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    A notable example of a half-baked redemption.
    A notable example of a well-written redemption.
    Another notable example of a half-baked redemption.
    Another notable example of a well-written redemption.

    A Half-Baked Redemption is when a villain who is portrayed as irredeemably evil or passes the "Moral Event Horizon" suddenly redeems themselves without any hints or explanation of redemption before this. This kind of redemption is a poor move in terms of writing and teaching mercy and forgiveness in fiction.

    Notable examples of half-baked redemptions

    Anime

    • Rei Isurugei (Gegege no Kitaro (2018 – 2020)): The anime practically ignored both the fact that he already crossed the Moral Event Horizon more than once with his attacks on Yokai and the fact he refused multiple times to let go of his revenge. Instead, it had the heroes force him to redeem himself because they still didn't want to kill him despite everything he's done (even though Kitaro has been willing to kill if necessary) and used his tragic backstory as an excuse to justify showing mercy, even though he never showed any. All of this, plus the fact that Shōnen manga and anime tend to force redemption and mercy even if the said villain does not deserve it.
    • Mabyo (Gegege no Kitaro (2018 – 2020)): This monster brainwashes an entire city (including Kitaro, Medama Oyaji, Neko Musume, and Mana's Auntie Rie), tries to kill Mana and her Uncle Shoji for finding out, and tries to brainwash the entire world into his kingdom. Despite all this, Shoji insists that the yokai forgive him because he's "still a Sakaiminato citizen", which is a pathetic reason to spare this monster when he should have been taken down by Kitaro's Finger Guns.
    • Wolfrun, Akaoni, and Majorina (Smile Precure! (2012-2013)): Despite being some of the most memorable villains in the Precure franchise, their redemptions felt less like actual redemption and more like the writers shooing them away so they can only focus on the Cures and Candy.
    • Red (Happiness Charge Precure! (2014-2015)): He caused all the bad things that happened in the season, including tricking Hime into opening the Axia Box and turning Maria into Queen Mirage which caused Iona to be angry with Hime in the first place. Despite all this, the cures insistently chose to purify him rather than destroy him for everything he did just because he's Blue's brother.
    • Julio/Rio Kuroki/Pikario (Kirakira★PreCure a la Mode (2017)): Despite fans liking his human form's appearance, his redemption was very poorly executed. He possesses the Kirakiraru Thieves into doing his bidding, disguises himself as a student to spy on the Cures, tried multiple times to break them mentally, and even after being revealed to be Kirarin/Ciel’s brother and purified, he continued to be loyal to Noir. But the cures (particularly Ichika), refuse to give up on him just because he’s Kirarin’s brother and insists they can change his mind. Even when he sacrifices himself to save his sister from an attack, the writers refuse to keep him dead and even have Gummy forgive him when he did nothing to earn it. Later in episode 41 when the townsfolk accusing him of stealing makes him face the realities of his actions and prompt him to run away, the over-forgiving cures refuse to accept this, with Ciel particularly forbidding him from running away.
    • Erisio (Kirakira★PreCure a la Mode (2017)): He nearly destroyed the entire world in the climax of the season. But Ichika stubbornly refuses to kill him and insists that sweets prove he has a heart, not caring that he’s about to destroy the world and everyone she cares about. He just gets to live with no comeuppance or punishment for his actions, and the cures insist that it is a good thing.
    • Godatz (Delicious Party♡PreCure (2022-2023)): He framed Takumi's father Monpei/Cinnamon for stealing the Recipe-Bon out of jealousy, brainwashed Amane into Gentlu, and almost caused a worldwide famine to the whole world. But Yui dumbly insists that Godatz is redeemable just because "all Cook Fighters ate at the same table" despite everything he's done over a grudge he held for 20 years. This foolish idea causes Godatz to nearly kill her, Takumi, and Kome-Kome, but Yui refuses to learn anything from this and still forces him to redeem just because she didn't want to go against her late grandma's sayings. And even though Godatz is imprisoned in the final episode, Monpei still forgives him when he really shouldn't for everything he put him through.
    • Kabaton (Hirogaru Sky! PreCure (2023-present)): Throughout his appearances in the first few episodes, he never showed a single redeeming quality about himself, even up to the point where he farted in Sora's face. But despite this, the writers refused to have Sora rightfully kill him and make her forcibly purify him. This is a prime example of how aggressive the writers and producers of the Precure franchise have become about insisting on cures showing mercy and purifying villains who didn't go through proper arcs and never kill when they arguably should.
    • Battamonda (Hirogaru Sky! PreCure (2023-present)): His redemption was just as rushed as Kabaton's because not only did he barely show any redeeming qualities prior, but he crossed the line when he put the King and Queen of Skyland in coma, kidnapped Elle, and turned Captain Shalala into a Ranborg. But the show still forces his purification near the end of the season. Before this, episodes attempted but failed to make him sympathetic and lessen the intensity of his actions.
    • Orochimaru (Naruto): Arguably the evilest character in the Naruto series, Orochimaru committed a serious number of crimes like killing Hiruzen Sarutobi, attacking Konoha, turning Sasuke against his teammates, joining Akatsuki, killing countless people... and yet he gets pardoned after reviving the four deceased Hokages to fight Obito and Madara Uchiha, ignoring all the atrocities he started. After Naruto becomes Hokage, he regards Orochimaru as one of his best friends and allows him to keep playing God with people's lives without fear of repercussion, with Masashi Kishimoto even revealing in an interview that Orochimaru eventually achieves his dream of becoming immortal.
