Villains Wiki

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Villains Wiki
Zeno could destroy the universe in a single thought. I just wanted to liberate you all from this lack of freedom, but you all shone and surpassed your limits. That's why I've come to appreciate mortals...
~ Hearts explaining why he wanted to kill Zeno and Future Zeno.
Echo-216: I don't understand. You showed him respect. He was a monster!
Master Chief: Yes. But at the end he was just a soldier. Hoping he'd done the right thing. Questioning his choices.
~ Master Chief talking with Echo-216 about Escharum.

An anti-villain is somewhat the opposite of an anti-hero. While the anti-hero often fights on the side of good, but with questionable or selfish motives; the anti-villain plays a villain's game, but for a noble cause in a way that the audience or other characters can sympathize with. They may be more noble or heroic than an anti-hero, but the means to achieve their ends are often considered exploitative, immoral, unjust, or just evil. Due to there being a thin line between good and evil and the ambiguity of morality, anti-villains may been seen as anti-heroes by some and vice versa.

Anti-villains will occasionally side with their rivals (usually the protagonist) if a greater threat than themselves comes or it's in both of their best interests. Often times, if they do join the protagonists, they are distrusted but can get along and eventually redeem themselves. On the other side of the coin though, is that they are easier to redeem than regular villains. What's more, similar to anti-heroes, the most prominent personification of anti-villains is that they are kindhearted towards their opponents and treat them with equality, but it can be possible for them to treat other villains around them with brashness and rudeness, which is a very unusual trait for such a villain to have. Also, some heroes who were good or normal at first can sometimes become villains after.

In essence, these are characters that, although technically villains, often serve in a noble capacity, which makes them sporadically heroic. It is possible and, in fact, very common to be both an anti-villain and an anti-hero at the same time, depending on the character's goal and their methods of attaining it. They can also be in the center of being in the Grey Zone, depending on their alignment (though an anti-villain is not necessarily in the Grey Zone and can be outrightly evil).

However, Anti-Villains do not necesarily have to have noble goals, as some can simply meet all the other criteria (e.g. Scratch and Grounder).

Alternatively, characters that are meant to be seen as villains in-universe or out, but are not really all that evil, such as certain designated villains or "Punch Clock Villains", may also be this.

Popular anti-villains include Char Aznable from Mobile Suit Gundam, Magneto from the X-Men, Shadow from Sonic the Hedgehog, Mello from Death Note, Benjamin Linus from Lost, V from V for Vendetta, Jin Kazama from the Tekken series, Agent John Bishop from the TMNT franchise, the Puppet from Five Nights at Freddy's, Itachi Uchiha from the Naruto series, Pink Diamond from Steven Universe, Kurumi Tokisaki from Date A Live, Lelouch vi Britannia from Code Geass, Robot from Invincible, Andrew Detmer from Chronicle, and Severus Snape from Harry Potter.

HIGHLY IMPORTANT: Anti-Villains can NEVER be Pure Evil, because Pure Evil villains are never presented positively, whereas anti-villains are meant to be sympathized with, even if their actions are not approved of. Pure Evil villains who claim that their deeds are for a noble cause are merely delusional, hypocritical, or even mentally insane. Even if that isn't the case and they used to have genuinely noble goals, they shredded up all of their redeeming qualities on their way to corruption (e.g. Unalaq, Judge Claude Frollo, John Doe, Derek Simmons, Yhwach, General Lunaris, PAMA, Koba, Light Yagami, Zamasu/Goku Black, Immortan Joe, Albert Wesker, Khan Maykr, Akainu, Bellroc, Skrael and William Carver). They should go under the Fallen Heroes, Evil Vs. Evil‏‎ and/or Necessary Evil categories instead.

Even if a villain is not Pure Evil and claims to have a noble goal, they are not necessarily an anti-villain if they are delusional or hypocritical to the point that their villainous methods defeat the purpose of their main goal (e.g. Walter White, Thanos, Ra's al Ghul, Erik Killmonger, Funny Valentine, Bradford Buzzard, Riddler, Anti-Spiral, Kent Mansley, Raul Menendez and Lyutsifer Safin).

Also, note the following:

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