Character Exaggeration

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The vague but noticeable change in a character's personality or habits in newer adaptations. Interestingly, it is more common for traits to be overemphasized (or even changed completely) rather than deemphasized.

Unlike Flanderization, this version of the character appears like this initially rather than gradually evolving to it; most of the time it just happens that the 'new' version is based on the end-product of the 'old' version's long and changing development. Similarly production time often limits the amount a character can appear, the most 'important' traits are emphasized to make them distinctive. More negatively, subtlety can be lost if Executive Meddling changes the character to establish more broad appeal to some proven demographic. Never Live It Down is when the character doesn't actually change; but audience perception (and sometimes series karma) cannot forgive that one Noodle Incident.

Parodies are especially prone to this.

Compare with Ascended Extra, which is done to obscure characters to make them ostensibly prominent. Contrast Out-of-Character Moment. See also Character Check, when the writers try to reverse this, if only momentarily.

Examples of Character Exaggeration include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In the anime-first series Neon Genesis Evangelion, we have Gendo. In the anime, he's morally ambiguous. In the manga, he's just plain evil.
  • Effeminate men who get rewritten as explicitly homosexual.
    • Zoicite in Sailor Moon is an especially interesting example going through adapations: Originally, he was just an attractive if somewhat effeminate-looking man. In the TV series, he is given more effeminate and catty traits and a romantic relationship with Kunzite. His English dub counterpart exaggerates this further, along with making him into an actual woman.
      • The same thing occurred to Fish Eye in the fourth season. Originally, he was not much different than his strangely dressed and short-lived counterparts. His run in the show was much longer, and was made a clingy, shallow (though ultimately good-hearted) gay crossdresser, and a woman in various dubs in other countries outside of Japan.
        • In fact, it's one of the other members of the Amazon Trio, Hawk's Eye, who crossdresses in the manga. Fish Eye actually tries to seduce Ami!
    • On the subject of Sailor Moon, Usagi herself is rather exaggerated though adaptations. In the manga, she is basically a normal teenager and a surprisingly competent leader of normal intelligence. The anime version dialed up her laziness, her reluctance to fight AND her naivete slightly (for example, see her reluctance to kill anything that isn't a Monster of the Day versus her manga form who basically killed first and asked questions later). The English dub takes this even further by making her a total ditz and a Butt Monkey when it came to the other senshi. (They didn't tease her NEARLY as much in the Japanese anime.)
    • As well as Usagi/Serena, Rei/Raye was exaggerated quite a bit from the manga to the anime to the dub. In the manga, she's the Ojou with a bit of a rivalry with Usagi. In the anime, they ramped up her issues with Usagi and made her seem downright mean at times, thought it was still obvious that she cared for Usagi. Dub Raye, on the other hand, loses much of Rei's softer corners and is pretty all-out nasty with very few exceptions.
    • Haruka crossdressing. In the manga, she actually poses as a male high school student at the start of the Infinity arc, but doesn't seem particularly averse to wearing women's clothing when out of the disguise. In the anime, while she presumably still poses as a male while in the Infinity Academy, her gender is revealed in the same episode where she receives a proper introduction—but she keeps crossdressing throughout the series, even though her being female isn't treated as a secret. Apparently, in that version she likes it a lot. Furthermore, in the manga she even uses different pronouns depending on whether or not she is in disguise -- ore and (of all things) atashi. In the anime, it's always the semi-masculine boku, even as Sailor Uranus.
  • Non-cutesy tomboys tend to act much more boyish and hate almost anything girly.
  • The exaggeration of a Tsundere's temper, usually for comedic purposes.
    • Akane Tendo from Ranma ½. She does have her reasons to be the way she is (low self-esteem, a Missing Mom, rather idealised mental concept of femininity, Ranma's verbal abuse), but her anime incarnation was still way more hot-tempered than her somewhat milder manga portrayal.
    • The Love Hina anime turned this into a running gag, as Naru's simple reprimandings start becoming physically ridiculous. Her tsundere side was, basically, even MORE exaggerated than Akane Tendo's, to the point that Love Hina fans sometimes have to WARN newbies about her.
      • Certain fans around the internet believe that Naru's anime incarnation actually counts as a "Failed Tsundere", or rather, a failure at trying to be one. She's so overly violent to the very extreme ends of Type A, that it's almost impossible for her character to even come to terms with the fact that she has a crush on Keitaro.
