Heel Face Turn

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The Grinch before (above) and after (below) a wondrous change of heart.


"Oh, hey, Grandpa, it's that guy who kidnapped your soul and then tried to kill me! But now he's our friend!"
—Yugi talking about Pegasus; Yu-Gi-Oh: Bonds Beyond Time The Abridged Movie


In Professional Wrestling, an evil wrestler (a "Heel") sometimes has a change of heart and becomes good, thereby becoming a "babyface". The term for this is "Heel Face Turn." Magazines and other promotional material from the various wrestling leagues comment on various wrestlers' changes in alignment nearly as frequently as they actually cover events in the ring themselves.

It doesn't just happen in Professional Wrestling, either. In other genres, it means "bad guy turns good." This usually makes for a good plot, for three reasons:

  1. It lets them reintroduce the villain as a "darker, edgier" hero.
  2. It reinforces a desired notion of the inherent goodness within people.
  3. It prevents the Worthy Opponent from falling victim to a Senseless Waste of Human Life.

An encounter with The Messiah, Turn the Other Cheek, a Pet the Dog moment, An Aesop, Deliver Us From Evil, Slap Slap Kiss, spending quality time with one's Morality Pet, discovering that Machiavelli Was Wrong and Being Evil Sucks, Becoming the Mask as The Mole because Good Feels Good, an Opinion-Changing Dream, an Enemy Mine situation leading to Fire Forged Friendship, or undergoing a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal from an abusive Big Bad superior can all cause a villain to reconsider his or her evil ways.

Sadly, all too frequently Redemption Equals Death... (if there's any redeeming to be had) and when it doesn't, someone still needs to draw that "Get Out of Jail Free" Card.

On the other hand, the bad guy may reject their chance at turning over a new leaf altogether, in which case it's Redemption Rejection.

The many reasons and the probability for a turn are listed in the Sorting Algorithm of Face Heel Turning. A very common fate for a female character in any evil group. But beware, some authors knows the stereotypes of Heel Face Turning and will subvert it willingly.

Compare the Reverse Mole, who is secretly working for the good guys all along. The inverse of Face Heel Turn. May be the result of a person that was Evil All Along. When someone who doesn't care one way or the other is forced to fight they become Neutral No Longer.

This is the opposite of a Face Heel Turn and is generally found in stories with Black and White Morality. It has two subtropes: Heel Face Brainwashing, more or less the opposite of Brainwashed and Crazy, and High Heel Face Turn. See also Mook Face Turn when the bad guy doing it is a Mook, and Heel Race Turn when an entire faction does it.

Since it is too subjective to proclaim that someone has joined the "light side" in real life, No Real Life Examples, Please.

Examples of Heel Face Turn include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • At least one major villain or rival (but usually more) per season in Yu-Gi-Oh! and Yu-Gi-Oh! GX; balanced by the fact that the opposite is none too rare, either.
    • As stated above, Pegasus from the original series allied with the protagonists following his defeat, and the theft of his Millennium Eye by the evil spirit of the Millennium Ring, a.k.a. Yami Bakura. Also, the Heel Face Turn only happens in the anime; in the manga, Yami Bakura kills Pegasus when he takes his eye.
  • Char Aznable in Zeta Gundam. Of course, this reverses into a Face Heel Turn.
    • Emma Sheen pulls one off pretty early, as well.
  • In the Sailor Moon anime, the Ayakashi Sisters, Amazoness Quartet, and Professor Tomoe have Heel Face Turns and survive. Nephrite, Saphir, and Prince Demand have them and do not. The Amazon Trio have an odd in-between case, "dying" on Earth but getting to go live in Elysion (the world of dreams) rather than the afterlife.
  • There are several Heel and Face turns in Gundam Seed. Loyalties and what one fights for are driving themes for the entire series, in fact.
  • Amiboshi and Yui from Fushigi Yuugi.
  • Touga in the manga adaptation of Revolutionary Girl Utena.
  • Happens frequently in Slayers:
    • Zelgadis' two henchmen Zolf and Rodimus in the first season, as well as Rezo. Zelgadis is also established as a villain early on, but the Spoiler Opening notes his turn ahead of time.
    • Zangulus and Martina in the second season (they even end up together romantically!)
    • Jillas in the third.
    • Duclis manages to come around by the end of the fourth, although he becomes more of The Atoner. The manga adaptation plays this straight, though. And due to his entirely different role in the novels, this never occurs there.
  • Digimon has one every year, often used to switch plot arcs partway: Season 1 has Gatomon, Season 2 has Ken, Season 3 has Beelzemon (Beelzebumon), Season 4 has Kouichi, and Season 5 has Keenan.
    • Season 3 also has Yamaki (the Hypnos guy), who functions as the initial main villain of the series, goes from being defined by his hatred of the "Wild Ones" to a staunch ally and sympathetic behind-the-action helper. There is also Antylamon, one of the Devas working for Zhuqiaomon, and Zhuqiaomon himself (the second main antagonist of the series).
    • There's also the manga: For instance, V-Tamer has Alias 3 and Neo Saiba, all four, do Heel Face Turns.
    • Digimon Next has Shou Kahara and Murmuxmon.
    • Season 1 also had Ogremon.
    • Season 4 also had Cherubimon and all the corrupted Legendary warriors make Heel Face Turns after their deaths, with their spirits coming back to assist the heroes in the final battle.
    • Season 5 also has Nanami and Ivan at the end
    • Nene, Kiriha, and Yuu from Season 6. The rival hunters from it's sequel also eventually pull one off.
  • Used twice in Naruto's "Land of Waves" arc. Traitorous ninja Zabuza and his androgynous young henchman Haku, whom he habitually mistreats, have been hired by gangster Gato to stop the Land of Waves villagers from building a bridge that will be economically vital to their island. Naruto and his friends are sent to make sure the bridge gets built. When Haku seems to kill Sasuke, Naruto swears Revenge until he learns of Haku's tragic past, which calms him down (besides, Haku made sure that Sasuke is Not Quite Dead). Then, Haku does a Heroic Sacrifice to save Zabuza, and the rogue ninja's guilt over his abuse of his dead partner causes him to Freak-Out; Zabuza switches sides, killing Gato before getting killed himself.
    • It's better than that! Haku dies nobly and Zabuza is unfeeling about it, and Naruto in the middle of a freaking ninja battle, freaks out at him about how much Haku cared and how wrong this is, until the Demon of the Mist turns around slowly...and there are tears running down his cheeks.

Zabuza: That's enough, kid...you don't have to say any more.

