As Long as There Is Evil

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"Our firm has always been here. In one form or another. The Inquisition. The Khmer Rouge. We were there when the very first cave man clubbed his neighbor. See, we're in the hearts and minds of every single living being. And that -- friend -- is what's making things so difficult for you. See, the world doesn't work in spite of evil, Angel. It works with us. It works because of us."
Holland Manners explaining Wolfram & Hart, Angel

Evil's answer to As Long as There Is One Man.

Did you really think you can kill the villain? Nice try. But they're intimately hooked to the heart of the human race as a whole. And just so long as humanity doesn't turn completely pure and good, the Big Bad can never be truly destroyed. Oh, sure, you might have put them down for this episode/game/movie/series, but the next time the world's malice builds up again, they'll be right Back from the Dead.

In essence, the Big Bad is The Heartless for all of mankind. They typically weave the revelation into their Final Speech, just before the hero puts them down.

While this usually doesn't mean much from a story standpoint (they're still dead), it can make for a rather Bittersweet Ending - the heroes went through all that... and for what? If the heroes are really unlucky, the Balance Between Good and Evil will demand that they replace the Big Bad that they just slew.

For the really determined hero who has accepted the fate of fighting this evil, the classic response is, "And so will I." as a challenge to the villain any time, anywhere. Otherwise the only decent reply is The War Has Just Begun. Sometimes, "sealing" the villain provides a technically more long-term solution than killing them. Yeah, they can (and probably will) escape eventually, but it'll take longer than it would to resurrect them.

This trope normally comes after Abstract Apotheosis, in which the character (upon death or other means) uses their self as a form of representation. For example, in the case of the Big Bad becoming this form of hatred (like the Trope Namer Zeromus), this can be appropriately accompanied with a Madness Mantra and/or Badass Boast.

Compare Staying Alive, where the villain doesn't even die. Compare Emotion Eater, which As Long as There Is Evil can be considered a variation of. Contrast As Long as There Is One Man. Compare Inherent in the System and In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves. Likely a God of Evil, Made of Evil, or an Ultimate Evil. See We Will Meet Again for the more prosaic variant. See Evil Only Has to Win Once for the extreme danger a single villain victory poses.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of As Long as There Is Evil include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In the anime adaptation of Chrono Crusade , the Big Bad, Aion, uses this trait to come Back from the Dead after the heroes defeat him—he dies, but there's so much hatred in the area that he instantly rises.
  • The Anime Adaptation of Kirby has the Big Bad Nightmare playing this trope straight, complete with last lines:
    • "True to my name, I am but a dream that lives in your heart. Therefore, I am immortal. For as long as there is fear in your heart, I will someday return."
  • The Great Leviathan's shadow form in Yu-Gi-Oh! is said to be fueled by darkness in the hearts of people. So long as there are those who succumb to their darkness, the Great Leviathan shall never truly die. This is probably a subversion, since the Pharoah responds to this by saying that's crock and that it was actually created by the Orichalcos itself, and then appears to prove that by seemingly vanquishing the Leviathan with his power forever.
    • Done a second time in GX with Darkness/Nightshroud.
  • Chaos, the Biggest of all Bads in the anime version of Sailor Moon, is the malice in the hearts of people across the Universe, given a will of its own.
    • In the manga, it's explicitly stated that light and darkness will always coexist; the darkness needs the light to cast shadows and the light needs the darkness to shine brightly.
  • In Berserk, The Idea Of Evil was born out of mankind's need for suffering. So long as there is suffering, it will go on and on, and considering the current state of the world, it's unlikely it'll disappear anytime soon.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, this is the reason that Madoka's witch form, Kriemhild Gretchen, is so unbeatable. The only way to keep her from absorbing everyone into her Lotus Eater Machine Assimilation Plot barrier-thingy, you would have to rid the world of all misfortune. If there's no misfortune, she'll think the world is already heaven.
    • This trope still applies, because one of the biggest themes in Madoka Magica is that curses will always arise; if one curse is destroyed, that just clears the way for another, possibly more powerful one.
  • Ogudomon from the Digimon franchise.


Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Hellboy: "The Baba Yaga", it's said that Baba Yaga cannot die as long as Mother Russia endures. That said, Hellboy shooting her in the eye does effectively banish her to non-physical realms.
  • Darkseid.
    • Recently, they killed his body, trapped his soul, and made his consciousness explode. Bets are open on how long it takes for him to come back.
  • After the Fantastic Four villain Blastaar gets electrocuted in a Silver Age X-Men story, Cyclops explains "Blastaar's basic energy was - evil! Pure, unadulterated hate! And, wherever men live with hate in their hearts - Blastaar lives there too!" This is not officially one of Blastaar's powers, but since he came back to life without explanation shortly afterwards, Cyke presumably knew what he was talking about. That, or he's a comic book character.
    • A better X-Men example; the Shadow King fits this trope to the letter, especially following the Retcon that he's an ancient demonic being, and not the psychic remains of an evil mutant.
  • At one point Captain Nazi claimed he was some sort of incarnation of Nazism, and as long as someone believed in it, he could never truly die. Which is a bit of an upgrade from being a cut-price evil version of Captain America (comics), as was his previous origin.
  • This is outright said to be one of Mephisto's abilities.
  • Frankenstein is a good version of this. He'll stick around for as long as there's evil in the world...periodically waking up to beat the crap out of it.
  • In Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War, Sinestro makes this boast:

As long as there is life, the universe will never be without fear!


Film[edit | hide]

  • In the movie Legend, Darkness (played by Tim Curry) mutters a textbook speech about "being part" of all of the heroes before dying. His laughing ominous face in the last shot of the movie while the heroes are frolicking in the sunshine indicates that he is correct.
  • In Time Bandits by Terry Gilliam, one piece of the aptly-named Evil, the Made of Evil antagonist, escapes the cleanup crew to afflict the world again. The Supreme Being informs the kid that he must "carry on the fight". The first thing it does is manifest as a roast in his parents' microwave, killing them.
  • The Sith (see below) are especially interesting in that it's suggested that in a world with lots of Jedi, there needs to be precisely two Sith in order to bring "Balance to the Force". mumble mumble quantum supersymmetry mumble...[1]
    • The Sith are an interesting example because they are a group rather than an individual being- no matter how many times the Sith Order is exterminated, it will always rise again because of the seductive appeal of its teachings. This is really obvious in the Expanded Universe, but you can see it a bit in the movies as well.
    • The novelization of Episode III (rather better than the movie) includes an interesting bit of poetry, split between the major sections, about evil and darkness - how it is powerful, and seductive, and can never be defeated because it is everywhere: "The brightest light casts the darkest shadow." But at the end, the piece also points out that "it has a weakness. A single candle flame can hold it back."

Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.

