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"I think their attitude is more that of the cyclone, which comes with the gracious purpose of cooling off a sweltering village, and is not aware, afterward, that it has done that village anything but a favor. ... People who blame a cyclone, do it because they do not reflect that compact masses are not a cyclone's idea of symmetry."

Well, would you look at that, she isn't the least bit monstrous. Unless you shoot her, that is.

A specific species of Anti-Villain: a creature that could be called monstrous, but can't actually be viewed as evil, since it lacks any actual malice.

This is not to say that they're not a threat; they're usually a literal monster, and if they're not dealt with, many people will die. It's just that, in theory, options besides killing the monster exist.

Note the difference between a Reluctant Monster and a Non-Malicious Monster is that the Non-Malicious Monster is always an antagonist; the Reluctant Monster can be a protagonist. In addition, the Reluctant Monster is usually sapient or can sense people's responses to its monstrosity (see, e.g., Casper the Friendly Ghost). The Non-Malicious Monster is more along the lines of a completely instinctive beast with little to no sapience; in other words, it's just reacting to stimulus in incredibly dangerous ways without bearing malice towards anyone. Imagine a 100-foot-tall rottweiler, if you will. If they do have any sapience, it's a case of being Obliviously Evil. Typically True Neutral.

Sometimes compared to a Complete Monster or a Corrupt Corporate Executive type to make the distinction between "monster" and "evil" more explicit and obvious[1]. Expect early victims to be Assholes for the usual reasons: we don't feel as bad about a giant dick being killed, and it doesn't hurt any sympathy we may have with the monster.

See also Monster Is a Mommy, a Sub-Trope of when the monster in question is fully justified or even doing objective good in its monstrous actions. See also Why Isn't It Attacking? When the non-malicious behavior is noticed.

Examples of Non-Malicious Monster include:

Anime and Manga

  • Some of the Arrancar in Bleach are like this. It's explained that the process of becoming an Arrancar removes a Hollow's Always Chaotic Evil nature and gives them their sense of reason back. Most of the Arrancar we see are bastards anyway, but there's a few exceptions (Nell and her friends, Starrk and Lilinete, some say Harribel as well).
    • Harribel and her Fraccions' actions at the end of the whole Aizen thing — and the Backstory as to how and why they came together (while they were still standard Hollows) pretty much proves it.
  • Most of the citizens of Makai (demon world) in Rave Master fall under this trope.
  • Some demons in Inuyasha, like Jinenji.
  • The tailed beasts in Naruto. Why doesn't anyone even ask for their names, let alone not treating them like pets/weapons?
  • Android 8 from Dragon Ball. He looks just like Frankenstein's monster and he was built to be a killing machine, but he's a kind gentle soul who doesn't like to hurt others, but you'd better not ever try to kill his friends.
    • Subverted with Androids 17 and 18 in that, while thought to be murderous sociopaths in light of their alter-egos from Trunks' horrible future, not only are they not exactly murderous towards anyone not named Dr. Gero, which would play this trope straight, but they don't even really come off as sociopaths.
      • Played straight with Android 16. He has enough power to go toe-to-toe with an empowered Imperfect Cell, and was dedicated to his mission of killing Goku, at least until the Cell Games required him to change his goal to aid Goku in taking Cell down. However, he otherwise was a nature lover and a pacifist at heart. It should be noted that this was deliberately invoked by Dr. Gero specifically to avoid the risk of him being destroyed in one of the few genuinely redeemable aspects to Gero (long story short, 16 was modeled after his deceased son Gebo, a Red Ribbon Army officer who ended up shot during one of their conflicts, and Gero was deeply affected by his death to such an extent that he wished to avoid repeating it).
  • Darling in the Franx has Zero Two. Or rather, in the past day. It turns out that while she resembled a demon, it is ultimately the humans experimenting on her who were the malicious ones. Hiro decided to treat her like she was a human being, and eventually, she did end up looking like a human being. Though she was no longer being mistreated (in part due to this reason), she very much remained in love with Hiro, however.
  • The Mobile Suit Gundam 00 movie, Awakening Of The Trailblazer, has an example. The ELS learn about things through assimilation, and combining their forms together is merely an efficient form of communication. Humans find assimilation to be a very painful way to die. This leads to the unfortunate situation where the ELS are a peaceful race looking to learn about and communicate with humans, and don't understand why humanity is trying to kill them for doing so, while humanity thinks it's defending itself against a hostile invasion.

