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Magnificent Bastard cleanup thread

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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, while this, like any other trope can be played with, we only want examples that explain it being 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:
    • Being 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

Edited by 43110 on Jul 21st 2019 at 9:45:52 AM

miraculous I am so tired of this gothic crap from South Africa
I am so tired of this gothic crap
Sep 20th 2019 at 3:11:56 PM

Or say a vampire or demon thinking humans as just well food since they you know actually do eat humans in alot of works.

Edited by miraculous on Sep 20th 2019 at 3:13:26 AM

Just once, I want to meet the villain in a cheerful, brightly lit room. Possibly one with kittens
papyru30 The Powerfu Popula Prestigiou Papyru from Colorado Relationship Status: Giving love a bad name
The Powerfu Popula Prestigiou Papyru
PolarPhantom Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Sep 20th 2019 at 11:37:17 PM

I don't want stricter rules I want people to stop using the metaphor argument.

I would not say a Vampire just seeing people as food as necessarily racism, for example, but one would have to tread carefully of course since overlap is very possible.

Darkness rises and Light to meet it.
AustinDR Smile and the whole world smiles. from Fresh and ready for life.
Smile and the whole world smiles.
Sep 20th 2019 at 11:42:40 PM

That's the thing though. Like take something like Maus where the mice are obviously supposed to be taken as Jews.

Why you little-!
PolarPhantom Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Sep 21st 2019 at 12:57:16 AM

That's racism.

I think. Haven't read it, but I'm assuming that's racism - or I suppose Speciesism though the difference isn't too important within this thread's context.

Is there an MB in Maus who is prejudiced against the Mice? If there is I'd argue they should be cut.

To clarify: racism metaphors are a thing, but can we not use that to justify MB's that may be seen as racist? Cause if that's all we got maybe we should just not bother.

Darkness rises and Light to meet it.
AustinDR Smile and the whole world smiles. from Fresh and ready for life.
Smile and the whole world smiles.
Sep 21st 2019 at 12:59:53 AM

No one's listed. Just using that as an example. My problem is I am not justifying racism. It does depend on context, but I see it more obvious if the race/species is MEANT to represent a real race.

I'm going to drop out of this debate. Don't feel qualified to discuss this.

Edited by AustinDR on Sep 21st 2019 at 1:25:03 AM

Why you little-!
Kylotrope The Good Doctor
The Good Doctor
Sep 21st 2019 at 1:37:04 AM

I...think dropping the Metaphor argument without establishing any stricter rules for what constitutes as Racism would make things even more confusing TBH.

If you personally disagree with the "Not a Metaphor" clause that's fine, no one should stop you from having your own personal Tastes. But I don't think the thread should be forced to drop it.

Especially as we've approved Candidates who Fall under that Clause like Orm and Ares from the DCEU.

Edited by Kylotrope on Sep 21st 2019 at 1:38:15 AM

Cut them Down and Make them Holy, forgiven on this ground solely
43110 36 styles of danger from the Brooklyn zoo Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
36 styles of danger
Sep 21st 2019 at 6:13:27 AM

Still feel like shit (thanks for the well wishes!) so I'm going to keep this short: I don't think we need a change to the rule but I get Polar's point... the answer, like most things on this thread, is going to be "It's case by case". Not being a parallel to real world prejudice definitely means they aren't instantly disqualified but it's not the only thing to touch on. I think it's also important to consider how much focus the work puts on the clash between groups—unless it has some values dissonance problems.

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
Sep 21st 2019 at 7:03:18 AM

Found this on YMMV page for Power Rangers in Space:

ZCE but I think she is worth a discussion(ok granted there may be favoritism involved why I'm pitching this as she's my favourite PR villain but I think she might be worth a discussion given what we see) and am gonna effortpost her soon.

