfortunately brings in a lot of misuse and I thought the best way to rectify this would be a Perpetual Cleanup Thread, as is being done and has seen success with Complete Monster.

  • What makes a Magnificent Bastard: Below are a list of the individual components to make this character. Note that they must all be present, not just some, which has lead to frequent misuse:
    • Must be intelligent: Goes without saying, to be a Magnificent Bastard, the character has to be smart in the first place and use their brain to work towards whatever their end goal may be;
    • Must be a Bastard: While going overboard in how vile the character is can be detrimental, a key aspect is the Bastard part of the trope, whether the character is an out-and-out antagonist in the work, some manner of Villain Protagonist, or something in between, they at least have some unscrupulous qualities to qualify for this trope;
    • Must not be too detestable: Again, there is a ceiling on how bad the character can be before they just become too nefarious, blocking out the Magnificent part of the trope. A genocidal racist or child-raping Sadist aren't going to make the cut;
    • Think on their feet: In addition to being a Chessmaster, a Magnificent Bastard, if the character deals with situations in which their initial plan is ruined, has to be able to pull a Xanatos Speed Chess and at least come up with a competent strategy to make up for lost time, otherwise they fail for being unable to think in tough spots;
    • Have charm: Even if they don't necessarily make every character they meet fall in love with them and can even be detested by others, the audience has to find an amicable social relation to the character, or they are failing to make the impact required for this trope.

  • What to do if a character is listed on a page but has not been approved?: They need to be removed, all candidates need to come through the cleanup thread first. The character could well count but they need to be analyzed properly and voted on first.

  • Do we list Playing With this trope?: No; as a YMMV trope, this cannot be Played With, so we only want examples that are Played Straight.

  • What do I do if I want a character to be listed as a Magnificent Bastard?: The greatest success Complete Monster saw for its cleanup effort was from the invention of the effort post format, so, borrowing from that, a troper wishing to propose a Magnificent Bastard will create such a post in the following format:
    • Begin by describing The work, this will help establish the setting the character is in and for the reader to understand what kind of a scenario they are in;
    • Summarize The character's actions, this will provide a listing for readers to understand what they do and how it applies to this trope because charm and lack of smugness are so crucial, this is a good time to be incorporating exactly the flavour of how they operate to explain this;
    • List circumstances in which the character must Think on their feet, these are times where a wrench might be thrown in their initial plan and they have to adapt on the spot or even come up with a new scheme all together, this is also a good time to explain how the villain reacts to defeat when they have to face it, a true Magnificent Bastard won't break down into tears at the thought of death, they should have known such a possibility could occur and be able to handle it with more dignity;
    • The competition, similar to the Heinous Standard dealt with for a Complete Monster, this section is to deal with how successful the character is in carrying out their plans compared to other characters. While, as a villain, they probably are going to lose in the end, it is good to explain how other characters handle the same situation. There is no exceptionalism case to be made for this trope but explaining the variety helps the reader have a better understanding of the proposal.

  • How do you know when the character's arc is done so they can be proposed? When their tenure as a villain or antagonist finishes. This could happen in a single Story Arc in an entire work, a single work of a franchise, or the whole series in general. We'll show lenience to Long-Runners with constantly recurring candidates or series with outstanding continuities (ex. comic books), and it's entirely possible to count in a work or two but not in general for a reason like Depending on the Writer.

  • What about candidates evil because of external sources? Those Made of Evil can qualify if they show enough individuality and tactical acumen — in other words, they have the personality to fulfill the magnificence requirement. Conversely, those brainwashed, especially if they're a better person without it, may fail the individuality aspect and cannot count.

  • What if they are under orders from a higher-up? Depends. If the boss created the plans down to the letter and the candidate is just following them, sounds like we should discuss the boss instead. However, if the candidate takes creative liberties with the orders, adds their own charm and flair to them, fills in holes in the orders, and/or actively deals with obstacles their boss did not talk about, the candidate shows enough individual thinking to qualify.

  • What about Character Development? An MB is something a character can develop into... a nice person who plots well might become more morally grey as the work goes on and hits the "Bastard" criteria, thus making them viable. Likewise, a Smug Snake might shed their ego, become more understanding of the threat others pose and gain the personality or "Magnificent" criteria, likewise making them viable. Conversely, a character who looks like this trope might suffer from a Sanity Slippage or just get outed as not being as smart as they thought they were and become incompatible with MB.

