• Before making a single edit, Tropedia EXPECTS our site policy and manual of style to be followed. Failure to do so may result in deletion of contributions and blocks of users who refuse to learn to do so. Our policies can be reviewed here.
  • All images MUST now have proper attribution, those who neglect to assign at least the "fair use" licensing to an image may have it deleted. All new pages should use the preloadable templates feature on the edit page to add the appropriate basic page markup. Pages that don't do this will be subject to deletion, with or without explanation.
  • All new trope pages will be made with the "Trope Workshop" found on the "Troper Tools" menu and worked on until they have at least three examples. The Trope workshop specific templates can then be removed and it will be regarded as a regular trope page after being moved to the Main namespace. THIS SHOULD BE WORKING NOW, REPORT ANY ISSUES TO Janna2000, SelfCloak or RRabbit42. DON'T MAKE PAGES MANUALLY UNLESS A TEMPLATE IS BROKEN, AND REPORT IT THAT IS THE CASE. PAGES WILL BE DELETED OTHERWISE IF THEY ARE MISSING BASIC MARKUP.


WikEd fancyquotes.pngQuotesBug-silk.pngHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extension.gifPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifier.pngAnalysisPhoto link.pngImage LinksHaiku-wide-icon.pngHaikuLaconic
  • The Earl of Lemongrab of Adventure Time arguably fits this trope. Although he's a mean, sour, bitter, nasty-tempered Jerkass Woobie, his intentions are pretty good. All he wants to do during his reign of the Candy Kingdom is live in a place that's quite and clean, free of pranks, trouble-makers, and anybody who bothers him. But he tries to achieve this mild goal through the worst, most extreme methods- screaming constantly and sending everybody in the Candy Kingdom to the dungeon for one million years!!!
  • Aeon Flux's nemesis Trevor Goodchild honestly believes that by walling off his entire country, placing surveillance cameras everywhere, and conducting bizarre experiments in psychology and genetics, he's providing an unobjectionably safe existence for his subjects and gradually improving their quality of life. The frightening thing about this show is that, half the time, you suspect he may be right...
  • The fanatic but charismatic Jet, a guerrilla freedom fighter on Avatar: The Last Airbender from mid-Season 1, who reappeared near the end of Season 2 with the intention of redeeming himself only to discover that Redemption Equals Death.
    • Hama. She wants to help fight the war so she does. By imprisoning innocent Fire Nation civilians.
    • The Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, features the Equalists, who want non-benders to be treated fairly. It's just that their means to achieve this is by the removal of bending from the world.
      • Tarrlok, one of the leaders of Republic City, seems to be this as well. He wants to stop the Equalist threat, but he treats all non-benders as Equalists and wants to remove their rights.
  • The Avenger's: Earth's Mightiest Heroes has Kang the Conqueror. The future where he comes from is being erased from existence, so he goes to the past to fix this. He decided that the best way to do this is to conquer the past to prepare the people of earth for the coming Alien Invasion.
    • And to add to that, he thinks that the future destruction is caused by Captain America. His solution? To kill Captain America in order to save his future.
  • Batman: The Animated Series has a couple.
    • Ra's Al Ghul, who barely manages to scrape into the "well-intentioned" category. His rather vaguely-defined motive is to restore the Earth to it's original, "pristine" state. His method is wiping out half of humanity.
    • Mister Freeze is introduced as one of the "Revenge at any cost" variety, out to avenge himself on the Corrupt Corporate Executive who pulled the plug on the research he hoped to use to save his wife's life and caused the resulting Freak Lab Accident that made him what he is.
    • The Batman has Detective Ethan Bennett/Clayface, who was tortured by Joker until he became a shape-shifting putty monster. Understandably, Ethan wasn't too happy about that, and became the "Seek Revenge at all costs" type of this. Fortunately, he gets turned back to normal by Batman.
  • Equinox in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He wants to balance Chaos and Order by destroying and resetting the universe.
    • Kr'ull the Eternal simply wants to have an empire that won't age and die while he has to watch it suffer. He plans to replace all the humans in the world with eternal bodybuilders just like him. By the 25th century, he seems to have gotten over it.
  • Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic - Dante, before and during his time in the crusades. His unquestioning loyalty in his religious mission causes him to justify the beating of a prisoner for protecting a woman by claiming that he deserved what he got for being a heretic. He also uses his status as a soldier of god to gain comfort from the women whom the beaten prisoner was protecting, despite promising his wife that he would remain true to their marriage.