    • Twice in the "Land of Waves" arc, but far more frequently later. Hyuga Naji, who is half-inspired by Naruto's (an obvious The Messiah) victory into rethinking his fatalistic Jerkass-itude and goes on to claim that Naruto saved him. Or Gaara, who is so stunned by Naruto's empathy and suckerpunch, that he stops living to kill people and begins living to help people, enough to become the Kazekage!
      • Gai and Lee were important to this process, too.
    • After the Time Skip, Naruto manages to get his most powerful Evil Counterpart, the Physical God Pain/Nagato, to pull off a Redemption Equals Death by bringing back to life the people who died in his invasion of Konoha.
    • Hell, a recent chapter had a SWORD pull one.
      • The sword didn't really go from bad to good, it was just helping the good guy for its own benefit. Plus, it seems to be with the bad guy again anyway. But now that its original owner has been Killed Off for Real...
  • Dragon Ball practically built its cast this way. By the end of the series, most of the heroes are former villains; it's easier to list the characters who didn't try to kill or at least beat Goku up when they met him than otherwise. For that matter, Goku himself had a Backstory heel-face turn, when his inherent Saiyan nature was subverted by a blow to the head. It took Vegeta the longest to fully turn, and he actually turned all the way back to heel right before it happened.
  • Ayaka Steiger in Kurau Phantom Memory turns from the main bad chasing the protagonists to their biggest ally after discovering that her boss ordered the murder of her father.
  • Nearly every villain in Kero Kero Chime. In fact, in a bizarre and random musical sequence in the last episode, Demon King Bao, the Sealed Evil in a Can who turns out to be the true reason most of the Hebizoku and Kaeruzoku disappeared 10 years ago, as he took them with him upon being banished, reveals that he's completely reformed, and he and his former enemies like being Trapped In Another World, as it's allowed them to become such great friends.
  • This happens in Kinnikuman. A LOT. To the point where at least 3 Big Bads and 2 Dragons have done. Ironically, two have gone to do Face Heel Turns in the sequel series, Kinnikuman Nisei, which features even MORE Heel Face Turns.
    • Considering that the series is based on pro wrestling this is only appropriate.
  • Practically every sympathetic villain Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha does this. To put it in perspective, the only non-new good guy that got screen time in the third Season who didn't start out as a villain in one way or another is Nanoha herself.
    • A case could be made for Chrono, Lindy and Yuuno, but they barely appear.
  • Princess Tutu has several characters who follow this trope. In the first season, it's Fakir (sort of) and Edel. And towards the end of the series Rue discovers that the Raven is not her true father, and risks her life to save Mytho.
  • Skyers 5 used this trope to good effect.
  • Rokudo Mukuro in Katekyo Hitman Reborn, but it only half counts because his Heel Face Turn coincides with his possession of Chrome Dokuro's body
  • In D.Gray-man, General Cross can turn Akuma good. This isn't perfect; they have trouble rejecting explicit orders from the Millennium Earl. To compensate, Cross has these Akuma rigged to self-destruct instead of killing people.
    • And then there's poor what's-his-name, turned into a death-headed servant of darkness. And Suman, who Allen gave so much, pointlessly, to drag back. And poor, poor, broken Alma Karma.
    • Possibly Kanda, if you squint at his character arc right. Is he still dead?
    • Apparently maybe Road Kamelot?
    • We got some kind of Heel Face Tease for Tikki Myk, back when Allen was supposed to have removed the evil from him. Yeah, that didn't work.
    • And, uh, Allen. Incipiently. Though does it really count if it's an Enemy Within?
    • It's hard to even spot the Faces in this series!
  • Pixy Misa in Magical Project S. Considering her concept, it was pretty much inevitable.
  • The Big Bad of Mahoromatic's first season becomes a reluctant hanger-on in the second.
    • Ryuga wasn't really a Big Bad, but a rival to Mahoro. Difference is motivation. A better example of this is Minawa from the second season, who is The Mole until her turn She realizes she has a heart after she lured Mahoro to Management's fortress, using Suguru as bait. A heart (ability to have emotions) was the prize the real Big Bads dangled in front of her. She didn't realize she'd get one through The Power of Love, simply by staying with Mahoro and Suguru. She is then instrumental in freeing Mahoro from the trap she herself lured Mahoro into. This also catalyzes the end of the series, as it cuts Mahoro's life short, well short of the original deadline.
  • Code Geass, done by Orange boy, Jeremiah Gottwald.
    • Actually it pretty much happens to everyone. Schneizel leaves Britannia and makes up his own rebel side, the Black Knights join him, along with all Knights of the Round except Suzaku, which him joining Lelouch could be considered a Heel Face Turn anyways. Of course this being Geass this could be a Face Heel Turn depending on how if you believe the new Britannian emperor is an Anti-Hero or an Anti-Villain. Really after Shirley's death there are no good side or bad side, just a bad side, and an even worse side.
      • Lelouch was only going through with The Zero Requiem, in which he purposely tried to be the worst person in the world, but really had good intentions. I would say that seems at least a little better than Schneizel's plan to bombard the world with nuclear missiles.
  • Scar and Lust both have one in the first Fullmetal Alchemist anime, however in both cases Redemption Equals Death, as Scar is killed protecting the citizens of Lior, his last act being to save Alphonse, while Lust was killed by Wrath as she tried to help Edward save his brother. Scar and Greed have one in the manga, with both surviving so far.
    • Manga over now: Scar does survive, and is recruited to rebuild the Ishvalan civilization and religion (he was a Warrior Priest, you know). Greed did die though, after realizing that The Power of Friendship was what he wanted all along, being re-absorbed by Father, and attacking him from inside.
    • Also, arguably, Wrath from the movie, Conqueror of Shambala, who leads Alphonse to Amestris Central City so he can open a portal to Earth, and also fights the other remaining homunculus besides himself, Gluttony. But again, Redemption Equals Death, since Wrath willingly sacrifices himself so Alphonse can open the portal, though he says himself all his wants to do is see his mother again in the afterlife.
  • Sesshoumaru in Inuyasha went from a human-hating emotionless jerk who wanted to kill his own brother to a fiercely protective sibling and mentor after taking in a (very cute) orphaned human girl and having to rely on InuYasha's help after she's kidnapped, proving to Sesshomaru that he was wrong about InuYasha and joining his team.
  • Bad Bird in Samurai Pizza Cats who joins up with the good guys after a speech from Speedy saying that if Bad Bird helps Cheese win, everyone in Little Tokyo dies, including Bad Bird's girlfriend.
  • Rocket from Ginga Densetsu Weed starts off as one of Hougen's spies but after about 3 episodes, he becomes one of the nicest dogs in Weed's pack.
  • Pretty much all the villains in Shugo Chara. Yuu Nikaidou was a case of Defeat Means Friendship after Amu foiled his plan to create an Embryo, which is the MacGuffin of the series. Kairi Sanjo was convinced by Amu to do his Heel Face Turn in a The Power of Friendship/The Power of Love moment. Utau Hoshina realized she didn't want to sing to ruin people's dreams, but that she wanted to sing to make people happy. Yukari Sanjo was more or less another case of Defeat Means Friendship. And the latest villain, Lulu, seems to be succumbing to The Power of Friendship.
  • Adette Kistler from Overman King Gainer joins the Exodus once she is forced to stay in the city units for a while. She eventually even takes command of her own group of fighters.
  • Creed from Black Cat does this in the anime, though this was not present at all in the manga. Which makes it all the weirder why they decided to make him more perverted and depraved than in the manga.
  • Viral from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann goes from being the hero's rival to being The Lancer. Lordgenome himself also "joins," but in this case it's just a bio-computer whose core is his disembodied head. He does later regain his full memory, though, and fights alongside the heroes in the final battle.
  • Loads of villains in Fairy Tail go through this. You can count on at least one Heel Face Turn per every major arc, and sometimes it happens to most of the current enemy team. Sometimes this is due to The Power of Friendship. Sometimes due to the villains being not that villainous to begin with, simply misguided or deceived.
    • And then there was the Fake Defector. We were all totally pulling for him, too!
  • In Claymore, Isley does this during the timeskip when he was living with Priscilla and Raki. Too bad the audience only finds out right before his death.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, A-LAWS members Kati Mannequin and Patrick Colasour vanished after the Time Skip. Then they come back under the Katharon to help the Celestial Being attacking the A-LAWS, while reciting just how corrupted the A-LAWS is, the reason of their defection.
  • Now and Then, Here and There has two of these: Lala Ru and Abelia
  • Umezawa Masahiko in Hajime no Ippo, turns from a bully who constantly picked on Ippo to a faithful fan. However, Umezawa has one of the best character developments in the show.
  • Fresh Pretty Cure has Setsuna Higashi/Eas defecting from Labyrinth, undergoing a Disney Death, and in the process becoming Cure Passion, Fourth Ranger to the girls—all in episode 23. At the end of the series, her ex-comrades Westar and Soular join her on the side as good as well, also suffering a Disney Death when it happens.
  • In Rave Master, this happens more often than not, Julius, Shuda, Let and Lazenby all making prompt turns after losing to Haru or others. Also notable are King, Jegan and Captain Hardner, who make Heel-Face Turns the exact moment before they die. And then there's the case of Reina, who makes a Heel Face Turn but then undergoes a Heroic Sacrifice afterwards.
  • Lupin III has Goemon, who provides one of the most downright efficient and drama-free turns ever. When first introduced, Goemon is an all-business samurai who has declared that he alone is worthy of killing Lupin. They duel a couple of times, both times ending in a stalemate. Their final confrontation ends with Lupin chasing Goemon in half a car. Realizing the absurdity of the entire situation, the two of them begin laughing and hugging like a couple of old drinking buddies. The episode ends there, and from the next episode on, Goemon is a dedicated member of Lupin's gang.
  • In Moon Phase, Elfriede breaks free from her servitude to her vampire father and joins the main cast in their hunt against the bad vampires whilst remaining a vampire herself.
  • One Piece does this a lot. Nami, Robin, and Franky all did this to varying degrees.
    • Nami did a double High Heel Face Turn, posing as a pirate hating thief, while being a pirate, then joining Luffy after he kicked the crap out of Arlong.
    • Robin played a Dark Mistress to Hook Hand until doing a High Heel Face Turn.
    • Franky beats up Usopp before joining the crew, but since that happens like every day, it might not be enough to qualify him as a bad guy at first...
      • It was; only the Straw Hat Pirates can beat up the Straw Hat Pirates and not earn a Roaring Rampage of Revenge in retaliation, and only the Admirals have enough power to get away with it. Furthermore, it's a case of Kick the Dog in that case, rather than Amusing Injuries.
    • Several villains experience this as well to varying degrees. Buggy, while still evil, became more caring for his crew after his defeat. Hatchan (one of Arlong's subordinates,) Bon Clay and Mister 3 (of Baroque Works) both showed up again much later to become an ally of the Straw Hats; even the arrogant leader of Baroque Works, Crocodile eventually allies himself to Luffy in his escape from Impel Down, and though dismissing it simply as something he's doing because his own convenience, he ends going out of his way to save Luffy from a certain death in the battle of Marineford. Notably, CP9 defects from the World Government after their defeat.
  • Bleach is full of these.
    • And the opposite. Also notable that several characters switch sides without altering their personal moralities at all.
  • Is a defining characteristic of Shaman King, particularly so in the manga. The Messianic hero converts basically all villains to his side, one after another, with his laidback attitude and genuine empathy for their motives. The heel face turn often is so through, it recast the character in a whole new light. Homicidal Chinese boy Tao Len is shown as a proud warrior with a sense of duty, while bully and delinquent Ryū is revealed to be a working-class champion and a road-travel hero.
  • This is all over the place in Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. Almost all the members of the Shinpaku Alliance were originally Kenichi's enemies at some point.
    • This is a Defeat Means Friendship show. Mostly. Exceptions are made for particularly impressive psychos and the lead, who does not betray his principles when defeated. Which is good, because he loses enough early on that it would have become a fascinatingly schizophrenic series if he had.
      • That actually sounds kind of cool. You could set it up a little like Jojo's.
  • In Rosario Plus Vampire, pretty much every girl in Tsukune's Harem, other than Moka, started out trying to kill, control or abuse him. As did their club president, Gin.
  • In Outlaw Star, the evil Anten Seven's leader Hazanko sends elite assassin Shimi (a.k.a Leilong) to eliminate Gene Starwind when he is considered a threat to his plans. Gene faces a much weaker assassin and impostor of the real Shimi but barely wins. The real assassin converses with Gene in a bar as Leilong and you can tell he is thinking about making a serious change in his life while not revealing his true identity as an assassin to Gene. Later on, Leilong engages in a Curb Stomp Battle against Gene and his crew. Gene the last one standing of his crew agrees to a gun duel to the death which has Leilong get "killed" because of his faulty gun. Turns out the whole battle was orchestrated by the assassin to fake his own death, and to leave the Anten Seven. Word of God states that Shimi was actually a Dragon and his power was SECOND to Hazanko's level, so if Shimi didn't have that Heel Face Turn the Outlaw Star crew (who were much weaker at the time) would have been killed off before the hunt for the Galactic Leyline.
  • In the original English language manga Amazing Agent Luna, Timothy Hyatt, upon learning Elizabeth Westbrook is to be killed, switches sides and helps her escape. He later returns to deal with his former partner, Martin Williams.