Edited by xie323 on Sep 21st 2019 at 7:20:18 AM

PolarPhantom Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Sep 21st 2019 at 7:35:38 AM

While I felt Orm was a little too close to being actually racist for my tastes - and also I thought he was a boring bad guy - Ares I would argue isn't actually racist.

He's got pretty good reasons for thinking what he thinks. Or at least, they make sense to him and we can follow his train of thought. So I'm gonna say that he's not racist. Misguided, yes, but not racist.

Anyway, thank you for your input 43110. Glad to read you're a little better.

Darkness rises and Light to meet it.
KazuyaProta Porky from A Industrial Farm Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Porky
Sep 21st 2019 at 7:41:35 AM

[up][up] Hyped for that EP

Edited by KazuyaProta on Sep 21st 2019 at 9:41:53 AM

Watch me destroying my country
43110 36 styles of danger from the Brooklyn zoo Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
36 styles of danger
Sep 21st 2019 at 7:50:14 AM

Thanks Polar, tfw your Saturdays exist to survive the hangover (I hate being 26).

Also I agree on Ares, it's a case where the work pitches it as a step in his plan to (as he sees it) saving the world. My own Billy made the point when called out for his genocide on supes that in spite of the way Hughie saw it, he was doing what he wished the Jews could have done to the Nazis, as he put it. The real world parallel isn't a perfect catch-all by any means but there are also times where I think it's been pretty clutch for capturing the "how" in the way it's played in the work.

Pending MB writeups MB Drafts MB Dates
Bullman Relationship Status: Abstaining
Sep 21st 2019 at 9:19:59 AM

@xie323 I am looking forward to the Astronema EP.

I agree with Polar on the racism thing. Also get better soon 43110.

Edited by Bullman on Sep 21st 2019 at 11:21:28 AM

Sep 21st 2019 at 9:30:40 AM

Without further ado, here is Astronema's effortpost. Please note that this will mostly focus on her actions in the final arc of Power Rangers in Space, where most of her credentials are established.

What is the work?

Power Rangers in Space is an American television series and the sixth season of the Power Rangers franchise, based on the Super Sentai series Denji Sentai Megaranger. It was originally supposed to be the series finale to the Power Rangers series but ratings proved to be enough of a hit and with fan interest returning, Saban and Fox decided to continue production of the series.

Power Rangers in Space picks up after the Downer Ending of Power Rangers Turbo. The command center is destroyed by Divatox and Dark Specter, the true villain for the first few seasons has captured Zordon. He gathers the previous villains(Rita and Zedd, Machine Empire, Divatox) on his planet and reveals his plan to take over the universe. The meeting is disrupted by the Red Space Ranger, Andros, who quickly flees when discovered by our MB candiate......Astronema the Princess of Evil, also the resident Darth Vader Clone of the Power Rangers Universe.

Who is she? What does she do?

Astronema is the self proclaimed "Princess of Evil". She is tasked by Dark Specter to kill(I mean destroy) Andros and the Power Rangers. Andros flees to the Astro Megaship, the spaceship that the Rangers use for the series and meets the former Turbo Rangers that have chosen to chase Divatox into Space. Astronema attacks them with her own Space cruiser and forces them to crash land on a planet. She is defeated when the former Turbo rangers get their newfound Space Powers from Andros with the Astro Megazord, but vows revenge and the destruction of earth.

For most of the first half of the series most of Astronema's plans are more generic villainy such as sending the Monster of the Week to stop the rangers, trying to acquire a machine that turns people evil, and trying to stop them from finding Zordon. However around episode 23, they begin to explore her humanity. She develops a crush on Zhane, the Silver space ranger for saving her from a monster and asks him out on a date, through that faded quickly when he chooses to stand her up to save his friends from a monster her right hand man, Ecliptor sicced on the rangers in that episode. Later episodes reveals that she is Karone, the long-lost sister of Andros. Upon being confronted with this revelation, Astronema and Ecliptor pulls a Heel–Face Turn with Ecliptor to join the Rangers. In retaliation, Dark Specter sends an asteroid to destroy Earth. She infiltrated the Dark Fortress, her old base of operations to try and stop the Asteroid, only to be captured by an Ecliptor reprogrammed back to the side of evil by Darkonda, a Bounty Hunter in Dark Specter's employ that seeks power for himself. She gets supposedly "brainwashed" with cybernetic implants and becomes evil once more.