    • Louise Francoise Leblanc de La Vallière from Familiar of Zero takes it Up to Eleven. Her abuse of Saito becomes so horrible that unlike most other Tsunderes, in the second light novel she actually does get called out on this when, instead of using her normal whip to "Punish" Saito, she uses an actual bullwhip to knock out an already battle-weary Saito from the night before. It's understandable why many people have been turned off by the Tsundere as a whole due to characters like her, and why many fans of the Tsundere archetype are very put off by her.
    • In fact, pretty much all tsundere characters suffer from Character Exaggeration in Fan Fiction to some extent. Fans will either take her 'tsun' side Up to Eleven to turn her into a Tsundere Sue (if genuinely like her character but don't seem to realize the difference between "tsundere" and "raging bitch") or an Ax Crazy psycho (if they don't like her or want her to Die for Our Ship), or take her 'dere' side to similar extremes to turn her into a complete saint (usually as a backlash against the former camp). Akane Tendo is the most famous victim of this process, but she's far from the only one.
  • Galaxy Angel was also victim of this, due to the game it was supposed to be based on being repeatedly delayed until it came out only shortly before the first season ended—they didn't have much to go on other than a basic outline because of these problems, and decided to exaggerate all the character personalities for comedy and turn it into a parody to deal with the problem.
  • In the manga of Welcome to The NHK the main characters get overtaken more and more by their mental instabilities, turning them into psychiatric caricatures. This is especially poignant in the case of Satou and Misaki, who change from very disturbed but interesting and amusing personalities into lumbering, suicidal and psychotic wrecks. The anime (in case you're wondering, they're both based of a novel) has a more balanced characterization, making for a more relatable story.
  • Part of the failure of the Devil May Cry anime may be due to applying this to Dante's personality. In the games, Dante is playfully smug and very showy, but rarely does he cause collateral damage. In the anime, he seems to have a pathological "Need For Cool" that has to be satisfied regardless of what it costs him. For example, in the second episode, while chasing a demon, he demolishes a bridge along the way with his guns. The resulting repair costs cut severely from the fees he receives.
  • Try to find a Gundam Wing fanfiction where Heero isn't Emo, Duo isn't hyperactive and stupid, Trowa isn't nigh-on mute, Quatre isn't constantly on the verge of tears, Wu Fei isn't a misogynist, and Relena isn't an insane Stalker With a Crush who's too dumb to realize that Heero hates her. Go ahead and look, I'll wait right here for you.
  • Creed from Black Cat is made to be even more obsessed and depraved in the anime than in the manga (which is saying a LOT). This makes for an extremely awkward Heel Face Turn, which makes very little sense, especially since his slightly less perverted manga version didn't even do a Heel Face Turn.
  • Is there a Hyoutei-centered Prince of Tennis fic that does not have Ryoh Shishido being turned into a whiny, self-centered, wangsty Jerkass Stu who only lives to be an asshole to everyone and treat his partner Ohtori (often changed to a Love Martyr) like a slave, only offering a feeble and non-canon Freudian Excuse (like prostitution or Abusive Parents) as an excuse for his bitchiness and cruelty?
  • The Fillers in the Naruto anime often do this to several characters, most obviously Naruto's hot headedness, taking him from a Book Dumb Indy Ploy master to full blown idiot that can only spam Rasengan at anything that moves. Likewise, Sakura goes from only occasionally hitting Naruto when he does something perverted, to beating him at every oppotunity.
    • Tsunade's temper is even shorter in the anime fillers, as she tends to yell at Naruto more often and twice threatens to send him back to the academy and started beating the shit out of Sora because she thought he called her old. Hinata tends to faint quite a bit more often around Naruto, while she only fainted twice in the manga (once when going to visit him in the hospital after the Sasuke Retrieval arc- which was not shown- and when she sees him for the first time after the timeskip).
  • The various adaptations of Mahou Sensei Negima have done this to better pronounce certain (i.e, important) characters' notability from the rest of the (very large) cast. For example, the first anime adaptation played up Nodoka's shyness for Moe Moe purposes while trying to make her more recognizable. The second adaptation Negima!? took the alternative in trying to make her more calm and outgoing. The manga sits somewhere between the two extremes.
  • Nanoha in the Lyrical Nanoha series is an ask first, shoot later type, who would sometimes attack with full power when the situation calls for it. Nanoha in fan works however, is a shoot first, don't ask later type who doesn't know the meaning of restraint even when just training Red Shirts, and would often blow up the area she's in while undertaking a mission since she has no sense of collateral damage. We blame the "White Devil" and "Maximum Power! Destroy Everything!" memes for this.