Comic Books

  • The Marvel Comics Captain Ersatz of King Kong, Gorgilla, falls into this category.
    • Another Marvel story involved Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch confronting a giant extra-dimensional beast rampaging around the city. The monster seemed almost unbeatable, but then Strange reads its mind. As it turns out, the rampage was just a reaction to being plucked out of its home realm and deposited in a strange world; it was scared, lonely, and simply wanted to go home. Strange complies, ending the threat.
  • One possible interpretation of Bizarro.
  • The Batman villain Humpty Dumpty seems to be mentally retarded, but he has a knack for analyzing mechanical systems and figuring out how to subvert or disable them. After the deaths of his parents and constant verbal abuse from his grandmother, he started sabotaging random machines out of irritation, but he doesn't understand that this sabotage can get people killed. Even when he eventually "took apart" his grandmother, he did so in a misguided attempt to find the root of her meanness and fix her.

Fan Fiction

  • The embodiments of the Elements of Harmony in Elementals of Harmony. They range from neutral to friendly, but are breaking the universe by existing. Two actually commit suicide when they learn this.
    • The only ones that have to be fought head-on merged with ponies and were twisted. Loyalty merged with Scootaloo and lost it after being rejected by Dash, and Magic merged with Twilight and drove her existing tendency to fix everything with magic and Control Freak issues Up to Eleven by giving her enough power to fight two planeswalkers and Luna.


  • King Kong. As a description of how this trope fits would be akin to a plot synopsis, we recommend reading the page on King Kong instead.
  • Possibly The Thing. As much as a nightmare inducing assimilatory monstrousity it is, there is no indication that it is doing anything other than acting as any organism does: reproducing and trying to remain alive.
  • Mighty Joe Young as well.
  • When Godzilla is portrayed as an Anti-Hero, it's usually as one of these.
  • Yonggary is one too, as she only ever attacks when she's protecting her young or being controlled by aliens.
  • The mutant from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra. As Betty puts it: "I don't think it ever meant to kill. It just didn't know not to."
  • The Ymir of 20 Million Miles To Earth just wants to be left alone. The fact that it's continually growing and is wanted by the government to figure out how it survives on Venus leads to it being poked. The Ymir does not like being poked.
  • According to Word of God, the Cloverfield monster is not only a Non-Malicious Monster, it's also an Enfante Terrible. J.J. Abrams, the producer, said "He's a baby. He's brand-new. He's confused, disoriented and irritable."
  • The Kraken from Pirates of the Caribbean only ever attacks ships when Davy Jones wakes it using a massive hammer. Wouldn't you be a little cranky, too?
  • The xenomorphs from Alien, who only ever kill and impregnate people (which also results in their deaths) because it's in their nature, rather than because of malice.
  • The Golem from the 1920 silent movie classic The Golem is a straight example. He is treated as a monster by the humans, but at closer watch, he is only misunderstood (he is mute, after all) and dumb.
  • Zombies in most portrayals are this. They're just near mindless creatures with big appetites and living people are simply a convenient source of food.
  • The T-Rex in Jurassic Park isn’t evil, she just wants food. Sure enough, she decides to help the protagonists when an opportunity to prey on other dinosaurs arises, in this case Velociraptors. And in Jurassic World, she was willing to cooperate with the zookeepers during her captivity.


