Base Breaker

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    "Let's go Cena!"
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    Popular chant in the WWE

    A character in a series who is loved by one section of the fanbase, and hated by the rest. The causes are varied: perhaps the character appeals to a certain demographic but is a turn-off to another. Maybe they're a Plucky Comic Relief who appeals to the sense of humour of some people but falls flat with others. Sometimes they just highlight existing divisions within the fanbase, or have differing appeal across different cultures, due to different cultural viewpoints or other quirks. Either way, some fans like em, some fans don't, little in the way of a middle ground, flamewars ensue.

    This can happen as a result of Shipping related savagery, the divisions often between those who support a rival pairing or just couldn't care less.

    To put in tropes, The Scrappy meets Ensemble Darkhorse by way of Broken Base.

    See also Contested Sequel which is sometimes a result of Base Breaker characters.

    Examples of Base Breaker include:

    Anime and Manga

    • Akane Tendo from Ranma ½ is perhaps the classic example of a Base Breaker, at least as far as 1990s and early 2000s anime fandom is concerned. The fan community was wildly polarized on her, separating out almost literally into two armed camps over her suitability as a fiancee for Ranma. These camps fed on themselves, creating fanfiction and Fanon to support their points of view. This was all rooted in Akane's Tsundere characterization. She was clearly intended as a type "B" tsundere, especially given Kasumi's description of her in the first volume/episode ("she's really a sweet girl, she's just a violent maniac" in the manga and "she's really a very sweet girl, she's just a little... high spirited" in the anime). However, she often came across as a type "A", especially early in the series, and it was a matter of personal opinion whether she gets sufficient Character Development to become a "B" or not.
    • Rei from Highschool of the Dead. You tend to either see her as a cute Clingy Jealous Girl who really helps the group, or as annoying dead weight and you begin calling her by the Fan Nickname of "Cockroach-Tan".
    • Gunnm: Last Order in all its size and glory. Some fans (while usually noting its shortcomings) see it as a welcome addition to the series which brings in new faces, deepens the World Building and is generally fun to read. Other feel that it's an empty action-stuffed drivel that throws all the depth of the original out the window in favor of boring Flash Backs, Infodumps, mindless Tournament Arcs, and Monsters Of The Week.
    • Spiral: Half the fandom finds Hiyono annoying, the other half think she's one of the best characters ever made.
    • Naru from Love Hina is either a hilarious Tsundere who brings up a lot of the humor, or a horrible Domestic Abuser who should be thrown in jail.
    • Hatori from the Boys Love manga Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi gets a lot of flak. He's either the perfect candidate for Chiaki because of how he takes care of him and known him for twenty years or is hated because he's a possessive seme that will use force to hurt Chiaki and Yanase. Episode 16 doesn't help the cause. Same thing applies to Chiaki though. He's either the cutest Uke ever or the dumbest Uke that needs to see that's he's hurting both of his friends because of his idiotic nature.
    • Dragon Ball:
      • While not so much in the original run of Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and especially Super would turn Goku into easily the most controversial protagonist in anime history. Strap yourselves in, because there's a lot of ground to cover.
        • Goku's simple-minded Blood Knight Idiot Hero nature is often cited as one of his biggest strengths, yet it also rubs plenty of people the wrong way. While his child-like dorkiness and enthusiasm for a good fight are what make him such an easy hero to root for and a cultural icon whose popularity has withstood the test of time, it has also led to criticisms of him being a Static Character, if not a Flat Character altogether since he hasn't developed much since the Namek Saga back in the nineties. There's a strong case to be made that "If it ain't broke, don’t fix it" applies here, but it still annoys those who wish that his experiences would lead to him becoming at least somewhat Older and Wiser by the time of Super.
        • Related to the above, Goku's simple-minded personality is also a source of more than a few character flaws, such as him being selfish to the point of idiotically endangering the world, if not reality itself for the sake of a good fight, or him being an absent father and husband. While it keeps him from being boringly perfect, it also plays into people's annoyance towards Goku's perceived lack of development, which has led to debates on if he's a total asshole or even an abusive father because of it.
        • Goku's insane strength as the series has gone on has led to literally every member of the show's supporting cast aside from Vegeta and Gohan (and even then, they're notorious for "jobbing" during crucial fights) being left in the dust, meaning that he gets the lion's share of the cool and important fights. While some fans accept it as a consequence of the series’ notorious Power Creep and at least appreciate him for making his fights interesting, others view him as a boring one-man Spotlight-Stealing Squad.
      • Thanks to being a studious young man who would rather spend time with his family instead of fighting and training in a battle shonen series, Gohan catches plenty of heat for being "useless and weak". However, those same traits are what make him appealing to his fans: not only is his love for his family heartwarming, but his focus on intellectual pursuits as opposed to getting stronger are what make him unique when compared to other Saiyans in the series. Of course, these traits play into another base-breaking conflict: his strength as a fighter.
        • Thanks to neglecting his training in favor of other pursuits, Gohan tends to come up short in important fights starting with the Buu Saga and beyond. To some it's both an unavoidable consequence of him being a family man and the series' ridiculous power creep, but to others it’s a major moral failing on his part because if he kept up with his training, he'd be in a better position to protect the ones he cares about from the galaxy-crushing villains he, his family, and friends often come into conflict with.
      • Being a weak non-combatant who complains a lot, it's only natural for Bulma to have gained this sort of reputation. Her intelligence, interesting dynamics with the main cast (especially Vegeta, her husband), and the humor to be had at her expense help balance out her annoying traits with her fans (and it helps that at least in the original Dragon Ball, she was also the resident Ms. Fanservice), but in her detractors' eyes they're smothered by said annoying traits.
      • The Pilaf Gang weren't this in the original Dragon Ball, where they served their purpose well as goofy, weak Starter Villains who pave the way for nastier, more serious threats down the line. They are, however, definitely this in Dragon Ball Super where they constantly show up and are as goofy and ineffective as ever. While fans of the franchise as a whole love seeing the light-hearted spirit of the original series live on through them and appreciate them for lightening the mood with their goofy antics, fans of the more serious Z and Super view them as unfunny annoyances who get way more focus than they should.
      • The original Broly hailing from the non-canonical trilogy of Dragon Ball Z movies where he’s the central villain. His flat characterization that revolves around entirely wanting to destroy everything For the Evulz and hating Goku for a ridiculously petty reason has made him the butt of many jokes. This and his insane strength combine to create a character that’s often held up as the worst villain in the series, one whose lack of a compelling personality and motives make him come across as a living example of power level wank for its own sake. However, he did get his own trilogy for a reason: his badassery, uncompromising sense of brutality, and uniqueness among the series' movie villains have made him a cultural icon among anime fans. Not only is he responsible for some of the series' best fights, but to some, his flat characterization is part of what makes him so threatening: he's less of a person and more of a force of nature.

