Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes

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Although an "Anti-Hero" once referred to one specific kind of character archetype, over time the term has evolved to cover several, many very different but all having one key aspect in common: serving as contrast to traditional hero types such as the Knight in Shining Armor, The Ace, and the Ideal Hero. Ranking them along the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism lends itself well to a sliding scale of Anti-Heroes, although the original definition exists somewhat outside of it.

Character Development may cause an anti-hero to shift up or down this scale. See the Sliding Scale of Antagonist Vileness for characters that would be the Anti-Hero, but they play the antagonist in the work. Compare with the Sliding Scale of Anti-Villains.

The morality of the scale, starting from Type II, goes from unambiguously good to evil, but the specific morality of any particular character (in particular their Character Alignment) is an issue of major mileage variance.

Type I: The original anti-hero, this exists somewhat outside of the scale and thus does not have a set morality, but still tends to be good or neutral, with a few exceptions.

Type II: These are more unambiguously morally good, and some would even laud examples as grumpier versions of Incorruptible Pure Pureness Pillars of Moral Character.

Type III: These are iffier, but no worse than neutral. Some stay in the "good" category throughout. This type is willing to Shoot the Dog or otherwise do what they must do.

Type IV: These are the darkest possible while having fundamentally good intentions, but can also frequently be seen as neutral at best. Pay Evil Unto Evil is the defining Trope here.

Type V: These are a Darker and Edgier neutral at best, and recurrently A Lighter Shade of Black aimed against greater evils. See Black and Gray Morality, He Who Fights Monsters.

Type I: Classical Anti-Hero[edit | hide | hide all]

This was actually the original understanding of the term, a character who is a protagonist but lacks the qualities of the hero as seen by the Greeks (probably closest to the Tragic Hero). See Unfazed Everyman and This Loser Is You for related concepts. A Type I may transform into a full hero over the course of the story if they manage to overcome their inner demons, discover their courage, find their reason to fight, etc. Whether or not this happens is heavily dependent on the story's placement in the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism; a Type I Anti-Hero in an even slightly idealistic story is all but guaranteed to find true heroism by the end, whereas a Type I in a more cynical setting is much less likely.

Unfazed Everyman and Classical Anti-Hero are specific tropes.

Examples of Classical Anti-Heroes:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

Comedy[edit | hide]

Comic Books[edit | hide]

Fan Fic[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Kung Fu Panda has its main character, Po. In a strange aversion as the movie begins he is a fat, stupid clumsy goofball who doesn't know Kung fu but has good intentions. As the movie comes to a close he has become the "the chosen one one." However he is STILL very much a fat stupid clumsy goofball who marginal knows Kung fu. And as the Second movie opens he is still fat stupid clumsy and a goofball. However he is now honored as the Dragon warrior and people now respect him
  • Wikus van der Merwe of the film District 9.
  • Most of the protagonists in Kevin Smith's View Askewniverse qualify.
  • Sgt. Neil Howie in the original version of The Wicker Man.
  • Napoleon Dynamite.
  • The portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network teeters between this and Villain Protagonist.
  • The eponymous character of Monty Python's Life of Brian, which makes all the funnier the fact that he is repeatedly mistaken for The Messiah.
  • Lester Burnham of American Beauty.
  • Rupert Grint as Tony in Wild Target. He sinks into Type IV territory when he sticks with Victor to learn his trade even after he learns of his true profession, but both pull a Heel Face Turn when they realize that Rose is in grave danger.
    • He also plays Malachy (the goody-two-shoes who gets pulled by his Type IV Anti-Hero friend Luke into dangerous and potentially illegal acts for the love of the lead female) in Cherrybomb.
  • Everyone except Tom and Geri in Another Year.
  • The Narrator from Fight Club.
  • The titular character of Shaun of the Dead and his roommate Ed. Shaun subverts this by the end of film as he at leasts saves his ex-girlfriend and reconciliates with her, not to mention that he ends up surviving the whole Zombie Apocalypse.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit.
  • Evelyn Waugh's first novel, Decline and Fall, has Butt Monkey protagonist Paul Pennyfeather who is one of these in the way he is rather a pushover taken advantage of by the other characters.
  • Discworld's Rincewind as an inept wizard and Dirty Coward/Lovable Coward who is the Butt Monkey of the universe. He's noticed it himself.
    • Rincewind is unusual in that, while he retains his constitutional allergy to danger, over time he becomes a bit of a mythic figure: It's implied that his survival instincts are nearly supernatural. At one point Death looks at the hourglass containing Rincewind's life span... only to find its shape not merely elongated and deformed, but no longer describable in human terms.
    • He did start off briefly as a Type V, having avaricious tendencies, and conning his employee out of his own money and betraying help from him, but then he slid gradually down the scale as the books passed before settling at Type I; his anti-hero traits softened, although he's no less cynical than he was at the start.
  • The narrator of Notes from the Underground is one of these, as is Franz Kafka's Josef K--in fact, in an existentialist novel, the hero is likely to either be this or a Type V (Meursault of The Stranger is a good Type V example).
  • Gilbert Norrell of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, while a skilled magician, is a humorless and petty character who is far from evil enough to be an Evil Sorcerer, but also far from sympathetic (or interesting) enough to be a traditional hero.
  • John Le Carre's spymaster George Smiley is like this as a contrast to James Bond, living in the more cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, and as opposed to Bond being stylish and a Chick Magnet, Smiley dresses poorly and is a cuckold. Smiley also invites comparison to Harry Palmer also intended as a deconstruction of Bond but who is definitely a Type II.
  • Lily Bart from Edith Wharton's House of Mirth. Let's see: fails at anything and everything she tries her hands at? Check. Only ever succeeds at alienating the few people who genuinely do care about her? Check. Is a whiny, insufferable Jerkass with an entitlement complex bigger than Brazil? Check. Dies at the end? Check.
  • Lola from Kit Whitfield's Benighted is pathetic, self-loathing and self destructive, turning away from or turning on anyone who might help her.
  • Mick "Brew" Axbrewder from Stephen R. Donaldson's Man Who series, a self-pitying alcoholic who makes Thomas Covenant look like Binky the Clown.
  • Linden Avery in the second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant trilogy. Becomes a more standard heroine in the third trilogy. Stephen Donaldson is very fond of taking Type Is and transforming them.
  • Flinx of the Humanx Commonwealth series. He just wants the universe to let him be. Too bad he's The Chosen One and The Call Knows Where You Live, not to mention that he has a hidden romantic streak and a not-so-hidden streak of curiosity that constantly gets him into trouble.
  • Amir, the narrator of The Kite Runner starts out as a coward hiding from his past but grows throughout the story and is redeemed to become a 'true' hero.
  • David Levin of Everworld. He eventually grows into more a Type III later on.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Dave Lister, Cat, and Arnold J. Rimmer from Red Dwarf start out like this, although Rimmer is both a neurotic loser and a smeghead. Lister once goodnaturedly described himself as a "bum", while Rimmer would call him a lazy slob. Cat was vain, self-centered to the point of callousness, and not very smart... not surprising given that his species had evolved from a single, pregnant female housecat 3 million years ago (imagine the inbreeding), and even other cats considered him a moron. However, all three became more competent in the course of the series. However, they never quite lost their essential quirks, their good qualities (such as Lister's selflessness and sense of fairness) merely became more pronounced. Or, in the case of Arnold Rimmer, who had no redeeming qualities, Rimmer had a run-in with his Knight in Shining Armor counterpart "Ace" Rimmer from an alternate reality.

Theater[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Travis Touchdown, of No More Heroes, a porn-obsessed Otaku without anything resembling a social life. He's also a Type V, however, eagerly slaughtering opponents and rarely showing any remorse for his killings (with some obvious exceptions, such as with Jeane.) He gradually loses Type V elements during the sequel, however, turning into a full Type I who vows to destroy the UAA for the lives they have cost.
  • Raiden is largely considered to be this in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, though he becomes more of a Type III in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.
  • Lester the Unlikely from the SNES game of the same name starts out as such a wimp that even turtles scare him. He does become more heroic about halfway through the game, however.
  • Almaz from Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice.
  • Cloud Strife, although he pretends to be Type III. By the end, he becomes a Type II.
  • Mike Dawson from Darkseed 2.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Megatokyo's Piro probably fits. He's getting better, though.

Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Type II: Disney Anti-Hero[edit | hide]

This is arguably what the term often means in common speech—a character who contrasts with a squeaky clean Knight in Shining Armor—perhaps a Knight in Sour Armor. The term "Disney" is used, because giving it some thought, this character is actually pretty much a pure hero, with Heroic Spirit, except that they don't have the positive mental attitude that generally comes with being a straight hero. Very frequent amongst the Mr. Vice Guy. Like a Type I, a Type II Anti-Hero stands a good chance of transforming into a straight hero over the course of the story once they confront their internal conflicts, find someone they want to protect, etc.

Knight in Sour Armor and Mr. Vice Guy are specific tropes.

Examples of Disney Anti-Heroes

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Domon Kasshu from G Gundam. He never strays from the good side, even after his master turns out to be working with the Devil Gundam, but is generally pissed off about everything and doesn't let anyone get close to him. Lightens up a bit in the second season.
  • Usopp from One Piece. Protagonist Monkey D. Luffy also generally fits here. He exhibits a great many heroic qualities, but makes an explicit point of not wanting to be a Hero, as he explains that he considers himself too selfish. When he stands up to defends others, it's primarily either because they're individuals Luffy befriended or an unintended effect of what he was doing anyway. Sanji, Nami and Franky from the same series also roughly sit here when they feel like it. Chopper is more of a pure hero.
  • Duo Maxwell and Trowa Barton from Gundam Wing.
  • Ichigo Kurosaki from Bleach, he may look a Type III, and act like a Jerk with a Heart of Gold towards everyone he meets, but he always saves someone when they are in danger, never loses sight on what's good and what's evil, and will sacrifice himself for the well-being for others.
  • Kamille Bidan of Zeta Gundam
  • Judau Ashta of Gundam ZZ.
  • Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist.
  • Ryoji Kaji of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
  • Juuza of the Clouds in Fist of the North Star tends to be a little more smart-mouthed and free-wheeling than, say, Kenshiro, but that doesn't change the fact that he is every bit as self-sacrificing and heroic as his comrades.
  • Kuwabara from Yu Yu Hakusho, who develops past Type I where he starts.
  • Roger Smith from The Big O.
  • Keima Katsuragi from The World God Only Knows tends to average out as a Type II overall. On the one hand, his method of exorcising evil spirits from the girls around him involves emotional manipulation, tricking the girls into falling in love with him, then discarding them after they get a dose of Laser-Guided Amnesia so that he can get back to his beloved Dating Sim games. However, as Character Development settles in, he's shown to be willing to take great personal risks to help his targets, as well as honoring promises he's made which even the girls themselves had forgotten.
    • Even then he didn't want to do be a part of this. He only does what he has to in order to help them and stay alive in the process. Also, after further Character Development he is shown being somewhat upset by his actions but recognizes them as a Necessary Evil to protect the girls.
  • Inuyasha of Inu Yasha.
  • Pip Bernadette of Hellsing after his Character Development. Prior to that, he was a Type IV.
  • Toru Muhyo of Muhyo and Roji's Bureau of Supernatural Investigation is snarky to virtually everyone except when he's lecturing them over mistakes or denouncing their evil behavior, but at heart, is devoted to ensuring that spirits get the outcome that they deserve, generally avoiding sending them to eternal damnation unless they truly deserve it. He also works to bring his friend Enchu back to the side of good, even if he dies in the effort.
  • Code Geass Kallen Kouzuki, even though she's used by not-so-Type II Lelouch. She used to be a Type III and had moments of sadism as well, when fighting soldiers, taking some pleasure in killing them, but that does mellow out to here once she accepts that Britannians aren't all evil. She only takes pleasure in offing the ones who show extreme bloodlust towards killing Numbers in the first place. Or just plain killing, in the case of Luciano Bradley.
  • Isamu Kurogane, the rebellious pilot from GoLion, particularly in contrast with the relatively squeaky clean Akira Kogane.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya, after her Character Development is somewhere in-between this and a type I. At heart, she is just an energetic Genki Girl who wants to overload the world with fun, and generally make everyone's life better and more interesting. Meaning, she is not even remotely an actual ruthless, or bloodthirsty person, which would be necessary for putting anybody in category III or higher. However, she does have a nasty habit of being obnoxious, and extremely socially blunt, obtuse, or even treat some people like objects, and doesn't grasp that not everyone finds her antics amusing. She is maturing though. Deep down, she has a golden soul and cares for her friends, no matter what. Of course the problem is that even though she is mostly harmless in herself, being virtually omnipotent means that simply waking up with a headache or being bored might unconsciously cause massive disasters.
    • Conversely, Kyon starts out as Type I and becomes Type II as the series progresses.
  • Gain Bijou from Overman King Gainer is a Casanova gunslinger who does his best to help the people around him, even when he outwardly doesn't show.
  • Aoi Hidaka from Dancougar Nova. She might not care much about being a Dancougar pilot and all that stands behind it, but when the chips are down, she'll do the right thing.
  • Inner Moka from Rosario + Vampire is essentially this in the later part of the series, although she started off as a definite Type IV.
  • Abel Nightroad from Trinity Blood. It's apparent that he wants to be a true hero, but he knows that he's too messed up and sorrowful for it to happen.