    • Jolee Bindo and Kreia both lampshade this in Knights of the Old Republic by pointing out that no matter what happens, the Sith and Jedi will always return from the brink of extinction and fight each other into near-oblivion.
    • The Darth Bane trilogy actually examines things from the Sith's perspective. In fact, the third book strongly implies that the galaxy needs evil monsters like the Sith in it. Why is that? Well, the Jedi Order becomes stagnant and corrupt without having any Sith to fight. The Jedi end up losing their sense of right and wrong, which results in them doing what is politically expedient and not disturbing any peace as opposed to doing what is right. Everyone else takes on a "It's all about me" mentality, which results in them doing what benefits them as opposed to doing what is right. The Sith bring about change, because nothing holds them back. They take the "It's all about me" mentality to its logical conclusion. They are the ones who exist to show everyone that they need standards, and that there has to be a sense of right and wrong that applies to as many people as possible and not just a different sense of right and wrong for each person.
  • Batman Begins: Ra's Al Ghul cites civilization's cyclic decay into criminality as the reason for the League of Shadows' existence.
  • Dragonheart is one of the rare cases that combines this with As Long as There Is One Man. When Bowen protests that Draco's death is unnecessary since their allies have already taken the castle from Einon, Draco responds that they will never win as long as Einon's evil endures.
  • It seems that as long as fear (especially of him) exists, so will Freddy Krueger. One of the short stories in a collection rolled with this, having Freddy claim that while his primary fuel is fear, other negative emotions (like hatred and resentment) can work just as well. As long as people keep feeling those, he'll never be permanently stopped.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • The Demon Prince in the book Blue Moon Rising.
  • Morgoth in The Silmarillion. "Yet the lies that Melkor, the mighty and the accursed, Morgoth Bauglir, the Power of Terror and of Hate, sowed in the hearts of Elves and Men are a seed that does not die and cannot be destroyed; and ever and anon it sprouts anew, and will bear dark fruit even unto the latest days."
    • This is a running theme in JRR Tolkien's books. As long as darkness persists in the hearts of men, evil "will ever take another shape and grow again." Yet only Men with their Gift of Freedom and power to write their own destinies have any hope of finally redeeming Middle Earth.
  • One of the characters in Cryptonomicon uses this as a time scale for how long he wants his secrets kept.
  • Lord Foul the Despiser, from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. "Despite can never die."
  • Death in Good Omens makes this sort of a speech after other three Horsemen of the Apocalypse have been defeated, although he claims to be necessary for reality, moral judgments irrelevant. War, Famine and Pollution (Pestilence quit around the time penicillin was discovered) are all creations of human beings, and as such will come back soon, but he's been around since long before any of them, and can't be destroyed at all.
    • He also removes himself from the heroes' premises of his own volition; since the end of the world has already effectively been averted at that point he has no incentive to fight anyone.
  • The Gloamglozer gets one of these against Quint in The Edge Chronicles:

The Gloamglozer: "So long as the strong pick on the weak, so long as fear is valued above tenderness, so long as hatred, envy, and mistrust divide the various creatures of the Edge, then I am indestructible!"

  • This was the point of a short story (the name of which escapes me) where people literally build a gigantic bonfire in the Great Plains and burn everything that they hate or that causes them problems. Satan is watching from the sidelines. The protagonist asks him why he's chuckling—surely this marks a new milestone for mankind—and Satan answers something to the effect of: "Can you burn your own heart?"
  • The Serpents from The Death Gate Cycle are like this- they literally are evil, given shape and form by magic gone mad, and will exist for as long as mortals do. Creepily, whenever someone asks who created them (the series' universe was built by a race of Physical Gods who most certainly didn't intend to make the Serpents, so this is a legitimate question), the response is always a whispered "You did".
    • Thankfully, they have good counterparts who are just as eternal.
  • Word of God has already confirmed that the Dark One won't be destroyed at the end of The Wheel of Time - indeed, he probably can't be destroyed.
  • Randall Flagg in The Dark Tower and The Stand. Lampshaded at the end of The Stand when he washes up on the tropical island to, as the chapter title says, close the circle.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The First from Buffy the Vampire Slayer is the first evil to ever be, and will live as long as evil itself does.
    • Likewise, Wolfram & Hart in Angel, like the quote listed above. Though, according to Illyria, they existed in her time as well but were weak then, and as such might be technically destructible entities that simply draw power from humanity's evil rather than being created by it.
      • Though even if the Wolf, Ram, and Hart (the "Senior Partners") were killed, it's likely that Wolfram & Hart as an organization would continue to operate.
  • The Beast in Doctor Who:

"I WILL NEVER DIE!!! THE THOUGHT OF ME IS FOREVER, IN THE BLEEDING HEARTS OF MEN, IN THEIR VANITY AND OBSESSIONS AND LUST!!! NOTHING SHALL EVER DESTROY ME!!! NOTHING!!!"

