Dig deeper into the "Affably Evil" and "Good is Not Nice" tropes in this week's installment!
Fanart Friday returns, deeper than you expected it to be. Deep like Squall. Last week, we started May's "tropes" theme with a look at the "Genius Bruiser" and "Badass Bookworm" character types. This time around, we're focusing on allegiances and alignments, and checking out characters defined by the "AFFABLY EVIL" and "GOOD IS NOT NICE" tropes!
Real people can very rarely be described as purely "good" or "evil," and many of our favorite characters remind us of ourselves in this way. "Affably Evil" characters are polite and considerate, but do awful things, while some heroes prove that "Good is Not Nice" by having massive personality defects while always choosing to do the right thing. Let's get started!
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Easily my favorite personification of the "Affably Evil" trope is Gargoyles' main antagonist David Xanatos, who also has his very own trope! Xanatos performs cruel genetic experiments and uses people left and right, but even with all that he's actually a smooth, fairly pleasant guy.
Now, I've only watched the first handful of episodes of Nisemonogatari (I was actually hoping for more Katanagatari and was turned off by Bakemonogatari's change in artstyle), but from what I hear, Kaiki's one evil mofo... but again, he's the friendly, polite kind of evil.
If you've still got the music video playing, it's a pretty good indicator of GLaDOS' overall mood. Over the course of both Portal games, we see that she'll gleefully send you to your death, after getting you to trust her. That's not cool.
There are few actual good guys in Hellsing--the forces of evil are so powerful, so ruthless, that it would be absolute insanity to show even the slightest bit of mercy. Integra and Alucard both show that sometimes the "good guys" will shoot you in the back, and not only if they have to.
Doctor Doom tends to aim a little too high for his own good. Sorry, dude, The Doctor is gonna kick your ass without actually physically kicking your ass. Doom has a lot going for him--armor to rival Iron Man, intelligence to rival Reed Richards', vast knowledge of sorcery, a keen tactical mind--all of which are crippled by his enormous ego, which leads him, more often than not, to fight fairly and treat his enemies humanely. Doom needs no petty tricks.
In Journey to the West, Genjo Sanzo was supposed to be a wise monk, but Saiyuki's re-imagining has made him a chain-smoking, gun-toting monk with a hell of a mean streak. Oh sure, he'll save your village and put down all the demons who are giving you trouble, but then he'll berate you in front of your loved ones and probably kick your puppy on the way out of town.
I'm totally in the dark regarding Medaka Box, but Misogi Kumagawa apparently fights using screws. He's one of the good guys, but come on, there's a limit to a good guy's weapons... right?
At the beginning of Mass Effect 2, I actually trusted the Illusive Man. A lot of that has to do with being voiced by Martin Sheen, AKA ultra-charismatic President Bartlett of The West Wing. He's so eloquent and straightforward that it's easy to get sucked in. When he reveals his dark side in the same eloquent and straightforward manner, he still delivers it in a way that you feel like you should trust.
There's an incredibly tense moment a ways into Bleach where two Captains confront Captain-Commander Yamamoto Shigekuni Genryuusai. Sure, he taught them everything they know in terms of fighting and leadership, but he's just an old man, right? Wrong. Dead wrong. Yamamoto may be one of the good guys, but he does not have time to teach babies how to breathe--if you can't hang with him, he'll put you out of your misery without a second thought.
While playing Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, you'll probably feel Godot is one of the most infuriating jerkasses you've ever encountered in a video game. The guy is such a gigantic tool! But it's all for a good reason, and it's revealed to you at the end of the game. He's still a tool, though.
Y'know, fine, I get it. A lot of people like Batman, more so than just about any other DC hero. But I do think a lot of people like him for the wrong reasons: his shitty personality, or his horrendous trust issues, or how he's just the mental version to Superman's "punch it in the face" solution (i.e. "Batman is already prepared for it"). Thing is, despite his problems, he's the kind of guy who jumps in front of traffic to save an inattentive homeless woman. He's the kind of guy who understands fear, and understands coping with it. His "good" may not be "nice," but he's still a good person.
Oh Aizen, you insufferable ass. Aizen and his noxious cloud of smug permeated like 75% of Bleach, but he seemed like such a nice guy! Both he and his right-hand lunatic Gin are what can be called "Faux Affably Evil," but I think they deserve a spot here anyways.
Honestly, no Pokémon villain will ever match up to Giovanni for me. The boss of Team Rocket, Giovanni wasn't afraid of a stand-up fight, and didn't like having any unfair advantages. Plus, he was a man's man, unlike the disappointing N, who would lose in a fistfight against any of the trainers from Black or White.
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I'm surprised Ragna hasn't just decked Hazama already. In the first BlazBlue, Hazama only showed up in Story Mode to give you a hard time and move the plot along, but once he actually joined the battle in Continuum Shift, his dickishness increased exponentially. It's nice having that balance--Hazama is funny, and he's friendly, but then he tries to jam a knife in you and it all goes sideways.
I'm just gonna go on record and say that Berserk villains are really, really dumb. Guts doesn't just fight to win, he crushes his enemies and sees them driven before him, and waits around to hear their lamentations before he smashes them with his seven-foot-long slab of a sword. It just doesn't make sense to be evil in the world of Berserk.
I'm... honestly a little concerned by how happy Lina Inverse looks here. I mean, she murders bandits for fun, and at one point in Slayers, she runs off to kill a bunch of them because she was having a bad day and needed to let off some steam. What the hell, Lina?
Kurama, on the other hand, doesn't take quite so much delight in separating people from their mortal coil. Oh, he'll still do it, of course (and in excessively brutal and creative ways), but even considering his moderate temper, he's the least "good" of Yu Yu Hakusho's good guys. Hiei's still a straight-up bad guy in my book.
Now, in D.Gray-Man, Kanda is an actual good guy. He's also a total jerk. He's like Batman--awful personality, but his heart's in the right place.
Evangelion built its foundation on having hard-to-like characters, so both Asuka and Rei fit nicely on this list. They both have major problems connecting with people, and if you knew anyone like them you'd probably avoid them or always magically happen to be busy when they wanted to hang out. Hey, times are tough--the economy, Third Impact and all that. They'll understand.
Even with all his crazy machinations and schemes in three separate Slayers series, Xellos isn't really that bad a guy. Or is he? It's a secret!
And that's all for this week! There's no way I could have included every "nice" bad guy and every "mean" hero, so sound off in the comments--who else do you think should be on this list?
Like I say every week, your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday, regardless of your skill level or experience. Just PM me a link to your work, and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! For those of you wanting a head start on next week's theme, we'll be continuing our look at tropes with an old favorite, TRUE COMPANIONS, formerly known as NAKAMA! We already kinda covered this with We Ride Together, We Die Together Edition, but this time we'll be focusing exclusively on teams and groups who always have each others' backs. Which characters do you think fit this trope?
Thanks as always for coming to check out Fanart Friday--have a great weekend, and we hope to see you next time!