    • Kabuto Yakushi (Naruto): Despite being Orochimaru's most loyal henchman and his major role in the Fourth Shinobi World War that resulted in the deaths of many people, he does not get punished for his crimes and is allowed to run an orphanage.
    • Toneri Ōtsutsuki (The Last: Naruto the Movie) Despite everything he has done and the two mutually hating each other because they both love Hinata, Naruto still finds it in himself to save Toneri from a painful death at the last minute. While he gets easily forgiven by Naruto and Hinata, he has to live with the realization that his actions went completely against his ancestor's wishes. It causes so much guilt and for someone who went on about honoring his ancestor, this is a fate worse than death. Also, he's much worse off than before, because not only is he blinded again, but the Tenseigan core's destruction renders him powerless with his puppets remaining deactivated, and by staying on the moon he condemns himself to the very thing he was trying to escape.
    • Sarina Shizukume (Magical Girl Site): Her redemption was when Aya teleported her to her empty vandalized desk to make her realize her bullying.
    • Kaname Asagiri (Magical Girl Site): Like Sarina, his redemption was when Aya wanted to make him realize his cruel nature by protecting him and trying to get over his father's "grueling" training for gifted students like him.
    • Noah Kaiba (Yu-Gi-Oh!): His redemption was when he realized that he'd unknowingly aided Gozuburo Kaiba in getting his revenge from beyond the grave. The problem is that he'd done nothing up until that point to earn it.
    • Bashvaza (Chillin' in My 30s After Getting Fired from the Demon King's Army (2023)): He fires his adopted brother out of jealousy, which backfiringly causes the Demon Army to fall apart, plans to wipe humanity to stop the war and kill Dariel's loved ones just to spite him. Dariel however just insists on sympathizing with Bashvaza (despite enraging him by pitying his backstory) and sparing him when he should've killed him, which would've been a satisfying end to see Bashvaza's envy be his downfall.
    • Itsuki Kawasumi (The Rising of the Shield Hero): He's the most arrogant and headstrong of the heroes, on top of being a huge hypocrite and treats other people awful, such as how he treats Rishia. After the Spirt Tortoise incident, he is tricked by Malty into fighting on her behalf in tournaments; believing he was raising money to help her stop Naofumi from abusing his slaves and extorting citizens for money. Left in debt by Malty and having lost his volition as a result of his cursed weapon, he begs Rishia for forgiveness and chooses to stay in Naofumi's village as he recovers. Even if he does try to atone for his actions, Itsuki gets portrayed sympathetically so late into the story that most could care less.
    • Alicia Crystella (How Not to Summon a Demon Lord): She betrayed Diabio's group by selling out Rem and Klem to Saddler so they could traumatize Klem until she returns to her true form and wipe out the mortal races just because of her past suffering which is inexcusable. Despite that, she gets away scot-free and is forgiven by everyone, even Rem, when she should have been punished for her crimes or allowed her to commit suicide if Diabio didn't stop her.
    • Anubis (Sacrificial Princess & The King of Beasts (2023)): He spends the entire series being prejudiced towards humans and tries countless times to get rid of Sariphi along with anyone else who befriends her, refusing to ever accept her, tries to sabotage her and Leonhart's relationship and even conspires with Set against the Leonhart. But he does not get killed or receive any retribution in the end due to Sariphi's insistent forgiveness and his childhood history with Leonhart, but neither of those are good reasons to look past his actions or their refusal to rightfully punish him. Even in the end when he chooses to exile himself from Ozmargo in atonement, they refuse to let him and forcibly talk him into staying.
    • Jonas Anders (Sugar Apple Fairy Tale): He did a couple of horrible things to Anne in the beginning, specifically when he smears blood on Anne's clothes, leaving her at the mercy of ravenous wolves and steals her entry for the silver sugar competition. However, in the second half of the show, Anne is kind enough to offer him a job at the Paige workshop, completely forgetting all the terrible things he has done to her. He's even accepted into the group, except that he hasn't done anything to earn that position.
    • Naoka Ueno (A Silent Voice): She has done several terrible things throughout the story, despite being sympathetic from some angles. Every time she has a moment of "redemption", it's always flogged off by the negative personality she still gains when doing those things. She's even accepted in Shoya's circle of friends, when she doesn't belong and should not have been welcome there, given everyone's negative reaction to her when she still treats Shōko like crap in front of them.
    • Ren Yamai (Komi Can't Communicate (2021-2022)): Her introduction didn't start pretty well and left horrible tastes in everyone's mouths: From talking rudely to Tadano and Naijimi just for being nice to Komi, kidnapping and taking Tadano as a hostage, while Komi rejects her saying she'll decide her friends. However, she received an undeserved forgiveness at the end, when she should've been arrested for committing attempted murder, stalking, and kidnapping, but sadly, she got away scot-free. There are still fans who haven't forgiven her to this date.
    • Megumi Takagi (March Comes in Like A Lion): She is a sociopathic bully who tormented Chiho Sakura to the point the latter had to transfer outside of town. Even after Hinata Kawamoto stood up to her during class, Takagi's insincere apology for her actions prevented her from fully redeeming herself, much to the former being unable to forgive her.

