Superior Species

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"I'd just like to say that if I were a member of an alien race -- which I'm not -- I'd have to take this opportunity to say -- Filthy Earth creatures! It is clear who the superior species is! Isn't it? Isn't it?! You stink!"

If Humans Are the Real Monsters, then it follows that other races must be better than us. Even when humans are realistically portrayed, there may be a race that is stronger, smarter, and purer than us.

Members of the Superior Species never engage in something as stupid as warfare unless justifiably provoked, where they will wipe the floor without trying, they certainly never pollute the earth, and they are definitely just better than you. They are prettier than you, more Badass than you, and probably live longer than you in their Mary Suetopia. And of course, you can't argue with them. It seems they're not above arrogance, though—they usually feel the need to rub their superiority in our faces. Take solace that some of these arrogant prick species went through bloody periods in their history, showing they were at some point no better.

All too many others, though, didn't and don't hesitate to point out why this also makes them better than humanity.

A Superior Species doesn't have to follow all of these requirements; demonstration that the species is "superior" to humanity is enough. Though it can be handled well, this trope is difficult to pull off - Unfortunate Implications and accusations of Mary-Suedom are common results. After all, Fantastic Racism starts seeming a whole lot more reasonable when one species is objectively better. One common balancing measure for writers to introduce is for the Superior Species's positive qualities to not be their only superhuman aspects - when a member of one goes bad, he/she/it goes really bad.

And no, this trope is not automatically a Sueperior species.

See also This Loser Is You, Ultraterrestrials and Our Elves Are Better, for the race most often portrayed as... better. Contrast Humans Are Flawed, where humans not being perfect is a good thing. Compare Born Winner, where an individual is innately better than everyone else, and Designer Babies, a common method of artificially developing one of these. For a species that only thinks they're this, and want to force everybody else to think it too, see Master Race.

Examples of Superior Species include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Pillar Men from Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, who are light years beyond humans in both physical and intellectual ability and don't hesitate to flaunt that fact. However, sunlight turns them to stone. In addition, they're the villains, so it's rather fun to see supposedly inferior humans beat them. (And, in fact, humanity developed a martial art specifically designed to do so.)
  • The Abhs are stronger, smarter, and purer then us. Can't argue with them either. Oh and they're all perfectly attractive, this is a plot point.

Comic Books

  • The elves of Elf Quest. They're all beautiful, long lived, spiritual, better senses, better body and elven sex is so wonderful humans can't even stand it.
    • On the other hand, better senses are exclusive to Wolfriders due to their non-elven heritage, it's insanely hard for them to produce offspring, and elven sex might actually be flat-out "painful" for humans. As far as personality goes, Winnowill proves that they can be just as wicked as humans.
    • The tabletop game at least gives humans one advantage—elves are really, really bad at the sort of logical thinking required to make new inventions.
  • Kryptonians...maybe, sometimes.
    • One of the major changes Post-Crisis (partially based on the 1978 movie) was to massively deconstruct the "rightful heir of a superior species" aspect of Superman by taking the Fridge Logic inherent in Krypton's destruction to its logical end (why exactly didn't they figure out their planet was dying, and why didn't they have the means to escape if they had the means to send Kal-El to Earth?) The result was reasoning that Kryptonians were so elitist and arrogant that they were extreme xenophobes who never did any serious space travel because they considered all other life inferior to them, and (with the exception of Jor- El) were too vain to consider the possibility that their planet might be falling apart. The result is that instead of being miserable and lonely on earth, Superman had a very low opinion of Kryptonians for many years, (not helped by the fact that both a hologram of his father and a sentient Kryptonian computer program tried to Mind Rape him to purge him of his acquired humanity) and still secretly considers himself lucky to have grown up on earth instead of Krypton.
  • If J'onn J'onzz is any indications, Martians. Or at least, the peaceful Green Martians, the White Martians being shown a race of warmongering dicks.
    • Well... Green Martians aren't necessarily better than humans, just different. Even J'onn admits his people had their faults and Humanity is better at certain things.