Comics[edit | hide]

Fanfic[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Rick from Casablanca is a classic example, acting apathetic to the situation around him, but actually quite heroic and self-sacrificing. This is suggested early on where he speaks of his participation in the Spanish Civil War as being financially motivated, but as Renault notes, he could have earned more fighting on the other side.
    • Most of Humphrey Bogart's roles are this, typically Bogart's character is the hard-boiled cynic with the heart of gold who often tries to do the right thing even if he's not quite sure what that is. The Maltese Falcon gains a lot of mileage from this dynamic.
  • Philo Beddoe from the Every Which Way movies.
  • Disney's Aladdin could be argued to be this seeing as he only steals what he needs to survive, like food and would probably never steal had he had enough to survive. In the cartoon series, he is contrasted to thieves who steal to get rich. Then again, he is willing to trick and manipulate good people like Jasmine and the Genie, keeping him firmly in anti-hero territory.
  • Disney's version of Robin Hood also counts, as he only steals out of necessity and from the corrupt prince, and on the behalf of those who are starving.
  • Han Solo and Chewbacca from Star Wars.
    • It takes Han a while to get there. In the first half of A New Hope he's a Type IV at best, basically a selfish bastard whose sole motivations are greed and self-preservation, and is totally apathetic towards Leia's impending execution. He later mellows out, risking his life to help Luke and Leia fight the stormtroopers. In Empire and Jedi he's more consistently a Type II. The change in his character can be attributed to his decision to come back and save Luke during the Battle of Yavin.
    • The EU suggests he always had these tendencies (got kicked out of the Evil Empire's military for saving a wookie slave, guess who), but then had to gain a heap-load of cynicism in a hurry when he had to turn to crime. But his conscience, often in the form of a wookie (guess who again), would always bother him until he gave in and did the right thing.
    • The EU also gives us the whole Ylesia incident, which would have *really* soured Han towards the Rebellion. Having the love of your life betray and use you for "the greater good" while shafting your oldest friend and killing another. Yeah, Han is allowed to be a *tad* bitter about the Rebellion.
    • Considering Han is basically a sci-fi version of Rick from Casablanca, it's probably safe to say that his more self-serving tendencies are probably an affectation.
  • Ash becomes this type of anti-hero in Army of Darkness.
  • Indiana Jones may be a snarky Combat Pragmatist who can be a little rough around the edges, but that doesn't change the fact that he is, at heart, a good man who does his best to do what is right, even if it means sacrificing his MacGuffin in order to do so.
  • Bluebeard from Felidae.
  • Captain Kirk slips into this in the film series sometimes. His more rebellious and reckless attitude in the 2009 film certainly fit, as he brawls, cheats and mouths off every other minute but when the shit breaks out he'll always be ready for anything. But even that was small fry next to The Undiscovered Country, where with a blunt, 'Let them die,' Kirk goes straight to Type III.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe is a good example, being a classic First-Person Smartass and a Chivalrous Pervert, but also compared by his creator to the Knight in Shining Armor. Many First-Person Smartass detectives would also apply, with Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade as perhaps the snarkiest (though still principled), and Harry Dresden of The Dresden Files being a good example in more recent times.
    • Though one could make a case for Sam Spade being Type 3, as at the time the story kicks in he is banging his partner's wife and his first act after he learns about said partner's murder is to have his name taken off the office door.
      • It really depends on what version of Spade is being discussed. Book Spade is described as looking like the devil, pretty much uses Brigid O'Shaugnessy for his personal sex toy until he throws her over to the police, he's the one who ransacked her apartment, and to top it off he makes her strip just to see if she stole one of the $1000 bills Gutman gave him. Movie Spade doesn't do any of those, yes he's implied to be sleeping with O'Shaugnessy but that's about it, Movie Spade fits in more with the Humphrey Bogart hero archetype.
  • Ciaphas Cain is one of these, a character who considers himself a Dirty Coward but whom the "editor" considers heroic deep-down, an interpretation the reader is also encouraged to hold. Interestingly, while he was originally inspired by the thought of a Captain Ersatz of Flashman, Harry Flashman is more of a Type IV on a good day and Type V on a bad one. (Word of God is that he's shifted by the origin.)
  • In Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen, Anomander Rake looks like a morally ambiguous Anti-Villain at first. But as the series progresses, it becomes clear that underneath his Badass image he is actually pure noble and good (Toll the Hounds leaves no doubts about this), so he probably fits here.
  • Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden. Only occasionally pragmatic, and only for good reason.
    • However, as the series gets more Grimdark and finds more and more inventive ways to abuse him, he starts sliding further and further down the scale. Get him angry enough, and he can even start to resemble Type IV. (Right, Cassius?)
    • While his morals are still intact, where he draws the line and decides that he'll go to Hell to punish or save someone has changed throughout the series. (I seem to recall something about encasing a ghoul or two in glassed over orange juice and leaving it for the fire ants to eventually devour. In the middle of a desert.) The fact is, though, after Changes, his status as an anti-hero could pretty much go anywhere. And yes, it's breaking our hearts.
  • Larry Niven's Beowulf Schaeffer and his stepson Louis Wu.
  • Solomon Kane
  • Jayfeather in Warrior Cats.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Supernatural's main characters.
    • Dean Winchester lives here, though lately we've seen him also creeping into Type I (with his lack of self-worth and suicidal tendencies, along with the lack of any life outside hunting) and he's strayed to a Type III whenever his brother's threatened, in episodes such as "Devil's Trap" and "Malleus Malificarum", and in much of season seven.
    • Early on, and again in season seven, Sam Winchester's a sweet, puppy-dog-eyed hero. He's basically a Type II, but if he loses Dean ("Mystery Spot") or his inhibitions (Early Season 4, with help from demon blood addiction), he falls to a Type III. In season six, without a soul, he has no conscience and might stray into a Type IV.
  • Malcolm Reynolds of Firefly sort of straddles between Type II and Type III, and precisely where he sits depends on the viewer.
  • The members of The A-Team fit quite nicely into this slot—they'd probably be normal heroes if they weren't wrongly persecuted by the government for a crime they didn't commit.
  • Gai Yuuki/Black Condor. As a loner rebel guy, he is much more of a jerk compared to the more straight-laced heroes, he smokes, he drinks whisky, he's a big flirt, has a gambling habit and is rude when talking. However, he really did have his own sense of justice and will do the right thing when things really demand him to do it. Originally started at type V and IV, though.
  • The Second, Fourth and Eighth Doctors are Type II, and the Seventh and Tenth Doctors start out like this. Four qualifies because he's one of the more peaceful incarnations, and Eight has more time for humans than some of the other Doctors.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Sonic the Hedgehog, due to his somewhat arrogant attitude and being rather vocal about his Super Speed.
  • Yuri Lowell and Rita Mordio from Tales of Vesperia.
    • Yuri fluctuates between this and Type III, considering his habit of ruthlessly executing corrupt government officials. They deserved it, but it definitely goes beyond simple cynicism.
  • Yosuke from Persona 4.
  • Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, at least starting toward the middle.
    • Lightning may be leaning more toward Type III since she has no qualms with killing as many "brainwashed" soldiers as needed to complete her goals (she even scoffs and scolds Snow for even trying to reason with them during Chapter 8), is rather dog eat dog in her philosophy on killing ("Couldn't shoot, got himself shot instead", "Target's a target", "Nothing personal", "Anyone in my way is a target"), and never makes it a secret that she is more than willing to kill the antagonist in each of the games that she appears in. Some of her quotes ("I did what I had to do", "Not even worth my time", "Ha! This will be over quick", "My blade'll fix this") also pushes her more toward Type III since they show her disdain disdain for her opponents all the while showing a willingness to use violence.
  • Nathan Drake from Uncharted may be a snarky fella who's perfectly happy to indulge in quite blatantly illegal dealings, but he'll put himself in harm's way without a second thought to do the right thing, will go out of his way to avoid using lethal force on those who don't deserve it, and if the situation warrants it he'll throw himself into danger for the greater good. Sully fits this category quite well, though his sexual morals (or lack thereof) probably makes him a tad harder than his protégé.
  • Dante from Devil May Cry
  • Solid Snake fits quite nicely into this category, though he occasionally exhibits shades of Type III and, especially in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Type I. Depending on the actions of the player (e.g. whether they never kill, use lethal force sparingly, or slaughter all enemies in sight), he may fall anywhere between II and even V on the scale, with some story stuff also hinting that, at least during the Shadow Moses Incident, he was borderline Type V (See Type V entry below).
    • Colonel Campbell blackmails Snake into participating in Shadow Moses by threatening him with all the questionable stuff he did as a CIA hitman/freelance mercenary between (presumably) the original Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2, putting Snake (in that period) perhaps firmly in the Type V category.
    • Big Boss starts out as this, but gradually slips into a Type III, then an Anti-Villain, before finally coming back around to a Type II in his final moments.
  • Kazooie is this due to her tendency to snark a lot and be selfish and greedy, but ultimately always does the heroic thing.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Whateley Universe example: Phase, who doesn't even want to punch the bad guys, but most certainly will, when push comes to shove. But Phase is very clearly the Deadpan Snarker with character flaws.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • A literal Disney Anti-Hero, Darkwing Duck actually sometimes borders on Type III thanks to his egomania, manic-depressive personality, and a tendency to be overly judgemental.
  • Ben from the original Ben 10 series.
  • Terry McGinnis of Batman Beyond is much snarkier than his counterpart in Batman the Animated Series, but is nevertheless just as heroic.
  • Gwen of Total Drama Island. Noah becomes this in the third season.
  • Edd of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy.
  • Arcee of Transformers Prime.
    • Wheeljack from the same series also counts.
  • Twilight Sparkle, pre-Character Development, in the pilot episode of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. She definitely wants to protect Equestria, but she starts off as kind of an antisocial jerk (she gets better though character development though). She still shows signs of this occasionally though (her Agent Scully act in Feeling Pinkie Keen comes to mind).
    • On that matter, there are also Rainbow Dash and Rarity. The former is an egocentric and snarky pegasus with a heart of gold, and the latter is a Spoiled Sweet unicorn who can be a jerk sometimes when the situation concerns fashion, diamonds and Equestria's high society.
  • Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Type III: Dangerous Anti-Hero[edit | hide]

While some of these share the snarkiness associated with a Type II Anti-Hero, they are somewhat darker than the previous version, as their Anti-Hero status is associated with their willingness to do good through "not nice" actions. Also, as is demonstrated by Granny Weatherwax of Discworld, this character can very easily be humorless while still being rather Badass. Essentially a meaner version of Type II. Type III Anti-Heroes may get nicer and turn into straight heroes over the course of the story, but they just as likely may not.

There is some division in this slot as to the acceptability of lethal force. Some will side against it, but others deem it a viable solution. In the latter case, it is generally a matter of last resort, but they will do what they have to do.

Good Is Not Nice has more info on this trope.

