I think that’s why people love Frieza. He isn’t an anti hero or an anti villain. He’s a villain. A total asshole. A genocidal dictator. And he’s hilarious, entertaining and often dangerous to watch. He’s a real threat for most of his appearances. And there’s no sympathizing with him.


And whatever ass-whoopings he’s gonna get he had it coming like every single time he comes to Earth for revenge


Yea. Frieza is awesome like that. When he’s in a fight and kicking ass it’s cool. But when he’s getting his ass kicked? That shit is great. Dude deserves every pick in the balls he gets.


Yeah when he’s the strongest in the room like in Namek it was downright scary where everyone had to throw everything and the kitchen sink to try and kill but if it wasn’t for his ego and sadistic piece of shit nature everyone would already be dead. Reverse the roles and it’s amazing cause he’s an absolute piece of shit and he’s definitely earned his spot in hell that it’s like an exclusive parking spot


This. I really hope they don't turn him into a good guy, but with Super's writing, I fear they might down the road.


I honestly don't see, even with how abysmal Super can be Then again, I dont know what they will do with him either at this point


Yep, no tragic backstory for Frieza. Just someone born with power and used it as he saw fit. Some people are literally just terrible and there’s no redeeming them


I think the best way to do this is to show or explain the villain's sympathetic backstory, but then make it clear that it isn't an excuse to justify anything that they've done. As they so neatly explained it in Brooklyn 99: >"Cool motive, still murder."


...and THIS is why I don't give Severus Snape a pass. "Cool backstory. Still High Crimes against The Crown."


We don't forgive Nice Guys here anyway


>"Cool backstory. Still High Crimes against The Crown." "Crimes against humanity"


No. Snape's crimes don't rise to that level. Umbridge and her crimes, however... There is a difference. Also, it's 'crimes against sentience', not 'crimes against humanity'. Umbridge went after ALL magical races that were 'not human' in her eyes, and that included Muggleborn and muggles as well. That's why she went to Azkaban for life. Umbridge would say your terminology is wrong, because in her eyes, she was fighting for humanity.


I'd say supporting magical nazis until they threatened your childhood crush counts as Crimes against Humanity


This is where 'nuance' comes into play, alongside Godwin's Law. Snape did PLENTY of horrible things and I'm not defending him, and yes, wearing the Dark Mark is not a good look... but like Draco Malfoy, the argument could be made that the idiot didn't realize the depths of his stupidity until the threat to Lily's life. This is why I ONLY count the taking of the Dark Mark for Snape as a secondary crime (because no one's ever established HOW the ceremony for doing so goes or any initiation rituals - but if we go by fanon, MOST stories have the rape and/or murder of a Muggle or Muggleborn as the prerequisite for taking the Mark). It's the stuff Snape does AFTER he becomes Potions Master at Hogwarts that REALLY deserves his attention; that's why (IMHO) he would go up for the crimes I stated. His crimes are primarily against the nation and The Crown, not against 'humanity'. The Muggleborn Registration Committee (Commission-?) and Umbridge's actions through it rise to the level of 'crimes against humanity'. There is a difference.


Sorry dude, supporting Nazis is supporting Nazis. At least Draco is a child, Snape was an adult, even if he had been hanging out with the racists since High School (which in and of itself is a huge red flag). And supporting Nazis is a crime against humanity.


Yes, he does - BUT that's not the big one for him and in court, they'd probably drop it. You're overlooking the big picture. (Remember 'nuance'?) The Death Eaters are a terrorist organization - up until Voldemort takes control of the Ministry, and they become the legitimate government. That's why Snape's activities don't rise to the level you think, unlike Umbridge; there are plenty - including Harry - who can testify that Snape's activities during the time Voldemort ruled Wizarding Britain do not and in fact NEVER have risen to the level of 'crimes against humanity', and that in fact he worked to mitigate such things in his sphere of control under the very real threat of death. (You note, for example, that the half-goblin Professor Flitwick was not fired, tortured or killed under Snape's regime, and the half-blood professors were not tormented or fired, either.) Again - while he was guilty of MANY great crimes against The Crown and Wizarding Britain and yes, there's no doubt he was a Death Eater, both of which should have meant life sentences - Snape was not guilty of crimes against humanity. Yes, he served under and with people who lived that belief system, but he actively moved to mitigate that at Hogwarts and in the process, saved lives. There's no doubt Snape is horrible through and through - but we don't need to throw the worst label possible out to showcase this. Just showing him for who he is does that more than thoroughly enough. This is why Godwin's Law exists. Stop tossing around 'Nazi' like a catch-all for every supreme-level prick. It lessens your arguments and removes your credibility. https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GodwinsLaw


I agree. I miss really crazy/theatrical/flamboyant villains like in old Disney movies for example. In the Disney remakes they are trying to make very unsympathetic characters sympathetic by completely undoing their character. Maleficent can't just be a badass stylish villain like she was originally. She has to have a good reason for everything she's done and be a girl boss. And don't even get me started on Cruella. What was that mess? How am I supposed to believe that girl boss Emma Stone turns into the Cruella we see in the original movies? The descent into madness thing could be really cool if it's done well, but exploring an actually evil person's mental health decline and descent into real evil is too risky for a company like Disney now days.


