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Anubis: Now, after 5000 years of waiting, I'm going to challenge you to a children's card game! And then I'll destroy the world!
Yami: Why would you want to do that?
Yami: What's the point in destroying the world? What do you gain from it?
Anubis: I don't understand the question.
Yami: You are the most disappointing movie villain since General Grievous!
The Generic Doomsday Villain is an overpowering antagonist without a believable goal, motive or plan. They do not fancy themselves to be doing the right thing, they're not Driven by Envy, they have no personal vendetta against any of their victims, they are not in it for the money and they're not seeking Revenge for any real or imagined wrong done to them. Why are they evil? Because they're spreading destruction and misery.
From a Doylist point of view, this sort of character seems to make perfect sense: The story needs a villain to drive the plot forward and to give the heroes something to foil. This villain needs to be powerful enough to stump the protagonists at least for An Arc, which is why they're often introduced as powerful enough to be undefeatable outside of divine intervention.
But on an In-Universe level -- the level on which the audience relates to the story and suspends disbelief -- what matters is whether the character is consistent and coherent and has a compelling reason for what they do. Just like a good hero, a good villain is someone we care about, either because they're someone we empathize with or someone we Love to Hate. A Generic Doomsday Villain is none of these things. They're all power and no personality.
A villain can still come off as this trope even if they do technically have motives, goals and plans, but these come off as a Hand Wave. If a motivation is sketchy or could lead to a thousand more reasonable conclusions other than "destroy everything" or is conveniently detached from "our" plot so it can't be fulfilled or thwarted or otherwise come into play, that motivation is probably not pulling much weight on the character depth front. You know you are dealing with a Generic Doomsday Villain, when you can imagine them replaced with a natural disaster and the plot pretty much still working the same way.
May overlap with For the Evulz; a villain who commits atrocities, because he relishes in brutality for brutality's sake very conveniently needs no further motivation and their "plan" can easily deteriorate into a state where they wander aimlessly and randomly spread pain and misery wherever they go. While similar, it should not be confused with Diabolus Ex Nihilo, which is a powerful villain, who comes out of nowhere to shake things up and promptly move off. The Outside Context Villain may be similarly powerful with as little motivation, but in their case the answers come before long.
Sometimes, a writer will use this intentionally, making a villain who is literally like a force of nature or a natural disaster -- not really intended to be a character in their own right, just something that happens which the heroes have to deal with. Compare and contrast Outside Context Villain. Not to be confused with Invincible Villain.
Anime and Manga
- Of all the villains in Saint Seiya, Hades is perhaps the least motivated and most small minded. His grand plan is to cause The Great Eclipse, which will perpetually block out the sun and kill everyone on Earth. Being the king of the dead, you'd imagine he wants to do this, because he wants an army of the dead to attack Olympus with or maybe he's trying to give humanity a "peaceful" death because he foresees World War Three. Nope. He just has this nebulous dislike (not even hate) of the living and mortals, thinking them mildly distasteful.
- Kazuo Kiriyama in Battle Royale. The only justification for his actions is that they add lots of kills to the storyline and give the real characters someone to fear. In the novel and manga versions, his complete lack of personality is due to brain damage and he is unable to comprehend ethics. "I forget things sometimes..." Interestingly, while the scene explaining his background is beautifully written, he gets no perspective after that. Fitting this trope, he could be replaced with a 'battle robot sent by the organization' and it would be the same story.
- Kouki, a member of Kurata's Quirky Miniboss Squad from Digimon Savers. His comrades are personally motivated in their own right, with Ivan being a sympathetic Punch Clock Villain who fights to support his family, and Nanami working for Kurata only to further her own goals, which are similar to Touya's. But Kouki? Kouki has no motive and seems to care about nothing but smacking the hell out of the heroes, doing property damage and killing Digimon For the Evulz. Which is unfortunate considering he was apparently originally supposed to be a character very similar to Masaru but found by Kurata instead of DATS.
- While we're on Digimon, one of the main complaints about Frontier (season 4) was the Royal Knights, a Quirky Miniboss Squad who show up and do nothing but beat the tar out of the heroes for nine straight episodes because... something had to eat up the time before the Big Bad got out of his can, right?