Examples of Dangerous Anti-Heroes:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • In To Aru Majutsu no Index, Accelerator becomes this during and after the Last Order ark. He is willing to kill people to protect those he cares about (and this is mention mentioned by the Heaven Canceler himself when he compared Accelerator to The Hero Touma. Of course, this is because Accelerator happens to a Ax Crazy who took part on the Level 6 project where he brutally killed over 10,000 MISAKA. Fortunately, he's highly aware of his flaws and admits that he can't fully consider himself to be a hero . He's still quite quick to kill people if they come at him with lethal force, and is quite sadistic about it. Last Order theorises that Accelerator was here from the start, and the only difference is that he's got friends now. After all, the MISAKA Sisters did come after him with lethal force.
    • The entirety of GROUP counts as this—blackmailed into doing dirty jobs in the dark side of Academy City, they do the dirty jobs while working on the sides to find a way to retaliate against Academy City. Each of them is willing to kill those who are in the way of their goals, but they won't harm anyone who's innocent.
  • Genjyo Sanzo of Saiyuki is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, but a pretty extreme one with much interest in hiding it. Likes to dish out advice in the form of caustic insults.
  • Re-L Mayer of Ergo Proxy
  • Yami Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh, though early on he was more of a Type IV.
  • Edo Phoenix and Manjyoume Jun of Yu-Gi-Oh GX, after they mellow out, though Jun has a good deal of Type I in him.
  • Spike Spiegel from Cowboy Bebop, while being perfectly willing to capture a bounty alive, causes serious property damage whenever he goes after a bounty head, and has a dark side that usually comes out to play when his enemy Vicious and the Red Dragon get involved.
    • In their world bounties aren't "dead or alive" like in the Wild West, it's "alive or nothing".
      • The way Spike simply headshots the guy who was holding a gun to Faye's head in Episode 5 as well as the first scene from the Movie seem to make it pretty clear that he cares little about human casualties. Or, according to Word of God, pretends not to care in the case of Faye.
  • Heero Yuy of Gundam Wing
  • Setsuna F. Seiei of Mobile Suit Gundam 00
  • Souske Sagara from Full Metal Panic!.
  • Kaiman and Nikaido from Dorohedoro. Despite their being overall nice guys, they are ruthlessly violent with magic users or anyone who dares to hurt their friends or antagonizes them. Kaiman especially, as sometimes he even falls in Type IV.
  • Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune from Sailor Moon, particularly in the manga (in the anime, they veer close to Type V territory due to actions taken in the final season.)
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar ends up as this after he cools his jets and realizes that there are more sinister things at work in Amestris.
  • Yusuke and Kurama from Yu Yu Hakusho.
  • Rei Ayanami of Neon Genesis Evangelion, since she has no emotional attachment to anything at first.
  • Piccolo from Dragon Ball Z after his Heel Face Turn, though he goes to Type II after he merges with Kami.
    • Vegeta, The Prince of all Saiyans, who spends most of the series in Type V, after starting out committing serial-genocide for sport against assorted alien races, may fit here after finally conceding that Goku is better than he is and risking his own existence to ensure a plan that he himself hatched to save the world from Kid Buu. He is also handled as reformed in GT and Yo! Son Goku and His Friends Return!!.
  • Zoro and Nico Robin from One Piece, as they are the most brutal out of the Straw-Hats.
  • Miroku and Kikyo of Inu Yasha.
  • Lupin III may or may not end up here on account of his tendency to slip and slide all over the scale. His early manga appearances place him firmly as a lecherous adrenaline-junkie master thief (in the Shin Rupan Sansei manga series [NOT to be confused with the concurrently-running anime series] Monkey Punch even goes as far as to depict Lupin as something of a rapist), and as Hero Antagonist Zenigata calmly explained in a recent movie, he is a criminal who should be put to justice. On the other hand, in the anime he is played a mostly harmless/FunPersonified Rule of Funny partial Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist if you get down to it, and at least in the movies consistently opposes villains much worse than he is, seldom uses lethal force against them, and has a chivalrous streak along with the lechery that causes him to help any maidens in distress that he comes across, regardless if they will get interested in him or not. All of this makes him hard to gauge, as he does not fit into the scale well. Possibly a type I, possibly a type IV, but not anywhere nearly bloodthirsty or malicious enough to be a type V.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen Integra Hellsing of Hellsing. Integra is a stern, controlled and dedicated Deadpan Snarker who still cares for those under her command and risks her life on a daily basis to save England.
  • Homura Akemi in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, as a somewhat softer Expy of Kiritsugu Emiya and Archer. After finding out the Awful Truth about being a Magical Girl firsthand, she makes a wish save Madoka, allowing her to repeat several timelines in order to save her. Unfortunately, this only makes things worse and worse for her and Madoka, eventually causing her to lose hope in the other magical girls and only focusing on her goal.
  • The Black Knights of Code Geass as an organisation, While many of their organisation are people who wanted to free their fellow Japanese from oppression, but aren't willing to engage in random violence to achieve an uncertain result, (whom are covered above) the core Black Knights are, for the most part, former terrorists. Though some fit in this category better than others, all of those who survive past the second battle of Tokyo assist in the attempted assassination of Lelouch, their superior.
    • Lelouch himself started out somewhere around here. While he killed his fair share of people over the first few episodes, pretty much all of them had sent themselves soaring across the Moral Event Horizon before their death, many to the point of Complete Monsterhood. Of course by the halfway point of R1, the ratio of evil bastards to Punch Clock Villains killed by Lelouch had declined and the amount of collateral damage increased to the point where arguing he hasn't gone down to Type IV is nothing short of Draco in Leather Pants.
  • In Digimon Tamers, Mitsuo Yamaki and Impmon/Beelzemon, post-Heel Face Turns.
  • Masaomi Kida of Durarara!!.
  • Van from Gun X Sword averages here. He's single-mindedly driven to avenge the murder of his wife, and he doesn't seem to care much about anything else, to the point of coming across as cold and brutal. Still, he takes care not to involve innocents in his personal vendetta and does help people without expecting anything in return. If you're a minion of his wife's killer, though, the chips are off. Ray, on the other hand, dangerously fluctuates between Type IV and Type V.
  • The titular assassins in Weiss Kreuz.
  • Both Jack Atlas and Kyosuke Kiryu from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's
  • Onishi and Toyama from Texhnolyze.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • John Hartigan from Sin City would likely very much be pure hero material within a cleaner setting, but type III is really the best that the Crapsack World of Sin City allows for. He's the cleanest cop in the city and arguably the purest hero in the comic. However, again, this is Sin City, so Hartigan personally castrated the same guy twice, which puts him in this trope per definition. However, he started out as a type II.
    • Wallace and Dwight tend to mind their own business until something forces their hands into action. Once that happens, matters can get very messy. At the very least it is very arguable that Dwight is a type IV, as he has been perfectly fine with working with Miho to assassinate dozens of criminals, or shooting a "clean"/decent cop in order to protect his friends. Unlike Dwight, Wallace didn't really seem to have idealistic drive, and was still a professional killer.
  • Scott Pilgrim is probably somewhere in-between this and Type IV, as he's a lazy, video game obsessed slacker with somewhat good intentions, but also tends to use lethal force on not particularly evil people.
  • Jack Knight of Starman starts out as this, being a snarky fanboy junkshop owner who insults his family, potential customers whose tastes he disagrees with, and even the total stranger who is trying to comfort him when his dad is in the hospital. He is even told by a former girlfriend that just because he's a hero doesn't make him a nice/good person. Eventually mellows into Type II and debatably becomes a true hero by the series end.
  • Mina Murray from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
  • Batman is placed here Depending on the Writer. However, he has a very strict code of conduct, and under Grant Morrison and within the DCAU he is a Type II approaching Pillars of Moral Character territory as a dedicated philanthropist. In some of his earlier appearances he was presented within the type IV territory (using guns to kill criminals independent of the law). In All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder he is more of a type V however.
  • Hardware is one of these. He starts out as a Type IV in the beginning of his career, when he kills bad guys indiscriminately and enjoys it, but tones down his violence after receiving a What the Hell, Hero? from his love interest, and realizing that he's becoming as bad as the people he fights against.
  • Scrooge McDuck.
  • Spider Jerusalem of Transmetropolitan is not polite at all, even to his assistants, but is extremely altruistic and dedicated underneath the foul-mouthed venom; and fanatically exposes the mistreatment of citizens by sect leaders, corrupt politicians, neo-supremacist demagogues, and plenty of other sources. He is also genuinely kind, helpful, and compassionate to handicapped on several occasions; and expresses a genuine love for all people who show basic human decency and appreciation towards each other (for example in the apple scene). In some respects he is very much Incorruptible Pure Pureness, as no matter how ridiculously extreme amounts of filth and corruption that he is exposed to, he is unshakably dedicated in his struggle for truth and justice. He also never goes anywhere near the murderous excesses of a type IV character. Sure, he will gladly humiliate the then US president by making him soil himself with a bowel disruptor, or threaten a sect-leader who preys on the most vulnerable, but killing not particularly evil outmatched people in cold blood, never. Basically going by the above he could actually be seen as a II that near completely lacks social skills. On the other hand, all of his good actions are contrasted by screaming "Santa Claus is dead! And I killed him!" to the kids watching him on TV, and similar ongoing antics... Type III it is then.
  • Marvel Comics' USAgent began as a bit of a Knight Templar low-level type IV, calling himself the Superpatriot at that point. When confronted by the darkest mirror of himself in the drug-addicted spree-killing xenophobic Vietnam war-criminal Nuke, he decisively casts off the backlog once and for all, manages to beat Nuke, and calls the latter a cancer unfit to be a soldier. Nowadays he's firmly a type III.
  • The Savage Dragon fits this trope. He often groans at the thought of having to bring in the bad guys and is a generally snarky guy but he has shown a strong desire to do good as a cop, superhero, or government agent, and generally strictly works within the system. He regularly brutally kills, maims, and rips people into pieces though, but only when he has no other recourse. He will definitely not intentionally do it against outmatched opponents or unless it is a last recourse, and is recurrently afraid of hurting regular people (citing the World of Soap Bubbles analogy).
  • The "childlike" and "merged" incarnations of the original Incredible Hulk mix elements from this and types I and II, fitting the requirements for all of them. He is far less ruthless/more averse towards killing than virtually any type III around though.
  • Kate Spencer, the modern incarnation of Manhunter, falls somewhere between this and Type IV, since she is more than willing to use lethal force to take down criminals that escape justice through her day job as a federal prosecutor.
  • Storm flirted with this level of Anti-Heroism during, and for some time after, her Mohawk phase; still retaining her moral core, but being much less discerning about doing what was necessary to safeguard her teammates' lives. She even dropped her Thou Shalt Not Kill code during this period, though it still takes a lot to push her into being willing to take a life.
  • The Shadow.

Fanfic[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Clint Eastwood's "Man With No Name" (he's "The Good", after all) and pretty much all the rest of his Western characters, though some may veer further down at any given moment due to their greed.
  • John McClane from Die Hard.
  • Billy Costigan of The Departed is a good person at heart, and does his best in his job as The Mole, but boy howdy does he have one hell of a terrible temper to get through.
  • The title character from Donnie Darko.
  • Butch in Pulp Fiction. He's easily the most unambiguously good character in the film. The only crime he commits is cheating a mob boss. He later saves said mob boss from a very unpleasant death. On the other hand, he kills his boxing opponent and maintains that he feels nothing about it, and doesn't hesitate to kill Vincent. (Vincent was there to kill him, but still.)
    • Butch claims to not feel bad about killing his opponent, but it's pretty clear that he does. He's still solidly a Type III, though.
  • Woodrow Dolarhyde from Cowboys and Aliens.
  • Gerry Boyle in The Guard.
  • Rooster Cogburn.
  • The title character from Hancock.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God is one of these or just the most harmless antivillain protagonist ever.
  • Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op is pretty much this, with occasional venture into Type 4.
    • Incidentally the basis for Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name, with the exact same traits.
  • As mentioned above, Granny Weatherwax. Also Sam Vimes. Maybe Havelock Vetinari. Most Discworld heroes fall into this category, except Carrot ... usually. And Cohen the Barbarian.
    • A lot of the recurring heroes are this. But a lot of the one-shots—Brutha, Mort, Victor Tugelbend—are Type I.
  • Max Pesaro from The Gardella Vampire Chronicles.
  • Repairman Jack.
  • Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in The Rye.
  • Roland Deschain of The Dark Tower.
  • Ginny Fistolari of Stephen Donaldson's Man Who series.
  • Harry Potter reveals Albus Dumbledore to be this, even crossing over into Type IV at times.
  • Axis, the sometimes Hero and sometimes Lancer on several series by Sara Douglass. He is most particularly a Jerkass when it comes to any women who make the mistake of falling in love with him. In fact this pretty much fits all of Douglass' male heroes.
  • Artemis Fowl. Being the brightest criminal mastermind in the world before he's even hit puberty kind of leads to that expectation. He's The Villains in the first book, but he helps fight evil throughout the rest of the books, gradually sliding closer to Types II and I.
    • Perhaps Type II on a good day, but I'd say he starts out as a Type V in the first book (if not a Villain Protagonist) then slips into Type IV for the next two. After Opal Deception, he's pretty solidly Type III, but then, with the events of Atlantis Complex...
  • Kelsier of Mistborn fits pretty squarely here. He's a staunch foe of The Empire and determined to bring freedom to his people, but he's also arrogant, ruthless, and merciless to anyone who works for aforementioned empire, even Punch Clock Villains. He's ultimately a good guy, but there's a very real darkness in him too. His protege, Vin, who takes over as protagonist after his death is somewhere between a Type III and a Type II, moving more towards the latter by the third book.
  • Aivars Terekhov and Thomas Theisman fall somewhere between Type II and here, as do Honor Harrington herself and most other Honorverse protagonists to varying degrees.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Dr. House is this on his good days and continually skirts the line between Type III and Type IV. He has been leaning more towards Type III since he dropped Vicodin in Season 6.
  • Pretty much the whole Leverage crew.
  • Omar Little of The Wire robs drug dealers, but is also a fairly moral, caring individual.
  • In Heroes, by the time the Volume 3 future episode rolls around, it's pretty established that Future Peter is one of these. The unexplained contradiction of personality settled a little during a tender moment with Present Claire. Also fits under What The Hell, Anti-Hero. In fact, most characters in Heroes, particularly future versions (with the unusual exception of Noah Bennett and Sylar/Gabriel Gray, who both, in fact, seem more normal than their Present versions).
  • Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood.
    • On the subject of Doctor Who, the Third, Fifth, Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Doctors are all Type III, due to being more willing to get their hands dirty.
  • Gleb Zheglov from The Meeting Place Cannot Be Changed.
  • Cal Lightman from Lie to Me.
  • Winston from Human Target.
  • Rupert Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • Luther.
  • Aikawa Hajime from Kamen Rider Blade. He mellowed out eventually and become type II.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Axel in the main game of Kingdom Hearts II, after being a straight-up villain in Chain of Memories and more of an Anti-Villain in 358/2 Days and KH2's prologue. In the main game, he's against his former evil teammates, Organization XIII, but still uses not-so-nice methods of getting what he wants, like kidnapping the hero's love interest and intending to turn the hero into a Heartless to get his friend back.
    • Also, Riku was this type of anti-hero in 358/2 Days and KH2's prologue.
  • Emil in his "Ratatosk-Mode" in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World would fit here, whereas his normal self is a wimpy non-action guy.
  • Jimmy Hopkins in Bully would fit here. Although his underlying nature is decent ("I only give people what they have coming to them"), he's willing to fight dirty and tends to be a Jerkass to everyone around him. Although note that the player controlling Hopkins could play him as a Type 2 or Type 4 if they wanted to.
  • Squall from Final Fantasy VIII is initially introverted, uncommunicative, and cynical, but that is only surface level, as he actually cares a lot, opens up, and does a lot of good and self-sacrificing actions. This in itself would place him as a solid type II, but he initially works as a mercenary (a very light idealistic fantasized version), which may or may not bump him here.
  • Garrett from Thief. Though he's not without a rather tarnished sense of decency, ultimately he looks out for himself and has no problem telling you that if you ask for more.
  • Asch from Tales of the Abyss veers into this, and sometimes Type IV.
  • Garrus Vakarian in the Mass Effect series. If you don't kill him on Virmire Urdnot Wrex becomes this in the second game,
    • Professor Mordin Solus is a doctor who is both compassionate and ruthless. He is very benevolent but is willing to get his hands dirty to ensure that he is serving the greater good. However, he does have strong ethical boundaries noted by his complete disgust at the practice of experimenting on living creatures.
      • Actually he does advocate experimenting on living creatures (like Varren) just not on species with members capable of calculus.
    • Miranda originally starts as a Type IV, but under Paragon Shepard's influence, moves into this territory by the end of the game. By 3, she's arguably a Type II.
  • Sol Badguy from Guilty Gear.
  • From BlazBlue:
    • Sol's Spiritual Successor Ragna the Bloodedge, who is an easily pissed off human being who will slaughter any member of the NOL he comes across and in general a really rude ignorant guy who just minds his busines, but is a good man at heart. He could skirt on Type V, as on contrary belief, he's not there to free the world from the NOL's grasp, but because the NOL pissed him off and contains Terumi Yuuki, the one who screwed his life so badly. There's also the fact that even if you're a personable, innocent man, if you get in his way, he'll kill you all the same.
    • Hakumen is also a very strong Type III, and considering he's the reincarnation of Jerkass extraordinaire Jin Kisaragi, it's hardly surprising.
  • Cipher from Ace Combat Zero, in the Soldier path. He's focused on freeing his country and stopping Belka, but he's still a mercenary and will occasionally take out noncombatants or disabled enemies for the extra pay.
  • Mega Man Zero: The title character himself. He is a good guy at heart, but he's not particularly nice. He's very cold, and he always seems focused on his missions. Also, he never recalls ever calling himself a hero, he just fights for the people he believed in, because he knows that a simple fighter machine like him can't change the world on his own.
  • Tombstone from Freedom Force. Sure, he's the vengeful ghost of a (wrongly) convicted murderer, come back to punish the guilty. Sure, he talks back to his fellow heroes and refers to them as 'fools'. Sure, he possesses people, fires electricity from his execution at his foes and is implied to ignore Thou Shalt Not Kill. Sure, his presence makes animals wither. He's still harmless to the innocent and fights to save the world alongside his fellow Capes without going against their methods, and never does anything directly constructed as evil.
  • Axel Almer in Super Robot Wars Original Generation, post Heel Face Turn in OGs / OG Gaiden, is basically this. He just minds his own business, which was coincidentally good, but he wouldn't associate himself with the actual good guys, since he was once their enemy, nor would he claim heroic stuffs. He ends up being some sort of force who helps out in the timings you wouldn't expect.
  • Grolla Seyfarth in Rosenkreuzstilette is a very strong Type III Anti-Heroine, seeing how she's willing to rip bad people like Iris apart and would rather stain her hands and her Grollschwert with blood than spare them and give them another chance. Anyone who hits her Berserk Button is unwary of pissing her off; doing things to make her furious at you is not good for your health.
  • K' from the 1999 (and onwards) installment of The King of Fighters very generously fits here (whether he's a III or a IV is a matter of perception). His intentions are good (to put the vile NESTS cartel out of business for good) but his focus is very narrow as it's a personal vendetta, causing him to be very caustic towards everyone in his way, be they good or otherwise. Kula Diamond helps him mellow somewhat but in general, he's a very coarse individual who keeps to himself and bares his teeth to everyone outside his inner circle. Gameplay and Story Segregation means equal-opportunity smackdowns during actual matches but his pre-fight quips with his opponent in XIII do suggest his demeanor is not one of restraint, even to the most altruistic characters.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach from Girl Genius. He's inherited his father's Badass in full measure, and he's starting to see himself following in his father's footsteps. "This is how my father must feel-ALL THE TIME!"
    • The contrast between Gil and his father, Klaus (see below), is actually a pretty good illustration of the differences between Type III and Type IV. Gil may be cynical, grumpy, and more than a tad insensitive, but he will at least listen to your side of the story before assuming that you're an enemy. The same cannot be said of his father, whose typical reaction would be to Kill It with Fire.
  • Nenshe from Rumors of War is likely a Type III. He's a lazy, unapologetic Manipulative Bastard.
  • Sixx from Collar 6 is actually quite hard to place due to the Blue and Orange Morality of the series. Arguments could probably be made for her being anything from a Type II to a Type V (the latter primarily due to her treatment of Linda Knight). However, to date she hasn't committed any major atrocities, but is clearly not a Disney Anti Hero, so this category is probably the best fit.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Oran from Broken Saints.
  • Agent Washington from Red vs. Blue is hard to pin down and fan opinion varies widely, but most would probably agree that he's a Type III—sure, he shoots Donut but doesn't kill him--and come on, this is Wash we're talking about, that had to be on purpose, willingly works with the Meta, and so on, but ultimately, he's trying to take down the Freelancer project once and for all and tries to protect both Tex and Church.
  • Youtube Ranter The Archfiend seems to go between this and Type IV along with Undertaker Freak 1127.
  • The SCP Foundation is around this level.
  • Whateley Universe example: Lady Astarte, who still has a 1930's - 1940's sense of right and wrong, but when pushed did her best to kill Deathlist.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