  • Can an MB be a good guy? Not in the conventional sense... it is required they have at least some dubious traits lest they fail the "Bastard" criteria. That being said, a character who pulls a Heel–Face Turn or eventually stops taking villainous actions is still fair game: as there was a point in time where they were both "Magnificent" and a "Bastard" at the same time and they've merely adapted as time goes on. Now... if such a character begins showing other issues (i.e.: becomes prone to freak outs or starts getting outwitted) then they're compromising their Magnificence and will probably be deemed a cut. What's important is stylishly operating while at least for some time being willing to take at best underhanded methods to see a job done. A Heel–Face Turn in itself isn't a disqualifier but they do have to have been "Magnificent" and a "Bastard" at the same time and afterwards can't start slipping on the former front.

  • Is there a timeframe rule like with Complete Monster?: Yes, please wait two weeks until after the work has concluded before proposing a character (again, usually using the North American airdate). As is the case with CM, we want to give a reasonable time frame so that everyone interested in seeing the work has done so and can participate in the discussion without having anything spoiled.

  • What about groups like with Complete Monster?: This is a point of divergence between the two tropes. While CM does not allow for a single entry encompassing more than three characters lest their heinousness for crimes becomes too watered down, with MB as long as they are treated as one "unit" it is acceptable to lump all characters provided they share acts of charm and intelligence.

  • Can I propose my own work's character as a Magnificent Bastard?: No, this is a YMMV subject and the creator of a content is way too biased to be able to evaluate the criteria we're looking for without a second opinion taking over. That being said, you are more than welcome to encourage someone to consume your creation and if they feel a character counts, are more than welcome to suggest them.

Thread rules

When voting a troper must specify the effort post they're voting on and cannot merely vote on "Everything I missed" as in the past it has indicated the poster didn't read the effort post and is guessing instead of analyzing.

Resolved items

In general, a character listed on this trope is considered "settled". This means they should not be challenged unless information used to list them was incorrect or information was missed in the initial discussion.

However, when re-litigating a candidate, the same rules apply for when they were originally proposed. If they do not have five or more upvotes than downvotes for approval upon a re-litigation, including votes from the initial discussion if they do not change, then they are a cut.

This especially applies to the characters listed below, whom have been discussed excessively and repeated attempts to get them listed/cut may result in punitive action for bogging down the thread.

Definitely an MB

Definitely not an MB

  • South Park: The show's frequent use of vulgar comedy and mean-spirited humour leaves any potential candidates devoid of the dignity or charm to qualify.

Edited by 43110 on Sep 12th 2021 at 2:09:20 PM

Nov 28th 2021 at 5:40:08 PM

I would chock that to the extreme stress of the situation. Wasn't that after she started slaughtering his men? I mean he never shows any real misogyny towards Seras or any other actual homophobic behavior.

Honestly, you could probably put two effort posts of both versions side by side and they would be identical.

Edited by LoreDeluxe on Nov 28th 2021 at 5:43:16 AM

Think you're tough because you made it through Lord of the Rings? Real men survive The Silmarillion.
Ravok from The Nation of Zaun
Nov 28th 2021 at 5:43:05 PM

Yeeeeaah if we don't like OG!Anderson for this trope because of some of his religiously-charged insults (like snarling that Integra is a "filthy Protestant whore"), then I can't rightly say I like Pip for it when he has a line like "Stick a cock in it, you bull-dyke." when it's an obvious comment on Zorin's appearance. It's a pretty bluntly used slur and while I can allow some leeway to it I also don't think letting something that rough slip by when we don't want a character from the same work passing for similar prejudice statements.

It's a little crude, I'll admit. The base violence necessary for change.
Nov 28th 2021 at 5:43:52 PM

Keep in mind, some of that may be some translator flourishes. I've seen that happen a lot.

Edited by Lightysnake on Nov 28th 2021 at 5:45:45 AM

Nov 28th 2021 at 5:51:25 PM

Also, I feel like Anderson is a more extreme example since he has genuinely strong beliefs tied to those insults and does it to Integra in a totally uncalled for situation.

