Saturday, January 19, 2013

X & Y: The New Pokemon

*sigh* Well, it was inevitable but it's still a disappointment to me all the same. When I heard about
a big worldwide "Pokemon" related announcement earlier in the month, one which would be revealed
on a special Nintendo show by the president of Nintendo himself, I was crossing my fingers that he'd announce the discontinuing of the main "Pokemon" franchise since it's gone as far as it could go, so now there'd only be spin off games and merchandise. Sadly, it wasn't to be. He instead announced the sixth generation of "Pokemon" would be coming in the Fall of this year, after the "Best Wishes" series of the anime ends. So that means two new game versions with a whole new region, new lead characters, a new professor, new rivals, new gym leaders, new Elite Four, a new Champion, a new evil team, and loads of new amateurishly designed Pokemon. Oh joy.

Look, as much as I've loved the "Pokemon" franchise, there has to be a stopping point somewhere.
In my mind, Generation V was that stopping point, since it was the generation that really put out all the stops. That they are moving beyond it is a sure sign that the franchise that had already been on
a downward slope since Generation III has finally sailed over the shark. To understand why I think that, I'll have to get into what looks...wrong about this upcoming generation. But before that, I have
to clarify all that Generation V had that makes me think that it was the pinnacle of "Pokemon":

  •  The "Black" and "White" games were the first games since "Red" and "Blue" to be named after colors. (Unless you count "Gold" and "Silver" as colors as well as metals.)
  • The games were on the same console as the last generation, except they were clearly meant also for the 3DS like these new games will be made for.
  • The quality of said games was the best since Generation II.
  • The names are poignant in that black and white are two opposite colors of the rainbow spectrum: darkest and lightest, beginning and end.
  • Many of the concepts applied to the games were moldbreaking, and once a mold is broken, it's hard to step back without it feeling like a cheat OR to step forward without it feeling redundant and losing it's specialness.
  • This generation broke the "each generation/region/Pokemon" gets weaker trend.
  • The male and female PC protagonists were full grown teenagers for once.
  • Not one, not two, but three rivals in one generation! (Cheren, Bianca, and Hugh)
  • The storyline of the evil team and legendary Pokemon actually took center stage in the first games, being everywhere you went, getting many characters involved, and ultimately overtaking the League quest at the end of the game when Team Plasma actually attacks the Unova League and you have to defeat them for good right there and then!
  • The aviliciously delivered message of tolerance and acceptance of different ideas, beliefs and opinions, whether they be truth or ideals, was probably the deepest thing "Pokemon" has ever taught aside from the conflicts of Team Galactic from the previous generation.
  • The villains, Team Plasma, were initially portrayed as the animal-rights type complainers who saw the bad implications of Pokemon from the start. Their king N is an antagonistic version of your standard Pokemon hero, the boss Ghetsis is the most evil villain in the main series, and Dr. Colress shows fascination in Pokemon taken to a warped extreme. Also, maybe I'm overthinking things, but is Team Plasma's signature letter "P" as in "Pokemon?" And is "N" as in "Nintendo?" "G'cis" (Ghetsis) as in "Gamefreak?"
  • I associate Gen 1 with Spring, Gen 2 with Fall, Gen 3 with Summer, and Gen 4 with Winter. Gen 5 has all four seasons built-in to the games depending on the month!
  • Unova has the epic large vastness of Sinnoh but does it correctly!
  • Even the ugly Pokemon were used to good effect and some were even memorable!
  • Instead of a third version/special edition, "Black" and "White" got a sequel in "Black 2" and "White 2", which has never been done before. This contributed to some poor critical reception and bad ratings. Personally, I think this same sequel ought to have been released as "Pokemon Grey Version". That would've made things easier since making the sequel into two games again feels like a cheap and desperate cash grab. But the point is, the third version was a sequel rather than a special edition.
  • "Black 2 and White 2" finished exploring everything good in this generation and brought it all to a satisfying close. The appeal of the generation and franchise was fading fast.
  • Iris is clearly the ultimate Champion of the whole franchise, having a young age like Blue, Dragon Types like Lance, a former Gym Leader status like Wallace, the same gender as Cynthia, and the position formerly held by Alder.
  • The biggest attraction of the sequels, the World Tournament, just screams "Grand Finale!" It literally brings all five generations together so you can battle trainers and Pokemon from all the past regions of all the previous main games! That is spectacular!
  • The flop of "Black and White 2" following the success of "Black and White" should've discouraged Gamefreak from making any more main "Pokemon" games for quite a while.
  • The anime series based on Generation V, "Best Wishes", was the first season of the "Pokemon" anime since Generation I where the quality was actually consistently GOOD!
  • Said anime season featured Ash and Team Rocket's boss, Giovanni, finally facing off, something that was anticipated by fans since Gen I. It also gave closure to Team Rocket, the recurring villains since Gen I. And it's last act ("Episode N") had a full-on continuous epic storyline of N and the evil Team Plasma fighting for the fate of the legendary Pokemon of the White Ruins, Reshiram, taking center stage. The anime paying this much attention to plot, characters, and continuity had not been seen in a looong time! This has all the signs of a series finale for the anime adventures of Ash and Pikachu. But nooo...
  • By contrast, the main manga series "Pokemon Special" lagged a lot in it's "Black and White" story arc, which aped the games storyline and plot points but with less charm and many hindrances. It's surprising how underwhelming this arc was: I just could not get too invested in it until around the last third. And then just as Gen V was closing, the arc was wrapping up and it's sequel arc just beginning! A sure sign that Kusaka should throw in the towel and wrap up the manga so it concludes along with the franchise. But nooooo...
  • Five already seemed like a good enough number to end generations on anyway.
That fifth point is worth repeating since it's probably my biggest issue. After you've achieved something so mold-breaking and awe-inspiring as Generation V, how do you top it? Where do you
go from there? If you go back to the formula of the previous generations (stopping the villain's plans before winning your last badge, heading to victory road, beating your rival again, facing the Elite Four and the Champion, and getting in the Hall of Fame. The credits roll - The End), that would be taking some major steps backwards, which would disappoint the fans who've been spoiled by the escalation and prominence of the plot in these games. On the other hand, if you keep doing what this generation did (having the evil team's story be prominent all the way to the end, with the baddies attacking the league, a legendary Pokemon faced down, and the main villain as the final boss. The credits roll - The End), it cheapens the Team Plasma story considerably and becomes a new formula in of itself. It will stop surprising and impressing players. (Actually, "Black and White 2" shows this well - in it, you defeat Ghetsis and thwart Team Plasma after you've won your last badge, which is what should have happened with Team Galactic. and then you head for the Unova League to face your rival, the Elite Four, and Champion Iris as the final boss before you get in the Hall of Fame, the credit roll -The End. Sounds like a step back, right? But suppose Ghetsis had been the final boss yet again? That would be TACKY.) The best way to have handled this game would have been packaging it as a "Pokemon Grey Version" where you could choose a "Black" mode or "White" mode depending on what game you last played. That Gamefreak couldn't do that shows the limitations of the games as they are now, and why continuing on instead of full-on revamping the series probably isn't such a good idea at all.

So...what about Generation VI? What are the signs that indicate it might suck ass? Well for starters, there's the titles of the new games. "Pokemon X" and "Pokemon Y".

 The X version and the Y version. They've abandoned naming the installments after colors or gems for naming them after letters. Two
of the last freaking letters of the alphabet. What's the third version going to be, "Pokemon Z?" That'll lead to several DBZ jokes if it's true. It really seems like they're not even trying here anymore.

 Ah, but then it gets worse! The new starter Pokemon don't even look like Pokemon anymore! I mean, they just look so cheap and dumb!

Let's see: the grass-type starter is some sort of chipmunk.

Gee, we've never had that before in "Pokemon!"

The fire-type starter is a fox. A fire fox!

Gee, we've never had THAT before in "Pokemon!"

And the water-type starter is a frog or toad.

  GEE, we've never fucking had THAT before in "Pokemon!"

This shows a huge problem that's plagued the franchise since Gen III. Not only are most of the new Pokemon that get created too numerous, ugly, and cheap, but they're uncreative and unoriginal too. We've seen these Pokemon before, and they were much more appealing and memorable the first time around. We don't need them recycled as "new Pokemon" over and over again. And honestly, the first time I caught glimpse of these new starters, they looked like parodies of Pokemon or fan-created Pokemon rather than the real deal. If the ultimate handling of "Black 2 and White 2" wasn't already an omen of the franchise jumping the shark, after seeing this bullshit there's no mistaking it.

Plus, the whole notion of more and more Pokemon, regions, and whatnot really clutters up the world of Pokemon. It makes a series and a concept that was once so simple to be more convoluted than it needed to be. Come on, are we meant to believe that in this hugantuan world, each and every region is filled with people who dedicate their lives to this race of 600+ creatures that make up the entirety
of animal wildlife of this world? Get a life, people! You're making yourselves look like total DWEEBS!

