Realistic Villains is a TV Tropes-popularized term which refer a villain/antagonist whom decided to either give in, redeemed him/herself, or returned to the good side after learned/inspired by the heroes' reasons to fight.
This term mostly found in more serious media. Also, characters whom traits fit to a realistic villains are either Anti-Villains or Anti-Heroes.
Who are they and what made them different from other Villains
To clarify a Realistic Villain, Realistic Villains are more better, competent, and serious than bumbling, comedic or incompetent villains.
In some cases, their personality traits even close to/fit to a Knight of Cerebus (particulary if they proved to have dark personality), but is revealed to have redeeming qualities that led them chooses to either redeem him/herself, decided to accept his/her punishments, or decided to turned for the good side by the end.
Requirements for a villain to be a Realistic Villain
A villain can only considered as a Realistic Villain if he/she fulfilled these requirements:
- They still have redeeming qualities that led them chooses to redeem due to a hero/heroine's voice of reason or their own conscience.
- They mainly displayed rather bitter, cynical, and acrimonious personality, and thus never displayed performing actual evil laugh.
- Their villainous actions may just for sake of it or driven by proxy that resulting them evil in the first place through either by circumstance or as a result of the story's unique angle. It means those whom outright evil or wished to be megalomaniac never count.