Now thinking about it, I feel like a lot of screenwriters just don't know how to write good sympathetic villains. They think "sympathetic" and they think we have to completely empathize with them, and basically see them as the secret good guys which is just bad writing imo. Cruella and Maleficent are good examples. A good example of a sympathetic "villain" would be Jamie Lanister from GOT. He's my favorite character, because even though he's kind of a horrible person, you can completely understand why he does the things he does. He's not exactly a villain, but considering the things he's done, he basically is. Somehow GOT gets you to sympathize with a guy that pushed a child out of window completely disabling him, and don't forget he's a rapist.


Didn't the writers turn a consensual sex scene between him and Cersei in the book into a rape scene in the show?


Supposedly that scene wasn't written or acted to be a rape scene, they just filmed and edited it in the worst way possible.


I think the consent in the book is very iffy.


It is, but it's not that she doesn't want it, but that it was a time and place sorta thing. Still assholey on his part, but not as bad as in the show.


I wouldn't know, I'm not a big GoT person lol


The best sympathetic villain I’ve seen is Scorpius from Farscape. He’s unquestionably evil, but we understand his motivation, and would definitely prefer him to win more than his enemies.


I think this situation is pretty funny since Maleficent and characters like Ursula had some sympathetic backgrounds, even if small. Maleficient was hated for just existing and Ursula hated Poseidon because of what he did to her kind. She pretty much had a vendetta against Poseidon and allowed it to consume her. If anything, I was surprised at how much none of the characters bothered to talk with Ursula and only considered killing her. It doesn't take a leap to figure out that Poseidon is a dick that's being portrayed as someone of virtue. I also don't like how people seem to think that awful people don't exist. There are a lot of people in the world with no redeeming qualities and believe they are the only thing that matters. Whenever I hear someone decry a character for not acting like a human being I roll my eyes.


>The descent into madness thing could be really cool if it's done well Well her mother was assassinated by dalmatians, you see. You couldn't wish for better, super cereal character motivation.


Ok. I agree that it’s weird that they made maleficent into an anti hero and it’s weird. But you can’t say that movie wasn’t risky. It was a freaking rape revenge allegory that was as subtle as a truck. I don’t know who convinced Disney to make a rape revenge allegory origin story for maleficent but I can’t call that “safe”. It’s probably the boldest of the live action movies that Disney has made. Maybe the riskiest move they’ve made in the past 15 years.


Or villains like DBZ villains


I don't think the new movie Cruella is really meant to be like the original Cruella. She's just the protagonist, not an attempt at a sympathetic villain. You're not meant to believe that she turns into the original Cruella, she's just in her own alternate universe. Although it probably would've been a better idea to make her be a completely new character instead of using the old character's name.


I feel it started as an origin story, but at some point in the writing of rewriting process they decided to make it its own thing, probably because they couldn’t find a way to make a puppy killer sympathetic.


I really thought the baroness who is the actual villain was gonna turn out to be the cruella from the originals. Like a bait and switch and the credits would show her dyeing her hair black and white.


You know, I actually really liked cruella. Cool movie, super wierd concept.


The tragic villain bingo : * The corrupt government / society forced me into this! * Lost my GF/mother/daughter/master/some equivalent ten years ago * I was a human experiment / slave all my life * Childhood trauma * I was betrayed for the sixteenth time! * For the greater good * Groomed to be evil * Someone slaughtered my entire village * Monsters are tragic beings^(TM) * Played like a fiddle by the true big bad / Lmao, mind control


I think that fits most of the akatsuki. Corrupt government/society - Kisame. Goverment made him into a killer that killed his comrades. Lost my mother - Sasori was literally broken by the death of his parents and the shit culture of his village Childhood trauma: Pain and Konan I was betrayed for the 16th time! - Madara writes a sob story about how his clan turned their backs on him for wanting to pick a fight again For the greater good: Obito just kept saying Genocide was better than existence. Someone slaughtered my entire village: pain used this one but not as a reason and I think it was one of the best lines in the show. Played like a fiddle: Pain, Obito, Madara Groomed to be evil: Obito. Again. Madara just sort of manipulated him and set up stuff for Obito to be a Dick. At least Deidara, Hidan and Kakuzu were honest. One was into for the boom, the other was in it for religious reasons and Kakuzu just wanted money. Not that tropes are bad. Some of these were very well told. Nagato being a “for the greater good/childhood trauma and revenge” villain was good. The last great villain of naruto. Sasori was amazing. You really hated him but realized how the culture of the sand would eventually create a monster like him. Kisame? Again made sense. Can’t raise a shinobi to kill his comrades without thinking he’d rebel eventually.


