Obviously Evil

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    "Woah, that's a bad guy, that's a really bad guy! Did you see his face? His head looks like one of the Easter Island heads!"

    Max, Get Smart

    A lot of fiction out there has a tendency to employ incredibly black and white perspectives to the characters and their actions. Due to the belief that its target demographic (usually children or just total morons) can't understand subtler shades of evil, many works of fiction create a stark contrast between the heroes and villains. When this happens, the creators will bring in their Obviously Evil® Design Team.

    When a work of fiction indulges in Obviously Evil®, every villain will be a Card-Carrying Villain, usually Color Coded for Your Convenience in shades of black and red. There won't be any Well-Intentioned Extremists, Knights Templar or pretty much anyone that doesn't accept and accentuate their evilness. If you see anybody that might seem to be a shade of grey on the side of the villains, it will usually basically be a hero with a slight bit of behavior modification to work with the villains (and an inevitable Heel Face Turn coming up during Sweeps). If the villainous group is a governing body, it will always be an Evil Empire with a 0% Approval Rating. There aren't any Punch Clock Mooks that just accepted the job because it's work, but, instead, Exclusively Evil Faceless Goons that act like miniature versions of the main villain and provide no guilt whatsoever, when they get killed by the truckload.

    The goals of the villains and their organization are always incredibly eeeeeevil, with one of five purposes: world domination, world destruction, corruption, genocide, or antagonizing the heroes. Nobody on the side of evil will ever Pet the Dog (except maybe the none-too-subtle Heel Face Turn candidate). Even their imagery is blatantly made as a contrast to the heroes, with lots of skulls, Spikes of Villainy, and other assorted things. Imagine a villain whose entire body is made of Red Right Hands, stitched together with thread made from the skin of dead puppies and you're beginning to get the idea.

    Note that it's possible to have Obviously Evil figures in a normally more subtle setting; frequently, the justification is that the character is so far gone into his Card Carrying Villainy (or some brutal variation of Blue and Orange Morality) that he doesn't care what other people think of him.

    Fiction that employs this is almost always Anvilicious to a fault, being the most extreme example of Black and White Morality. If the writers don't like X, they can just have someone Obviously Evil doing X.

    Compare Black and Grey Morality, Villainous Fashion Sense. Not to be confused with Devil in Plain Sight.

    Tropes invoked in the establishment of this style include:

    Not to be confused with Obliviously Evil.

    Examples of Obviously Evil include:

    Anime and Manga


    Lina: Amelia, think! Who looks like a bad guy here?
    Amelia: <thinks hard for a few moments> Both of you!

    • Dr. Hell, the Big Bad of Mazinger Z, has pale purple skin and a long white Beard of Evil, also being prone to maniacal laughter. Oh, and his name is Dr. Hell. The bizarre part is that his backstory involves betraying a group of companions in order to get some Phlebotinum, which means that someone, somewhere, was willing to trust him.
    • Oda Nobunaga takes it Up to Eleven in the anime adaptation of Sengoku Basara. Spikes of Villainy? Check. Beard of Evil? Check. Well-known villain voice actor? Norio Wakamoto, double check. Makes speeches about opening portals to Hell on Earth and refers to himself as the Demon King? Check. Dramatic Thunder and Ominous Latin Chanting whenever he makes a public appearance? Oh, you better believe check. And just to make absolutely sure anyone who sees him knows that he's a Card-Carrying Villain, he drinks sake out of a human skull. While sitting on a throne decorated with skulls. Which is itself seated on a giant pile of human skulls. And yet the leaders of the provinces he allied with are actually surprised for some reason when he backstabs them.
    • Though a spoiler in the original anime and manga, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood doesn't even try to hide the fact that Bradley is evil. In one episode, a rogue alchemist charges at him in a dark alley, all in black and white except for the color red, before Bradley easily disposes of him while Ominous Latin Chanting plays in the background. This happens in the first episode?
      • Given that he's the head of a military dictatorship, it wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that he's not the nicest guy in the world. His evilness was never the biggest surprise about him anyway; that would be his being a homunculus.
      • Also, Shou Tucker is far far far more obviously evil than in the first anime.
    • Some of the real nasties in One Piece can be pretty obvious in their appearance. Apart from the hook hand, Crocodile looks like a mob boss. Akainu simply seems more realistically drawn and has a Yakuza tattoo. Blackbeard is a big, fat, ugly guy missing some teeth and a nose that looks like it's been broken a few times. Gecko Moriah is an obese, chalk white demon creature with horns, no chin and a neck about triple the length it should be, with razor sharp teeth and an odd resemblance to a balloon animal. On the other hand, Warden Magellan is probably a subversion since despite his highly demonic appearance, he's practically a hero antagonist: he just wants to keep the world safe from some nasty, nasty pirates.
    • The Big Bads in the Digimon Adventure series - Devimon, Daemon, and Myotismon had full-blown demonic appearances; Piedmon was a Monster Clown; and Etemon was an Elvis impersonator.
    • Professor Cobra in Yu-Gi-Oh GX. Aside from the name, he begins forcing students to duel with Des Belts, which drain their energy upon defeat, and laughs evilly while disappearing for long tracts of time to his lair, with no one of note questioning where he went.
    • There's also Dr. Faker in Yu-Gi-Oh Ze Xal. Who promises to use the Numbers to cure Kaito's brother of illness. Gee, Kaito, is it possible he's deceiving you?
    • Ichimaru Gin of Bleach screams 'villain' from a mile away. Except, we find out his motives were more noble than previously thought. His way of achieving them, however...
    • The moment you see Orochimaru from Naruto, you know that he's pure evil.
    • Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha openly invoked this trope when she first appeared complete with blood-red eyes, a Stripperiffic black leather getup complete with Dracula's spare cape, a Sinister Scythe to match, and a fearsome foxlike creature at least as big as she is for a familiar. Of course this impression did not last long.
    • It takes one look at him in the moment of his introduction to tell that Yakushiji Tenzen of Basilisk is the main villain. He's not too over the top, but... just look at him. His anime version is wearing a white cloak, combined with long black hair that looks like a pair of horns and he's got that perpetual rape-face complete with Guyliner. His live action incarnation takes it one step further by making him look like Sephiroth. You can't get more evil that that.
    • Vento of the Front from A Certain Magical Index invokes this trope, making people hostile towards her since her power, "God's Divine Punishment", activates only when there are people who feel hostile towards her. Those people are then deprived of oxygen, putting them at a comatose state until she deems that the punishment is enough.
    • Windaria's Lagado. He wears a black cloak with a face mask and calls someone off the road from behind a rock for a suspicious plan.

    Comic Books

    • Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Darkseid of Apokolips and his minion Desaad are trying to find the Anti-Life Equation. The visual doesn't help, either. The nicest guys in Apokolips seem to be torture mistress Granny Goodness and televangelist/propaganda minister Glorious Godfrey, so you know it's bad (and the rest of Darkseid's retinue? Try to guess what kind of people Kalibak, Virmin Vundabar, Lashina, Bernadeth, and Mad Harriet are).
    • Ceryx, the Big Bad - maybe, this book doesn't reveal much - of Artesia. All his teeth are sharp, chains and hooks hang from his thighs, he is surrounded by perpetual darkness, and he leaves bloody footprints wherever he walks.
    • Magneto named his group the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Seriously, just drop the "evil" and you'd come across much better. Modern writers noticed this, and retconned the "Evil" part as being a sarcastic comment on how humanity sees mutants in general, and those who want more mutant rights in particular. When the group pops up in modern adaptations, they're usually just the "Brotherhood of Mutants."
    • Surprisingly averted by Susan Veraghen of Grendel. Arguably the only truly non-evil Grendel of the entire series (every last one of the others either starts out or ends up as a conscienceless psychopath), she basically looks like a Sith Lord, complete with huge muscles, spikes and full-body tattoos.
    • Double subverted by the jolly Joker in Batman, who is colorful (although in purple and green) where Batman's costume is more akin to that of a traditional villain. Then again, clowns aren't generally viewed as all that benevolent.
      • Two-Face, Killer Croc and the Scarecrow, though the latter is justified (his whole purpose it to scare people to begin with after all).
    • One of the greatest of the Green Lantern Corps was a man with reddish purple skin, a Snidely Whiplash-style mustache and a clear superiority complex named Sinestro. Go on and guess how his tenure ended.