  • The anime of Excel Saga severely plays up the comic aspects of the manga, to the point of inverting the character dynamics (The manga version of Excel is substantially more competent, and thus slightly more useful, than her oft-demoted anime counterpart).
  • Sagara Sousuke has this happen to him in the manga Full Metal Panic! Overload. Originally, he's shown being stern, a bit emotionless, rather socially inept, and taking certain extreme measures to protect Kaname. In this manga, he's made out to be a complete robotic sociopath that sees nothing wrong in mass-murdering people by misinterpreting Kaname's wishes. Many times, he's even shown blowing things up and causing damage to Kaname herself without so much as a blink of the eye - something his original self would never do. In fact, Kaname and Sousuke's roles are, in a way, reversed in this, where people will feel extremely sorry for her and wonder why she puts up with the insane physical abuse Sousuke deals out to her. Sure, it's all played out for laughs, but the Character Exaggeration is incredible. His psychopathy is extreme to the point where he's shown getting withdrawal symptoms when he doesn't use his gun for a day. Seriously, in that adaptation, he could give Gauron a run for his money in being Ax Crazy.
  • The anime adaptation of Valkyria Chronicles is a rather glaring offender. During the transition from the game to anime, many of the characters' traits were exaggerated heavily. In the game, Alicia would sometimes get frustrated at Welkin's personality quirks, but ultimately understood them, but was converted into the generic Tsundere love interest in the anime. Welkin was something of a Military Maverick, with a few personality quirks, but was turned into a socially inept Genius Ditz. Faldio was turned from a Colonel Makepeace to a suave ladies man. Susie was characterized as a somewhat mellow pacifist who had a distaste for combat. In the anime, she was so afraid of violence and the prospect of fighting that she would literally just spontaneously pass out. In a rather ironic twist, the villains of the game seemed to have gotten more character development and depth than they did in the games.
    • It's even worse in Susie case. She regard Alica as a monster when her Valkyria power was awaken.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni's Maria may be a Strange Girl, but the anime shot her straight into Creepy Child territory in the first episode... and has just kept dialing it up from there to the point of Narm. Battler, meanwhile, had his Chivalrous Pervert tendencies and desire to solve the mystery cranked up, at the cost of toning down his reactions to the murders.
  • One of the many complaints you'll hear from fans of the Chrono Crusade manga about the anime adaptation. Aion goes from being unsettling and manipulative to the anti-Christ and a rapist; Joshua goes from being insane, glib and somewhat immature to so childlike he doesn't even realize he's aged beyond eleven years old; Shader goes from a energetic scientist that nevertheless cares about her comrades and the children she watches to a practically sociopath Perky Female Minion who only cares to see more blood shed...nearly all of the characters get at least a little bit of this, but those are some of the worst. And that's not even covering how Fanfic exaggerates the characters even more...
  • Bleach filler tends to take the distilled essence of each character and blow it up until the character is as one-dimensional as they come. For example, despite being Ax Crazy, Kenpachi is actually an insightful warrior as shown numerous times throughout the series (such as when he notes that Gin and Tousen are the only captains afraid to die and when he fights enemies whom brute force can't win against). In filler and movies, though, Kenpachi is offscreen until the fighting starts, at which point he just runs in laughing and slashing without any form of thought or development whatsoever. And if you think his portrayal is bad, don't get us started on Soifon, Orihime, or Ichigo.
  • Played for Laughs in FU Nimation's Gag Dub of Keroro Gunsou, which exaggerates pretty much all of the characters: Fuyuki's wimpiness, Keroro's abuse of his friends and comrades, Momoka's obsessive love of Fuyuki, etc.
  • Some fans of Fullmetal Alchemist accuse the 2003 anime adaptation of doing this. This is certainly true for some of the minor characters, like Armstrong, whose character was exaggerated for the sake of humor. The brothers themselves, however, are more difficult to pin down. On the one hand, Edward's tendency to brood was much more prominent in the 2003 anime. But several of his manga self's more prominent traits—such as his rudeness, arrogance and temper—were made more subtle in the adaptation. The writers also took a rather Out-of-Character Moment for Alphonse in the manga, wherein he has a Freak Out after his encounter with Barry The Chopper, and made naivete and bouts of irrationality a consistent part of the anime version of Alphonse' characterization. Opinions are divided as to whether these changes were a good thing.
    • However, no one has any doubts about how different Solf J. Kimblee was in the 2003 anime compared to what he became in the manga.
      • Though this was likely not an intentional choice, as manga Kimbee's character was not well established until after the anime was already over.
  • The cast of Suzumiya Haruhi was already quirky. The Haruhi-chan series turned said quirks up to thirteen!