- Exclusive to the Japanese version is Daemon from 02, who comes into the plot with no explanation, and is so powerful that the heroes can only seal him away. He has absolutely no personality, and his contribution to the plot is only as an "obstacle." For all its faults, the dub vastly improved on him, thanks to a delightfully hammy performance by the late Bob Papenbrook.
- Mephistomon from the first Digimon Tamers movie wanted to destroy the world for no particular reason. The closest thing to a motive we get for him is Omnimon stating he was spawned from an Apocalymon, who was also a Generic Doomsday Villain wanting to destroy the earth for "reasons" back in Adventure.
- Walpurgisnacht in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, who just shows up one day to wreck the city and leaves just as suddenly; she doesn't even fight the girls if they don't attack her first. Her only purpose is to provide the reason for Homura's endless time loops. This is justified though, given the mindless nature of Witches in general.
- Anubis in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie. No reason is given for why he wants to destroy the world. The Abridged Series lampshades this. If there is a reason, it's just that a god of death is supposed to end life, and 4Kids wanted a quick buck.
- Many villains in Shonen Jump series Filler arcs and Non-Serial Movies end up with the flimsiest of motivations for whatever evil thing it is that they're doing.
- The Trope Namer is Doomsday, whose sole reason for being was The Death of Superman. While previous Superman villains were usually really smart guys or evil robots or alien warlords or some other intelligent type to contrast Supes' Superpower Lottery, Doomsday was just raw unstoppable emotion on wheels with no agenda outside destruction and couldn't be reasoned with. Most of his depth comes from the back story in later comics. Doomsday was estabilished as a "guinea pig" that became both Nigh Invulnerable through adapting to withstand what defeated him and bloodthirsty for dying so many times to get that). In essence Doomsday is just a primitive, animalistic being - something which does not leave much space for personality.
- Bane decayed into this after breaking Batman's back and ultimately having served his purpose, which is why he got thrashed by Azrael in what almost seemed like a bit of an afterthought. Eventually the writers fixed Bane by giving him an identity beyond being "the guy who broke Batman's back once", as well as a surprisingly sympathetic backstory. Not to mention distancing him from Batman. Unfortunately, there is also a tendency for some of his portrayals to focus entirely on the steroidal "Venom" aspect of his character and nothing else meaning that once someone cuts his tubes, he goes down quick.
- Onslaught was more powerful than anything the X-Men had ever faced, took nearly all the Marvel heroes to beat, had no overarching plan other than "blow shit up" and existed solely to set up "Heroes Reborn", which was later retconned back anyway. Onslaught did have a back story as a psychic entity born from the combined mentality of Professor X (mutants and humans should co-exist) and Magneto (humans will never accept mutants). So he wanted to turn everyone in the world (and later the universe) into a hive mind with himself in control. However, many of the details behind his character were scattered amongst various Marvel comics titles (requiring someone to read all the comics tied into the Onslaught saga for all the details), or crammed into a book released solely as a summary for the Onslaught saga, complete with notes and information on what was planned for the saga from the writers themselves. For some, Onslaught's Generic Doomsday Villain nature made the writers' attempts to focus on Onslaught's plan changing from "kill all the humans so mutants can prosper" to "kill everyone in the world for no reason" much less dramatic that it was intended to be.
- Let's not forget Apocalypse, whose only motive for doing anything is vaguely established Social Darwinism, so he's mainly defined by how big and powerful he is.
- The Anti-Monitor has many of these qualities. No real personality, motivations or backstory, just ridiculous amounts of power in one package. Still, part of the concept is that he's so ridiculously powerful that it's difficult to so much as get his attention so there is some reasoning behind his seemingly Generic Doomsday Villain nature.
- Spider-Man's equivalent to Doomsday would probably be Morlun, a villain introduced by J. Michael Straczynski during his run. Apart from a few references to his race feeding on people who were connected to animal totems, Morlun had no real backstory to speak of, and his exact nature was never revealed. His personality was pretty bland as well, since he really only wanted to "eat" Spidey and stated that it wasn't personal. For some unfathomable reason, this was the first time a villain had ever made Spider-Man angry, even when guys like the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus had kidnapped, murdered or otherwise threatened his loved ones. His latter appearances, especially when written by Reginald Hudlin, are driving him towards this trope too.