Type IV: Vicious Anti-Hero[edit | hide]

This type of Anti-Hero will recurrently be extremely violent. In some cases they might simply live in a very Crapsack World setting, and could have been a "Disney Anti-Hero" in a more idyllic setting. Any heroic character who is Dangerously Genre Savvy is likely to be this type. There's also the Hero with an F In Good. There is some chance that a Type IV may see the error in their ways, get rid of the bloodthirst, and change into a straight hero over the course of the story, but don't hold your breath; a more likely scenario is that they'll remain an Anti-Hero and retain many of their flaws, but shift up the scale to a more unambiguously good Type III, or in rare cases type II.

Note that there is also a separate flavor of this category, which trades the heroic objectives for somewhat nicer methods, or at least more redeeming qualities. Their objectives tend to be neutral to leaning somewhat unsavory (but never outright evil), balanced by having lines they will not cross, soft spots for their friends and loved ones etc., as well as often being on the good guys' side, even if only by chance or because it turns the greatest profit.[1] Essentially, whereas the former flavor of Type IV is more or less a more (too) extreme Type III, this is a Type V with fewer vices and more virtues. That doesn't mean they can't become a Type III, or even a Type II, however, if they decide they like the good guys enough to join them whole-heartedly; however, it does mean that they're also prone to falling to a Type V if the good points start to lose out to their bad points.

Pay Evil Unto Evil is a defining Trope for this category. See also Unscrupulous Hero, Nineties Anti-Hero, and Byronic Hero. Particularly cynical portrayals of the Lovable Rogue tend to be the latter variety.

Examples of Vicious Anti-Heroes:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Byronic Hero/Well-Intentioned Extremist Lelouch, and Broken Bird C. C. are the two most predominant examples of Code Geass, although Lelouch can also be perceived as an Anti-Villain. Ohgi starts out as a Type II/III, but shifts downward to this after he leads the betrayal against his leader, and Jeremiah Gottwald starts out as a Type II Anti-Villain but ultimately arrives here as soon as he finds out Lelouch's reasons for fighting Britannia, and joins him, though one could make the argument that he's the exact same person, but with a more favorable boss. The one thing keeping him at this level is his sense of chivalry.
  • Keiichi during Tatarigoroshi-hen (Curse Killing Chapter) spends the arc trying to kill his friend's abusive uncle, and then is forced to deal with the consequences. Although it was an awful action, as the audience watching the story unfold from his point of view, you see poor Satoko shatter under her uncle's abuse and listen to Keiichi struggling to comprehend why his world is falling apart, ultimately making him rather sympathetic.
  • Faye Valentine of Cowboy Bebop is not above stealing her fellow bounty hunters' rightly earned catches, and will constantly free load and eat their food. That said, she is not above performing the occasional good deed here or there, and, by the end of the series, seems to have developed a Hidden Heart of Gold, if her actions toward Spike leaving on what is most assuredly a death mission are to be believed.
  • Noir is in large part a spiritual study in the evolution of the main characters from Type IV in Kirika's case (arguably Type IV or V in Mireille's) up to Type II through introspection, hardship, and love.
  • Green (English)/Blue (Japanese) from Pokémon Special, initially completely out for herself, then eventually turns into a weird Chessmaster with a tragic past. Develops into a Type II overtime.
    • Her surrogate brother Silver is the same case; begins Type IV and ends up Type II.
  • L from Death Note. He is willing to go to nearly any extreme to stop Light.
  • Hei in Darker than Black. He mostly just does what his bosses ask him to without worrying about it too much, and considering he works for The Syndicate this isn't exactly heroic. However, he can also be a genuinely nice guy and he'll buck his orders if he feels it's necessary, and at the end he makes himself a target for the organization rather than letting a lot of people die. He's also a lot more attached to his friends than is usual for a Contractor.
  • Greed of Fullmetal Alchemist strays to this type of Anti-Hero after his Heel Face Turn.
  • Lina Inverse and Zelgadis Graywords of Slayers both fall in this category in different ways. Lina is fully conscious of her status as one of the greatest magical prodigies in the world, she's not above using her vast power to intimidate and extort. She frequently acts in a petty and vindictive manner, and her Kick the Dog moments border on the genocidal. On the other hand she fearlessly braves certain death to save the world, she exhibits a no-nonsense approach to fighting the forces of evil and she's never shown any real inclination of falling in to the dark side. To quote a different work, her mind is tangled but it ain't twisted. As far is Zelgadis is concerned, he is hell-bent on changing his chimeric body back to normal, and is even nastier than Lina in the intimidate/extort department. Unlike Lina, who manages to control who's more deserving of death, Zelgadis isn't above murder and arson to achieve ends, and also falls into more dangerous behavior. It can be contributed to the fact that, at least in the Light Novel series, that he was once a Chaotic Evil berserker that served as his manslaughtering brute to achieve the ends of a deceptive and slightly twisted priest. Like Lina, though, he will help in saving the world if he cannot avoid it.
  • Raul Creed of Ergo Proxy.
  • Seto Kaiba of Yu-Gi-Oh, after his Heel Face Turn.
  • Hell Kaiser Ryo of Yu-Gi-Oh GX in Season 3.
  • Yukiteru of Mirai Nikki can be seen as this. Thrown in to a game where 11 people are trying to kill him on a quest to become God, he eventually responds in kind. Despite this, he continues to show regret for his actions and wants everyone to live a happy life. It helps that he mistakenly believes that he can bring everyone back to life and intends to do so once he wins the game. Could also be seen as a Type V.
  • Hajime Saito as portrayed in Rurouni Kenshin is an excellent example of this. He is humorless, grimacing, confident, and has absolutely no qualms about killing anyone he considers "evil".
  • Motoko Kusanagi, Batou, and the other members of Section 9 fall into this category, and occasionally even border on Type V (depending on which continuity and incidents you're looking at). Their job is to uphold the law by any means necessary, and they're more than willing to use violence, hacking, and other, shadier means to do so.
  • Asuka Langley Souryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion. She does her job only to get approval and attention from everyone, nothing else matters to her. She is also the most ruthless in battle against the Angels.
  • Itachi Uchiha from Naruto.
  • Kurama of Elfen Lied.
  • Chang Wufei of Gundam Wing
  • Shinn Asuka of Gundam Seed Destiny
  • Most of the protagonists of Gunslinger Girl are Type IVs; the girls themselves are Punch Clock Heroines and Enfant Terrible (though depending on your point of view some of them, particularly Henrietta, could also fit as Type I, especially considering what they went through), and the more sympathetic members of the Social Welfare Agency, such as Jose, are basically good people even though they are part of a (to say the least) morally questionable initiative. Some of the less sympathetic members, such as Jean, come closer to Type V, and some of the assignments of the Social Welfare Agency, such as assassinating a congressman on request from a political rival, thrust them all into this category.
  • Sesshoumaru, Koga, and Kagura of Inu Yasha (Post- Character Development).
  • Kai Hiwatari of Beyblade. Snarky, antisocial and somewhat psychotic in battle; but very deep down, he has a good heart and cares about his friends, even though he keeps betraying them.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist and Violent Glaswegian Alexander Anderson of Hellsing. Though he truly believes in the Church Militant Iscariot's mission to punish all evil, he has standards for his behaviour and, unlike his boss, avoids killing innocents.
    • Anderson's subordinates; Bifauxnen Heinkel Wolfe and Cute Psycho Yumie Takagi also this. All three of them are also Type III Anti-Villains.
  • Graham "Mr. Bushido" Aker of Mobile Suit Gundam 00.
  • Implacable Man Inspector Lunge of Monster.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!!.
  • San from Princess Mononoke.
  • Chirico Cuvie in Armored Trooper VOTOMS.
  • Flit Asuno becomes one at the end of the First Generation of Gundam AGE.
  • Ichhise from Texhnolyze.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • War Machine, during his "Sometimes the world needs a..." phase. Previously in-between type II and III.
  • The Shade from Starman. According to his own mini-series, he was a mercenary Gentleman Adventurer for a long while and he only became a Gentleman Thief out of boredom. He is polite and well-mannered while still possessing a rather wicked and - pardon the pun - dark sense of humor. Still, he does have a defined code of ethics about who and where he will not steal from and has acted secretly to help superheroes prevent the unnecessary loss of life. Indeed, if it weren't for his own habit of gruesomely killing anyone who tries to kill him or harm his city, he'd easily be a Type II or Type III.
  • This is John Constantine on a good day. There are times when he falls off the scale -- in "Hard Time", after being sent to prison for a murder he didn't commit, he goes from just surviving to screwing over absolutely anyone he'd met in the course of his time there and conquering the prison, seemingly just for the hell of it.
  • Huntress may or may not belong here. She is in many ways what Batman would be if he had no qualms about using deadly force. However, as a last resort this is not enough in itself to go beyond type III (the area of a by real world standards non-war criminal idealistic soldier), depending on how serious the situation is, and she is generally strictly playing within type III territory, not a serial-killer. What may place her here is that she is occasionally perfectly willing to kill an already captured (Complete Monster) opponent, or potentially cripple lawful police officers when her vigilantism puts her in conflict with them.
  • Sam of Sam and Max Freelance Police
  • Jonah Hex
  • V from V for Vendetta.
  • Spawn, He started out as a type V war criminal Psycho for Hire, who was assigned to one of the deepest pits of hell, and chosen as the new Anti Christ. On the other hand, after his "resurrection" (still dead) he generally only acted in self-defence or to protect his former wife and the hobos he hung around with, but he regularly did thoroughly nightmarish things to his opponents, and eventually turned into a pure arch-devil.
  • Marv from Sin City. He is extremely loyal to his friends, generally strictly minds his own business/will leave you alone, is actually somewhat of a gentleman despite his rough appearance, and if somebody worse hurts any acquaintance that he has taken a shine to, he will enthusiastically torture and brutally kill them. However, Marv does have his heroic moments and has stood up against injustice a few times. For example, in Just Another Saturday Night he saves a hobo from being burned alive by some street punks. And in Silent Night he tracks down and rescues a little girl who had been kidnapped and used as a sex slave by a gang of pimps.
  • The main character in any adaptation of The Crow usually is this. In the original the only thing that separates him from be a Type V is the fact that he tries to save innocents, grants some of his enemies painless death and even spares some of his enemies.
  • Wolverine has gone anywhere from Type II to Type V, Depending on the Writer, but he's usually this.
    • Emma Frost has settled into being this after Grant Morrison's New X-Men run, being perfectly happy to perform ruthless acts of Mind Rape and murder for the good of mutantkind, though still solidly in the X-Men's camp.

