From this, we can make a template to analyze villains. Compare the villains below:
Has complex motivation: wants to save the world and bring world peace.
Is Amoral: has an "ends justify the means" attitude and commits atrocities knowing it'll be worth it in the end.
Knowingly does bad things, feels only slightly bad about them.
Does have a moral limit, but avoids crossing it.
Has simple motivation: destroy their enemies.
Is Immoral: knowingly lies, cheats, steals, and stabs people in the back to get what they want.
Does not see themselves as a villain, but an all-loving anti-hero fighting "the true villains."
Has no moral limit.
Has simple motivation: to beat out their competition.
Is Moral: will not cheat, lie, or steal. Uses only the power of hard work and determination.
Does not see themselves as a villain, mainly for not doing anything villainous.
Obviously has moral limits.
Has no known motivation, but appears to be destroying/eating everything it comes into contact with.
Is Amoral: does not operate on human logic. Simply uses brute force.
Does not see themselves as a villain.
Has no moral limit.
Wildly different antagonists, huh? Villain A would be your classic "anti-villain" archetype, who's heart might be in the right place, but the way they go about it turns them into a villainous person. It's easier to sympathize with Villain A than Villain B, the self-righteous hypocrite villain like Borderlands 2's Handsome Jack or the less-funny Voldemort from Harry Potter. Then you have the honest rival, who'd be your Apollo Creed from Rocky, Iceman from Top Gun, or Miles Edgeworth from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. Villain D is the animalistic antagonist, ranging from the Xenomorph from Alien to the cosmic horrors of H.P. Lovecraft's works.
Again, these variables are not exhaustive, so I'm sure you can find more.
Many of the choices for villains are similar for heroes, but due to narrative focus, i.e. more screentime, some choices will be different.
First, what is their level of motivation for getting what they want? Some heroes want to jump right into the fray, such as most shonen protagonists, or like any hero of the Star Wars franchise: Anakin, Luke, and Rey all want to jump head-first into adventure and already have minoring adventuring experience beforehand, almost practicing for the real deal. Harry Potter jumps at his chance to go to Hogwarts, Bill & Ted see their time-traveling adventure as a godsend for their history assignment, Shirou of Fate/Stay Night dives in headfirst when he finds out he has no choice but to fight in the Holy Grail War, Neo of The Matrix is sick of his boring life and joins the Zion rebels to fight the Machines, and in a darker example, Ishmael jumps at the chance to go on a whaling adventure in Moby Dick, in a time where sea creatures were considered kaiju. In some cases, the hero just rolls with it because they don't have a choice: Gordon Freeman of Half Life finds himself at ground zero for intergalactic disaster, and has no choice but to pick up a crowbar and fight for survival, as is the case for the hero of Doom. In Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent is minding his own business when his house gets demolished to make way for a new highway, and just when things can't get any worse, it turns out Earth is going to be demolished for an intergalactic highway, so Arthur hitches a ride with Ford Prefect through space because he has no choice. Some heroes want to go on the journey, but not every hero does.
Naturally, this ties into the next question: what is their goal? This is pretty basic storytelling stuff. Do they want a physical goal or an internal goal? Physical goals include stuff like win the contest, get the love interest, defeat the villain, and so on. Internal goals include stuff like maturity/growth, peace of mind, coping with a past upset, and so on. Of course, neither is mutually exclusive: as I've written about in the past, many journeys require characters to achieve the internal goal before getting the external goal, and in some cases, the external goal to achieve in the internal (though, this materialist twist on things is less common). And again, not every story needs both: sometimes you can only have an external goal if the characters' arcs are solidified, or an internal goal if the story is more laid back. To illustrate this, I offer two examples:
First, a serious example. In Mr. Holland's Opus, Mr. Holland wants to be a famous composer, so he decides he's going to be a music teacher: he's got all summers and evenings off and decent pay, so of course he'll have time to write, right? Turns out the school wants him to host some after-school stuff, tutor kids, and to spend more time at work. Not only that, his wife is pregnant, and when the son is born, it turns out he's deaf. Now Mr. Holland has to balance his family life and work life, and the story progresses over multiple decades as he focuses more on getting closer to his deaf son and saving the school's music program than writing his opus. Finally, the school shuts down the music program, Mr. Holland is about to retire, and he never finished his opus. However, just as he's about to leave, he's led to the school auditorium, where all of the students he influenced fill the crowd, and his son and wife wait in the crowd, and he gives one final performance before all of them. So, despite not getting to fulfill his dreams to become a rich and famous composer, he got something more important: the love of the people he most cares about and who care about him.
