The wicked-evil distinction is a concept specific to Gylian culture. The distinction differentiates "wickedness", which encompasses mischievous behaviour and harmless social and legal transgressions, from "evil", which encompasses malevolent, corrupt, and harmful behaviour.
The concept, which has antecedents among ancient Concordian teachings, was developed in its modern form by writer Angeline Dalles during the Gylian ascendancy. It achieved wide acceptance and has significantly influenced Gylian culture and society.
Each language spoken in Gylias has its term for the concept; some have simply calqued or borrowed it from others. In Gylian English, the use of the term "wicked" is comparable to other instances of linguistic reappropriation like the positive use of the word "bad". Gylian French uses the term malin in place of "wicked", and mauvais or maléfique for "evil".
Hellenes, who helped introduce the concepts of daimones as guiding spirits to broader Gylian culture, often use the terms agathokako (ἀγαθοκακο) or kakagatho (κακαγαθο) as a translation for "wicked". The terms are derived from the Hellene words agathodaimon (ἀγαθοδαίμοɴ, "noble spirit") and kakodaimon (κακοδαίμοɴ "malevolent spirit"), suggesting a state between ("bad-good" or "good-bad").
The wicked-evil distinction is a comparatively modern concept, although its earliest antecedents can be traced to ancient Concordianism, which developed a nuanced approach to morality. Hellene religion and Kisekidō had an influence through religious syncretism, as both Hellene and Miranian mythologies posit the existence of guiding spirits and supernatural beings that may be helpful or harmful to humans.
Angeline Dalles first named and developed the concept, particularly in her writings as "Madame Rouge". Her contribution emerged in the context of the Gylian ascendancy, which developed a common Gylian identity based strongly on opposition to Xevden. Angeline's fusion of horror fiction and Juvenalian satire played on readers' identification as the oppressed, and gave them licentious pleasure in seeing hated oppressors and elites get gruesome comeuppances. Her celebration of harmless transgressions served as a blow against the restrictive morality of the Xevdenites, who had used a monotheistic state religion to prop up their rule.
The wicked-evil distinction spread among Gylians during the ascendancy and afterwards; an admiration of rebels, libertines and rakes served as a tradition that distinguished Gylians from Xevdenites. The concept helped romanticise and glorify kyðoi, Gylic bandits and guerrilla fighters who had long resisted Xevdenite rule and evolved into modern freedom fighters.
As radical ideologies, particularly anarchism, grew in popularity among Gylians, the concept added a notable element of insurrectionary anarchism and illegalism to radical agitation in Xevden. Many anarchists translated for Gylian audiences were also freethought activists, stregthening the concept's identification with resistance to dogma and totalitarianism.
During the Free Territories and Golden Revolution, the concept served to fuel the drive for radical social revolution. The democratisation of Gylian education, overseen by education ministers Rin Tōsaka and Sakura Tōsaka, drew on anarchist thought on education and Angeline's famous dictum, "A child that does not misbehave is not a child at all." The writings of Esua Nadel, one of Gylias' most influential columnists, played a role in promoting and celebrating the distinction.
The concept posits that there is a difference between "wickedness" and "evil". "Wickedness" encompasses a range of behaviour that is transgressive but seen as less severe: rebelliousness, raucousness, and naughtiness. The main cultural archetypes that represent wickedness are lovable rogues, social gadflies, tricksters, and a certain type of romanticised outlaws that conform to the social bandit notion.
"Evil" is defined more straightforwardly as behaviour and beliefs that are actively malevolent, harmful, corrupt, or destructive. Beneath the emphasis on "wicked" characters' licentiousness and wit, the fundamental difference is that "evil" is understood as an active intention and willingness to harm others, and to go so far as to take pleasure in the act.