  • It is unclear when Yuri Nakamura in Angel Beats! made the turn, but there are two very likely candidates. The first is in episode 11 when she orders the SSS to put some serious thought into passing on before the Shadows overtake them like they did Takamatsu. If that doesn't seal the deal, then the climax of episode 12, where she blows those computers to hell that were responsible for the Shadows in the first place definitely does.
    • Kanade Tachibana goes from Type IV Anti-Villain to Woobie very quickly after being deposed from the Student Council. Her subsequent reinstatement at the end of episode 9 can basically be seen as a Heel Face Pirouette, but Yuri quickly starts agreeing with her after one of her own boys gets taken down by the mysterious and malevolent Shadows.
  • At the end of Zettai Muteki Raijin-Oh, Jin's parents convincing the villain's Mook Taida to switch sides turns out to be a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. Later on, Taida's boss actually follows and has a Heel Face Turn of his own.
  • Several characters in Pokémon Special, namely: Sabrina, Koga, Lt. Surge, Blaine and Mewtwo, the Kanto Elite Four (save for Agatha), Will and Karen, Pryce, Courtney, Tabitha, Amber, Deoxys, Cyrus and all the Team Galactic commanders (except for Charon.)
  • Magic Knight Rayearth has a quite few of these, the number of which depending on whether you saw the manga or anime. In the manga and anime, Ascot, Caldina, and Lafarga, who all served Zagato in the first storyline for various reasons (wanting somewhere to belong, money, and mind control, respectively), all do a Heel Face Turn thanks to the Magic Knights. The anime also adds Alcione, Eagle Vision, and Nova to this list. Lantis could probably also be considered a more subtle version of this trope.
  • Yu Yu Hakusho has several of these throughout the series, including (in order of side-changing) Kurama (kinda; he wasn't really evil anyway, at least not within the show's scope), Hiei, Rinku, Chuu, Touya, Jin, Suzuka, Shishiwakamaru (once retconned into surviving his battle with Genkai), and Seaman/Kyoshi Matarai.
    • Plus Yusuke himself, kinda, at the very start. And Yomi, sort of, toward the end.
  • In Negima, Kotaro underwent one of these after the Kyoto arc. More recently, Shiori/Luna seems to be on Negi's side now, although Ala Alba is still certainly suspicious of her. Though now that Fate survived the attempted door slam on his own Heel Face Turn, it's assumed that all of Fate's pactio partners including Shiori have officially switched sides as well.
  • Space Battleship Yamato's Back from the Dead Ensemble Darkhorse Desslok turns good after Wildstar faints of blood loss when trying to challenge him to a duel. Then Nova runs out and, like, shields Wildstar's body with hers, and this somehow makes Desslok turn good faster.
  • In Transformers: The Headmasters, Sixshot turns against the Decepticons at the end, after befriending Daniel in an earlier episode when both were stranded on the planet Daira.
  • Bootsvorz from Future GPX Cyber Formula does this after being betrayed by his evil boss Smith one too many times, he uses his car and drives it through Smith's helicopter, killing him.
  • Trinity Blood has several examples Abel and Tres do this in their backstories. Then is Radu (who has a Heel Realization) in The Iblis ending. Surprisingly Dietrich in the Stories Untold.
  • In Tenshi ni Narumon Mikael, after acting like a nice guy for the majority of the series and then turning into an evil and insane twit, does exactly this. Yes, the boy has issues.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle seems to love this trope. The most noticiable example is Fai, who is revealed to have been working for Fei Wong, but has a change of heart following the events of the Acid Tokyo and Infinity arcs. Xing Huo might count as another example, as she eventually betrays Fei Wong by helping the real Syaoran to escape, and the clone Syaoran also undergoes this transformation durring the Final Battle with Fei Wong. Although, one might say that Fai's was a bit more sucessful than the latter two's...
  • In an inversion of the Moral Event Horizon trope, Haruhi Suzumiya becomes more sympathetic toward the end of the second light novel, Sigh, as well as its anime adaptation following a close brush with Kyon's fist for not only spiking Mikuru's drink and leaving her open to possible rape but also calling her her toy.
  • Zatch Bell has several of these. First Pamoon, Penny, and Byonko in the Ancient Mamodo arc; then Gorm in the King's Festival arc. Pretty much all of Zatch's allies could count due to the nature of the battle, but generally that would be more along the lines of Fire-Forged Friends, Enemy Mine, and in a select few cases, Defeat Means Friendship.
  • Ryoko in Tenchi Muyo! especially the TV Alternate Reality of Tenchi Universe who starts out as a space pirate (Along with Hakubi Washu) who reforms upon falling in love with Tenchi. In the original OVA it turns out she was under a type of mind control.
    • Zero fills the trope much better in the OVA after uhhhhh ... she? betrays Dr Clay because she refuses to follow his orders to kill Tenchi. She later merges with Ryoko.
  • Sasame in Prétear after his earlier Face Heel Turn is seen in the end happily living with Takako. Takako also decides she's had enough and switches sides in the end, it doesn't help much because she's still used by the Big Bad Tree of Fenrir but can't hate her for trying.
  • Soul Eater Crona had changed sides but comes back to the dark side and make things worse Crona kills Medusa and now goes on collecting the kishin.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Batman villainess Catwoman has since reformed and become more of a hero than a villain, often teaming up with Batman on his missions. While this is not a problem as such (many considered it a natural evolution of the character and were happy with it), it was more the sudden Retcon that explained WHY she changed people didn't like: she was mindwiped by Zatanna. Because truly no-one is capable of seeing their faults and trying to make up for it, and only brainwashing will do.
    • The Catwoman of Earth-Two, an alternate universe in The DCU, also turned over a new leaf when she recovered from Amnesia. Horrified she was willing to go to jail for the crimes she had committed. When Batman sprung her from jail to help him, she revealed that she had lied; she had actually chosen to be a villain and then chosen to reform because she realized that it was her only chance for a normal life (whereupon they fell in love, got married, and had a daughter, Huntress).
    • The Riddler also performed a Heel Face Turn, but this too was prompted by amnesia (in Riddler's case, induced by a blow to the head). Additional trauma (from a bomb blast) later returns Riddler to the rogues' gallery.
  • Flash villains the Pied Piper and the Trickster both reformed. The Pied Piper had always been the sort of villain who had stolen money for orphanages. The Trickster had pulled off a Deal with the Devil and escaped, and reformed because he couldn't do anything to top that, and didn't want to go to Hell when he died, after his trick. A recent apparent Face Heel Turn was actually an attempt to pull off a Fake Defector trick—which turned tragic when they appeared to be in on the death of Bart Allen, the Flash. The Trickster is now dead, but the Pied Piper is facing Reformed but Rejected,
    • Also Shade (still kinda a jerk). Now he's a member of the Justice League
  • Venom, the Spider-Man villain, is a classic case of a Heel Face Turn to create an "edgier" hero.
    • Also because Venom—created and illustrated by Todd McFarlane—was, for a time, considerably more popular than Spider-Man himself, being a giant, hulking, over-designed monster with zero qualms about killing. Quintessential 90s anti-hero, essentially.
    • As is Wolverine, originally an antagonist sent to kill the Hulk (who himself is a big spinning heel-turn himself... not that both characters don't have their reasons...).
      • In Ultimate X-Men, Wolverine has a Heel Face Turn moment when he joins/infiltrates the X-Men to terminate Xavier... and then ends up believing in Xavier's cause and becoming a rather strong supporter.
  • X-Men's Mystique pulls so many Heel Face Turns and Face Heel Turns she might as well just give up and have a pivot installed.
    • Emma Frost's Heel Face Turn is proving permanent, but unfortunately her bondage gear seems to have been abandoned.
      • However, she's turned the "I'm a villain again, oh, wait, I'm not!" thing into her answer to Jean Grey's death and rebirth cycle. Except she does it even more often than Jean dies (two times).
        • Not really. Actually, just like Jean, Emma suffers from the Never Live It Down trope. The story that cemented her position as a central X-Man was also the story in which the readership was first led to believe she betrayed the X-men, just to discover later that she was being psychically manipulated by Cassandra Nova. Before having her own mind trapped inside an indestructible box, Nova had left a psychic impression of herself in Emma's mind, which was subtly manipulating her. That impression slowly twisted Emma's perception of herself, exploiting her survivor's guilt and making her believe she could never redeem herself. In the end, it was shown that Emma was willing to sacrifice herself so that Nova's plan wouldn't succeed. Besides that story, the only other time Frost fitted this role was during Dark Reign, when she joined Norman Osborn's Cabal, as part of her and Cyclops' plan to later make a fool of Osborn and guarantee the safety of mutantkind. It's also important to note, while part of the fanbase and even some writers believe Emma is still not trusted by her teammates, there are many evidences pointing the opposite. For one, she's been banking the X-Men for quite some time now, and they're not uncomfortable with that. More importantly, she's been the main Cerebro user ever since Professor Xavier left, and the X-Men are ok with that (Cerebro is a machine able to boost one's telepathic power to impressive levels. By letting Emma use it, the X-Men are leaving their minds - and those of thousands of innocents - completely vulnerable to her powers, which says a lot).
  • Pretty much how Gambit came to join the X-Men.
    • And Rogue. Interestingly, her Heel Face Turn was triggered by kissing ROM Spaceknight and being overwhelmed by his goodness. Licensing tarpits mean you won't see that mentioned again, ever.
      • For everyone but the three people who might remember that issue of ROM, it was the fact that her powers were driving her slowly insane and she was realizing that Mystique was both unable and unwilling to help, with a little nudge from Mastermind (who wanted to put the screws into Mystique by inducing her beloved foster daughter to run away) that did the trick.
  • The Rhino of Spider-Man eventually went legit, turning himself in, serving his time, and getting released on good behavior before settling down with a doting Russian woman. It lasted all of one more appearance. The new evil Rhino killed his wife, sending him on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. He put the costume back on, killed the new Rhino, and is back as a villain.
    • Back in the 80's, the Sandman got sick of crime and went straight. He actually joined the Avengers for a while. That lasted a good twenty years, real world time. Then his old teammate the Wizard stuck him in a machine and brainwashed him to be evil again. Sigh.
  • Plastic Man was originally a petty criminal, but became a hero after acquiring his stretching powers.
  • In the Irredeemable spinoff Incorruptible, former supervillain Max Damage realizes that The Plutonian's Face Heel Turn to a Complete Monster will now leave the general public without a true Big Good to defend them. In response, he decides that he needs to step up for the people and becomes Max Daring.
  • Thugboy and Ninjette from Empowered started as Punch Clock Villains, but also thanks to the influence of the protagonist, they developed to Anti Heroes.
  • The "Chinese Gods", or what remained of them, in The Great Ten. After Celestial Archer introduced them to his patron goddess, who told them that they were simply altered humans, Gong Gong, Lei Zi, Kuan Ti, Lei Kung, and Chu Jung decided that they would fight alongside the Great Ten.
  • In Archie Comics Sonic the Hedgehog, long-term villain Dimitri eventually reveals that his alliance with Eggman is so that he "weaken the greatest evil this world's ever known from within." More recently, after Lien-Da left him for dead, he went over to the heroes' side completely, in the hope that he can one day atone for his actions as a villain.
  • Powerplex in Invincible always considered himself a hero in his single-minded obsession with killing Invincible—but after Invincible left the planet for an extended period, he received counseling and a second chance as a member of the superhero team the Actioneers. However, when Invincible returned, he couldn't control himself and attacked him again. After finally accepting the fact that Invincible wasn't at fault for his sister's death and that the death of his wife and son were on his shoulders and his alone, Powerplex surrendered. In a later conversation with Cecil, Invincible learns that Powerplex was a real hero while he was away, and will be again after more counseling.
  •  :Hellboy is one of the most glaring examples. From birth, he was destined to usher in the apocalypse under the name Anung Un Rama as The Antichrist. Instead, he wants nothing to do with it and becomes an Anti-Anti-Christ, going as far as to keep his demon horns filed down.
  • During the Seige event, Loki realizes that he's been making a massive mistake: He wanted to make Asgard greater than ever, but let his hatred of Thor get in the way of that. In a last ditch effort to stop the Void, he uses the Norn stones to empower the New Avengers to give them a fighting chance. When this doesn't work, Loki takes the full blunt of the Void, dying while tearfully appologizing to Thor. Fourtunately, Thor brings him back to life, now as a child with no memory of his evil deeds or his previous life beyond the age of twelve, but still has the guilt of what happened, with Thor's encouragement he becomes a kid hero, and performs multiple Crowning Moments Of Awesome.
    • Later, it appeared he may return to his old villainous ways when a copy of his old self, in the story as his magpie familiar/guide magpie Ikol, took over his body, effectively killing Kid Loki. It was extremely sad. Turned out, this was his plan all along, dying during Siege, being reborn, everything, all so he could get a fresh start and break out of his old role as villain, or so he claimed, but can the god of lies be believed? He then joined the Young Avengers, but no one quite knew what his real game was. Fortunately, though there were a few bumps in the road along the way, he proved himself to be genuinely trying to reform in the end, and helped the Young Avengers save the world. He also got aged up to an adult, and now has a solo book where his quest for redemption continues, while his brother Thor appears to be starting on a downward spiral, their positions becoming reversed.
    • Notably, if Tom Hiddleston is to be believed, Loki will do the same in Thor 2, but since he's the biggest Loki DILPer around, it may not be true. He's going to be in the film, and he's not going to be the villain, so its possible.


