The tendency of long-lived franchises and Legacy Characters to get the protagonists of the newest installment to deliberately contrast, either in personality or appearance, to the characters in previous or concurrent installments.
Contrast Suspiciously Similar Substitute.
Anime and Manga
- The Digimon Franchise has a story of this. Just going with the anime, we have, in order: Taichi Yagami from Digimon Adventure, a hot blooded kid with an aptitude for lateral thinking; then Daisuke Motomiya from Digimon 02, idiot protagonist extraordinaire and a determinator to boot; then Takato Matsuda from Digimon Tamers, who is sweet, introverted, artistic minded and a bit timid; then Takuya Kanbara fron Digimon Frontier, an extreme extrovert; then Masaru Daimon from Digimon Savers, who is quite confrontational, and an anomaly on not having the trademark "googles look" of protagonists before and after him fitting the "more realistic" setting; Taiki Kudou, from Digimon Xross Wars, a talented tactician; Tagiru, from The Young Hunters Leaping Through Time arc/season of Xross Wars, an excitable borderline Leeroy Jenkins; and Haru Shinkai, from Digimon Universe Applimonsters, an introverted bookworm.
- Just every JoJo's Bizarre Adventure protagonist seems to deliberately be the opposite personalities and motivations than the protagonist than preceded them.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!, big time. After Yugi Muto, gentle game genius that interacts with and channels the way more amoral spirit Yami/Atem, came Jaden Yugi, a more typical shounen protagonist that gets a very brutal Break The Cutie; then Yusei Fudo, more serious and calm than his predecessors; then Yuma Tsukumo, who also has a relationship with an spirit that only he can see but whose relationship goes in a different way that the one between Yugi and Atem; and finally Yuya Sakaki, who sees his dueling activities in terms of "bringing happiness to others" rather than the competitive nature of his predecessors.
- Naruto Uzumaki, town's reject and extroverted prankster, a very powerful ninja that was initially thought as talentless and has to work very hard just to discover his gifts, procreates Boruto, a very talented and gifted ninja that is very serious, standoffish, and who feels extremely pressured to live to the legacy of his father.
- While Mulan isn't quite a sequel to any Disney films, the title character proves herself to be very much different from her predecessors. For starters, she doesn't act like a girl even when she is doing female-related activities. And whether previous Disney girls were more introverted, Mulan was an extrovert. In other words, she breaks pretty much every gender stereotype in the book.
- Star Trek: This is the source of interminable "Kirk vs. Picard" (vs. Sisko vs. Janeway vs. Archer vs. Reboot!Kirk vs. Lorca vs...) debates.
- The Power Rangers franchise, there's a new group in a new series/toyline that are different than their predecessors.
- The Doctor and his/her companion(s) have this trope in spades; it's the reason the Nth Doctor exists.
- The whole purpose of the Young Blades series focuses on a new next generation of musteekers, which consists of the original D'Artagan's son, a genius inventor, Jacqueline Roget, and a Spanish poet.
Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends
- Classical Mythology has the current gods, like Zeus, Apollo, Hermas, and etc. has which different personalities, appear human-like, and have powers that are different than the previous titans, which are more of giants or just inhuman appearing monsters.
- In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play focuses on Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy, who are both sorted into Slytherin, destroying the "Slytherins are evil" stereotype in the process. This is a huge contrast to the characters that appeared in the first seven Harry Potter books, who were sorted in their rival and ideologically opposite house, Gryffindor.
- The Persona franchise, big time. The original main character was more or less an Heroic Mime; the Persona 2 duology has, in order of release, a troubled pessimistic young delinquent and a very genki and optimistic young woman; the protagonist of Persona 3 is a depressive youth who tries to keep to himself (his female version from the PSP Updated Rerelease seems to be more cheerful but still quite closed); the protagonist of Persona 4 is a way more social character who tries to uphold to justice, while the protagonist of Persona 5 has a delinquent background and authority issues.
- The Assassin's Creed franchise, each of the protagonist has a whole different personality than the one from the previous game (save the Ezio trilogy). For example, Altaïr is cold yet arrogant and silent, in contrast to Ezio who is the complete opposite. Just to name a few.
- The Tokimeki Memorial series, both in the original line and the Girl's Side of the franchise, has different approach over their "Main" romantic interest (Read: the bigger character(s) in the cover).
- The first game has Shiori Fujisaki, The Ace School Idol and infamously Nintendo Hard. The second game prompts us towards Hikari Hinomoto, a Genki Girl way more approachable than Shiori, and so easy to get that the real difficulty of the game is to avoid her route. The third game presents us Yukiko Makihara, a girl with a personality so thin she became The Scrappy of the franchise. The fourth game gave us Maki Hoshikawa, the Ridiculously Average Girl, and Yuu Satsuki, the Shiori Expy Up to Eleven.
- In the Girl's Side: First Love stars Kei Hazuki, the extremely aloof (and sightly socially inept) ace of the school. Second Kiss introduces us to Teru Saeki, the apparently perfect school prince who under that surface is more of a Broken Ace and rather Tsundere. Third Story bring us the Sakurai brothers, Ruka and Kouichi, who break the princely mold of the first two games by being more in the delinquent side (although it's implied that Ruka could be the school prince if he wished but deliberately avoids so). In 4th Heart, Ryouta Kazama is an inversion of the plot of the earlier games in that he is the former towner that returns back after a long absence, takes an immediate liking to the heroine, and in looks he appears to be more mature and down to earth than his idol-like predecessors.
- The archetypes of romanceable options, same-sex friends, and "info" person also change with each installment of the series. For example, in the Girl's Side, your info person in the first two games is a younger, elementary-aged kid (your brother in the first game, your next-door neighbor in the second), while your option for female friends can become your rivals; while in the third, your info people and your female friends are the same, and they have no romantic interest on the male characters, allowing more actual friendly interactions with your character.
- The Human Child/Frisk from Undertale and Kris from Deltarune Both are Silent Protagonists controlled by the player, but The Human is a child who finds themselves lost in the monsters' world, while Kris appears to have lived there for most of their life. Frisk's personality is also dictated almost entirely by the player's whims, and only at the end of a True Pacifist route is it revealed that they are not the Fallen Child you named at the beginning; Kris has their own personality traits and desires, and apparently resents being controlled by the player.
- The Legend of Korra series has Avatar Korra, who is Aang's successor, and whose goals, personality, Team Avatar pals, and love life are all entirely different. She's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold Princess of the Water Tribe and always in for a good fight/challenge, until she received some character development, which contrast heavily with the Fun Personified Aang.
- If one considers the history of the Avatars, they're the walking version of this trope, beginning with Wan.