Pip is in the middle of an extreme stressful combat situation against a brutal monster slaughtering his life long friends. He also never shows any patterns of that in every day behavior.

I feel like it's not two situations that can be entirely compared side by side.

Think you're tough because you made it through Lord of the Rings? Real men survive The Silmarillion.
Ravok from The Nation of Zaun
Nov 28th 2021 at 6:05:03 PM

Well, the precedent's certainly there with Satoshi for "character under deep pressure, stress and mental strain slings a slur they normally wouldn't", so I'll leave it up to someone else who has the interest in doing OG!Pip to check that one out, I'm sticking with Abridged discussions for now.

Edited by Ravok on Nov 28th 2021 at 6:05:39 AM

It's a little crude, I'll admit. The base violence necessary for change.
43110 And you will shed tears of scarlet. from Mars Relationship Status: I only want you gone
And you will shed tears of scarlet.
Nov 28th 2021 at 6:13:00 PM

Having sat on it for years now Anderson I might actually be able to be persuaded on. What I’d first need a good counter to is his line to Integra about how under normal circumstances he’d approve of the trickery Maxwell is using against Protestant “heathens” and it’s only because his boss has gone off the deep end that he starts fighting back. The other thing with him is his prejudice only really shows up fighting god awful vampires and I sincerely do feel we could extend this beyond “He’s a religious bigot, no, done!” as has been done prior. Like I said I’d need some convincing but I also want a candidate who’s got strengths in other areas to at least be allowed a discussion, even if I’m not personally quite sure they make it.

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
Nov 28th 2021 at 6:20:52 PM

[tup] Abridged Alucard I love Hellsing Abridged but had to give Abridged Alucard some thought. He's portrayed consistently as a man child and a major troll. However scenes like the one in Episode 10 give him a slight advantage over OG Alucard. I'd say it's kinda a Grunkle Stan case where the Magnificent Bastard is really comedic and loves to dick around. Given half the stuff he says, I'd let the dyke comment slide.

Edited by Idisagree on Nov 28th 2021 at 6:21:51 AM

43110 And you will shed tears of scarlet. from Mars Relationship Status: I only want you gone
And you will shed tears of scarlet.
Nov 28th 2021 at 6:32:49 PM

… Alucard isn’t the one who says that. We’ve been talking about Pip and referring to him by name for the last little while now…

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
jjjj2 A man who inflicts suffering can't rest.
A man who inflicts suffering can't rest.
Nov 28th 2021 at 6:37:11 PM

I do think there should sort of be a sliding scale on these things. Like if one approved candidate is very mild in their expressions of bigotry, and another potential is worse compared to that candidate we maybe shouldn't approve them. But depending on the work maybe we would approve the second candidate supplanted into another one. Lighty wanted to EP Chris from The Wire. I don't know if he still is.

One of my problems with Chris is this very issue. He has a Villainous Friendship with Snoop, a very obvious butch lesbian. On the other hand he calls Omar a "faggot" and "cocksucker"(the former while discussing how to frame him to marlo in a very calm situation, the latter while torturing Butchie, Omar's mentor). In another event he justifies killing a man and his family for allegedly calling Marlo a dicksucker. He outright says "Don't matter if he said it or not. People think he said it. Can't let that shit go." Michael outright questions this saying that's ridiculous. This in my mind is crucial. Both Michael and Chris have said gay slurs, but ultimately Michael questions the whole point of killing a man and his family for alleged dicksucking insults, whereas Chris justifies the orders. So while both were molested this in my mind means Chris has a problem with gay men, whereas for Michael it's ultimately window dressing, an armor for his molestation, but not something he actually believes. Lighty might disagree with this interpretation. I do have other problems with Chris, and I will admit his friendship with Snoop does add a wrinkle, but ultimately I think the bigotry is real.

Edited by jjjj2 on Nov 28th 2021 at 11:03:59 AM

You can only write so much in your forum signature. It's not fair that I want to write a piece of writing yet it will cut me off in the mid
Nov 28th 2021 at 7:48:44 PM

I've recently started rewatching Adventure Time and I might have found a technical keeper.

What's the work?

Adventure Time is the hit Cartoon Network series about Finn the Human and Jake the Dog, two adventuring bros living in an absurd post-apocalyptic world.