  • Twilight vampires are practically immortal, really strong, and sparkly. Practically the definition of Cursed with Awesome.
    • Also, as an exclusively predatorial species, they cannot sustain nearly as high a population as humans, even in optimum conditions. Their long lifespan and inability to (usually) produce offspring of their own in a way that does not reduce the supply of food directly removes the incentive to develop new ideas and improvements for the next generation, removing the impetus for much innovation, making them less mentally productive than humans. Oh, and they don't have souls.
      • For the record, that last bit is just Edward's opinion. Then again, he could be right...
  • Reversed in Christopher Anvil's "Pandora's Planet" - The aliens are actually less intelligent than humans on average, but have had a long time to build their empire. They only conquer Earth through overwhelming military force.
  • The Houyhnhnms from Gulliver's Travels could be seen as a deconstruction, after kicking Gulliver out because he's too much like the Yahoos that they look down on.
    • Though Swift was in a pretty cynical place regarding human nature when he wrote that part of the book, so it's more likely he was playing the trope straight.
    • The Brobdingnagians fit into this trope, too.
  • The Culture, while flawed and able to screw up sometimes remain the most advanced and powerful humanoid civilization in the Milky Way: they are potentially immortal (they die of old age because they choose to do so), do not pollute other planets (they live in artificial ringworlds and draw their energy from the multiverse), their "empire" is an utopia where boredom is the biggest threat, the less smart citizens of the Culture are as smart as physics Nobel proze laureates, most of the smartest citizens of the culture are godlike AIs, and while they do not have any real army, any culturnik can be turned into either a One-Man Army or a Person of Mass Destruction. The few civilizations which could represent any serious threat against them have already left the universe. So make no mistake: they are better than you, and if you are stupid enough to piss them off they politely explain why you should not have tested their patience, while blowing up your homeworld's sun. That being said, The Culture is an alliance of sentient species and thanks to various advanced genetic engineering can apply this to any of their citizens. So while they are Superior to you, if you join them, you can become as superior as they are.
  • The Neanderthals in Robert J. Sawyer's Neanderthal Parallax seem this way at first, being portrayed as more intelligent, technologically advanced and peaceful than puny homo sapiens... until it is revealed that they achieved this through eugenics and a "Big Brother" style system of constant surveillance for every individual.
  • The idea of superior Neanderthals was actually deconstructed in Known Space, in one of the Man-Kzin Wars stories. Turns out the Neanderthals were all empathic, able to feel the emotions of those around them, resulting in a society with no war whatsoever and a total dearth of selfish behavior. Then they encountered us, a group capable of killing them with no problem, and their social superiority proved no match for our martial crudity.
  • The Elves of the Inheritance Cycle are a race of vegetarian super-humans who can decide how they want to look and beat any other entity in war.
  • The Dark Side of the Sun, by Terry Pratchett, has 52 sentient races, of which two others are considered equal to humanity (to the extent that "humanity" now no longer refers to just humans), most are too incomprehensibly different to compare, and one is considered "Super-human": the Creapii. From what we see of them, this blanket description seems only true of the higher-caste individuals who live on the hottest stars.
  • The Lilith's Brood trilogy spends quite a lot of time examining what it is about the Oankali that makes them better than humans. The Oankali can use their semi-telepathic abilities to participate in conversations involving thousands of them at once, with little confusion; coming to a consensus this way produces better solutions than electing someone as a leader, and without leaders, there can be no Corrupt Corporate Executives.
  • Any aliens or otherworldly beings encountered in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time or subsequent books (The Time Quartet). Any that aren't endowed with Incorruptible Pure Pureness, outstanding beauty, and higher ethical standards is probably the villain. Her characters (all super-advanced scientists, natch) do give humans credit for discussing the incredible ability of humanity to adapt.
    • Every species that's not human is this. They're beautiful, kind, loving, and in touch with the music of the spheres, even if they are Inspirationally Disadvantaged (like Aunt Beast and the rest of the blind, empathic Ixchel).
    • Although it is implied that this is the natural state of intelligent life. The villains are generally the ones living on "shadowed" planets. Earth is one of these shadowed planets (but we're fighting the shadow).
  • In John Varley's Gaea Trilogy, Titanides are sometimes accused of being a Mary Sue race (among other things). They are ten times stronger than humans, twenty times faster, shoot any weapon perfectly, perform fantastically complicated music by instinct, and can mate in seventy-two different combinations. Plus they do handicrafts in their sleep, with results more beautiful than the best human art. In the third novel we find out that they are also infallible judges of character, and the protagonists explicitly trust that any human killed by a Titanide was truly evil and needed to die.
  • The Draka eventually become genetically-engineered superbeings. They are often accused of being a race of Villain Sues (and their empire of being a Villain Suetopia).
    • And they will gladly tell you how much better they are on the environment than OTL humans. Just don't mind that most people at this point have been genetically modified to crave slavery.
    • Homo Draknesis are not perfect: the process that created them erased creativity, and as a result the Alliance retains the technological edge.
  • Storm Constantine's Wraeththu are hermaphrodites who look like bishies, are physiologically incapable of getting fat or having bad skin, almost invariably have psychic powers, are long-lived but mature quickly...and the list goes on.
  • Every species in the Cthulhu Mythos is superior to humans on a level that humanity can not even comprehend.
  • Largely averted in Old Man's War - every species sucks in one way or another, they just won't admit it. Even the Consu, powerful as they are, are real assholes about it.
  • S.L. Viehl has had to make many a saving throw to keep her Jorenians from being one.
  • The Dark Elves in the Icewind Dale trilogy, Dark Elf Trilogy, and any other novel with Drizz't in it. They live for centuries. Are as silent as death. Weave intricate webs of deceptions that humans could never hope to unravel. Every one of them carries magical adamant weapons and the least skilled of them can stand toe to toe with the elite warriors of other societies. They all have some magic, and many of them grow to be potent wizards. And their rulers, the most powerful of thier kind, are priests commanding the powers of their dark god. On the other hand, they're only capable of cooperating with each other due to direct and repeated intervention from their deity, and then they can barely manage a functioning society. For all their power, their sheer evil keeps them from being effective—but said power still tends towards the ridiculous, if only because the weak tend not to reach adulthood. So, subverted, or played absolutely straight?
  • The Martians in Stranger in A Strange Land have such an advanced culture that merely knowing their language grants incredible psychic powers, and they're effectively immortal due to having completely open lines of communication with the afterlife.