Fanfic[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Tim Burton's Batman. In the first film he's a reasonably light Type III who only overtly uses lethal force once in self defence, and even tried to save Jack from falling into the acid vat (YMMV on his reasons for dropping him.) In Batman Returns, however his methods start to become unduly brutal, such as wasting time setting a mook on fire in the middle of a frantic fight scene, not to mention the sadistic pleasure he takes from blowing up one of the clowns.
  • Ray and Ken from In Bruges have a strong sense of loyalty to each other and Ray is guilt ridden over his accidental murder of a child. However, they're still hitmen who murder an unarmed man at the start of the film.
  • The Bride of Kill Bill is perfectly willing to cut down any mook who gets in the way of her and her revenge, doesn't care a whit about whether or not a target of hers has changed in the four years since she's known her, and can get downright ruthless when it comes to torturing villains' minions for information, but she does have her moments of kindness, even if it comes in the form of, say, spanking the one mook from the Crazy 88 battle who is obviously not cut out for this and sending him home to his mother.
  • Rick Deckard of Blade Runner.
    • This is mostly due to the... uncomfortable undertones of his... seduction of Rachel. Otherwise, he's a somewhat dark type III.
  • Many Cowboy Cops in action movies, if they're not type III, will fall into this. Dirty Harry is not a by-the-book cop by any stretch of the imagination. He generally cares a lot about what happens to innocent people, but lord have mercy on you if you happen to be one of those who get their jollies off hurting said innocent people. In the first movie, Harry gets absolutely brutal with the Scorpio Killer on the football field to make him give up the location of a girl that the latter had kidnapped.
  • Captain Jack Sparrow.
    • Also, Captain Hector Barbossa develops into this in the fourth film.
  • The majority of the basterds, Shosanna, Marcel and Hammersmark of Inglourious Basterds
  • Sergeant William James of The Hurt Locker doesn't really give a damn about the conflict of war or whatever regulations might get in his way, only about the rush he gets from defusing bombs. However, he functions as a deconstruction of the Military Maverick, as his antics wind up alienating him from the rest of the unit, and he winds up getting Owen Elridge injured enough to be sent back home.
  • Snake Plissken.
  • Max Rockatansky from Mad Max trilogy.
  • The Mask is this, Even though he isn't as violent as most anti-heroes, he's still willing to do many unheroic things with little regard for those around him.
  • The main character of the Akira Kurosawa film Yojimbo; he does protect the truly innocent and/or just, but not only is everyone else fair game, he takes pleasure in deceiving and slaughtering them. These traits carry over (for the most part) into the equivalent character played by Clint Eastwood in the film's Western remake, A Fistful of Dollars.
    • For whatever reason, his Eastwood equivalent as well as his inspiration, the Continental Op, are both listed as type III. In any case, the Kurosawa character probably develops into a type III in the Lighter and Softer sequel Sanjuro wherein he's Older and Wiser and has more of a Martial Pacifist outlook.
    • That's only when the old woman's around to be his moral compass. When she's not, it turns into a blood bath. Look at the way he slaughtered all those men at that Palace.
      • The Op is mostly type III, but in Red Harvest—the source material for Yojimbo—he slides into type IV with an ease that unnerves him:

The Op: Look, I sat at Willsson's table tonight and played them like you'd play trout, and got just as much fun out of it. I looked at Noonan and knew he hadn't a chance in a thousand of living another day because of what I'd done to him, and I laughed, and felt happy inside. That's not me. I've got hard skin all over what's left of my soul, and after twenty years of messing around with crime I can look at any sort of murder without seeing anything in it but my bread and butter, a day's work. But this getting a rear out of planning deaths is not natural to me. It's what this place has done to me.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Vlad Taltos is a First-Person Smartass who solves mysteries, but he is also a(n) (ex-)mobster and assassin who admits on several occasions that he entered his profession so that he could harm and kill "Dragaerans" who bullied him as a child and get paid for it. He also decides to slaughter his wife's revolutionary but harmless group to free her. Over the course of the series, he mellows slightly in the middle, in the wilderness away from his criminal empire, then when he gets back, tortures a name out of a small time criminal in Dzur.
    • This may be a feature of the world Vlad functions in as much as his own inclinations. Given he's been tortured a number of times, often for no reason other than being an obvious target, torture-for-information may seem like a lesser evil.
    • Come to that, Vlad's personal goddess should be counted here, too. Verra has been directly responsible for saving the world, and Vlad, a number of times... but she's messed with his memories without his consent, possibly on an ongoing basis, and she's also fine with telling Vlad to go assassinate the king of some place he's never been because she thinks it will work out the way she wants. Part of Vlad's moral development is centered around his reactions to that request, rather explicitly (the definition of a god is given early in the book as, essentially, "a being whose actions are by definition morally right". By the end, Vlad openly expresses doubt about that.
  • Virtually all "good guy" protagonists in Warhammer 40,000 media, such as Gaunt's Ghosts. These are the more sympathetic and idealistic ones-the other good guys are Type V's (see below). Still readily distinguishable from the bad guys of the setting.
  • Moist von Lipwig. Maybe Havelock Vetinari.
  • Gale Hawthorne.
  • Jaime Lannister, after receiving Sympathetic POV and having a Heel Face Turn.
  • Takeshi Kovacs from Altered Carbon fits in here. He's not afraid to kill people dead (even in a world that has developed a mostly reliable way to avoid death, there are ways to cause real death), and he sure as hell isn't nice, but he mostly wants to take down a highly corrupt person with a very major support structure and solve the case he was brought in for.
  • Anita Blake is not above a little use of the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique from time to time if the situation calls for it. If you stand in her way, kidnap her friends, or hurt her loved ones, she will hunt you down and put bullets in your brain. Your death will mean nothing to her. Not even if you're her lover.[2]
  • Raistlin Majere of the Dragonlance series.
  • Jake from Animorphs becomes this in the series' final story arc. Not only does he become a total Jerkass, by excluding Cassie and blackmailing and manipulating his friend and ally Erek into helping them, but he orders the bombing of the town's shopping mall and flushes the Yeerk mothership's pool into space, which kills thousands of sentient creatures.
    • In fairness, being stuck in a Hopeless War from the age of thirteen and essentially having the role of leadership (and thus the Keep Everyone Alive pressure) forced on your shoulders is probably going to play a large role in shifting your moral boundaries. That, and it's arguable that the only thing Jake did that was completely unnecessary in a strategical sense was the flushing of the Yeerks into space.
  • Ian Fleming's James Bond, as well as Daniel Craig's movie portrayal. The other movie Bonds are pretty much Type III, except Roger Moore who is a Type II.
    • Timothy Dalton was very vocal about playing it close to the book, his Bond is almost certainly Type IV if Ian Fleming's is. Pierce Brosnan's Bond could be incredibly vicious if he wanted to be, he killed at least two women during his run, one in cold blood. One might even argue that Daniel Craig's Bond is more of a type V, given that he basically indiscriminately kills everyone who gets in his way in Quantum of Solace, even some of the people who were on his side, indirectly or otherwise.
  • Nathaniel Starbuck of Bernard Cornwell's Civil War era Starbuck Chronicles a Copperhead (a Northerner who fought for the South) who also has touches of Type I but is too much of a Badass to fit there. He's not fighting out of misplaced idealism but because circumstances put him in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time but has a principled core which he continuously denies having and is very loyal to the men under him.
  • Henry/Whistle of Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters, largely due to being raised by Deepmen. Has the potential to become a Type V but is held back by John and later Anne.
  • Lisbeth Salander, the ruthless Broken Bird savant protagonist of The Millennium Trilogy, is practically the living incarnation of Pay Evil Unto Evil. She has good reason to feel this way, however.
  • Alex Rider. He only kills bad guys, but there have been a few moments where his actions seem unnecessary. He nearly kills a drug dealer in the second book, in a completely planned attack, and in the third book he shoves a guy in a freezer and turns the temperature as far down as he can. While shoving him in the freezer in the first place was self defence, he is called out on turning down the temperature, which he didn't really need to do. Not to mention that in the fifth book he briefly joins SCORPIA, the evil criminal organisation of the series, and accepts an assassination job. He can't bring himself to do it, but he comes pretty damn close.
    • He finally does bring himself to do it in Scorpia Rising. When he executes his clone Julius in cold blood near the end.
  • Simon Templar of The Saint. Essentially a Gentleman Adventurer, who donates most of his gains to charity, and shows no compunctions about murdering criminals execution-style.
  • Snape, Snape, Seve-rus Snape....
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian generally hangs around at this level. He's a thief, a reaver, a slayer... and pretty much everything else you can think of where there's an opportunity for violence, wenches and loot. Including piracy, assassination, mercenary work and becoming warrior-king of the richest country on the continent. Although the movies have him as a pretty solid III, the Marvel comics had him straddle the line between II and III and the cartoons mostly played him as Type II.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: The Vigilantes are firmly in this category. The first 7 books have each member getting Revenge on the person(s) who is a Karma Houdini and wronged her in some way. They never murder anyone in the series, which is a good thing. However, they have given three rapists the John Wayne Bobbit treatment. They have captured the son of a Chinese ambassador who committed a hit and run while drunk and was not punished because he used Diplomatic Impunity and skinned him alive. They went to the house of Karl Woodley, a National Security Advisor who is good buddies with the President and a Domestic Abuser who broke every bone in his wife's body, and broke every bone in his body. Talk about a Fate Worse Than Death! The last 13 books have them going on missions to protect their friends and bring down very bad people, as well as trying to get pardoned. Admittedly, their methods come off as Disproportionate Retribution at times, but the people they go after are such Complete Monsters that you will root for the Vigilantes.
  • Sun Wukong during titular journey in Journey to the West. Of course, it's an improvement over how he was before. He mellows out (more or less) by the end of the journey.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Ambassador Londo Mollari in Babylon5, on his good days. Slips into Anti-Villain territory when his greed and self interest get the better of him.
  • Father Ted. His main aspirations are money and self adulation, and he can be extremely callous and mean spirited towards his friends, especially in the Christmas special. He can be very brave and determined in pressure situations however, and sometimes his conscience will poke through.
  • Michael of Burn Notice helps the innocent victims of various criminals through clever use of the Batman Gambit. However, the villain of each episode often ends up dead, either through Michael's plotting or at his hands in a fight.
    • Sam gets in one himself; in a recent episode he's standing outside, watching the badguys get themselves into a paranoid Mexican Standoff, then shoots the ground to set things off inside. And he kinda chuckles as he watches.
  • Kate, Sayid, Sawyer and Locke from Lost.
    • Jack, though he starts out as a Type III Dr. Jerk seems headed in this direction.
      • He nuked The Island (still populated with people who he knew would otherwise survive,) just so he could undo the plane crash and possibly his sordid history with Kate. That's right: he committed what amounts to a peacetime war crime because of some red string.
  • Jax and Opie straddle the line between this and Type V in Sons of Anarchy
  • Given that he named the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, 24's Jack Bauer is Not So Different from the terrorists he fights - he just happens to be American.
  • The Brigadier from Doctor Who. In Doctor Who & the Silurians he wiped out the titular species (or so it seemed). While they had attempted to use a bioweapon to wipe out humanity members of them had been shown to be reasonable, had been rendered harmless by suspended animation and the Doctor made it clear there were other possible alternatives. To be fair this event was a one off and given his normal status as a straight good guy it could be argued that the Brig's a very dark Type III.
    • The Sixth and Seventh Doctors are Type IVs, arguably being the most violent and manipulative incarnations respectively, and the First Doctor starts out as one.
  • Jimmy McNulty of The Wire is this by way of being a deconstruction of the Cowboy Cop. He's insubordinate, profane, loud-mouthed, a womanizer, and usually comes up with the creative solutions for most of the cases he's faced with, and refuses to play along with the department's political interests in order to do what he believes is right. However, we begin to learn that while the things he does usually turn out to work for the greater good, it's usually for satisfying his own ego and proving how great he is to others as opposed to simply doing the right thing.
  • Mr. Chapel in Vengeance Unlimited. Sometimes being a Technical Pacifist was the only thing that kept him out of Type V.
  • Don Draper usually stays around here. He can slide to Type V during his crueler moments, like his refusal to help Sal after he's fired, and occasionally hits Type III during his Pet the Dog moments.
  • The Sea Shepard crew from Whale Wars.
  • Cameron in The Sarah Connor Chronicles sits roughly around here, while most of the rest of the cast sits further up in Type III. She is a cold, calculating, merciless killer when she determines there is a threat to John Connor, but she is not inherently cruel. She even admits that she is not built to be cruel - just to be cold.
  • Veronica Mars. Just...don't even think about hurting anyone she cares about, because it will mean your doom. This doesn't just apply to Veronica, but also Logan, Weevil, and even Duncan goes there if you press him enough.
  • Elliot Stabler from Law and Order Special Victims Unit
  • Nathan Petrelli and Noah Bennett from Heroes.
  • Brian Kinney of the U.S version of Queer as Folk. Though, through Character Development, he becomes a Type III later on.
  • Masato Kusaka from Kamen Rider Faiz start as this, but he eventually sinks to Type V by episode 30.
  • Emily Thorne from the ABC series Revenge. Being an Expy of Edmond Dantes, she only wants revenge on the people who arranged for her father's death, but she also cares very little of the innocent bystanders in her way.
  • Blake's 7: Kerr Avon.
  • Alex Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place.