 Now there are SOME things that look promising about this generation and it's games. It's the first main "Pokemon" game with 3D graphics, and it looks fantastic. The Kalos region itself seems to be heavily inspired by European culture. From the grassy plains and farmland, the village-like towns in the distance, that Eiffel Tower looking structure, the way the tall mansions and bridges look, and just the whole atmosphere is very European. This does look like a fun and interesting place to see. I'm just not sure it's a worthwhile addition to the world of Pokemon, at least not the world they've built up to this point. It's like a whole different world on it's own. Perhaps this is where Fantina came from? And even the 3D graphics have their downside since this is the first generation to not use sprites. Part of the games' original charm was their simplicity. While each generation kept advancing the graphics and gameplay capabilities beyond their simplistic roots, they still maintained the charm by using 2D graphics and sprites for the characters and Pokemon, in and out of battle, with only a touch of 3D getting added in the previous generation. But now everything in this new generation is full 3D: the environments, the characters,
the Pokemon, and even the battles! It looks like a portable "Stadium" or "Colosseum".

 And while I'm not a big fan of the new legendaries being a stag and a bird (gee, never had those before in "Pokemon"...), I do like two things about Xerneas and Yveltal. One is their designs. I love how Xerneas's antlers down to his neck makes the shape of an X, and how Yveltal's wings and tail spread out makes the shape of a Y. And that's.... actually very clever and creative. The other thing is that while they're not original as far as legendaries go, they're the most original MAIN legendaries we've had in years. For the first time since Gen II, they're NOT generic dragon-type creatures. They're just a deer and a condor.

But it all comes back to the sudden announcement of this generation. The trailer was opened up by a shot of CGI Pikachu. And really, the fact that this long-running franchise can never shake off this Generation I Pokemon as their mascot shows there's something off about the whole thing. So while this new generation, these new installments, and all the new products they bring might be interesting in their own right, the series just isn't "Pokemon" for me anymore. Or at least it's not MY "Pokemon." My "Pokemon" lasted for five generations, culminating in the World Tournament of the previous games. This new series of Pokemon stuff, I dub "New Pokemon." (or essentially "Pokemon 2.0"). It might be an okay series, but there's a huge void left behind from Generation V that can never and will never be filled. This rebooted franchise exists in that void now. It doesn't exist in my heart the same way as the old "Pokemon" did. It's a sub-section of one of my all-time favorite canons: "Pokemon."

Update: Here's another big problem I'm seeing with this generation: the designs. Not just the Pokemon anymore, though they are ugly as sin. But the human designs seem lacking this time around, which is actually pretty surprising given how good Ken Sugimori usually is at designs. Has he been taking lessons for Takao Unno here? Is it actaully Takao Unno designing these characters? In any case, only the two player characters and Professor Sycamore have standout designs. Admittedly, the designs for Tierno, Trevor, Shana, and Viola are growing on me, but they all still seem more generic than Sugimori's usual work, and a step down from the designs we were getting out of last generation. There's just a certain style and flair that they lack, odd given how I'd expect it more than ever in the Poke' France that is Kalos. And speaking of...

We have a new evil team based entirely around style and flair, called Team Flare. Get it? It's a double meaning pun for style and fire? Har har! They're like Team Magma's gimmick crossed with Team Rocket's motives, 'cause guess what? They're a bunch of greedy assholes whose sole purpose is to make money. I know that the "self righteous villains who want to use Legendaries power to make a new world" thing was getting old, and I'm glad it's stopped after Team Plasma did a nice twist on it, but really...just money? At least Team Rocket had world domination on top of that goal. There'd better be something less simple than just this, or else Team Flare will be a huge downgrade as far as evil teams are concerned. Also, they look so goofy. I know I shouldn't judge based on that since Teams Aqua and Magma looked goofy too but were actually an improvement over Team Rocket's Johto incarnation, Team Galactic looked goofy but were actually epic, and the Team Plasma knights looked goofy but were even more epic. But if these guys have no interesting motivations or characters among them, then...they're just goofy! And that is so lame.
 So we've gone from Ghetsis to...a Dr. Robotnik expy? 

 Oh, and WHO'S THAT POKEMON? Seriously, who is this Pokemon? Mewthree? A new form of Mewtwo? An evolution of Mewtwo? Whatever it is, it's the "awakened" Mewtwo and a Generation VI legendary. It's not the Pokemon or the design that bothers me, but the purpose behind it. This is still essentially Mewtwo, the original "most powerful, ultimate Pokemon". The genetically created psychic Pokemon with badass abilities and powers that are virtually god-like. The Pokemon cloned from the oldest and rarest Pokemon of all, Mew. The Pokemon who has never been touched since the first Generation. So WHY are they bringing him back into relevance and giving him an upgrade now? Why now, five generations later? I'll tell you why: after introducing so many huge, epic, mythic god-like legendaries, (especially in Gen IV with Arceus and co.!) Gamefreak realized that Mewtwo, the once ultimate Pokemon, had become small potatoes next to these ones. It's concept had been utterly cheapened by all the non-man made legendary Pokemon that exist and apparently have existed since the dawn of time. So Gamefreak is trying to put Mewtwo back in the spotlight and rerail it into the most powerful Pokemon again, by tampering with it's nature and giving it this celestial new form. But in doing so, they're only exposing just how off the rails this franchise has gone. We've seriously gone so far with Legendaries that we've come all the way back to Mewtwo? How about Lugia and Ho-Oh or Celebi while we're at it? 

 And if there was any doubt that this franchise has officially jumped the shark, this eliminated it from my mind. The very nature of jumping the shark requires a series to have exhausted it's initial premise and completely worn out it's welcome, so it resorts to cheap novelty and desperate gimmicks to keep itself alive, but instead only shoots itself in the foot and loses the audience. When Satoshi Tajiri stepped down, Junichi Masueda baited the shark. The fin was spotted ever since the third generation, it was rapidly circling in the fourth, and the franchise put on those water skis and jumped in the fifth. Enter the sixth generation, and we seemed to have landed right over the shark at last. Full 3D, chromosome game names, ugly ripoff Pokemon, generic characters, stupid villains, the resurrection of Mewtwo, and a formula getting beaten to death were already novelty gimmicks enough. But this tops them all: the introduction of "Fairy type Pokemon." We've had no new Pokemon types since Generation II! After three whole generations, Gamefreak finally decides to introduce a new one. Which includes an ugly "Eevelution" of the most whored out Pokemon ever, and pre-existing Pokemon getting retconned to have always been partially this type! Again...WHY NOW? This defines cheap novelty and desperate gimmicks. Gamefreak is clearly running out of good ideas and so desperate for new ones that they pull this crap. Sorry, but I've grown so disillusioned with these creatures that a new type of them does not interest me in the slightest. None of these new features do. They just make me want to watch as the franchise drowns in it's own decay and becomes shark chow. Good luck out there, New Pokemon!

 BUT WAIT! It gets WORSE! If Fairy types weren't enough of a desperate ploy, we get this - the three Kalos starters you get at the start aren't the only starters you get in the game. Professor Sycamore also lets you have...Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle! Yes, there are really going there. They're grasping at every possible way to make these games sell and become a worldwide hit, and one such way is to try and appease gewunners with this. Making the original Gen 1 Kanto starters available in such an overpacked game that's taken the franchise so far away from it's simple roots is actually kind of insulting to me. 

 BUT WAIT! IT GETS WORSE! You don't believe me? YOU DO NOT BELIEVE ME? Well THIS is the final nail in the coffin. Not Fairy types, not the Kanto starters: THIS is what confirms this generation to be one of the most blatant shark jumps I've seen for a franchise in recent years. Mega Evolutions. Special evolutions that evolve Pokemon into their Mega forms. That's what the Mewtwo evolution belongs to, and he actually has two of them! I think you can control how it's done too. So not only are they throwing out uber strong fully evolved forms for many pre-existing Pokemon, including the Kanto starters, but they're ripping off Digimon! Unbelievable. I'm at a loss for words at all the desperate novelty gimmicks they're pulling with this one generation. And I cannot see how anyone can deny a loss of magic here.

 There's also a new XY anime series. Somebody kill me...

 Just look at all those ugly-ass Pokemon! Yeesh! My estimation for when "Pokemon" might REALLY end is in Generation 7 or 8. Why? Because we'll officially have around 1,000 pokemon by then. Do they seriously think the kids won't catch on? And to think, this franchise began with the tagline "Gotta Catch 'Em All....."

....Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

He IS a Magnificent Bastard?


                              Lord Cutler Beckett - Most definitely NOT a Magnificent Bastard!

Now that I've covered the Magnificent Bastard, I'll talk about it's counterpart trope: the Smug Snake. An easier one to cover than Magnificent Bastard or Complete Monster: a "snake" refers to a villain or antagonistic character who is slimy, sneaky, cowardly, manipulative, and petty. The "smug" means that they are very, very high-and-mighty and overconfident in themselves and their abilities. They view themselves as a Magnificent Bastard and at times might even come close to being one, but in truth they are just bastards with delusions of magnificence. A snake with a superiority complex. Or as the laconic definition states, an arrogant, unlikable manipulator whose overconfidence is his/her downfall. A key sign that a villain is a Smug Snake rather than a Magnificent Bastard is how they react to their plans going wrong. Rather than stay calm and in control, or implement a pre-prepared plan B or C that could turn things around in their favor, they break down and act in desperation. They let their ego overtake their awesome, and thus get done in by their pride. This type of villain is easy to come by.