Madara is not at all sympathetic to me. He's an asshole who doesn't realise he's the biggest one in the room. For all I care, he's just another Danzo except with innate power.


I wouldn't consider him a Danzo, since Madara didn't had the hyper-nationalism that made Danzo who he was.


Oh. Yea. I don’t consider Madara sympathetic. He’s an asshole who essentially wanted to ragequit the world and take everyone down with him. He was honestly an annoying twat. But I’m biased. He’s one of my most disliked villains ever. I just find him annoying.


Personally, I associate him with everything that went wrong with Naruto, moreso than Kaguya. Kaguya was just the result of it.


Yup. I’ve said a similar thing in the past. My love for naruto died the moment he dropped two meteors on the battlefield. After that, I no longer cared.


Madara Haters Unite!


ok tbf what villain ever, good or bad, doesnt align to any of these in some way


Well not all villains are tragic. There's also eldritch "darkness personified" big bads like Palpatine, Sauron, Pennywise, etc. Rich guys who just unironically want more money and/or power purely for selfish and hedonistic reasons. Jabba the Hutt, Justin Hammer, David Xanatos, etc.


thats true, ig that speaks to how common tragic villains are nowadays if i just correlate tragic villains with just being the status quo villain lol


Syndrome from The Incredibles


couldnt u argue childhood trauma or betrayal for syndrome?


he wasn't betrayed or had any sort of childhood trauma, he was just a massive wanker at birth in the flashback bomb voyage conspicuously went missing to go play accordion in ratatouille


in his eyes he felt betrayed and being denied by mr. incredible, while would be disappointing to most young people, might have felt traumatic for him? i know im stretchin it here but i feel like on a technical level it still applies


its more like a parody if anything, mr. incredible was the responsible adult and had nothing to do with Buddy to begin with outside of Buddy being his Stan Anton Ego and Muntz would also be good villains without any of these tropes


idk those 2 so ill give it to u


Ego's the vampire looking guy from Ratatouille voiced by Peter O'Toole and Muntz is the evil old geezer from Up with a bunch of dogs


Funny thing is: Except the last point, everything on the list matches in some shape or form with the Arcane villain Silco but I still consider him a pretty good villain.


There's really nothing wrong with having a bunch of tropes in a story (They're impossible to avoid anyway) - it's only insufferable if the writer uses it as a sloppy copy/paste effort or actively deconstruct/avoid such tropes just for the sake of it.


People often forget that Silco is a ruthless crimelord that drugged an entire city, and in the process of it, killed countless, including children tho People mostly remember him as "UwU Jinx's daddy" due to his care for Jinx. Even then, while that is true, it is also true that he enabled lots of Powder's negative antics that resulted in the Jinx we know today.


The Silco-Jinx dynamic is creepy yet fascinating. There are intimate elements between them that chills the spine, but also the parent-child part is unquestionable. It's either both or neither, one or the other, precariously placed on a very fine line and the audience has to watch even closer to figure out which side it's tipping towards. To me, it's Silco seeing Jinx as his do-over, not as his second chance, but as a copy of his grief and anger over Vander betraying him all those years ago. He sympathized with her and raised her in ways he knows so she could be just like him. But then Jinx started spiralling even further down, deeper than even his own dive and rebirth had once been, and he saw that she was going to drown. That's when he let himself truly care for another, when he started seeing Jinx as not-Silco. It doesn't make him sympathetic though. Because he still thinks that to care for another so closely is a weakness and a distraction from his goals, whereas Vander embraced it, carried it in his arms and brought it home, turning away from the violence and fighting he had known for a prominent amount of his years. Vander learned to love (maybe again?) and became a better man for it, Silco shunned the idea of love until the very end, when he nearly lost Jinx to violence, when he sought solace in a memorial of his once-brother, when he's strapped to a chair and realizing that he was never going to walk out of this one alive. Over the course of the series, he lived as a man so gnarled by his hatred that when he died, he withered and bowed to love. Maybe if he lived a while longer, he could've redeemed himself. But that's not this iteration of the show, and he's as dead as the ADR farming botlane solo and unaware of the fed mid+jungle gank heading their way. Vander, on the other hand... (Sorry this reply's so long. I got carried away.)