    Manga

    • Yelena (Attack on Titan): Became an irrelevant character after she was forced to help the main heroes stop Eren and his Rumbling.
    • Miki Kawai (A Silent Voice): Though she begged for Shōya's forgiveness for making him a scapegoat for his bullying of Shoko and exposing his crimes in front of everybody, it's safe to assume that she hasn't learned her lesson, seeing as she doesn't apologize to anyone else other than Shōya for her selfish actions, and acts more or less the same as she was in the beginning.

    Western Animations

    • The Diamonds (Steven Universe): These intergalactic dictators colonize planets, have committed kidnapping, murder, trapping humans in a zoo, experimenting on gems (including several Crystal Gems), and genocide, but Steven insists on redeeming then rather than shattering them for their many heinous crimes. This, along with Spinel in the movie, shows how reluctant Rebecca Sugar is to kill villains.
    • Lord Dominator (Wander Over Yonder): She relies on draining planets using her drill just to gain Volcanium X, a substance where her ship needs to not just fuel her robots, but also required repairs, and kidnaps other villains, such as Emperor Awesome and Dr. Screwball Jones (both are Wander's enemies), for petty reasons just because she lacks any personality and emotion. Wander attempts to befriend her by giving her a fruit basket or Lord Hater trying to date her, but she ends up killing or hating them instead, possibly because of her hateful personality. Worst of all, she hardly befriends Wander and Sylvia (though the latter befriends in The Night Out, the relationship fails as Dominator breaks up with Sylvia), for no good reason.
    • Bebop and Rocksteady (TMNT (2012)): Their redemption was forced as they would change the way they act, not because the Shredder and Kraang were trying to destroy the world, but because they were being mean to Bebop and Rocksteady. It doesn't help that their redemption would occur a few minutes before the series officially ended, not giving them a proper redemption.
    • Dinobot (Transformers: War for Cybertron Trilogy: Kingdom): His redemption was extremely forced and rushed; there was little shown about his redeeming qualities, aside from his honor. His death scene does not work either.
    • Catra (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020)): Although Incredible Characters Wiki says she has some good qualities, many fans argue that her redemption was rushed and ignored parts of the acts she committed, with an infamous example being her actions in the two-part season three finale.
    • Light Hope (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020)): While she was programmed to be evil (to which even Light Hope herself knows that), in season 4, Light Hope deletes one of her memories of Mara and has also manipulated Mara, She-Ra and later on Glimmer into thinking that the Heart of Etheria Project is a machine that can save everyone, only to be used to destroy the world and when the project was activated, it cause pure pain for all of the Princesses and especially Adora/She-Ra, and not to mention, Light Hope would also be the reason as to why Glimmer and Catra got captured by Horde Prime in the season 4 finale, so Light-Hope's out-of-nowhere redemption when she lowers her power to let Adora/She-Ra destroy the sword and Light Hope herself feels VERY rushed and unsatisfying.
    • Hordak (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020)): Despite his reasons, Hordak has committed mass genocide of intelligent life and he was ultimately redeemed without any punishment whatsoever. Like Catra, his redemption arc is also rushed.
    • Miss Nettle (Sofia the First (2013-2018)): She was much more likable as a recurring villain, but this would be ruined by Sofia in "The Secret Library: Olaf and the Tale of Miss Nettle" when she insistingly reasoned with Miss Nettle rather than defeat her like she did in her previous appearances.
    • Janja (The Lion Guard): Despite hunting excessively, holding Kiara hostage to force Simba to give him the kingdom, participating in Scar's return kidnapping Kiara just to make Kion angry, and nearly killing Jasiri, Wema, and Tunu, Janja redeems himself in Battle for the Pridelands and is forgiven after giving him Scar's weakness (Even when that "weakness" was false and would only make things worse), he is left worse off when everybody in the Pridelands, even Simba easily forgives him, in the end, Janja faces no consequences for his actions, It also doesn't help that Janja had no intentions of redeeming himself by refusing those times where Jasiri convinced him to join her clan before of that episode.
    • Discord (season 3 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010-2019)): His redemption in season 3's "Keep Calm and Flutter On" was rushed, but in later seasons (most notably season 4's "Twilight's Kingdom"), his redemption is more justified.
    • Chancellor Neighsay (season 8 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (2010-2019)): Like Discord, his redemption was rushed, but unlike Discord's, his redemption had little-to-no justification other than the show's insistence on including villains when saving "everyone".
    • The Enchanter (Rupert (1991-1997)): This horrible brat imprisoned the Sage of Um, Rupert, and Tiger Lily, trapped the unicorns of Um Island, and tried to kill them in order to use their horns for a potion to make him grown up instantly. Despite all these terrible deeds along with his obnoxious attitude, the main characters just quiet him down and readily encourage him to be patient about growing up when it would've been more fitting to punish him for almost killing the unicorns and Rupert and forbid him from ever using magic again.
    • Lane Puppytray (Pinky Dinky Doo): She got flanderized in the episode "Happy Burp-Day" into being one of Pinky's friends and onward, yet she harassed Pinky in "Shrinky Pinky" by cutting in front of her in the lunch line and destroying three of Pinky's belongings, and in "Stinky Pinky Doo" by laughing when Daffinee teased Pinky over her bad breath.
    • Stalyan (Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure (2017-2020)): Not only was her redemption forced, but it also created a double standard saying we can never fight and/or imprison women even if they are criminals who have committed terrible things.
    • Cassandra (Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure (2017-2020)): After attempting to kill Rapunzel several times, enslaving people, and taking over Corona in Season 3, the finale has Rapunzel readily forgiving her without holding a grudge, even telling her she loves her after Cassandra's change of heart. However, she only performs a Heel–Face Turn after Zhan Tiri steals the Moonstone from her and believes she failed to properly make up for her misdeeds, and it makes her redemption feel forced and underserving.
    • Chloé Bourgeois (Miraculous Ladybug): One of the worst examples is that the writers wanted Chloe to be irredeemable for petty reasons.
    • Evil-Lyn (Masters of the Universe: Revelation): Same as Hordak from the She-Ra reboot, and Eren Yeager's manga counterpart. Was forgiven and told by Teela that she was never evil, even though she destroyed the afterlife out of petty spite.
    • Posey Bloom (My Little Pony: Make Your Mark): She ignited a race war between the earth ponies, pegasi, and unicorns all because she was jealous and pretty much indirectly almost caused lots of ponies to be swallowed by a void... only to be immediately forgiven. Even worse, she only redeemed after she got magic, making her look like a spoiled child (or pony). This caused Youtuber Star Strike to go on an explosive rant accusing Make Your Mark of teaching selfishness.
    • Harumi (Ninjago (2011-2022)): After supporting the Overlord through the entirety of season 15, she spontaneously turns on him the moment she finds out that he is responsible for the Great Devourer's existence, which itself was responsible for the deaths of Harumi's parents. While she is on surveillance, she is then immediately forgiven by the heroes and not punished despite her not showing any remorse for her crimes, such as causing the deaths of the royal family, bringing Garmadon back as his evil self, and taking over Ninjago with him, assisting the Overlord in his latest scheme which nearly doomed the entire world and almost killing most of the ninja.