  • Ouran High School Host Club lampshades this, being an Affectionate Parody and all. While most of the Hosts play up their Bishounen archetype for the sake of their customers, Tamaki doesn't. He really IS that exaggerated, both in the manga and the anime. Oddly enough, these exaggerations lessen a little as the series goes on and we see some character development for all the Hosts—but don't think they sacrificed the humor. On the other hand, Renge is an exaggeration of Otaku Fan Girls... sort of.
  • Gundam Sousei takes the quirks of the staff of Mobile Suit Gundam and crank it Up to Eleven.
  • While Kyuuzou was still The Stoic in the original Seven Samurai, this is definitely given a lot more emphasis in the anime version Samurai Seven, wherein Kyuuuzou is a Perpetual Frowner who rarely talks and whose emotions/motivations are hard to gauge. While the film version of the character joked with the other samurai, his anime counterpart is more like No Sense of Humor (with the other characters' reactions to him Played for Laughs).
  • In early arcs of Cardcaptor Sakura, the title character, while still rather naive and sweet natured, was more down to earth, leaning closer to a Naive Everygirl. In later arcs her innocence is upped to somewhat cartoony levels, bordering as something of a cutesy Kindhearted Simpleton.
    • Similarly, her Love Interest was a very gruff Stoic. In later arcs he starts turning into a still gruff but quite kinder Tsundere, and when his romantic interest for Sakura become blatant and undeniable... he's so deredere for her that he becomes a borderline Dogged Nice Guy.
  • Type Moon has this to the point of being Flanderized in Carnival Phantasm. It's intentional, though, considering this is a Gag Series.
  • The Yuru Yuri anime does this to Chinatsu, playing up her creepy and unpleasant side. This is for the best, since she didn't have much personality in the original manga.


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Fan Fic[edit | hide]

  • In Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, the titular duo become a Gadgeteer Genius and Cowardly Lion, respectively.
  • In Star Trek, the Vulcans kiss with their fingers, as well as having a finger caress that's a bit more intimate. This is taken to highly illogical levels in fanfic, such as one in which Spock almost orgasms from the finger stimulation from giving Kirk a backrub, and then does orgasm when Kirk starts caressing his hands.


Film[edit | hide]

  • In the film Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm was a comical Deadpan Snarker. In the original novel, he was a much more serious character, although he did have some humorous moments—such as dismissing the argument comparing reviving dinosaurs to using cloning to save the California Condor by pointing out the obvious fact that condors don't eat people. Although, perhaps as a nod to this change, while delirious from drugs and severe injury in the sequel novel, The Lost World, he temporarily takes on a talkative, wisecracking persona similar to his movie one, although much more over-the-top.
  • The trope flies both ways in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the film adaptation of Gary Wolf's Urban Fantasy novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit. The title character went from being cunning if somewhat self-obsessed, with only a select few cartoony quirks, to being a full-blown wacky Cloudcuckoolander, whereas Eddie Valiant went from being an extremely over-the-top parody of the Film Noir Private Detective to being a fairly normal guy, given the circumstances.
  • The Harry Potter movies:
    • In the movies, Snape is suavely and delicately malicious. The Snape of the books can be snarky at times, but he's just as likely to be loud-mouthed and unsubtle. You couldn't picture Alan Rickman's Snape throwing the fit the character throws at the end of the book version of Prisoner of Azkaban. While they probably did this because a lot of shouting doesn't translate well to the screen, the change has certainly helped to increase the character's popularity.
    • In the sixth movie, Jessie Cave took the Sickening Sweetheart part of Lavender's character and played it to the hilt.
    • Miranda Richardson on playing Rita Skeeter: "Rita reads rather differently than how I played her. She reads more, to me, like Dame Edna. And there's no way I'm going to do Dame Edna. So it's a different twist on the character."
    • Happens rather dramatically to the Crouches in the fourth movie. Barty Crouch Sr., the one on the "good" side, went from being a kind of wizarding Senator McCarthy in the book to being a completely sympathetic character in the movie. Barty Crouch Jr., on the other hand, became a little psycho, never bothering with his Innocent Bystander act and basically screaming "Hi, I'm evil!" in every scene he appeared in as himself. And the change in his father's characterization eliminated his potential Freudian Excuse. The change is most clearly seen by the fact that in the book, Crouch Sr. sends his son to Azkaban out of pure spite, but in the film it's stated, "He had no choice." Crouch Jr. is crying and begging him no to do it in the book. In the movie, he's twitching his eyes, licking his lips, and cackling. Yeeeah...