Who is Penny? What has she done?

Appearing as a one-off character in the episode "City of Thieves", Penny is a young thief who masquerades as a helpless child. After getting her flower basket stolen from her, she takes advantage of Finn's heroic nature and has him help her find it in the titular City of Thieves. After Finn and Jake try and fail to retrieve the basket, with the thieves that populate the city constantly stealing it from each other, Penny suggests they check in the tower of the long deceased King of Thieves, claiming that everything that gets stolen by little girls always ends up there and that it could be in his treasure chest. Said tower is protected by a magic barrier that keeps thieves out, with Finn being the only one who could enter due to him not being a thief. Penny, secretly being a thief herself, pretends that she's too scared to go in herself.

After Finn gives her the chest, she reveals that it actually contained the King of Thieves treasure and had used him to steal it. Finn tries to return it, but can't due to him technically stealing the treasure chest. Penny then runs off with the treasure while Finn's distraught about what he's become. When Finn finds her to take revenge, Penny goes back to play the role of a helpless little girl before attacking Finn with a knife, only to get knocked out by Jake's boots. Finn and Jake then scrub her with soap and water, seemingly purifying Penny. Thanking Finn for giving her a second chance, Penny runs off...with Finn's clothes; having faked her Heel–Face Turn and ending the episode getting away with everything scot-free.

Side note: she was apparently supposed to return in "I Am A Sword", but was replaced by Bandit Princess due to her voice actress being unavailable. But it all works out because Bandit Princess is way too much of a Jerkass to qualify. The more you know.

Is she Magnificent?

Penny's spends the episode playing Finn like a fiddle, effortlessly playing the role of an innocent little girl in order to get Finn to steal for her. Even when she was seemingly defeated, she manages to trick Finn and Jake into thinking she reformed before escaping with his clothes, most likely to continue stealing. It's also worth noting that her tent is full of riches apart from the King of Thieves' treasure chest, so it's not her first rodeo as a thief. Fortunately, she doesn't come off as a Bratty Half-Pint and is just charismatic enough to be decently entertaining.

Is she a Bitch?

She's a thief willing to manipulate Finn in order to get treasure, so yes.

Mitigating factors?

Granted, she seems to really have had her flower basket stolen, but it occurs offscreen before the episode's start and she doesn't really care about getting it back; being far more interested in the King of Thieves' treasure. Regardless, I think she does well enough throughout the episode to overlook it.

Verdict?

I'd lean [tup], but it's up to you guys.

Edited by Sawkman on Nov 28th 2021 at 10:49:10 AM

jjjj2 A man who inflicts suffering can't rest.
A man who inflicts suffering can't rest.
Nov 28th 2021 at 7:50:50 PM

[tup]Penny.

You can only write so much in your forum signature. It's not fair that I want to write a piece of writing yet it will cut me off in the mid
43110 And you will shed tears of scarlet. from Mars Relationship Status: I only want you gone
And you will shed tears of scarlet.
Nov 28th 2021 at 7:53:26 PM

Hey, I remember that one! Yes and good work!

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
227someguy I hate spoilers
I hate spoilers
Nov 28th 2021 at 7:55:59 PM

[up][up][up] Why did she steal Finn's clothes? If Penny had a good reason for it, then [tup] from me. Maybe it's just out kleptomania, which would still be a [tup], since other MBs have done worse.

Edited by 227someguy on Nov 28th 2021 at 10:57:36 AM

Everyone look at my sandbox
PurpleEyedGuma from a soundchip from 1986 Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
Nov 28th 2021 at 7:56:56 PM

Yes to Penny. I knew Adventure Time must have had at least one of these.

[up] I guess because she’s a thief, and her MO is to steal things.

Edited by PurpleEyedGuma on Nov 28th 2021 at 10:58:38 AM

Super Sonic does what .exe . . . uh, doesn’t do?
Nov 28th 2021 at 7:59:09 PM

Yes to Penny.

My issue is, IMO...I don;t think there's much to indicate Pip is a genuine bigot. Like, he spends plenty of time around lots of people and he makes a point to indicate he's pretty laid back in regards to individuals.

Knowing as I do of Japanese, it is entirely possible, he calls Zorin a "gorilla woman" or what not in the original and they made it a bit less awkward in localizing.