    Movies

    • Snowball (The Secret Life of Pets (2016)): After nearly killing Max the entire time and getting his gang captured, Snowball insists that he and Max "must work together" to rescue them, which feels a bit half baked when he and his gang should've died or get locked up by Animal Control. In the second movie, however, he redeems himself, turns good, and becomes one of the main characters.
    • Queen Barb (Trolls: World Tour (2020)): After stealing all six magical strings that represented major tribes of music to turn all music to rock, she becomes good after Poppy leads everyone into singing together from their hearts, restoring their music, strings and color, including Barb, who accepts Poppy's offer of friendship. This is messed up considering how she destroyed the other trolls' homes and kidnapped them all, meaning it would've made more sense if she either received proper punishment or was killed for her actions.
    • Sir Funnybone (Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot (2004)): He was already a weak villain to begin with, and his redemption in the end does not help his case. He lies that Funshine is the rightful heir of Joke-a-Lot, sets up the roller coaster that sent him there in the first place, and manipulates him and the Care Bears into staying in there so he can steal the kingdom's "gems" during the LaughFest parade and almost escapes. However, due to the poor writing of the movie, the bears refuse to actually punish him for his actions and aren't even able to comprehend why he committed his actions in the first place, even though they have been able to recognize villains in the past movies.
    • Sour Kangaroo (Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who! (2008)): She spends the whole movie being a controlling egomaniac, tries to destroy Whoville, and manipulates everyone else in the Jungle of Nool to aid her and attack Horton. But Horton just disregards all the terrible things she's done and refuses to rightfully punish her, making him look like a huge idiot. There going to be an ending where she was going to get a comeuppance but writers refused to use it claiming Dr. Seuss "was never really in the comeuppance business" and it would've gone against his wishes of "friendship and peace". But this statement makes it sound like even Dr. Seuss was in the wrong.
    • Shangri Llama (Ice Age: Collision Course): Although he redeems himself in the end, he barely shows any time on screen in his redeemed self, and in some ways, it seems that he did it more out of obligation.
    • The Dino-Birds (Ice Age: Collision Course): Their redemption felt too rushed even as Gavin put his revenge against Buck behind him and helped push the asteroid away.
    • Judge Peckinpah (The Angry Birds Movie): He treated Red like garbage, sends him into anger management and not believing him about what the pigs were gonna do,yet he gets no comeuppances for it. After they steal the eggs and blow up their houses, he realizes the error of his ways and apologizes to Red, but the problem is that he had done nothing up to that point to earn that forgiveness and it comes off as rushed.
    • Zeta (The Angry Birds Movie 2): After Zeta destroys the base and injures her daughter, she shows remorse for her actions despite not showing any earlier in the film, after Mighty Eagle asks her to marry him, Zeta accepts his engagement even after all the destruction she caused. This is disturbing considering how she tortured her eagles neglected her daughter and wanted to destroy the birds and pigs' island (and theoretically could've enslaved them all if they somehow survived) just to turn them into luxury islands for herself, meaning it would've made more sense if she either received proper punishment or have been arrested and sentenced to community service for her actions.
    • Abraham van Helsing (Hotel Transylvania 3): While Ericka's redemption was properly structed and took most of the movie, Abraham's felt forced only so she wouldn't have to kill or disown her father.
    • Gene (Wreck-It Ralph): He along with the other Nicelanders mistreat Ralph for years, then downright insults him to his face, causing him to "go turbo" and gets their game out of order. He also refuses to accept responsibility that his actions caused the whole thing and blames it on Ralph. Yet he is just forgiven and allowed to stay in the game when he really should be kicked out as a punishment. It's probable that Felix wouldn't allow Ralph and Calhoun to punish him for everything he did.
    • The Spy Girls (UglyDolls): Their redemption was forced as they aided Lou in keepinng the Uglydolls from going into the Big World and later kidnapped Moxy and Mandy under his orders, almost getting them both killed. But despite all this, they (along with the Perfect dolls) are just forgiven and are allowed to go the Big World and get owners when they should've been punished and thrown in the washing machine along with Lou.
    • Ava Starr/Ghost (Ant-Man and the Wasp): She spends the whole film trying to kill Janet to save herself and the heroes decide to just help her after saving Janet, instead of killing her or letting her die as a rightful punishment.
    • Linus (The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl): His redemption from Max is extremely forced, as he had not done anything valuable to redeem himself and only exists just to shoehorn Mr. Electric into being the “actual” main antagonist while also in order to convince that bullying Max is wrong but wanting him to be good friends.
    • Lady Vain (Happily N'Ever After 2: Snow White - Another Bite @ the Apple): After all the bad things in the past such as smiling for Queen Grace's death and manipulating Snow White into saying mean things to the townspeople, Her redemption is very rushed at the last minute after she was defeated by King Cole who was going to marry her just because she looks like his late wife which is very disturbing as well as super-gerontophilic for a kids movie since King Cole is a lot older than her at the time of Queen Grace's death.
    • Alma Madrigal (Encanto): Her saying "sorry" and having a tragic backstory does not justify enforcing hurtful expectations of perfection on three generations of her family, placing hard pressure on her granddaughter Isabela to marry a man she doesn't truly love, overworking Luisa, exiling her son Bruno because of his future-foretelling gift, and making scapegoats out of both Bruno and her youngest granddaughter Mirabel, whom she unfairly blames for the Casita falling apart.
    • Sheila Broflovski (South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut): This crazy hypocritical moral guardian tortures kids, unfairly blames Canada for the town's kids' profanity, manipulates the other adults into joining her, murders Terrance and Phillip, and nearly causes an apocalypse for her delusional cause of "make the world a better place for children" and everyone just forgives her when she should either be in prison or executed for the atrocities she caused. It's also clear that they only spared her because she's Kyle's mom, which is a pathetic reason to keep her on the show.
    • Dr. Erwin Armstrong (The Boss Baby: Family Business): After running away from home to find a school and planning to brainwash adults so that babies can take over the world, he becomes good after the server is destroyed and the children being reunited with their parents that he decided to go back to his parents despite hating them earlier the next day on Christmas. This is extremely messed up considering how he almost destroyed humanity and life on Earth by carelessly letting babies and children die from many hazards (mostly from starvation and health failure) after brainwashing all the adults, and nearly killing Tim and Theodore by drowning them in the time out room, meaning it would've made more sense if he either received proper punishment or have been arrested and sentenced to life in juvie and later prison when he became an adult without the possibly of parole for his actions, This just shows how desperate the writers at Dreamworks Animation are willing to kill The Boss Baby franchise.
    • Curtis "Curt" Connors/The Lizard (Spider-Man: No Way Home): He was the only villain in the film to have no real motivation and didn't have meaningful interaction with anyone besides Electro, not even to his own Spider-Man and gets redeemed with no real reason other than to get cured.
    • Darren Cross/Yellowjacket/M.O.D.O.K. (Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania): After being defeated by Scott and his family twice, he redeems himself after being told by Cassie to "not be a dick".
    • General Hux: (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker): Betrays the First Order by helping Poe and Finn for no other reason than Kylo Ren has to lose.
    • Davey Stone: (Eight Crazy Nights): This a-hole makes everyone around him miserable, commits various crimes, and tortures a kind old man like Whitey even though he’s trying to help him and even his backstory about his parents death doesn’t even excuse his actions, and even after he redeems himself and becomes nicer, it doesn’t feel needed and to make matters worse, he doesn’t even apologize for his actions (but at least he apologized to Whitey)
    • Beach Ken and the Kens (Barbie (2023)): The movie tried to say we're supposed to feel sorry for them for how they're treated second-best by Barbieland's matriarchal system. But that really does not justify their actions of almost turning the place into. a patriarchy by force, brainwashing the Barbies, building a wall into to trap the Barbies and all the other outsider dolls, and emotionally damaging Stereotypical Barbie. Beach Ken particularly behaved like he was entitled to (Stereotypical) Barbie even before he tookover Barbieland with his toxic mascline ideas, and he didn't even apologize to her when she insisitently comforted him after what was supposed to be his defeat. He and the other Kens are just allowed to stay in Barbieland ass equals with the Barbies when they should've been rightfully imprisoned or kicked out forever.
    • Mattel CEO and the Executives (Barbie (2023)): While not exactly as intense as the Kens, but them almost entrapping Stereotypical Barbie in a huge box and then following her, Glora, and Sasha to Barbieland when she manages to escape are not actions that should be ignored and make them unndeserving of being part of the movie's happy ending.