- These pop up now and then in Invincible. Unusually, they are treated by the writer with all the gravity they deserve... that is, very little. One notable one was vanquished by all the guest stars and supporting characters in the series working together while the series protagonist, Mark, was unavailable. It was a Crisis Crossover in the B-plot of one or two issues of one title.
- Typically very common in Crisis Crossover events, as writers and artists are quicker to show how powerful their creation is than to make it interesting.
- The Transformers: Stormbringer series turns the Decepticon Thunderwing into the "force of nature" variation of this trope.
- Played Straight then subverted with Anathos from Les Legendaires. In his backstory, he is revealed to have destroyed the original world of Alysia for no other reason than testing the power he just got at this point. When coming back, on the other hand, he explicitly explains he wants to destroy the world as an act of revenge toward the other Gods for trapping him inside the Bearer for so many years.
Films -- Live-Action
- You like the destruction they cause, but don't much care about them? Sounds like a C-list Kaiju. The better ones have some motivation and / or are oddly sympathetic, but the ones that never appeared in more than one movie are pretty much this. Whether it's a bad trope, of course, depends on how cool the destruction is.
- Shinzon from Star Trek Nemesis. His reasoning seems to consist of "Well, I'm the villain of this movie, so I guess I better mentally rape Troi and destroy Earth." The extreme actions that actually relate to his supposedly well-intentioned goals occur entirely in the opening minutes of the movie: as he was raised by the Remans, he understandably doesn't like their status as the Warrior-Slave Race of the Romulan Empire. But when he assassinates the entire Romulan Senate and installs himself as the new dictator...he's already solved all the Remans' problems. At that point his only real explanation for wanting to destroy Earth is to prove the Remans' superiority over the Romulans and show the galaxy that their Romulan empire is not to be messed with which is somewhat unclear. For a poorly explained reason (to prove to everyone that the Remans are to be taken seriously), he has a super battleship way more advanced than every ship it comes up against. He also got a planet-destroying superweapon from... somewhere.
- The same could actually be said of Nero in Star Trek. His backstory is that, in the late 24th century, his home planet (with his pregnant wife on it) was destroyed in a supernova, which, for some reason means that he wants to destroy every planet in The Federation. To make matters worse, no one ever points out the fact that he's gone back in time a hundred and fifty years before the supernova took place and therefore has ample opportunity to, oh, I don't know...WARN HIS PEOPLE THAT THEIR PLANET IS GOING TO BE DESTROYED.
- The villain from the fourth Mission Impossible movie has a generic doomsday agenda (provoke nuclear war, destroy planet) without a motivation deeper than being some sort of insane A-bomb mystic. Tropes Are Not Bad, as his sketchy nature allows to concentrate on the heroes and present the plot in a very simple but entertaining Three Act Structure.
- Darth Maul of the first Star Wars prequel is the prime example of this trope. He barely has any lines of dialogue in the entire movie, and quite literally exists and lives to serve his master as an obstacle for the Jedi to overcome. Seeing as the lightsaber duel he took part in (and his double-edged lightsaber) proved so memorable, fans see him as huge wasted potential.
- Malekith the Accursed in Thor: The Dark World pretty much defines this trope. He is out to destroy the universe and return everything to darkness because as a being of darkness and evil, light annoys him and he wants it gone. He's less a character and more a plot device to justify having Thor and Loki team up. Any scenes intended to flesh out Malekith's character were actually excised from the film.
- Rodney Casares from the Peter Clines book Ex Heroes. He randomly turns up with the power to control the zombies, to survive the zombification with his own intelligence intact, and with enhanced physical abilities and stature he never had in life. The most that's ever explained about him is that he used to be a random gangbanger and that he was one of the first victims of the disease, but he is otherwise completely unique and exists for no reason other than to present a massive threat to the main cast.
- The Mule, villain in the second book of the Foundation trilogy, is a deconstruction of this trope. He's a (actually rather scrawny) Genre Savvy mutant with potent Emotion Control powers in an otherwise generic space opera setting trying to take over the galaxy just because he can. Of course, for all of his Genre Savvy-ness, he still ends up brainwashed by the Second Foundation.