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Films -- Animated[edit | hide]

  • In South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut, Satan turns when he kills Saddam Hussein and returns his legions of demons back to Hell in favor of Kenny for giving self-confidence of standing up against Saddam.
  • Diego in Ice Age.
  • Lilo and Stitch. First Stitch himself, and then Jumba.
    • In the spin-off animated series, each episode focuses on Lilo and Stich's attempts to Heel Face Turn-ify one of the other 624 escaped experiments. Captain Gantu has one in the Grand Finale.
  • Molt in A Bugs Life.
  • In The Lion King 2 Kovu, and later on the rest of the Outlanders realize that what Zira is doing is wrong.
  • In Ratatouille, Anton Ego rediscovers his love of food after tasting Remy's cooking, and goes from vindictive food critic to Alfredo and Remy's financial backer.
  • Dr. Tenma in the 2009 Astro Boy film. Tenma spends the first two-thirds of the movie acting like a king ass, blatantly telling Astro he doesn't want him and kicking him out, and later helping the crazy politician that wants to kill him. Tenma then has a change of heart, risking his own life and freedom to save his 'son'.
  • This is the plot culmination of Megamind. With Metroman gone, supervillainy is too easy, so Megamind creates a new Cape to oppose... who promptly becomes Drunk with Power. Between the city being destroyed and the growing affections of the local Lois Lane character Megamind finds himself drawn to the side of good.
  • Iago from Disney's Aladdin spent the entirety of the first film on Jafar's side. The beginning of the second film, The Return of Jafar, sees Iago escape from Jafar's lamp and slowly turn face over the course of the movie, even offing Jafar for good by kicking his lamp into magma. Not that Iago's all that heroic, but his conscience does get the better of him on a number of occasions. He grumbles over it a lot.
    • The series also gives us Stalker with a Crush Sadira, who gets over her crush on Aladdin and becomes a friend of the main characters even though she had once swapped places with Jasmine, basically taking over Agrabah (but no-one but Iago, Abu, and Rajah remember this.) And Queen Hippsodeth, who kidnaps Jasmine for her all-female warrior nation and then becomes Agrabah's ally because she admires the sultan for being the first person who could defeat her. None of the male villains change sides though.
      • There are some male turns in the series. There was the Muchtar, and Aladdin's old friend-turned-monster Amal.
  • Subverted with Tai Lung in Kung Fu Panda, who after finally hearing his father-figure tell him he's proud of him, and he's sorry, very clearly wavers before rejecting the overture and remaining unrepentant. This probably also counts as his What an Idiot! moment, since it proves he has still learned nothing, although this editor actually found it all the more tragic and painful because of it.
  • Ken in Toy Story 3 starts out as one of the toys trying to keep the gang imprisoned, but he changes sides after he falls in love with Barbie.
  • This is pretty much the entire plot of the animated film Despicable Me.
  • In The Care Bears Movie, Nicholas is talked out of being The Dragon for the evil book by The Power of Friendship.
  • In Atlantis the Lost Empire, Audrey, Sweet, Mole, Vinny, Cookie and Ms. Packard join Milo after it is revealed that they were Evil All Along.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • Schindler's List, the biopic on the real-life German industrialist who renounced his support of the Nazi Party to save the lives of thousands of Jews who worked in his factories. More on Oskar Schindler can be read at the other Wiki, the book "Schindler's Ark" and the film at this link for the other Wiki.
  • In Hard Boiled, Mad Dog shoots his Triad boss when he opens fire on a group of civilians who were in his way.
  • Captain Louis Renault, in Casablanca.
    • It's arguable how much of this is heel-face turn and how much of it is a hidden Face awaiting the moment when his turn will do the greatest good. However it qualifies under the criteria that the audience isn't sure what side he's on until he makes his stand.
  • The James Bond movies have a few: May Day in A View to a Kill, Pussy Galore in Goldfinger, Tiffany Case in Diamonds Are Forever, Dr. Kutze in Thunderball, Jaws in Moonraker, Octopussy and her group in Octopussy and Valentin Zukovsky in GoldenEye.
  • In Return of the Jedi, Darth Vader dies saving his son from the Emperor.
  • Godzilla went from city-destroying villain to world-saving hero during the 1960s-1970s. His Heel Face Turn occured when Mothra convinced him and Rodan to fight King Ghidorah in the 1964 film Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster
    • Likewise, there's Battra, who, sadly ends up dying while trying to stop Godzilla.
  • Blazing Saddles.
    • Lili Von Shtupp (Hedley Lamarr's henchwoman). Ordered to "seduce and abandon the sheriff of Rock Ridge", instead she falls for him and goes over to his side.
    • Mongo (Taggart's henchman) turns to the side of Good after Sheriff Bart blows him up with a Candygram bomb. ("Sheriff first man ever whip Mongo! Mongo impressed!")
  • Undercover reporter Babe Bennett a.k.a. Pam Dawson has one after she genuinely falls in love with Longfellow Deeds while on an assignment to do a hatchet job on him in Mr. Deeds.
  • An example of a Heel Face Turn already accomplished by the time of the story is that of the convict in The Dark Knight who threw the detonator out the porthole. Then rebuked his guards for not having already done it.
  • Subverted in Terminator 2, the reprogrammed T-800 Model 101 isn't the same terminator from the first film. Double Subverted in that it was probably also programmed to kill humans before John Connor captured it, though.
  • In the Hairspray musical, both Velma and Amber Von Tussle are redeemed through the power of THE BEAT, but in the film adaptation, only Amber seems to have one; accepting her loss and walking away from her mother to talk and dance with one of the black dancers.
  • In John Ford's The Quiet Man, John Wayne and Victor Mclaglen have a mutual animosity that culminates in the queen mother of all drunken fistfights; no sooner has the donnybrook ended than the two men become the best of friends.
  • The Two of a Kind, designed as the comeback film for the Olivia Newton-John / John Travolta duo, features probably the single most jarring and unbelievable Heel Face Turn in the history of film: Satan himself!
  • The Operative undergoes one of these at the end of Serenity when he discovers the truth behind the secret of Miranda, and just what the Utopia Justifies the Means he has been fighting for all this time would really look like.
  • Sorsha in Willow.
  • A slow, detailed one of these is roughly the entire plot of the German film The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen).
  • Rainbow Randolph in Death to Smoochy.
  • Zangief in the Street Fighter movie is mainly the Comic Relief of everyone in Shadaloo, but after Dee Jay informs him that Bison is "the bad guy", he helps the heroes escape. Keep in mind that Zangief and Dee Jay weren't evil in the games.
  • In Inglourious Basterds, the main villain Hans Landa discovers the Basterds' plot to kill Hitler and decides to help them, striking a deal with the Allies and even generously demanding medals for the Basterds' bravery. Of course, this is all subverted by the fact that Landa is acting purely on whim and self-interest, and is still a total slimeball. Ultimately Aldo thinks Landa is still a Nazi and treats him accordingly.
  • In The Specials, Amok used to be a villain, who tried to give people scabies.
  • In Pineapple Express, Red first tries to help the villains kill the heroes, but ultimately comes to their rescue and becomes best friends with them.
  • In The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, Her Lover, Cory the pimp starts as a member of Spica's gang, but gets ejected after he resists Spica's brutal treatment of his girls. He ultimately joins the final confrontation with Spica.
  • In Get Shorty, Bear starts as a thug for Bo Catlett, but eventually switches to Chili's side.
  • In Ocean's Eleven, Benedict is the main villain, but by Ocean's 13, he's convinced to support Ocean's gang, though he's still a ruthless bastard.
  • In Shaolin Soccer, local thugs beat on the monks several times before getting bested in a soccer game and joining their team.
  • In the documentary An Arctic Tale, the male polar bear is the main villain for most of the film, but near the end he shows compassion for Nanu, the polar bear protagonist, and shares his kill with her. Nanu later finds a mate, but we do not know if it is the same bear.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen has Jetfire and Wheelie, two former Decepticons. Jetfire has grown old and is sick of the Autobot/Decepticon war, so he chooses to join up with the good guys instead. After he realizes that Transformers can change sides, Wheelie also defects. He shows his loyalty by humping Mikaela's leg.
  • The eponoymous gorilla in King Kong does this twice when he turns his heel on the face of a villager.
  • In Ip Man 2, Rival Turned Evil Jin is now on the good side.
  • In Finding Neverland, though Emma is not an evil person, she is the only main character who is consistently antagonistic towards James Barrie. Her attitude changes completely as a result of seeing Peter Pan and Sylvia dying.
  • Derek and Danny in American History X
  • Victor Maynard has one in Wild Target. At first, he only protected Rose from other assassins because he wanted to restore his honor by killing her personally. Quickly he starts to develop true feelings for her while also training an apprentice.
  • Patrick Zevo in Toys.
  • The Hairy Bird: When Abby, the Alpha Bitch, learns what her parents have been planning for Miss Godards, she does this.
  • In one version of Annie, Miss Hannigan does a major one near the end. She had always been mean to Annie, a lush, and a less than ideal ward to the orphans. But when she realizes that Rooster chases after Annie hoping to kill her after she tears up the check, she tries to prevent him from doing so.
  • Number 2 attempts one in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery before he's eliminated by Dr. Evil. Mini-Me successfully performs one in Austin Powers in Goldmember once Dr. Evil replaces him with Scott, and Dr. Evil himself makes the turn upon learning that he is Austin's long-lost brother Doug.
    • Also Fat Bastard.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist: Sympathetic heel Nancy, a prostitute who by default was a villian for her relationship with brutal criminal Bill Sykes. Nancy finally begins to turn her life around after forming a relationship with the title character, a young street orphan who is part of a band of pickpocketers in London. Eventually, due to her desire to see Oliver become a respectable person, decides to reform herself and run off with Oliver and raise him as her own son, but Bill brutally kills her before she has a chance.
  • Hans Ebert in Chung Kuo, after having lost everything, does some serious soul searching and changes his ways.
  • Ebenezer Scrooge.
  • The Grinch at the end of How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
  • Dolokhov in War and Peace goes from being a Manipulative Bastard of a Humphrey, something of a minor antagonist, to the trusted lieutenant of Vaska Denisov as the Russians chase the retreating French. He is still the same amoral asshole as usual (witness his reaction to the death of the little Rostov) - he is just putting is evil badassery to a good use.
  • In Fred Saberhagen's trilogy Empire of the East, Lord Chup served the evil Empire of the title faithfully ... until one of its warlords demanded: "You must be for once not brave, but cowardly.... It will be difficult only once. You must learn to cause pain, for the sake of nothing but causing pain. Only thus will you be bound to us entirely." Then he killed off a major demon, turning the tide of a critical battle.
  • Harry Dresden refers this as the 'Vader Effect'. He is accused of it himself on several occasions, most notably when he joins the Wardens, the quasi-military magical police who have been on his back since his youth despite not actually changing sides.
    • A far more dramatic instance is when Lasciel's shadow image, or Lash, is convinced by Harry that she has free will of her own and "dies" saving Harry's life.
  • Angelina is the brilliant, beautiful, and totally psychopathic villainess of The Stainless Steel Rat. After she is captured and the psych-techs have worked on her, she marries the hero and becomes an agent of the Special Corp who doesn't enjoy killing. As much.
  • Mara Jade from the Star Wars Expanded Universe went from wanting to kill Luke to marrying him. That makes her Heel Face Turn queen.
    • A more minor example from the EU is Lara Notsil a.k.a. Gara Petothel of the X Wing Series, who starts as The Mole. She ends up falling in love one of her "enemies" and growing affection for her squadron, causing her to turn on her Imperial commanders and greatly helping the Rebels defeat the Iron Fist.
  • Cawti in the Vlad Taltos books did the exact same thing with the title character, beating Mara Jade in that she actually did kill him once, but his friends had him resurrected.
  • Edmund, in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, initially sides with the White Witch against the Narnians and his own siblings, but later when he's forced to see (and suffer) her cruelty, he stops liking her and takes the first opportunity to switch sides.
  • Older Than Feudalism: Several from The Bible.
    • For starters, the thief on the cross who asks Jesus' forgiveness and receives it.
    • Saul from the New Testament (not to be confused with the king of Israel from the Old Testament) who persecuted Christians until he had a vision from God and became one of the most influential Christians himself. You might know him as The Apostle Paul. The Apostle Peter has a similar experience that causes him to do a Heel Face Turn on the issue of preaching to Gentiles. Heel Face Turns due to direct divine intervention are somewhat common in both the Old and New Testaments (also see Balaam son of Beor). In the German version, this trope is even called Vom Saulus Zum Paulus ("from Saul to Paul"), a common German figure of speech.
  • Subverted strangely in Montmorency. The titular character starts out as a liar, thief, almost a con-man, but by the end of the first book he's happily working for the British government, alongside Fox-Selwyn. However, he's also Scarper, who remains a problem.
  • The David Eddings' Mallorean, Zakath. Over the course of the third and fourth book of the series, he goes from being the brutal monster he is initially depicted as in the Belgariad, to a valued member of the group, and his friendship with Garion shows sign of bringing peace to the world finally. So long as they live long enough to do so.
  • Inspector Javert in Les Misérables, whose world view explodes with the sudden realization that Jean Valjean is simultaneously a criminal and a good guy. To let Valjean go free would be unlawful, while arresting him would be immoral. Javert removes the problem by removing himself from the problem. He drowns himself in the river Seine.
  • There are quite a number of turns in the Harry Potter series:
    • Severus Snape is finally revealed to have heel-faced all along at the end of Harry Potter. In fact, he makes a turn in almost every book even if you look at them separately: In the first book the trio think he's trying to steal the Philosopher's Stone but it turns out he was on to the person who actually was trying to steal it. Also they think he tries to kill Harry in one part only to be discovered he was actually saving his life.
      • Those fit better under Good All Along; his Heel Face Turn happened before the series started.
    • The Malfoy family make a rather big one towards the end of the series; Narcissa makes the biggest change when she lies to Voldemort that Harry is dead so she can go into the castle and see if her son is alive. By doing this she pretty much saves the battle for the good guys. Her husband Lucius has quite a similar turn although he is not as active in his turn as Narcissa. Draco Malfoy's turn happens gradually in the sixth book when he is given a mission by Voldemort to kill Albus Dumbledore. At first he's extremely full of himself but as the year goes on, he buckles under the pressure when he realises that failure means his death. Dumbledore offers him a chance to officially make the turn and he begins to before he is interrupted. He makes another Face Heel turn in the final book but is reunited with his family. In the epilogue he and Harry appear to have abandoned their differences for good, although Word of God says that they are "not friends".
    • Regulus Black, Sirius Black's brother, joined the Death Eaters willingly but after Voldemort almost kills his house elf, Regulus realises what Voldemort is capable of and begins to have second thoughts. He finally dies in an attempt to steal and destroy one of Voldemort's Horcruxes
    • Gellert Grindelwald has a small role but makes the turn anyway. As a child he had a friendship with Dumbledore but he eventually became an all powerful Dark Wizard until Dumbledore defeated him in a duel and he was imprisoned for the rest of his life. In the final book Voldemort attempts to get information from him about the whereabouts of the Elder Wand (he was the Wand's previous master) but he refuses to tell and is killed on the spot. Later Dumbledore remarks that some people said he felt remorse for what he had done.
    • To a lesser extent, so does Dumbledore himself. While in love with Grindelwald he enthusiastically accepts his pureblood supremacist views, and only rejects them when they fall out.
  • Both of Lyra's parents in the His Dark Materials Series. Arguably only her mother had one, but her father went inexplicably from being written as a mad inhuman monster to being written as a hero...
    • The context shifted to make him seem more heroic (he was barely present in the first book except for his monstrous action at the end). But who can stay mad at a child-murderer fighting to free the multiverse from tyrannical spiritual (and sexual) oppression, huh?
  • Kavi in the Farsala Trilogy.
  • Garyl Shadowslayer from Shadowslayers pulled a heel-face turn at some point in his backstory, going from killing his mother and brother to risking his life to save the realm of Blackwood.
  • Wulfgar, in The Crystal Shard.
  • Twigleg, in Dragon Rider.
  • Twice in The Stanley Family series. In The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case, two of the kidnappers pull this and end up turning on their boss. In Janie's Private Eyes, former bully Pete Garvey, who is friends with the dog thieves, turns them into the police once he sees they're putting the Stanley family in danger.
  • Lady Lejean in Terry Pratchett's "Thief of Time" rejects her nature as an Auditor pretty much completely in the end.
  • Played with twice in Star Trek: Stargazer. In "Enigma", Obstructive Bureaucrat Admiral McAteer seems to defrost into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. After a dangerous mission alongside Commander Gilaad ben Zoma, he appears to make a peace offering and reveal a more understanding side to his character. However, it transpires he was merely trying to manipulate ben Zoma. In Maker, murderous super-powered alien Brakmaktin also appears to be reconsidering his former conduct and having an epiphany. It turns out it was just him screwing with his captive.
  • Happens twice in The Chronicles of Narnia.
  • Jaime Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire. His turn is a drawn-out, bitter process.
  • "I... am tired of fighting. I sue for peace, Optimus."
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter, Miranda's Lady's aim is this, on a large scale. In Prospero Regained, we learn of how Prospero's plans also center about it.
  • In Heather Tomlinson's The Swan Maiden, Doucette's sisters are cruel to her because she has no magic. When she discovers that she has magic, her sister Cecilia has one of these toward her, even though Doucette is now her rival.
  • This tends to happen in some Indonesian literature (Mostly KKPK, short for Kecil Kecil Punya Karya or literally, 'Little Kids Who Creates') written by children. The thing that irritates is that in nearly every single one of the books that plays this trope straight, the rich, snobby Alpha Bitch (Always the Alpha Bitch, no exceptions) will turn good halfway through the story due to some event, and will instantly and melodramatically apologize to the hero, who instantly forgives her without any doubts whatsoever, despite the fact that they had been fighting since the first day of school. If not her, then it's her Girl Posse who will turn their backs at her because they haven't realized until today about how perfect, nice, religious, smart, etc the heroes are. Afterwards, the Alpha Bitch-es join the hero's group and have adventures like nothing has ever happened between them.
  • Author Jodie Picoult has featured several of her books in which many of her antagonists make a face turn, or at least we find out they were never as bad as they initially seem. There is also usually an unspoken promise between the main heel and main face: Josie in Nineteen Minutes she actually makes a few turns between face and heel, but the final turn she ends up shooting Matt, the main bully of herself and Peter Anna in My Sister's Keeper At first Anna comes across as the antagonist, setting the plot in motion that she is suing for medical emancipation and refuses to explain why. By the end of the story, we come to discover her face turn that Kate asked her to make the lawsuit. Shay Bourne in Change of Heart from the get-go, he is painted as a vile man sent to prison for murdering a police officer and his stepchild, he even says things throughout the book that make you just want to punch him in the face, but he makes his turn toward the end of the book when the truth is revealed that he didn't commit murder, that he was defending the girl from being molested by the police officer