The official Trope definition is this: The Smug Snake is a type of character (usually cast as a villain) who tends to treat friends and enemies alike with equal disdain. They almost constantly speak in a sarcastic tone and punctuate most of their sentences with a smirk. While they aspire to be a formidable and awe-inspiring adversary, they often end up just being a Big Bad Wannabe, failing in the face of more cunning villains or ending up as their servants, in which case they'll generally be The Starscream. Others that fall under this trope are simply in it to bug the good guys and take advantage of their moral insecurity.

A key character trait common to Smug Snakes is overconfidence. The Smug Snake is usually too arrogant to be rattled. Most often, they will think themselves to be the Magnificent Bastard. While they may believe that they have the situation under control (whether they do so through blackmail, coercion, or simply being in a position of authority), there will usually be a hole in that plan that they failed to consider. Perhaps they underestimated their opponents' abilities and claimed themselves unbeatable, or maybe they made a really stupid mistake along the way. Once that realization hits, expect the Snake to lose their cool right before everything starts falling apart for them. They are not necessarily entirely incompetent or ineffectual, however, and may succeed with at least part of their goals, but they are still lacking that charm and grace that the Magnificent Bastard possesses. Often a Know-Nothing Know-It-All as well, to inspire added bile, though still enough to take the 'sympathetic' out of Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain (the best of them are Insufferable Geniuses heavy on the former and light on the latter). If a Smug Snake considers himself a Magnificent Bastard, then he is a villainous Small Name, Big Ego.

Most of the time, a writer will purposely introduce a Smug Snake as a target for audience hate by making them Kick the Dog or bend the rules to get their way and come out smelling like a rose. Basically, this is a villain that's made to be hated and the audience will enjoy hating. This, like all other tropes, can backfire if misused. If the writer still tries to foist the character as a Magnificent Bastard when their previous actions have proven otherwise, the audience will likely stop enjoying to hate the character, and instead genuinely hate them as much as they would The Scrappy or The Wesley. Evolving a Smug Snake into a true Magnificent Bastard could be doable, in theory, but shouldn't be attempted lightly, and has only been pulled off successfully in fiction a few times. Ever. Of course, the author might deliberately doing this, playing a villain up as a Magnificent Bastard when it comes to getting the power he craves, but proving to be so inept at wielding that power once he finally has it that he ends up as a Smug Snake instead.

The Smug Snake will rarely be a Draco in Leather Pants (though it is possible, especially if the character is physically attractive — the Trope Namer himself is an example).

So why did I put this up? Well oftentimes there have been Smug Snakes that have been mistaken for Magnificent Bastards, even though the distinction should be pretty obvious. So therefore, I shall go through fiction again and list villains who are definitely not Magnificent Bastards and are more likely Smug Snakes.
*Please note that if a villain who was on my Magnificent Bastard list also appears on this one, it's because they either started out as a Smug Snake or devolved into one overtime.* SO...
* - Indicates either villains who double as Magnificent Bastards or villains who had potential for magnificence that wasn't fully realized in the work.

Disney Animated: The Evil Queen, Stromboli, the Coachman, John Fowlfellow, Lampwick, Man, Ronno, the Ringmaster, Lady Tremaine, the Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook, Cruella Deville, Kaa, Madame Mim, Edgar, Prince John, Sir Hiss, Madame Medusa, Professor Ratigan*, Bill Sykes, Ursula*, Percival Mcleach, Gaston, Jafar*, Scar*, Governor Ratcliffe, Judge Claude Frollo, Shan Yu, Clayton, Lyle T. Rourke, Jumba Jookiba, Captain Gantu, Scroop, Alameda Slim, Rico, Goob, DORIS, the Agent, Mother Gothel, King Candy/Turbo*, Prince Hans*, Duke of Weselton, Alistair Krei, Robert Callaghan, Mayor Lionheart, Dawn Bellweather, Mr. Big, Maui, and Tamatoa

Disney Spin-off: The Lobster Mobster, Forte, Abis Mal, Mirage, Mechanicles, Quint, Zaruche, Ares, Queen La, Tublat, Samuel T Philander, Dr. Hamsterviel, Marina Delray. Cedric and Wormwood, Princess Ivy, Mamanu, Slickwell, Grimtrix, Shuriki, Esteban, Victor & Carla Delgado, Troio, Cruz,  etc.

Disney Live: Cutler Beckett, Davy Jones, Blackbeard, Cruella DeVil, Meredith Blake, Kalabar, Trout Walker, Louise Walker, Mr. Sir, Dr. Palaski, Dr. Reinhardt, the Nome King, Princess Mombi, Val Horrigan, Shamus McTiernan, Mrs. Chesterfield, Thantos DuBaer, Tiara Gold, Jesse, Miles, etc.

Pixar: Sid Phillips, Hopper, Al, Stinky Pete, Randall Boggs, Syndrome, Chick Hicks, Chef Skinner, AUTO, Charles Muntz, Dr Z, Miles Axelrod, Hank the Octopus, Thunderclap, and Jackson Storm

Winnie The Pooh: Crud, Stan the Woozle, Papa Heffalump, Nasty Jack, Bruno, and Giles Winslow

Lord Of The Rings: Feanor, Smaug, Gollum, Saruman, Grima Wormtongue, and Laketown's Master

Star Wars: Nute Gunray, Watto, Sebulba, Pong Krell, General Grievous, Greedo, Grand Moff Tarkin*, Orson Krennic*, Agent Kallus, Maketh Tua, the Inquisitors, Boba Fett, Bib Fortuna, Jabba The Hutt, Prince Xizor*, Supreme Leader Snoke, General Hux, Captain Phasma, Kylo Ren*, and Unkar Plutt

Kingdom Hearts: Jafar*, Captain Hook, Ursula, Oogie Boogie, Hades*, Riku, Luxu/Braig/Xigbar*, Xaldin, Vexen, Zexion, Luxord, Larxene, Pete, Scar, Commander Sark & the MCP, Lady Tremaine, Queen Grimhilde, Jumba Jookiba, Vanitas, Data Roxas, Frollo, CLU 2, Young Xehanort, Gaston, Mother Gothel, Randall Boggs, Prince Hans, Cutler Beckett, Davy Jones, and the Five Foretellers

Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort, the Malfoys, Gilderoy Lockheart, and Dolores Umbridge

Chronicles Of Narnia: Queen Jadis, Miraz, Prince Rabadash, Shift the Ape, and Tarkan

Pokemon: Gelardan, Lance, Apollo, Vicious, Archie, Maxie, Nascour, Evice, Snattle, Ardos, Gordor, Harley, TR*, Dr. Yung, Phantom, Blake Hall, Mr. Kincaid, Charon, Hunter J*, Paul, Zero, Marcus, Grings Kodai, Damon Grangil, Leon, IO, Sird, Dr. Edward, Purple Eyes, N, Zinzolin, and Ghetsis
New Pokemon: Lysandre (Games), Malva*, Team Flare, Archie, Maxie, Matt, Courtney, Zinnia, Chancellor Alva, Guzma and Faba

Avatar: Zhao, Jet, Master Yu & Xin Fu, Long Feng, Hama, Fire Lord Ozai, Hiroshi Sato, Tarrlok, Yakone, Unalaq, Vaatu, Hundun, Aiwei, the Red Lotus, the Earth Queen, Prince Wu, and Bataar Jr.

Batman: Rupert Thorne, Roland Daggett, Carmine Falcone, Sal Maroni, John Dagget, Tony Zucco, Clayface, Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy*, the Penguin*, the Riddler*, Dr.Crane/Scarecrow, Mr. Zsasz, etc.

Dragon Ball: Commander Red, Tao Pai Pai, Master Shen, Raditz, Zarbon, Freeza, Dr. Gero, Cell*, Babidi, Buu*, Garlic Jr, Dr. Whelo, Dr. Kochin, Turles, Lord Slug, Cooler, Paragus*, Bojack, Hoi, etc.

The Legend Of Zelda: Aghanim, Twinrova, Vaati, Zant, Bellum, Chancellor Cole, and Ghirahim

Super Mario: Bowser*, Wario, Waluigi, King Smithy, Queen Valentina, Grodus, Grubba, Cackeletta, Princess Shroob, Tatanga, Beldam, Count Bleck, Fawful, Megasparkle Goomba, Antasma, and Wart

Spider-Man: Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin (sometimes), Miles Warren/The Jackal, the Lizard,
the Chameleon, Electro, Mysterio, Eddie Brock/Venom, Jason Phillip Macendale, and Silvermane

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Shadi, Seto Kaiba*, Mokuba Kaiba, Gozaburo Kaiba, Noah Kaiba, Weevil Underwood, Bandit Keith, Marik Ishtar, Ziegfried Lloyd, Priest Akhenadin, Kagemaru, Nightshroud, Sayer, etc.