However, it turns out that the implants might have, rather than brainwash her to be a drone, only exacerbated her worst traits. Rather than seek to serve Dark Specter loyally from now on, she plans to kill both the Rangers and her master so she can take power all for herself. To this end, she creates The Psycho Rangers, super soldiers and evil counterparts to the rangers themselves, and they draw their energy from Dark Specter's life force. Astronema plans to constantly use the Psychos to kill her enemies and ascend to the throne of Grand Monarch of Evil. They Psycho Rangers totally destroy the Rangers in their earlier encounters, through the Rangers were successful in destroying Psycho Pink. The Rangers have to use more strategy and play the Psychos own inability to work together and after a series of tough battles, successfully destroy their evil counterparts. Dark Specter's life force is however restored, but he is none the wiser about who was draining his life force.

Astronema's next plan involves teleporting humans to the "Secret City" to serve as her slaves, and creating a machine to transform people into raw data stored within cards, of which they will be recreated as her own personal army. This plan was foiled by both the Rangers and the spirits of the dead Psychos having their own personal vendetta against the Rangers and wanting to kill them themselves after using Astronema's machine to bring themselves back to life, through Astronema manages to gain something from this: the digitized raw data of the Psycho Rangers, whom were turned into data in their final battle with the Rangers, and plans to use them at a later date(plans that would never come to fruition, through the Psychos will appear one more time next season).

Astronema's plan after that is to have Darkonda fake a distress signal as an astronaut stranded on the planet of Forza to lure the rangers into a trap. The rangers fall for it and Astronema ensnares the Megaship with a energy net that it can't escape. She sends Darkonda and Ecliptor down to capture the rangers on the planet and the Megaship respectively. Ecliptor is supposed to use the Megaship to find the Rangers' Megazords and destroy them. The Rangers get ambushed by Astronema's army and were only saved by the Zhane arriving to save them in the nick of time and running Darkonda over with a Dune buggy. However, Ecliptor manages to find the location of the Mega Voyager and powers up into his Red Form to destroy it. After a tough battle, the Rangers suceed in destroying Red Ecliptor, but Ecliptor crawls of the wreckage still alive but depowered back to normal....and having destroyed the Delta Megazord.

Astronema's final plan before the two part finale was to send the monster Tankenstein to kill the Rangers. The monster disguises itself as a black humvee that's immune to the Rangers weapons and succeeds in teleporting the Rangers to a desert planet where it would try to kill them. Zhane saves the rangers again and they fight Tankenstein. They beat Tankenstein but the Mega Voyager that Astronema wants to destroy so badly is destroyed in the process.

And of course this leaves Earth defenseless in the face of Dark Specter's army. In the finale, Dark Specter and Astronema's army, bolstered by Rita and Zedd's army, Divatox's army and the Machine Empire launches their attack on the universe. The Rangers try to defend earth but are overwhelmed, with the Mega Winger Megazord destroyed by enemy fighters. Astronema plans to launch planet destroying nukes on Earth but these nukes get stolen by Darkonda, who tries to make an effort to seize power for himself by nuking Dark Specter instead. The resulting coup results in both Dark Specter and Darkonda killing each other and Astronema becoming the Grand Monarch of Evil.