    Dodgers: Hey, you know, in person, you really do look like the Devil.
    Sinestro: I know. I get that a lot.

    • In Dick Tracy, you would think the cops would just arrest every hideously deformed citizen they spot. Not a single one can say they have no involvement in organized crime.
    • Then we have Captain America (comics)'s old enemy the Red Skull. The name alone(coming after what his 'face' looks like) is bleedingly obvious a tip-off and this is without mentioning he sided with the Nazis. Can't get much more Obviously Evil than that.
    • Inverted with Blue Devil.
    • The Horde from Strikeforce: Morituri are a race of barbarian Planet Looters who deliberately avoid conquering Earth simply for the fun of terrorizing the populace and think nothing of slaughtering helpless slaves and children. An early terror tactic was to eject large numbers of captured humans outside the Earth's atmosphere, allowing them to burn up in re-entry so people on the ground could see the streaks representing their burning forms.
    • The Anti-Monitor from Crisis on Infinite Earths.
    • Mister Sinister. If his name isn't huge enough of a red flag, just look at him.
    • The Mighty Thor (now called Journey into Mystery): Loki was recently reincarnated as a child (without his adult memories), and is facing this in-universe: Everyone other than Thor (and even he has reservations) is essentially saying "He's Loki, so he must be evil." Loki is trying very hard to make his reputation work for him, and in dealings with people like Mephisto is desperately trying to channel his evil past self (often making comments to his companions on how fun it is to talk like you're an evil, powerful trickster when you're really just a kid).
    • Lampshaded with the Quantum Decomputer in Atomic Robo:

    Robo: Computers that are evil have all kinds of unnecessary ornamentation. This thing's venting steam! Why's it doing that? It's like nature. Like rattlesnakes or poisonous toads. It wants you to know its dangerous.




    Nostalgia Critic: Did I mention I'm the villain in this movie? No? Because I don't have to!

    • Nizam in Prince of Persia the Sands of Time qualifies. Let's see. Beard of Evil? Check. Bald of Evil? Check. Black robes and piercing eyes? Check. Played by Ben Kingsley? Check and Mate. Might as well give him a sign.
    • The Dudley Do-Right Movie lampshades this trope with Snidely Whiplash. As a child explaining what he wants to be when he grows up he declares, "Isn't it obvious? I'm going to be the BAD GUY!" Later in the film, Dudley and the Kumquat Chief are speaking to a politician, who questions whether Snidely is the bad guy. The chief replies, "Just look at the way he dresses, DUH!"
    • Most of Don Bluth's movies. No one sufficiently Genre Savvy in their right mind would trust a black-furred rat dressed in purple arguing with the other rats, a cigar-smoking, con-artist rat who's actually a cat, a dark green Tyrannosaurus, a dog that smokes, a monocle-wearing giant owl who loves Ominous Pipe Organs and can't stand light, petrifying ugly trolls, and a strong deep-voiced penguin who lives in a frightening lair.
      • Although to be fair, Sharptooth's actions are strictly predatory.
    • Played to creepy perfection in Rock and Rule with Mok, the waning rock megastar, who intends to summon a demon in order to enslave the world. Everything about him just oozes EVIL!
    • In case calling the Empire "evil" right in the first film's opening crawl wasn't obvious enough, Star Wars makes sure that you understand who the villains are just by looking at them.
      • Darth Vader wears very large black suit, a menacing cape, and a face-concealing helmet. His name also sounds like "invader," as well as "dark father" in Dutch.
      • Stormtroopers are named after Nazis, and their helmets come with a predesigned grimace.
      • Darth Maul's red and black tattoos, bad teeth, yellow eyes, crown of horns and black outfit make him look positively demonic. The name "Maul" also helps.
      • Darth Sidious has a hideously withered face, yellow eyes, a scary voice, and black robes. His name also sounds like "insidious." Subverted with his Palpatine identity, who looked like a kind politician before getting a face full of lightning.
      • General Grievous has a white, skeletal exoskeleton and a stooped posture.
      • Count Dooku is played by Christopher Lee using the same approach he takes to Saruman, Dracula, Fu Manchu and the rest.
      • For that matter, the Dark Side is called... The Dark Side. Who says only the Sith deal in absolutes? Justified when it comes to the Dark Side: it's basically a narcotic and delving too much into has the expected devastating effects. But overall, subtlety is not the series' strong point.
    • Played with with Timothy Dalton's character in Hot Fuzz. Something about the surname Skinner, the smile, the moustache... and the relentless lampshading!
    • Jonas and his team from Twister, who show up in a long line of black SUVs. They also had the nerve to do something as diabolical as get funding for their research!
    • The Lord of the Rings
      • You can tell that Grima Wormtongue is a traitor the first time you see him, what with the pale skin and scraggly black hair and the hunched over look and the black clothes and all the sweat. He received the nickname Wormtongue by people who thought he was obviously evil and called him out to his face. The name, incidentally, is a backhanded compliment, since "worm" refers to a dragon, meaning he speaks with cunning and persuasion.
        • Lampshaded by actors and writers in the commentaries. They have fun pointing out "What a surprise! The only guy without a Beard is the traitor!". Director Peter Jackson himself points the lack of eyebrows as an obvious sign that he's evil.
      • Most of the villainous characters, such as the orcs, Nazgûl and particularly Sauron's material form, who are all pretty scary to look at and decked out in blackened Spikes of Villainy.
      • Played with when it comes to the rogue, self-sufficient Moria goblins. Obviously bad guys and as scary to look at, but they have distorted beliefs that the other peoples of Middle Earth, especially Elves, Dwarves, and Men, are the Obviously Evil ones and supposedly look that way. They believe that anything not an Orc or goblin is evil and take the "trust no one" belief to homicidal extremes. But they dwelled in Moria on their own account and have nothing to do with Sauron. They wanted revenge for the Battle of Five Armies and the death their ruler, the Great Goblin.
      • Subverted with the Army of the Dead, a spectral army of decomposing warriors who originally appear as threatening characters and implied villains, but eventually help the heroes during the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. The motives are, if ultimately selfish, sympathetic and understandable.
    • The Russians in Red Dawn—murdering high school students, raping, evil eyes, evil moustaches... evil hats.
    • Comedy version in Silent Movie: the evil corporation that wants to buy the good film studio is called Engulf & Devour—owned by two Corrupt Corporate Executives by those names. They even pray to a glowing dollar sign. Their name is a parody of the Real Life mega-conglomerate "Gulf+Western", who had a bad rep back then too.
    • Deconstructed in the 2008 Get Smart, when Max deduces that Dalip is a KAOS agent because "...his face looks like an Easter Island head!" After a moment's thought, he chastises himself for profiling and assumes that Daliph is really a good guy. In fact, Dalip is working for the villain, but only because his wife is being held hostage.
    • In the first |Dungeons and Dragons, the villains Profion and Damodar (though laughably so) are very much Obviously Evil. As if to acknowledge it, Profion is shown wearing an innocuous white robe while addressing the wizard council as some attempt to explain why he's not executed immediately.
    • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Judge Doom. The name itself isn't very subtle, because, let's face it, Toons aren't known for their subtlety.
    • Averted in Halloween. Unlike Freddy, Jason and Leatherface, when Michael Myers is (briefly) unmasked in the climax of the first movie, he's revealed to have an almost angelic face. According to Word of God, Tony Moran's "angelic" appearance is exactly why he was hired for that role. And the scar on Michael's eye wasn't supposed to be as ugly as it turned out to be, but prosthetics got a bit carried away when applying it to the actor's face.
    • William Bludworth, the funeral director who appears in Final Destination, Final Destination 2, and the upcoming Final Destination 5, is Affably Evil in that he deals with death itself and gives the protagonists cryptic clues about how to cheat death (for example, in 2: "Only new life can defeat death.").
    • Doctor Heiter from The Human Centipede, good Lord. The Phelous review of the movie lampshades this by playing very fitting dramatic strings whenever he does something.
    • Doctor Evil in the Austin Powers movies, of course. His frickin' name is Evil. He went to evil medical school! Granted, he's mostly humorously ineffectual, but he's trying...