Digimon: Etemon, DemiDevimon, the Dark Masters, the Digimon Emperor, Arukenimon, Yamaki, Makuramon, Impmon/Beelzemon, Zhuqiaomon, the D-Reaper, Mercurymon, Lucemon*, Gotsumon, SaberLeomon, Akihiro Kurata, Yggdrasil, the Royal Knights, Tactimon, Lillithmon, Chuchumon,
the Death Generals, Ewan Amano, Quartzmon*, the Rival Xros Hunters, and Maki Himekawa

Gargoyles: Demona, Jackal, Hyena, Hakon, Proteus, Tony Dracon, the Archmage, the Magus, Oberon, Macbeth, Coldstone, Fang, Shari*, Dr. Sevarius, Margot Yale, and John Castaway*

Superman: Lex Luthor (sometimes), Zod 2, Metallo, Parasite, Toyman, Mr Myxtzptlk, and Mongul

Final Fantasy: Xande, Golbez, Zemus, Gilgamesh, Exdeath, Emperor Gesthal, Professor Hojo, Ultimecia, Norg, Queen Brahne, Kuja*, Seymour Guado*, Kinoc, Mikka, Judge Ghis, and XIII villains

Sonic The Hedgehog: Dr. Ivo Robotnik/Eggman *(sometimes), Black Doom, Ix, Mephiles, Erazor Djinn, Infinite, Ixis Naugus*, Mammoth Mogul*, Drago, Fiona Fox, Scourge the Hedgehog, Nac the Weasel, Snively, Geoffrey St. John, Dmitri/Enerjak, Kragok, Lien-Da, Hunter, Dr. Droid, the Iron Dominion, etc.

Where Is Carmen Sandiego?: Lee Jordan

Darkwing Duck: Negaduck and Steelbeak

DuckTales: Gladstone Gander, Magica De Spell, Ma Beagle, Phantom Blot, and Flintheart Glomgold
2017 Reboot: Gyro Gearloose, Mark Beaks, Toad Lu-Hai, Toth-Ra, Zeus, Doofus Drake, Don Karnage,, Bigtime Beagle. Black Heron, Jim Starling/Negaduck, Zeus

Gravity Falls: Gideon Gleeful, Blendin Blandin, Blind Ivan, Robbie Valentino, and Preston Northwest

Gummi Bears: Duke Igthorn, Lady Bane, Sir Willoughby, and Tad Pole

Rescue Rangers: Fat Cat, Professor Norm Nimbnul, and Aldrin Klordane

Tale Spin: Don Karnage, Colonel Spigot, Dan Dawson, Doug Benson, and Thadeus Klang

Teen Titans: Slade (Seasons 1-2), Brother Blood, Blackfire, Malchior*, and Trigon The Terrible

Yu Yu Hakusho: Mr Akashi, Mr Iwamoto, Sakamoto, Hiei, Gouki, Rando, Gonzou Tarukane, Butajiri, Dr Ichigaki, Zeru, Rishou, Shishiwakamaru, Suzuka, Karasu, Elder Toguro, and Gatekeeper Itsuki

Jim Henson: The Skeksis Chamberlain, the Gorgs, Tex Richman, Constantine and Dominic Badguy

The Powerpuff Girls: Sedusa, Him*, Princess Morbucks, the Gangreene Gang, and Dick Hardley

Death Note: Higuchi, Mello, Near, Demegawa, Kiyomi Takada, Teru Mikami, and Light Yagami*

Hey Arnold: All villains who aren't La Sombra

El Hazard: Katsuhiko Jinnai and Lord Galus

Slayers: Eris, Copy Rezo, Martina, Halceform, Kansel, Alfred, Gaav, and Hellmaster Phibrizzo*

Looney Tunes: Wile E Coyote, Sylvester, Tweety Bird, Daffy Duck, and Bugs Bunny (sometimes)

One Piece: Alvida, Morgan, Helmeppo, Buggy the Clown*, Kuro, Don Kreig, Arlong, Mr. 3, Wapol, Eneru, Spandam, Foxy, Shiki, Vander Decken, Admiral Akainu, CP9, Caesar Clown, and many more

Haruhi Suzumiya: Computer Club President, Student Council Boss, Emiri Kimidori, Taniguchi, Sasaki, Kuyo Suoh, Kyoko Tachibana, and "The Sneering Bastard" Fujiwara

Sailor Moon: Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, Queen Beryl, Alan and Ann, Rubeus, Esmeraude, Safir, Prince Demande, Wiseman/Death Phantom, Kaorinite, Witches 5, Mistress Nine, Queen Nehelania, Grand Zirconia, the Amazon Trio, Sailor Iron Mouse, Sailor Tin Nyanko, and Sailor Metal Papillion

Angel Beats!: Ayota Naoi

Beyblade: Any and all villains

Berserk: Minister Foss and Corkus

Black Lagoon: Chaka of Washimine

Bleach: Sosuke Aizen*, Gin, Tousen, Luppi, Nnoitra, Szayel, Aeoniero, Tsukishmia, Gotei 13. etc.

Naruto: Mizuki, Gato, Orochimaru, Kabuto*, Gaara, Neji, Pain, Sasuke Uchiha, Obito Uchiha, etc.

Code Geass: Mao, Clovis, Jeremiah, Viletta, Suzaku, Diethard, V.V, and the Chinese Eunochs

Full Metal Alchemist: Shou Tucker, Father Cornello, Frank Archer, Dante, Lust, Envy, and Pride

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Touga, Saionji, Nanami, Ruka, and Souji Mikage

Rurouni Kenshin: Kanryu Takeda, Raijuta, and Gein

Scry-Ed: Emergy Maxfell, Kigetsuki, and Koji Mujo

Shaman King: The Tao Clan, Ryu Umemiya, and Dr. Faust

Star Driver: Keito Nichi/Ivrogne, Professor Silver, and Vanishing Age

Candy Candy: The Reagan Family

Eureka 7: Truth and Naru Arata

Monster: Half The Cast!

Nisekoi: Claude Ringheart

School Days: Makoto Itou

Trigun: Millions Knives (anime)

Mon Colle Knights: Prince Eccentro

Gankutsuou: Mondego, Danglars and Vileford

Gundam: Ghiren Zabi, Jamaican Danigan, Gady Kinsey, Jerid Mesa, Jamitov Hymem, Bask Ohm, Chronicle Asher, Fonse Kagatie, Duke Dermail, Quinze, Tsurabov, Dekim Barton, Agrippa Maintainer, Muruta Azrael, Patrick Zala, Will Sutherland, Al DaFlaga, Lord Djibril, Gilbert Durandal*, Yuna Roma, Wang Liu Mei, Abra Lindt, Ali Al Sachez, Alejandro Corner, Ribbons Almark*(truly), and Decil Gallette

Hellsing: Enrico Maxwell, Luke Valentine, Zorin Blitz, Alexander Anderson, Alucard, and Walter

Baccano: Ladd Russo*, Goose, and Huey

DNAngel: Satoshi, Krad, and Chief Hiwatari

Fruits Basket: Akito Sohma and Ren Sohma

Future Diary: Kurou Amano and Takao Hiyama

Fushigi Yuugi: Tomo, Miboshi, Tenkou, and the Emperor of Kutou

Fate/Stay Night: Shinji Matou, Zouken Matou, and Gilgamesh*

Full Metal Panic: Gauron, Mr. Gates, and Leonard Testarossa*

Elfen Lied: Director Kakuzawa, Professor Kakuzawa, Bandou, and Dr. Nosou

Heat Guy J: Clair Leonelli, Mitchal Rubenstein, Echigo, and Shun

Inu-Yasha: Naraku*, Sesshomaru, Jakken, Koga, Kagura, and Jakotsu

Vision Of Escaflowne: Dilandau, Folken Fanel, and Emperor Dornkirk

Voltron/Go-Lion: Prince Lotor/Sincline, King Zarkon, and Witch Haggar

Ranma 1/2: The Kunos, Ryoga Hibiki, Pantyhose Taro, Shampoo, Mousse, and Saffron Phoenix

Shinzo: King Daku, Kiri, Gyasa, Ryuuma, Karas, Rusephine, Devil Mushrambo, and Lanancuras

Zatch Bell: Zofis, Roberto Vile, Eshroth, Maruss, Victoream, Grisor, Hakase, Leo, and Clear Note

Tommorows Nadja: Hermann Preminger, Duke Preminger, Fernando Gonzales, and Antonio

Hannibal Series: Dr. Chilton and Mason Verger

The Hunger Games: President Snow*, President Coin, Seneca Crane, and the Career Tributes

Game Of Thrones: Joffrey Baratheon, Viserys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister, Jaime Lannister,
Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Melisandre,Walder Frey, Ramsay Bolton, Theon Greyjoy,
Balon Greyjoy, Euron Greyjoy, Oberyn Martell, Doran Martell*, Darkstar, Ellaria & the Sand Snakes,
Janys Slynt, Armory Lorch, Aliser Thorne, Olly, Karl Tanner, Mance Raider, Xaro Xhoan Daxos, etc.

Shakespeare: Shylock, Don John, Tybault, Oliver, Oberon, Puck*, Lady Macbeth*, Jack Cade*, etc.

