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I was just trying to make the world a safer place for children.
~ Sheila Broflovski, attempting to explain her evil actions.

An Anti-Villain is the opposite of an Anti-Hero; while the anti-hero often fights on the side of good, but with selfish motives; the anti-villain plays a villain's game, but for a noble cause...at least in their eyes. 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 evil.

Sometimes, they may simply be a villain with gentlemanly qualities, a code of honor, or some sense of justice. 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.

These villains are also often considered grey characters due to their constant moral ambiguity. It is possible and in fact very common to be both an anti-villain and anti-hero at the same time, depending on the character's goal and their methods of attaining it.

In essence, these are characters that although technically villains often serve in a noble capacity, which makes them sporadically heroic. They also can be in the center of being in the Grey Zone, depending on their alignment. Alternatively, characters that are meant to be seen as villains in universe or out, but are not really all that evil, such as a Designated Villain or a Punch Clock Villain, may also be this.

Examples of popular anti-villains include Char Aznable from Mobile Suit GundamMagneto from the X-Men, Shadow from Sonic the Hedgehog, Mello from Death Note, Hector Barbossa from Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean, Stewie Griffin from Family Guy, Benjamin Linus, V from V for Vendetta, Jin Kazama from Tekken, Agent John Bishop from the TMNT franchise, Itachi Uchiha from the Naruto series, Severus Snape from Harry Potter and the Imposter Dan from Dan Vs.

IMPORTANT: Never add Pure Evil to this category, as they remain eternally and irredeemably evil. Also, simply honorable, redeemed, or relatable villains are NOT anti-villains; anti-villains must be constantly walking the line between staying a villain and joining the good side to qualify.

Subcategories

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