  • The Na'vi from Avatar.
  • Though that's probably just home turf advantage. It's doubtful they'd be so graceful on a higher-gravity world like Earth.

Live-Action TV

  • Star Trek Vulcans, or at least they think they are. Vulcans do have a rather serious drawback in the form of powerful and dangerous emotions they need to suppress in order to remain sane, which is sort a bummer for them. In Star Trek, it'd probably be easier to count the number of alien races who don't consider themselves superior to humans, but having races that consider themselves superior to others isn't Superior Species but Cultural Posturing, and quite believable in context.
    • Also from Star Trek, the Q are clearly much more powerful and arguably smarter than humans. They are also convinced that they are socially and morally more advanced (though this claim breaks down as time goes on).

Picard: What gives you the right to judge us?
Q: Superior morality.

  • Comes close to an aversion in Stargate SG-1. When first seen, the Ancients seemed to be this trope, being the most advanced race ever, inventors of the stargate and having ascended to a higher plane of existence. Later in the show and in the spinoff Stargate Atlantis, they were thoroughly nerfed, having made a lot of silly mistakes and being gigantic jerkasses. There are also the Asgard, who later are technologically at least as advanced as the Ancients, are friendly, wise and noble. However, physically they are a Dying Race with deteriorating bodies. Most other advanced species just think they are superior while actually just being arrogant morons. Humanity itself managed to do amazing feats, however, the SGC isn't all of humanity and most of their feats were only accomplished by scooping up technology from other races.
    • Somewhat averted in the early battles against the Replicators: the more technologically advanced races' weapons didn't work against the Replicators, but ours did. Why? Because all the 'superior races' use energy weapons while we're still using bullets.
  • In Babylon 5 you have the Vorlons (Yes, those Vorlons). A prime example: an early episode in season 1 the crew of the Title Drop space station come across a Mad Scientist guilty of genocidal war-crimes who has invented an immortality potion. What ensues is a conglomeration of all the major species as they fight and nearly go to war over who gets the potion (and the Mad Scientist) (all except the Vorlon ambassador who is busy playing mindgames with the resident telepath). Eventually the terrans win out and it's decided the potion will be researched on earth. All the ambassadors of all these very powerful competing races gather in the observation room to watch as the potion and its creator depart on a heavily armed ship on their way to earth. Cue the Vorlon ship jumping out of hyperspace, and destroying the ship with one blast. Then it leaves. The ambassador walks in, says, "you are not ready for immortality", then goes back to whatever he was doing before. There is a very good reason why every single one of these proud and warring species immediately shuts up.
  • The Daleks believe themselves to be this (and will announce it incessantly), despite all evidence to the contrary. The Time Lords are effectively a superior race in most ways; but in the original series had degenerated into a race of effete, arrogant, navel-gazers and bureaucrats obsessed with maintaining the status quo; when they weren't actual jerkasses. In the in the new series, they became power-mad elitists due to the horrors of the Time War; and were willing to sacrifice the rest of the universe in order to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence.
    • Well, since the Time Lords died in the revived series and the Dalek Empire recently got resurrected, the Daleks really are probably the primary military power in the Universe. Comparable forces are only the Sontarans, Cybermen, and maybe 41st century Humans. Above them are the Eternals (though they very rarely intervene in the affairs of lesser species), who left reality in the wake of the Last Great Time War, but have recently returned.