I'm so glad someone else acknowledges the bad touch father daughter purity dance energy between silco and jinx


I almost got baited into only the father-daughter aspect of their relationship when Act 2 first dropped, not gonna lie. Then came the rebirth-river-baptism scene and hot damn did the intimacy feel way beyond simple parent-child to me. I can dismiss Jinx's touchy-feely behavior as her way of asking for approval and validation because of attachment issues, but that scene really made me cringe in reflexive disgust (also the not-so-subtle other interpretation that Silco literally got Jinx wet). It's not just familial and/or strangely sexual, hence why I describe it as Silco and himself but in another person. He takes her in, lets her bathe in the wrongness and violence of chembaron-ruled Zaun, and teaches her to hate her sister for abandoning and betraying her because that's the same way he became Silco (I think it's implied he went by some other name before? Can't clearly remember, but if so, it adds to my interpretation since Jinx was once just Powder). I could be wrong though, but if so, I would love to hear the right answer. I would love to ask the show's writers and those in charge of character relationships and backstories what they were aiming for with the Silco-Jinx dynamic because it's so haunting to me that it could've been one or the other so damn easily. Zaun and Silco's circumstances have all the factors and instruments to stir the relationship to either side, but it remained so complicated even after Silco's death. Maybe we'll get flashback-type narrative on Jinx growing up with Silco in S2? Who knows, but this complexity is just so interesting to me as it is right now.


Silco worked because he's convinced that he's doing Powder and his neighbourhood a favour, and despite his extreme actions, the end result of it was diving into a net positive until it backfired because of Powder herself, ironically, because of him.


I'm pretty sure it's implied that Jinx is a thorn on Silco's side (Sevika's complaints about it + "what do I lose but troubles?")


People like those tropes in their villains because it humanizes them. We like to see that they have a reason for doing what they do because a lot of people like to imagine that all people are born with the capacity for good, but it’s society and the world that beats it out of them and turns them into a monster. Sometimes people are just born bad, or on a different wave length. Sometimes it is the circumstances that they grew up in. Look at Thanos. His entire reason for genocide is that he thinks it’s the only way to save the universe because his particular world died from a lack of resources. However, we as the audience know that he is quite insane for this line of thinking as there are an infinite number of solutions that don’t require the death of half the sentient beings in the known universe. But Thanos is mad and no amount of conversation will convince him otherwise. That’s what makes him a compelling villain. One that we can relate to and see his point but also one that we can say “there’s gotta be a better way” to.


Yeah that's what makes them compelling, as evil as they are, they are still humans, victims of circumstances. But it's a problem when people just overlooked the part of their villainy. Some people really forget Silco's crime, saying he's "not a bad guy" or such.


Don’t forget “only person trying to solve a problem or injustice in society, but because the writers want us to side with the neoliberal “hero” they have the “villain” decide to bomb a hospital or kill a kid with the flimsiest of reasons so we stop rooting for them.” Flag smashers for example, they’re pretty much the good guys until karli burns down a building with a bunch of people inside it for no reason.


Thanks for the guide


Like DIO, the guy is an ass in every possible way, yeah his childhood may explain why he become and ass, but we absolutely love him for being an ass like in part 3, despite only able to stop time for a few second, he kill that cat, mess up a bunch of random civilians and then kill joseph


That's actually my favorite villain of all time. Also don't forget the pillar men's. Whenever I thought of buying cool JOJO figurines, the first two characters that comes to my mind are Kars and Dio honestly.


I haven't read parts 7 and 8, but so far, all Jojo villains have been phenomenal. DIO and Kars for the aforementioned reasons, but also Kira and Diavolo. In part 4 they reversed the whole "the villain has a plan we need to stop", and made the villain just a guy trying to live his life in peace (while comitting a bunch of attrocities), and he had to escape the heroes who were out to get him. A lot of times you could see his nervousness and his whenever he was on the verge of being caught, and his struggles and efforts at doing so. It almost made you root for them. And whenever we were starting to get too sympathetic towards him, they showed him murdering someone again like an asshole. That's great writing, imho. And not to mention Diavolo. He's arguably the most terrifying Jojo villain to date. The indisputable boss of a violent mob that could easily get out of control under a weak command, yet his whole giant ass group was as organized and loyal as it could be (with a few obvious exceptions, of course). Also, he wasn't a sadistic prick who got off on seeing his enemies suffer like DIO, or had a weird fetish like Kira, and yet he tortured and killed those who betrayed him in horrendous ways simply because he was evil. Also, in more than one occasion the main group was fine one moment, then on the blink of an eye, one of them fell dead, killed by Diavolo, who activated his stand, went there, killed one of them, and was nowhere to be found anymore. He didn't use his time-related stand to tease and mess with his enemies' heads like DIO. He didn't fuck around. He got the job done. That was what made him dangerous.


