Despicable/Morally depraved fictional characters...Ain't they lovable?

Brain from Pinky and the Brain. Every episode I wished he’d finally achieve his dream of world conquest. Also Anthony Soprano.

Avon wasn’t really irredeemably evil though, just morally dubious at times, with self-preservation as his ultimate guiding principle.

Servalan on the other hand ought to be included, if only for the fetishistic outfits…

Call me weird, but after seeing Happosai from Ranma 1/2 in several volumes, I almost have to root for him now, maily because he’s completely misunderstood by almost everybody.

(Oh yeah, first off, a caveat: Happosai is the type of character who can become unbelievably insufferable and almost singlehandedly kill a comic, much like Mr. Yotsuya in Maison Ikkoku. You gotta know exactly how to handle them, and you gotta put them in the right kind of story. It’s not a character anyone, manga-ists or otherwise, should introduce lightly.)

Now then. Just about everyone in Ranma 1/2 calls him a pervert. But is he really? Consider:

  • He takes things that aren’t his.
  • He cites privileges he doesn’t deserve.
  • He’s completely self-serving and doesn’t give a damn about anyone else.
  • He’s a spoiled brat who wants everything his way.
  • He abuses every bit of authority he has to the breaking point.
  • He enjoys causing mayhem and doing things others don’t want him to.
  • He’s oblivious to morals, standards, norms, etc.
  • He really, really loves violence.

Folks, what we have here is a description of EVERY MAJOR MALE CHARACTER IN RANMA 1/2. So why is only Happosai the big pervert? Simple…he’s honest about it, and he likes panties.

This isn’t a pervert, folks, this is a reality check. Here we have a man who’s pulling the exact kind of crap everyone else does, only he doesn’t care what they think. When you look at it that way, he’s almost…refreshing. (Oh yeah, and it helps that it’s always played for laughs and Rumiko Takahashi never lets it get too deep, etc.)

P.S.: IMHO, Bender is a complete waste of metal; I found him entertaining for all of two minutes. Same for Eric Cartman, and I will not hear any silly rationalizations for him. And Dee Dee isn’t despicable or morally depraved, she’s just a foil for Dexter (and she’s done a helluva lot more good than Bender, for that matter).

Sephiroth baby, Sephiroth. He’s got more Charisma just walking on-screen than most vilains ever achieve.

And then there’s Captain Jack Sparrow, from the recent Pirates of the Caribbean…

I’d also like to nominate Artemis Entreri from R. A. Salvatore’s Servant of the Shard (well, he’s been in many of his other works, beforehand, but this one focused on Entreri himself). Sure, he’s an Assassin, a cold blooded killer, and for a while obsessed with killing one of Faerun’s better heroes. But still, he’s so deep. Its never really explained why he’s so bad, but its hinted that he doesn’t really believe good exists. He isn’t a hero, he’s just someone who lived in bad circumstances and survived in them.

What?? No mention of Jules or Vincent Vega?

Andrew Vachss’ Burke is not anyone’s model citizen, yet comfortably fills the role of hero through the series.

I’ve always loved Garak on ST:DS9. Formerly a professional assassin and torturer, utterly pragmatic and ruthless in obtaining his goals, and such a delightful lunch date.


That should be Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with no little grinning guy in the middle.

Littlefinger, from George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. He’s witty, genial, and a fancy dresser…and he’s behind everything bad that goes down. Assassinations, dissolution of political alliances, wars…all his doing. I love him.

Sam Spade, from The Maltese Falcon.

He is cheating with his partner’s wife, and then shoves off the task of getting rid of her to his secretary. He systematically steals almost every dime she has from Brigid O"Shaughnessy, who he claims to be crazy about. He slaps Joel Cairo around, lies to the police, and tells the truth to practically no one he knows.

And yet you are rooting for him.


Flashman, from all the Flashman books by George MacDonald Fraser. Cad, bully, coward, womanizer, liar, sneak, the list goes and on, but an intelligent rogue with an eye for history and a gift for languages, so he can be forgiven.

In addition to Littlefinger from Song of Ice and Fire, by George R. R. Martin, none other than Tyrion Lannister. Remorseless, conniving, and vicious, but mainly because it enables him to deal effectively with the countless other blackhearted bastards in the books. He preys on the powerful, not the powerless.

Apropos, from Sir Apropos of Nothing and Woad to Wuin by Peter David. The fantasy version of Flashman, he is the destroyer of clichés. If the hero is destined to ride on the back of the unicorn to rescue the fair princess, Apropos will mug him, steal the unicorn, and ride the creature off to sell it.

Although he only made a brief appearance: Jubal Early, a bounty hunter who appeared in the late, lamented Firefly. So evil, and yet so damn cool.

I’m sure I’ll think of more…

Knowed Out, you beat me to Flashman. You describe him well, and the great thing is, he knows it!

to restate that last sentence:

Knowed Out, you beat me to Flashman. You describe him well, and the great thing is, he knows what a tool he is, and freely admits it to the reader.

C. Montgomery Burns. War profiteer, puppy stealer, sunlight blocker, bane of the EPA (not to mention FERC), and, in general, all-around evil dude. But who didn’t feel a little sorry for him when he lost all his money and had to go to the supermarket by himself?

“Ketchup… catsup… ketchup… catsup… ooh, I’m in over my head!”

Havelock Vetinari, Patrician of Ankh-Morpork. Now there’s a man who really knows how to be cruel in order to be kind.

Vetinari is totally not morally bankrupt! And not cute! He does everything for the stability of the city. That’s why everyone hates him and he is so cool.

For this category, I nominate C. W. St. J. “Nobby” Nobbs, the cute little tea-money-stealing cretin. I mean, he does a surprising amount to be involved in the community, but that mostly involves dressing up in strange costumes and supporting the memory of tyrannical kings.

Oh, I agree, qwanderer, Vetinari only has the best ends in mind–it’s the means that can get a bit hairy from time to time. Or, rather, the potential means. It is much cooler to have a reputation for keeping a scorpion pit in your dungeon than to actually have to resort to using one.

How about Francis Urquhart from the BBC production of House of Cards?

Definitely. I root for Jason to slaughter every last member of the cast in every Friday the 13th.