Personality Powers

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Often, when there's a superhero team, their powers will reflect their personalities with the most blatant symbolism possible. Somebody with sun or light-based powers will be optimistic and sunny, while somebody with moon or night-based powers will be moody and dark.

Mystical characters will have this as part of their Super-Hero Origin; the moon spirits seek out those who are dark and moody, or having all that moon energy in your body makes you dark and moody. But this is rare; often, it just happens that the optimistic and sunny guy is the one who gets caught in the Freak Lab Accident involving concentrated solar power.

This trope is too convenient to be a notably Discredited Trope. As a result, it is almost as common for superheroes to have the exact opposite personality that one would expect, with sun guy being dark and night guy being happy. It's much rarer to simply ignore the trope and make the powers truly random, so they don't coincide or contrast with anybody's personality.

If you count mythology, and godly portfolios as powers, this is Older Than Feudalism. Greek mythology, with its very human gods, is probably the most blatant, with the sun god Helios being inspiring and alive, while his sister, the moon goddess Selene, is aloof and solitary, and so on for most of the other gods. Of course, these are justified; the Greco-Roman gods were incarnations of that which they represented.

This can, of course, be a chicken/egg thing. If a person has a set of abilities long enough, it can influence their personality. In other cases, their personality is what influences the powers they get.

Stock personality powers include:

Elements: In a world with Elemental Powers, superheroes match their element's behavior. An earth-based hero is stubborn and sober, a water-based hero is flexible and ever-changing, a fire-based hero is impulsive and hot-headed, and so on.

Shapeshifting: People with Voluntary Shapeshifting are almost always Tricksters, using their many forms to good advantage. (This, too, goes straight back to mythology.) Of course, this is one of the more justified chicken/egg scenarios, as if you did have shape-shifting powers, this is the kind of thing you would do. Similarly, those with Involuntary Shapeshifting, or who only shift to a specific form, will exhibit the personality characteristics associated with that form.

Wizards: In a superhero tale where magic and high technology co-exist, a magic user is deadly serious, pompous, creepy, or all three. Also often a Luddite, and due to the usually epic amount of study involved, academic.

Telepathy: Somebody who reads or controls minds comes in two flavors. Heroes will be wise, and almost mystically philosophical (if they aren't actual monks). The Face of the group will have something like this. Villains will be manipulative, crafty, and probably a Control Freak. (Strangely, a villain who relies on mind control rarely gets lazy and unused to manipulating people the old-fashioned way.)

Animals: People with animal-based powers often look or act like that animal before they got the powers—or more frequently, like that animal is often used symbolically.

Electricity: A character whose powers have a modern feel will often be volatile and touchy. The most recent examples often resemble a Playful Hacker, possessing machines with the same spirit hackers break into them. (This does not apply to lightning users with a more mystical feel. They tend to be straight-laced types, with an attitude like a king, or at least a Knight in Shining Armor.) Villainous electricity users, however, tend to be a little...different.

Musclemen: A character whose only power is being big and tough will be dumber than a bag of rocks. If they're good, they're doggedly loyal and probably Inspirationally Disadvantaged. If they're evil, they're bullies and thugs. While this is turned around as often as any of the other Personality Powers, a smart muscleman is particularly likely to surprise people in the story.

Super Speedsters: Impatient, twitchy, impulsive, and brash. Brag more than anyone, like a drag racer or old-time motorhead. Frequently explained (as with Marvel's Quicksilver and DC's Bart Allen) as a side effect of the fact that the character's super-speed makes the rest of the world seem very slow by comparison. In other words, a male speedster is usually a Keet, a female is a Genki Girl.

Stealthy Guy: Ninja-like personality, subdued action, hushed tone, love of surprises.

Time Travel: Anyone who can move through time is usually airy and disconnected, often saying that they can use their knowledge of the future to "do no wrong". Expect them to be Above Good and Evil if they're adept at controlling the past to suit their whims.

Generating Shields: Those with shielding powers tend to be a kind, caring person, and at least a Technical Pacifist if not an Actual Pacifist.

Emitting Poisons: Anyone who is made of poison/toxic waste/diseases will be a very lonely, petty, and cruel person with a cutting tongue.

Side Powers: There are a few powers that are very common, like flying or being big and tough. If these are not the only powers the superhero has, the common powers have no relevance to their personality whatsoever.