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Dalek Caan in the Doctor Who episode Evolution of the Daleks. He does a face turn after seeing "the whole of time and space" and bearing witness to the destruction and devastation that his species have caused throughout history. Unfortunately, since he had become insane and babbling, it was a little too late by the time the Daleks had discovered his actions.
    • Before Dalek Caan was Dalek Sec, who became sympathetic to humans, and horrified of the other Daleks actions after becoming a Half-Human Hybrid. Ironically, it was Caan himself who ordered Sec's extermination
    • In Let's Kill Hitler After the Doctor has been poisoned by Mels, who was raised to kill the Doctor, he whispers something in her ear intended for River Song. When Mels figures out that she is River Song, she uses all of her remaining regenerations to bring him back to life.
    • The Fifth Doctor's companion, Vislor Turlough, joins the TARDIS crew as The Mole, under orders to kill the Doctor by the Black Guardian, but has a change of heart, defies the Guardian, and remains a loyal companion until his departure.
    • In The End of Time, The Master realizes that much of his insanity was caused by the High Council of the Time Lords as part of a Time War-related gambit, and ultimately after fighting the Doctor for years joins him in defeating Rassilon and his council.
  • G'Kar started out the Babylon 5 Myth Arc looking deceptively like the heavy, and evolved into the conscience of the entire Interstellar Alliance. This was intentional misdirection of the audience.
    • Or, as with Londo, he simply changed because the situation had done so and remained the same inside.
    • The Minbari warrior caste leader Neroon was a true Heel Face Turn.
    • Bester appears to make one in Seasons 3 and 4, providing significant aid to the rebels, but later on reverts to his true allegiance: himself (and, secondarily, Psi Corps over and above the Earth Alliance government) Not before programming Garibaldi to function as a double agent, however..
  • Battlestar Galactica: Athena and Caprica-Six. Later, the Leobens, Sixes, and Sharons as a whole. Also, Lt. Kelly during the mutiny.
  • Lost: As shown in flashback, Juliet had actually gotten sick of the Others some time before she was even introduced on the show. She took the first opportunity she could (being made The Mole) to betray Ben.
    • Ben himself finally has one part-way through Season 6, but only after having everything he cared about--his daughter, his authority, and Jacob--taken away from him.
    • The Freighties didn't really know that they were on the wrong side at first, but after witnessing some of Keamy's atrocities, they switch to the Losties' side pretty quick.
    • Likewise, Charles Widmore, the former Big Bad of the series, suddenly stops trying to take over the Island and returns to fight the evil of the Man in Black after an off-screen meeting with Jacob.
    • Sawyer too. In the beginning a true Jerkass he gradually becomes more and more likeable before completing the Heel Face Turn in Season 5
      • The argument could be made that he actually made the Heel Face Turn in Season 1, when he told Jack about Jack's father.
    • Charlie performs his when he kidnaps Aaron and Claire finds out hes a junkie. He had recently fought his demons, won, and turned around from a spoiled jerk to a almost hero. Then they demonize him again. May have involved the writers strike.
  • Of course there's Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. On top of that, we have Faith, who did a Face Heel Turn first, then came back, and Wesley, who appeared (to the team) to do a Face Heel Turn before later coming back.
    • Timid wanna-be villain Andrew got one in Season Seven, at first motivated primarily by his fear of Buffy and her gang, but later becoming Giles' protégé and a respected leader among the slayers.
    • Also Anya, who is a villain for, uh, two episodes. Then she falls for Xander...
    • And let's not forget Angel/Angelus who is a Heel Face Revolving Door.
  • Fred on Angel does a Face Heel Turn when becoming Illyria, and then ends up doing a Heel Face Turn later that season.
    • Darla and Lindsey both flirt with a Heel Face Turn at various points, and Connor does a full Heel Face Turn.
  • Damar, Gul Dukat's Dragon on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, stays on with the Dominion after Dukat goes off to do his own thing. Eventually, though, he realizes the Dominion is using Cardassia, and starts a resistance movement. He even winds up taking terrorist lessons from old enemy Kira Nerys.
  • Happens fairly often in Power Rangers. Sixth rangers such as Mighty Morphin's Green Ranger Tommy Oliver and Lightspeed Rescue's Titanium Ranger Ryan Mitchell have started out evil. In Space actually had the Big Bad, Astronema, briefly join the rangers after finding out that The Hero Andros was her long-lost brother. While she originally intended to betray the Space Rangers and thus secure her place as Dark Specter's chosen heir, she ended up siding with them, and was even declared an honorary Power Ranger herself. While Dark Specter and Darkonda recaptured and Brainwashed and Crazy her into an even more evil Astronema v2.0, she was restored to her true self, Karone, and later took over the position of Lost Galaxy's Pink Ranger. Also Jarrod and Camile from Jungle Fury even though Jarrod was possessed he still had a change of heart.
    • Super Sentai too as some of the aboves counterparts had their own Heel Face Turn. Burai, Tommy's Zyuranger counterpart and Rio and Mele Jarrod and Camile's counterparts from Juken Sentai Gekiranger.
  • Both Crais, and then Scorpius start off in pursuit of our heroes before they end up joining the crew in Farscape. Aeryn is the original one to pull that move. When you see that video of what she used to be like three cycles ago...whoah.
  • Cole Turner/Belthazor of Charmed had more Heel/Face Face/Heel turns than some entire shows.
  • Number Two in The Prisoner. Well, one of them. The new Number Two.
  • Teal'c, in the pilot of Stargate SG-1.
  • Rak'nor during Season 4 of Stargate SG-1, in turn saving Teal'c.
  • Michael in Stargate Atlantis season 2 episode 'No Man's Land' (it doesn't last; repeatedly getting screwed over by the Designated Heroes drives him back into villainy, and Ladon Radim in 'Coup D'etat.
  • Sylar on Heroes had the shortest Heel Face Turn in recent memory, lasting only partway through season 3. And both a Heel Face Mind Screw and a straight turn during season 4.
    • More permanent examples would be Mr. Bennet towards the end of season 1 and Daphne during season 3, at least until she died.
  • Occasionally used in the 60s spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Sometimes the U.N.C.L.E. agents manage to subvert a THRUSH operative into working for them (e.g., the second season episode "The Arabian Affair", where Solo informs a THRUSH minion who is due to retire that THRUSH liquidates retired minions to insure their permanent silence), whereas other times the villain comes over to the good side for his own reasons (e.g., the second season episode "The King of Diamonds Affair", where diamond thief Rafael Delgado decides to betray his organized criminal allies, free Solo and the Girl of the Week, and help them escape).
  • Thirty Rock uses this in a Show Within a Show that Jack's girlfriend's grandmother watches. The villain, Generalissimo, looks exactly like Jack, so Jack uses Executive Meddling to make the Generalissimo a good man who loves old Puerto Rican women, scratching lottery tickets, and going to McDonald's to order only coffee.
  • Ervan in Raven...or so he'd like us to think.
  • Layne Price in Mad Men moves in this direction when he agrees to Sterling, Cooper, and Draper's conspiracy; he completes it with gusto when he delivers his "Happy Christmas" to St. John, who had been pushing him around.
  • Catherine Weaver in the final episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
    • It's pretty well implied that she was on the good side since her introduction
  • Chuck Bass to some extent, thanks to Blair. While he's not turned completely good, he's a heck of a lot better than he was when the show started.
  • In Deadwood, Al Swearengen starts out as the villain of the series, stepping on a prostitute's neck in the first episode and quickly getting into a rivalry with the honorable main character, Seth Bullock. However, the more Hearst influence insinuates itself into the town, the more heroic Al becomes, forming an alliance with other sympathetic citizens and working to thwart the new Big Bad. Of course, he's still a total bastard.
  • Krika in Bionicle would have had one, if Gorast hadn't killed him.
    • Vezon, after he lost the mask of life.
  • Lionel Luthor, in Smallville, who starts out as a ruthless businessman, bad father, and the Trope Codifier for Magnificent Bastard, undergoes an abrupt about-turn while in prison. His devotion to a life of poverty and charity work is short-lived, however, as a fight with Lex motivates him to return to ruthless tactics, ostensibly to actually protect Lex... And then he finds himself serving as a conduit for Clark's dead father, Jor-El, repenting for his past acts, devoting his life to protecting Clark, and suffering from really bad migraines. Unfortunately, all of this is so confusing that no one actually believes that he's a good guy when he begs them for help. He is eventually killed by his own son, Lex, after which Clark finally learns, once and for all, that Lionel had been on his side in the end, dying to protect Clark's identity as The Traveller from Lex. Clark acknowledges that Lionel was the third 'father' who had died for him, and honours him the same way he honoured Jonathan Kent - by pouring a handful of dirt on his coffin.
    • Metallo pulls one in Season 9, after a restructuring of his system purges him of the adrenaline rush that heightened his aggression and made him evil. Since the comic book character is still evil though, there's no telling if it will last.
    • More recently, Brainiac appears to have turned to the side of the angels. He now calls himself Brainiac 5 and is a member of The Legion of Super Heroes, claiming that they and Clark "cured" him of his evil. He returned to the present to aid Clark by 1) preventing Smallville High's student councilor from trying to kill Clark at his high school reunion and 2) showing him his past, present and future, to help Clark get over his misplaced guilt over Pa Kent's death and his fear of the future, and move toward his destiny. Since this is due to reprogramming however, it may not count as genuine. Made even more muddled by the fact that this version of the character was reprogrammed into performing a Face Heel Turn in the first place before the destruction of Krypton.
    • Tess Mercer is also attempting one of these as of Season 10. Given her Heel Face Revolving Door track record, it's hard to see where she'll end up. So far though, she's stayed loyal, even shooting down Earth-2 Lionel's offer to become the father she never had.
      • She stuck with it right to the end of the series, when in the Grand Finale, she uses her last breaths to give a last-minute verbal Take That to Lex and wipe his mind with a neurotoxin, ensuring that he cannot use any of the knowledge he accumulated since the beginning of the series against the newly dubbed Superman.
  • Quinn Fabray on Glee, and arguably Puck as well (though he could also be considered a Heel Face Revolving Door).
    • No mention yet of Sue Sylvester? Not only did she rank New Directions top amongst the other teams in Sectionals, she was also entirely responsible for the club staying open another year, despite having spent the past nine months continually trying to close it down.
      • Well, Sue only allowed New Directions to live because she loved hating it so much.
  • Castiel on Supernatural had a very very gradual Heel Face Turn over the course of Season 4, although nobody knows until the final episode that the angels are the bad guys, so although the change in loyalty is gradual, the act of changing sides appears to happen quickly.
    • It almost happens a couple of episodes earlier, but his superiors catch him, prompting a brief Face Heel Revolving Door situation.
      • We catch glimpses of that trope throughout the season, with Castiel frequently deliberating between his orders and his increasing sympathy for Dean.
  • The 1998 Merlin-1998 series has Lord Lot and Lord Ardent, who are originally generals opposing the main characters but later become their allies.
  • Margaret Houlihan has a very well-orchestrated one on M*A*S*H, which takes place over the entire fifth season, with a pivotal episode called "The Nurses," which Loretta Swit says is her favorite episode. Two other important episodes are one where an old friend of hers visits, and tells her that not just her pierced ears have closed up, she has, after which she makes a deliberate effort to be more open with others, and the two-part episode where she is stranded with Hawkeye under fire. The great part of the story arc is that while the character softens, and becomes kinder, and warmer toward people, she does not lose her "regular army" bearing, and there's no retconning of her earlier coldness, so it is real character growth, and not a Re Boot.
  • Xena started off as a villain on Hercules: The Legendary Journeys before turning good and getting her own show.
  • In Garrow's Law, right at the very end, Sir Arthur Hill turns the tables on Lord Melville by exposing corruption at Garrow's instigation - and in the last scene he is shown giving Garrow and Sarah his blessing as they embark on a new life together. Quite amazing, given the animosity he has exuded throughout the series.

