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"But I do. I believe you. No... WE believe you. We'd like to volunteer to help you. Some of us. most of us, we've done terrible things on behalf of our own life. We killed people, including me... Even me... I killed people like Tomoo and dozens of other Mafusa gangsters in Tenguu City. You know some of us here are spies. Saboteurs. Assassins. Everything we did, all people we killed, were for the sake of other people we vowed to protect. And every time I walked away from something I wanted to forget I told myself it was for a cause that I believed in. A cause that was worth it. Without that, we're lost."
Imperia Deamonne describing herself and her allies to Lucas Kellan

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, Bismarck Bodewig from LOTM: Sword of Kings, Eve Fullbuster from LOTM: Sword of Kings, Stewie Griffin from Family Guy, V from V for Vendetta, Jin Kazama from Tekken, Satsuki Kiryuin from Kill la Kill, Agent John Bishop from the TMNT franchise, Itachi Uchiha from the Naruto series, Maria Arzonia from LOTM: Witnesses of Sleepy HollowSelina Strawberry from LOTM: Witnesses of Sleepy Hollow, and the Imposter Dan from Dan Vs.

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