- A classic literary example would be Professor Moriarty of Sherlock Holmes fame. He's introduced in the last chapter of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes and is talked up to be Holmes's Arch-Enemy who is supposedly his intellectual equal, even though we never see evidence of this. He was also said to be "the Napoleon of crime", and had a hand in many of Holmes' previous capers. In this particular case, he was behind a conspiracy bigger than anything Holmes had tackled before, and it ended up supposedly costing Holmes his life. And yet he had little page time and no personality to speak of, only defined by the threat he posed. Of course, he became the Breakout Villain and has since been more fleshed out in adaptations and spin-offs.
- Arthur Petrelli from Heroes is a conscious attempt to avert this, with him stealing Peter's Physical God powers and not using them to cause wanton destruction. Though his lack of motivation or any real plan land him into this trope anyway. He existed to steal Peter's power and as soon he did that he faded into the background and sat around waiting for Sylar to kill him.
- The Replicators from Stargate SG-1. Since most of them are machines made out of Lego blocks, they have no personality whatsoever. All they do is multiply. And they just. Won't. Stay. Dead. Though this changed when the show introduced the Human Form Replicators (including the Asurans), which actually had personalities and in some cases became recurring characters. Some were even somewhat sympathetic.
- The First Evil from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This gets bonus points for being an Informed Ability; we are told repeatedly it cannot be fought directly, and yet does damned little in the onscreen villainy department.
- Ditto The Beast from Angel. His status as this becomes a plot point, when they realize he's not smart enough to have come up with his plan on his own, and is serving someone else.
Mythology and Religion
- Surtr, the fire giant who is responsible for the end of the world in Norse Mythology, is probably the Ur Example. He doesn't appear in any myths except the one that tells of Ragnarok, where he and his armies invade Asgard, he kills Freyr and engulfs the world in fire, and even that myth gives him little description or characterization. Still, while he may not appear, he is referred to in numerous other tales of both the Poetic Edda and the Prose Edda. And he's hardly the only Jotunn lacking character depth.
- Between 2002-2006 in WWE, it was incredibly hard to sum up Triple H's character beyond "World Champion", "Stephanie McMahon's husband", and "sledgehammer aficionado".
- This was the main problem with WCW's New World Order angle (in all its incarnations): the fact that this faction of bad guys was so elite that they never lost. Even the nine-month buildup leading to the defeat of Big Bad Hollywood Hogan by Dark Messiah Sting was tarnished by the fact that Sting was pinned and lost before the match was restarted (because evil referee Nick Patrick had supposedly done a fast count that, in reality, was closer to a slow count).
- Indeed. The original outcome was for Sting to be pinned by fast count thanks to Nick Patrick's interference, therefore creating a valid reason for the match to be restarted by Bret Hart, who was one of the hottest commodities in wrestling at the time and was making his big debut in WCW at the time. It is rumored that Hulk Hogan bribed Patrick, a notoriously corrupt ref, to intentionally slow down his count so that the main reason for restarting the match and giving the victory to Sting would be null and void. This created a great backstage controversy that basically killed all of the momentum Bret Hart had in his entrance to WCW, which was supposed to be the last major blow against the then-WWF to kill WCW's chief rival for good. However, thanks to the bullshit pulled backstage by Hogan and his little clique, among other things, the WWF was able to rally itself going into 1998 and ultimately crush WCW at the end of the Monday Night Wars.
- The capper was that when Sting slapped on the Scorpion Deathlock, Hogan never tapped out. Supposedly, Hogan was yelling "I quit" but none of the cameras or mics picked this up. After almost two years of dominating WCW and nine months of building up Sting as the Badass savior of WCW, seeing the villainous leader of the nWo giving up in agony against Sting should have been a Crowning Moment of Awesome for WCW but it instead signaled what was going to happen to the company later on.
- Michelle McCool gets this, in large part due to being a Creator's Pet because of her relationship with The Undertaker. The worst is likely the Piggie James angle - she spent months running down Mickie James all building up to Mickie beating her and taking the Women's Championship... then Michelle won it back about two weeks later and has had no problems with Mickie since. It didn't help that "Piggie" James spent most of the feud getting the crap beaten out of her and being mocked about her weight. Being hated is a Rudo's job but they are supposed to get properly punished to please the fans that now hate them.