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • It would almost be easier to list how many of Flash Gordon's friends didn't start out as his enemies. Even Zarkov was pretty scary in the very beginning. To his considerable credit, Thun is one of the few people on Mongo who treated Flash decently from the word go. Thun's a cool dude.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Some superstars who were originally Heels ended up later becoming Faces due to their popularity with the fans. A few examples are: The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, The Undertaker, Batista, and many more.
    • During the Attitude Era, this became the primary way wrestlers would become top faces: if you were a really cool bad guy, you'd eventually have the crowd behind you enough that you became the de facto face.
  • A staple of Professional Wrestling, along with its cousin, the Face Heel Turn.
  • Mick Foley's disgust at wrestling fans in ECW led to him doing an inverted face heel turn (by ECW standards, the heels were faces) and he turned into an ECW "heel" (by other standards, this would be a face.) Indirectly, this had the same effect in the collapse of ECW as Hulk Hogan's for WCW.
  • On one hand, the WWE barely averted this catastrophe as part of the fallout of the Montreal Screwjob. At the time, Bret Hart was the biggest star in the WWE, and quite possibly one of the most popular wrestlers in history. At the time, this was taken almost as a white flag of surrender by Vince McMahon in the ratings war with WCW.
    • On the other hand, Vince made a startling discovery: you didn't need faces. The fans loved heels. From then on, the entire WWE was in a war of heels, led by Vince McMahon, Steve Austin, The Rock, Kurt Angle, and many more...It was the 90s.
    • It wasn't so much that it was nothing but heels battling out...that was WCW. The line simply shifted in a grayer direction as far as being a face. Austin, for instance, was a hero in the way John McClane is, meaning for all his positives, he's still a Badass asshole loner with a chip on his shoulder. It really just reflected the 90s as a whole.
    • The anti-heroes were also often the faces by comparison. Austin was a bit of a Jerkass but at least he wasn't abusing power at random (Vince McMahon) or subjecting innocent people to satanic sacrifices (The Undertaker).
  • During the infamous Invasion storyline, two entire companies (WCW and ECW) were portrayed as heels against the WWF/WWE. However, several of the wrestlers (Rob Van Dam in particular) were immensely entertaining and being cheered despite kayfabe trying to destroy the WWF. Almost immediately after the angle ended, Rob Van Dam, Stone Cold Steve Austin, the Hurricane, and Tommy Dreamer turned face once their quest to overthrow the WWF failed.
    • The very night after the angle ended, Austin was looking to wreak vengeance upon Kurt Angle for interfering in his fight with The Rock and costing the Alliance the victory. Despite the fact that Angle was saving the WWE, when Austin beat the crap out of Angle, the crowd erupted as if the last few months since Wrestlemania X-Seven never happened. The fans were just happy to have a Stone Cold they could cheer again. It was the most jarring, abrupt heel face turn in the history of prowrestling... and nobody had a problem with it.
  • Oddly enough, WWE heel Chris Jericho has been doing a nightly version of this—while still a heel on PPV and the other shows, on the rookie-oriented show NXT he pretty much becomes a Face in the eyes of Smarks whenever he joins Josh Matthews and Michael Cole on commentary, as he is sheer gold. He's also the "Pro" who's been most helpful to his rookie, Wade Barrett, and has gone out of his way on commentary to talk Barrett up, at one point demanding that Matthews and Cole do so too:

Jericho: Talk about Wade Barrett!
Josh Matthews: We are!
Jericho: MORE!

    • And during Season 2, Team Lay Cool (Layla and Michelle McCool) turned face to cheer on Kaval (some may know him better as Low Ki). They still retained some heel values because they're making him carry their Women’s Titles (at the time of season 2, Lay Cool called themselves co-champions even though Layla was the official champion).
  • In 1988, during the Survivor Series, Demolition (heel), managed by Mr. Fuji, took on the Powers of Pain (face) for the title. During the match, Mr. Fuji attacked Demolition and joined forces with the Powers of Pain. A double turn took place as Demolition turned face while the Powers of Pain turned heel.


Religion[edit | hide]

  • Christianity features a few canonical examples, possibly the most significant being Paul the Apostle.

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Edmund in King Lear executes a pretty epic heel face turn, going from helping to plot the death of the play's most sympathetic characters to (ineffectually) attempting to save them: "I pant for life; some good I mean to do/Despite of mine own nature."