 Soldier: "Dante, do not commit this wicked sin!"

Dante: "How is it a sin, if I'm already absolved?"

  • On Gargoyles, Demona has undergone so much pain over the centuries due to humans that she basically wants to wipe them out so that gargoyles can inherit the Earth.
  • In the 1930s MGM cartoon "Jitterbug Follies", Count Screwloose tries to scam the public by selling tickets for a show that won't go on, but a group called "Citizens For Fair Play" tell him to put on a show or else. They happen to to act and dress like 30s-style thugs.
  • South Park plays this for laughs with the Knights of Standards and Practices, an entire group of them. They are instructed to use any means necessary to prevent curse words from being uttered, as if nothing is done it could potentially lead to things such as the bubonic plague and even the summoning of an evil dragon. There’s also the chickenlover who turns out to be a librarian trying to help Officer Barbrady learn how to read.
  • Charlie Dog from Looney Tunes. Poor guy, all he wants is to be loved but he goes at it so wrong...
  • Pinky and The Brain: Word of God claims that this is the way the Brain should be viewed. He wants to rule the world not for the sake of being a dictator, like his rival Snowball, but because he believes that he could do a much better job of it than the people currently in charge.
    • The thing is he might actually be right. In one episode of Freakazoid the titular hero accidentally goes back in time and ends up preventing the attack on Pearl Harbor. When he gets back to the present he finds history had been changed and the world was now a utopian paradise. With the Brain as its ruler.
  • Rameses the Pharaoh from The Prince of Egypt. Rather than making him a cardboard cut-out villain, the creators wrote him as a "Well Done, Son" Guy with a Freudian Excuse who has a very close relationship with Moses (they grew up together as brothers), who's just doing what he feels is right for the country and his dynasty. His father is the same, and even gives a little speech about how it is necessary to make sacrifices for the greater good (the "sacrifice" being the mass-murder of children). Of course, neither of them feel particularly guilty about ordering the massacre of slaves.
  • Alvin from the Sabrina the Animated Series episode "Planet of the Dogs" becomes a mix of this and Noble Demon after Sabrina ignores him.
  • Played surprisingly straight in The Simpsons.

 Sideshow Bob: Because you need me, Springfield. Your guilty conscience may force you to vote Democratic, but deep down inside you secretly long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king. That's why I did this: to protect you from yourselves.