    • Mind you, shortly after this, he gets tossed into a black hole by Rose.
  • In the Tokusatsu series Garo, the monsters are "horrors", creatures born from the darkness in men's souls. Since there will always be darkness in Man (some yin-yang Hand Wave), there will always be horrors, and therefore there must always be Makai Knights to fight them.
  • The Twilight Zone episode "He's Alive" was perhaps the most notable TV version of this. In it, a young American fascist is guided by the ghost of Adolf Hitler. As part of the the usual end-of-episode narration, Rod Serling states that he will continue to exist as long as hate exists.
  • Ultraman Ace villain Yapool in modern incarnations (such as Ultraman Mebius) has this. He's been stopped or killed 3 times over the series. How long it takes him to recover each time he's been killed varies from a few months to almost 20 years.
  • Chaotica, villain of the Captain Proton holodeck "show" in Star Trek: Voyager, claimed this when he was defeated and killed. The character was basically a love letter to over-the-top villain tropes, so this isn't surprising.
  • In Twin Peaks, Albert invokes this trope in a monologue he gives shortly after the initial defeat of the series' Big Bad BOB.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Variation: the Backstreet Boy's song "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" claims "As long as there be music we'll be coming back again."
    • What, that's not evil?
      • You've never heard their music, then.
  • Naturally, Voltaire's song "When You're Evil":

While there's children to make sad,
While there's candy to be had,
While there's pockets left to pick,
While there's grannies left to trip down the stairs,
I'll be there, I'll be waiting round the corner

  • While being burned in a coffin, the protagonist of King Diamond's Conspiracy makes a dying promise:

Whenever the dark is near, I will return from the grave to haunt you...