Second, a not-so-serious example: in Kingpin, Roy Munson is a former champion bowler who gets screwed over by rival Ernie McCracken, resulting in the loss of his hand and the end of his career. Cut to several years later: Roy now has a prosthetic hand, living in a rundown apartment where he's forced to have sex with the hideous and ill-tempered landlady to pay the rent, clearly having given up on life. The rest of the plot follows him as he tries to climb out of the gutter (pun only slightly intended) and get revenge on Ernie in the latest tournament, joined by Ishmael, a young Amish man learning how to bowl to save his family via tournament prize money, and Claudia, a woman escaped a relationship with an abusive bowler herself. Things go well for a while, as Roy nearly beats Ernie after all these years, but Ernie still wins, much to Roy's horror, and Ernie seems to get off scot-free for his crimes. But despite losing, Roy's efforts pay off: Roy gets an endorsement from Trojan for his nickname "Rubber Man" for his prosthetic rubber hand, and Ishmael is forgiven for secretly bowling after Roy and Claudia explain the whole thing. In the end, Roy donates his money to Ishmael's family to save his farm, and he and Claudia drive off into the sunset. He didn't get the money, but at least he got a new chance at life.
Both films are classic examples that not every goal can be achieved, but the journey to maturity is often more important.
Of course, how do they go about getting what they want? Same case with the villains, and here lies the sliding scale of heroes to anti-heroes. True heroes are paragons (read: high examples) of morality and goodness. They don't cheat, lie, steal, or hurt others. On one end of the scale, we got the truly heroic heroes who refuse to kill people (ala The Lone Ranger, Batman), who use their powers to make the world a better place (despite his snarky exterior, like Tony Stark, aka Iron Man), and use their influence to unite people (Jim Raynor from Starcraft, the titular Harry Potter, Optimus Prime from Transformers). Going down the scale, you got the classic anti-hero, i.e. a hero with not-so-heroic traits: Tony Stark has all of the classic heroic qualities, from his ideals to use his technology for peace, willingness to sacrifice himself to save humanity, and never giving up in the face of adversity, but he's also rude, ill-tempered, doesn't play well with others, cynical, and when he's not battling alcoholism, he's facing anxiety attacks. The same can be said of Star Wars' Han Solo or Dameron Poe: both loose cannons who don't play by the rules, but also willing to set that aside to save the galaxy. Deadpool is a self-aware example: he describes himself as "a bad guy who beats up the worse guys," and is willing to murder villains with no remorse (and plenty of quips), but is still a compassionate and protective person past all his snark and comedic sociopathy. Some heroes aren't above lying or trickery to save the day: they can be as harmless as Axel Foley from Beverly Hills Cop or the Doctor of Doctor Who, or the Chaotic Neutral of Jack Sparrow of Pirates of the Caribbean. Going further down the line, we have the previously-mention tragic heroes, who do pretty terrible things to worse people. At the furthest end of the spectrum, you have the villain protagonist, who blurs the line between hero and villain: folks like Light from Death Note or Captain Walker from Spec Ops: The Line. At this point, the only thing that makes them a "hero" is that they're the protagonist, but looked at objectively, they're really just villains in denial.
And lastly, is there a moral line the heroes are willing to cross to get what they want? On Nickelodeon, there have been numerous episodes on every series dedicated to this: the episode of Rocko's Modern Life where Rocko becomes a megalomaniac boss, one episode where Doug pawns off somebody's stuff (albeit unknowingly) for extra cash, an episode of Aaah! Real Monsters! where Ickis decides to exploit people's phobias than be naturally scary like his school is teaching him to do, and so on. Of course, in the end, they're always punished for it (most famously with Ickis having to clean the bathroom floors with a toothbrush). The majority of heroes won't stay over the morally ambiguous line forever, often always having a "WHAT AM I DOING?!," reaction before stepping back. But when they stay over the line, they often become villains, and such moments are both heartbreaking but oh-so-amazing: Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face in Batman, or Sephiroth in Final Fantasy VII transforming from the stoic badass leader into the maniacal harbinger of doom.
Again, this list is not exhaustive, but it should give you an idea of your choices when it comes to heroes. In short:
Compare and contrast these heroes. The template is a little simpler, as answering one will answer another:
Wants to save the world, is completely willing to go on the journey.
Tries to be Moral, but can be Amoral. Does the right thing for the most part, but is willing to compromise their values if desperate.
Does have a moral limit, only crosses it out of desperation, feels regretful if doing so.
Wants to save the world, doesn't have a choice, but goes through with it anyway.
Is Moral: will not lie, cheat, or do anything to compromise their values.
Does have a moral limit and will not cross it.
Just wants to get stronger, uses external goal as a crucible for change.
Is Moral: will not cheat, lie, or steal. Uses only the power of hard work and determination.
Obviously has moral limits.