- The Necrons from Warhammer 40000 were introduced as a faction of skeletal androids with a grudge against organic life and that was pretty much all they did: kill, kill, kill without any sort of personality, much less dialogue. Their 5th Edition codex, however, added a more detailed backstory to the army (albeit one very similar to Warhammer's Tomb Kings), so while the average Necron warrior might be a mindless drone after so many millennia of being repeatedly killed and repaired, the ruling caste consists of actual characters with quirks and motivations beyond "kill all humans." As always, there's debate whether the new background is better or worse than the Necrons being a race of mysterious, silent killers.
- The Tyranids suffer from this to an extent. They're a Horde of Alien Locusts that shows up, eats everything on a planet and uses the bio-mass to make more Tyranids to repeat the process on the next world. Certainly dangerous, certainly terrifying, but they're essentially animals. The most nuance to their backstory is the suggestion that they're attacking our galaxy because something even worse is chasing them.
- Leviathan, from the Dungeons and Dragons supplement Elder Evils, is a serpent made of the leftover chaos of the world. If it wakes up, the world will cease to exist. Interestingly enough, it's Chaotic Neutral, not evil - destroying the world is simply what it does. The campaign layout provided has the "good ending" condition being putting it back to sleep, not killing it, as it's literally thousands of kilometres long and hence not capable of being fought by human-sized characters. Besides, killing it might cause it to destroy the world in its death throes. And if that didn't happen, its death might still irreparably damage the balance of order and chaos and destroy the world anyhow.
- The Terrasque is similar in most respects.
- The Big Bads of the Old World of Darkness tend to be treated similarly, but then again, the manifestation of any of them was explicitly a sign of the apocalypse.
- Occasionally when Russia appears in a modern First-Person Shooter. Real Russians are not amused by the Unfortunate Implications.
- The title characters of the Overlord games are meant to be classic stereotypical Evil Overlords and thinly-veiled Sauron copycats. While the characters are often doing evil and the players do get to determine how evil they are, it's really Evil Chancellor Gnarl that carries their villain cards for the Silent Protagonists.
- What makes it worse is that, in the entire time you're trying to build yourself up as the incarnation of evil, you spend the entire time fighting heroes... Who are now the corrupted embodiments of various sins, so you're not even being THAT effective a bad guy. While it could be said that by defeating them you prove you are the "most evil", the Karma Meter in the game basically sways between (very!) benevolent dictator and Omnicidal Maniac. At least in the sequel, the "hideously evil" path means you have to slaughter everyone in the villages you took over while the "domination" path meant magical Mind Control.
- The Final Boss and ultimate threat of Battle Moon Wars is a devil. Yeah, that's it. Doesn't help that it's quite the Giant Space Flea From Nowhere. They could have at least given it a name. Also, as the game is a Massive Multiplayer Crossover, it also falls victim to "More powerful than anyone they've faced before!" Syndrome.
- Zeromus from Final Fantasy IV wants to destroy all life on the Blue Planet. There's some handwaved justification that it's so the Lunarians can move in, but none of the other Lunarians want this, so it's still pretty pointless.
- Exdeath from Final Fantasy V is basically this, his sole purpose being to pose a menacing threat in an otherwise lighthearted game. He wants to use THE VOID to Take Over the World because, really, he can. Because he was spawned from an evil tree.
- And of course, who could forget Necron from Final Fantasy IX, the game's Final Boss who comes right out of left field, having received virtually no build up beforehand, has no personality beyond being a evil, destructive demon, and wants to return the entire world to a state of nothingness because he thinks that's the ideal state of things for some reason.
- The following games' Final Boss, Yu Yevon of Final Fantasy X, is an interesting take on this since he's a Generic Doomsday Villain minus the "villain" part. He's said to be neither good nor evil: he lives only to keep summoning, which is what is perpetuating the cycle of Sin. Unlike the above examples, not only does he have no personality, he has no voice. Or face for that matter!