    Comic Books


    • Alien vs. Predator: The two groups split more or less on these issues:
      • Those who like the movie like it for it's action scenes, increased gore, badass Predator and horror elements.
      • Those who hate the movie hate it for the needless gore, the poor lighting, the Aliens non-sensical behaviour and violation of pretty much everything we've ever learned about them, them getting slaughtered by a single Predator and the glee the movie seems to take in averting Infant Immortality.


    Live-Action TV

    • Green Arrow on Smallville. Some think he's the best character in the show; others see him as a whiny, self-centered douchebag who constantly treats Clark like dirt, despite supposedly being one of his closest superhero allies.
    • How I Met Your Mother: From the evidence on message boards, it seems that if you watch the show, you either love Lily and think she's a hilarious and endearing character and wonderful wife, or think she's a mean, shallow, selfish bitch who doesn't deserve Marshall. The latter is probably a vocal minority, but the split is quite noticeable.
      • Stella. She became The Scrappy after "Shelter Island." About half the fanbase thinks "As Fast As She Can" redeemed her; the other half thinks it made her even worse.
      • Ted has a split similar to Lily's, but there's a notable trend for his haters to be extreme Barney fans. Given the fact that Ted and Lily are far less willing than Robin and Marshall to ignore Barney's bad behavior, it's hard to stop certain suspicions from emerging...
    • Most of the singers on the Korean program I'm a Singer, but the most prominent seems to be Yoon Min-Soo; either they love his voice, or they hate it.
    • Game of Thrones: Ros' status as a Canon Foreigner who takes screen time away from characters in the books makes her the The Scrappy to a lot of people (being the main participant in most of the sexposition scenes doesn't help), but plenty of critics and viewers find her snarky and charismatic enough to make it work (and then some appreciate her for...less mature reasons).