    • Smasher Sullivan in The Secret River
    • Voldemort of Harry Potter. Red, snake-like eyes, bleach-white skin, and clawed fingernails. Justified as the method of his immortality mutates him gradually and made him this way. Then there's his lackey, Wormtail, who follows Animal Stereotypes. Out of the original generation of wizards, who was it that became a traitor? Yep, the one who turns into a rat. Also justified in that Animagi take the form of the animal which best embodies their personality.
      • Subverted, however, with Snape, who spends the whole series wearing black, being mean to the heroes and in general acting like a typical villain. He, of course, turns out to be a good guy, albeit one who happens not to like the protagonists and has really complicated motives.
      • On the other hand, the Carrows with their twisted faces, squat and ugly bodies and constant wheezing (not to mention the fact that they Crucio anything that moves) makes their alignment painfully obvious.
      • Inverted Trope with Voldemort's teenage appearance: handsome, slim, well-groomed, polite—in stark contrast to some of his peers, which becomes a plot point.
      • Sirius Black is a subversion. When we first hear about him, he's described as looking Obviously Evil with a skull-like face, yellow teeth, and matted black hair. And, of course, he's played by Gary Oldman in the movies. Then we get to The Reveal where we find out he was actually a good guy all along. After this happens, his description in the books becomes more favorable. For the films, they stop making Gary Oldman up to look scary at this point. It's attributed to him recovering from his time in Azkaban, but the result is the same.
      • Bellatrix Lestrange is an inversion where she is described as being a beautiful woman (pre-Azkaban, at least) when she is actually one of the most evil characters in the series.
    • We know James of Twilight must be evil, because he's the only one of the vampires who is described as having a nondescript face, rather than being unbelievably beautiful. Also, he and his companions are dirty and dressed in worn clothing, rather than wearing designer labels all the time like the good vampires.
      • How dare they!
    • If The Grand Ellipse is any indication, Those Wacky Nazis have created a new version of this trope. The villainous empire of Grewzia is full of tall blond guys, everyone from it is habitually punctual, and its national language consists mostly of hard consonants. Note that this society is not an Expy of the Nazis, and beyond appearances has almost nothing in common with them—this stuff's just our cue that they're bad, bad people.
    • Since most of the villains in The Kingdom Keepers series are Characters, it's natural this trope is in effect. Special mention goes to the new character Jez, who has pale skin, black hair, and her name is short for Jezebel. To Finn's credit, he does begin to suspect her...
    • The Harkonnen in Dune are sodomites, love wanton slaughter, their leader is an obese glutton who cannot move without technological aids, their homeworld is a cesspool of pollution and so on.
    • President Snow is described as having Snake-like eyes and the smell of roses and blood.
    • The Boltons in A Song of Ice and Fire have a flayed man as their symbol and live in a place called the Dreadfort. They were armor that has screaming faces and exposed muscles styled onto it.
    • Zahhak in The Shahnameh is an oppressive ruler with brain-eating snakes coming out of his shoulders.
    • Many villains of the Redwall series. Let's see... An ugly rat with a heavy whip-like tail, scars, a cape made of bat wings and clasped with a mole skull, a war helmet decorated in blackbird feathers and stag beetle mandibles, and an eyepatch: Check. A dark-cloaked rat-weasel creature with dead black eyes, dark fur, and snake-like movement: Check. A gray fox that wears a wolf skull as a helmet and a wolf pelt as a cape, with long iron claws on his arms: Check. A cult of black-robed rats led by a purple-robed rat who wields a mouse-skull scepter and serves a gruesomely deformed polecat who rules a slave-driven underground kingdom: Check. A ferret that wears terrifying warpaint, a necklace of teeth and claws, stains his fangs red, wears a blood-stained cape, and has a six-clawed paw sheathed in a heavy gauntlet: Check. The list goes on.
      • Averted, however, with several villains that are explicitly described as regal and attractive, such as Vilu Daskar, Vilaya the Sable Quean, Emperor Ublaz, and especially Ferahgo the Assassin, who uses his decidedly un-evil appearance to his advantage.

    Live-Action TV

    • Lord Zedd from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. He appears to be made of exposed muscles partly covered by gleaming metal skeleton-like plating; he wears long metal claws over the ends of his fingers; his face is a skull-like metal mask with a fang-filled Glasgow smile and the two eye sockets merged into a red, Cyclops-like visor; what appears to be his brain is exposed where his scalp should be; he has creepy plastic tubing with... something... flowing through it running up and down his limbs; and he wields a magical staff (that used to be a giant venomous snake) with a giant razor-edged Z on it. He is, in fact, bad. No, really?
    • While Buffy the Vampire Slayer isn't always black and white in terms of morality, you can't get much more Obviously Evil than the First Evil, an entity that is the source of all evil. The Master falls into this category too, like pretty much everyone who calls himself The Master.
      • Played kinda weirdly with the Mayor. Sure, we knew he was evil from the start, but that was only because of the incredibly not-subtle hints that had been dropping as early as the previous season. But even with the hints, he still falls in Affably Evil. So, he's Obviously Affably Evil.
      • Evil Willow looks very Obviously Evil.
    • Davros from Doctor Who. Especially in the new series. Nobody who looks like Emperor Palpatine in a wheelchair is possibly going to be a good guy.
      • A less smack-in-your-face example: LINDA sure let Victor Kennedy push them around for a while.
    • Even Battlestar Galactica has an obviously evil character: Brother Cavil, AKA Number One. A cynical, perverted old man who dresses in pure black, sometimes with a black hat, and takes pride in hating life.
      • On the other hand they often are priests. In many religions they have black motives and/or black clothes.
    • In Merlin, one would think that someone would notice Morgana turning to the camera to give a comically evil grin every time she's on screen in Series 3...
      • At least with Morgana they have the excuse of not wanting to believe that she's become evil (Gwen appears to be have been in outright denial until it became impossible to ignore). A lot of the other villains, like Knight Valiant, Edwin Muirden and Cedric (especially once he's possessed) are so obviously evil it makes you wonder how Camelot stayed standing before Merlin came along.
    • While not specifically on TV, a Spanish Class video series called "En Busca de la Verdad" (In Search of the Truth) has a man who dresses in a black trenchcoat, wears a dark hat, his face is never shown, and creepy music plays every time he appears. Nonetheless, most students laugh upon seeing him for the simple fact that he is so obvious.
    • The Borg in Star Trek. Not that they would hide their attitudes anyway...
    • The Psycho Rangers in Power Rangers in Space. They roll-call how much better they are then the rest of the Rangers, and then Psycho Pink comes out with "But we're EVIL!"

    Psycho Red: We're the Psycho Rangers!
    Psycho Black: We're faster than you!
    Psycho Blue: We're smarter than you!
    Psycho Yellow: We're stronger than you!
    Psycho Pink: But we're EVIL!

    • The Source in Charmed. Wears a black hood, carries a dark sword and revealed to have half a face with tribal markings on it.
      • A strange case happened in the sixth season finale where the sisters found a parallel universe which was an evil alternative to their one (where the humans/witches were evil and demons were good). Their evil counterparts wore a lot of black leather and sported punk rocker hairstyles. Though of course they weren't as blatantly evil as most of the villains as they did join forces for the greater good.
    • Glee's Sue Sylvester often fits this trope to a T with her nonchalant and often outrageous declarations of her evil intentions. Occasionally zig-zags only to return to her evil ways in the next episode.

    Newspaper Comics

    • Exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness in Lio: everyone who's evil has bad teeth. It's almost a Red Right Hand, except there's nothing in-setting to explain why they would all have bad teeth and why "good" (sorta) characters all have nice teeth.