- The Archdemon and darkspawn of Dragon Age are a rampaging force of nature, but they frame a backdrop for more complex and nuanced character conflicts. Only after confronting the antagonists native to Fereldin can the player wrap up the overarching invasion-of-evil epic.
- The darkspawn are partly motivated by the need to eat (often people) and reproduce, since the only way darkspawn CAN reproduce is by abducting women and transforming them into broodmothers.
- The Unbound in late Geneforge were designed to spread a wave of equal-opportunity devastation over the world, with the expectation that the Shapers would be caught off-guard and demolished while the Rebels bunkered down and waited it out. By the last game, they're everyone's problem.
- Several of the villains in the Kirby series, like Nightmare, Dark Matter and Zero, Drawcia, and Necrodeus are this, being villains who attack Kirby's homeworld with little to no motivation or characterization to go with it.
- Persona 3 gives a justified example in the form of Erebus, It appears at the very end of The Answer, has no lines or personality and all it wants is to destroy the world- or, more specifically, call Nyx to destroy it. The "justified" part comes from the fact that it's the Anthropomorphic Personification of humanity's desire for death, so it doesn't know anything but destruction.
- Odio in Live a Live is a reincarnating force of destruction. At any point in time there would be a hero to rise up, Odio will manifest during that time, causing terror, death, and annihilation, and directly oppose the hero. Odio will always bear a similar-sounding name that fits with that time period (such as Odi Iou for feudal Japan or Odie Oldbright for late 20th century America), making him easy to spot for the player, but the idea is that while the heroes may consistently defeat Odio, it will always rise up again in some other time. ...Except no, he isn't that at all-he's actually the mind of Fallen Hero Oersted, who has very well-defined motives. The reason he opposes the protagonists, as it turns out, is because he takes umbrage at their idealism and wants to prove a point to himself.
- While Ganondorf himself is more into conquest, some other Big Bads are evil for evil's sake (The Legend of Zelda Oracle Games' Onox, The Legend of Zelda Phantom Hourglass Bellum, The Legend of Zelda; Spirit Tracks Malladus, etc...).
- In Guild Wars Nightfall, Warmarshall Varesh wants to wake a dark god and its legion of demons, unleash Torment upon the world, and bring about eternal night and suffering because ... hmm.
- Kid Icarus: Uprising features two: The Aurum, a Hoarde of Alien... uh, bees that "are created from, and return to, nothing." and The Chaos Kin, a pure manifestation of evil that takes control of a host and slowly devours its soul. Both are presented as serious threats; the former requiring all the warring factions to do an Enemy Mine and team up, and the latter being a major Knight of Cerebus that causes the game to take an unexpected plunge into Darker and Edgier territory.
- Homestuck: Jack Noir ends up becoming this. Starts out with a good bit of personality, but once he takes over as Big Bad he just starts wrecking things for no real reason... none that we know of, anyways. Word of God describes his personality as basically being 'buried' beneath his power, and describes him as akin to a raging dragon, so it's safe to say this is a deliberate use of the trope. A later scene from Jack's perspective justifies it further: once he's gained enough power to become the Big Bad, he's just become horribly BORED. Most of his evil acts have just been him trying to come up with something to do with his new power.
- Goblins has Kore, a legendary Dwarven Paladin who kills anybody even vaguely connected to the "Evil" races, especially the women and children. Why? He's not saying, but his Armor Class is ridiculous enough to let him get away with it.
- The Snarl from Order of the Stick. Not a major player in the story, but ready to obliterate everything if it ever gets loose.
- Mecha Sonic from Super Mario Bros Z fits this. It's justified (perhaps deconstructed) in that even when he was just Metal Sonic, Eggman didn't give him a personality beyond "make Sonic dead" and "blow up anything in my way", so he's running off nothing but what he's known how to do all along.
- Atop the Fourth Wall: The Entity is a deconstruction. When it reveals its' master plan is to assimilate everything in existence into itself, Linkara calls it out on having such a simple and generic motive that will leave it with nothing else to live for. Upon letting this sink in, the Entity suffers from an existential crisis and then decides to find out what happens when an Outer God dies.
- In-universe, this is what Linkara considered Batman in the Elseworld "Catwoman: Guardian of Gotham" storyline to be. He considers this trope to be the worst kind of villain.