43110 And you will shed tears of scarlet. from Mars Relationship Status: I only want you gone
And you will shed tears of scarlet.
Nov 28th 2021 at 8:09:21 PM

If Ravok's not interested I can have him up in a bit.

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
jjjj2 A man who inflicts suffering can't rest.
A man who inflicts suffering can't rest.
Nov 28th 2021 at 8:10:53 PM

Anyways to elaborate on my earlier post above, with Pip I'm just getting one insult said in the heat of battle, whereas from what everybody's saying OG!Anderson seems more like how I see Chris (Should've put that in my earlier post, sorry).

Edited by jjjj2 on Nov 28th 2021 at 11:17:37 AM

You can only write so much in your forum signature. It's not fair that I want to write a piece of writing yet it will cut me off in the mid
43110 And you will shed tears of scarlet. from Mars Relationship Status: I only want you gone
And you will shed tears of scarlet.
Nov 28th 2021 at 8:20:31 PM

There's more to Anderson... he also refuses to allow Integra to be harmed after Maxwell flies off the deep end and even provides her escort, killing his former boss—heartbroken though he may be to do so—and goes off to face Alucard. Again, we need to have a talk here, it's not clear cut.

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
Nov 28th 2021 at 8:20:55 PM

Yes to Penny. I'm sure there's more from Adventure Time, with Betty in particular springing to mind.

As for Pip, I do think he deserves a fair shake. For Anderson, he doesn't really come across as that clever to me.

Edited by LoreDeluxe on Nov 28th 2021 at 8:23:34 AM

Think you're tough because you made it through Lord of the Rings? Real men survive The Silmarillion.
jjjj2 A man who inflicts suffering can't rest.
A man who inflicts suffering can't rest.
Nov 28th 2021 at 8:28:58 PM

Yeah ok, I'd be up for one. Sounds like there's a lot of conflicting info.

You can only write so much in your forum signature. It's not fair that I want to write a piece of writing yet it will cut me off in the mid
PurpleEyedGuma from a soundchip from 1986 Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
Nov 28th 2021 at 8:31:32 PM

With Integra, Anderson does have a set of standards. He says to accost and gang up on a single woman at night would piss him off because it'd make them akin to a pack of rapists.

Now, Anderson's religious bigotry is absolutely real. He tells kids at the orphanage they should save their fighting for "heathens," he slaughters Integra's men and attacks her fully because he really hates Protestants and he states if Maxwell wasn't randomly butchering civilians he'd have no issue with stabbing "heathens" in the back because that'd be expected, even laudable in wartime....he's just smart enough to recognize the Nazis need to be dealt with first.

He is, however, quite clever, such as the trap he sets up in his first appearance. But after that, I'm not quite sure he ever does much by way of plotting as opposed to just powering through. Also, what I think may really kill his odds is his utilizing the Nail to turn himself into a monster when Alucard says Anderson is capable of beating him as a human being. Anderson ultimately throws away his humanity for a powerup, in a way that sacrifices a lot of his sense of self, which is treated as a terrible tragedy, as opposed to fighting Alucard like the clever, skilled badass he is.

It's portrayed as such a betrayal of himself tha tI think it genuinely damages his shot.

Edited by Lightysnake on Nov 28th 2021 at 8:32:17 AM

Nov 28th 2021 at 8:34:23 PM

[up][up][up] How many episodes did Betty appear in? I remember only one (where she jumped through the portal to reunite with Simon), and I don't think she came across as a bastard.

Maybe Princess Bubblgum might count - she's smart and generally nice, but she is also willing to do unscrupulous things in the name of science

Edited by magnumtropus on Nov 28th 2021 at 8:36:14 PM

This is my Troper Wall. Vandalism would be appreciated.
Nov 28th 2021 at 8:35:49 PM

Also, off topic from Hellsing, but I just finished reading the first couple of Discworld novels. I think I really want to effort post the Luggage at some point. For being a supposedly mindless Chest Monster, it can be a very clever and intimidating little bastard.

Think you're tough because you made it through Lord of the Rings? Real men survive The Silmarillion.
43110 And you will shed tears of scarlet. from Mars Relationship Status: I only want you gone
And you will shed tears of scarlet.

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