    Tabletop Games

    • Gloriously played with in Warhammer 40,000 - that guy in the black armour with the skull mask screaming out litanies of hatred ("SUFFER NOT THE UNCLEAN TO LIVE!") against basically everybody else than him and everybody on his side? He's a Space Marine chaplain - and arguably one of the setting's ambiguously 'good' guys. Then there's the Space Marine chapters with names like Flesh Tearers and Soul Drinkers. That scar-faced woman with a cybernetic arm riding into combat against civilians on a tank adorned with spikes, crushing them under her wheels while incinerating them with hi-tec flame throwers? Also arguably relatively good.
      • The oddities of naming conventions are discussed hilariously here.
      • Of course, the Troperiffic setting has plenty of straight examples as well, such as giant all-consuming psychic insects and invincible undead robotic servants of star-eating Cosmic Horrors. Then there's Chaos Space Marines, the poster boys of this trope. Their armour tends to be covered with skulls (literally; they like trophies) spikes, horns, and the occasional pieces of flayed human skin and they worship dark gods and summon daemons. While some (like the Khorne Berserkers) might leave helpless civilians alone (as they want a Worthy Opponent), most just tend to slaughter everybody in their way in order to raise their standing in the eyes of the Chaos Gods or just because they like to rape and murder.
        • A Khorne Berserker not killing people? KHORNE DOES NOT CARE FROM WHOM THE BLOOD FLOWS, ONLY THAT IT FLOWS
      • And then there's the Orks, who are big, green, brutish, warlike, loving-to-fight, lots of horns, guns, horrible to each other (and especially Gretchins)... who just want a good fight and will actually leave a planet if they don't put up a good enough fight, or they've killed everyone who can, so they can come back and fight again. As they say, Orkz wuz made for foitin' an' winnin'!. One could actually argue that the Orks are the least evil of all of the factions.
      • There are some heroes—look at Ibram Gaunt, a humane badass. Who dresses in a pseudo-Nazi uniform decorated with skulls.
      • It is very tricky applying this to the verse because of the sheer level of Alternate Character Interpretation and Unreliable Narrators. The three factions that can in no sense be considered even halfway sympathetic, however, fit this trope like above. Besides the bugs, robots and Super Soldier destroyers and their wiping-planets-completely-free-of-life antics, we have the Dark Eldar, with black, spike-covered equipment and units named after demons. Torture and treachery are their favorite pastimes. They eat souls. Their actions created an Eldritch Abomination of Squick that wiped out most of their race, and they kept on with business as usual.
      • Black and Gray Morality doesn't help either. Many characters would be Obviously Evil if it weren't for their opponents being Eviler Than Thou.
    • Most demons in Dungeons & Dragons. Consider Orcus, the Demon Prince of the Undead, who is a gigantic, bat-winged, goat-headed, grotesquely obese monstrosity who carries a wand with a skull on top. Yeah, totally trustworthy, that guy.
    • The Coalition States in Rifts is basically The Imperium of Man Lite version; a collection of xenophobic humans with aggressive intentions, a hatred of anything non-human or magic-using, which armies of fanatical soldiers, genetically engineered dogmen and robot soldiers for the purpose of reconquering North America. Oh, and all their armors, ships and even robots have skull and bones for decoration, earning them the nickname "Deadboys".



    Bug: You're evil!
    Pincer: No duh!