    • Helena Bonham Carter takes Bellatrix's insanity and plays it up to make her childishly thrilled by such things as getting to torture and murder people.
    • In the books, Ginny is a Fiery Redhead, but in the movies she comes off more as a Girl Next Door. This may not really sound like an exaggeration per se, but it does play up an aspect of her book self's personality.
  • Everyone in the Matt Helm (a.k.a. Dean Martin as proto-Austin Powers) series.
  • The Dark Knight features a debatably good example of this with regards to The Joker. His more comic aspects are largely dropped in favor of playing up his psychotic and anarchistic tendencies. The end result is hardly the comic book Joker, but it clearly conveys the deep-rooted insanity and desire to lock wits with Batman that so heavily defines the character.
  • Batman and Robin provided one extreme example of this, namely Bane. In the comics, Bane is a Genius Bruiser; the movie sacrificed the first part, reducing him to Dumb Muscle.
  • James Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek bears much more resemblance to the pop-culture idea of Captain Kirk than the actual original series character. Justified slightly in that it's an alternate universe where he lacked the strong parental influence of his Starfleet father.
    • It's also worth pointing out that he's much younger in this film than even at the beginning of the series. There's still time for him to mature some.
  • Teatime, in Hogfather , is a notable example. In the book his eyes, actions, and the content of his dialogue is what makes the character disconcerting, at times terrifying, as it directly contrasts with his boyish charm, manner and appearance. In the adaptation, however, Marc Warren emphasises the character's way of speaking, in order to make his evil-ness just that bit more obvious, as well as losing the trademark 'ever present grin', which gave the original character a misplaced sense of childlike innocence. In a matter of fact, many people just think that the over-hamming of the character has meant the subtle, deep-seated sense of 'there's something not quite right' seen in the book has been lost.
  • Johnny Depp takes Willy Wonka's most readily apparent traits (and some not-so-obvious ones as well) and turns them Up to Eleven.
    • Apparently Depp's portrayal is reasonably true to the novel.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In addition to being Promoted to Love Interest in nearly every Sherlock Holmes adaptation, Irene Adler is often portrayed as a Diabolical Mastermind and famous criminal as well. Her only appearance in the Arthur Conan Doyle canon may be awesome, but her only crime was owning a photograph that an ex-lover (who happened to be foreign royalty) felt could be used to blackmail him... which she ultimately never does.
    • The 2009 movie is particulary guilty of this, in Scandal in Bohemia she was more of a Guile Antivillain, an adventress and an opera singer. In The movie she is more like Catwoman of the 1890's.
  • Many adaptations of the source material have taken Dr. John Watson from simply being Holmes' chronicler who is not nearly as brilliant as his mentor but still an intelligent man and a respected physician, to a blithering idiot played up as the Plucky Comic Relief. The movies with Nigel Bruce are the poster example, although this seems to have ceased in the most recent adaptations.
  • To a lesser extent, almost every adaptation or parody of Moby Dick shows an albino whale, different from Melville's description (that says that it only has a white forehead and a white hump).
  • Flonne of the Disgaea game series is a nice, flaky, adorable and optimistic Otaku angel whose dream is to spread love to every corner of the galaxy. In the novels she gets possessive Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies added to her personality, when a girl gets close to Laharl Flonne almost enters the border of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.


Television[edit | hide]

  • In Disney's Aladdin films (the first and third one anyway) The Genie is a cartoonish, but highly intelligent and formidable ally. In the Animated series he was reduced to a playful, silly, and just plain weird well-meaning buffoon who often did as much harm as he did good. This may have been sneakiness/laziness on the part of the writers—if the Genie is magical, smart and free to use his magic to solve problems and fight bad guys, then who needs Aladdin? Also, Genie is a living Deus Ex Machina. If he were smart enough to use his powers to just defeat conflict by himself, what would the writers do with the other twenty-nine minutes of the episode?


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Shakespeare used this to great effect in Troilus and Cressida, basing his version of The Trojan War around Chaucer's in-between-scenes story about the titular characters. Ulysses is a deceitful blowhard who talks too much and is obsessed with his own cleverness; Ajax (the one who didn't offend the gods) is a musclebound dolt; Achilles is even more of a jerk than his Homer-penned counterpart; and Cressida's uncle Pandarus is so flamboyant that modern performances often portray him as a drag queen. A lot of these exaggerations make the play far more entertaining, as it is essentially a cynical deconstruction of the tired ground of the Trojan War.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Occurs in the Lufia series. In the first game, Lufia and the Fortress of Doom, the prologue of the game features you playing as your heroic ancestor, Maxim, and his comrades 100 years in the past. These heroes speak much more formally than the main characters. Lufia II was actually a prequel featuring the entirety of Maxim's adventures, eventually ending in the same manner as the first game's prologue. However, in this game the characters who all spoke formally in the flashback sequence speak in much more contemporary language (except Artea, who speaks formally regardless.) This leads to a somewhat bizarre occurrence in the final dungeon where the party enacts a conversation that was fairly ominous in the first game, but actually sounds somewhat silly in the breezier language of the prequel.