Twilight: Edward Cullen, Bella Swan, Carlisle Cullen, James, Victoria, Riley, Sam, and the Volturi

Buffy: The Master, Colin, Mr. Trick, Faith, Snyder, Adam, Glory, Warren, Caleb, Eve, and Gavin Park

Once Upon A Time: Evil Queen Regina, Hook*, King George, Prince James, Felix, Greg & Tamara, Neal Cassidy, Dr. Whale, Jefferson, Walsh, Zelena, Prince Hans, Maleficent, Ursula, Cruella Deville, Isaac, Lily, Jafar*, Red Queen Anastasia*, Amora, the Sultan, the Jabberwocky, and the Caterpillar

Skies Of Arcardia: Alfonso

Radiant Historia: Queen Protea

Ace Attorney: Winston Payne, Frank Sahwit, Larry Butz, Miles Edgeworth*, Redd White, April May, Sal Manella, Dee Vasquez, Lotta Hart, Yanni Yogi, Manfred Von Karma*, Richard Wellington, Franziska Von Karma, Morgan Fey, Mimi Mini, Acro, Matt Engarde, Luke Atmey*, Dahlia Hawethorne, Godot, Kristoph Gavin*, Quercus Alba, etc.

Assassin's Creed: Cesare Borgia

Jak and Daxter: Erol and Metal Kor

Shadow Hearts: Covenant: Nicholai

Street Fighter: Vega, Balrog, Zangif, etc.

Tales Of The Abyss: Grand Maestro Mohs

Tales Of Legendia: Vaclav, Cashel, Walter, Solon, and Schwartz

Baldur's Gate: Angelo, Isaea, Edwin, and Baron Ployer

The World Ends With You: Mistuki Konishi

Warcraft: Arthas and various others

Special VG Mention: Gary Smith ("Bully")

Jem And The Holograms: Eric Raymond

DC: Grayven, Klarion, Ultra-Humanite, Alexander Luthor, Emil Hamilton, Amanda Waller*(sometimes), etc.

Marvel: The Wizard, The Leader, Justin Hammer, Baron Mordo, Surtur, Red Skull, Loki*(sometimes), etc.

Animaniacs: The Brain, Snowball, Dr. Scratchansniff, Mr. Plotz, Walt Wolf, King Salazar, Buddy, etc.

American Dragon: The Huntsman, Councilor Chang, Eli Pandarus, Hans Rotwood, and Dark Dragon

Ben 10: Vilgax, Kevin 11, Forever Knights, the Highbreed, Darkstar, Albedo, Malware and Maltrunat

Captain Planet: Hog Greedley, Dr. Blight, Duke Nukem, Sly Sludge, Verminous Skumm, and Zarm

Care Bears: Professor Coldheart, Darkheart, No Heart, Beastly & Shrieky, and Grizzle

Danny Phantom: Dark Danny, Sheriff Walker, Nicolai Technus, and Penelope Spectra

Generator Rex: Van Kleiss*, White Knight, Hunter Cain, Biowulf, and Quarry

Huntik: The Professor, Defoe, Klaus, and Wilder

Invader ZIM: The Allmighty Tallest, Dib, and ZIM*

The Loud House: Lincoln Loud, Lola Loud, Principal Huggins, and Flip

Reboot: Herr Doctor, Hexidecimal, Turbo, Daemon, and the Sorcerer

Rugrats: Angelica Pickles, Josh, Rex Pester, Coco and Jean Claude

Samurai Jack: Aku*, Gordo the Cruel, and Demongo

Transformers: Starscream, Thrust, and G1 Megatron

Thundercats: Mumm-Ra*, Grune, Slithe, Kayner, Addicus, the Duelist, Mordax, and VultureMan

G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander*, Serpentor, Destro, Baroness, Dr. Mindbender, Tomax/Xamot, etc.

He-Man: Skeletor, Hordak, Evil-Lyn, Hoarde Prime, and the Snake Men

Dragon Booster: Word Payne, Moordryd Payne, Kane, and Armageddon

Jackie Chan Adventures: Shendu, Dao Long Wong, Terkuda, Drago, the Enforcers, and Ice Crew

Codename: Kids Next Door: The DCFDTL, Father, Cree, Chad, Chester, Mr. Boss, Heinrich, etc.

Buzz Lightyear: Zurg, Torque, XL, Nos-482, Gravitina, Warp Darkmatter, Klerm, and Evil Buzz

Phineas And Ferb: Dr. Doofenshmirtz, Dr. Doof 2, Prof. Poofenplotz, Dr. Rodney, and Evil Carl

Spongebob Squarepants: Plankton, Mr. Krabs, Bubble Bass, Kevin, Dennis, and Squilliam Fancison

Jimmy Neutron: King Goobot, Professor Calamitus, Junk Man, Meldar, Eustace, and Cousin Eddy

Shrek: Lord Farquaad, Fairy Godmother*, Prince Charming, Rumpelstiltskin*, and Humpty Dumpty

Kung Fu Panda: Tai-Lung, Taotie, Hundun, Scorpion, Jong Sung, Fu-Shi, Fenghuang, and Ke-Pa

Scooby Doo: Sarah Ravencroft, Dr. Phibes, Crump, Fred Jones Sr, Mr. E, and the Nibiru Entity

Storm Hawks: Master Cyclonis, Dark Ace, Repton, Ravess, Snipe, Mr. Moss, and Sir Carver

The Simpsons: Mr. Burns, Bart Simpson, Sideshow Bob*, Frank Grimes, Russ Cargill, and others

Family Guy: Stewie Griffin, Peter Griffin, Brian Griffin, Glen Quagmire, Bertram, Penelope, Nigel, Tom Tucker, Dianne Simmons, Jeff Fecalman, James Woods, and Carter Pewterschmidt

Futurama: Zapp Brannigan, Mom, Bender, President Nixon, That Guy, and the Nudist Scammers

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Shredder*, Kraang, Karai, Hun, Slash, Dr. Baxter Stockman, Professor Chadwick, Lord Dregg, the Rat King, Dogpound, Fishface, Bebop, Rocksteady, and Mozar

Total Drama: Chris Mclean, Heather*, Justin, Courtney, Blainely, Josh, Scott, Mal, Scarlet, etc.

W.I.T.C.H: Lord Cerdic, Prince Phobos*, Princess Elyon, Vathek, the Tracker, Nerissa*, and Ari

Winx Club: The Trix, Lord Darkar, Valtor*, the Wizards, Tritannus, Selina, and Acheron

Xiaolin Showdown: Wuya, Jack Spicer, Pandabubba, Vladimir, and Hannibal Roy Bean

Non-Disney Animated: Cat R Wall, Carface, Grand Duke, Toad, Beetle, Drake, Rasputin, Preed, Ptyrano, Ramses, Rothbart, Tzekel Khan, Sir Ruber, Kralahome, and others (usually from Dreamworks)

Literature: Count Olaf, Briar Cudgeon, Opal Kopoi, John Spiro, Minerva Pardizo, Uriah Heep, Orlick, Mrs Haveshim, Quarath, Cosmo Lavish, Mr Collins, Mr Wickham, Simon Lovelace, Vizzini, Ms Trunchbull, Cree Bega, Lord Septus, Nils Bjurman, Bill Tanner, Shere Khan, Acheron, Mag, etc.

Film: Le Chiffre, Eve Harrington, Eden Fletcher, General Koscov, Theron, Ellis, Louis Renault, Emma Temple, Colonel Zaysen, Tommy O'Shea, Gaff, Lord Coward, Eli Sunday, Nero, Rene Beloq, Walter Donovan, Lady Lucile, Monsieur Le Pieu, Howard Payne, Mr. Potter, Michael Corleone*, etc.

Most "examples" from Comedic or kiddy cartoon shows!

Monday, January 14, 2013

He's NOT a Magnificent Bastard?


                    George C. Scott as Patton immortalizing the term "Magnificent Bastard."

I've covered what a Complete Monster truly is, which villains I think of as Complete Monsters, which villains who've been labeled as such are NOT Complete Monsters, and why Complete Monster is the worst, most mishandled trope ever on TV Tropes. But there's another trope which used to hold that honor, and that trope is Magnificent Bastard. Now to me, it's easy to understand what a Magnificent Bastard is. Seeing as the name of this title is made up of a compliment ("magnificent") and an insult ("bastard"), it's used to define keen-minded, uber efficient antagonists whom you love to hate and hate to love: one whom the audience and characters are against, but have a grudging admiration and reverence or respect for at the same time. However, for most Tropers, the definition was just really unclear. So these foolish people kept on adding the label to A: their favorite villains, B: any cool and badass villain, C: any smart and competent villain, or D: any character who was like totally awesome. It was mess, much like Complete Monster is nowadays. Magnificent Bastard was a definitive good trope: a trope that fans viewed as a badge of honor for the characters and series that they were fans of. Which cheapened it a great deal. A Magnificent Bastard should not be just any awesome villain, any smart, competent, manipulative Chessmaster, or especially any great character period. This type of character is supposed to be a mix of several competent antagonist tropes but with a special style, flare and charisma about him/her that makes him/her worthy of a "magnificent" label. The "magnificent" part is meant to signify awed and impressed feelings about the smart efficiency and stylish audacity of the bastard's...well, bastardry, coupled with audience enjoyment, grudging respect, and even some admiration depending on the bastard in question. It's not a headscratcher!