    • Bizzy Bone was the most polarizing member of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony among fans of the group, thanks to his eccentricities and his multiple personas. He's flip-flopped from bloodthirsty psychopath to introspective "spiritualist" (among other personas) countless times. Later on, Krayzie Bone started picking up this vibe as well after people started to blame him for the artistic direction of the group, for better or for worse.
    • The X Japan fandom has its share -- it seems like it doesn't take much at all to violently polarize the fan base:
      • Sugizo's made many statements to try to heal the rift between his fans and his haters.
      • When Hiroshi Morie replaced Taiji Sawada in the band, he began one of the most long-standing rifts among X Japan fans.
    • Gene Simmons of KISS: is he the single Manliest, coolest looking and most Badass and Lead Bassist ever, or a greedy megalomaniac who wastes his money on everything he finds ?
      • How about Thayer and Singer after they took Frehley and Criss' makeup ?
      • Heck, any lead guitarist not named Ace to an extent. Vinnie Vincent in particular. Mark St. John, not so much.
    • Sonic Syndicate: And how!

    Professional Wrestling

    • For some years, Bret Hart split the IWC into two camps that could only agree on one thing, that he was a technically gifted wrestler. Everything else -- his charisma, mic skills, status as The Woobie or a man wallowing in Wangst, feud with Shawn Michaels, The Montreal Screwjob, his opinion -- would turn into a massive debate.
    • Triple H is probably the best example of a Broken Base in professional wrestling. Depending on whom you ask, he is either a glory hound who's accused of using politics to hold back those he feels are a threat to his position, or one of the greatest wrestlers of this generation or any other who has fully earned the right to abuse politics to his advantage, or he isn't abusing politics, he's the best wrestler and would be doing his company a disservice by not being on top.
      • To elaborate: during 1999 to 2001, Hunter was an astonishing worker and in-ring talent; his 2000 street fight with Mick Foley at the Royal Rumble has to be seen to be believed. However, he was never the same after his first quad injury. About the same time, Stephanie McMahon became the chief creative authority for WWE... which was also the point that Trips went from simply being a talented wrestler and champion to a physical god who simply could not be defeated under any circumstances by anyone, no matter how talented or capable. Seriously, it just got ridiculous. Combined with the widespread (and often-confirmed) rumors about his backstage obsessions with winning at all times, he can be seen as a viciously self-centered individual. The final issue is that he is clearly responsible for the burial of several wrestlers' careers, sometimes defeating credible opponents (like Booker T at WrestleMania XIX) in appallingly one-sided squash matches (he waited a full 23 seconds to make the pin to ram home to the crowd just how inferior a wrestler Booker was). Basically, Trips has actual talent, and he could have been a huge force to elevate others and make wrestling truly great, but he is often just too self-serving to do the industry any good.
        • He eventually mellowed out some. The next few WrestleManias saw him getting beat by Chris Benoit (via submission), Batista, John Cena (again by submission), and Randy Orton respectively. It'd take him six years to win at WrestleMania again (against Orton). Also, after losing to Batista, Triple H wouldn't win another world title for three and a half years.
        • Let's play Devil's Advocate. During the first couple of years of his "Reign of Terror", Trips was one of the few stars WWE had who could deliver the goods fairly consistently. This wasn't a great period for WWE in terms of star power: Austin walked out after disagreements about how he was booked, The Rock was making movies half the time, Hulk Hogan's nostalgia run didn't give business the expected boost, and Chris Jericho wasn't getting as over as WWE hoped. When old WCW stars like Scott Steiner and Kevin Nash were brought in, fan response was lukewarm at best, and Triple H definitely did much better than them in terms of in-ring work. Though we can't quite excuse him for all that he was involved in (most notably Katie Vick and the aforementioned Booker T match), he did help the company to stabilize a bit until Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Orton, Cena, and even Brock Lesnar were ready for bigger pushes.
      • There's also the rumor that when he was about to win his first World Title at SummerSlam 1999, Stone Cold Steve Austin refused to lose the belt to him. They had to make a 3 way dance with Austin, HHH and Mick Foley, with Foley beating Austin and HHH beating Foley the next night on Raw. Between that and taking the sole punishment for the incident where The Kliq broke kayfabe as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash were leaving, it's understandable why he might want to be in a politically powerful position.
      • A new factor has come with reports that TV tapings headed by HHH are said to be less stressful than ones ran under Vince. Taking into account Helmsley's affinity for southern-style angles and concepts (he's pushed for a War Games match for years), and wanting the product to be focused on the workers and not sideshows (he was vocal in his disdain for the Diva Search), many are starting to welcome the idea of Triple H taking over for Vince and being a counter-point for his wife (said to be exactly like Vince). Much to their horror.