    • Similarly, the episode "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming." Certainly, Bob claimed that he was doing a good deed by ridding Springfield of TV, but all it really did was make him the top dog in the manger.
      • Also, when Bob sees Springfield give into his demands, he exclaims "I should have made more demands!"
    • Bob's not the only one to utilize this trope: Jimbo Jones often steals dolls because he believes that they would harm girls. Even Bart Simpson has had shades of this. One particular example had Bart gaining increased intelligence from a drug, but then seemingly growing insane and beginning to believe that the MLB was spying on the town. He then went as far hijacking a tank from a military base, driving it across Springfield, and stopping in front of Springfield Elementary, and then proceeding to fire into the sky (after several tense moments where Bart periodically stopped the cannon on various locations [specifically, Springfield Elementary, The First Church of Springfield, and the Frame Shop, respectively]), shooting down the satellite, all in order to prove that he was indeed telling the truth and was certainly not crazy (well, for the most part).
    • Homer also had shades of this. One notable instance of this is when he decided to go all The Grinch on people on Christmas and steal gifts, because he legitimately believed that doing so would result in people actually caring for each other rather than focusing on themselves. Unfortunately for him, it backfired, resulting in the town hating him afterwards.
    • Marge exhibits at least one moment of this when she rallies to have all sweets banned from Springfield under "Marge's Law", leading to a bootlegging operation in which Homer himself is involved.
    • Mayor Quimby, the town's resident Corrupt Politician, also showcased shades of this. In one episode, he declared a 75 cent tax on the highway, and after people started evading it, tried to force people to go through the checkpoint. Why? Because he needed the tax money so that he could de-python the town fountain (which, as the phrase implies, means that the town fountain somehow got pythons in it, causing a panic when it sprays snakes instead of water, causing the occupants to leave). Another instance was when he tried to prohibit alcohol on St. Patrick's Day to reduce the potential amount of riots that would occur from being drunk, but it backfired when Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants were unable to put aside their differences without alcohol, and resulted in them still getting into a riot anyway.
    • Mr. Burns also sometimes has this as his motivation for some of his bad actions in some episodes: a particularly notable example was when he tried to ruin the Power Plant's union in "Last Exit to Springfield." The reason he felt that he should eliminate them was because he realized that it was becoming inherently corrupt, remembering what a worker his grandfather had dragged off had said, and wanted to destroy said corruption one way or another.
  • Often featured on South Park in the form of a Strawman Political.
  • Examples of this trope often turned up as villains/antagonists on Superfriends.
    • Including one villain who thought that it was such a crime to spend money on space exploration instead of helping the opposed to shrinking a whole space center and kidnapping everyone inside?
  • Agent Bishop from the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 animated series has one mission: to protect Earth from alien invasion. In order to achieve this, he has used aliens as unwilling test subjects for genetics experiments, faked an alien invasion and kidnapped the President in a ploy to guarantee funding for his agency, the Earth Protection Force, attempted to produce a sleeper army of super-soldiers to covertly kill people suspected of being aliens, and, ironically, prolonged an alien invasion in order to fulfill the terms of an agreement with yet another group of aliens. Eventually, however, deciding that diplomacy is a more long-lasting and effective way of protecting Earth, he gives up Black Ops.
  • In almost all incarnations of Transformers, Megatron is forced to become one of these because Decepticons were second-class citizens due to an earlier war. That is, of course, his only redeeming quality and it isn't a very good one.
    • Well, some of them are nice guys to those troops that don't betray them, and name Prime a "worthy opponent".
    • And note that, despite being "the bad guys", not all Decepticons are inherently evil. Many of them are just soldiers doing their jobs, and it's hardly their fault that the side they picked happened to have attracted the most psychos.
    • In Beast Machines, Megatron has a seemingly good idea, in principle. He wants to eliminate political squabbling, which results in nothing ever getting done, by uniting all machines under one mind. Of course, there are problems with this - Megatron is egomaniacal, wanting his mind to be the one in charge, sacrificing the minds of others and destroying those who would stand in his way (the Maximals). Also, he wants a purely technological world, eliminating all organic races (though aside from the Maximals, that already happened on Cybertron).
  • Nerissa, the main villain from WITCH, used to be one of the good guys in charge of protecting the universe, but soon realized that the only way to truly protect the universe was to bring it under her rule, so that she could ensure that there would be no war, suffering, or injustice. For the most part, she ensured that no innocent people were harmed in her crusade, aside from the heroes who opposed her.
    • Not that she cares if innocent people get hurt, mind you. Considering how she treated her own minions (that she created, one of which was a copy of her successor that she killed after she refused to fight the original to the death, basically her children and created an actual son strictly to use in her plans. It's also implied that she was behind the first season's Big Bad rise to power as a part of a Xanatos Gambit to obtain enough power to begin her conquest which lead to civil war on Meridian for over a decade. Her ideal world inside her prison at the end of Season 2 is one where everyone loves and obeys her, possibly meaning her "perfect world" mission statement is a self-delusion to cope with her It's All About Me tendencies. Also, her Start of Darkness was when she killed (accidentally, but still a serious loss of control) her friend after their boss gave her position to said friend. She was also petty enough to sic a animated garbage can on a vagrant just for looking at her wrong. This is not a person you want running your universe.
  • Magneto of Wolverine and the X-Men sees himself as closer to this than Knight Templar, but considering his plan...well, it's probably closer to the latter in the eyes of others.
    • Magneto's depiction in the 90s X-Men cartoon also qualifies. When Xavier questions his ideas, Magneto states that attempting to go with reason against an enemy using force led to it getting crushed.
  • The National Security Agency of The Zeta Project veer in and out of this trope. They exist to take down high tech terrorists and threats to human life, basically serving as the FBI and CIA of their universe. However, they themselves have had a lot of morally gray moments. Allowing a mad bomber to kill people because he'd get a terrorist they were after in the process, for instance, along with a lot of human rights violations all over the place. You have no right to a trial, they do not need a search warrant, they can detain you against your will, you do not have the right to an attorney when interrogated, and they carry weapons that are a lot more vicious and brutal than bullets. The zigzagging trope part comes in when they're proven to be completely right half the time and, as a part of the DCAU, they've faced end of the world scenarios before.