The official TV Tropes definition is this: If there was ever a character that deserved to be called “Magnificent”, that character is the Magnificent Bastard. The Magnificent Bastard is what happens when you combine the Chessmaster, the Trickster, and the Manipulative Bastard (a bit of Large Ham is optional): bold, charismatic, independent, and audacious. Capturing the audience with his charisma, incredible intellect, mastery of manipulation, and boldness of action, this character is a show-stealer, demanding your reverence at every turn. The term "Magnificent Bastard" was first used by General Patton in reference to Erwin Rommel in the film "Patton", upon realizing that he was facing a man who literally wrote the book on deceptive warfare. It acquired its current meaning courtesy of Lionel Luthor of "Smallville", who was given this nickname by the fanbase.
So what makes a character a Magnificent Bastard? Let's break it down:
  • He is brilliant and utterly devious, to an almost breathtaking, mind-boggling degree. Call it genius, call it virtual omniscience, but he always seems to know what everyone else is planning at any given moment, and exactly how to arrange the game so he wins.
  • He is a smooth operator. He always knows exactly what to say to position you where he wants you, always has a backup strategy and rarely loses his cool. Even if on the remote chance something happens that wasn't in his plans, you'd never know it.
  • He has a goal, he's not going to stop until he's completed it. To that end he will do almost anything. He'll move heaven and hell, and we want to see him do it! Despite his choice of tactics, he is rarely pointlessly cruel, and has reason for everything he does.
  • He is charismatic, often charming, his personality like a physical force. People tend to like him, sometimes even when they know he isn't on their side, and even those who hate his guts have to admit respect. Even when at his darkest, he has traits which one can't help but admire. This goes for characters in-universe and audience members out of it.
  • They are savvy. They do not fall for obvious traps, release the Sealed Evil in a Can or negotiate a Deal with the Devil before having devised The Plan to deal with it. Bringing them down is a long process of getting them cornered, although sometimes it is abrupt and played for shock value to show someone's awesomeness by comparison. Heaven help you if you do manage to trick them.
  • They detest usurpers of their power. Intensely. Anyone under their charge who even thinks of toying with them, competing with them, or going behind their back will learn quickly that Failure Is the Only Option. As far as the Magnificent Bastard is concerned, they have a full-fledged patent, copyright and trademark on the word "evil", and they live for reminding their entire circle of minions and thugs who is in charge. Those who can't handle it might as well team up with the good guys, because they'll probably die at the Magnificent Bastard's hands anyway.
  • They are Audacious beyond belief. Probably the biggest thing that sets the Magnificent Bastard apart from your average Chessmaster or Manipulative Bastard is their ability to set themselves goals that seem suicidally over-ambitious yet succeed with style. If everything goes exactly to plan, they don't just succeed in this outlandish goal, they do so in a way that leaves their foes screaming the Magnificent Bastard's name at the sky.
  • They are definitely not Dirty Cowards. If they have to fight, they can and they will. f they are skilled in hand-to-hand combat, they may deliberately choose to save that as their last-ditch "Plan Z" effort - only to be implemented after Plans A-Y have failed. If they are skilled in psychologically exploiting the heroes' vulnerabilities, they will use that as a weapon, too - without mercy. When they fight, they fight with precision and purpose. If it's their last stand, they will pull out all the stops. Ultimately, if anything can be said about how the Magnificent Bastard carries an endgame, it can only be described as nothing short of a breathtaking showstopper.
Other common aspects of a Magnificent Bastard include being a Large Ham, a Sharp Dressed Man of Wealth and Taste, Wicked Cultured, Crazy Awesome, and Dangerously Genre Savvy.
A key difference that separates the Magnificent Bastard from other character tropes like the mere Manipulative Bastard or The Chessmaster is the Bastard's willingness to step onto the playing field in person. The risks are obvious, but the strategic advantages are numerous.

While usually an antagonist, especially if he's the Big Bad, the Magnificent Bastard can be aligned on either side of a conflict. Hell, he's so amazing he tends to forgo the idea of good and evil all together, instead following his own agenda, choosing to aid whichever side will further his own goals. However, it's true that his penchant for manipulation at the expense of others means it's common for him to be a Villain, Villain Protagonist, or at least an Anti Hero, but heroic examples exist. Either way, he's almost always in charge of whatever organization he's involved with, or might as well be.

Aside from all the various aspects which come together to define the Magnificent Bastard, compare and contrast the Smug Snake, who may once have been a Magnificent Bastard in the making but fell short due to his own arrogance. When a villainous Magnificent Bastard becomes so over the top that he is no longer believable, then he becomes a Villain Sue. Also compare the Guile Hero, who uses cleverness, trickery and manipulation but lacks the flair and depth of-planning to elevate him to Magnificent Bastard status. Despite the term, he is not likely to be a Bastard Bastard, thanks to that person's inherent daddy issues, but there's nothing preventing him either.

Bonus points if at one point he or she (more commonly he) offers the enemy a Xanatos Gambit choice, and gives a Psychotic Smirk or Slasher Smile.

Rarely a Complete Monster, because audiences are likely to find it harder to admire such a character, but some bastards are so magnificent that they can get around this. Being a Smug Snake is a common trait of bastards trying to be magnificent.

With all that said, let me look through fiction to see whom I consider to be Magnificent Bastards:
* - Indicates bastards whose magnificence might be arguable or vary, but still have enough style and ingenuity to be solid contenders.

Disney Animated: Maleficent, Shere Khan, Professor Ratigan*, Jafar*, Scar*, Hades*,
Long John Silver, Dr. Facilier*, and Prince Hans*.

Disney Spin-off: The Evil Manta, Mozenrath*, Renard Dumont, Varian*, Obake, Di Amara, and the Phantom Blot*

Disney Live: Mr. Dark, Kalabar II, Gwen Grayson, King Miraz, Jack Sparrow, and Hector Barbossa

Pixar: Henry J Waternoose*, Anton Ego*, and Ernesto de la Cruz*

Lord Of The Rings: Sauron, Celebrimbor, Glaurung, and Smaug (Film Version)

Star Wars: Sheev Palpatine, Count Dooku, Hondo Ohnaka, Cad Bane, Maul, Barriss Offee, Darth Vader*, Wilhuff Tarkin*, Grand Admiral Thrawn, Lando Calrissian*, Doctor Aphra*, DJ, and Enric Pryde
EU:  Boba Fett, Prince Xizor, Tyler Zann, Darth Revan, Kreia, Nom Anor, HK-50 and GO-TO

Kingdom Hearts: Xehanort/Ansem/Xemnas, Maleficent, Jafar*, Hades*, Saix, Axel, Marluxia,
Jack Sparrow, Hector Barbossa, Luxu/Braig/Xigbar*, and the Master of Masters*

Harry Potter: Tom Marvolo Riddle, Barty Crouch Jr., Severus Snape, and Albus Dumbledore

Pokemon: Giovanni, Mewtwo, Cyrus, Colress, Lysandre*, Malva, Lusamine*, Ein, Greevil, Dusknoir, Darkrai, Oda Nobunaga, Butler, Team Rocket (BW)*, Trainer Green, Lance, and Pryce/Mask of Ice

Avatar: Princess Azula, Amon/Noatak, Varrick & Zhu Li*, Zaheer, and Kuvira

Batman: The Joker, the Penguin*, the Riddler*, Ras Al Ghul, Talia Al Ghul*, Bane, Catwoman, Hush*, Lady Shiva, Hugo Strange, Lady Arkham, Anarky, Owlman, Derek Powers and Paxton Powers

Dragon Ball: King Piccolo, Vegeta, Cell, Super Buu*, Zamasu*, Freeza*, Paragus, Demigra, and Fu

Super Mario: Dimentio and Bowser*

The Legend Of Zelda: Ganondorf, Yuga, Princess Hilda, and Lana

Gargoyles: David Xanatos, Fox, Thailog, and Owen Burnett/Puck

Spider-Man: Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin*, Roderick Kingsley/Hobgoblin, Doctor Octopus, Wilson Fisk/The Kingpin, L. Thompson Lincoln/Tombstone, Felicia Hardy/Black Cat, and Walter Hardy

Yu-Gi-Oh!: Yami Bakura, Maximilian Pegasus, Seto Kaiba*, Dartz*, Diva, Amnael*, Sartorius Kumar, Yubel, Adrian Gecko, Rex Goodwin, Vector, Declan Akaba, Dennis Mackfeld, and Lightning

Digimon: Devimon, Myotismon, Diabolomon, Yukio Oikawa, Daemon, Lucemon*, Catsuramon, Murmuskmon, AxeKnightmon, Bagramon*, Tactimon*, and Millenniummon

Superman: Lionel Luthor, Lex Luthor, Brainiac, General Zod, the Prankster, Satanus, and Darkseid

Final Fantasy: Garland, The Emperor, Kefka Palazzo, Sephiroth, Rufus Shinra, Kuja*, Delia Heiral, Dyce Beovule, Duke Snakeheart, Vayne Solidor, Barthandelus, Caius Ballard, Ardyn Izunia, and Cid

Sonic The Hedgehog: Dr. Ivo Robotnik/Eggman, Dr. Finitevus*, Mammoth Mogul*, Ixis Naugus*, Ix, Merlina, Metal Sonic (Sonic Heroes), Dark Oak, Rouge the Bat, and Shadow The Hedgehog*