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The various Warp-entities in Warhammer 40,000 are formed from the thoughts and desires and emotions of living creatures in the Materium, or the "real" world. Since these daemons are literally formed of pure thought and emotion, they cannot be truly killed, and instead only banished back to the warp. The Chaos Gods, in particular, are extremely powerful warp-entities who feed off of the various emotions of humans and other living beings—but, in a subversion, it's not just the negative ones. Hope powers Tzeentch, god of ambition; bravery for Khorne, god of war and violence; love for Slaanesh, god of pleasure; and endurance for Nurgle, god of disease and pestilence. All part of the Crapsack World.
    • Not entirely true. Warp daemons can be killed, if hit with a powerful enough mystical attack capable of shredding them into their component bits of soulstuff. Gregor Eisenhorn manages this against a daemonhost in the second volume of his trilogy. In addition, the anti-psyker abilities of a powerful enough souless Blank can deal permanent harm to the entirely warp-based form of a daemon.
      • But the Chaos Gods themselves are either far too powerful to be destroyed by anyone other than a Chaos god, or one of the lesser gods that aren't mentioned specifically. Of course that comes at the price of not being able to manifest themselves in the material world and needing to send their greater demon avatars and lesser demons as well as using worshipers to spread their will.
    • Notably the Necrons (Undead Robots in Space) have a plan here. If the existence of the chaos gods is perpetuated by all of the hopes, dreams, desires, and everything that makes sentient life sentient, the logical method for the removal of the threat of Chaos is to simply exterminate all life everywhere. For obvious reasons, the other races aren't too keen on this plan, but at least they have one.
      • Not exactly. The Necrons serve the C'tan (Star Gods), who want to eat sentient life. And you can't eat life if you just slaughter it all. The Ct'ans' plan appear to be to sever the Materium's connection to the Warp, thereby preventing Chaos from entering the "real world", but turning all sentient life into basically domesticated cows.
        • Technically, it's the souls they are after, and having their Mecha-Mooks do the job for them simply saves them the effort of killing them off themselves. The only reason they sealed themselves off inside the Tomb Worlds was because food had become too scarce, and they probably knew they would have to let life in the galaxy recover before they could go get another snack of delicious souls.
        • Technically it's not souls what they're after (souls are warp presenses of living beings. The C'tan are some form of energy beings with no connection to the warp at all so they cannot eat souls), but some vaquely-defined "life energy".
  • The same of course applies to Warhammer Fantasy Battle. And some of The Undead (actual undead this time) also have a plan, essentially the reverse of the C'tan's idea. They intend to convert all mortals into undead, thus starving Chaos of emotions to feed upon.
  • The Rakshasa demons in the Eberron campaign setting are like this. It has been canonically stated that as soon as one is killed, a new Rakshasa springs into existence somewhere else.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • In the survival horror game Alan Wake, the main villain Barbara Jagger says right before you destroy it by sticking a lightswitch into its chest... yes, this troper was also going through a WTF moment with that... says "I will find a new face to wear, new bones to set me free!"
    • Not to mention at the end it shows that the dark presence DID find a new face to wear, Agent Nightingale's face.
  • The trope name comes from the dying speech of Zeromus in Final Fantasy IV: "As long as there is evil in the hearts of men I will continue..."
  • In Final Fantasy X, the entire Yevon religion tells the people of Spira that Sin was created as punishment for wrongs done by people a thousand years ago. Until they completely repent for everything done wrong, Sin will eventually return after every defeat and cause more suffering. Subverted in that this is all a lie and Spira is doomed to an endless cycle of Calm and rebirth of Sin as far as the higher ups are concerned. The only known method of killing it requires the summoner to sacrifice a close friend and cause said friend to become a summoned beast powerful enough to kill it, but the summoned will kill the summoner and eventually become the next Sin.
  • If you get a bad ending in Splatterhouse 3, the Terror Mask mockingly informs you, "I feed on human suffering. So long as humans feel pain, I will exist!" Get the good ending, however, and it doesn't even get to mock you before dying.
  • Dracula constantly gives this speech in the Castlevania games. However, this trope is subverted when he implies he's tired of his role in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. This weariness is what probably leads to his (as of yet undepicted) final defeat in 1999. The Balance Between Good and Evil is having a hard time finding someone as evil as he was, and tries to recruit his Reincarnation in the Sorrow games. If Soma rejects his previous life, then Alucard muses that while an Evil King may be inevitable, free will means that it doesn't have to be one particular person.
    • Of course, because of that, Soma seems to be getting roped into playing "Whack-a-Mole" with all the wanna-be candidates for Dracula's old position. Since he's prime candidate, they all seem to want to kill him to prove how bad they are.
      • Well, the price for getting out of being the Evil King couldn't be cheap.
      • And the Balance Between Good and Evil is gonna have an even harder time now, because Soma and co. keep killing the candidates! And the candidates kill themselves and each other, too. The sequel novel to Dawn has Orlox as the main villain, and Death is after his head!
    • Some people prefer the bad ending, because Somacula "tragically feels right".
    • In Order Of Ecclesia, Barlowe's true goal is to use Dominus in order to bring back Dracula, since he "reasons" that because he keeps coming back, that is Mankind's true dream.
  • Subverted in the flash game Malapa's Challenge, where at least two different villains start to give this speech... then are banished from our reality anyway. Apparently, having a direct line to cosmic forces doesn't help all that much.
    • The speeches were slightly more inspired by Humans Are the Real Monsters than As Long as There Is Evil; since they view humans primarily as evil in nature, the dark gods feel that they will always have a leg up when dealing with mankind. (As they are immortal, there will always be evil, but that also means that there will always be good as well.) It was also to try to instill into the main character that he was alone in the fight, since there were hordes of monsters and a bunch of bosses, yet not another light god would bother to fight along side him. Once more, this was a subversion as well, since there are two instances of light gods intervening after boss fights, one actually interrupting the "You are completely alone" speech; even Zeus has to give him a speech about how he is not alone at the end of the game. Needless to say, many things that the dark gods told Malapa were Mind Screws that were going to be explored in the latter games, as well as why some of the gods were acting very out of character. (Too bad they never happened...)
  • Video game example: Nyx from Persona 3, which is the Anthropomorphic Personification of death and therefore cannot die—the heroes are forced to seal it away again to keep it from destroying the world, knowing full well it may return later if any more meddling Nietzsche Wannabes come along and try to re-summon it.
    • In The Answer, the new chapter for Persona 3: FES, it's revealed that the seal isn't to protect mankind from Nyx, but to protect Nyx from the desire of death that called Nyx down (Erebus the death monster) -- she truly doesn't wish to destroy the world, and is even happy when the heroes defeated her in The Journey (the original storyline). But as long as humanity desires death, Erebus will exist forever.
      • This trope seems to be a recurring theme of the Persona series—Nyarlathotep in Persona 2, Nyx and Erebus in Persona 3, Ameno-Sagiri and Izanami in Persona 4...
        • Actually subverted with Izanami, as she promises to leave humanity alone, having completed her 'experiment'; she just can't promise that humanity won't try to deceive itself again, which could re-summon her.
    • The Nyx example really does happen as in the original game, an optional Snow Queen sidequest that has the "Night Queen" try to use people in order to set her free so she can freeze everyone alive in statues and live under an eternal night. A variant of The Fall actually was in the very first game. THAT'S planning.
  • Harkening back to the Zeromus speech, we have Odio's speech at the end of Live a Live. As the heroes kill off his various incarnations throughout the time stream, he asks why he can never win, as his reason for becoming Odio to begin with was that he had lost everything, and wanted stupid humans to know his pain and see the error in waiting for heroes to fix everything. The chapter's main character informs him that he lost because he gave up his humanity and hated humans, even though he was originally a human himself. Coming to his senses, he delivers a stern warning to the main characters before dying.