Consequently, "wickedness" is a quality that is viewed with good humour and a certain respect or "sneaky admiration", whereas "evil" is abhorred and ostracised. The distinction is subtle and recognises a line between the two: it is possible for someone "wicked" to cross the line and become "evil", but someone who is "evil" cannot be trusted to be simply "wicked" due to the exposure of their reputation.
The wicked-evil distinction is commonly accepted in Gylian society, and has been influential on its culture. Some of the best-known depictions of such characters in popular culture are charming burglars who live by their own code of honour, an archetype established by Aurelia Nyşel from Kleptechne. Certain characters from foreign series have gained significant popularity by successfully embodying the "wicked" cat burglar archetype, including the Kasagi sisters from the Akashian anime Cat's Eye, Carmen Silva from the eponymous Delkoran franchise, and Faye Valentine from the Æsthurlav anime Cowboy Bebop.
Giving positive characters "wicked" or mischievous traits is also a standard technique to flesh them out, with examples including Meiko Kaji's Woman in Black films, advocate Mitsuki from The Case of the Facts, Rubis Cœur from Rubis Cœur: Sky Captain, Chizuru Ogawa's characters in Chikageki films, and Marika Katō from Bodacious Space Pirates.
Joie de vivre is the most important aspect of a "wicked" character in popular culture. Characters which possess "wicked" traits but lack charisma, joviality, or panache are seen as failed characters and are not taken into consideration as "wicked".
In Concordianism, Hacak is the spirit of "wickedness", and was introduced by Angeline rather than emerging from folklore. Hacak has often been depicted in "wicked" pornography, particularly drawn and animated, mainly as the spark for action. Whether invoked or acting by herself, she is often depicted bringing out the naughtiness from otherwise bland characters, such as through suggestion, body transformation (particularly breast enlargement) and personality changes.
In sports, rezy heavily relies on the distinction in tandem with the adversary–enemy distinction. Anta characters explicitly aim to embody the ideal of "wickedness", using characterisation to elicit dislike mixed with "sneaky admiration" from the audience.
Famous Gylians known for their mischievous tendencies or full-blown "wicked" reputation include Esua Nadel, Anaïs Nin, Reda Kazan, Hilda Wechsler, and Amanda Leloup, among others. Actors Rauna Næsve and Brigitte Nyman both gained success by playing good-natured but impish characters. Rauna's approach was highly influential on the presentation of sexually alluring "wicked" characters.
The concept has been a fundamental influence on Gylian pornography; "wicked" scenarios and storytelling constitute a significant percentage of Gylian pornography.
It has also had a notable presence in Gylian politics, as market anarchists such as Lucretia Pecunia Mercator and Ţaisa Eşal used a "wicked" image to gain acceptance and become established in Gylian anarchism.
During the Liberation War, the eccentric and "wicked" reputation of Lidia Leone earned her enduring public sympathy, and fascination with her legion. Emilia Malandrino's similar "wicked" reputation became the touchstone of her political career and ARENA party.
Given the extent to which it drew from notions of social banditry and heroic outlaws, the concept enabled eccentric and glamorous criminals such as Ranyi Sesyk and Kaþi Mofat to gain fame and a certain modern folk hero status. The Mava Organisation deliberately cultivated a glamorous image and enforced a strict non-violent approach in order to gain a presence in the Gylian media and instill a public perception of themselves as preferable to more violent criminals, allowing them to become Gylias' most successful criminal organisation.
The concept is seen as playing a role in Gylias' low crime rate. It is a common view that crime fiction and other genres or creations with themes of "wickedness" and attendant lifestyles are a more healthy outlet for these interests — it is preferable to have people depict fictional infractions than to commit real ones. As a result, much of Gylian crime-related fiction is of a notably more benign character, and more gruesome or amoral creations such as Megelanese black comics have been poorly received due to the perception that they depict "evil" rather than "wickedness".
The concept has played a role in foreign perceptions of Gylians, and contributes to a stereotype of Gylians as abnormally tolerant and indulging towards "cads, bounders, and scoundrels".