  • The narrator of Queen's song, Princes of the Universe. Immortal supermen who battle an Eldritch Abomination that is the only thing that can kill them. And apparently, they need earth. Bonus points for the abomination being a walking talking money grubbing decapod. Yep, that's it... given that the song describes the upside of being an immortal from the "Highlander" universe. Who Wants to Live Forever?, the song, describes the flipside and why being an immortal is NOT superior.

Tabletop RPG

  • Warhammer 40,000 has the Eldar and Old Ones filling this role, and the Tau like to think they're in the role, too. Humanity has been engaged in a xenocidal war with the Eldar for about ten thousand years and counting, and for around five hundred years or so with the Tau, whilst the Old Ones have been MIA since the Enslaver Plague nearly wiped out all life in the galaxy several million years ago.
    • The Eldar as a species have a hard time behaving in a manner other than ultra-regimented anal douche or completely irresponsible sociopathic hedonist. They're superior to humans in terms of mind and body but they've definitely got some issues of the soul to work out.
      • The Craftworld Eldar have actually managed to tune it down a notch since the fall of their race. The Dark Eldar are far worse about this, and are closer to what the combined race was like at it's height.
    • The Tau on the other hand are just insufferably arrogant and naive because they were hunter-gatherers just a couple millennia ago and now have more advanced shinier technology (mostly, as they have no teleporters or real warp drive) than a species that has expanding across the galaxy for at least 30,000 years.
    • While not species, as such Adeptus Astartes are physically, mentally and spiritually superior to everyone else to the point it would over takes a hundred men to match a single marine. They are however dicks about it.