  • Fire Emblem: Rekka no Ken fanfiction often turns The Wise Prince Eliwood into a wobbly-eyed pansy who freaks out over the very idea of fighting, Genius Bruiser Hector into a Jerkass brute, Shrinking Violet Florina into a weeping wallflower, Chivalrous Pervert Sain into a womanizing asshole all the girls hate, Genki Girl Serra into a shrieking harpy bitch, Mysterious Waif Ninian into a complete Distressed Damsel who cries at the drop of a hat, let's stop there shall we?
  • Saber in Fate Stay Night went from someone who enjoyed food a great deal and ate a surprising amount for her size, about five feet tall, and weighsing less than 100 lbs. That's comparable to Shirou and probably slightly more, but less than Sakura, who eats twice as much as a normal person and tries to hide it. However, in the anime adaptation people stop and stare as she eats as much as any two or three of them and does so with extreme speed. Possibly the best way they could show how important food is to her within the time frame available.
  • Kohaku in Tsukihime is a gigantic woobie who also sets up a pretty damn Batman Gambit against the Tohno family. Kagetsu Tohya and Melty Blood tend to discard the Woobie aspect of her character in favor of portraying her as a cheerfully plotting psychopath with a Shiki obsession who doesn't seem to care about masking her goals.
    • Akiha started with 'You don't mind that I have small breasts... do you?' and nothing more. But the fans and the sort-of sequels Kagetsu Tohya and Melty Blood ran with it until she went from Saber's breast size and a little insecure to completely flat and willing to turn you over to Kohaku over comments made about her chest. Which is, of course, much funnier.
  • In Final Fantasy VII spinoffs and in fan portrayals, Cloud is turned into The Woobie or a weepy emopants. This has gone so far that many people automatically think of Cloud as an emo. A playthrough, however, reveals a Cloud whose only "emoments" are during moments of extreme stress, EG, the death of a friend.
  • Everyone in Dissidia Final Fantasy is exaggerated to some degree from their original appearances to make individuals stand out from a mass of main heroes and main villains (...and Jecht.). For example, much of Kuja's dialogue and attacks are based around a theatre motif because he showed a loving to stage arts once or twice in his game of origin.
  • Touhou's fandom has a tendency to take a single aspect of a character and run it into the ground. The worst part is that some characters get multiple flanderized versions, depending on which part of Fanon you listen to. For example, Flandre is canonically difficult to communicate with because she's a bit nuts, but depending on where you look, fans portray her as either a walking ball of Moe or an extremely psychotic and violent girl.
  • Next Level Games took the National Stereotypes of the previous Punch Out games and ran with them to the extreme for the Wii version. Where before their personalities were only communicated through text and a few simple gestures, the Wii game has all the boxers feature hammy voice acting and ridiculous stereotypical antics. Notably, Disco Kid was the result of Kid Quick becoming so exaggerated that the producers made him a separate character. Also, King Hippo at least communicated in ordinary sentences in the NES game, while he only grunts in the Wii version.


Web Comics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Growing Up Cullen had entirely too much fun turning Edward's sexual repression into an inability to deal with any sexual talk whatsoever, no matter with whom, to say nothing of Emmett's fratboy behavior.
  • YouTube Poop is all about this. For example, the King from The Legend of Zelda CDi Games is always portrayed as an always hungry glutton for dinner solely for saying "I wonder what's for dinner" in Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon.
  • This trope is one of the few staples of The Abridged Series in regards to the original shows.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In the book Coraline, Mr. Bobo simply happens to be Slavic (Russia isn't even mentioned, actually); it's not even implied that he has an accent until Misses Spink and Forcible happen to talk about him near the end of the book. However, the movie makes Bobinsky extremely weird and extremely Russian.
    • Even though the flag outside his door is from Montenegro.
  • In the very first episodes after The Fairly OddParents became its own series, after just being one feature of an anthology series, Cosmo turned from being a bit dense and bumbling, but largely intelligent and reliable, to being a complete idiot. To parallel the change, his voice drastically went from suave and somewhat charming to high-pitched and prone to squealing. Strangely, even that level of idiocy apparently wasn't enough, and the later Flanderization made him even dumber.
