The Villainous BSOD

The Villainous BSOD

The Villainous BSOD (also known as Villainous Blue Screen of Death) is a harmless version of Villainous Breakdown, it happens when the villain comes to realize the weight of their crimes and they get nervous and develop an intense conscience of their villainous deeds.

Villainous BSOD includes:

  • Breaking down crying over their crimes.
  • Suffer a catatonic state with sad and impressed eyes.
  • Freaking out.
  • Wanting to commit a suicide.

Usually happens on anti-villains, tragic villains, remorseful villains, insecure villains, etc.

NOTE: Complete monsters cannot have and will never have a villainous BSOD because a complete monster has no conscience, they fake it.

Tends to overlap on Even Evil Has Standards.


Anime and Manga

  • Attack on Titan: with several villains having emotional breakdowns upon being forced to confront and admit to the things they've done. Further complicating things, the series is fond of tragic anti-villains with unknown motivations or goals, who are just as desperate and emotionally conflicted as the heroes.
    • Annie Leonhart Anniebreaks down more than once, when forced to confront the innocent lives lost due to their actions. The first time, at Trost, she begins apologizing with a vacant expression to the body of her friend, Mina. The second time, she is horrified when she sees her fight with Eren has crushed civilians.
    • Overcome with stress, Reiner Braun breaks down and confesses to their crimes. Breaking down in tears, they claim to have just been stupid kids that didn't understand anything and worries their friends have made them weak. But even though their moral compass has been lost, they conclude they've come too far and have no choice but to see things through. He is later revealed to have experienced such guilt over his actions that he suffers from episodes of trauma-Induced amnesia.
    • Bertolt Hoover finally breaks down when confronted by the others, who invoke The Power of Friendship in an effort to defuse the situation. He begins to cry Tears of Remorse and admits to having been happy during his time with them, but knows his actions cannot be forgiven. Still, he refuses their Last-Second Chance and tells them he does not have a choice.
  • Eureka Seven: Anemone begins this after her second failure against the Nirvash, due to her fear that Dewey will kill her for failing. This causes her to do nothing but lie down in her bed when she isn't fighting, and she gets worse after finding out Dominic went AWOL.
  • Tokyo Tribe 2: Buppa has one of these in episode 10 when Mera stabs him in the face. He stays in that state for nearly an episode before seeing Sunmi snaps him out of his BSOD. When someone points this out, he simply denies that the BSOD even happened.
  • Digimon Adventure 02: Digimon Emperor/Kaiser when he realizes that Digimon are real, and Wormmon has just made a Heroic Sacrifice to stop him, the boy freaks out, throwing away his costume, crying, and screaming that he was sorry before wandering alone into the desert.
  • Digimon Tamers: This happens to Beelzemon, the Mega form of the human-hating Digimon named Impmon. After being granted the power to digivolve like he always wanted, Beelzemon attacked the children and destroyed one of their partners (who unfortunately, do not have the pleasure of being reborn as digi-eggs as it was in the previous series). After being defeated in battle and spared, he begins to come to realize the atrocities he had committed and wanders around, guilt-ridden, depressed and haunted by memories of what he did. After surviving what was essentially a suicide attempt (not fighting back when he was attacked by a swarm of Digimon which quickly render him powerless), he eventually sets off to make things right, by first making amends with the humans he had abandoned and then by helping the others in the battle against the D-Reaper, and saving the girl whose partner he killed.
  • Magical Project S: Pixy Misa, the evil magical girl, was overpowering and about to kill the heroine but entered a BSOD when she realised she was about to hurt her loved ones too and reverted to her powerless alter ego.
  • Angel Beats!: Otonashi defeats Naoi by forcing him to face that in the end he was ultimately responsible for his own misery; Naoi's motivation stemmed partly from his belief that his life had been empty, and Otonashi forced him to realize that Naoi could only blame himself for that.
    • It is impossible to tell how many of these Akito from Fruits Basket has. When Hatsuharu almost beats her up for imprisoning Rin, during conversations about Shigure and Ren's relationship, when she stabs Kureno, and when Tohru falls from a cliff in front of her. She consequently goes through a very angsty, somewhat suicidal, phase. She ends up being saved from herself by Tohru's friendship and Momiji's statement that Akito should treasure the ones she cares for.

Animated Films

  • Song of the South: Br'er Fox has one at the end of the "Tar Baby" sequence: a sickly look on his face after Br'er Rabbit tricked him and hopped off. Br'er Bear silently clubs the fox on the head, knocking him out, then walks off, leaving the fox lying there.
  • The LEGO Movie: President/Lord Business undergoes one when Emmet tells him that he is not the bad guy.