  • The titular monster in Julian May's story Dune Roller. Long ago, it crashed to Earth, with many small parts of itself (its "children") being widely scattered. It doesn't go out of its way to harm other creatures, but if you get in its way when it tries to reabsorb its children, it will go Mama Bear on you.
  • Stephen King's It has the character avert this pretty hard. If it simply ate its victims, it probably would follow this trope. But it likes to torment its victims before it kills them. Oh, and it also likes to specifically target children.
  • Deltora Quest has the Wennbar. While it does eat humans and will eat its servants if they fail it, it doesn't do this out of malice and will instead do it for food. Averted with Gellick who WILL kill its servants out of spite and cruelty.
  • Arguably, some of Lovecraft's Great Old Ones — they are simply far too powerful for us to even register, or have any comprehension of lesser life or, in the extreme cases, anything else at all (except for Nyarlathotep, who is every bit as powerful, but is fully aware of the relationship between himself, humanity, and the rest of the cosmos, and manipulates mankind, although he is properly an Outer God), their actions are not malicious in a strict sense, as they scarcely notice us. Remember the last time you cared about the bugs you stepped on when walking in your yard?
    • Azathoth is a pure example, being a blind, deaf god who will destroy all creation, but completely mindless — he literally does not know what he is doing, and is really more akin to a single cell than a sentient being.
  • In the Dresden Files, newly-made Red Court vampires and White Court vampires whose demon has just awoken can be this.
    • Many wizards don't have guidance when they come into their power (mid-teenage years). They don't know how not to use their power, or the consequences of misusing their power, and start down the paths to being warlocks (wizards of substantial caliber who violate the laws of magic). Many warlocks are malicious, and Harry has brought a few of those down himself, but he's really disturbed by the White Council's zero-tolerance policy towards this trope. He views Molly as this when he presents her to the White Council, and manages to get her put on probation instead of executed on that count, claiming he can teach her how to use her power for good.

Tabletop Games

  • The Tyranids of Warhammer 40000 have no malice to them whatsoever. They reduce entire biospheres to bare rock because they need to eat, and are essentially nothing more than a rapidly-evolving swarm of intergalactic locusts. But because they divide the entire universe into "us", "food", and "inorganic matter", there is no way to deal with them other than to kill them or get out of the way...and planets are rather restricted in their movement.

Video Games

  • Most of the alien enemies in the first Half-Life are just hungry animals that are very disoriented and confused from being abruptly teleported away from their home (yes, even the unspeakably horrible headcrabs). The sequel reveals that even the Vortigaunts were not malicious, having been enslaved by and forced to be cannon fodder for the Nihilanth.
  • Thresher maws in Mass Effect are giant wormlike creatures that are highly territorial and aggressive, though non intelligent. Standard protocol for dealing with them involves the local equivalent of tanks. Lots of them. The Thorian is claimed to be one of these before you fight it, but any savvy player knows that a giant sentient mind controlling plant is going to have to die and be posthumously villainized even if it thinks it is merely defending itself. However, when it was left to its own devices, it was apparently rather passive.
    • Mainly because it was sleeping. And a great deal of the reason the Thorian was vilified was because it strongly refused any possibility of making peace with the others and generally viewed them as expendable thralls, something that at best shows that it has virtually no respect and/or comprehension of other intelligent life.
  • Owing to their inspiration to Alien, the titular creatures in the Metroid franchise are of this trope, being closer to animals with little to no sapience, with the only real exception being Dark Samus. In addition, it is implied they were created specifically to eliminate a far worse threat in the form of the X-parasites.
  • Elementals from MARDEK don't attack so much as leak energy when disrupted. Not that it doesn't hurt, of course.
  • While the Spirit Beast inflicts a fate worse than death upon its victims (though this only happens if the victim is already dead), it simply wishes to feed. After being slain, it only seems to challenge adventurers in battle instead of feasting more souls, though it will devour any familiars that you bring with you. This is a contrast to the criminals that murdered Spirit and her family, who based on what Jagex tells on them were indeed malicious.
  • The Sasquatches from Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. "We eat berries and mushrooms, you fool!"
  • Darkrai in most Pokémon entries barring Mystery Dungeon is closer to this trope, as it is heavily implied that its infamous ability to trap people in nightmares was closer to a defense mechanism to ward off threats similar to a skunk or a porcupine than genuine malice.
  • Shin Megami Tensei V: It’s played straight with the Pretas, who kill their victims for food. The Hydra itself doesn’t speak, but it’s more or less animalistic in nature.
    • Lahmu, however is a subversion. While he eats humans, he thereotically does so for food, regardless of his gluttony. (He does however But then he decides to persuade Sahori to be evil by telling her that she murder her school bullies ...and then attempts to persuade Sahori to merge with him so he can kill the Demon King and take his place. His desire to recreate the world would mostly make things much worse than they are currently. And it's more or less thrown out the window once the two merge together, as he engages in gleeful cruelty against his enemies, and he also remarks Tao will make an excellent sacrifice, which demonstrates to the audience that he does enjoy killing humans. It's made clear that Lahmu wants to make Sahori as evil as he possibly can...and he unfortunately succeeded to some extent.
    • It’s more or less averted altogether with his followers. They don’t simply kill humans for food, they do it because they enjoy it. Two of Lahmu’s followers are not truly evil, as they care for each other and will leave the player alone if he helps them. But it’s safe to say the rest of them are evil, given that Hayatoro (himself a demon) strongly objects to what Lahmu and his followers are doing.
    • It’s also played straight for Nuwa, who is also a demon despite her human appearance. While she’s an enemy of Bethel, it’s ultimately made clear she truly wants humanity’s best interests at heart, and that she truly cares about her partner as well. She does oppose both Abdiel and Koshimizu (who the player can potentially side with), however.
    • The Hydra (the first boss that the player encounters, excluding the abscess bosses) is scary, but it’s not truly evil. It’s an animalistic predator that kills for food. It actually isn’t unlike the Pretas (though these demons are capable of speech) that attack Amanozako, though one can say it’s cannibalistic to eat other demons.