In part 2 of the finale, Astronema threatens to destroy Angel Grove(the city that the Rangers in the Zordon era live in) if the people there do not root out the Power Rangers. Andros goes to the Dark Fortress to try to redeem Astronema even through the other rangers think she's too far gone. The next day Astronema demands the Power Rangers show themselves but the people of Angel Grove(led by Bulk and Skull of all people) have their I Am Spartacus moment where they stand up for the Power Rangers by declaring themselves Power Rangers. This buys enough time for the Rangers to morph and fight Astronema's army. Meanwhile Andros sneaks aboard the Dark Fortress, where he finds Zordon and Zordon tells Andros that he must kill Zordon by shattering his energy tube to save the universe from the combined monster army of the villains. Andros initially can't bring himself to do it but Astronema comes in to kill Andros. Andros tries to get Astronema to see reason but ultimately is forced to kill Astronema in self-defense. Ecliptor comes in and fights Andros and Andros ultimately chooses to kill Zordon. This destroys Ecliptor and the monster army, purifies Rita, Zedd and Divatox, and resurrects Karone and destroys her implants, allowing Karone to become a good person once more who will go on to atone for her actions as Astronema and becomes the Second Pink Galaxy Ranger next season after the first one was temporarily killed(she got better in the finale of that season through).

How is she a magnificent bastard? What's the Competition?

Once she implements her plans to destroy the rangers, the rangers are constantly given a run for their money, her Psycho Rangers beat the Rangers to an inch of their life upon their debut and they had to significantly change tactics to kill them. Even after the Psychos are destroyed, Astronema succeeds in wrecking two of the Rangers mechs with her plans. She sends Ecliptor in with the intent of destroying the Mega Winger, that fails but he ends up scoring a win for Astronema by destroying the Delta Megazord, and then she successfully destroys the Mega Winger the episode after with Tankenstein. She also sucessfully hides her true goals of taking over for herself from Dark Specter, who is totally unaware that Astronema was sapping his life force to power her Psychos. She recovers easily from her defeats. Rangers and Psychos throwing a monkey wrench in her plans to turn humans into a slave army? Keep the data cards of the Psychos on storage for later use(granted she never uses them but the intent was clear). Ecliptor fails to destroy the Mega Winger? Send another monster to do so.

There really isn't much of a competition. Darkonda, whom also conspires to take power for himself, is not only a CM, but too much of a Smug Snake and hate sink. The other villains in this season...Dark Specter is Orcus on His Throne and never really does anything except send a big meteor to Earth because Karone decided to renounce evil. Ecliptor is a honorable warrior devoted to Astronema no matter what and usually carries out her plans for her, and Elgar is a dumbass.

Is she a bastard? Too much of a bastard?

Well she has loyalty only to herself—it's heavily implied that the implants brought out her worst traits rather than brainwash her(which is why she acts as powerhungry, rather than subservient to Dark Specter), she creates super soldiers with the intention of killing the rangers AND Dark Specter to take power all for herself. She also wants to essentially digitize humans to create a slave army and was willing to destroy an entire city if she didn't get what she wanted in the finale, so yeah total bastard. It should be noted that Astronema was the second major Knight of Cerebus in Power Rangers(first being Lord Zedd) and unlike Zedd, Astronema never goes through too much Villain Decay and her plots become even MORE deadlier and intricate after the implants.

However, is she too much of a bastard? In my opinion, no. She's not as sadistic or despicable as Darkonda or any of the franchise's C Ms. Most of her actions like or are framed in "action movie"-y villainy sort of way or a "don't think too much of the implications way" or don't really stand out as totally awful within the standards of a show(destroying a city and threatening to kill everyone if demands are not met—that's what villains in this show do all the time).

Any mitigating factors?

Well at the start of the series her plans tend to be more of the run out of the mill "do evil things" except she's more serious than other villains, and the focus was more on finding Zordon, and this is followed by episodes starting with Episode 23 exploring her humanity and giving her Character Development. However, once she gets her implants and the Focus shifts to the Rangers fighting her and her plans to ursurp her master take over the universe, she comes down on them HARD.

