This category is also known as Former Villains. It means that many villains walk a thin line between good and evil, indeed some villains have given into remorse, sympathy or even empathy, and once arrogant villains ascend further into the path of good, often fighting alongside or protecting people they fought against, they begin to turn away from their old ways.
There are several ways a villain can redeem themselves including:
- Snapping out of a possessed or brainwashed state and deciding to aid the hero who freed them. The villain is a hypnotized, brainwashed or possessed pawn who does not know they are being controlled until they are freed. Grateful to whatever hero freed them, they ally with them.
- Being exposed to the messiah or incorruptible type of hero that helps them to see their errors. Usually done with ones who believe they are doing right, or just want to be loved. The hero reveals to them that their actions are actually causing harm, or tries to confort them. The individual chooses their desire for righteousness over what they have done, and/or decides the hero had helped them see what they were doing was wrong, and becomes a full-time hero. A prime example being Shamira Talisman.
- Choosing honor before evil. An honorable villain decides that their own honor, or the honor of something or someone else is more important than what they are doing and decide to abandon their evil actions. Often done with supporting antagonists who value the lives of innocent people over working with their evil/cruel masters such as
- Becoming friends with someone and decide to help them over being evil.
- Choosing their family over evil. Done with villains who have families and to care for them. They realize that their actions are actually hurting their spouses, children, siblings, or any other members in their family. One memorable example is
- Being memory-wiped or brainwashed into becoming a hero and deciding that they like their new personality and life better then their old ones when they inevitably learn the truth. This is the rarest and most controversial form of a villain redeeming themselves since they did not turn good by their own free will and essentially had to be programmed into being good. Reserved only for villains who would normally be a Complete Monster under their circumstances, the audience or reader meets them as a hero first, not knowing they are brainwashed or have fake memories. The "hero" does not know this either and is just as horrified as the viewer when they learn the truth about the horrible things they have done or regain their real memories. But they have spent so much time as a hero and living with an artificial good personality that they choose their new life over their former one and become true heroes.
- Betrayed by their fellow villainous allies/bosses, which made them choose to turned to the good side. After they tasked to antagonized hero and their deed success, their allies/bosses dump them away or tries to kill them straight away, in either way, the said villain escape. Having see their errors (and in the worst case, hunted down by the Big Bad or their former ally), they choose to turned to the good side by join forces with heroes.
- Retiring from being a villain and realizing that living as a good guy is more better than their previous lives as evil-doers.
- Learning the lesson of being evil from other villain (Usually a Necessary Evil, a Monger or in the worst of the cases a Complete Monster) , in other words lead in a case of "Taste of your own Medicine", which leading to understand that they are doing a very the bad thing and feel very horrified, disgusted and terribly bad for the actions of the latter villain and try to redeem herself/himself and fight against her/him (Similar but somewhat different to a case Evil Vs. Evil), in the end of the battle (Usually in the end the very battle/episode/movie or in sequels) he/she try to join the heroes and search for the pardon to everyone they had become enemies. Ritsuko Haruka is an good example.
You know the saying: "If you can't beat them, Join them."