Web Comics

  • The Hulking Shyster from A Moment of Peace is an absolutely massive monster who can't hunt or kill anything because he's debilitatingly shy.

Western Animation

  • An episode of Dexter's Laboratory featured an underground monster who couldn't get any sleep with all the noise of civilization, so he went up to the surface to ask humanity to quiet down. Naturally, the humans freaked out at the sight of a monster, and one thing led to another...
    • Also the plot to an episode of Dave the Barbarian. And, if memory serves, Powerpuff Girls.
      • In the Dave example, the monster was an evil god who soon proceeded to enslave Udrogoth, so that's where the similarities end.
  • Megas XLR has a big, grim, dark, evil species of rhino-like monsters...however, that was just because they were being mind-controlled; in reality, they were cultured, gentlemanly creatures.
  • In the film version of How to Train Your Dragon, the dragons are raiding the Viking village for food because they're being forced by a larger dragon to feed it or be eaten themselves. Once the larger dragon is killed, the other dragons are more than happy to coexist with the Vikings.
    • Vikings have ships and nets and can probably catch more fish in a day than a dragon could dream of!
  • In the aforementioned Powerpuff Girls example, the girls discover that the slime monster was only tearing Townsville apart because it was looking for its lost cat.
    • In "Super Zeroes", a monster begins destroying Townsville, and the girls start changing into their new hero identities. By the time they're done, night had fallen and the monster had suddenly lost interest in destroying the city. The next morning, the monster resumes his rampage, and the girls begin their journey to confont him. However, they all run into inconveniences that held up their arrival, and the monster eventually stops his path of destruction again at night (even checking his watch as time passes). Finally, when the girls actually confront him and prove ineffective against him, the monster explains that the reason he was destroying the city and drawing the girls out to fight him is because he was taking up a tradition back at his home island.
  • The Teen Titans episode "The Beast Within" has Beast Boy turn into the Beast, which plays the part of the Monster of the Week until misunderstandings are cleared out and the real culprit apprehended.
  • Marceline from Adventure Time is a vampire, but she’s fine drinking the color red instead of blood. She’s also friends with the main cast, though she’s not necessarily a hero. It should also be noted she’s half-demon though.
  1. although authors using this particular variation should be warned that the latter is particularly prone to being a Designated Villain