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Miles Edgeworth of the Ace Attorney series. Edgeworth was raise by his abusive foster father Manfred Von Karma after his real father Gregory Edgeworth was murdered. Miles became obsessed with proving defendants guilty convinced that he needs to be perfect. Manfred Von Karma turns out to be the murderer and a Complete Monster allowing Edgeworth to reconsider his perfectionist record and the Turn is complete in Justice For All.
  • In Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, you can resurrect Sarevok, the Big Bad from the first game, and have him join your team. This is also what happens in the book adaptation. He is still evil, though, but that can be changed (all the way to good) if you make the right choices (he partially falls again, per his epilogue, torn between his old Chaotic Evil self and his new Chaotic Good self in his actions).
  • Leliana in Dragon Age Origins. At the start of the DLC Leliana's Song, she is a thief, a troublemaker, and a murderer. Once she is betrayed by her mentor and lover, and escapes from prison after being tortured, the Chantry takes her in. She becomes the pious bard in the main game, and is the most pure good aligned member on the team.
    • Zevran starts off as an assassin who tries to kill the Warden, but depending on the player's choices, can wind up being part of the team.
  • Miranda in Mass Effect 2 starts out as a cold and pragmatic high-ranking officer in a terrorist organization. At the end of the game, she has warmed up significantly and submits her resignation to the Illusive Man particularly dramatically.
  • In Chrono Trigger, it is possible to talk the villain Magus into joining your party. This is represented less as a change of heart than as a realization that he could achieve his goals by working with the heroes. By the time the option to have him join comes about, his intent and motivation have been revealed, perhaps making him more of an Anti-Villain. On the other hand, when he becomes a party member he appears to become somewhat less of a sociopath.
    • To be fair, though, you do not know that he was a sociopath. He was just the ruler of a country/army/something, that just happened to oppose the humans. But in war there are no sides. Ultimately it seems like he was just doing what was necessary.
    • In its sequel, Chrono Cross, many characters you can eventually play are former bosses. One will even apologize for fighting you earlier in the game.
  • Street Fighter has Sagat, who joins the Big Bad's organization after losing to Ryu in the first game, and switches sides in Street Fighter Alpha (retconning away his status as a villain in Street Fighter II), after realizing that his hatred does nothing but cause him to waste his life. For the entire rest of the series he is more of a Worthy Opponent to Ryu than anything else.
    • Also, Cammy, though this is a case of being cured of Bison's Mind Control rather than choosing to switch sides. After being cured, she joins the British government in order to bring him down.
  • In Advance Wars: Dual Strike, Hawke and Lash come to the Allied Nations' aid after being saved by them.
    • Tasha and Gage reluctantly join the Rubinelle Army in Advance Wars: Days of Ruin following the death of their original commander, Forsythe, when Will decides not to kill them.
  • Alma from the Xbox remake of Ninja Gaiden fights Ryu twice, proving to be a difficult foe both times. However, when Doku, The Dragon, attempts to sacrifice Alma's twin sister Rachel, Alma has a change of heart and throws herself in the way of Doku's blade.
  • The good character Faust from Guilty Gear X onward is incredibly strongly implied to be the villainous character Dr. Baldhead from the first game in the series, after undergoing a Heel Face Turn and taking a new identity.
  • The Arbiter in Halo 2 initially works against the humans to atone himself in the eyes of the Covenant Prophets. When the AI 343 Guilty Spark reveals to him the truth about the Great Journey they want to bring about, namely that it will destroy all life on a galactic scale, he reluctantly sides with the humans.
    • By the end of the trilogy, though, he's an eager ally. The rest of the Elites...eh, not so much.
  • Vivian, one of the Shadow Sirens working for the Big Bad in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, joins up with Mario after he's kind to her.
    • Rawk Hawk in the same game (In the Wrestling sense as well)
    • Count Bleck, O'Chunks, Mimi, and Nastasia in Super Paper Mario.
    • Lakilester in the original Paper Mario. When you first meet him he's working for the current chapter's boss, but after a quick battle and a love scene he decides to join you.
  • Shiro Amakusa Tokisada from Samurai Shodown turns into a good spirit in Samurai Shodown IV.
  • Magnus Armstrong, one of the antagonists from No One Lives Forever is convinced to join the good guys in the sequel, No One Lives Forever: A Spy In H.A.R.M.'s Way.
  • Happens all the time in Super Robot Wars, if a character has the least bit of sympathy he will usually do a Heel Face Turn. This is so common that in Original Generation 2 they start Lampshading it by mentioning that they can expect a recent convert by mentioning all the other people who have done it.
    • In Destiny, some could only join if they were convinced Glacies, Wintos, Margue, Chronicle, Katajina, Roze, Gabil. Haman Karn of all people can join you if Judau, Char, and Camille rack up an obscene number of kills. It's nearly impossible on your first playthrough, but New Game+ all but assures it on later runs.
    • While it is very common in OG, the one most notable and most impressive Heel Face Turn would be the one pulled by Axel Almer in OG Gaiden. He doesn't just do normal defection like the others, he shows his Heel Face Turn by saving a Brainwashed and Crazy Lamia, who was once thought to be dead and was now about to die again and sticking a metaphorical knife to the team for failing to save her again. So awesome that this scene becomes Axel's definitive Crowning Moment of Awesome, and also counts as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming as he lets go of his hatred for Artificial Human in general, and while he doesn't officially join the group, he has forever earned the trust of the heroes as a good guy.
    • Super Robot Wars 3 kickstarted this trend by letting Anavel Gato join up if you take a certain route through the game.
    • Master Asia in Advance. Given that he was always a Well-Intentioned Extremist rather than evil, it's not terribly surprising.
  • In Guild Wars: Nightfall General Morgahn is one of Varesh Ossa's generals and quite devoted to his religion, and tolerant of Varesh's. While he appears to be a villain who is not actually evil, just loyal, he actually makes a heel-face-turn and joins the player character, and even being required to face Varesh Ossa.
  • In Super Smash Bros. Brawl The Ancient Minister is thought to be the remorseless leader of the Subspace Army, but actually regrets his actions. In truth he isn't the true mastermind, and thus lost control of of his R.O.B. Squad when Ganondorf stepped in to complete the job of destroying the world with Subspace Bombs. The Ancient Minister then interferes, only to be attacked. It is then his true form is revealed, a R.O.B. From there is only referred to as such and becomes playable.
    • To be fair, the villains in the Subspace Emissary mode who are also playable characters do join up to fight the last boss. It doesn't help that the Big Bad pulled a 'You are of no more use to me' on them all.
    • In a case of All There in the Manual, it is revealed that Mr. Game & Watch is actually a villain, until Peach gives him her parasol. He was apparently not really evil, just incapable of telling the difference between good and evil. Hence, the ease of his turn.
  • Sparda in Devil May Cry, who "woke up to justice."
    • We've replaced Sparda's unbidden evil with Folger's Crystals. Let's see if he notices...
  • Raiden, a cruel, gigantic wrestler from the Fatal Fury series of fighting games (and Capcom vs. SNK 2), eventually underwent a literal Heel Face Turn, taking off his mask and becoming the benevolent Big Bear. The fact that wrestling is fake has become a little too real for him
    • Similarly, 3 Count Bout features one of Raiden's old rivals, the vicious heel Big Bomberder, working a face gimmick by donning a mask to become Gochack Bigbomb. In this case, it isn't a sincere character shift—it's Big trying to get over with the fanbase (and not doing so hot).
  • "First you gimme some lame special op and make me snipe my friends, and now you gonna pick on a defenseless Player?! Don't you Reapers have any honor?! Maybe the Composer's down widdat, BUT I AIN'T HIM!"
    • This one is a Heel Face Revolving Door of sorts, because Beat starts as a player, becomes a Reaper and a villain, but then performs the Heel Face Turn for the last Game.
  • After royally kicking your ass several times in Final Fantasy IX, General Beatrix joins your party for a couple fights.
    • An unusual, less extreme example, but it counts. Steiner, even though he's in your party for a greater portion of the game, spends most of his time trying to sabotage the party and deliver Dagger back to the queen. Zidane and the others win his loyalty, eventually.
  • Happens in every Fire Emblem game, sometimes more frequently than others. Usually you have to talk to the recruitable enemy with a certain character, but sometimes a former villain will automatically join your side. Binding Blade had Miledy and Douglas, Sword of Flame had Heath and Vaida, The Sacred Stones had Duessel and Amelia, and Path of Radiance had Jill, Muarim, and Ena.
  • Achenar in Myst IV Revelation
  • In the Persona 2 games, this happens quite a bit, although most of them don't end up joining the party, just being good guys instead of bad guys. In Innocent Sin, Jun does this after breaking free of Nyarlathotep's influence. As well, Principal Hannya would either die or end up pulling a Heel Face Turn depending on a rumor the protagonist ended up starting with a throwaway dialogue choice. Finally, depending on choices, Anna Yoshizaka would either pull a Heel Face Turn or be replaced by a Shadow counterpart created by Nyarlathotep. In Eternal Punishment, many of the previous villains were forced into Heel Face Turns as part of making a Merged Reality; however, Tatsuya Sudou was so deranged and irredeemable that he was instead imprisoned in a mental institution... and Ginji's Heel Face Turn doesn't end up sticking as he is pulled back into essentially the same role he played the first time around.
  • Judith Mossman in Half-Life 2. At first she seems to be one of the good guys, but then it is revealed that she is actually working for Dr. Breen. At the end, she pulls a Heel Face Turn and betrays Breen.
    • Also the Vortigaunts in the series itself can be interpreted as a Heel Face Turn. They go from attacking the player in the first game to literally worshipping him in the second, though it is because Gordon freed them of the influence of the Nihilanth (but that may not be something the player expects to know right away).
  • Klungo in Banjo-Tooie, after he realizes battling with Banjo and Kazooie is making him less and less handsome, and now Mrs. Klungo won't want him anymore!
  • Even final bosses can get into this. In the DS remake of Dragon Quest IV, a 6th chapter is added in which allows you to revive Rose, and use The Power of Love to convince Psaro the Manslayer (the aforementioned final boss) to not only stop his plans for world domination/destruction, but also to join your team! His Evil Chancellor then takes over the main villain position.
  • Knights of the Ebon Blade.
    • More an Enemy Mine situation. The Knights have no interest in being heroes, or even being liked (most death knight NPCs, in fact, have quest and gossip text that can be summed up to "Are you useful? If so, good, I've got work for you. If not, piss off."). Their sole motivation for allying with the Argent Crusade is to see the Lich King's head on a pike.
  • Deus Ex has Daedalus, an AI programmed by MJ12 to hunt down terrorist groups who might threaten their regime. Unfortunately for them, when the AI examined his creators and their actions, he classified them as a terrorist organisation themselves and left to help the player bring them down.
  • Saki from the Oneechanbara series. Initially the villain, she's revealed to have a pretty good excuse.. and kidnapped by Eva. After Aya rescues her, she stops trying to kill Aya and joins her.
  • Meliadoul in Final Fantasy Tactics (too bad this happens after Orlandu's already joined, however; everything she can do, he can do better). Also, Mediators can use their Invite skill on most enemies (as in, those who aren't plot characters), recruiting them on the spot to your cause (well, with a bit of luck, anyway).
  • Axel from Kingdom Hearts II, which results in him sacrificing himself for Sora.
    • Now Lea[1] seems to be firmly in Sora's camp, as of DDD. And he seems to have convinced Aeleus[2] and Ienzo[3] to do the same.
    • Also Cloud, who was technically a villain because he worked for Hades, but he eventually became Sora's ally.
  • In The Legend of Dragoon, the character Lloyd has his Heel Face Turn moment at the end of the game, just before he dies, giving Dart the Dragon Buster Sword and Divine Dragoon Spirit as proof.
  • Captain Qwark in the Ratchet and Clank games is a Fake Ultimate Hero, who periodically sells out to villains or fakes his own death to avoid the shooting, leaving Ratchet to do the hard yards. Until Ratchet III: Up Your Arsenal, in which after a Heel Realization he comes right out of nowhere in a Big Damn Heroes moment to shoot Dr. Nefarious' Humongous Mecha. Since then he's been Ratchet's ally in all his subsequent appearances. An incompetent ally, though an ally nonetheless.
  • Sly, in Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. Although it is a rather speedy one at that, because he gets beaten once, then is saved on another occasion, and before you know it - he's handing Ty the Doomerang.
  • Many of Sonic the Hedgehog's allies started off as enemies. These include Knuckles, Shadow, Blaze, and Jet.
  • LeChuck, of all people, makes a turn after the various Voodoo curses that have been powering him are removed in Tales of Monkey Island. Too bad they're now infecting the entire Caribbean! It was just an act.
  • Bianca in Spyro: Year of the Dragon, after she realizes The Sorceress' true plan was not what she signed on for.
  • Darth Vader's secret apprentice in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Although the fact that he just found out that his entire life was based around the fact Vader wasn't using him to help kill the Emperor but, rather, bring those who would speak against the Emperor out into the light probably helped a lot.
  • Jin Kisaragi from BlazBlue is an unrepentant Class S Asshole who has the makings of a Complete Monster, mostly due to his extreme possessive attitude that he wants to make Ragna his and his only and hates his little sister Saya for that. However, after turning into Hakumen, he pretty much becomes a much better person who doesn't obsess on his brother and has never mentioned his little sister again; and also became one of the Six Heroes, saving humanity. In fact, Hakumen himself feels really disgusted at the depravities he caused as Jin, and now all his fights are basically his way to atone for his sins.
  • Byrne from The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, after Anjean, Link and Zelda nurse him back to health, despite everything he did to them. He also received harsh beating from the guy he helped revive before that.
    • In Ocarina of Time, Ingo the spiteful ranch hand later becomes Ganondorf's minion and takes over the ranch. He kicks Talon out and makes people pay to visit. He mysteriously changes his ways after you escape with Epona.[4]
    • Bomb-Master Cannon from The Wind Waker over-charges prices for bombs until Tetra's Pirate Crew steals them. Afterwards, he realizes he could lose his business if he doesn't start selling his bombs at reasonable prices and people resort to stealing, so he sells his bombs at a much more reasonable price.
    • Chudley/Malver from Twilight Princess sells items at ridiculously high prices[5] until Malo buys out his store. After which, he becomes nice and will actually warn Link if he's wasting his money.
    • Groose from Skyward Sword goes from being the jerk of the town who hates Link and constantly bullies him (he even hides Link's Sacred Loftwing so he can't win the big race), to acually respecting and helping Link near the end of the game. For example he builds the "Groosenator", a huge catarpult, that helps you in the final Imprisoned fight, and he even turns up for a Big Damn Heroes moment during the second to final fight fight agasint Ghirahim when he turns up just in time to save Zelda from falling to her death.
  • There are many characters in the Suikoden series that join you this way.
    • A good example comes from the first game: All but two of the Great Generals will join you if you opt to show them mercy rather than have them executed. The only two who don't join you are your father, and Ayn, both of whom die at your hands. The Generals who do join you are required for the best ending, in which Gremio is resurrected.
  • The plot of No More Heroes: Desperate Struggle is basically centered around Travis Touchdown gradually turning from a mostly remorseless killing machine into a better person.
    • Although a point can be made that he treads the line between heel and face during the course of the first game and a good portion of the sequel too. Indeed, if he weren't a merciless assassin, this would almost be a case of Neutral No Longer, due to his attitude during most of the series.
    • And then there's one of the ranked assassins, Shinobu, whom Travis spared, who becomes his ally and self-proclaimed apprentice.
  • In Fallout 3, you can convince President Eden to do this. Though Colonel Autumn has gone against the president and ordered his men to attack you on sight, President Eden counters by having all the Sentry Guns and Security Turrets attack the Soldiers so you can get away easier.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, Celes betrays the Empire, and joins the Returners after Locke saves her from torture. Kefka's plan to poison the entire town of Doma crosses her Moral Event Horizon. However, burning down Maranda is simply Empire evil, because she did participate in that.
  • Ruecian also makes one in Threads of Fate with Rue's story.When Valen binds Rue with a doll binding magic Ruecian casts a spell that unleashes Rue's true power, but ends up killed by Valen that also counts as Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Happens in one of the endings in Vanguard Bandits. Ninja Maid and mole Cecilia can betray her contract master and join the hero if one pursues her ending.
  • The Disgaea series is full of these kind of characters, though what exactly is a heel face turn and what is instead a Face Heel Turn can be confusing given disgaea's peculiar brand of Blue and Orange Morality. In fact, the first and third Disgaea games are mostly ABOUT the gradual change from villain to anti-hero.
    • Gold Knuckle in Disgaea 3 is particularly noteworthy in that he literally refers to his side change as "turning face!".
  • Star Wars Rogue Squadron: Kasan Moore, head of the 128th TIE Interceptor Squadron, defects to the Alliance and provides valuable information. She was from Alderaan, so yeah.
  • The Orcish Horde from the Warcraft video game series. In the first two games the orcs were pretty much Exclusively Evil, their leaders having sold them into the service of the demonic Burning Legion. But prior to the start of Warcraft III the orcs, under the guidance of their new warchief Thrall, rediscovered their ancient traditions and the concept of honor, and became a Proud Warrior Race Guy society.
  • GLaDOS, from Portal 2, after being put in a potato and spending the middle to the end of the game with your character. She then becomes very nice to you, then reset back to disliking you, but is still good enough to just want you gone instead of dead.
  • The General, from Mega Man X 4, returns to the course of duty after the death of the Big Bad, claiming that Sigma had "blinded him to the truth", which may or may not have implied brainwashing. Probably not, considering that at the beginning of the game, he ignored him until the Sky Lagoon's crash forced his hand.
  • Uruka, Kouin and Kyouko in Eien no Aselia all start out on various enemy sides. The first is kicked out and nursed to health when she loses the ability to fight and the latter two switch after the mind control over Kyouko is broken.
  • Three of the Fake Evil Kings( Big Bull, Linda, and Epros) in Okage: Shadow King end up joining you after being defeated.
  • Septerra Core. Araym; Selina twice; Lobo, years before he meets our heroes; in-game mythology ascribes one to Dogo, god of mischief, who helped save the world. Doskias does one in the ending, but alas, Redemption Equals Death.
  • The Kuvasz Guild of Solatorobo, after Opéra takes over due to the death of Bruno.
  • Judge Gabranth in Final Fantasy XII sides with The Empire after believing that his brother, Basch, betrayed them and his men. He even fights the party a few times but near the Final Battle, he realizes who the true evil is and assists the party for one battle. Gabranth dies after the war is over and Basch lives on in his name, literally.
  • Star Wars The Old Republic Elara Dorne a companion for the Trooper class, use to serve the Sith Empire before defecting to the Republic.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • In Fate/stay night, Ilya is the main threat for the first half of the series, but she becomes an ally when her monstrous Servant Berserker is killed in Fate scenario (she couldn't keep fighting at that point, but that didn't mean she had to join the True Companions). In the Heaven's Feel scenario, she goes so far as to sacrifice herself for Shirou in the Good End.
  • In the science fiction visual novel Bionic Heart, the corrupt corporate executive's brand new android henchwoman turns on him when the psychic human brain he placed in her head allows her to have visions showing the destruction that will result from his future plans.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni Episode 8, Lambdadelta manages to do an awesome one, going up against Bernkastel .