    Video Games

    • Halo: "I? I am a monument to all your sins." Also, his name is Gravemind and he's made of dead bodies. Who do you think he leads?
    • Mass Effect: Saren Arterius... more cybernetic parts than is necessary? Check. Chalk-white scale plates as opposed to the usual Turian gray? Check. Cold blue glowing cybernetic eyes? Check. More spiky-faced than you usual Turian? Check. Barefaced?[1] Yep... In fact, his one arms is a Geth arm (the enemies of the first game).
      • According to Word of God, Saren was intended to have a 'normal' model for most of the game, with the existing model only used after Sovereign implants him with cybernetic devices to reduce his doubts. It's somewhat odd for Shepard to react so strongly to how Saren has changed, when he hasn't visibly changed at all.
      • Subverted by Nihilus, who had skull-like face paint and a less-than pleasant name. However he serves as The Obi-Wan and a friend of Anderson... For about less than an hour into the game.
    • The SNES JRPG Eien no Filena (which translates to "Eternal Filena") falls headlong into this. The Evil Empire has no redeeming qualities, and there exists not a single second of any of the bad guys being even Affably Evil.
    • RuneScape. Lucien is a hunchback with a black robe complete with a face-hiding hood in human form. In real form, he has a skull for a face, flings black magical skulls as attacks and black smoke come off him continuously. Of course, other Mahjarrat have a similar appearance, though not all of them are actually evil. Azzanadra is a good example of that.
    • Neverwinter Nights: Examine some of the villains closely. Could you see any of them (except maybe Desther, the actually effective mole or Maugrim, who doesn't really look evil, he is just insane) as good guys? The half-demon elf? The white dragon? The black-skinned white-haired almost nude drow queen? The giant red guy with the trident, goatee, and horns?
      • Desther, convincing? The same Desther that spends literally all his screentime up to The Reveal viciously badmouthing you and Aribeth and downplaying the plague's threat? The same Desther whose Helmites give out "blessings" that give an ominous red glow? The same Desther who instantly becomes defensive and dismissive every time you hand Fenthwick evidence of the Cult's existence (which you can point out if your Wisdom is high enough)?
    • All of the Sith in Knights of the Old Republic and the sequel are pretty disturbing-looking (except for maybe Visas and Darth Bandon). The shot with Malak without his mechanical collar? Darth Nihilus, whose Black Speech is so evil it doesn't get subtitles?
    • Garnef/Gharnef in Fire Emblem: Shin Ankoku Ryu (Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, the Updated Rerelease of the first game). In the original, he was simply a Black Cloak. But in the remake he has a hunchback, Pointy Ears glowing yellow eyes,clawed hands and pale, seemingly rotting skin. His new artwork speaks for itself.
      • Ashnard, King of Daein. Dark costume? Check. Spikes of Villainy? Check. Evil grin? Check. No redeeming qualities whatsoever? Check. Big black dragon to ride around on? Check and mate. The last one's a subversion though.
        • His mount Rajaion was a member of the Laguz dragon tribe, a sentient creature that he enslaved and drove mad to use as a weapon, a process that eventually resulted in Rajaion's death... leaving behind a grieving widow and a child he never got to meet. So I guess you could say that Ashnard subverts the trope by appearing extremely evil... and then actually being more evil than he looks. And that's not counting what he did to Almedha and Soren.
      • Izuka looks like Wormtongue from The Lord of the Rings.
    • Bowser, at least in the old Super Mario Bros. games. Evil Laugh? Check. Card-Carrying Villain who boasts about own evilness? Check. 0% Approval Rating, red eyes and face on anything and everything? Check. Plans always involve taking over the mushroom kingdom/world, and defeating his arch enemy. However, there is now a somewhat contradictory element potentially threatening his evilness: being an occasional ally of his enemies for his own selfish reasons made him unwittingly slightly capable of goodness at times, making him closer to morally ambiguous overall. But the Kart and Sports games have nothing to do with that.
      • The RPG villains before Super Paper Mario (and after, with Mario and Luigi 3) are the same way, boasting about their evilness, trying very obviously evil plans and pretty much saying 'I am evil' in every last word. Wario Land and Donkey Kong Country are pretty much the same way.
    • There are many villains in the Final Fantasy series that clearly look evil at first sight, but none other take the cake than Exdeath from Final Fantasy V. Lets see here....He's a tree made up of countless evil souls in the form of a Tin Tyrant, complete with Spikes of Villainy, Shoulders of Doom, and an Evil Laugh. His castle is made of the bodies of people he didn't like, his Leitmotif features Psycho Strings, and his every line announces his diabolical evilness. Concept art has him swirling something like A Glass of Chianti, but eviller (you can tell because chianti doesn't give off poison fumes or come in that color). His name is Exdeath for crying out loud!
    • In Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep comes Master Xehanort. He's Bald of Evil, has golden eyes, a silver goatee, wears a Black Cloak, walks around hunched over, the only smile he knows how to give is a Psychotic Smirk, and his Keyblade is a frickin' battle axe adorned with Spikes of Villainy, demonic wings and a horned face. And yet all three heroes are absolutely shocked when he's revealed to be the Big Bad. The game itself makes absolutely no attempts to hide this, making it quite clear in the opening cutscenes that he sabotages the Mark of Mastery exam, and his direct statement to The Dragon that he's just putting on an act to fly under the radar for now.
      • Hell, just watch the secret ending of Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+, a CG trailer for Birth By Sleep that foreshadows Xehanort's battle with the heroes at the end of the game. There is absolutely no dialogue, no subtitles, no context. You just know there's three armored Keyblade warriors fighting a bald old man in a cloak. It's still perfectly obvious who the villain in the confrontation is.
    • The Grey and Gray Morality of Metal Gear Solid makes it difficult to find any truly evil characters in the entire series. But then you get Psycho Mantis and Vamp, who really leave no trace of doubt that they need killing, and soon. Psycho Mantis has almost white skin and always walks around in tight black leather with an SS-Longcoat and a freaking gas mask. Vamp is also extremely pale, but has a Beard of Evil, an eastern European accent, and also wears a Badass Longcoat, but shirtless. His first appearance is slaughtering a Navy SEAL team single handedly with knives and drinking the blood of his victims. And he loves licking blood from his knife (he was the one from the page picture).
    • Vulcanus in Disgaea. This gets lampshaded like crazy, especially in the remake with the Prinny Commentary on.
      • Even if they the characters didn't lampshade it, you would be able to tell that he is obviously evil. I mean, just look at him...
    • Dr. Betruger in Doom 3. It's not enough that he's a disfigured obviously insane scientist. It's not enough that he has a sinister voice to accompany that. No, he has to have a name that gives it out. "Betrüger" is German for "betrayer", so... guess what he ends up doing in the game?
    • Dynasty Warriors' Dong Zhuo, who viewed honour as an outdated custom, duty as useless and he only cares about his gold, women, and land. He is fat, has a diabolical Evil Laugh, has a sword that has shark teeth along the blade and is heavily armored and is generally difficult to defeat. In more than a few games, he even says, "If I can fulfill my ambitions, I can burn down a capital city... or two... OR THREE!!" In Real Life, he might just be even worse.
    • Oda Nobunaga from Samurai Warriors. Beard of Evil, a black and red ragged cape, a black sword with a purple, glowing aura. Considering that everyone else is fairly normal, with a regular weapon, he stands out a little bit.
    • Ghaleon of the Lunar series is a pretty Obviously Evil, Card-Carrying Villain. He's a White-Haired Pretty Boy that has red, slanted evil-looking eyes. His voice itself should clue you in that he's evil seeing as he speaks in borderline Creepy Monotone. Still, the main character doesn't figure it out until he does an Evil Costume Switch, kills the White Dragon and kidnaps Luna.
    • In Soul Calibur, Nightmare: full dark blue armor, glowing red eyes, a BFS that stares back and a 'funny' right arm. Not to mention the fact that he has a giant fanged mouth on his chest.
    • The Xylvanians from Battalion Wars.
    • Paul Warner from Phantasmagoria 2, which Spoony takes great pleasure in mocking ("I heard that, Curtis") during his Let's Play of the game.
    • Playing one of these is pretty much the point of the Dungeon Keeper and Evil Genius games. The former covers the red-and-horns-and-skulls variety; the latter the secret volcano lair with totem-pole sentry guns. It's actually a strong strategy in Evil Genius to keep the piranha tanks and sawblades tucked away as a last resort defence for your most vital rooms, as secret agents entering your base only to find nothing but entirely un-sinister soup kitchens will just wander off bored to seek out something more perilous. (Oddly, the cackling megalomaniac executing unfortunate minions in the corridors is oft ignored entirely.)
    • Most The Legend of Zelda villains, especially Ganondorf and Vaati. Ganon calls himself the King of Evil and Prince of Thieves, plays the Ominous Pipe Organ and altogether should set off alarm bells for miles around. Vaati is already suspicious in 'human' form, let alone when he's in the standard One-Winged Angel form involving a gigantic eye and bat wings.
      • And Chancellor Cole from Spirit Tracks. Never trust a villain who looks like a leprechaun, wears two top hats at once, has inverted eye colour and a Slasher Smile with More Teeth Than the Osmond Family, of the shark-like variety.
      • Hilariously, in Ocarina of Time, Ganondorf starts out as a member of the Gerudo who pledges to serve the King. Zelda is the only one before Link shows up who realizes that Ganondorf is evil and tries to tell her father, who doesn't believe her. On the other hand, the series does subvert it in Twilight Princess with Zant. While he was desperate to rule the Twili kingdom, the royal family actually did notice the greed and insanity that consumed him (granted it was rather difficult to miss) and passed over him as ruler, instead giving the title to Midna. Of course, he just decided to serve Ganondorf and took the throne anyway...
      • Inverted in Skyward Sword: Batreaux is a demon and looks evil, but he's actually a nice guy.
        • It doesn't help that he had supposedly kidnapped a little girl (who was actually staying at his place overnight because it's dangerous at night), who was screaming at the top of her lungs as you approach his house (playing a "scream as loud as you can game", what else?), and the fact you enter in to find him standing directly above her menacingly (all part of the game).
        • The game does play it straight however, with it's Big Bad Ghirahim who is a bizarre but none the less Ax Crazy narcissist, and Bigger Bad Demise, whose true form is 10 foot expy of Akuma with flashing hair, pitch black skin, a muscle build that makes steroid abusers look slim, and an evil looking version of the Master Sword.
    • Raizo Imawano, the principal of Justice High School in Rival Schools, certainly seems like this at first glance. With his huge stature, his evil monocle, and his fingernails sharpened into claws, you'd think he was the Big Bad. But in truth he actually subverts this trope. Any evil acts he commits in the game are a result of brainwashing, rather than anything of his own intention, and while he does have aspirations of changing Japan, he wanted to do so through peaceful methods, such as preparing his students for careers in politics and guiding them toward his world views. By the end of the game, and in the sequel Project Justice, he's actually a pretty decent guy.