I love Kars as a villain, because although he is evil and not very sympthatetic, he still has a personality apart from just being evil asshole that kills or destroys everything. He appreciates the world's nature when he doesn't want to fall on a flower or when he saves the dog from drunk drivers. Or when he steps into Wamuu's shadow and is accidentally attacked, Kars responds by praising Wammu and doesn't hold a grudge against him. In another media, he would just have killed Wammu to show how "evil" and "cool" the villain is.


I don’t like it when the villain does a bunch of horrible things; and when they’re about to die your supposed to feel sorry for them. I agree with you that truly evil villains are so much better. Although I think seeing things from their perspective; could make things interesting.


I have this same problem with Kayaba Akihiko from Sword Art Online! I hate this "peaceful end for the villain" trope, because its usually leads to stupid excuses that they totally redeemed themselves. Some viewers even forgetting that the main antagonist of the entire story was a bad guy. Honestly if the guy commits mass murder and kills childrens for the only reason to achieving his "dream", he is not a good guy. You cant just make the audience sympathize with him in the last minute after we saw that many lost lifes he stolen and the pain and sorrow he caused. Finishing him off in this sincere heart warming exchange with the protagonist just feelt bad. He simply trapped, hold hostage and killed innocent people even little kids, because for him its feelt more real when somebody actually died in a video game. Everyone forgetting that the SAO players were hostages and without their permission Kayaba risked and played with their lifes. His victims were ordinary people who doesnt deserve the trauma he make them through or the final death they got. His reasons were selfish, his actions were monstrous and their consequences were horrible. He intentionally do all of that terrible things even knowing from the start that it will cost human lives just to fuel of his ego and escapism. I think a mass murderer is still a mass murderer and never will be or should be a reason to sympathize, forgive or admire him! **Kayaba in no way a good person:** Trapping random peoples is bad, separating anyone from their family is awful, holding someone hostage over 2 years is horrific, forcing others in life-or-death situations is terrible, playing with human beings is lives is monstrous, preparing death games to kill people is horrible and using devices to fry 4000 people's brains is murder. He is a man, who forced his selfish desire on others, then killed them because its makes it more realistic for him if someone actually die in a video game. **Kayaba is simply awful:** Kayaba didn't helped the SAO players in any way, he just deceived everybody around him and played a hero persona. He don't cared about the other players or his guildsmen, he sacrificed them and countless innocent lifes just for his own amusement. He created monsters with a whole purpose to kill people and he was anytime able to stop them with just pressing a button. Every time somebody died he choose to ignore them and just continued to play his fantasy and role playing game. He also was an egomaniac hypocrite, because all time played safe with the immortal object protection and cheated anytime he wanted. This all was just a grandiose tragic story for him, he from the start planned to betray everybody and reveal that he is the lvl 100 boss. **Kayaba killed innocent people:** He worked over years to create Aincrad and the NerveGear for the only reason that he can be able to trap, hold hostage and kill people. He knowingly and willingly executed his plan and intentionally created monsters who is only purpose is to kill people. What people glassing over the fact that the players actually didnt died from wounds in the game, from somehow losing too much blood, from too much stress until their heart stops or anything else. They died because Kayaba Akihiko made and used the NerveGear to fry their brains. Everyone who died in SAO, every violent death and every unnecessary lost lives are on his bloody hands! **He was a bad guy:** I judge him and everyone should be by his ACTIONS and their CONSEQUENCES, not how the anime wants to portray him! The show wants us to fill sorry for him and think that its a sad thing that his dream is ended, when its was the cause of endless suffering and costed thousands of lifes. What he did was immoral, unethical and undoubtedly evil. He didnt had any reason or rights to do that terrible things with innocent people without their consent. All of that 4000 lost lifes was murder and a selfish act, totally unprovoced and unnecessary. It's bothers me that unlike his victims this horrible monster gets this peaceful death. And the worst of it that he dont really died just uploaded his brain to the internet, so he basically got everything he wanted and won in the end. Simply killing is killing, dying is dying and a mass murderer is a mass murderer!


Oof if you hated what they did with kayaba in season 1 I can’t imagine how you’ll react to his “heroic” moment at the end of alicization when he >!he took control of a robot and saved the crew in the submarine from exploding. He even got inspired by his ex!< lmao