    Live-Action TV Shows

    • The Shadow (Odd Squad): Though her backstory is understandable, it still weakens the redeeming trope. She mentions to her sister Opal, that she became a villain because she (Opal) was better than her and this was due to Opal's overprotective nature towards her. Coming from this piece alone, her (The Shadow) significance as a villain looks dumb and wasted in comparison to other villains. She did not talk to Opal about her feelings at the time of her backstory and instead gave her the silent treatment towards her sister, which made the problem even worse. She made two wrongs here, not talking to Opal about her feelings (as stated before) and being a villain just because Opal wasn't good at it. It gets worse and worse as it plays out, cause The Shadow puts one wrong over the other which makes things worse since two wrongs NEVER make a right. The only reason she changed her perspective on the whole matter, was because Opal played her complementary records to satisfy her, and Opal apologized to her. The Shadow even said that it was just great that she regretted her bad actions in a somewhat sarcastic tone. The scenario that happened in her backstory should've been solved earlier, which caused this mess of significance.
    • Douglas Davenport (Lab Rats (2012-2016)): To be fair, he had a solid build-up to his redemption arc though it was only the beginning; from seeing Victor Krane's true intentions against Adam, Bree & Chase's involvement with him (Douglas Davenport) originally to him (Douglas Davenport) saving the trio from Krane himself, even trying to explain to his brother Donald Davenport about the situation, though Donald pushed him away harshly. However in "Which Father Knows Best", he is reluctant to fix Bree's bionic chip and just does it because Leo tells him to and that he wants to be better than brother Donald Davenport, despite Leo telling him not to. Even after he was able to settle his differences with his brother, being able to fix Bree's chip together, his brother still rejected him. When he gives in to Bree's persuasion about Douglas' redemption, Donald's actions towards him fall flat on the ground, making the redemption too quick and weak as a result. Though Douglas acted good after that mess of redemption he still made major mistakes. Yeah, a messy character for the franchise.
    • Eva McCulloch/Mirror Mistress (The Flash): Her redemption was when the Flash and Iris West wanted Eva to realize that creating mirror duplicates and "liberating" a new image of herself will not change anything.
    • Laurel Lance (Arrowverse: Earth-2): After seeing the redemption story they've pushed for Laurel so hard for the past two seasons, it all goes into dust after she was outed by Emiko and framed for Diaz's murder, feeling betrayed by Team Arrow as an arrest warrant is issued to bring her in; she decides to turn back to her life of crime in a matter of seconds. It was frustrating to see her fall back into old habits without any hesitation, and it also felt forced to see her turn back to good so quickly after having Sara talk some sense into her giving up being Black Siren and later becoming the Black Canary, which didn't feel earned one bit.
    • Talia Al Ghul (Arrow): Her redemption is when she and Oliver make up for their vendetta for one another; Oliver kills her father and Talia teams up with Adrian Chase and indirectly causes Samantha's death. He offered to help her escape while exposing the private activities in Level Two and the psychiatrist Jarrett Parker, which she gladly accepted and helped her escape from Slabside Maximum Security Prison.