    • The NPCs Yurt the Silent Chief, Miralda the Executioner and Mephistopheles from Demon's Souls. Yurt has his deep, menacing voice, his black, Sauron-like armor and a sickle described to be an assassination weapon. Miralda has a hood that wraps around her skull and a guillotine axe. And Mephistopheles has all-black clothing and what looks like a Guy Fawkes mask. That's not getting into when you actually meet them closer, with Yurt killing people in the Nexus, or Mephistopheles getting you to do it and backstabbing you later. Miralda just attacks you.
    • In the Mega Man Battle Network series, Dark Chips (evil battlechips which slowly corrupt your Navi and sap your hit points if you use them) truly look evil, with glowing purple icons and scary-sounding, robotic descriptions such as "USE LARGE SWORD AND SLICE".
      • Dr. Regal takes this to ridiculous levels in his introduction. Beard of Evil? Check. Monocle? Check. Extremely polite? Check. Smug Grin? Check. Mentioned as being from "Nation Z, the infamous military country"? Check.
      • Dr Weil anyone? A cyborg with visible metal extensions in his flesh, a Beard of Evil. Oh, and he more or less shows that he's D r W e i l.
      • In Mega Man Star Force, we have Mr. King, who is certainly known around the world as a famous philanthropist, the game wastes absolutely no time revealing that, yes, he is the Big Bad.
    • The villain of |Sonic the Hedgehog 2006. He introduces himself as Mephiles The Dark. When asked about himself, he falls silent and changes the subject. He looks like an evil twin of Shadow the Hedgehog (who himself already looks like an evil twin of Sonic the Hedgehog). It's almost mind-boggling that Silver didn't realize Mephiles was a bad guy the very first time they met.
      • Are we forgetting that he moves like a puppet, has soulless, feral eyes, and NO MOUTH (yet his face moves when he talks)? And that's when he is a Shadow doppelganger, to say nothing of his powered up form, which is crystal-like, emits blue flames, and has red scleras with green glowing cat irises. And is voiced by Dan Green.
      • On top of that, his name is a corruption of Mephistopheles
      • There is also Black Doom in Shadow the Hedgehog. He is gigantic, has nearly godlike powers, is the head of an empire in space, has an ultra deep voice, can detach an eye from himself to observe things in detail and to accompany allies, desires total power and control, has a near infinite army of bloodthirsty monsters, and of course, is named Black Doom. For some reason, Professor Gerald Robotnik, himself a good man at the time he met Black Doom, thought that helping Doom get the Chaos Emeralds was a good idea.
    • Morcubus from the My Sims series. Aside from having a Name to Run Away From Really Fast, he carries a very prominent Beard of Evil, and in your first case of the Wii version of My Sims Agents, he claims that his (it's really Poppy's) dog's name is "Killfang".
    • "President" John Henry Eden in Fallout 3. His accent is suspiciously British (because his voice actor is ALEX THE DROOG). It sounds extremely sinister, and his messages about the Enclave have the undertone of "If you get in our way, you'll be zapped with laser rifles."
      • On top of that, if you played Fallout 2 before Fallout 3 then you already have experience with the Enclave and how they really behave.
      • To be fair Eden himself comes off as something of a sinister Knight Templar who genuinely believes based on the reality that he's been given that what he's doing is ultimately for the greater good. The Enclave itself on the other hand is most definitely this, and possibly Stupid Evil since a lot of what they do doesn't even make all that much sense.
    • The Overlord is a Tin Tyrant who usually starts out equipped with a battleaxe and commands a legion of Chaotic Stupid minions (albeit ones that are Ugly Cute).
    • Lord Recluse from City of Heroes. Spider Motif? Check. Army of Faceless Mooks? Check. Evil Tower of Ominousness? check. Glowing red eyes and spider legs sprouting out of his back? Yup. He's evil alright.
    • Zettai Hero Kaizou Keikaku Darkdeath: Really, how evil can you be if your name is 'Evilman?! Subverted. He's not as evil as he initially seems.
    • Blizzard is known to play a lot with this trope:
      • The Orcs and their Horde from Warcraft played this trope straight in the first game and even more in the second, but eventually subverted it starting with Warcraft III, where it was revealed they had been corrupted by teh Demons (who of course play this trope very straight), and were actually a decently neutral specie before that. They ends up freeing themselves from the Demons' corruption and helped the Humans' Alliance to defeat the Demons. Ironically, by World of Warcraft, they have come to appear more sympathetic than the humans, due to the Alliance's recent Kick the Dog moments.
      • The buglike Zerg from StarCraft: dark colours, bug-like and monstrous. In a game where almost everything is Grey and Gray Morality, the zerg are clearly far more on the dark end of the spectrum. Partially subverted in the second game however, where it turns out Zergs have been manipulated all along into becoming evil, and that their queen might very well be the one who will save the Universe...
      • In a similar vein, The Undead in Warcraft III, though a small faction ended up joining the Horde and as such became "good" guy... though their clear position remains complicated.
      • While Diablo plays this trope straight with most of the antagonists, who are almost all blood-thirsty, cannibalistic, Exclusively Evil demons, it includes some major avertions:
    • King Logan from Fable III is easily the most evil appearing person in the game. It later turns out he's simply being Necessary Evil in order to raise enough money to fund his armies to combat the game's true villain, The Crawler. And as you can probably imagine, that thing fits this trope much better than Logan does.
    • The Darkspawn of Dragon Age are Exclusively Evil until Dragon Age Origins Awakening and look the part.
    • The Lyrium Idol in Dragon Age II starts glowing red the moment it is picked up and turns out to be an Artifact of Doom that drives people mad and when reforged turns into a BFS that glows and sounds rather like a red lightsaber.
    • Street Fighter's M. Bison. Let's just say a guy who wears a red Nazi uniform, has a near-constant Slasher Smile and calls his power "Psycho Power" probably isn't going for subtlety.
      • We also have the even more evil-looking Akuma, who ironically is less evil than Bison, that always looks royally pissed off, wears black and a has blood red symbol for heaven on the back of his shirt and has blood red hair.
    • Hazama/Yuuki Terumi from BlazBlue might not be the most triumphant example of this trope, simply because he comes across as such a snazzy lookin' smooth criminal at first glance, but once you see his Eyes of Gold or Psychotic Smirk you just know he's up to no good. In the sequel he stops pretending to be one of the good guys and instead throws himself head first into complete immorality and gleefully revels in depravity. It doesn't get the least bit better when/if you realize that "Hazama" roughly translates to "otherworldly", he has a prominent snake motif and has a shady but gentlemanly demanour... That's right folks, Hazama is none other than the BB verse's own take on Satan. He also has other nefarious nicknames like "Black Susano'o", "The True Evil" and his Phase 1 body is named "Kazuma Kvar". Except that all of them are just his nicknames while his true name 'Yuuki Terumi' is a fairly safe name('Yuuki' means 'courage').
    • Return to Krondor - Bear, for starters. The head scribe for the jail, due to his shrill voice that sounds like a talking weasel. Journeyman Jorath, due to his oily voice, and his politically incorrect, racist attitudes toward Keshians. The necromancer leader Sidi, although he certainly did an impressive job sounding calm and normal at one point.
    • Mortal Kombat has a number of characters who qualify, but the most prominent example is Evil Overlord Shao Kahn, ruler of the Death World Outworld. Skull helmet, copious Spikes of Villainy and a grim throne to sit upon. He towers over all other characters and verbally abuses anyone, who would dare to challenge him. Noob Saibot is another such type; a being of pure shadow spawned from the depths of hell after years of taint and death corrupted the soul of Elder Sub-Zero/Bi-Han.
    • The Negativitron from Little Big Planet 2. Eldritch Abomination? Check. Tons of purple and black? Check. Four Hellish Pupils? Check. Fanged mouth and Devil-style horns? Check. Alternates between an Evil Laugh and Mighty Roar? Double Check.
    • Junya Kaneshiro, unlike the previous two targets in Persona is blatantly evil, who doesn't bother to hide his true colors. He is chosen as a target by the Phantom Thieves for this reason. The Phantom Thieves wish to prove that they weren't making people confess to crimes that they hadn't committed.
    • Darkrai from the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series games is essentially this: He's an evil Pokemon of pure darkness who loves to trap innocent young Pokemon children in unending nightmares just for the fun of it, and wants to destroy the entire Pokemon universe and plunging their planet into darkness by stopping time and space and corrupting another powerful Pokemon, who rules over both. And he wants to make the hero(ine) (whom he actually turned into a Pokemon him/herself) and his/her partner commit suicide over the course of the games!
    • Lorithea of Xenoblade. "Oh no, dear Shulk, I am not evil. I just dress in red bondage gear and talk entirely in sexual innuendo to give the boys in the Ministry something to dream about, ohoho."
    • Lautrec of Carim from Dark Souls likes to end his ominously voiced chats with sinister laughter. Also, like his spiritual predecessor Yurt from Demon's Souls, he wields a nasty assassin's weapon. He ends up killing the Firelink Fire Keeper Anastacia requiring you to hunt him down to get her soul back.
    • Large amount of villains in Dragon Quest series are obviously evil, especially Zenitha trilogy remakes and Dragon Quest VII, where villains are oversized monsters with no resemblance of human. Dhoulmagus from Dragon Quest VIII are very much Kefka clone by appearance.
    • In Skyrim, the only way Ancano could be any more obvious would be if lightning struck every time you initiated conversation with him. Even in the game, no one trusts him and with good reason, because he's openly a member of the resident nazi-elves, he's a massive jerk and he does everything in a very suspicious manner.
    • Salvador in Section 8 (video game): Prejudice. A bald, ugly blue-skinned giant wearing blood red armour... Who would have guessed?
    • Inverted with Supreme Commander with the Cybran nation, whose units all have a red and black color scheme similar to Nod and have a spiky insect like appearance or pretty much anything done that makes units in an RTS look more menacing, are overall the nice guys of the game's factions compared to the "ends justify the means" UEF and the genocidal Aeon (they're so extreme they make the UEF's extreme actions seem rational).
    • From Agarest Senki, we have the outstanding example of Giganda. The minute you see him, he displays a hell of a lot of evil tropes. Black Eyes of Crazy, the dark armor of a Black Knight, always going on about "the Plan", and generally looking very different than his fellow Larva.
    • The Darkness 2 has Brother Victor, a heavily scarred, subhuman-looking Evil Cripple. Lampshaded repeatedly by other characters; one describes him as looking like "Nosferatu on crack".
    • Doctor Nefarious from Ratchet and Clank is a hammy Card-Carrying Villain who combines this with Laughably Evil.
    • In Portal it is fortunate that Chell does not speak (and is unable to give any commentary on the situation) and there are a lot of Failure Is the Only Option situations in the gameplay, because otherwise, it is doubtful anyone would believe GLaDOS was the benevolent researcher she initially claims to be.
    • The Working Joes in Alien: Isolation. In the beginning of the game, these android laborers and janitors don't act in any dangerous manner, but with their glowing red eyes and gravely voices, it's easy to assume they are eventually going to try to kill you, and this assumption proves 100% true.
    • The Red Markers in Dead Space. Seriously, who would be dumb enough to worship this thing? Maybe a doomsday cult, but that is not what the Church of Unitology was.
    • The robots in Atomic Heart. Now, this game is, as of January 2023, not yet released, but given the previews and trailers, the enemies are mostly Mecha-Mooks, and given what is known about them, they sure don't look friendly.