Compare Planet of Hats, Transformation Conventions. See Also Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance. Contrast Good Powers, Bad People and Bad Powers, Good People.

Examples of Personality Powers include:

Anime and Manga

  • Several ace cards from Yu-Gi-Oh! have effects and/or traits that are seemingly tied to that of their masters.
    • For example: Stardust Dragon sacrifices itself to protect the controller's field from destroyed by a card effect, similar to how Yusei often willingly help others in need. Or Blue-Eyes White Dragon having a brute power strategy mirroring Kaiba's brutal outside.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure uses this off and on. Some Stands are based on the user's personality, such as Devo's Ebony Devil (Devo is a cruel, hateful person and his Stand is powered by hatred) and Josuke's Crazy Diamond (Josuke is a kind person who wants to help people). Others, however, have no connection to the user's personality.
  • Some of the many examples from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
  • In Sailor Moon, Sailor Mars has fire-based powers and is hot-tempered, Sailor Jupiter has thunder powers and is big and tough, Sailor Mercury controls ice and fog and is cool and intellectual...
    • Averted in the manga, where Mars was a level-headed and standoffish Shinto priestess with fire-based powers.
  • Yes! Precure 5 even references this in their heroic titles and speeches. The Messiah Nozomi? "Great power of hope". Easily angered tomboy Rin? "Red flame of passion". Happy Idol Singer Urara? "Scent of a bursting lemon"... okay, this is a language pun involving her bubble-based powers and cheerful personality that didn't quite translate.
  • In the anime Yu Yu Hakusho, there's a story arc in which humans acquire special abilities. It is explicitly explained that characters receive abilities specifically related to their personalities, even though about half of the characters abilities seem to otherwise have nothing to do with the characters (does Seaman cry me a river? Does Shadow seem that dark and mysterious? Most of the villains make sense, and Taboo is pretty thoroughly shown to be appropriate)
    • Mitarai/Seaman is "emo" (sorta), since he has to cut himself to create his monsters and has a Freudian Excuse based in the extreme abuse he suffered at school. Kido can act dark and mysterious, as he proved when he captured Yusuke using his shadows... and poor Yanagisawa has to use his 'Copy' technique to have a personality in the first place, it seems...
  • Well-Justified Trope in Hunter X Hunter; Nen users don't get their Hatsu (special ability) spontaneously, they have to go through extensive and difficult training to develop it, and very few can manage to develop more than one. Thus, Nen users are frequently encouraged to develop a Hatsu that "suits them" and "feels right".
    • The only exceptions to this are people who manifest Hatsu without any training whatsoever, like Neon Nostrade and Alluka Zaoldyke.
  • To a certain extent, the girls of Mai-HiME exhibit Personality Powers, not all of which are elemental. Of the main Power Trio, hot-blooded Determinator Mai fights with fire; while her cold, no-nonsense sidekick and rival Natsuki utilizes ice attacks. Mikoto, who is considerably smaller than both girls but deceptively strong, simply slashes through her foes with a sword much larger than she is.
    • This extends a bit to some of the secondary powered characters, as well. Femme Fatale Nao uses a pair of sharp claws, and a giant spider-like summon beast to paralyze and toy with her opponents. Shizuru, who appears kind and gentle at first, but can become very ruthless if you push her the wrong way, wields a naginata with an extendable head and uses a multi-headed snake-like CHILD.
    • By contrast, the quiet and reserved Yukino didn't get off quite as lucky, as her abilities in both the anime and manga relegate her to support roles most of the time. This actually does fit her shy, sweet, non-confrontational personality, though.
  • The magical girl anime Prétear does this to some extent with the Leafe Knights. For example, Sasame's powers are related to sound, and he's portrayed as a good listener and works at a radio station, while the energetic hot-head of the group has fire powers. They lampshaded it by mentioning that the Knights get jobs related to their powers.
    • At least in the case of Sasame—when Himeno is at the radio station in the second episode, she says that his manner of speech is just what one would expect from the Knight of Sound. The manga version also does some Lampshade Hanging on this. Kei, The Smart Guy of the team, is the Knight of Light—which he often points out when other characters start to doubt his plans. Hayate works as a messenger boy—upon learning this, Himeno giggles and asks if it is because his power is Wind.
  • In Code Geass, each person's Geass is apparently a reflection of their inner desires, often with an ironic twist.
    • Lelouch: His power to give orders that can't be refused reflects his desire to go from powerless to commanding so he can change the world.
    • Mao: His power to read minds reflects that as an abandoned orphan, he was always on the outside, looking in.
    • Rolo: The power to (subjectively) stop time reflects his inability to escape the past and move beyond his life as an assassin.
    • C.C. (pre-upgrade): The power to make people love her reflects her past as an abandoned slave.