    Video Games

    • Gangrel (Fire Emblem Awakening): Joins Chrom's army and is forgiven for no reason other than he was abused by some pirate despite wrecking an entire country and causing a destructive war with little remorse. Furthermore, Gangrel goes back to being evil and ruins another country in his ending showing he learned nothing from his supposed redemption.
    • Aversa (Fire Emblem Awakening): Out of nowhere and with no foreshadowing, it is revealed she was under mind-control the whole time simply as an excuse to put her on the player's side, and like Gangrel, she showed no remorse for her actions against Chrom's army.
    • Beelzebul/Raiden Shogun/Ei (Genshin Impact): Rushed in the main campaign without rhyme nor reason until it made sense in Ei's story quest Imperatrix Umbrosa Act II, which made her grow to understand what her late sister Makoto did for Inazuma and leaving the last of her corrupt self behind, giving more justification and depth into Ei's redemption arc.
    • Marx (Kirby Star Allies): Marx was dead in Kirby Super Star/Ultra, but he came back as a playable character as he fought alongside Kirby.
    • Dark Meta Knight (Kirby Star Allies): Same reason as Marx except Dark Meta Knight appeared in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror and Kirby: Triple Deluxe.
    • The Boss (Just Shapes and Beats): For some reason, after his defeat and he gets revived, he suddenly gives up on villainy and redeems himself and puts on a DJ set for everyone, even though he is VERY irredeemable. Even his page on the Inconsistently Heinous Wiki says if he didn't redeem himself, he would be on the Pure Evil Wiki.
    • Chef Saltbaker (Cuphead): was forced into the twist villain cliche just to give the player a final boss to fight against in the DLC as his reveal was done right before the fight as he tried to extract a cup trip member’s soul to make the wonder tart. Even though he was defeated, lost his bakery, and sent to prison, he comes back as if nothing happened, making the whole ordeal with him baffling.
    • Norma Natividad (Psychonauts 2): Despite stealing Razputin's clothing and locking him in a closet, encouraging him to mess with Hollis' mental connections, and manipulating her subordinates, she gets promoted a Junior Psychonaut with little to no repercussions for her actions.

    Web-Series

    • Smiler (The Emoji Movie: Junior Novelization): Unlike in the movie, here, she all of a sudden redeems herself near the end and stops trying to kill Gene, Hi-5, and Jailbreak.
    • Harriet Bree (RWBY (2013-present)): Her redemption is forced as she spends all of Volume 8 being blindly loyal and obedient to Ironwood in an attempt to follow Clover's example (despite how it got him killed) and then near the end she nearly attempted to bomb Mantle under his orders. Despite all this, she is reached last minute by Elm and Vine, who refuse to give up on her because they still see her as their friend even though she went too far.
    • Dhar Mann Villains (Dhar Mann): Some of the villains' redemptions are forced, one-dimensional, or even flat, especially since some villains have already crossed the line or have no signs of redeeming. Not to mention, some are given forgiveness from the protagonist, although they didn't do anything at all to earn it.
    • Hanz (Micah's Super Vlog): Even after he took Über's hit for Micah in "The Armor of God; Sword of The Spirit", he immediately reverts to his nasty character in his next appearance, as if it never happened.

    Examples of Well-Written Redemptions

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    Anime/Manga

    • Piccolo (Dragon Ball Z): At the start of Z, he only helps Goku fight off Raditz, and join forces with the other Z-Fighters to stop the remaining Saiyans because the Saiyans want to destroy the world, while he wants to conquer it. After that, he starts becoming more heroic through character development and turns mostly good, he's still ruthless and has no qualms against killing his opponents instead of disabling them. This has mostly subsided after fusing with Kami, where he adopts his former good half's compassion and genuinely cares for the people of the Earth.
    • Vegeta (Dragon Ball Z): He has one of the best redemption arc in the anime and amazing character development out of everyone in the entire series. He starts out as a sociopathic villain, who destroys planets at the beginning of Z and ends up as an honorable warrior and dedicated family man by the time Super rolls around. Although he can still be a jerk at times and can count as a grouch, Vegeta's actions nowadays can make him come off as the most mature and level-headed one in comparison with Goku.
    • Android 18 (Dragon Ball Z): She starts off as a deadly adversary to the Z fighters throughout the Androids Saga. Though beginning in the next saga, she's slowly touched by the Z fighters' moral traits and when Krillin spares her life. After the defeat of Cell and Krillin wishing to remove the self-destruct devices within her and 17, she sometime shortly joins the Z fighters and becomes Krillin's wife.
    • Android 17 (Dragon Ball Z/Super): Like Vegeta, 17 had a well written redemption arc. After being brought back to life, he makes an honest living as a remote park ranger, trains in his spare time, and later joins Team Universe 7 in the Tournament of Power after initially refusing for selfless reasons. His role is so great, in fact, that he ends up winning the whole Tournament of Power.