- The reason why SCP Foundation refuse to take Zalgo as SCP.
"You're overpowered, you don't have a hook, and quite frankly, you're boring."—"The Director"
- In Teen Titans Trigon was easily the most powerful villain of all, seeing as how he destroyed the world approximately 12 seconds after entering our dimension. However, being the "incarnation of evil" doesn't seem to leave much room for a complex or interesting personality. Luckily, every episode with Trigon in it also had Slade around acting as The Dragon.
- D.A.V.E in The Batman may well be a deconstruction. A robot programmed by Hugo Strange scientist with the memories and abilities of Batman's worst foes for the sole purpose of giving Batman a challenge. He proceeds to easily curbstomp Batman and steals ALL of Gotham's money just to commit the ultimate crime, but is defeated when Batman asks him to explain his origin story. Since D.A.V.E believed that he used to be a person, he basically went catatonic after realizing that he had no backstory of his own.
- Imperiax from the second season of Legion of Super-Heroes, who launched a full scale invasion of the galaxy because...he was power hungry, I guess?
- Pariah Dark from Danny Phantom had elements of this, being an obscenely powerful ghost out for world domination, but without a terribly interesting personality. However, the Made for TV Movie he appeared in featured major roles from a lot of the more interesting Rogues Gallery members (such as Vlad, Valerie, Fright Knight, and Skulker), so it all evened out.
- Nearly all of the third season villains were generic Take Over the World villains with little difference between them apart from appearances, voice, and powers (IE: Nocturne, Vortex, and Undergrowth).
- The Justice League Unlimited version of Brimstone is a superweapon that went berserk for no identifiable reason other than to give Green Arrow a reason to join the league.
- Most of the Legion of Doom henchmen assembled in the third season, because there's way too many of them and too little time for them to get much characterization.
- Also, there's Doomsday himself. Even with the ability to talk in full sentences, he can't escape being this trope.
- Most of the Legion of Doom henchmen assembled in the third season, because there's way too many of them and too little time for them to get much characterization.
- A few of the Sushi Pack villains fall into this, most notably the Titanium Chef, who wants to spread chaos throughout the world for no other reason than he has a book that tells him how.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has King Sombra, the Big Bad of the Season 3 premiere. He's built up as a huge threat to the Crystal Empire, and is revealed to have set up an intricate security system to prevent anypony from getting the Crystal Heart. But seeing as he's become a dark force of nature, his characterization is nonexistent whenever he shows up, especially in comparison to the show's previous villains. There is barely any backstory or motivations for him to speak of, and he actually has only five lines of dialogue in the entire two-parter, none of them being spent on any meaningful interaction with the other characters.
- Megas XLR featured many of these as one-shot villains, most notably Ender, who existed to "end" things, and Gurrkek the Planet-Killer.
- Atomic Skull from Superman vs. the Elite has no motivation for his violence. He killed people just to draw out Superman to fight. Why does he want to fight Superman? Just because.
- Vaatu from The Legend of Korra is definitely this. It's actually justified since he's the spirit that embodies evil, chaos, and destruction, thus he has nothing but dark thoughts and feelings.
- Surtur from Avengers Earths Mightiest Heroes. He basically wants to destroy everything, just because.
- When it comes to the Masters of Evil, Crimson Dynamo is probably the standout in regards to this trope, since his hatred of Iron Man is almost all there is to him.
- The Bigger Bad of Scooby Doo Mystery Inc, the Nibiru Entity, was this. We're never told why he went bad, only that he became the most evil Annunaki of all at some point for some reason. His personality is as generic pure evil as you can get, and his ultimate goal is to devour worlds, galaxies, and realities just to gain unlimited power, which he would use For the Evulz. To top it all off, "Nibiru" literally means "Doomsday", as explicitly pointed out in the show. So the Entity lives to bring about Armageddon just because he can.
- The Juggernaut in X-Men: Evolution devolved into this. In his first appearance, his goal was to kill Xavier for putting him in prison. But when he next showed up, Xavier is nowhere to be seen, and he just decides to wreck random destruction for no given reason. His main purpose was as plot device to get the X-Men to fight out of genuine heroism despite people's discrimination against them, even though their chances of beating him were slim due to his raw power.