    • Emperor Charles: The power to rewrite peoples' memories ironically reflects his hatred of lies, by giving him the power to tell the ultimate lies. May also contain some Like Father, Like Son, since both he and Lelouch have the power to alter peoples' minds and behavior.
  • Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara Dream Saga has a few. Brash Taizou is strong, intelligent Souta is a seer, and girly Nachi's power is dancing.
  • With the exception of the third season, the lead character from each Digimon series represents the element of fire and has a quick temper to go with it.
  • Most of the homunculi of Fullmetal Alchemist have powers related to the sin they embody and by extension which aspect of Father's personality they were created from. Gluttony has a pocket dimension inside him that he can suck things into, Greed has a shell made of black diamond, Lust has fingers that turn into spears which can penetrate anything (giving an otherwise extremely womanly character a twisted layer of androgyny) & Envy can shapeshift. Pride's powers don't really have anything to do with Pride objectively, but they do within the context of the story, as he was created in the image of Father's original form. The other two are actually inversions, as Sloth is not only strong enough to tunnel through solid rock barehanded, but can also move faster than the naked eye can see despite being massively lazy, & Wrath has the ability to predict an opponent's moves & calculate the probability of the success of battle tactics in an instant, though you'd expect somebody named Wrath to eschew tactics in favour of brutal, all-out attacks.
    • In Sloth's case, the speed is so that he can finish his job quickly, while in Wrath, his skills supposed to shows the calm, frightening aspect of war's wrath, who destroys everything methodically.
      • Sloth's power can also be viewed as weaponized laziness. The first time he gets hit with an antitank rifle it tears half his face off. After he regenerates from the hit and complains that pain is too much effort rounds from the same weapon simply bounce off of him. The result is a rather terrifying example of Mega Manning.
      • Sloth's power is very fitting. Sloth is not being unable to do something, sloth is waste of potential. Sloth could be the most powerful of the homunculi, he could be the strongest, he could be the fastest, for all we know he could be the smartest but he's too damn lazy and slothful to use his powers and is thus a waste of potential.
    • The original anime plays it a bit straighter, with Sloth being able to turn into liquid goo. Wrath's powers don't really tie into his theme, but he was certainly an angry little kid.
    • Roy Mustang averts this though: he uses fire as a weapon, and with the exception of an Unstoppable Rage exemplifies Guile Hero.
      • Although his ambition and other smaller personality traits may embody the spirit of fire, though on a smaller scale. This lack of fire-like personality can also be explained by the fact that his powers come from study and training rather than being born with it.
        • In FMA Brotherhood, Roy and his Shadow Archetype, Isaac avert this even more so, with Axe Crazy Isaac embodying the kind of mad arsonist persona you would expect Roy to have. In FMA life experience contributes far more to your personality than your powers do.
  • Occurs in a few, but by no means all, characters in Fushigi Yuugi:
  • One branch of Ranma ½ Fanon claims that Jusenkyo's curses are embodiments of this trope, reflecting aspects of the cursee's personality (another claims they act to 'balance out' character flaws). The prime example is Genma Saotome, who turns into a panda- he abandoned his still young and sexy wife Nodoka for about a decade to train Ranma, he's a terrible father who never fights and leaves it to Ranma to clean up his messes), and his primary interests are lounging around and eating. Similar characters who are used as "evidence" for this theory are Ryoga ("pigheaded"), Shampoo ("sly as a cat") and Mousse ("birdbrained").
  • Mahou Sensei Negima usually follows this when the partners are granted their artifacts. The Playful Hacker Cosplay Otaku Girl gets a Magical Girl Staff that gives her super hacking powers, the bookworm gets a Magical Database / Great Big Book of Everything, the Shrinking Violet gets Telepathy, the School Newspaper Newshound gets recon equipment, etc.
    • Done on two levels with Negi's artifact. It's played first because he's a quintessential Magnetic Hero, and his artifact lets him borrow the powers of his own partners but also because he constantly trains to become stronger so that he won't endanger his True Companions by forcing them to support him, and can take care of everything on his own, so borrowing his partners' artifacts (not just copying; he seems to take the actual artifact) means he can fight so they don't have to.
    • Also Jack Rakan says that Negi's frequent bouts of self-loathing make him well suited to Dark Magic.
  • Bleach thrives on this trope for a whole range of characters. Shinigami, for example, manifest their swords from their soul. The powers within their soul are pulled out in the form of a sword that becomes both an Empathic Weapon and a Talking Weapon for its master. The catch is that the sword manifests personality traits that are also born from the master's soul meaning the shinigami very often find themselves confronting the worst aspects of themselves that they very often struggle to acknowledge as being part of who they are (such as character flaws, for example). This makes it difficult for shinigami to master their swords as it requires learning to communicate their swords and therefore personality clashes can be common.