    Western Animations

    • Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender): The most famous well-written redemption arc in Western Animation. He begins in Books 1-2 as the fallen prince of the Fire Nation determined to capture the Avatar and "reclaim his honor". But starting in Book 2 he is exposed more to the damage his family's war has caused the rest of the nations, though he became conflicted between this and the destiny with Father placed on him. This would eventually to him betraying his uncle Iroh to aid Azula in invading Ba Sing Se. Book 3 would complete his arc with him finally realizing his mistakes, leaving the Fire Nation, and joining Team Avatar (though it takes some convincing, especially with Katara), becoming Aang's firebending mentor.
    • Omni-Man (Invincible): After flying away from Earth in the Season 1 finale, he is found by the Thraxans and brought to their planet. He learns that non-Viltrumite life isn't worthless, and even has a son named Oliver with a female Thraxan. When Viltrumite forces invade Thraxa, Omni-Man calls Invincible so they can stop the Viltrumite invaders and save the Thraxans from their wrath.
    • Scorpia (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020)): After being mistreated by Catra one too many times, she leaves The Horde for good and defects to the Rebellion. Once the princesses accept her, she learns about a true healthy friendship and eventually becomes a romantic partner with Perfuma. Compared to Catra and Hordak, Scorpia has a better written redemption arc.
    • Lonnie, Kyle and Rogelio (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (2018-2020)): While the writers missed the multiple opportunities to explore their redemptions further, they were still written sympathetic enough to make it satisfying when they finally have enough of Catra's mistreatment of them and leave the horde for good.
    • Lapis Lazuli (Steven Universe (2013-2020)): Before the show went overboard by forcing the Diamonds and Spinel to redeem, they wrote a better-written arc in Lapis, who starts as a powerful gem who steals all the water from Beach City to reach back to the homeworld. But her genuine friendship with Steven and allowing her to heal her cracked gem causes her to remain loyal to him, even prompting her to send a message warning him about Jasper and Peridot's invasion and fusing with Jasper to keep her from hurting him. Eventually after being unfused from Jasper and leaving Earth in fear of another war coming, Lapis returns just in time during the Diamonds attack on Ruby and Sapphire's wedding, finally proclaiming herself as an official Crystal Gem.
    • Peridot (Steven Universe (2013-2020)): Like Lapis, Peridot had a well written redemption arc. Beginning as a technician loyal to Yellow Diamond and Homeworld, she comes to Earth to check on Homeworld's Cluster, but her mission was thwarted by the Crystal Gems and she was left stranded on Earth. With nowhere else to go, she decided to help the Crystal Gems destroy the Cluster and, after a series of humbling experiences, she slowly became fond of the Gems and curious about Earth. After failing to convince her superior to spare Earth, Peridot completely defected from Homeworld to become a full-fledged Crystal Gem in "Message Received".

    Movies

    • Darth Vader (Star Wars): The most famous example of a well-written redemption.
    • Sunset Shimmer (My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks): After being forgiven too fast in the first movie, the second one gave Sunset proper character development, making her redemption more realistic and complete.
    • Anastasia Tremaine (Cinderella III: A Twist in Time (2007)): After being forgiven too fast in the second movie, Dreams Come True, A Twist in Time gave Anastasia proper character development and made her redemption arc feel more realistic and complete.
    • Ian Hawke (Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked): His redemption arc in the third film was surprisingly well-executed and natural. And unlike some other villain redemptions in media (including Zoe, the actual main villain of this film), it's not shoved down the audience's throats or rushed by being forced to take place at the last minute without any proper character development actually happening.
    • Ericka Van Helsing (Hotel Transylvania 3): She had a more accurate redemption unlike Abraham. She originally started as a villain and pretended to accept monsters and feigns romantic interest in Dracula so as to mislead them into thinking that she's not against them. She becomes the mask when she genuinely starts to love Dracula and realizes that monsters aren't all that bad.
    • Leonard (The Angry Birds Movie 2): Unlike Zeta's, his redemption wasn't forced at all. He forms a truce with Bird Island to fight against a bigger threat: Eagle Island. He redeems himself and teams up with Red and the other birds to defeat Zeta, save their islands, and get rid of her Ice Ball Machine. At the end of the movie, he doesn't go back on his word and keeps the truce between the other islands.
    • Veneer (Trolls Band Together (2023)): Unlike Barb's, his redemption wasn't forced at all. For example, he said he didn't want to kill Floyd, even started to show concern for the latter, and eventually revealed the truth to the public against Velvet's wishes, when he was arrested by Crimp, he didn't whine nor complained about getting arrested despite his redemption, he happily accepts his arrest and says "Prison it is!".
    • Mirage (The Incredibles): While she was willingly helpful to Syndrome, she was horrified at the fact that Syndrome was willing to kill children and was saddened by Violet and Dash's presumed deaths. Then she was completely justified in turning against Syndrome after he showed no remorse in giving Mr. Incredible the chance to kill her.

    Live-Action TV Shows

    Video games

    • The Dark Lord (Miitopia): After rescuing their face from The Phantom of Evil boss battle, they are given a proper redemption arc as the Ex-Dark Lord, where they team up with the hero and their teammates in the Skyscraper to make up for the trouble they caused when they were under the Dark Curse's influence.
    • King Dedede (Kirby series): Had a redemption arc that lasted since his second appearance in Kirby's Adventure. He broke the Star Rod in an attempt to prevent Nightmare from being summoned, even if it caused his subjects to lose the ability to dream. Though still jealous of Kirby, he starts to open up to him and the rest of Dreamland. After his climactic rematch in one of Kirby Super Star Ultra's subgames, Revenge of the King, he acknowledges that he can't beat him. He no longer fights Kirby out of his own volition and willingly assists him in his journeys out of goodwill rather than an attempt to 1-up him.
    • Magolor (Kirby series): After getting defeated by Kirby and his friends, he had a proper redemption arc in Magolor Epilogue where he goes on his journey to get his powers back and destroy the Master Crown for good, making him redeem himself in return. He also plants a Gem Apple and establishes a Shoppe to do business with the residents of Dream Kingdom too.
    • Taranza (Kirby series): He has one of the most memorable redemption arcs in the Kirby series. He starts out as a secondary antagonist of Kirby: Triple Deluxe where he kidnaps King Dedede to the point of possessing him near the end of the game. And when King Dedede returned back to normal, Taranza became a sympathetic character when Queen Sectonia blasted him with a laser along with deeming him useless and he switches to Kirby's side as he and King Dedede help him defeat Queen Sectonia in return. After Queen Sectonia was defeated, he and Kirby are on good terms with each other.
    • Susie (Kirby series): Like Taranza, Susie has a well-written redemption arc. She starts off as a secondary antagonist in Kirby: Planet Robobot and secretary of the Haltmann Works Company by mechanizing planets and near the end of the game, she became Kirby's temporary ally by helping him defeat Star Dream for good. After defeating Star Dream, now that Susie has become the current president of the Haltmann Works Company, it's unknown whether Susie would either continue mechanizing planets or bring happiness (and exterminate savages) with the power of science (since Guest Star is non-canon, neither of them are confirmed true since it's a theory on the part of Guest Star), but it's known that Kirby and Susie are on better terms with each other.