Odio: "As long as there is hatred, anyone can become a demon."

    • He also gives a longer speech before the final Boss Rush:

Odio: "Even if I'm beaten... I'll keep on living... You must know... The meaning of Odio! It is.... From ancient times.... Until the distant future! In eras of peace.... And eras of war! In all places! And all eras! The impetus of all conflict! The eternal sentiment that will continue as long as humans exist... Its name is.... Hatred.... It is Odio!"

  • Deathevan, the Big Bad of Breath of Fire II, feeds off of the darkness in human souls. In the end, it is explicitly stated that this means Deathevan can never truly be killed, and so protagonist Ryu decides to transform into a dragon and seal the gate to the underworld in the hopes of thwarting his inevitable emergence. Depending on whether or not certain conditions are fulfilled, Ryu will either do so, much to everyone's dismay, or his father Ganer will crash the flying Township down on the gate, sealing it permanently, after which he delivers a speech telling Ryu that if he can eliminate hate and despair from the world, Deathevan will never be able to return.
  • From Gradius 3:

Bacterian: "I was born out of the greediness of mankind. While men exist, so will I!"

  • In the first game in the Fire Emblem series, the dragon Medeus claims he gains strength from the evil in mankind when Marth defeats him.
    • In Fire Emblem : Seisen no Keifu, Yurius, aka the human vessel of Earth Dragon Loptous, spouts basically the same speech to Celice if he's the one who defeats him ("As long as greed exists in men's hearts, I will return!"). It's no coincidence, as per All There in the Manual, Jugdral and Akaneia share the same universe, and Galle, Yurius's ancestor, during his long travels around the world, happened to visit Akaneia and formed a pact with Loptous, an evil member of the Dragon Tribe, by drinking his blood.
  • In Nights: Journey of Dreams, Wizeman makes this claim in the "regular" endings.

Wizeman: I am the creator of Nightmare... As long as darkness exists in the hearts of humans, then I, and the nightmares, will never be destroyed...