Video Games

  • Protoss in StarCraft have better technology, live for several hundred years(on rare occasions more than a thousand), possess psychic abilities ranging from telepathy to levels in soulknife, and can survive more or less indefinitely on moonlight and dewdrops. Plus, their warriors are often equipped with teleporters that teleport them away when hit with extreme damage.
  • The Asari in Mass Effect seem like this at first glance. They are very long lived, and seem to have the most advanced culture of the known races. They are wise and have the most skilled warriors, though they lack the raw power and numbers of other races. They are also not warlike, preferring "trade and understanding" with others. They are also all female and sexually liberal to an extreme degree. However, you'll be gunning down plenty of asari villains and Mooks. In Mass Effect 2, conversations on the asari planet of Illium (a Wretched Hive painted over with Crystal Spires and Togas), both overheard and with a disgruntled asari Matriarch Aethyta forced to work as a bartender, bring up several things that are wrong with asari society, such as:
    • Asari spend their maiden years (up to the age of 300) stripping or being mercs;
    • A major war breaks out at least once every asari lifetime (the Rachni Wars, the Krogan Rebellions, the Eden Prime War). Wisdom and culture does nothing to stop or end it, and another race has to turn up to save them;
    • They are technologically stagnant to an enormous degree. The suggestion that they try to build new Mass Relays led to Aethyta being laughed halfway across the galaxy. For the last two thousand years their technology has barely progressed at all, to the point where Carriers are considered an innovation.
    • The institutional racism asari have against the offspring of asari-asari unions ("purebloods"). On Illium you speak with a pureblood asari whose mate was killed in the geth uprising, and whose daughters were killed on the Citadel in the geth attack. A dozen metres away a pair of asari are loudly proclaiming how purebloods need to be "purged" and that they "should be prevented from breeding!" The asari in question is devastated by her loss, and those assholes, within earshot, are screaming that they they don't give a shit, because they're purebloods. The main reason for the prejudice is that such unions are possibly more likely to produce their equivalents of Succubi, though it's an incredibly rare genetic disorder by itself.
    • This all leads back to the asari's true hat: every organic race thinks they're hot. That's their sole contribution to galactic society: they're a race of bisexual Fan Service. But hey, At least they use it for the constructive purpose of acting as diplomats and mediators for the rest of the galaxy.
      • This gets deconstructed in Mass Effect 3: Their technological progress? They keep secret that they have the last intact Prothean beacon. Their inherent virtues and biotic abilities? Product of extensive genetic engineering by the Protheans Their diplomatic abilities? The result of more uplift efforts by the Protheans. And if Javik is in the party, he will reveal that this trope was actually invoked by the Protheans, who intended asari to lead the next cycle's races to defend against the Reapers, should the Protheans themselves fail, -- the chance that the asari merrily squandered away on playing high and mighty.
    • The Reapers also qualify for this trope, albeit to a lesser extent as they look down on all organic life, not just humanity, and they aren't exactly pacifists...
    • Then again...
  • The people of the moon in Touhou (often translated Lunarian, for whatever reason). Long lived, powerful yet peaceful, the whole works. It is implied that they're very bored though, and they seem to abuse their (sentient) rabbit-servants without a second thought.
  • The draenei are sometimes accused of being a Mary Sue race, on account of being adept at magic and overwhelmingly Lawful Good (similar accusations are sometimes leveled at tauren, but these are less common). However, they're more-or-less justified in their overwhelming goodness: They're the last uncorrupted remnant of the race formerly called eredar, the rest of whom went all Card-Carrying Villain after two of their leaders had a little chat with Sargeras (as for their proficiency at magic, they're an ancient and long-lived—if not actually immortal barring accidentsProud Scholar Race in a High Fantasy setting).
    • The draenei are a weird case. They are long-lived or maybe even immortal. They have magitek that makes them able to construct inter-dimensional floating castles/spaceships, complete with teleporters, holograms, hard-light floors and escape pods. When they were introduced, they were the only race that had both allied the light and the elements (the Blood Elves had enslaved a being of light, which they drained for his powers). They are as tall and muscled as taurens, who were previously the tallest most muscled race. They were introduced as the pure, original version of a previously established race. Even their weapons are made from pretty crystals. The difference between them and a straight Superior Species however, is that their society isn't really romanticized by any character in the games, and the fact that they lost every single battle where they stood on their own.
  • Almost any time elves show up in a Japanese RPG, they will be exactly this. Expect them to never shut up about how humans are a bunch of stupid, rude, unhygienic warmongers who kill each other and their peaceful nature-loving ways are superior, possible even after a party of humans humbly endure their insults and arrogance to protect/evacuate them from the inevitable attack by the big bad. (YOUR KIND DID THIS, GET OUT OF OUR VILLAGE AND LET US REBUILD IN PEACE) As a result, JRPG elves are often a race of scrappies.
    • Refreshingly subverted in the Suikoden series. Their elitist attitude earns them nothing but a horrible reputation to outsiders. In some cases, it leads to their outright destruction.
  • The Aldmer (High Elves) from the Elder Scrolls series like to see themselves as this due to being supposedly the closest in blood and culture to the mythical Precursors of all elven races in Tamriel. The Chimer (or Dunmer, the Dark Elves) on the other hand believe themselves to be superior due to serving a stronger deity than the dying Aedra of other elves. In practice, however, every race has its own strengths and weaknesses especially when they become playable.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The Irkens, announced frequently by Invader Zim.
  • Cybertronians in the Transformers franchise are almost always described as superior to humans when the two species are compared (mostly by Decepticons, who tend to refer to us as "insects"). They are a species of Mechanical Lifeform that all have the ability to change their form into almost anything of their choice, have far superior weaponry and travel capabilities and can individually live for thousands or even millions of years, so they probably wouldn't be wrong in thinking along those lines.
    • This has been subverted on a few occasions in which humans have been shown to utterly thrash transformers. The most recent example of this was a battle in IDW comics between Colonel Witwicky and Scrapper, which resulted in Scrapper's head being blown off by his own gun.
    • Also it's outright stated in Beast Wars that one of the reasons the Autobots would beat the Decepticons was because humans were helping them.
    • It's also been commented on that Humanity does at least stop having wars for extended periods of time, while Cybertron and its peoples have been in a constant state of civil war for longer than humanity has existed.
    • Ironhide voices this opinion in the 2007 movie, but Optimus is quick to disagree.

Ironhide: Why are we fighting to save the humans? They're a primitive and violent race.
Optimus Prime: Were we so different? They are a young species. They have much to learn... but I've seen goodness in them. Freedom is the right of all sentient beings...