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1.
The converse of an anti-hero (i.e., a protagonist who isn't purely good or heroic), an anti-villain is an antagonist who isn't purely evil nor entirely unsympathetic -- a character who doesn't seem to deserve being cast as the villain, perhaps cast arbitrarily as the villain because they are not the focus of the story but merely present a foil to the central figure, who may be an antihero protagonist. Cf. scapegoat.
Magneto was an anti-villain because, while the X-Men were the protagonists who fought to defeat him and prevailed in the end, we can still respect and appreciate him for his motives and principles, however ill-considered his ruthless methods.
by Monseignore Laszlo July 23, 2006
 
2.
The anti-villain is the converse of the anti-hero (i.e., an individual who pursues a noble goal, though often employs ignoble means to reach it). As such, the anti-villain pursues undeniably villanous goals, but employs arguably noble methods to achieve them. Ultimately, it's the primary motivation that differentiates the anti-hero from the anti-villain.

True anti-villains are a rare occurance in literature and film. Often anti-heroes and/or accidental villains (i.e., people who pursue noble goals with unintended harmful consequences) are mistakingly identified as anti-villains.

Detective Vic Mackey from the television series "The Shield" is a corrupt policeman who seeks to illegally enrich his own life, though does so by way of incarcerating or exposing other criminals. As such, Detective Mackey serves as an archetypical anti-villain.
by James D. Hargrove December 28, 2006
 
3.
The converse of an anti-hero (i.e., a protagonist who isn't purely good or heroic), an anti-villain is an antagonist who isn't purely evil nor entirely unsympathetic -- a character who doesn't seem to deserve being cast as the villain, perhaps cast arbitrarily as the villain because they are not the focus of the story but merely present a foil to the central figure, who may be an antihero protagonist. Cf. scapegoat.
Magneto was an antivillain because, while the X-Men were the protagonists who fought to defeat him and prevailed in the end, we can still respect and appreciate him for his motives and principles, however ill-considered his ruthless methods.
by Monseignore Laszlo August 31, 2006
 
4.
An Anti-villain or Antivillain is a antagonist whose character or goals are unethical to tradition of villainy.
like someone who is a complicated bad guy thats not truly evil or not killing anybody innocent, ppl that person dont know would be an Anti-villain , or someone who has no remorse murdering those who gets in his way and plans to fight the main hero to death trying to prove his actions were good or right, but ending defeated realizing he was wrong and pays up to his sins/crimes

by nobody5425 April 28, 2009
 
5.
Similar to an anti-hero, the anti-villain has an different point of view to being a hero. Selfish and flawed the anti-villain seeks a way to glorify themselves through trying to stop crime, though they are often too cruel and brutal.
Forest Whitaker from "The Shield" is an anti-villain.
by Juan Mejia July 04, 2006
 
6.
Similar to an anti-hero, the anti-villain has an different point of view to being a hero. Selfish and flawed the anti-villain seeks a way to glorify themselves through trying to stop crime, though they are often too cruel and brutal.

Forest Whitaker from "The Shield" is an anti-villain .
by Juan Mejia July 04, 2006