Societies around the world often differ in specifics codes of conduct such as wearing masks in public, physical touch, and how people greet each other. However, most everyone will readily agree that certain things are definite moral failings; things like lying, murder, and betrayal.
Stories of villains doing any or all of the above are often put against the upright hero using the powers of friendship and love to overcome evil. Even more compelling can be stories where these nefarious actions are used to combat other evils, making the line between good and evil hardly perceptible. Daisuke Kambe, Laurent Thierry, and William James Moriarty are excellent examples of men with plans so lofty, they require using dark methods to reach their goals. Let's talk about them!
Kanbe Daisuke (The Millionaire Detective – Balance: UNLIMITED) – Who Needs Morals When You Have Money?
Daisuke is a man of means, having been born into wealth with incredible technology at his hands. The way he handles his problems is by throwing money at them in such excessive amounts that people don’t complain when he basically robs them of their belongings. He has a goal in mind and doesn’t mind paying off petty criminals and letting them off scot-free if he can get his man.
Daisuke doesn’t seem to regard people individually but is revealed to care about humanity at large. He doesn’t blink when his relative Suzue is severely injured working for him. Yet he worries about whether humanity will use his family’s powerful secret for good or bad. After he achieves his ultimate goal, Daisuke seems a little more considerate of the people in his life but he still delights in watching his partner fall into a river. His huge sums of money can accomplish more good than 1000 good wills. A complicated man indeed!
Laurent Thierry (Great Pretender) – The Master-mind Gentlemen Thief
They say to catch a thief, you must act like a thief. Why act when you can REALLY be a thief? Laurent is an amazing con-man of incredible aptitude with wide connections, language skills, and incredible intelligence. One of the most terrifying things about him is your whole life could be influenced by someone in his crew and you would have no idea.
Lucky for the common man, Laurent targets corrupt crime-bosses almost exclusively. He will work to gain their trust and weasel his way into their inner circle only to steal everything from them, destroy their assets, and rig any competitions they may participate in. He does rather unscrupulously drag Edamura (Edamame) into his crew against the younger man’s will but… all’s well that ends well? At least it’s a wild ride that’s great to watch!
William James Moriarty Yuukoku no Moriarty (Moriarty the Patriot) – Criminal Consultant Dealing in (Il-)Legal Advice
The nefarious arch-nemesis of Sherlock Holmes, William Moriarty is similarly clever and perceptive. His goal, however, takes him down a much darker path than the famous detective. An angel of revenge to those who have been wronged, Moriarty gives victims a chance at damning their oppressors, often haughty nobles.
Moriarty is so interesting because his grotesque yet poetic torture of awful people seems to stem from his love for people. He surely delights in hurting those who look down on common people and while he normally charges for his services, Moriarty will unprompted hunt down appropriate targets who have been done evil things. Moriarty has even befriended children to turn them against awful nobility but is not blinded by hatred, giving credit to those who deserve it. His hate is immense, but it is targeted.
Criminals doing criminal things cannot always be simply put in the ‘bad’ category when we look at the result of their actions. Consequentialism attributes the virtue of ‘good’ only to actions where the outcome is less pain than happiness. In this way, refusing to lie to your friend about their bad haircut could be a bad action, while killing a man who lets children die while he hordes money could be good. Whatever school of thought you subscribe to, Moriarty, Laurent, and Daisuke make much more compelling than the mass-murderer telling the hero that killing him makes the hero just as evil. Who do you think has it right? Let us know in the comments!