    • In the special ending (where he doesn't say this), it takes a Heroic Sacrifice on the part of Nights to finish him off. Of course, as it's implied that Nights is still alive, it's possible that Wizeman is Not Quite Dead.
  • In the MMO City of Villains, spirits must be anchored to a person to remain in the physical world. Except for Ghost Widow, who is bound not to a single person, but the very concept of the Arachnos organization, and will continue to exist as a villain so long as there's even a single person identifying themselves as an Arachnos.
  • They may have given a separate trope its name, but The Heartless count for this trope too. Yen Sid says it himself in Kingdom Hearts II: so long as darkness exists in people's hearts, the Heartless will continue to spawn. They've been reduced to more of a nuisance due to the events of the first game, but they still have the potential to rise.
    • Inverted in the first game, as at the climax, Sora states that even the greatest Darkness had to contain a spark of light that could never be extinguished. So, As Long as There Is Evil, there is Good.
    • At the end of Riku's story in "Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories" Ansem states that he can return using his darkness that he gave to Riku. In the final battle in "Kingdomhearts358/2Days" he's proven right.
  • Schwarz, the Big Bad of Tales of Legendia, makes this claim as well, though she appears to be more of a manifestation of entropy.
  • YHWH, trademark Big Bad of the Shin Megami Tensei series, will exist in his current form for eternity as long as at least one human being believes in him as a true god. Since the god and goddesses are supposed to reincarnate after a while, this is problematic for the universe at large.
  • Gods in Sacrifice cannot truly die—their divine essence will reform them sooner or later into a similar role, due to the fact that, being gods, they're intrinsically bound to the land and its people. Their current personality and name, however, disappear with the current incarnation—what comes back isn't precisely the entity that disappeared.
  • The Super Robot Wars Big Bad Dark Brain is pretty much stated to be immortal and having unlimited power until all negative emotions in all of existence are removed. Yeah, good luck with that.
  • Parodied and lampshaded in Mana Khemia: Alchemists of Al-Revis as the motive for Flay's so-called Start of Darkness. Don't worry, he was just a Large Ham.

"If evil disappears, so will the hero. But if evil lives..."

  • Gnarl, of Overlord, seems to believe that no matter what happens, there will always be someone to take up the mantle of Evil Overlord, restoring evil to the world. The games do support his point.
    • Of course since 'Good' is even worse then 'Evil' in the games, due to it being a Crapsack World, this isn't that bad.
  • In the Mata Nui Online Game, according to him at least, Makuta is the essence of destruction, and that he is inside anyone, no matter how innocent, as long as they have the capability of destruction. Oddly enough, he never says evil; he instead says that he is destruction.
  • The Grey Wardens managed to find a way around this during the First Blight in the backstory of Dragon Age, but if you don't have a Grey Warden handy then you can never actually kill an Archdemon.
  • Knight-Commander Meredith uses this line as justification for her stonewalling the election of a new viscount at the opening scene in Act III of Dragon Age II.
  • In Cave Story, the Demon Crown will always reform itself no matter how many times it's destroyed. If you take out the source of its power, however....
  • Zophar in Lunar 2 is a textbook example of this trope.
  • Julius from Sword of Mana has a variant which he claims upon death. As long as there is Mana power in the world, he (or rather, Vandole) will always be reborn. The thing is, he destroyed the Mana Tree in order to go One-Winged Angel, so he actually won't be reborn unless the world is so dependant on Mana that the heroes are willing to sacrifice the heroine to make a new one. It is, and they are. What's more, Julius himself doesn't believe the world needs Mana, which might just change the meaning of his last words to "I won't come back unless you humans are stupid enough to give me a reason to return", making it a more accurate example of this trope.
  • In the Elder Scrolls series the Daedra, most of whom are evil or amoral enough to be perceived as such, are almost impossible to truly destroy. They are manifestations of the primal forces of reality so even if their avatar was somehow destroyed, a new avatar would form to take their place. The best anyone can do is shatter their link to the mortal realm and banish them back into Oblivion.
  • Hinted at in the King's Quest game guides and Expanded Universe material as to why misfortunes seem to target Daventry's royal house. The Fan Sequel The Silver Lining states this explicitly.
  • In the LittleBigPlanet 2 story mode, right before you fight the final battle against the Negativitron, he states one of these.