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Girl Genius, Lucrezia decided to reform when Bill Heterodyne asked her to marry him. She knew she could do it because she was in love... and there had to be a reason why they always won.
    • It doesn't seem to have stuck. Although the fact that she has to vanish Klaus to "remove temptation" kinda makes it dubious whether it had any chance of sticking.
  • El Goonish Shive: After she was created Ellen tried to be a villain but wasn't very good at it. She eventually became a Heroes.
    • Hedge, Guineas and Vlad(ia) also have one almost immediately after Damien's death.
      • It should be noted that Damien was a Very Bad Boss. All three of them were either misled or directly threatened into being serving him. Also the reason Grace was on the run in the first place. She just refused the Face Heel Turn in the first place.
    • Abraham after Nanase talked him out of killing Ellen.
  • Angel Moxie: Tristan. She (yes, she) turned good because the Big Bad screwed her over, though it's obvious that Tristan wasn't exactly evil in the first place, just easily manipulated. In an unusual turn, it's revealed she was one of the Legendary Heroes from the start.
  • Despite being pretty unlucky at love, Torg from Sluggy Freelance seems to have this effect on the ladies:
    • He turned Aylee from an amoral, man-eating alien into a rather pleasant friend and employee who only occasionally ate human flesh.
    • He was the first person to befriend the demon Mosp since her transformation, leading her to rebel against Lord Horribus.
    • It takes some time and some pretty hefty promises on his part, but Torg eventually gets Ax Crazy, love-sick assassin Oasis to give up killing people ... well, unless she decides they're bad guys. Still, for her, being an ultra-violent Vigilante Man is a huge step forward.
  • Ahmad in Harry Potter Comics undergoes this after truly realizing what the results of he and his brothers' jihad has been.
  • Order of the Stick: Therkla...before we're reminded Redemption Equals Death.
    • Also, Belkar's pretending to have undergone a face turn after his brush with death. He's still the Token Evil Teammate, but acting good keeps the authorities off his back and lets him Mind Screw the rest of the party. While Roy and Haley aren't fooled, suspecting it's a scam of some sort, they don't care either since Roy knows for a fact that Belkar has only weeks left to live. Belkar on the other hand doesn't know this.
    • O-Chul also attempts to convince The Monster in the Darkness to turn against Redcloak and Xykon. He seems to have made quite a bit of progress. Then, The Monster is the Minion with an F In Evil.
    • Redcloak's backstory and continuous humiliation by Xykon have led to a lot of speculation that he's being set up for this.
      • His brother Right-Eye went through one in the backstory. He realized that working with a monster like Xykon would eventually lead to the destruction of the goblin people and that the grand Plan he and Redcloak had worked on their entire lives wasn't worth the sacrifice of so many goblins. This culminated in an attempt to kill Xykon for good; sadly, Right-Eye was Doomed by Canon.
  • Black Mage of Eight Bit Theater periodically comes close, but as soon as Fighter says something knife-worthy, he jumps right back to his Heel role, completely forgetting that he'd ever contemplated reforming.
  • Bob and George: Here.
  • Jacob Deegan has a pretty surprising Heel Face Turn in one of the most recent story arcs of the series, and actually manages a pretty heroic moment to boot.
    • Bulgak Adrak earns a particularly notable one, since it occurs while he is in Hell. This ultimately lead to his Redemption Equals Death since a reformed soul cannot exist in Hell.
  • Gamzee in Homestuck,after Karkat shoosh paps him.
  • Mal Jedi character in Head Trip... maybe a little too early.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Sonia and Dr. Hart in Lonelygirl15.
  • Fair numbers of this happen in Survival of the Fittest. Mostly, it is the result of a 'player' stopping killing their fellows, usually due to a guilty conscience.
    • Hawley Faust of the first game, although he was semi-convinced instead of spontaneously deciding to quit.
    • Julie Mikan in V3. She set out to actively play, but after killing Owen Fontaine realised she didn't have what it takes and became a heroic character instead.
    • Dominica Sharpiro, also of V3. A less conventional example in that she made the switch purely on the chance the escape plan of the group she joined would succeed.
    • Sharon Kulikov, similarly to Julie, originally decides to play indiscriminately, but upon realizing that she can't bring herself to do that she resolves to only target other players.
    • The most recent example is probably Bobby Jacks, although he was pretty shaken up about killing other people.
    • Laeil Burbank, who started off as a vengeful Psycho Lesbian, until she pissed off an even bigger player who...decided to have some fun with her. After she's rescued, by someone who's best friend she'd killed (though it was a Mercy Kill), punched in the face, and told that if she ever saw him again, she'd kill him no less, she decides that she's through with being an indiscriminate killer (unfortunately, she doesn't survive for very long after that).
    • Sarah Atwell, who took part in one of the most horrific murders of V4, is now making a bid for redemption through killing other players after a shocking realization.
  • Happens with several characters from the Darwin's Soldiers RPs, most notably with Hans.
  • Possibly The New Adventures of Captain S: in the last episode of the first season, NES digs up a Sega Menacer for Captain S to use against Game Genie (NES's former master). Although, the series ended with NES's fate unknown, so his motivation for doing this is just as unclear.
  • In most of the Madness Combat shorts, Jeebus is the enemy of the protagonist, Hank. However, in Part 8, he is featured as trying to stop the Mooks and new Big Bad.
  • Ralph from Dead Ends pulls one of these when he realizes that he is basically hunting down an unarmed teenager and her friend during a Zombie Apocalypse because his best friend, Ephram, has gone batshit crazy.
  • Surprisingly rare in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe.
    • Battle betrayed Tarot to save the life of her son, Stone.
    • Gadgeteer villain Knick-Knack retired from his life of crime and became the custodian of the Hyperion Academy.
    • The Redeemers are an entire team made up of former super-villains.
  • Gross Sword does this at the end of The Sick Kids, but only because his lawful-good siblings nearly kill him.
  • Bogdan from Water Human does that after he develops a liking for a prisoner that his partner tells him to kill. He proceeds to attack his own partner.
  • Kelly from We're Alive is easily the most hated character among both the cast and audience during Season 1, but eventually pulls one of these after her attitude indirectly kills Tommy.
  • Spiro of The Questport Chronicles pulls one after refusing to kill a Demon Bunny for his master's dinner. He's banished from his homeland for showing mercy, and ends up as the Token Evil Teammate in the Fellowship.
    • The King of Thieves and Assassins reforms after hearing the Harp of Remorse.
  • In The Gamers Alliance, a bunch of antagonists eventually switch sides and become more heroic. Some examples include Dalthas, Jemuel, Kagetsu I (he joins the Alliance because they saved his wife, but he still more or less pursues his agenda albeit with different means while being bound by his oath to the Alliance), Omaroch, Titaniel and Viirsa.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Raimundo in Xiaolin Showdown, though that's after he did a Face Heel Turn. He actually does suffer some consequences and trust issues afterwards because of it.
  • Brilliantly subverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender: Prince Zuko is given tons of reasons to change sides in the second season finale, including the "encounter with The Messiah," Katara, after being put through hell all season:... and then doesn't. Wham! The results of that decision prompt him into a genuine Heel Face Turn half a season later in "Day of the Black Sun," and Zuko being Zuko, he takes the time for Calling the Old Man Out before he leaves. So a Double Subversion, all in all.
    • Mai and Ty Lee follow suit in "Boiling Rock". Mai's especially was epic, showing up like a Big Damn Hero and pulling off a Crowning Moment of Awesome, while Ty Lee's just came straight from behind a tree (though disabling Azula is still awesome).
    • In a minor case, by the time that Gondor Calls for Aid, The Boulder and The Hippo had decided to quit working for Xin Fu and join the army. What weird is it's a Heel Face Turn from two heels that played faces in their world's equivalent of Professional Wrestling.
    • One of the earliest examples in the series is the forest spirit Hei Bai. He began rampaging through a village after his forest was destroyed, but Aang reassured him that it would grow back. After that, Hei Bai was a valuable ally to Aang.
  • Teen Titans has Terra in Season Two (her comics counterpart had no such turn), but this is after a time as The Mole and then a Face Heel Turn, helping Slade achieve near victory. Heck, she's the one who ends up killing Slade, but ends up performing a Heroic Sacrifice proving that Redemption Equals Death (or Redemption Equals Turning To Stone...it is a children/family show, after all). Jinx also performs a Heel Face Turn towards the end of season five, thanks to being thrown into a Dating Catwoman-ish scenario with Kid Flash (and the fact that her villainous idol treated her like crap; Madame Rouge lives to regret that decision).
  • Elyon Brown in WITCH, again following a Face Heel Turn. A number of minor villains in the second season do one as well after realizing that Phobos isn't as noble as they thought he was.
  • Transformers: Beast Wars has a number of examples. Dinobot and Silverbolt spent relatively little screen time as heels, but Dinobot was a pretty slagging well-done heel. More literal examples are: In the third season, Blackarachnia, and, near the end of the series finale, Dinobot's Transmetal 2 clone.
    • In Transformers Armada, Starscream (who seemed to be more based on Dinobot than the original Starscream) switched sides to the Autobots once Megatron got fed up with him being The Starscream. While Starscream originally only joined to stick it to Megatron, he hit it off with the kids and slowly became more accepted. Later, he would turn evil again and flop around to every "side" imaginable on the show. Eventually, he decided the threat of Unicron necessitated all of the Transformers uniting together and sacrificed himself to make Megatron realize that. He was recognized as a hero for his dying actions.
    • G1 has Jetfire/Skyfire (comics and cartoon, respectively).
  • Tohru and Viper in Jackie Chan Adventures. Tohru's reason for changing sides is hilarious: Section 13 serves free donuts on Thursdays.
    • Don't forget Finn, Ratso, Chow, and Hak Foo in the Grand Finale.
  • Kevin Levin in Ben 10, at the beginning of the Ben 10 Alien Force sequel series.
  • Kronk, the Punch Clock Villain in The Emperors New Groove switches sides after his boss Yzma's irate You Have Failed Me... speech culminates with an attack on his beloved spinach-puff recipe.
    • Same in the final episode in the series.
  • Rogue in X-Men: Evolution. The episode where she does this is one long Crowning Moment Of Awesome for her.
  • In The Raccoons, this trope is at the soul of the Character Development of Cyril Sneer who gradually evolves from a Corrupt Corporate Executive to a more sympathetic character.
  • In Re Boot, Hack n Slash are a prominent example, joining the protagonists after Megabyte gets them destroyed and Phong rebuilds them, and them realizing that they missed having Bob around to stop them before they actually did anything really bad. Hexadecimal also undergoes profound change in the latter seasons.
    • Wouldn't you switch sides if your enemy put you back together after your boss sent you to the front lines to get destroyed by his sister simply to get rid of you?
  • In Liberty's Kids Sarah went from a fierce Loyalist to an American Patriot after seeing firsthand what the Americans went through in their fight for liberty.
  • The Fairly OddParents: Mark Chang goes from fighting Timmy every time they meet to relying on him to hide him on Earth to avoid his Arranged Marriage.
  • On The Simpsons, Sideshow Bob almost got one in the episode "Brother From Another Series", but he was mistakenly arrested by Chief Wiggum.
  • In one episode of Johnny Bravo, an evil doctor and his pet kitten steal Johnny's blanket and after hearing Johnny's speech on what the blanky meant to him, the kitten makes a Heel Face Turn and attacks the doctor.
  • Subverted with Sergeant Hatred from The Venture Bros. He switched sides, going from an antagonist to a protagonist. However Venture Industries is just as immoral as the Guild, it's just the Guild admits and embraces this, whereas Dr. Venture doesn't even realize this. (Though at least he's trying to quit being a pedophile.)
  • The He-Man and the Masters of the Universe episode "Damar the Demon" is notable in that He-Man gets an Eldritch Abomination to do a Heel Face Turn by convincing him he has free will. Dude, Damar scores pretty near the bottom on the Sorting Algorithm Of Heel Face Turning. He-Man is danged good at talking monsters to death.
  • Mildew Wolf was originally the scheming antagonist of the "It's The Wolf!" segments of Hanna-Barbera's "The Cattanooga Cats", and was constantly trying to trick the protagonist, Lambsy, into becoming his next meal. He was later recast, in the Hanna-Barbera ensemble show Laff-A-Lympics, as a friendly (albeit cynical) sports commentator, with a strong dislike for the Really Rottens' underhanded shenanigans.
  • David Xanatos, Fox, and Dingo (though we don't see the latter anymore after his Heel Face Turn- until the comics came out anyway.) from Gargoyles.
  • The Bee Keeper from Johnny Test pulls a rather reasonable one after Johnny, Susan and Mary find a way to get children to appreciate his natural honey candies by having him distribute them free once a year on a new holiday—they had been spending the entire episode trying to establish a new "Free Candy" holiday and continually failing due to various obstacles; ones the Bee Keeper pointed out wouldn't apply to him and his candies once he discovered their plans. Since he gets what he wanted from the beginning and the protagonists helped him do it, he's content to give up villainy.
    • The Brain Freezer pulls a reasonable one as well after Johnny, Dukey, Susan, and Mary help him with his looks (and other issues) long enough for him to make the ice coffee cafe he's always wanted. He doesn't exactly become a good guy, but instead a Chaotic Neutral that competes with Johnny rather than be a direct antagonist in later episodes.
  • Mr. Trudge in the 1980's Jonny Quest episode "Creeping Unknown" after the Quests discover the plant monster's weakness (it's sunlight, for some reason). He was only being forced to help the monster, anyway. Or so he claimed.
  • Rose in American Dragon: Jake Long.
  • The entire dingo family in Blinky Bill at the start of season 2. Shifty Dingo pulls a big one in the mothers day episode where he helps reunite Nutsy with her long lost father.
  • Rubberband Man in Static Shock. Near the end of the series, when a cure to the mutagen gas has been made, so do Aqua Maria and Talon.
  • In Popeye's Voyage: The Quest for Pappy, Bluto is jarringly Out of Character. He doesn't have a single mean bone in his body, he's best friends with Popeye, and when a hypnotised Olive makes advances towards him he adamantly turns her down.
  • Early in Ninjago, Lloyd Garmadon, the son of malicious Lord Garmadon, tries his best to be a villain, but in hindsight, he's just a mischief-making little kid. After many mishaps and his worst mistake of all, releasing Pythor, Sensei Wu decides to put Lloyd back on track by treating him as if he were his own son. Lloyd drops the "bad guy" routine in a heartbeat, but still remains a troublesome prankster.


  1. AKA, Axel's Somebody
  2. Lexaeus's Somebody
  3. Zexion's Somebody
  4. It's implied that Ganondorf just leaves him.
  5. The cheapest of which is 10 arrows for 2000 rupees.