Oh, I know! I had a conversation with someone who also didnt understand what the anime expects him to feel when its portraying Kayaba in this sacrificing hero way. Like this dude just killed 4000 people even little kids just literally no reason at all, and now we should be touched and cheering for him or something? I just rolled my eyes when Rinko was this emotional about Kayaba is returning and "sacrifice". Like damn, you literally wanted to kill this dude in the past because he literally played with 10000 innocent people is lifes, but still cant do it because of love or something. When Kayaba is a total selfish asshole at best, and I hate that how the anime wants to portray his relationship with Rinko. Like what he did with her and the fake bomb supposed to be some romantic shit, when it was creepy and unhealthy as hell. This shitbag instead of stopping his madness just instantly implanted a fake bomb in her and didnt even hesitate to stop torturing people and just choose to live in his escapism fantasy game. Seriously, if you love someone you didnt just let them sit next to you while you literally killing people day by day over 2 entire years. Kayaba made Rinko just as guilty of those thousand of deaths because she done nothing to stop their senseless murder and I hate her too for that and wish she would rot in a cell for forever. Also someone told me that >!this scumbag will return in the Unital Ring arc and will continue fuck things up. !


that's why i love kirei kotomine; he's evil by nature, dude's a sick psycho but even then he is such a compelling character


The interesting part is how Gil pushes Kirei to villainy, and how Kirei loves and hates his own nature.


I know Pixar is the king of doing sympathetic villains, twist villains that aren't really evil, and stories that don't have clear-cut villains; but they've also given us some great villains that, while making their motivations perfectly clear and understandable, have little to no redeeming qualities as people. Syndrome, Hopper, Lotso, Waternoose, De La Cruz, Muntz, etc.


I disagree to an extent. I hate pure evil villains. I want human characters and when I say that, I mean all of them, even the villains. Villains that do evil just to do evil aren’t realistic. (With exceptions if done well, ex: Doofenshmirtz (but even he has a tragic backstory that lead him to that and he’s not actually evil) Double Trouble is also fun but they’re not necessarily evil. They just go for the moolay) But my main reason why I hate pure evil villains is that they’re boring. They’re so boring. There’s no interesting philosophy or grey areas. They’re just evil. It makes a potentially really cool story into a boring and generic one. Someone who I talked about this earlier brought up psychopathic villains. And I gotta say: more realistic but stop stigmatizing mental disorders please. Also point still stands that if you don’t give them a good motive or a well rounded personality, they’re still boring. That being said they don’t need to be sympathetic to be human. I just want complex, well rounded villains that make you think.


Mom said it was my turn to post this rant this month!


No, no, no, it's your turn to post "I'm sick of people thinking kind characters are boring"!


And this monthly rant has been done


And then there’s the redemption arc which is it’s own can of worms. Nothing inherently wrong with it, but it’s been done so poorly nowadays.


I think there is a spectrum here. You don't have make your villain sympathetic but at the same time it's better for your villain to have a reason to do thing other than my "hahaha fuck you"


the number one thing your villain needs is being a villain. So simple, but most modern shows forget this.


Dr.Draken from Kim Possible isn’t a sympathetic villain, but he’s fantastic. I wouldn’t say he’s pure evil (he did help save the world in the series finale and he’s shown to have limits to what he’ll do), but he’s not exactly a good person. The reason he works is that he’s over the top and ridiculous, and the show knows that he’s goofy, but still a potential threat. It struck a nice balance between the two, and was able to make him a really well written character without making him sympathetic. The fact that he’s voiced by John DiMaggio helps


This is a throwback. Draken & Doofenshmirtz were goated


I just finished watching Kim Possible, so he’s fresh in my mind


And that's why I love All For One


I gotta say I definitely agree. I've always been really into the whole exploration of morally grey characters in stories, but yes I have noticed the "good villain" thing has become ridiculous. Mainstream movies barely have villains anymore, just 2 similar characters who will more than likely give the "you're not so different" speech. I'm not sure how I'd rectify this in context to superheroes or anime or etc, but what I've always liked about horror is that generally the antagonist is a person or entity the protagonists hardly understand or even see as human (if they are). But of course there's easy ways to ruin that too. Lovecraft was certainly onto something (well duh) with the whole cosmic "holy fucking shit my life is in danger for reasons I don't understand and this tentacle monster that is breaking my brain with insanity wants to eat me wtf am I doing". I'm not quite sure how that fits into the OP, but I wanted to get that out. I want more villains who are so evil that they don't even realize it or have the capacity to understand the concept itself. EDIT: Well I guess I thought of something. Take it the Criminal Minds route and show like 90% evil and 10% stressor that brought out that evil whether real or perceived. I did also like this one characters from an anime (forgive me I forgot the name, maybe Monster?) This regular guy named Johann I believe who was just born an evil hollow psychopath and thought that manipulation and murder was just what he was around to do. That's not necessarily tragic or forgiving and still lends some grey to him (as in the fact that he barely saw his work as 'evil' and was just like "yup this is who I am, idk how other people aren't". I know I definitely butchered that anime description and probably mixed some things up, but you get it. I guess the real life version of my terrible metaphor would be Rodney Alcala who professed (through song) in court that all he ever wanted out of life was to brutally murder women. Literally nothing else, not a word besides an excerpt from a hippy anti-war song that had the singer sarcastically saying "they asked me what I wanted to do and I said KILL, KILL KILL. I WANNA KILL!" Or something to that effect. He tried to explain himself in no other way besides that song at the end of his trial, as to say "yeah I'm going to jail but I got to live my best life before this!". Chilling.