Mythology[edit | hide]

  • The original heroes of Classical Mythology fit anywhere from type III to V depending on the hero. The original definition of hero (as in, Heracles, Odysseus, Gilgamesh etc.) was not a man who did good deeds. It was a man with the strength to do whatever the hell he wanted. Sometimes the heroes had good intentions, but due to the times they lived in used brutal methods. Then there is Values Dissonance. Often it would depend on the hero. Some like Perseus, Beowulf, and Hector were killers because of the times they live in. Others like Achilles range much more into Villain Protagonist territory. They killed for glory and little else. Others, such as Hercules depend from story to story, and different versions of them.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Shadow the Hedgehog from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He's generally found fighting against evil. He seems to enjoy fighting against evil most of all when he needs to kick Sonic's ass somehow. He's also a most unpleasant person whose 'best friends' (if you can call one of them that) is the robot Omega, and an amoral government agent/jewel thief Rouge the Bat.
  • Jack Cayman of MadWorld. Looks like Hellboy, acts like Marv, sounds like Wolverine, has a Chainsaw Good built into his artificial arm... kills people in ways that cannot be easily described. But yeah, he really is a hero, and he won't kill innocents. Fortunately, there aren't a lot of innocents around to cramp his style...
  • The title character of Max Payne.
  • Fenris of Dragon Age II, though he may count as a Type III on his rare good days, especially late in the game.
  • Alessa Gillespie, from Silent Hill. On some level, she's trying to prevent The End of the World as We Know It by stalling the birth of an evil cult's goddess. On every other level, though, she's trying to kill you with monsters from Lovecraft's nightmares.
  • Archer of Fate Stay Night fits around here. He's a sour, cynical, sarcastic Servant who was originally devoted to his ideal to save everyone. However, this began to continuously bite him in the ass over the years, and eventually realized that he had to sacrifice the few to save the many. Eventually, his final goal is to simply travel back in time where he could hopefully kill his past self, Shirou Emiya, or at least convince him to give up on his ideals to spare himself the heartache.
  • Bayonetta takes a lot of pleasure in playfully tormenting her angelic enemies before she kills them in often the most brutal way she can think of
  • The SAS and Task Force 141 of Modern Warfare fit this placement. On the one hand, they have a job to do, and have a fundamentally heroic objective to accomplish (to find and stop Zakhaev in the first game, and Makarov in the second, both of whom are Complete Monsters). However, their methods include the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, threatening of allies, the execution of an unarmed noncombatant (who, granted, was a Complete Monster as well), and launching a nuke at the United States to cause an EMP strike that will give the United States a chance to fight back. However, that was specifically the actions of Captain Price, the rest of Task Force 141 were trying to stop the nuke from going off completely and covered Price expecting him to avoid its launch.
  • Jin Kazama in Tekken 6 seems to have changed into this, seeming as how he's willing to start World War III for the sake of ending his heritage. Then he makes a Heroic Sacrifice...
  • Jackie Estacado from the video game of The Darkness exhibits shades of this - killing people for the mafia is his job, but he was groomed to do it from a young age and acknowledges that he is a scumbag; when he's not brutally slaughtering other mobsters or corrupt police officers, players can make him do favors for people he meets, such as retrieving an elderly woman's wedding ring from the subway tracks, and the single biggest factor in his motivation is love for his girlfriend Jenny, the only connection to a "normal" life that he has. By contrast, the character in the original comics is strictly a Type V, and even in the game players can refuse to help anyone and make him murder unarmed civilians, including women and the elderly.
  • Zelos Wilder from Tales of Symphonia begins the game as a Type IV; he is a self-centered, womanizing pretty boy who uses his position as Tethe'alla's chosen one to feed his own ego and live a hedonistic life, while cheerfully backstabbing those he considers to be on the "losing side" of conflicts. After going through significant Character Development and revealing more about his tragic backstory, he becomes a lot less cynical and more heroic and shifts up the scale to a Type II, (provided you don't kill him, that is).
    • Yuan tends towards this as well, being firmly grounded in his cause and never straying from it or degrading in his motives, but also has no qualms with killing a handful (or possibly more given the number of failed Chosens) of innocent people if it's the most expedient method towards his goals
  • In the Command & Conquer Tiberium series, Kane is generally portrayed as a villain in the GDI campaign and as this type of anti-hero in the Nod campaigns. In Tiberium Twilight he is potentially even a Type III.
  • Sam Fisher in Splinter Cell. He wouldn't kill innocents, but he's not above Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique and cold-blooded killing of Mooks

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Klaus Wulfenbach from Girl Genius is either this or a type V. Antagonistic to Agatha, but still the source of the Pax Wulfrenbach, which, despite being pretty harsh is a whole lot better than the madness and widespread warring that preceded it... when he's not out taking over the world, performing dangerous experimental surgeries on unwilling subjects or testing his son's survival skills.
    • Although, even most of that is heroically motivated. He took over the world because it was the only way he could see to create a lasting peace (he had previously tried diplomacy, but all it took was a few short years' absence for that to fall apart), and he has to make sure his son is up to snuff since Gil is going to be running the empire one day, and holy shit you do not want to be in Klaus Wulfenbach's shoes unless you're prepared for it. The dangerous experiments...well, he's a Mad Scientist, you can't expect to be able to justify EVERYTHING.
  • Axe Cop.
  • Ariel of Drowtales has done some pretty bad stuff that may or may not put her over the Moral Event Horizon, but her My God, What Have I Done? moment after she accidentally kills a slave in a fit of rage pulls her out of an outright Villain Protagonist role. It also helps that she's still a young kid whose moral compass has not fully stabilized, and at the end of the day she just wants to survive in a Crapsack World. Possibly moves up to a Type III after a 15 year timeskip.

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Adam Dodd from Survival of the Fittest, at least during his hunt for his girlfriend's killer and his friend's rapist. He kills everyone who gets in his way, and finishes by stabbing Cody Jenson, the perpetrator of the above, to death, and carving the word 'rapist' on his chest. He remained very sympathetic, however, especially because of who he was trying to kill.
  • Tinkerballa from The Guild.
  • Chief from Arby 'n' the Chief is a moron and a Jerkass, but has at times punished some incredibly annoying assholes from his stupidity, and once even motivated Arbiter into getting Jon's drug-addicted, Halo-hacking roommate evicted- read killed. At other times he falls into Type V.
  • Whateley Universe example: Generator, who when attacked by Bloodwolf (a superpowered character who has the spirit of the werewolf for strength and fast healing) not only nailed him to a tree with railroad spikes, but also burned a message on his chest with mithril.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Hubert J. Farnsworth of Futurama is this, due to his horrendous safety record and the fact that most of his previous crew members ended up dead.
  • The Blue Spirit ( Zuko) of Avatar: The Last Airbender has a stint being this type of anti-hero during the second season.
  • Courtney of Total Drama Island. Heather becomes this in the third season. She was originally a villain.
  • Craig Tucker of South Park is this throughout the run of the show.
  • Buford in Phineas and Ferb.
  • Jerry of Tom and Jerry sometimes a Type V. Although he's generally a Friend to All Living Things (that aren't cats), he's definitely not above using violence to deal with Tom, either because Tom wronged him first, or sometimes, because he's bored.
  • Daria
  • Valerie Gray from Danny Phantom.

Type V: Nominal Hero[edit | hide]

Far from Most Definitely Not a Villain, and range from being simply amoral characters who happen to be pointed at the villains for one reason or another, to being actively malevolent characters, only considered heroes because the villains they fight are much worse.

Sociopathic Heros and many protagonists from Lord Byron fit on this trope, as well as many Nineties Anti-Hero characters, but the tendency was hardly limited to that era, either backwards or forwards.

However, it should be noted that if the conflict is Evil Versus Evil or Black and Grey Morality, the Anti-Hero is the lesser of two evils.

Nineties Anti-Hero, Noble Demon, Sociopathic Hero, and Byronic Hero, recurrently, but do not always, feature this type of character. When on a team, likely to be a Token Evil Teammate. When Played for Laughs, see Heroic Comedic Sociopath and Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist.

A defining trope for this type of Anti-Hero is the Designated Hero.