You can argue that she lacks moral agency due to the implants supposedly brainwashing her or(as my interpretation of the implants is) suppressing her positive traits while exacerbating her worse ones. However I will say that she's presented as having enough agency for this to be a non issue. She clearly seeks power for herself and decides to overthrow Dark Specter herself by draining her life force, and most of her plans to destroy the Rangers megazords are all thought up by herself as well, so I don't think this is too much of an issue.

There's also the question that she is not only brought back to normal but has one half of another season where she fully redeems herself. However, I don't see this as too much of an issue. While Karone was Implant!Astronema, she gave the Rangers a run for the money. So while she does become a hero, when she was the villain she fits all the qualifications for MB by the time of the finale IMO.

Verdict

[tup] to my favorite Power Rangers villain.

Edited by xie323 on Sep 21st 2019 at 9:56:46 AM

miraculous I am so tired of this gothic crap from South Africa
I am so tired of this gothic crap
Sep 21st 2019 at 9:39:50 AM

[tup]Astronema

One of power rangers greatest villains and heroes.

Also get better soon 43110.

Edited by miraculous on Sep 21st 2019 at 12:05:30 PM

Just once, I want to meet the villain in a cheerful, brightly lit room. Possibly one with kittens
Bullman Relationship Status: Abstaining
Sep 21st 2019 at 9:46:56 AM

Yes to Astronema.

One of the best Power Rangers characterd period and part of the reason I love in Space so much.

Klavice As if! from Pacific Canada Relationship Status: Hoping Senpai notices me
As if!
Sep 21st 2019 at 10:12:24 AM

Yes to Astronema and I hope you get better, 43110.

Pending Writeups, Drafts Discussion Dates
G-Editor We shall reach up that little pigmy's ass from Bridgeton Middle Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
We shall reach up that little pigmy's ass
Sep 21st 2019 at 10:13:27 AM

[tup] Astronema

and pull out his heart! His Ass Heart!
KazuyaProta Porky from A Industrial Farm Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
GeorgieEnkoom Emperor Enkoom Evulz II from Somewhere.
Emperor Enkoom Evulz II
Sep 21st 2019 at 12:25:07 PM

Hope you get better 43110!

Sure to Astronema, that said.

While I won't completely leave the thread, I'll be much less present. College restarted this week and I already have tons of stuff to do for the following months. Just got one CM entrypost to deal with, and then I'll have to deal with my real life issues.

Here's my Code Lyoko/Naruto fanfic.
PolarPhantom Relationship Status: Longing for my OTP
Sep 21st 2019 at 1:53:15 PM

Yes to my evil space wife Astronema.

I was wondering about her but had not the courage to EP her myself. I agree that the way she acts after being "brainwashed" makes her still viable as an MB because of how she wants to kill her supposed master and usurp him.

Thank you for this.

We gotta try and find more PR MB's. We only got Astronema and Onikage so far. But man, there are so many near misses in this series...

Darkness rises and Light to meet it.
Bullman Relationship Status: Abstaining
Sep 21st 2019 at 1:56:12 PM

[up] There is Rita from the comics who might be worth a look and I have been thinking of looking a couple seasons myself to see if I can find one, but I have been busy lately with personal problems.

If you have any ideas of potential candidates please PM me I really want to find at least one.

Edited by Bullman on Sep 21st 2019 at 3:59:54 AM

G-Editor We shall reach up that little pigmy's ass from Bridgeton Middle Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
We shall reach up that little pigmy's ass
Sep 21st 2019 at 3:28:11 PM

It’s been a while since I saw PR but the only ones that I think might qualify would be Deviot, Serrator, and Vrak but they might be too evil (they’re listed as CMs)

I think Vrak might qualify since he is a Breakout Villain, came up with numerous successful plans and his crimes aren’t horrid to be disqualified (he’s heinous in that his crimes are of a grand scale)

Edited by G-Editor on Sep 21st 2019 at 12:29:42 AM

and pull out his heart! His Ass Heart!

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