    Visual Novels

    • Josef Capek in Shikkoku no Sharnoth. However, he turns out to be more sympathetic than he appears. He's simply not entirely sane anymore and hasn't been sleeping for months. ...Somehow.
    • Zouken Matou from Fate Stay Night. He looks like some sort of deformed little troll man and has jetblack eyes. Plus he manages to talk in a sinister fashion all the time - despite not having any audible clues - even before you realize that he is not the world's friendliest, cheeriest grandfather. The rest of the cast pretty much averts (Medea) and subverts (Berserker) this though.

    Web Comics

    • Dominic Deegan has a bit of Double Subversion going on with this trope. While some villains have always very specifically employed this (e.g., the blind Infernomancer), others start out as more grey entities that, provided they can't be reformed by the main cast, will eventually embrace this trope.
      • To be fair, characters who embrace this trope tend to be in the direct service of Hell or something much worse.
    • Evil Chancellor Magon from this Sluggy Freelance strip would set off plenty of evil alarms even if he didn't stab a friend in the back (literally) in his first appearance.
    • Subtly inverted in the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip here.
    • Xykon from The Order of the Stick, who is a lich of the 'fully decayed to a skeleton state' variety, complete with evil red eyes. Oh, and he wears a crown and red cape.
      • Double Subverted in the case of Nale, who is an Evil Twin complete with goatee, but is initially presented as just one of the good guys. It doesn't last very long, though.
    • Sirleck of El Goonish Shive is introduced with his speech bubbles having wavy outlines and white on black lettering. Dan lampshades his Obvious Evilness in the commentary. Most aberrations, really. Also, "Tengu" the enchanter from Europe, at least when he drops the pretence — the guy morphs into a big, hairy, horned, bat-winged devil… and plays up the image.
    • The Private Villa of Corrupted Citizens in Sonichu. Membership is completely voluntary.
    • Darths and Droids: The player Jim, being Wrong Genre Savvy, stays convinced the entire Prelogie that Sio "Bubble", The Good Chancellor, is the Diabolical Mastermind behind everything, because of his goatee. While playing as Qui-Gon Jinn.
    • Wizard School features an entire race of villains with spikes, tusks, horns, etc. Even the Genre Blind protagonist can work out that the faculty member who stole the priceless artifact is probably the one with fangs, cackling and muttering "You fools!"

    Web Original


    Cho: Gee thanks creepy old lady with a creepy aura! See, Ami? We can totally trust her!

    • The Necromancer of the Whateley Universe. Nobody has a name like that unless he's Obviously Evil. Then he goes for the evil cloak over the hideous armor that's part cybernetics and part chitinous inhuman organics, plus the obligatory skull facemask. And he has a team that based on monsters: Lycanthros (a super werewolf type), Vamp (a girl with vampiric powers), the Arch-Fiend, Nightgaunt, and Lady Darke. It goes without saying that he is not petting any puppies. Oh, and he's a Nazi.
    • MSF High Forums has Xadan, who was a Card-Carrying Villain evil AI. Amongst other things, he has the speech mannerisms of Shodan. He's not bad, he's just programmed that way.
    • The AI O'Malley (sometimes Omega) from Red vs. Blue. Everything the guy says or does is to emphasise just have eeeeeevil he is. From calling himself "Doctor Baron von Evil-Satan", to the deep voice he uses when possessing people, to his Evil Laugh... the list goes on.
    • Subverted in this "Marvel What the!?" video where Doctor Strange tries to prove that Mephisto is Evil.
    • Lampshade, played with and parodied with the Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series versions of the various villains. One of the most notable example is Paradox, who is actually an Anti-Villain, but, as pointed out by Jaden, dresses and acts so much like he was truly evil that no one can actually believe he is well-intentionned.
    • Lampshaded in Eliezer Yudkowsky's short story "Failed Utopia #4-2." It's said that the AI "might as well have been wearing a sign saying 'VILLAIN'." It's implied that this is because the AI was programmed to be honest.

    Western Animation

    • Samurai Jack's enemy Aku, the Shapeshifting Master of Darkness, is about as obviously evil as they come. He's got natural spikes on his shoulders and elbows, an Evil Laugh, he's as hammy as they come, and to top it all off, his eyebrows are made of fire!
    • King Koopa and the Koopa Pack in Super Mario Bros Super Show, due to its pastiche nature, offered most genres' worth of Obviously Evil design. Because it's a comedic show, though, the lowest Mooks are occasionally given Affably Evil moments when they think nobody is looking.
    • Pretty much the basis of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. The producers obviously believed that kids wouldn't be able to tell Exxon apart from Ecover, so they pretty much portrayed villain like this. Hoggish Greedly had a pig-face, Verminous Skumm looked like some kind of human/rat hybrid, Sly Sludge was short, fat, greasy, and overall unattractive, and Duke Nukem was made of some kind of glowing yellow bricks.
      • Averted by Looten Plunder, who is proportionate and in good shape, if not downright good looking. Subverted by Dr. Blight, who other than the scarred half of her face, is a rather attractive woman. YMMV on whether Zarm is obviously evil, an aversion, or a subversion.
    • Family Guy once had a cigarette company taking over Peter's factory. They were pictured very true to the trope.
      • South Park had some fun and reversed the standard roles, so the cigarette factory workers were a friendly bunch with no negative ambitions, while Rob Reiner's anti-tobacco activist group was Obviously Evil behind closed doors.
    • ReBoot manages to play this straight, Subverted Trope, Inverted Trope, and Lampshade Hanging this trope with the strange tolerance Mainframe and its guardian Bob gives towards viruses. In the world of computers, viruses can't help but obey their evil programming, which is why Bob doesn't like killing them, but wishes to reprogram them. But the two viral strains in Mainframe are far too powerful for Bob to ever capture or control, and he won't call for help, so the city endures two years of chaos before it goes too far (and THAT'S before the series starts).
      • Played Straight: Megabyte and Hexadecimal are destructive and look the part. Megs is in all secondary colors (and looks suspiciously like Apocalypse), Hex is red and black and both are riddled with Spikes of Villainy, talons and sharp teeth. Bob really hopes to convert these two... Somehow... Note that both manage Affably Evil moments, but Megabyte's are just moments where there wasn't anything evil to do and Hexadecimal seems to get the excuse that she is mentally unstable and her Heel Face Turn was more Bob really, really wanting to convert her than her deciding to do good.
      • Inverted: The series biggest Big Bad was a French-accented, brightly colored ingenue supervirus who's based off Joan of Arc.
      • Lampshaded: "Maybe it's a benign virus..." The virus is ten feet tall, clawed and red-and-secondary-colored. "Oh, yeah! You can tell by looking at it!"
      • Subverted: When Megabyte's brainwashed mooks go from secondary colors to normal, this is usually the cue that they are no longer evil. Not so, at all.
    • Subverted in Avatar: The Last Airbender with the character of Prince Zuko. In the first two episodes he is established as the Designated Villain, Color-Coded for Your Convenience sporting Shoulders of Doom with nearly half his face covered in a rather horrific burn scar. But by the end of the series, he ends up becoming the Troubled but Cute Sixth Ranger.
      • But taken completely straight with his father. Let's pretend for a moment that we didn't know the Fire Nation was evil. Any person with that voice who sits on a throne surrounded by flames and wearing black and red probably doesn't bring the word GOOD to mind. And as for Zuko's sister, pretty much her first line is about killing her captain because he is "disobeying her". Yeah, that family just radiates evil.
      • Also taken straight with the Fire Nation in general, at least until later in the series. For many fans, it became sort of a running gag to see how long it would be after the Gaang arrived in a new town before the Fire Nation showed up and went on a Kick the Dog rampage. The sad part is that the running gag never stopped, as EVIL! Fire Nation soldiers, generals, and even animal trainers continued to gleefully do over-the-top villainy.
      • "The running gag never stopped"? Jeong Jeong established early on that not all Fire Nation citizens were evil, and season 3 had a whole host of sympathetic ordinary citizens. And even earlier than Jeong Jeong, the random Fire Nation civilian from "Jet" was portrayed as a normal, non-threatening person whereas Jet himself, from the Earth Kingdom, was portrayed as the true villain of the episode. And even the crew of Zuko's ship was humanized nicely starting from about the middle of the first season.
    • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Skeletor: The man has a naked skull for a head, people, the color scheme and creepy HQ are flat out redundant.
      • Subverted in the 2002 show with the Speleans, a species of evil looking bat people that are actually quite friendly.
    • In a flashback in the direct-to-DVD movie Barbie and the Diamond Castle, three muses are shown. One is dressed in a simple blue tunic, another in a royal purple tunic, and the third has an elaborate costume in muted shades of purple and red, with dark eyeshadow. Yeah, guess which one turns evil.
      • Averted in the picture book, where Lydia is shown wearing a white tunic in the flashback.
    • Trigon the Terrible from Teen Titans. Not that he can help it, though, as he's a red, four-eyed demon the size of a skyscraper who doesn't care about labels pitiful mortals might give him. The Brotherhood of Evil, on the other hand, has no excuse.
      • At least the Brotherhood of Evil didn't get weird like they do in the comics.
    • Subverted by Tombstone of The Spectacular Spider-Man. He's an Evil Albino Scary Black Man with teeth he's apparently filed to fangs... and he's still a Villain with Good Publicity. That, folks, is the sign of a true Magnificent Bastard.
      • Of course, if someone did say anything, he could just say the accuser was discriminating against him because of his looks.
      • Overt prejudice isn't really the issue- the Uncanny Valley is. Tombstone is freaky-looking and is every so often outright accused of being the Big Man, but he's invested enough effort into his Villain with Good Publicity campaign that he's still accepted as a beloved pillar of the community, so much so that the police take his word over Spidey's on at least one occasion.
    • The Simpsons gives an example of this concerning Mr. Burns's bid to buy Santa Little Helper's brood.