Hero D:Hero A would be your classic hero typical of a Hero's Journey arc. They want to do good, but certain traits hold them back until they finish their character arc. Hero B is the reluctant hero: they don't want to go on the journey, but since they have to, they're going to play the hero to the best of their ability. Hero C is the foil to Villain C: two rivals in fair competition. Hero D is the "Hero in name only": depending on the story, they can either be "the bad guy who beats of the worse guys," such as Michael Corleone from The Godfather or Tony Montana from Scarface, or just a plain villain protagonist.
Wants to destroy their enemies at any cost.
Is Immoral: Uses the tactics of the very people they're fighting, simply because the villains will "do it first."
Has no moral limits, willing to do hideous things in the name of "good."
Project updates, personal news, and daily advice (unless I'm sick or something comes up) can be found on my Tumblr blog.
I'm an writer, musician, tutor, animator, voice actor, artist, quasi-life coach, and generally nice guy.
I make satirical comics, animated comedy videos, and tons of guides on everything from writing to psychology. I specialize in prefab programs like Garry's Mod, Walfas, MMD, ComiPo, and so on. I mainly use them as outlets for my writing.
I'm a huge Touhou fan (as you might tell by half the content on my page) and own virtually all of the games (yes, I do play the games), and although I'm pretty knowledgeable about the series, I'm not the "end-all-be-all authority" on Touhou: all of my knowledge comes from Touhou Wiki and the guidebooks. I tend to be vocal about emphasizing good ol' vanilla content, but I still think you're free to do what you want. (I will warn you that non-vanilla content has always been hard, no matter the series.)
As much as I like making stuff, my goal is to help other people make stuff. I do my best to help people hold higher standards for themselves both online and offline. In addition to all of my writing and Walfas guides, I also write tons of psychology/self-help guides based on stuff that's help me and others. Again, I'm no expert: I just really like sharing ideas I think others would find useful.
One of my big goals is to help improve both the Walfas community and its public image within the Touhou community. We've already come a long way from the early days in 2008, and it's already gotten to a point where the Walfas community has been invited to speak at multiple anime conventions. My hope is to continue I raising the community's standards higher so that Walfas becomes even more widely accepted among Western Touhou fandom.
If you meet me, please don't treat me like some superstar or infallible god: I just make the stuff I make as a hobby, and all I really want is to fit in, help people out, and have fun. If you hang out in the Walfas community long enough, you will encounter me, and you'll find I'm just an ordinary guy behind the insanely high production values and personal standards. I'm not omnipotent, so don't treat me as such (it never ends well for anybody). Treat me as you would treat your friends. (Or, if you're socially awkward, treat your friends as you would treat me.)
You may use any of my original characters or my DNA in any of your projects without my permission unless I explicitly say, "Don't do that." Of course, this is extremely rare, so go ahead and use them. All of my OC DNAs are in this thread, but my most used DNAs are down below.
I have a very, VERY sarcastic sense of humor, but if I include you as a cameo, it's because I admire you or your work, so any off-color jokes I make are only out of good fun. (In real life, I actually avoid being a smartass because it's actually quite harmful to both the self and others. I believe it should only be reserved for writing satires because it's a powerful tool for getting points across.)
I am also very, VERY critical: I have absurdly high standards for art of all mediums, but not to be a jerk, but because I think everyone has more potential than they think. We're all prone to mistakes (even me), but some do more than others, and I want to help them become the best whatever they can be. My biggest lesson to everyone is this: you are better than you think you are, always.
Spaztique - 3.39:Spaz:100:225:134:216:209:2:0:0:0:136:0:42250D
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Trevor Terry Chase - 3.39:Chase:72:0:128:148:226:49:0:68:0:0:0:352F12
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Ao Usagi Tribute Show - Season 1
The Shin(g)o Incident (co-written by TTBNC)
Walfas Satire (ongoing)
Diamond In The Rough: A Self-Insert Deconstruction (co-written by BrolliDiamondback and the Walfas/Touhou community at large)
Unleash The Hermit Within
On haitus till further notice.
Voidspawn (75% complete)
Flight of the Steel Butterfly (35% complete)
Walfas Satire: The Movie: The Comic! (40% complete)
Legend of Derp (co-written by TTBNC, unknown status)
Diamond In The Rough: After Story (Drafting)
Guides (Worked on sporadically, uploaded randomly):
Guide to Criticism
More Story Shapes - Advanced Story Shapes
Ao Usagi Tribute Show Season 2
Koishi's Heart-Throbbing Abridgement
Mind The Gap
Durer's Rhinoceros: Experiments in Blind Fics.
In Development Hell:
Five Dangerous Months At The Hinata Inn
DitR Sequel/DitR After Story