Comic Books

  • The Authority: One arc of The Authority has the heroes forced to give the previous The Doctor (a mass murderer) his powers back for an hour, during which he one handedly thrashes the team. The current Doctor is berated because the old Doctor can alter time to make his one hour infinite, but as it turns out each Doctor is the sum of all previous ones, and that made the old one gain the new one's conscience. He realizes the horror he's done, begs for forgiveness, and is then killed point blank (The Authority are like that).
  • Devil's Due's G.I. Joe vs. the Transformers: Serpent O.R. captures Optimus Prime to gain access to the Matrix of Leadership. When he achieves this, he becomes enlightened to just how horrible the things he's doing are, and tries to have himself destroyed. Then Cobra Commander hijacks his body from Earth, and to stop him, Hawk has to expose both himself and the Commander to the Matrix. The revelation breaks the Cobra Commander's mind.
  • ElfQuest: This is Winnowill's reaction when Leetah tries to heal her, forcing her to relive her memories of how and why she turned to evil, and of everything she's done since. Too proud to spend the rest of eternity angsting and atoning for it all, Winnowill tries to kill herself.
  • Ghost Rider: The Ghost Rider's Penance Stare makes a person feel all the suffering that they had inflicted upon innocents. This oftentimes leaves them catatonic. And he once even got to use it on Galactus.

Live-Action Films

  • Watchmen (specifically the film): Ozymandias appears to be going through one of these the last time he was seen on camera. He lets Nite Owl beat him, without even the slightest move to fight back this time, and then wanders over to watch the others leave while staring into space, stoop-shouldered and weak-looking. It's a bit complicated, given that his mass murder actually saved the world from a greater threat, but unlike in the comic, he cannot just calmly meditate on his utopia, and in the sped-up footage showing New York being rebuilt, it is possible to pick out Veidt Enterprises building equipment taking care of things.
  • Saw: Saw III was supposed to have this. Jigsaw was to awaken on his makeshift hospital bed, and realize to his horror that for all his life before the films, for all his warped intent to try to make people reflect on what they've done with their lives, all that anyone would remember him as is a monster and a killer. The thought, naturally, was to have occurred too late in the film for him to do anything to save the current protagonist, leaving the man weeping and too weak to move. What Could Have Been, indeed? A slasher movie villain feeling remorse for his crimes could arguably have redeemed the series from shallow Gorn.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
    • Cutler Beckett suffers this in his final moments in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, when both the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutchman actually flank both sides of his ship: When he witnesses this, he couldn't even give the order to fire, as he was rendered virtually catatonic from witnessing it, and could only reply in a very soft but shocked tone "It's just... good business...", and walked, not ran, but walked as his crew abandoned ship and his ship was being destroyed, and couldn't even react when the flames from the ship exploding engulfed him.
    • This is despite the fact that his ship has more guns than the Pearl and the Dutchman put together. On the other hand, the Flying Dutchman cannot be sunk. And really, if a pair of ghost ships suddenly stopped fighting each other and decided to team up against you, soul-crushing fear is an understandable reaction.
      • Davey Jones tried to avoid this by removing his heart.
      • Barbossa's in the first movie is nicely understated. The apple may be a bit much, though.
      • Blackbeard when Jack reveals that he gave the the chalice with the mermaid's tear to Angelica instead of him.


  • The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara: Grianne Ohmsford, aka the Ilse Witch touches the Sword of Shannara, which forces her to accept the truth about herself—namely that she's a manipulative, backstabbing bitch who has built her entire life on a lie. She ends up going comatose from the shock, and doesn't recover until near the end of the final book.
  • Count and Countess: Elizabeth Bathory upon realizing that her closest handmaid has betrayed her and Vlad has stopped writing back to her. Her letters become notably shorter and more frantic before altogether stopping.


  • Fallout: President Eden, the Big Bad of Fallout 3 has a quite literal one of these upon finding out just how insane his plan really is. Eden, being an AI supercomputer didn't understand he was trying to destroy the very remnants of America he thought he was rebuilding, and as a result either shuts down or self-destructs depending on how the player handles the situation.
    • Sadly, the dialogue for the final confrontation with Eden was never written particularly well, so that unless you look really closely, it just seems like you tell him he sucks and should die, and he just agrees with you for no reason.
    • The same can be done to the Master in the original Fallout game, in which he will commit suicide if you reveal to him that his plan is doomed to fail, having realized how crazy its plan really was and guilty over what it did in order to undertake it.
  • Mass Effect: the penultimate boss and Dragon of the first Mass Effect game, Saren, can be talked into taking his own life when he is forced to understand his plan to help save a fraction of the galaxy is the means by which Big Bad Sovereign is controlling him. His final words are, "Thank you, Shepard." In addition, Matriarch Benezia heroically gives herself a villainous BSOD during her boss battle. Handwaved as having sealed away some part of her mind.
    • In Mass Effect 3, you can also talk the Illusive Man into shooting himself by making him realize that he is nothing more than a pawn of the Reapers.
  • Final Fantasy IV: Golbez fleeing from Cecil after the first fight is heavily implied to be that of a Villainous BSOD (presumably, he retreated out of the shock that Cecil was his younger brother).

Western Animation

  • Fantastic Four: Ghost Rider's "Penance Stare" was specially notable when he used it on freakin' Galactus in the Fantastic Four cartoon.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: The Powerpuff Girls' nemesis, Mojo Jojo, has one after realizing that while he was still The Professor's lab assistant, he inadvertently created the Powerpuff Girls. He repeatedly says these words of guilt, " It was me. It was me. It was me. It was me..."

See Also

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