Contrast with: Anti-Villain

Examples of Nominal Heroes

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Token Evil Teammate Diethard and Rolo of Code Geass.
  • Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z slowly becomes this (and even more slowly bypasses this), first starting out as the Big Bad of the Saiyan arc who had committed serial genocide while working for Frieza. Then as a Villain Protagonist seeking to overthrow his former master in the Namek arc. Then as an Anti-Hero who helps defend the planet, but only for his own selfish reasons in the Cell and Buu arcs. At the very end of the Buu arc he may have transitioned to a Type III. Noble Demon Bardock is another example.
  • Mello from Death Note. He is solely dedicated to being the one to stop Kira and is more than willing to become a mob boss, kidnap innocent girls, and in the manga, even threaten the President to sabotage his rival so said rival can't catch Kira.
    • Near is initially just as bad, but (particularly in a bonus chapter taking place after the story) starts to develop more toward L's Type IV territory. He's thoroughly sympathetic in L: Change the World.
  • Alucard of Hellsing.
  • Guts of Berserk during his phase as the vengeance-obsessed Black Swordsman was very much this. An utterly ruthless warrior who cared about nothing except killing demons, and would not lift a finger to help innocents caught in the crossfire, considering them small fry without the strength to truly live—and in many cases, he could be seen as even more horrifying than the Apostles that he was driven to kill. Only after finding Casca again has he been able to move out of this territory into Type III-IV, though he still has to deal with a particularly nasty Enemy Within that represents who he used to be.
    • Also Griffith prior to the Eclipse.
  • Revy, Dutch and Roberta of Black Lagoon.
  • Mugen of Samurai Champloo is a Blood Knight who will frequently abandon his companions in the name of pursuing a good fight, and cares little for his promise to Fuu, instead trying to fulfill his promise to kill his rival, Jin. That said, he goes through a lot of Character Development by the end. Enough so that he honors his companions as true friends.
  • Hibari Ginza of Speed Grapher. Chaotic, ruthless, selfish and very dedicated to her job as a cop.
  • Kanta from Desert Punk. He has no real redeeming moral qualities and doesn't care about anything except money, boobs and staying alive. However, much of his work ends up being vaguely heroic because of the jobs he's assigned tend to be things like "Take out this gang terrorizing our town." By the end of the series he crosses the Moral Event Horizon and does a Face Heel Turn.
    • Kanta has elements of a Type I as well, being a short, ugly little perv who is hated by pretty much everyone.
      • Other characters in the series also qualify. Junko is pretty much Kanta's (physically) attractive female counterpart and is equally amoral and only not a villain because her job is taking out people who tend to be worse and like Kanta, she ultimately pulls a Face Heel Turn. Rainspider is a heartless enforcer for loan sharks and implied deviant who has a tendency to abandon his teammates when battles are stacked against them. However, he's hilarious, and always follows his fleeing by a Big Damn Heroes moment at the right time. He's kind of more likable than Kanta, if no morally better.
  • Noir: the title characters (or at least Mireille) start off like this. Also, it's open to interpretation but in Noir the position seems to be an attempt by the Soldats to intentionally create type V anti heroes.
  • The main character of Afro Samurai (in the Anime) is something of a tragic example of this; he is not without some humanity in him, but ends up burying it in his all-consuming pursuit of vengeance and adherence to his brutal code of honor.
    • It's actually questionable if Afro counts for even that much, or if he's just a full-out Villain Protagonist. Most Type V anti-heroes are distinguished from villains by the fact that they're marginally better than those they fight. Afro's goals are, effectively, identical to those that he fights, and a strong argument could be made that the audience only sympathizes with him because we saw his back story, and didn't see theirs.
  • Ryoko Asakura in Haruhi Suzumiya, from Book 10 and onward. Haruhi herself straddles the line between this and Type III pre-Heel Face Turn.
  • Bando (in the manga) and Lucy from Elfen Lied and anime versions, respectively.
  • Blood Knight Kyoya Hibari of Katekyo Hitman Reborn.
  • Thorfinn of Vinland Saga is as clear-cut a Type V Anti Hero there is, what with his uncaring partaking into as much slaughter and destruction he can hope to muster. The only thing that prevents him from being a full-on Villain Protagonist is the fact that he doesn't enjoy it.
  • Mayuri and Kenpachi from Bleach. They start out as full-on antagonists, but even after the Conspiracy Redemption they still remain as Token Evil Teammate and a largely amoral Blood Knight.
  • Yukiteru of Mirai Nikki eventually becomes this, by slaughtering orphans, and getting worse from there.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar starts off the beginning of the series as this trope, going about murdering State Alchemists for their participation in the wholesale slaughter of his ethnic group.
  • Noble Demon Dark Schneider (And his subordinates) from Bastard!! (with moments of Type IV). Although he has some Pet the Dog moments toward his allies and more specifically Yoko, he is a complete egocentric Jerkass who destroy his enemies in a huge level of sadism, openly admits that as soon as he takes down the Big Bad of the series, he will subjugate the world through mass-murder and warfare, treats nearly everyone in the rudest manner possible, and gropes girls without any sense of shame.
  • Sasuke Uchiha jumps from Type III to Type V before cannonballing off the slippery slope into being a straight-up Villain Protagonist.
  • Hiei, resident Noble Demon of Yu Yu Hakusho, though over time he start to mellow out into Type IV.
  • The Rail Tracer (Claire Stenfield) of Baccano!, saves a train and its passengers from being hijacked from two enemy factions, all the while winning the heart of a silent beauty. Nevermind that he's a trained mafia assassin who brutally murders dozens of people from both factions and tortures a little boy.
    • That the little boy is an immortal and, just little bit earlier, was trying to convince the leader of one of the factions to massacre everyone on the train helps takes the sting out of it a little.
  • Kyo of Samurai Deeper Kyo- pretty much see the description of Dark Schneider, except in Sengoku Japan and with no interest in world domination.
  • Kuroudo Akabane of GetBackers.
  • Giuse of Gunslinger Girl. As he reveals to Henrietta, he's only nice to her... until things go to hell and Henrietta is "reset to factory settings", leading Giuse to take a very steep dive over the Despair Event Horizon and treat her like he does practically everybody else following the realization that he could do nothing to help her. Later on, though, he thinks his behavior led Henrietta to frag him during the nuclear power plant strike.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has two; Hallelujah Haptism, the Super-Powered Evil Side of Reluctant Warrior Allelujah Haptism, and Nena Trinity in the second season by virtue of being against Ali Al-Saachez and Ribbons Almark, who are much, much worse than her.
  • Yuri from Angel Beats!, at first. The OVA (released after the anime was completed) made her out as a Villain Protagonist by having her run toward the Moral Event Horizon... then stopping right at the edge. She matured to Type III following the Naoi incident that nearly ended with her disappearing through false happy memories, and after Kanade's Heel Face Pirouette she's more of a Type II, especially after her redemption at the end of the Shadows incident with an act that sealed her Heel Face Turn.
    • In the manga, her tenure as Villain Protagonist lasts from the moment she decides to kill all the students at the Afterlife School to the moment where Hinata convinces her to not follow through with the murders. Other than that, she's a Type V in the manga as well.
  • The Three protagonists, Mataichi, Ogin and Nagamimi of Requiem from the Darkness.
  • Kokujo of Duel Masters.
  • Nougami Neuro from Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro.
  • Joichiro Nishii and Shion Izumi of Gantz. Though Izumi at the very end of his life falls into type IV as his very last act was a heroic sacrifice to save a girl who was arguably his love
    • Many of the Osaka members on the other hand are type V at best. Several of them are sadists who get off on hurting defenseless aliens who just happen to be their enemies. For the most part they could care less about their own team mates and even threaten to kill innocent people who simply irritate them and one is a serial rapist who because its illegal simply rapes female aliens before murdering them. Basicly they are complete monsters who just happen to be fighting for the good of mankind.
  • Paul, Arrogant Kung Fu Guy and Jerkass Badass extraordinaire from Pokémon.
  • The titular character powered by the thirst for Revenge in Armor Hunter Mellowlink, a spin-off to Armored Trooper VOTOMS.
  • Ninjas Anastasia of the Glacier and Kamonosuke Yuri of the Brave 10. The former just cares for herself, her master and somewhat reluctantly about her team mates; besides that, she'll do anything to do her job. The latter is an Ax Crazy sociopath who loves killing and stealing but gets strangely infatuated by the hero of the story after being thoroughly beaten by him.
  • The eponymous Skull Man, at least in Shotaro Ishinomori's original 1970 manga. He carves a bloody swathe of violence through the story, killing both Yakuza and policemen in his quest for Revenge, and does so with an Evil Grin on his face the whole time. When Ishinomori tried to get SkullMan turned into a TV series, Toei rejected it in part because of this, leading him to revamp the concept and produce a much more heroic character: Kamen Rider.
  • All members of the Chronos Organization from Black Cat.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Goon and Franky of The Goon comic are both tried and true, card-carrying gangsters with all that would imply. However, what prevents them from being Villain Protagonists are the fact that they possess strict honor codes, will always protect those who need it, and only fight those who've done wrong.
  • The Punisher (the original Nineties Anti-Hero) generally sits here, especially in the MAX series, but is sometimes played as a type IV. He is a Blood Knight Vigilante Man Serial Killer Killer who won't hesitate to use mass murder and the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique in his war on crime. He is also extremely diligent in not killing innocents (although there have been a few exceptions), and the guys he fights are usually considerably worse, but not always. Personality-wise he's also an Ungrateful Bastard who will kill you if you're on the "black" side of his Black and White Morality viewpoint regardless of if you saved his life.
  • The last Sin City "hero" to be mentioned here would be Miho, who is at least as bad as Marv, and probably even more extreme. Her true motives are mostly unknown since she is mute. She seems to have loyalty almost exclusively to Old Town. She has assisted Dwight in the past only because he once saved her life but that didn't stop her from essentially threatening to kill him if he interfered while she was torturing a corrupt cop in the middle of a street. This incident was so violent and brutal that Dwight and the Old Town girls showed open disgust with her actions. Otherwise, the best you can say about her is that she doesn't target innocent people.
  • From Watchmen, the Comedian: a laughing thrill-killing Blood Knight torturer, rapist, war criminal and all-around Psycho for Hire.
  • Hyde, Nemo, and Griffin in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. A couple of serial rapists and murderers (and a psychopathic pirate in Nemo's case) who are offered an official pardon if they'll turn those qualities against the Empire's enemies.
    • Rather (un)fortunately, the film version could not secure Griffin, so they exchanged him for freshly-created Rodney Skinner, which was a good or a bad change, depending on who you ask.
  • Daimon Hellstrom.
  • Marvel Comics' original Venom, Eddie Brock. And 1990s Ghost Rider sometime "substitute", Vengeance.
  • The Ax Crazy Psycho for Hire Sociopathic Hero Deadpool is this, and an Anti-Villain Type I. He easily eclipses even the Punisher, as he frequently finds it funny to casually torture, dismember, and murder people.
  • The Secret Six are this, and Antivillains Type I. Even the most sociopathic of the Six are, in some manner, sympathetic characters, who generally fight villains for money or out of personal grudges. Black Alice may or may not be a type IV though.
  • Max. Dear God, Max. He admittedly lacks any form of a conscience, considers it a compliment to be called a grade-A sociopath, and was even dubbed the most terrifyingly dangerous force in the universe by the villain in the video games. The only thing that really seems to keep him in line is his less sociopathic partner.
  • Depending on the Writer, Lobo is sometimes portrayed as one, instead of a Satire, Parody, Pastiche of a Rule of Cool Badass unstoppable villain-full-stop. Considering that he is literally worse than Hitler, without any hyperbole involved, as he wiped out his own Pillars of Moral Character utopian species for kicks and giggles... when he was a teenager, this reveals a lot about certain media conventions.
  • Fables' Frau Totenkinder.
  • The Superhero team The Authority largely started as types IV under Warren Ellis, extremely violent with great collateral damage, but only against potential world-ending threats that were a sufficient danger to not hold back against, although Warren much later stated that he wrote them as villains aimed at greater evils, so it is definitely arguable. However, they were extremely benevolent in other respects; and overall genuinely attempted to make the world into a better place. On the other hand, from the point Mark Millar got a hold of them and onwards they turned into outright proud extreme psychopath hedonists, who used overkill extremes of inventive torture, mutilation, dehumanisation, and mass-murder against completely outmatched normal human opponents, and casually Mind Raped, permanently transformed/mutilated, or otherwise routinely went to petty Disproportionate Retribution extremes against harmless bystanders, exes, anybody they disagreed with, because they were bored and found it funny, and so onwards based on personal whims, while sprouting flippant arrogant sadistic OneLiners.
  • Garfield. See here.
  • All the Metabarons. Steelhead in particular tends more towards Villain Protagonist in his darker moments.
  • Ares of Dark Avengers and Incredible Hercules fame - during his time as a member of Iron Man's Mighty Avengers he was a Token Evil Teammate - misogynistic, Axe Crazy, disobeying orders because he wanted to fight Hercules and even knocking out his teammate when he tried to talk things out with Herc. Yet in Dark Avengers he was a Token Good Teammate, mostly because the team was full of Villain Protagonists and somebody had to keep them in line. A Father to His Men, loves his son and may jump into a time vortex to finish a fight.

Fanfic[edit | hide]

  • The main character of Christian Humber Reloaded, when he isn't being a Villain Protagonist. At times, he's willing to atone for the crimes he or his corrupted side committed and hunt down criminals or other villains. However, he not only has no qualms about killing people, but seems to enjoy doing so and tends to use lethal force even when it's unnecessary.
  • The forces of newChaos from The Open Door straddle the thin line between this and outright Villain Protagonist; they do have a good motivation in wanting to protect their universe's branch of humanity and stop the Omnicidal Maniac C'tan, and they do have standards, such as going Mama Bear/Papa Wolf on child abusers, but they also have a lengthy list of atrocities against them more befitting of evildoers.
  • Many many Original Characters fit this trope, thanks to Sturgeon's Law. Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way is perhaps the most well-known example.
  • Ronan Beelzbub of Naruto Veangance Revelaitons. He's an abusive boyfriend, a tyrannical king who will persecute those who don't share his tastes and a jerk to ordinary people like shopkeepers. He also fights against the forces of evil, especially when they kidnap one or more of his girlfriends, but it's hard to see them as being worse than he is.

Film[edit | hide]

  • Riddick (Conan in Space).
  • Snake Plissken. Practically counts as type IV and V.
  • Tyler Durden, the nihilistic anarchist of Fight Club.
  • Beetlejuice
  • Takuma "Terry" Tsurugi of The Street Fighter is a brutal and pitiless man. He's especially nasty in the first film, where he sells a girl into slavery and kills her brother when they're not able to pay him for services rendered, and he's not above sacrificing innocents that he's not directly helping. He avoids Villain Protagonist territory by fighting against Yakuza, whom he despises, and working to protect the good guys, even though he does so for his own reasons. He's more of a Type IV in The Street Fighter's Last Revenge.
  • Hugo Stiglitz and Aldo Raine of Inglourious Basterds.
  • Vince Vega and Jules Winnfeld of Pulp Fiction.
    • By the end, Jules shows signs of mellowing out to a Type II or III, as he decides to quit his job as a hitman and take on a spiritual life. He solidifies this in the diner scene where he deals with Honey Bunny and Pumpkin peacefully and acknowledges that he's not a good man but he'll try to do better.
  • Tony Montana from Scarface.
  • Tuco in The Good the Bad And The Ugly. What stops him from becoming a full Villain Protagonist are his Pet the Dog moments with his "partner" Blondie and his priest brother (whose scene where they meet is a straight Tear Jerker) and his being less evil than the antagonist of the film, Angel Eyes.
    • This is debatable. While he's no paragon of integrity, Tuco doesn't really do anything outright evil in the movie, which places him at Type IV, but how you fit him depends on whether or not you believe he was actually guilty of the crimes he's wanted for.
  • Royce of Predators.
  • Steven the Irishman of Braveheart. He seems to have only joined the Scots because he'll be able to kill Englishmen, not to help the Scots to get freedom.
  • Ronnie Barnhard of Observe and Report.
  • Captain Barbossa in the third Pirates of the Caribbean film. Ironically, in the first, he is an Anti-Villain.
  • The Heisei incarnation of Godzilla falls under this. He's faaaaaar from being a "good guy", but he does save the world (mostly Japan) from more-dangerous monsters and is absolutely devoted to his son, "Junior".
  • Travis Bickle is somewhere between this and a Type IV. A Sociopathic Hero, he genuinely wishes to save Iris from a life of prostitution, but his methods are...extreme. It also should not be forgotten that, had his whole plan worked out, he would have assassinated a senator and presidential candidate.
  • The Sweedish Chef in The Muppets. Bow could such an adorably quirky character given to us by the good old Disney studio stand next to the likes of Riddick and Tony Sopprano you ask? By roasting innocent talking vegetables to death in the 2011 movie, making him more bloodthrirsty than most Disney villains.
  • Oilman Daniel Plainview from There Will Be Blood.
  • Michael Corleone from The Godfather.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Karsa Orlong from Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen is just about as anti as a hero can get. Being something of a Deconstruction of the Proud Warrior Race Guy, Karsa aims to improve the world... by slaughtering millions of people and smashing civilization back to barbarism.
  • Mike Harmon in John Ringo's Paladin of Shadows series is this in Ghost, the first book of the series, and is much of the reason for the famous cry "OH JOHN RINGO NO." He later moves towards Type IV. As he himself puts it, "I'm a very, very bad man who tries to be nice."
  • Thomas Covenant of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a mix of this and Type I in the first trilogy. In the second trilogy he's more of a Type III.
  • Yarol, the Venusian sidekick in C.L. Moore's Northwest Smith stories, is heavily implied to be a Type V Anti-Hero. The narration never specifies his enormities, but hints that his angelic beauty belies his absolutely evil nature. That Northwest Smith himself enjoys Yarol's company does not speak well of his own moral character, either, though he seems to be more of a Type IV character.
  • Maldoror in Isidore Ducasse's Songs of Maldoror.
  • Frank Dominio, the supremely obsessive narrator of Thomas Ligotti's My Work Is Not Yet Done.
  • Senna Wales, the witch of Everworld. She is motivated by her completely selfish goal of overthrowing the powers of Everworld, seizing control over the foundations of reality, and then ruling over the universe as an absolute god. However, she is kept from being a Villain Protagonist because most of the real villains that she opposes (Huizilopocli, Hel, Ka Anor) are complete monsters, she helps the other protagonists more often than she goes against them, and she seems to genuinely think that Everworld and its people would be better off with her ruling them all.
  • Meursault from The Stranger.
  • Lestat of The Vampire Chronicles.
  • Raskolnikov, Byronic Hero of Crime and Punishment.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Tony Soprano is a con artist, a thug, a womanizer, a thief, a murderer, an extortionist, and an adulterer - and yet somehow it's nearly impossible not to sympathize with him. The only things separating him from a Villain Protagonist are his genuine love for his family, kindness to his friends, and occasional pangs of guilt and moments of vulnerability. Oh, and the fact that his friends (and enemies) are even worse than he is.
  • Dexter is at the far, dark end of this to the point where he could fairly be considered simply a likeable Villain Protagonist, being a Serial Killer who is moral clever enough to restrict his victims to other evildoers.
    • Which, ultimately, just makes him a vigilante rather than much of a serial killer. Though that cuts both ways.
  • The eponymous biker gang of Sons of Anarchy with the possible exceptions of Jax and Opie and the definit exceptions of Clay and gemma who are outright Villain Protgonists, especially in Season 4
  • Bernard Black of Black Books.
  • Malcolm Tucker of The Thick of It is a Type V for the most part, treading a fine line and occasionally crossing it during his more Villain Protagonist moments.
  • Edmund Blackadder in his first, second and fourth itierations (although the fourth one could be a Type IV at better moments, being the best of the lot). The third Blackadder is more of an outright Villain Protagonist.
  • Tony Stonem from Skins, at least in the first season.
  • Guerrero of Human Target.
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He later transitions to a Type IV.
  • Ankh from Kamen Rider OOO. He's only helping Eiji against the other Greeed because it's in his own best interests, and has no qualms about who is hurt so long as he gets what he wants. Gradually becomes Type II in the end.
  • Jade from Victorious.
  • Although in most adaptations and in the original books Sherlock Holmes is, if not a straight hero, at least closer to the top of the Anti-Hero scale, in the 2010 BBC modernization Sherlock is a self-proclaimed Sociopath although he prefaces that moniker with "High-Functioning" as opposed to "Heroic." In fact, in a conversation with Dr. Watson, Sherlock says, "Don't make people into heroes, John. Heroes don't exist, and if they did, I wouldn't be one of them," showing not only that his motivations are not those of a typical straight hero, but also that he has a very cynical worldview.
  • Father Jack Hackett in Father Ted is a violent, selfish, perverted alcoholic and flashbacks suggest he was once a bullying fire and brimstone preacher and a paedophile. The only thing keeping him from being a villain protagonist is that his alcoholism usually renders him to docile to harm anyone. And sometimes it does the exact opposite.