Honestly I think sympathetic villains are almost always more compelling(when it’s done right) but there definitely needs to be more pure evil villains. There’s a lot more potential for variety there I think. A lot of sympathetic villains can come off as feeling kinda samey if not done really well. It’s a lot of ”I’m doing this horrible thing to the world that I think will help but is actually super fucked up”. I still prefer that style of villain because when it’s good it’s really fucking good but I definitely see your point.


Eh, it makes a better one on average.


We have to understand why this tripe is so common, because people got sick of villains who were just evil with no redeeming qualities.


I agree. The thing is, people always insist that having a sympathetic villain “subverts audience expectations”………but does it really? It definitely ***used to*** 20+ years ago when *The Sopranos* first premiered. I still remember people being shocked at how Tony Soprano and his supporting characters could be so horrible yet so human and interesting. *The Sopranos* could get away with it because they were blessed with unusually great writing and acting. *Breaking Bad* too. But since then, we as a culture have been inundated with anti-villains and anti-heroes. It’s not new or unexpected anymore. Pretty much every “critically acclaimed” prestige drama that gets shoved in our faces for the past couple decades has been about sociopaths doing awful things, but with some sad events in their past or an emotional motivation for their actions, often with multiple diatribes about how it’s really society’s fault. The thing is, most of these shows do NOT have a lead with the charisma of a James Gandolfini or a Bryan Cranston. So what we’re left with is a bunch of shows and movies about horrible people doing horrible things, but with a slapdash sob story so that we can be told the villain is “complex.” So yeah, it’s not new anymore (though again, *The Sopranos* and *Breaking Bad* still hold up because of great acting and writing). We’ve come to expect this formula from almost every cable or streaming drama. And yet, we’re still constantly told that our “expectations are being subverted” lol. Honestly, sometimes you just WANT a clear hero to cheer on and a jerk of a villain to root against…and it’s often really satisfying when a clear villain gets their comeuppance!


Someone let the barkers know this guy's drinks are on me.


Haha thanks man!


I think this comes from a modern day greater trend that causes simple characters like, say, Jonathan Joestar to be crapped on. People seem very greedy and selfishly obsessed with demanding their characters be deeply many-layered labyrinths that you can construct hour-long videos trying to piece together and identify their every little idea, philosophy, motive etc. Anything less than that, and suddenly your character is "boring" or "bland" or "uninteresting". Also, let me raise you another, people seem damn near OBSESSED with their characters being some gray-as-fuck badasses with punk tendencies, as if being a traditionally good and kind person is boring or a bad thing...


I think the reason why people like sympathetic villains is because they’re generally more competent than unsympathetic ones that are potentially justified used as cannon fodder. The reason why Xanatos is so competent is because he doesn’t mistakenly believe that his plan As will always work. Naraku was in the end such an effective villain because his human traits gave him a better understanding of humanity than he’d like to admit.


I prefer the DBZ villains that are evil cause either they’re just the emperor of the universe/ think they’re perfect/ or literally no reason


So I just watched the Loki TV show for the first time and I think Loki is an incredibly strong sympathetic villain. He’s not sympathetic because he has a tragic backstory or some noble motivation. Although it sounds like a contradiction he’s actually sympathetic because he’s bad. He doesn’t seem really in control of his own behavior and his actions hurt himself as well as others. He’s relatable but you never forget the bad things he’s done or feel like he’s being excused.


People don’t like to admit it but out in the world there really are just power hungry despots, or serial killers who seek victims for no logical motive. Not everyone is a “hero in their own story” or has some deeply philosophical driving force behind their every action. There’s nothing wrong with sympathetic villains at all, but I’m tired of people acting like they’re the only acceptable route to go when writing an antagonist. We don’t need some tragic backstory for guys like Frieza, Yoshikage Kira, Aku or Jafar.


I disagree. If you make your villain sympathetic, it's necessarily more complex than a purely evil villain, logically, since you would have to create a believable personality that is a mix of both of those traits. I think the real issue here is badly written villains.


Making a villain sympathetic doesn't automatically make them a well written character I agree with. But a sympathetic villain can be a good villain and at least in my opinion has more potential then a pure evil villain


Sibeth Kane hunted her sister's family, destroyed her own kingdom, lied about have a destined child after killing the breeder, took over the nation Pensa, lied about the Trivantian Republic declaring war on Pensa, groomed her nephew so he could breed her, and when she was finally proved gulity she still did this https://youtu.be/waAjbG9aCjg Sibeth the most hatebel bitch ever. Fuck her lying psychopathic ass. I want to go into the TV to beat her up myself


I'm rewatching jujutsu kaisen and it's refreshing to have villains that are unapologetically fucking awful creatures. There are no redeeming qualities to them.


