What is a hero and what is a villain? These two words have been iconically used throughout history however, the words have been used to project and reinforce the ideology of the empire. The ideology of what is inherently good and bad.
Typically we would have the heroes and villains very clear cut as black and white. Heroes were the good guys and the villains were the evil-doers. Most stories with heroes have them on a quest to slay the evil lord who is the villain in the story. The story usually ends with a happy ending showing that the hero has triumphed and the villain’s evil plans are over.
Looking through a manga called MAOYUU MAOU YUUSHA – KONO WATASHI NO MONO TONARE, YUUSHA YO KOTOWARU! and a comic called Nimona, the idea of what a hero is and what a villain will be deconstructed.
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is set in a medieval fantasy world where humans and demons exist. The two sides are currently at war and the manga starts with the hero entering the demon queen’s castle. As seen in the picture above, the hero is questioned by the demon queen about his role as a hero and what he really is. She later then reveals that the empire knows what his real role is and what he means to the people despite the dark truth.
“The one who takes the life of an enemy king is an assassin”
We glorify heroes as the paragons of hope when they are in reality an assassin. The next slide continues to say that the empire knows this and continues anyways. Heroes are glorified like this much like how war veterans are. A country’s war veterans are heroes but to the place they come back from, they are the worst villain. The concept of good and evil are all purely subjective and will change from person to person. As Beilby Porteus once said, “One murder makes a villain; millions a hero.”
The character that is missing an arm is the protagonist, Balistar Blackheart, and the girl is his sidekick, Nimona. Despite being a villain, Balistar does not wish to kill or do many of the typical villainous activities. As seen above, he won in a competition against Ambrosius Goldenloin and lost his arm because of him. Later in the comic, Blackheart goes out of his way to minimize the damage and casualties sneaking into the castle while Nimona goes and kills many of the guards. As Nimona tries to please Blackheart, the viewer can see that Balistar continually tries to stop her from causing more damage. He was once a hero but because he lost his arm, the empire had no more use for him. Many of the times, a villain is someone that no longer fits in society and this constitutes to it. He is a villain because he can no longer fit in society but other than that, not much else establishes him as a proper villain.