Where Is Carmen Sandiego?: Carmen Sandiego and Gunnar Maelstrom

Neon Genesis Evangelion: Gendo Ikari and Kaworu Nagisa/Tabris*

Hey Arnold: La Sombra

Looney Tunes: Cecil Turtle

Dr. Seuss Stories: The Grinch

Darkwing Duck: Taurus Bulba

DuckTales: Arpin Lusene, Goldie O'Gilt, and General Lunaris*

Death Note: Light Yagami/Kira* and L. Lawliet*

The Powerpuff Girls: Mojo Jojo and The Gnome

Teen Titans: Slade (Season 3-4), Red X*, and The Brain*

Jim Henson: Jareth the Goblin King and Long John Silver

Slayers: Rezo the Red Priest, Xellos Metallium, Jillas, and Valgaav

Yu Yu Hakusho: Sakyo, Yoko Kurama, Younger Toguro, and Shinobu Sensui

One Piece: Sir Crocodile, Rob Lucci, Trafalgar Law, Vice Admiral Johnathan, Donquixote Doflamingo, Marshall D. Teach/Blackbeard, Buggy the Clown, and Sengoku the Buddha

Haruhi Suzumiya: Haruhi Suzumiya*(sometimes) and Ryoko Asakura

Sailor Moon: Kunzite, Professor Tomoe, Cele Cele*, and Sailor Galaxia

Blade Of The Immortal: Anotsu Kagehisa and Habaki Kagimura

Black Butler: Claude, Lau, Hannah, and Ciel Phantomhive

Black Lagoon: Balalaika, Chang, Eda, Rock and Revy?

Bleach: Sosuke Aizen*, Mayuri Kurostuchi*, and Ginjo Kugo

Naruto/Boruto: Kabuto, Kisame, Nagato/Pain, and Sumire Kakei

Legend Of Galactic Heroes: Adrian Rubinsky and Paul von Oberstein

Case Closed: Ano Kata, Gin/Melkior, Dr. Narumi/Seiji, and Phantom Thief Kaito Kid

Code Geass: Lelouch, Schniezel, Cornelia, Emperor Charles*, Empress Marianne*, and C.C

Full Metal Alchemist: Zolf J. Kimbley, Father, Wrath, Scar, Roy Mustang, and General Grumman

Future Diary: Yuno Gasai, MurMur, Keigo Kurusu, Minene Uryu, John Bacchus, and Aru Akise*

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Dio Brando, Kars, Funny Valentine, Yoshikage Kira, and Enrico Pucci

Ouran Highs School Host Club: Kyouya, Tamaki*, the Twins, and the Lobelia Zuka Club*

Pandora Hearts: Vincent Nightray, Xerxes Break, Glen Baskerville, and Jack Vessalius

Psycho-Pass: Shogo Makishima

Romeo X Juliet: Lord Montague

Rurouni Kenshin: Makoto Shishio

Record Of Lodoss War: Ashram and Karla

Revolutionary Girl Utena: Akio Ohtori

Rave Master: Pumpkin Dohryu*

The Sacred Seven: Dr. Kenmi

Studio Ghibli: Lady Eboshi

Tenchi Muyo: Kagato

Tokyo ESP: The Professor

Monster: Johan Liebert

ERASED: Gaku Yashiro

Ergo Proxy: Proxy One

Eureka 7: Dewey Novak*

Eyeshield 21: Yoichi Hiruma

Fist Of The North Star: Rao

Gankutsuou: Edmond Dantes/The Count Of Monte Cristo

Gundam: Char Aznable, Kycilla Zabi, Paptimus Scirocco, Haman Khan, Tassilo Vago, Master Asia, Wong Yun Fat, Major Ulube, Trieze Kushedera, Rau Le Creuset, Gilbert Durandal, Lacus Clyne*, Aeolia Schenberg, Guin Sard Lineford, Flit Asuno*, and Rustal Elion

Ao No Fujin: Takao

Angel Beats!: Yuri "Yurippe" Nakamura

Bakugan: Prince Barodius/Mag Mel

Black Cover: Patry/Licht

Claymore: King Isley

Devilman: Ryo Asuka

Dinosaur King: Seth

Divergence Eve: Jean-Luc Leblanc

Duel Masters: Kokujo and the Choten

Fairy Tail: Zeref, Future Rogue, and Ultear Milkovich

Attack On Titan: Erwin Smith

Hajime No Ippo: Miguel Zail

Hunter X Hunter: Crhollo Lucifer

Jormungand: Koko Hekmatyar

Killing Bites: Reiichi Shidoh

Outlaw Star: Ron MacDougal

Puella Magi: Kyubey and Oriko

Shut Hell: Genghis Khan

Mon Colle Knights: Redda

20th Century Boys: Friend

Ranma 1/2: Nabiki Tendo*

Toradora: Ami Kawashima*

Blood -C: Fumito Nanahara

D Gray Man: D. Campbell

Darker Than Black: Amber

Durarara: Izaya Orihara

FLCL: Haruko Haruhara

Fruits Basket: Shigure

Fushigi Yuugi: Nakago

Golgo 13: Duke Togo

Heat Guy J: Lorenzo Leonelli

Hellsing: The Major*

Inu-Yasha: Naraku*

Jackals: Lee Meilang

Mai_me: Nagi Homura*

Noragami: Yato's Father

Scry-Ed: Martin Jigmarl

Sgt. Frog: Dark Momoka

Seven Mortal Sins: Lucifer

Shaman King: Hao Asakura

Soul Eater: Medusa Gorgon*

Speed Grapher: Chouji Suitengou

St. Seiya: Saga, Shaka, and Radam

Star Driver: Kanako Watanabe and Head/Reiji Miyabi/Tokio Tsunashi

Sword Art Online: Akihiko Kayaba and Senjirou Kikuoka

Akame ga Kill: Esdeath and Seryu Ubiquitous*

Date A Live: Sir Isaac Ray Westcott* and Kurumi

Higurashi: Miyo Takano and Shion Sonozaki

Kill la Kill: Satsuki Kiryuin and Nui Harime

Kindachi Case Files: The Gentleman Thief

Lupin III: Arsene Lupin and Fujiko Mine

Macross Frontier: Dr. Grace O' Connor*

Magi, The Labyrinth Of Magic: Sinbad

My Hero Academia: Sensei/All For One

Soul Hunter: Shinkohyou and Chou Komei

Space Battleship Yamato: Albelt Dessler

Nisekoi: Adelt Wogner Kirisaki and Hana Kirisaki*

Dance In The Vampire Bund: Alphonse de Borgiani

Fate/Stay Night: Kirei Kotomine, Archer, and Caster

Mahaou Sensei Negima: Dynamis and Haruna Satome

Katekyo Hitman Reborn: Byakuran and Daemon Spade

Lone Wolf And Cub: Ogami Itto and Yagyu Retsudo

Penguindrum: Masako Natsume and Sanetoshi Watase

Rosario To Vampire: Hokuto Kaneshiro and Alucard

Shakugan no Shana: Bel Peol and the God Of Creation

Trigun: Legato Bluesummers, Millions Knives, and Gallon Getaway

Tokyo Ghoul: Nimura Furuta, One-Eyed Owl, and the Clown Gang

Tommorows Nadja: Rosemary Applefield

Umineko: Beatrice, Bernkastel and Lambdadelta

Vinland Saga: Askeladd Olafson

Zatch Bell: Zeno Bell and Wiseman

Goosebumps: The Masked Mutant

Hannibal Series: Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Twilight: Aro of the Volturi(Film version)

The Queen's Thief: Eugendes and Atotlia Irene

Redwall: Ferahgo the Assassin and Ruggan Bor

Stephen King: Randall Flagg and Leland Gaunt

Star Trek: Khan Noonien Singh, Kruge, Chang, Tollan Soran, Elim Garak, Gul Dukat, Seska, and Q

The Hunger Games: President Snow*, Caesar Flickerman, Plutarch Havensbee, and Foxface*(?)