Negativitron: "You can never truly defeat me! I am in all of you... I AM all of you!"

  • In Adventure Quest Worlds, the main boss of the Fear Chaser event is a gigantic entity called FEAR, who, as his name suggests, is a personification of fear. The reason he exists is because fear is a part of life. From the dialogues gathered in the cutscenes before and after defeating him, he will always exist because most people need fear for said reason.

FEAR: From the first moment the first creature appeared, it was afraid. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of starving... afraid of dying. Life IS fear. Fear can swallow even the bravest of heroes. Even the mighty Fear Chaser knows she can never truly destroy me.

  • The Dark Genie in Dark Cloud. It flat out tells you it has no physical form, and that its defeat means nothing, as it will always be brought into existence so long as there is hate. Because it exists outside of time, it will have always been going to be created.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

Ninja Boss: Fighter, you have one this battle but there is one rule for the univarse and that rule is that there is always more ninja!

    • ...Prompting Fighter, in true Idiot Hero fashion, to say...

Fighter: Oh yeah sneaky naninja boss? Well I happen to know another rule of the infinite univarse! And that rule is that there is always more swords to kill ninjas with!! I don't know what that means but it is teh truth!


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Blood Red King, the Anthropomorphic Personification of Anger, Cruelty, Violence, and Fear in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, has been killed numerous times since he first appeared in the late 1970s. But as long as there are people being angry or cruel, causing violence or causing fear, he always springs back up shortly thereafter, fresh as a daisy.
  • This is how Cancer survives at the end of When the Puppy gets Lucky. As long as there is cigarette smokers, Chimio will be unable to finally kill it.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Thundercats: "So long as evil exists... Mumm-Ra lives!"
  • Unicron in Transformers. It's outright stated in Transformers Armada that he'll exist as long as hate exists (and the Autobot-Decepticon war is mighty good eatin.') he doesn't actually need to eat planets; that's just because of a personal vendetta against existence itself. It appears on the surface that he's doing all that eating out of hunger, but no. He just wants to be really alone, and has the planet-sized balls to do something about it.
  • Xiaolin Showdown, throughout the series and especially at the ending. Master Fung always implies that evil is never defeated, but merely changes its path.
  • G.I. Joe: Subverted in the "Cobra's Creatures" episode. At the end of the episode, the Joes do their usual thing; Storm the castle, defeat the Mooks, and capture that episode's Dragon of the week. In the aftermath of the battle, Scarlet asks if Cobra Commander got away. Spirit replies,

Spirit: Yes, but in a sense it matters little. There will always be evil. And evil men.
Scarlet: Yeah. Good thing there'll always be us Joes.

  • Invoked in X-Men. Beast ponders whether or not Apocalypse, as a personification of evil, can truly be destroyed or if a new evil will simply take Apocalypse's place. Cable just replies that he doesn't care.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures of all things, states that the universal balance means there will always be a great evil and destroying one only brings about another. The best you can hope for is Sealed Evil in a Can.
  • In the Justice League episode "Hawk and Dove", Ares declares "as long as there is prejudice, ignorance, inequality, I'll be there."


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Natural hazards are this to an extent: as long as there is solar energy, there will be tornadoes and hurricanes; as long as there is vertical slopes, mass movements will occur; as long as oxygen exists, forest fires will continue; as long as radioactive decay continues to warm up the earth's core; earthquakes will keep shaking, etc.
    • As long as there is life, there will be conflict.
      • Much like the trope, only one thing can truly end the chaos of reality: To remove the source of that chaos, energy. When the heat-death of the universe arrives, all will exist in perfect harmony.
  1. More like if there were more than two Sith, the unaffilated ones would kill each other off anyways.