    Others

    • Weiss Schnee (RWBY (2013-present)): Starting from the first volume, she went from a spoiled entitled brat who bullied Ruby for getting the position of leader of the group and was racist towards Faunus (including Blake) to a more sweet and patient girl to grew to be a true friend to her team, let go her bigotry towards Faunus, and wanting to change herself after accepting how elitist and ruthless her family (mainly her father and brother) are.
    • Emerald Sustrai (RWBY (2013-present)): From her first appearance, she starts as a blindly-loyal follower to Cinder who genuinely believes she cares about her (due to her backstory of being recruited). However as the series went on, Emerald began to show more redeeming qualities than her colleagues as she was shown to have a hint of remorse during the Fall of Beacon at the end of Volume 3 and began to question her boss. After learning the truth of Salem’s true goals in Volume 8, Emerald accepts that Cinder (and Salem) do not truly care about her and helps Oscar and Yang’s team escape. In the following episode, she openly acknowledges to the heroes that she’s changed sides.
    • Illia Amitola (RWBY (2013-present)): Throughout Volumes 4-5, Illia starts as a follower of the White Fang in danger of becoming more like Adam and his other blindly loyal followers. As she continues to change as she follows Adam’s orders, from disturbing the Belladonnas’ conference to getting Blake kidnapped so the White Fang agents can kill her family, Blake continues to affect her with her words. After the defeat of the Albain brothers and Blake’s speech encouraging the Faunus of Menagerie to help fight for Haven Academy, a humbled and remorseful Illia is the first one to offer to go to Haven with Blake in an act of penance. She also helps during the Battle of Beacon by disabling Adam’s planted bombs.
    • SMG3 (SMG4): During the Genesis Arc, SMG3 became a temporary ally of SMG4, met SMG1 and SMG2 and they fight together against SMG0.

    Why This Happens

    • Many parents and writers are convinced that it is the right way to teach children the importance of mercy and forgiveness.
    • People often confuse the idea of justice with revenge or violence.
    • Some are scared of the very concept of the villain dying and want to avoid it at all costs.
    • Due to the rise of radical feminism propaganda, some female characters end up being redeemed just to promote an ideology.

    Why This Kind of Redemption is Not True

    1. These redemptions are often thrown in at the last minute, lack any proper structure, feel forced, and are rushed by skipping important steps of a redemption arc.
    2. It creates a misguided and false belief that everyone can and will redeem themselves, even though there are plenty of villains out there who didn't redeem themselves and suffered the consequences of their actions.
    3. Many of these examples are villains who have already crossed what is called the Moral Event Horizon, which means they have committed an act so evil or selfish or have crossed so many moral lines that audiences won't want them to be redeemed anymore, meaning these redemptions are forced down audiences' throats.
      • Also, having a villain commit terrible acts and refuse to give up, only to have the heroes force them to redeem themselves, is a waste of suspense.
    4. Many of these redemptions are just done so the writers can introduce a twist villain and go out of their way to show how the twist villain is an irredeemable sociopath who makes the other villains look like saints in comparison.
      • When this is done, especially on a twist villain, it usually comes across as wasteful and hollow character development, especially on characters who become good. Evil only to revert to good again.
    5. Most of these villains didn't do anything at all to earn redemption, yet they are still easily forgiven and even rewarded.
    6. Insisting on this kind of redemption all the time can make audiences annoyed and become tired of the idea of redemption altogether.
    7. It is extremely limiting to viewers of all ages.
    8. While it does succeed in teaching that mercy is possible, it purposely leaves out the fact that it does not always work.
    9. This move means the villain is getting away with the terrible things they did without any punishment whatsoever and they are still a threat, and it's being treated like it's a good thing.
    10. Making characters who are supposed to be "heroes" force this kind of redemption and treat it as a good thing turns those characters into one-dimensional, unrealistic, and worst of all... downright flat.
    11. If heroes choose to just forgive the villains and disregard the evil things they committed, they will come off as immature, foolish, cowardly, stubborn, and reluctant to accept the reality of the situation.
    12. It can look like the story is demonizing characters for having boundaries and being cautious instead of insisting on mercy for "everyone".
    13. It is also a bad influence on viewers as anyone, in reality, could be easily killed or have their lives ruined by a bad person or someone evil when and if they do show mercy.
    14. Because forgiving and showing mercy is so glorified, people refuse to understand why someone wouldn't want all villains to be redeemed all the time.
    15. Forcing redemption can be considered violating both villains and their victims' freedom, as many villains choose actively to not reform and continue their wrongdoing and victims may not forgive them for understandable reasons.
    16. A lot of these redemptions were used to write the villains out of their stories so the writers could only focus on the main characters, which is both a poor and a self-centered method in any form of writing.

    The Only Redeeming Quality

    1. While many of these redemptions are forced, some redemptions are at least well-written such as Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, Karai from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003 and 2012), and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader from Star Wars.

    How to Give a Villain a Proper Redemption

    1. First of all, redemption is very hard! This means you can't just forgive villains instantly because sometimes it angers the fans.
    2. If you want to redeem a villain, give them an understandable backstory and their flaws because it's important for a villain to redeem.
      • However, even if their backstory and flaws are understandable, do not use them as an excuse to redeem them if they cross the Moral Event Horizon.
    3. Do not ever skip steps of a redemption arc. If even one part is left out, the redemption will look forced.
    4. Do not make a villain irredeemable and then redeem them anyway. This means if they commit anything that is going too far, they cannot be redeemed anymore (we´re looking at you, White Diamond!).
    5. Make fans want the villain(s) to be redeemed in the first place. Never redeem a villain whom fans have always hated.
    6. If it becomes clear that a villain won't change no matter how many chances of redemption they're given, then do not hesitate to give them their comeuppance (whether it's defeating, imprisoning, humiliating, throwing out, or even killing them).
    7. Do not use redemption only to write the villain(s) out of the story.
    8. Keep in mind that redemption should be taken on a case-by-case basis. It is not meant to be forced into every single situation.

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