Game Of Thrones: Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Lord Varys, Tyrion Lannister, Tywin Lannister,
Roose Bolton, Doran Martell, Wymen Manderly, Oleynna Tyrell, Margaery Tyrell, Alayne Stone,
Mirri Maz Durr, Xaro Xhoan Daxos*, the High Sparrow, Arya Stark, and Daenerys Targaryan* (somewhat)

Shakespeare: Iago, Claudius, Richard III, Julius Caesar, Mark Antony, Octavius/Caesar Augustus, Aaron the Moor, Petruchio, Edmund, Falstaff, Lady Macbeth*, the Three Witches, Titus, and others

Buffy: Angelus, Spike, Ethan Rayne, the Mayor, Darla, Lindsay McDonald, Lilah Morgan, and Holtz

Once Upon A Time: Rumpelstiltskin/Mr. Gold, Regina Mills*, Cora, Peter Pan, Ingrid, and Hades

Fire Emblem: Jedah, Rudolf, Arvis, Zephiel, Naesela, Lekain, Caellach, Manfroy, Sephiran, Zelgius, and Walhart the Conqueror

Ace Attorney: Manfred Von Karma*, Miles Edgeworth*, Damon Gant, Shelley De Killer, Luke Atmey*, Kristoph Gavin*, Calisto Yew/Shih-Na, Simon Keyes, and Pierce Nichody

Assassin's Creed: Robert DeSable, Haytham Kenway, and Franciose Germaine

Castlevania: Dracula, Death, Isaac, Mathias Crongvist, Celia Fortner, and Dmtri Blinov

Call Of Duty: Raul Menendez and General Hershel von Shepard

Baldur's Gate: Amelssian, Jon Irencius, Bhaal, and Sarevok

Kirby Series: Meta Knight, Marx, Magolor, and Yin-Yarn

Metal Gear: Revolver Ocelot, Big Boss, and Steven Armstrong

Mega Man: Dr. Wily, Spider, Albert & Thomas, and Mr. King

Mass Effect: Illusive Man, Monrtih, Aria, and the Sovereign

Suokiden: Albert Silverberg, Jowy Atreides, Shu, and Luc

The Witcher: Emhyr, Jacques, Letho, and Gaunter O'Dimm

Blaz Blue: Relius Clover, Yuuki Terumi, and Rachel Alucard

Borderlands: Handsome Jack

Bravely Default: Konoe Kikyo

Resident Evil: Albert Wesker

Sly Cooper: Constable Neyla

Street Fighter: M. Bison

System Shock: SHODAN

Team Fortress: The Spy

Thief: Garrett

.Hack: Ovan

Portal: GLaDOS

Odin Sphere: Ingway

Metroid: Dark Samus

For Honor: Apollyon

Dead Rising: Tyrone King

Dragon Age: Solas/Fen'Harel

God Of War: Zeus and Hera

Guilty Gear: Asuka R. Kreutz

Kid Icarus Uprising: Hades

Jak Series: Count Veger and Rayn

Jade Empire: Master Sun Li and Sir Roderick

Lunar: The Silver Star: Emperor Ghaleon

BioShock: Frank Fontaine and Andrew Ryan

Dragon Quest: Orgodemir and Marcello*

Dishonored: Daud and Delilah Cooperson

Disgaea: Etna and Seraph Lamington

Devil May Cry: Arkham

Legacy Of Kain: Kain

Max Payne: Vladimir Lem

Pony Island: Asmodeus.exe

Brutal Legend: Doviculus

Command & Conquer: Kane

Fatal Fury: Geese Howard

Tales Of Legendia: Maurits*

Tales Of Symphonia: Richter Abend

Tales Of The Abyss: Van Grants, Jade Curtiss, and Anise Tatlin*

Danganronpa: Junko Enoshima, Izuru Kamukara, and Nagito Komaeda

Doki Doki Literature Club: Monika

Fallout: Ulysses and Robert E. House

Grand Theft Auto: Mike Toreno

RosenkreuzStillete: Iris Sepperin

Valkyria Chronicles: Maximillian

Vampire: The Masquerade: Smiling Jack

Xenoblade: Egil, Amalthus and Malos

Xenogears: Krelian and Miang

Xenosaga: Albedo and Wilhelm

The World Ends With You: Joshua, Kitaniji, and Mr. H

Warcraft: Darkuru, Loken, Kil'jaeden, and Deathwing

Watchmen: Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias

V For Vendetta: V

X-Men: Magneto, Mystique*, Mr. Sinister, Apocalypse*, Bolivar Trask, and Sebastian Shaw

DC: Lucifer Morningstar, Sinestro, Zoom, Tao, Prometheus, Vril Drox II, Edwin Alva, Amanda Waller, Wade Eiling, Maxwell Lord, John Constantine, Black Manta, Trickster, Satanus, Vandal Savage, etc.

Marvel: Loki, Doctor Doom, Thanos of Titan, Obadiah Stane, the Mandarin, Kang the Conqueror, Namor the Submariner, Bruce Banner*, Bomb Queen, Baron Zemo, Romulus, Daken, Deadpool*etc.

Marvel Cinematic Universe: Obadiah Stane, Ivan Vanko, Loki, Aldrich Killian/the Mandarin, Alexander Pierce, Wilson Fisk, Madame Gao, Shades Alvarez, Alveus/Hive, AIda/Madame Hydra, Helmut Zemo, Adrian Toomes/the Vulture, Erik Killmonger, Thanos of Titan, Quentin Beck/Mysterio

Adventure Time: Marceline/Marshall Lee

The Boondocks: Ed Wuncler Sr., Rollo Goodlove, and the Art Teacher

Captain Planet: Looten Plunder*

Class Of The Titans: Cronus

Danny Phantom: Vlad Masters

Gravity Falls: Bill Cipher

Hot Wheels BF5: Captain Kalus

Invader ZIM: TAK and ZIM *(sometimes)

Jonny Quest: Doctor Zin*

Jimmy Two-Shoes: Heloise

Men in Black: Agent Alpha

Monster Force: Count Dracula

Motorcity: Abraham Kane

Roswell Conspiracies: Wraith

Rick & Morty: Rick Sanchez and Evil Morty

Archer: Lana Kane and Malory Archer

Alfred J. Kwak: Dolf

Belphegor: Belphegor

Code Lyoko: XANA

Cyber Chase: Ledge

Dan VS: Impostor Dan

Dilbert: Dogbert

Reboot: Megabyte

Samurai Jack: Aku*

Sin City: Dwight McCarthy

Steven Universe: Navy Ruby

SWAT Kats: Ulysses C. Feral*

The Secret Saturdays: VV Argost

TRON Uprising: General Tesler and Cyrus

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Double Trouble

Star Vs The Forces Of Evil: Toffee of Septarsis

South Park: Leslie Meyers and Lennart Bedrager

Scooby Doo: Ben Ravencroft and Professor Pericles

Transformers: Megatron, Shockwave, and Swindle

Thundercats (2011): Mumm-Ra* and Rataro

G.I. Joe: Cobra Commander(sometimes)

Huntik: Secrets and Seekers: Rasimov

Gaitar And The Golden Lance: Rava

Jackie Chan Adventures: Valmont

Xiaolin Showdown: Chase Young

Total Drama: Alejandro and Heather*

The Loud House: Luan Loud (On April 1)

The Simpsons: Malloy, Hank Scorpio, and Sideshow Bob*

The Venture Bros: Monstroso and Dr. Henry Killinger

Ben 10: Vilgax*, Zs'kayr, Aggregor*, Princess Attea, and Proctor Servantis

Generator Rex: Van Kleiss*, Black Knight, and Cesar Salazar

My Little Pony: Discord, Lord Tirek, and Adagio Dazzle

Kung Fu Panda: Master Junjie and Heilang

Dragons Of Berk: Alvin the Treacherous, Viggo Grimborn, and Grimmel the Grisly

Voltron Legendary Defender: Prince Lotor and Honerva/Haggar

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Ch'rell/The Shredder*, Karai, and Agent Bishop

W.I.T.C.H: Nerissa*, Prince Phobos*, Shagon the Hate, and Will Vandom*(somewhat)

Non-Disney Animation: Hexxus*, Mok Swagger*, Chief Tannabok, Eris, Don Lino, Pitch Black*, Skipper, Dr. Blowhole, Megamind, Captain Gutt, Xibalba, King Chichack, Jenner, Warren T Rat, etc.

Literature: Count Dracula, James Moriarty, Artemis Fowl, Senna Wales, Morgan LeFey, Odysseus, Dr. Fu Manchu, Long John Silver, Fagin, Valmont & Metruiel, Saint Dane, Kronos, Lord Vetinari, etc.

Live TV: JR Ewing, Jim Moriarty, Dexter Morgan, Alfred Bester, Londo Moralli, Morden, Sheridan, Morgan Pendragon, the Master, John Hart, Azrael, Don Draper, Alex Russo, Sylar, Mr. Linderman, Noah Bennett, Nathan Petrelli, Angela Petrelli, Ben Linus, Sherry Palmer, King Silas, Adelle Dewit, Lord Ba'al, Gaius Baltar, Cain, Crowley, Ryan O'Ryley, Percy, Arnold Rothstein, Gustavo Fring, etc.

Film: Addison De Witt, Matai Shang, Graham Marshall, Tony Wendice, Harry Lime, Bill Cutting, Daniel Plainview, Bill, Hans Gruber, Simon Gruber, Bill Daggett, Norman Stansfield, Agent Smith, Merovingian, Jackie Brown, Dalton Russel, Rotti Largo, Hayley Stark, Gordon Gekko, Mr. White, FrankNFurter, Hans Landa, Ian Howe, John Shields, Andy Dufrene, Vito Corleone, Peyton Flanders, Jason Bourne,  the Man With No Name, Sweeney Todd, Mike Wilson, Sarone, Herod, James Hook, Freddy Krueger, Catherine Tramell, Lord Summerisle, Keyser Soze, Vincent Price, etc.

There are actually a lot more examples in TV, Film and Literature, but I don't need to list all. For any other villains I missed, it's worth remembering to run them through the Magnificent Bastard criteria test. If more than one criteria isn't met, then the villain is not this trope. But these guys that I have listed here I feel most definitely are, so this here's a tribute to some of fictions' greatest bastards.