    Lisa: [whispering] Mom, don't give the puppies to him, he'll be mean to them.
    Marge: Hmm... she's right, Homer. There's something about his face I don't trust.
    [Burns stifles an evil chuckle while looking really malevolent]

      • Or when Homer wants to sell Bart's elephant (Long Story), Lisa again points out that the prospective buyer is not to be trusted:

    Lisa: I'm pretty sure this guy is an ivory dealer. His hat is ivory, his boots are ivory, and I'm pretty sure that cheque is ivory!
    Mr Blackheart: Little girl, I've been many things: Whale hunter, seal clubber, President of the Fox Network... and like most people, yeah, I've dealt a little ivory.


    "...he's so clearly the odd one out -- a brutish hulk amongst his clean-looking fellow knights -- that I'm amazed he was even in the running to be a knight at all. I'm not one to the judge by appearances, mind you, but it's obvious this surly guy is bad news."

      • What's more baffling about Rupert is that at the beginning of the movie, he seems to be putting no effort at all into hiding his evil nature. When he starts acting up against Arthur, the knights' remarks suggest that this is typical behavior for Rupert.
      • The Critic also noted how Gary Oldman has a tendency to play Obviously Evil characters - in a previous review, the Critic continuously pointed out how clear it was that Oldman's character of Doctor Smith was evil and yet no one seemed to notice.
      • But it's worth it for that downright hilarious shot at the beginning of the movie in which we get a panning shot of the Knights of the Round Table: a line of identical-looking generic men, and then one with green skin, yellow eyes, and a banana-shaped head.
    • Jimmy Two-Shoes gives us Lucius Henious VII, who is red with horns. Heloise wears a blood red dress and has a scar on her forehead.
    • From Thundercats, the ghastly wizened mummified warlock Mumm-Ra. Quite scary transformation, also.
    • In general, Jonny Quest villains are really unsubtle in their constant dog kicking, their blatantly selfish, malevolent motives, and their choices of wardrobe and lighting.
    • Danny Phantom: Vlad Masters. VLAD MASTERS? Granted, he's pretty charming and doesn't look half-bad, so he at least has that going for him.
    • Lord Darkar, the Big Bad of the second season of Winx Club, is basically what he says about himself: "Fists of iron, eyes of fire, and wit as sharp as a sword." He's Chaotic Evil, his armor is based off of a skeletal phoenix, and his name suits him well as he is a being of darkness, making it a Name to Run Away From Really Fast. He's got Spikes of Villainy, an Evil Laugh, Black Eyes of Evil, Villainous Cheekbones, and dark magic. Not to mention, he has quite a scary transformation, too. His profile even suggests that his helmet can pull up to reveal his terrible face.
    • Shows up a number of times in Adventure Time. Lampshaded a few times, such as in "Ricardio the Heart Guy" and "Wizard".
    • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic plays this straight with Nightmare Moon, but averts this with Discord.
      • Also played straight with the villains of the season 2 finale, Queen Chrysalis and the Changelings, which all look like some kind of freaky horse-insect-demon hybrid, complete with monochromatic eyes, sharp fangs, and jet-black bodies. Of course, YMMV on whether or not they count as Ugly Cute.
    • While the whole cast of Helluva Boss are evil (seeing as they are demons and the setting is Hell), Stella does not even make any attempts to hide her atrocities from anyone. In the season 3 episode "Western Energy", she makes no attempt to hide from Stolas the fact that the assassin trying to kill him is working for her, grinning evilly at him when Striker launches his attack.

    Real Life

    • Real life example: The Nazi SS were so stereotypically evil that if they were in a novel, it would be panned by critics for using such cliched villains. They wore black uniforms and caps with skulls on them. They set up a system of camps for no other purpose than to kill lots and lots of people in horrible ways (and this isn't even touching on all the evil-tropes that the Nazis originated).
      • That Mitchell and Webb Look parodied this with a German soldier being prompted by this to wonder if he was on the wrong side after all: "I can't help but notice that our caps...they've got skulls on them... Hans, are we the baddies?"
      • On the subject of Nazis, one should mention the leader of their puppet regime in Croatia (the Ustashe). Just look at him.
    • You have to wonder if anyone in Blackbeard's crew ever thought about this, when the ship's emblem is a demonic skeleton stabbing a heart and the captain's preferred combat style is running around killing everyone with his beard on fire... Nah, probably not.
      • Considering that the whole purpose of both of those was terror, they definitely thought about it.
        • Blackbeard was a showman extraordinaire, and deliberately sought to invoke the image of a madman inches away from a killing spree at all times. In fact, as far as the historical resources can confirm, the only time he certainly killed people was during his last stand. Most of the time his fearsome appearance and reputation ensured that people surrendered the cargo without a fight.
    • Infamous Tour de France cheater Hippolyte Aucouturier. Just look at him.
    • Charles Manson seems to enjoy matching his appearance to his reputation.
    • John Wayne Gacy as his Monster Clown Pogo: [1]
    • Son Sen, Defense Minister of the notorious Khmer Rouge. Just look at that Slasher Smile. [2]
    • Greek businessman and criminal Makis Psomiadis: [3] [dead link]
    1. Most turians have facial tattoos denoting their colony of origin. "Barefaced" turians (those without tattoos) are usually seen as dishonest. "Bareface" is also turian slang for a politician.