    • Ichigo is a Fiery Redhead who started off with more raw power than control or experience. His fang-shaped, moon-themed BFS was incomplete (it lacked handle and guard) and its only technique was a Sword Beam. His sword's spirit is a stoic, middle-aged man who fittingly brings experience and control to Ichigo's personality and power. His sword's spirit is also a Super-Powered Evil Side and Ichigo had to learn how to merge all three parts of his personality (himself, Zangetsu and the hollow) to achieve his full potential. This included obtaining a hilt and hilt guard for his sword to symbolise the completion of his power. Since gaining fullbring, his power and sword has not developed even further.
    • Bitch Ninja Soi-Fon has a sting-themed weapon as her shikai manifesting as a needle-like dagger that she jabs into her enemy to kill in two hits. She loves her shikai because it's perfect for her stealth ninja career and image. Her bankai is a giant stinger-missile that she struggles to get on with precisely because it's Awesome but Impractical but which perfectly suits her less acknowledged personality trait of being an attention-seeker who engages in flashy moves to show off her abilities.
    • On the surface, Hisagi is a Martial Pacifist who fears his zanpakutou's power because "It looks like it was designed to reap lives". In the Zanpakutou Arc, Kazeshini is revealed to be an Ax Crazy Blood Knight.
    • Yumichika claims his zanpakutou is bossy, full of itself and utterly convinced it's the most beautiful thing alive. Rangiku observes that sounds just like Yumichika. She then complains that her zanpakutou is lazy, self-absorbed and snooty and it becomes Yumichika's turn to observe just how like her it is.
    • Kyoraku and Katen Kyokotsu: He's laid-back and lazy and hates fighting seriously. His zanpakutou's power is to weaponise children's games, and its his zanpakutou that chooses which game to "play" (to the death, of course) on the battlefield, Kyoraku has to go along with the decision just like his enemy does.
    • Shinji takes a childlike delight in reversing things. He even writes backwards sometimes just because he can. It turns out his shikai inverts everything - direction, senses, everything.
    • Orihime is a gentle-spirited girl who hates to see people being hurt and who always wants to help. She has excellent karate skills which she almost never uses because she's a Technical Pacifist. Her power manifests as six fairies, each with their own distinctive personalities ranging from a very shy fairy who barely talks to an arrogant, aggressive warrior. In keeping with her personality, her strongest powers are healing and shielding powers and her weakest, least used, attack is the one that kills. As she learns to be more assertive, her powers also start to become more aggressive.
  • A number of the characters in Basilisk: The Kouga Ninja Scrolls have these:
    • Gennosuke and Oboro are the two characters who most want the Kouga and Iga to make peace/want everyone to ge along, and they both have powers that nullify others' attacks (gruesomely and permanently in Gennosuke's case).
    • Kagerou is a sexy kuniochi who can inflict Death by Sex, and a similar situation is in effect with Okoi and Akeginu in terms of appearance and powers
    • Hotarubi normally comes across as a sweet and friendly woman, but is a total Yandere and Cute and Psycho. Fittingly, her power is being a Friend to All Living Things.... which she uses to kill people.
    • Explicitly noted of Jingoro and true of pretty much all other Gonk characters is that the grotesque outside appearance perfectly reflects their malevolent personalities.
  • Shown very often in Fairy Tail. The most obvious examples are Natsu Dragoneel (a Hot-Blooded fire mage), Laxus Drayer (a Psycho Electro who at one point tries to pull a Face Heel Turn), and Laxus's grandfather and the leader of the guild, Makarov.
  • Sekirei averts this with an almost-complete reshuffling of personalities. Earth types (Musubi, Kuu) are genki ditzes. Water is a Hot-Blooded and stubborn Tsundere. Wind is a Cool Big Sis Hard-Drinking Party Girl. Fire begins as The Mentor and remains relatively stoic. The Tech Wizard is a Covert Pervert trickster. The Electricity twins, however, are still Psycho Electro.
  • Speed Grapher goes one step further by having all Euphorics gain powers based on their fetishes and obsessions. A man with a rubber fetish literally becomes a Rubber Man. A woman with a diamond fascination gains the ability to literally transform her flesh into diamonds. And the lead, a former war photographer who occasionally got an erection from getting good shots, gains the ability to make anything he photographs explode.
  • In Read or Die and R.O.D the TV, it's pretty damn obvious - every paper user aside from Anita (who admittedly had a reason, and got into it later) are bibliophiles. "Extreme" bibliophiles.
  • Played with in Tiger and Bunny. Blue Rose is expected to maintain a 'cool and sexy' persona for her fans but off-screen has a temper at times. Of the two fire-using NEXTs, Lunatic is creepily calm in and out of costume, while Nathan is flamboyant and cheerful and rarely shows anger. Pao Lin/Dragon Kid is a more clear aversion, being in no way a Psycho Electro.
  • In One Piece, characters' personalities frequently tend to match aspects of their Devil Fruit abilities. Luffy is bouncy and energetic like rubber; his older brother, Ace, was rash and short-temper that matched his fire powers; the villain Crocodile is dry and coarse like sand, etc.

