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The Designated Villains

Designated Villains

A "Designated Villain" is an antagonist in any media where had they not been opposing the protagonist(s) they would not be considered villainous, they may even of been considered heroic.

This is very common in media that has Moral Absolutist themes and can easily divide fan bases as some sympathize with the so-called "bad guy" more than the "hero" (especially in media where the "hero" is sometimes worse than the "bad guy").

This type of villain is rarely evil and if they do turn into actual villains it is usually due to provocation by the protagonists, making them very different from the evil-doers of traditional media.

Examples

  • Ms. Finster (Recess) (Finster is seen as a villain to the children due to her strict rules but she is actually doing her job, albeit with a little more force than necessary - she also doesn't deliberately set out to be cruel, in fact she hates bullies and will defend the children from unnecessary cruelty. This is Finster's true purpose on the playground, to keep the children safe and also enforce school rules, the reason she is an antagonist is because this goes against the ideals of the show (which is to have "fun") ).
  • Principal Prickly (Recess) (much like Finster it is Prickley's job to enforce order in the school, which makes him unpopular with the children - he may have a slightly immature side to him but this is no worse than your average "jerk" and the main reason he is an antagonist is simply because he opposes the ideals of the show (which is to have "fun" - something that while permitted in recess certainly is not the focus of someone like Prickley, whose job is to see the children get a proper education and are kept safe) ).
  • Hulk (when portrayed as a "villain" it is almost always due to someone else provoking him and almost all mainstream versions of Hulk are essentially good characters - they are simply the victims of aggression and prejudice by many of the so-called "heroic" factions (such as the army and Tony Stark) ).
  • Wolf O'Donnell (Star Fox) (Although he is clearly depicted as a rival bounty hunter to Fox McCloud, the Star Fox 64 strategy guide strongly implies that he and his mercenary group are only on Andross's side because of Pigma Dengar's machinations, and that Wolf may have considered Fox a friend in another time and place. In addition, in both Assault and Command, Wolf O'Donnell is shown to have a code of honor and was also clearly willing to ally himself with Fox McCloud to take down a genuine threat to the Lylat System, and in the latter game wanted to remove the bounty on his head).
  • Pacha (The Emperor's New Groove) (Although Pacha was clearly a heroic and kind-hearted character, Kuzco's narration in the beginning of the film pinned him as one of the main villains, namely when recapping how Kuzco became a llama, and was also implicitly blamed with kidnapping him when he played absolutely no role in Kuzco's karma, and wasn't even aware that Kuzco's comatose body was placed on his wagon).

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