Well there was Eso, he was alright, but yeah I agree


You better not be dissing Doofenschmirtz


Dude is a great dad and a bro!!


Very true. Just take one of the most popular villains ever; Darth Vader. He was both kinds of villains done wonderfully. In A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, Vader is more or less a pure evil villain who will straight up kill you if you fail even once. He has no redeeming qualities. But then in Return of the Jedi, Luke optimistically, and almost blindly, believes there is still good in Vader and that he can still turn to the light. Whether you, as the audience, believe Luke or not, by the end of the movie, you realize Luke was right, and Vader did turn out to have enough good left in him to die as a good guy. Nothing about Vader necessarily changes between the movies, other than new information being learned, but his role as a villain changes drastically. In IV and V, he is the big bad evil guy that the hero has to defeat. But in VI, he becomes a villain you feel at least a little sympathy for. Then when you add the prequels, you are able to root for him a little more, knowing more about what horrible things he went through, but it doesn't change his role as BBEG in IV and V. TL;DR: Vader is one of the best written villains because he works as both a pure evil main boss for the hero, and also a sympathetic villain you can sometimes root for.


Agreed, mainly. Pure evil tyrants like Frieza, Palpatine, and Joker definitely work, they have the charisma and power to make them impressive. It's about writing quality IMO. IMO there is nothing wrong with a pure evil villain, but I prefer villains that have humanizing qualities (even if they are not necessarily sympathetic).


You: >Sympethatic villain doesn't make a complex or good villain. Also you: >Look, I love sympethatic villains when they are done right and when sympethatic villains are done right, they feel natural and fit the character. ​ Translation: "I only like sympathetic villains when they're done the way **I want** them to be done."


Kind of a title gore. You don't actually mean "Sympathetic villain doesn't make a complex or good villain". What you mean is "A complex or good villain doesn't have to be sympathetic."


I think lots of people like sympathetic villains because it gives good reasons why the character is evil. I like hammy, crazy, “I’m evil for the lolz,”bad guys because they’re fun to watch. However, they don’t make for that interesting of characters.


Mmmm... Nah. Frankensteins monster will always be better than Dracula.


Honestly, I’ve been thinking recently that Willem Dafoes Green Goblin is one of the best on screen comic book villains of all time. For no other reasons than Dafoes sheer charisma, the fact that he’s a genuine physical threat to Spider-Man and he hits Spider-Man right where he lives. He goes for his loved ones and it makes us feel like their are actual stakes to this conflict. Green Goblins a perfect example of an unsympathetic villain that’s still compelling (and that goes for Spider-Man 1 and NWH)


Norman Osborn is very sympathetic though, a man who was cast out from his own company goes insane and develops a split personality, which leads him to do horrible acts


Yeah Normans sympathetic but the Goblin personality isn’t. I’d actually argue that Normans just an other one of the Goblins victims.


But they’re the same, one can’t exist without the other as the goblin was created from Normans mental state breaking


Even so, they’re separate characters in my opinion.




The grandma wasn’t actually evil or a villain tho. The whole point is that she had trauma that she never got over and it influenced how she treated everyone. She was just as much of a victim as the rest of her family.




Lol you clearly have all the mommy issues.


You sound like a little kid, so I won’t argue. But, the entire backstory of the grandma is that the love of her life died murdered by white imperialists. She got magic as a result and spent her life terrified of losing the magic. Of course she felt differently. It’s also important to remember Colombia isn’t Mexico. Your experience in Mexico isn’t the experience of an actual Colombian person just because you’re both Latino. I get the family shit. My family is just like that except without the imperialists to give my grandmother an excuse. But, that doesn’t make the grandmother in this movie evil.


The best tragic/sympathetic villains are those who were subjected to the worst their surroundings possibly had or still have to offer. It really makes a difference to show audiences the extent of the physical and psychological damage that can be inflicted upon others.


Idk why but the dad from Shang-Chi immediately comes to mind... >!dude is supposedly the real Mandarin but is really just a dude with magic rings that he can telepathically control. !< >!He's setup as the villain of the series but is also a loving and caring father/husband ??? Then, for some, inane, reason he's revealed to be led astray by a soul eater from not-kunlun who ultimately kills him after he saves Shang-Chi...!< Like, idk if they were trying to have their cake and eat it too but it just felt terribly written. Was also a massive slap to the face for fans who were hoping to get the actual Mandarin.


99% of the pure evil villains are actually total crap, stop with this annoying circlejerk FFS!


Frieza :" Hohohohoho