    • Charley, companion of the Eighth Doctor in the Big Finish Doctor Who radio shows, seems rather divisive among the fans. Some see her as a brave and adventurous foil to the Doctor, while others have the same problem with her that they do with Rose: that she and the Doctor were subject to a Romantic Plot Tumor.

    Video Games

    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Barry is either Adorkable and a worthy rival or annoying and not as Badass as Blue and Silver.
      • Can't forget about Cyrus, now, can we? He's either a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, an Omnicidal Maniac too far gone over the Moral Event Horizon , or perhaps both.
      • Garchomp. You either love it for being an Uber Badass dragon, or hate it for being one of the biggest Game Breakers in the franchise.
      • Lucario. Depending on who you ask, it's either a badass cool looking Pokémon that's useful in battle, or a bland piece of furbait that was forced in marketing campaigns.
    • Mass Effect:
      • Liara is a commonly used squadmate and adored by a section of the fanbase that ships her and Shepard, but she gets more vitriol poured over her than nearly any other squadmate, due in part to the Character Focus she tends to receive from the developers: she's mandatory in multiple missions in Mass Effect 3 (three in the base game, four if you have From Ashes), has a DLC focused on her (to the point where your other characters don't even talk at all once she shows up), is the most plot-relevant party member, and is treated as Shepard's best friend in the second and third game (assuming she's not romanced).
      • In addition, Jack, Miranda, Kelly Chambers, Zaeed Massani and (especially after the second game) Kaidan and Ashley are all extremely polarizing characters. Ashley moved out of this status in the third game, but not in a positive way (see her entry on The Scrappy below).
    • Type-Z in Crimzon Clover. Either it's a fun improvement on Type-I, or it's a Game-Breaker that unbalances the game completely once unlocked, with the unlock only requiring a few hours of persistent play. Of course this is something of a moot point considering there's no competition between ships: each ship has a separate leaderboard.
    • Lufia: A lot of fans were displeased with the series after Lufia II, filing the Game Boy Color and Game Boy Advance games firmly into Fanon Discontinuity territory. That the GBA game was not even made by the same company or development team helped this too.
    • Aya's apparent Chickification in The 3rd Birthday. Although the truth is more complicated...
    • CJ's somewhat Lighter and Softer personality in comparison to the other protagonists of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has led to many debates over whether it's a good thing or not.
    • Spiral Knights: You either think that soaring energy prices are isolating the Free-To-Play base and it needs to stabilize cheaply, or you'll accept that the crown prices are going to increase and that the developers deserve to get paid.
    • Kaede from SHUFFLE! Part of the fandom despises her for how she treated Rin in the past and her Yandere tendencies in the present and believes she doesn't deserve to get together with Rin, seeing her serving him as being done for selfish reasons. Others sympathize with her and believe she is merely trying her best to make up for what she has done and make him happy.
    • Final Fantasy XIII-2:
    • The Rance game series:
      • With a character like Rance, it's inevitable. Plenty consider him to be a Crazy Awesome breath of fresh air from the generally uninspired Visual Novel protagonists, while just as many consider him to be an immature series of rape jokes and nothing else. Whether he's a rounded character who shows large amounts of depth and Character Development across the series or a Flat Character is also a recurring argument. The fact that a woman helped create him the way he is also often a hot button topic when discussing his habits and why he is like that.
      • Sill Plain is a very divisive character, with many seeing her as a fantastic Foil to the incorrigible Rance while just as many deride her as a bland and out of place Love Interest in a series that doesn't need one. This is also reflected in the character polls where, despite being the de facto main heroine of the entire series, Sill doesn't ever place very high.
    • Resident Evil:
      • People are very divided on whether Ada is an Ensemble Darkhorse or The Scrappy. Capcom doesn't help with their inconsistent portrayals of her.
      • There are a lot of fans who want Steve back from the dead in a sequel. But a lot of fans also find his whiplashing moods, brashness, and oftentimes his voice rather obnoxious and annoying.
      • There is an extreme divide between fans of the earlier survival horror games (Resident Evil 0-Resident Evil 3 and Code: Veronica) and fans of the later action-oriented games (Resident Evil 4-Resident Evil 6 and Operation Raccoon City). Publicly announce that you prefer one and expect angry tirades from fans of the other.

    Web Comics

    Western Animation