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Voiree Misallo from 8 Bit Gamers moves from Type V to IV to avoid going to hell after a religious experience and a genetic examination revealing her to be born with a semi-sociopathic defect. But the decision mostly has to do with wanting to avoid hell, keep her boyfriend and stay a True Companions with the crew she's joined.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Kratos, of God of War - to the point that, particularly after the first game, many consider him an outright Villain Protagonist, even worse than the people (or gods) he's trying to kill.
  • Caim from Drakengard is this in the first game.
    • The only thing that made him "heroic" in the first place was the fact that he was fighting against an evil empire that was even worse. Once they're defeated, he defaults back to RIP AND TEAR.
  • Any given player character from the Grand Theft Auto series, though starting with San Andreas some have had Type IV tendencies.
  • Alex Mercer from Prototype. Or at least Blacklight-Mercer. Real Alex was a Complete Monster.
    • Arguably, Alex starts to drift into Type IV by the end, considering he expresses fury and honest regret over having to kill so many Marines to get to Taggart, but it was the only way to stop Manhattan from being nuked. He also very nearly gave up his own life to save Manhattan. In spite of that, though, Alex still won't be completely leaving this territory anytime soon, if ever.
  • Zaeed Massani of Mass Effect 2 is a ruthless revenge obsessed merc on Commander Shepard's team. During his loyalty mission, he burns an entire refinery to the ground while callously disregarding the innocent lives trapped inside just to get revenge on another merc who screwed him over 20 years prior.
    • Aria T'Loak from the same game. She's a crimelord who allows slavery, drug running and pretty much anything else as long as it doesn't undermine her power. She is however willing to aid Shepard to some extent, and seems none too fond of the collectors. Probably both for practical reasons and on principle.
      • She seems to be moving toward Type IV in the tie-in comic Mass Effect: Invasion. She's still brutal, ruthless, and not someone you want to fuck with, but she becomes more visibly altruistic in protecting Omega from Cerberus.
  • Laharl from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness although he maybe a Type III by the end. Etna, on the other hand, could fall into this category. She becomes a type IV after she regains her memories. In her Alternate Continuity extra mode, this plot point does not occur until the end, keeping her as a Type V throughout (or even a Villain Protagonist).
  • Cole from In Famous if you decide to make him go the evil way.
    • To list just some of the things he does: He pumps extra mind control tar into the water system so he doesn't get some in his eyes, he randomly slaughters innocents for the fun of it (if you do it the right way), he lets himself get taken over by the insane woman that made the mind control tar in the first place and does whatever she tells him to willingly, he starts a riot next to some cops so they'll ignore him and focus on the rioters, he steals all the food in a food drop for three people (himself included), he activates the stupid thing that started the entire mess again, killing untold amounts of people for a little over a thousand XP, and, worst of all, he completely ignores the lesson Future Him gives him about the fact that a monster WAY stronger than him is coming so that he can turn the sky red and play around the city being a ruler boy.
  • Any character in a game with a Karma Meter will usually be a Type V if played as a straight "evil" character, considering that most of them will have Moral Event Horizon-crossing and Kick the Dog choices which will inevitably lead you to Complete Monster status.
  • In the first three Fallout games an evil player character could be seen as this, since you have the freedom to blow of civilian’s heads with absolutely zero provocation, enslave children and nuke entire cities. However, this is somewhat moderated by the main story pitting you against complete monsters who want to wipe out the vast majority of the remaining human race. With New Vegas Caesar’s Legion gives player the option of falling of the scale into full Villain protagonist territory as the bring the region under the grip of a nation of Complete Monsters who endorse rape, slavery, child molestation and murder for public entertainment.
    • If the player listens to Caesar when invited to his camp, he states the reason why his tribe embodies the fullest extent of the Roman Empire was because of the failing of the NCR in emulating Western Civilization. That his tribe is only as vicious as the wasteland itself. It is also explained that Caesar plans to create Vegas as a capital for the wasteland, and given how traders are more protected in Legion territory and Raiders are non existent it's easy to see why some players would choose a Legionary playthrough.
    • The Legion may protect caravans but the domestic situation they enforce is just as nightmarish as the wasteland. They flatout allow their soldiers to rape women (both Jimmy and Siri, a slave at his fort support this) and though he tries to hide it Caesar loves violence for its own sake. If you refuse to work for him Caesar will threaten to have you cut to pieces for his enjoyment and will scold you for lacking sadism if you try to relase Benny. He also sacked New Cannan, a peaceful community that was trying to help the Wasteland purely to get back at Joshua Graham. He also only wants to take over Vegas to change the Legion's structure from nomands to a centralized empire, and never expresses any desire to improve their morality, something wich his bloodthirst only supports.
  • Demitri Maximoff from Darkstalkers. He only confronts Planet Eater Pyron and Dark Messiah Jedah because they are a threat to his plans in conquering the Makai, and treats everyone who aren't his servants with great disdain. His counterpart rival, Morrigan Aensland, shows more heroic tendencies than him, and she is a Type IV.
  • Although by default Solid Snake from the Metal Gear series is a Level II if not Level III in Metal Gear Solid, it is heavily implied in the same game that he either came very close to crossing the boundary into Level V or was already in that territory in the present; Meryl, Psycho Mantis, and Liquid say that he enjoys combat and killing, with the second character telling him that he's far worse than Liquid, and by extension, himself, are. Take note that Mantis wanted to kill everyone he could, and that Liquid intended to invoke a warrior's paradise.
  • Reaver from Fable II and III dances on the line between this and being a Complete Monster. He attempts to double cross the hero at least twice and only helps the hero because the Big Bad proceeds to double cross him when Reaver attempts to turn the hero over to him.
  • Travis Touchdown is this in the first No More Heroes. The only thing that makes him any kind of hero is that the rest of the assassins are sociopaths. In the second, character development made him better.
  • Maleficent becomes one in Kingdom Hearts II, in that she's still evil and not "good" in any sense of the word, but is allied with the heroes in a common goal.
  • Grom Hellscream and Illidan of Warcraft: the first is an amoral Blood Knight and the other is a subject obsessed with demonic power.
  • Wario from the Super Mario Bros. series is willing to take on Evil Overlords and the like, but only if there's treasure at the end of the road. Otherwise, he couldn't care less.
  • Rouge and Omega, Shadow's alleged "friends" from Sonic the Hedgehog, are this when they are at their worst. However, in some games, such as |Sonic the Hedgehog 2006, they are probably closer to Type IV.
  • Caleb from Blood spends the entirety of both his games killing everything that moves. The only reason he's the good guy is, excluding a few mimes and other innocents, everything that moves is part of the world-spanning Cabal.
  • Cipher from Ace Combat Zero: The Belkan War on the Mercenary path. As opposed to Soldier, on this path he's willing to take out anything not specifically on his side, be it enemy combatants, disabled enemy units, or even civilians on occasion.
  • Kokonoe from BlazBlue skirts on this and Type 3. She has a few soft spots here and there, but REALLY has no problems in nuking a whole city just so she can claim the frag of Terumi's head... never mind thousands and thousands of innocents who will die along the way.
  • The King of Fighters main character Iori Yagami (introduced in 1995 as the rival of Kyo Kusanagi) plays this role for his series. A loner and a very angry and consumed character, he lives to see the defeat of Kyo and won't stop until that happens. He does do genuinely heroic things (even teaming up with Kyo when the situation warrants it) but only so that he can resume thirsting for Kyo's blood. He has no friends and has attacked his own team members in the past (be it willingly or unwillingly when his Orochi blood goes out of control).
    • Ash Crimson even more so. His first debut seemingly put him straight in Villain Protagonist as while he's considered the protagonist, his crafty but smug disposition as well as his actions to take over some of the Sacred Treasures for his own gain seems to genuinely make him an enemy of the other heroes. It wasn't until XIII that it's revealed that he's planning to use that to stop the ultimate Big Bad, his ancestor Saiki, from his plan, effectively creating a Ret-Gone for himself.
  • Alphonse Lohrer in Tactics Ogre: Knight of Lodis
  • Rance is this partially due to Ambiguous Innocence [3] and because he's The Hedonist. He does have enough standards to act like a legitimate hero and Save the World from time to time ... all while on his Quest for Sex.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance. Any time he does something good in the series, Pete Abrams is always careful to give him a completely selfish reason (usually either that the good guys bribed him, or that the villain happened to piss him off). Very rarely, it's implied that he does something solely because he cares about a member of the main cast. This is ... rare.
  • The Light Warriors in Eight Bit Theater, except Fighter, are Designated Heroes who only own the distinction of being protagonists due to showing up at the recruiting station at the right time. In-story and by Word of God, they are far worse than any of the monsters they end up facing. The worst of the lot are Black Mage (a pure Villain Protagonist who wants to deliver the world to Chaos) and Thief (a Jerkass Miser Advisor who's only in it to screw over as many people as possible). Red Mage is an amoral Munchkin who's in it for the XP but will happily commit atrocities toward that end. Fighter, on the other hand, is an Idiot Hero who is only going along because he thinks they're actually on the side of good.
  • The only difference between Axel and the villains he fights is that the villains want to destroy all of humanity at once while Axel would prefer to do it one person at a time.
  • It was expected in the Ciem Webcomic Series that as Candi grew up to embrace her role as Ciem, Miriam would be always right by her side. However, Erin's senseless murder by the Soorfelt brothers and the destruction of parts of the girls' hometown left Miriam as an amoral drifter through life, who indulged in all sorts of forbidden pleasures trying to test her limits. As a hacker, she's gained notoriety for pulling pranks on countless random targets who totally didn't deserve to be pranked. (Though she only actually steals from actual villains.) Steve Mc Laine shows up and reforms her; but she still shows signs of bitter and anti-social tendencies. Her motives are mostly selfish, even when saving the world with Candi's help. It is debatable if becoming a mother truly and completely turned her away from the things that made her the family's Black Sheep.
    • Some people like to give their work that extra personal touch.
  • Belkar Bitterleaf of Order of the Stick is a poster-boy for Sociopathic Hero, of the no actual redeeming qualities version. Roy openly admits that the main reason they keep him around is because they can direct his violence towards the bad guys. Interestingly, he's gotten some Character Development, which has mainly served to move him from Chaotic Stupid/Stupid Evil to plain old Chaotic Evil. One outcome of this arc was to give him an actual Morality Pet of sorts, his Right-Hand-Cat, Mr. Scruffy.
    • There are some wrong points. Roy says that because he is being judged to enter Lawful Good Heaven. He makes it up in the moment, it's not something he had already thought of. Besides, Belkar doesn't get any true Character Development: he starts feigning it after what may or may not be a ghost appearance from Lord Shojo (and has already been rewarded for it).
      • Even if Belkar rationalized it that way in the moment, he has at least been less overtly hostile toward his teammates. As for Roy's statement about keeping Belkar around, although the deva handling his case didn't buy it as a deliberate stratagem on Roy's part, the Heavenly projections showed it to be nonetheless correct. So long as Belkar sees value in having the Order of the Stick on his side, they keep his more destructive tendencies somewhat in check.
    • Although Vaarsuvius is nominally a Type IV, s/he may have strayed into Type V territory during the Soul Splice Arc, where s/he makes a deal with some fiends for ultimate arcane power, and commits one of the greatest evil acts in recent history when s/he kills 1/4 of the Black Dragon population, which is made even more heinous when you find out s'he was not drunk on the dark side; this was something s/he wanted to do. And because his/her family divorced him/her for the faustian deal, the only thing keeping him/her out of Type V after losing to Xykon is the advice of her familiar, Blackwing, providing Vaarsuvius with a much needed conscience, as well as keeping him/her from being destroyed by guilt.
      • Vaarsuvius also murdered Daigo Kubota while he was tied up and completely unarmed in a disturbingly calm and matter-of-fact way. S/he then freely admitted that s/he only did it (despite having no idea what was going on) because it seemed like the Genre Savvy thing to do.

Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  1. (Actually, you could argue that this type must always be on the good guys' side to qualify as Anti-Heroes, otherwise they're just non-evil bystanders.)
  2. Although to be fair she's not too kosher on that last one. She's well on her way to a Heroic BSOD right after she kills Haven.
  3. He doesn't fully realize that when he rapes, it's actually bad since he thinks he always makes the woman in question feel good