  • In the Korean-American flash animation Pucca, the title character was a naïve pre-teen Cute Bruiser who wanted to steal kisses from her Heroic Mime boyfriend Garu. When a TV series was made, Pucca became a selfish and spoiled Clingy Jealous Girl with a psychotic fixation on Garu, and Garu's cooties went from "I like her and she's sweet, but she just doesn't let me train" to a borderline "I HATE THE BITCH I HOPE SHE DIES." Guess the Running Gag got old after the first episode...
  • "The Ember Island Players" in Avatar: The Last Airbender is an in-series example where just about everyone is absorbed by some single trait, often a comparatively minor one that they may not even have anymore.
  • In the books, Basil of Baker Street is a bit eccentric and prone to sudden bursts of energy. The Great Mouse Detective turns this Up to Eleven, while also changing him from a perfect gentleman to rude and socially inept....basically more like Sherlock Holmes himself than Basil.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, the title character has gone through some of the most extreme character exaggerations, in the first three seasons and movie he was intelligent but naive, only occasionally goofy and somewhat hyper, he had a low nasally voice, he bothered Squidward when he had something to ask him or if he wanted try something with him, and he only crossed dressed or acted effeminate in throw away gags, in the later episodes he is a complete idiot, he's incredibly hyperactive all the time, he has a high pitched whiny voice, he won't ever leave Squidward alone to the point where it seems he has an unhealthy obsession with him, and he very often cross dresses to the point where he says he enjoys it and he acts effeminate all the time.
    • Another extreme example is his pal Patrick who was merely a bit slow witted and Book Dumb and he was prone to extreme fits of rage when he had his feelings hurt, but in the later episodes he is just about the stupidest cartoon character you would see on tv and he often has fits of rage attacking things and people for no particular reason.
    • And what about Mr. Krabs? In the earlier episodes, Mr. Krabs was greedy and money-hungry, but he was also fairly wise and did realize when he'd gone too far (an example is the episode "Born Again Krabs"). Now, he's just a selfish jerk who basically doesn't care for the welfare of his employees and is also extremely competitive, as shown in "Plankton's Regular", when he couldn't bear letting Plankton have one single customer! He even goes so far as to drive Plankton to suicide when he discovers Plankton is afraid of whales.
  • In Making Fiends, Charlotte is a lot less intelligent and more optimistic in Nickelodeon's TV series than in the web series. For example, in the web series she would have a blank expression on her face and sometimes say "Huh?" if she heard or saw something strange or frightening. She would try to change the topic, find something positive about it, or just ignore it. In the TV series, she responds "Yippee!" to Vendetta's death threats and has absolutely no sense of logic.
  • Inspector Gadget went from a bumbling but somewhat effective agent with the occasional help of Penny and Brain in the original pilot to an Inspector Oblivious that is almost completely reliant on his Hyper Competent Sidekicks doing all the work for him. In spin offs such as Gadget and The Gadgetinis this was exagerrated to the point of being excessively Too Dumb to Live.
  • In the duration of the first season of The Dreamstone Rufus and Amberley slowly devolved from somewhat endearing Badass Adorables into a Diabetes-inducing Useless Meddling Kids. It's hard to believe the two actually had any shred of abrasive qualities in the pilot (eg. Rufus' Cloudcuckoolander tendancies or Amberley's occasionally violent temper).
  • Utilized slightly in the second season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, where certain character's key flaws have been upped to more cartoony levels. Twilight Sparkle for example started off as fairly level headed but somewhat neurotic and easily frustrated. In the second season, while she still has plenty moments of clarity, her moments learning An Aesop tend to have her going off the deep end due to her anal retentive behavior. Similarly Rainbow Dash has more heated moments of egotism and at times can be more of an outright Jerkass than in the first season. This is mostly kept in check by Character Development or snapbacks to their more rational traits whenever they are played against another character's flaws, but still a lot of characters come off as more overblown than before.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Oda Nobunaga and Yagyu Munenori are probably two of Japan's Warring States era figures that suffers this trope greatly. Almost every fictional works featuring them depict them as bastardly villains. The reasoning for Nobunaga was due to his brutality as a warlord, especially the burning of numerous Buddhist temples critical of him and the slaughter of its inhabitants. Naturally, it's somewhat understandable how this might overshadow his brilliance as both a tactician and a businessman, how he revolutionized how wealth was counted, encouraged trade with Europe and other Asian nations, allowed Christian missionaries into Japan, made social reforms, etc. Munenori suffers this due to the fact that he was a shrewd politician as well as a swordsman, and in fiction, political people are often evil, so depicting him as scheming and amoral has become standard. Even worse for Munenori is the fact that his son Yagyu Mitsuyoshi (both has attained the title 'Jubei') is one of the most romanticized samurai of all time and a hero to the people, (who was known to disdain politics and court functions) so many authors feel the need to use Munenori as an Evil Counterpart to Mitsuyoshi. If a writer really wants to have Munenori Kick the Dog, then they cite the almost certainly untrue story that Mitsuyoshi lost an eye during his life and make Munenori the culprit. (There are softer versions where it was an accident, a strike gone wild in a sparring session, but the most popular and 'dramatic' versions have Munenori doing it on purpose because he's either jealous of his son's potential or he wants to teach Mitsuyoshi a lesson not to mess with him). Also, Munenori is often set up as an antagonist to another legendary and heroic swordsman that has no relationship with him: Miyamoto Musashi. Which he does entirely with underhanded tactics too. Munenori must have rolled over in his grave a few times at some of these depictions.
    • Not to mention that in Real Life, according to sourced quotes in The Other Wiki, Munenori cited stuffs that clearly defies evil. And yet, those who follows his Flanderization trend ignore them all for the sake of evilness, the very thing he defies in real life. Munenori was Demoted to Extra.
    • If you actually look at the manuals written by the two samurai, Musashi is revealed as more than a bit of a jerkass himself. He made his living by what engaging in what amounts to mutual and simultaneous acts of attempted murder, and never bathed or performed other hygeinic acts. "The Book of Five Rings" devotes an entire section ("the Wind Scroll") to criticizing all styles not his own, and he claimed that his mastery of a single area of expertise allowed him to extrapolate that skill towards mastery of all other skills and disciplines. By contrast, Munenori titled his own book "the Life Giving Sword," and filled it with exhortations of using the sword to only fight evil, and so defending the good, as well as the importance of a ruler being devoted to the common people under his rule and not simply the aristocracy. Simply put, Munenori was the good guy who devoted himself to the betterment of his country and the service of his lord, while Musashi was the smelly little bastard who ran around killing people for profit.
  • A less more 'demonization' or 'villainization' example of that is the son of Takeda Shingen, Takeda Katsuyori. While he eventually causes the downfall of the clan, the man was actually a decent, competent general in battlefield. In fact, when Shingen couldn't take a certain castle from the Tokugawa, Katsuyori eventually took it. Unfortunately, these days, he's just remembered as the cause of the Takeda's collapse and as a hotheaded idiot, when the man was merely more capable as a general than a daimyo.
  • Similar to the Japanese examples above, the classic Chinese pseudo-historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms Flanderizes many, many of its characters into over-the-top superheroes, while others are portrayed as moustache-twirling villains; for example, the 'three brothers' of the Shu kingdom (Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei) are the closest thing the story has to protagonists, and thus can do no wrong (with a couple of notable, even fatal, exceptions), while the Wei kingdom are Flanderized into the Bad Guys and the Wu kingdom are mostly inneffectual in the long term, despite possessing many excellent generals. Perhaps the most notable Flanderizing going on other than the Brothers' is as follows;
    • Lu Bu's combat prowess is exaggerated to the point of near invincibility, and entire armies flee from the sight of him. Seems to fade as the story goes on, though and his death is as anticlimactic as it comes; both Cao Cao and Liu Bei agree that the captured Lu Bu is too treacherous to be allowed to live, and he's simply hanged after begging for his life. The wuss.
    • Zhuge Liang's tactical genius, to the point that he comes off as somewhere between a wizard and a saint, performs several acts that are only plausible if one considers him to have magical powers (besides his practical omniscience), and even manages to humiliate and terrify his Wei rival posthumously.
  • Willie Nelson is arguably the most important figure in country music history. You name it: songwriting, singing, breaking free of the Nashville establishment: he helped change the rules forever. He did the impossible and bridged the gap between hippies and rednecks. He expanded the musical vocabulary of country by throwing in everything from rock to The Great American Songbook...oh, and he likes to smoke pot. Unfortunately, that fact has taken over his public persona to the extent that his name has almost become a drug-humor punchline in and of itself. Nelson himself didn't help this part, doing things like giving exclusive interviews to High Times magazine and recording a reggae album, and it's admirable for someone of his stature to be so open about it, but still, he's about a step or two away from Cheech & Chong now.