Comic Books

  • In the early days of the Fantastic Four comic book, the fire-throwing Human Torch was a hot-tempered grease monkey, the Invisible Girl was shy and meek, the brilliant scientist Mr. Fantastic had powers based on being flexible and adaptable, and the musclebound, monstrous Thing, while not stupid, maintained a "Brooklyn bruiser" persona and had trouble expressing his feelings. Although this is less blatant in more recent comics, it's still sometimes referred to.
    • In What If #6, the FF got different powers, which still reflected their personalities. Interestingly, Sue got the Mr Fantastic powers, with her meekness being described as a "pliable" personality. The other three powers were completely different (Reed was a living brain, Johnny's interest in mechanics made him a robot, and Ben's love of flight caused him to grow wings).
      • Ironically, a later What If? issue explored what might have happened had all 4 gained the SAME power, and suggested that, while the Invisible Girl/Woman would always be happiest with her power, Johnny might actually be happier as Mr. Fantastic (which he used to become a popular entertainer, more akin to the "sillier" Plastic Man and Elongated Man), while Ben would have been the most comfortable as the Human Torch (which helped in his job as a test pilot, allowed him to become a stuntman, and ultimately led him to become a popular solo superhero).
      • The Reed Richards from this reality received the Thing's power and called himself The Brute. While Ben Grimm dated and eventually married Sue, this version of Reed went into seclusion and had a somewhat manic mood. The 616 version of Richards sometimes spoke to him (as he does with most alternate reality versions of himself). The Brute would help him but also warned him not to talk to him for long because seeing a normal-looking versions of himself could potentially throw him in a rage.
    • This was likely unintentional on the part of the creators, though. Given how brimming with exposition those early Marvel comics were, it's doubtful this wouldn't have been mentioned somewhere in the scripts (and it wasn't) if it was on purpose.
    • More recent interpretations have emphasized The Invisible Woman's forcefield power as related to her Team Mom or Mama Bear traits. Likewise Mr. Fantastic's malleable body is shown as an extension of his expansive and malleable mind.
    • In the Ultimate Fantastic Four series, it was definitely a case of powers causing personality for Reed as he was revealed to be stretching his brain to make himself smarter. This perhaps helps explain why building a teleporter took him so long while his Time Machine was built in a relatively trivial fashion off-screen.
  • The Spider-Man comic book had a mind-numbing amount of animal-themed Personality Powers, along with an occasional Meaningful Name or Steven Ulysses Perhero. Otto Octavius has tentacles like an octopus, and he's grasping and manipulative. The Vulture is a mean, bitter man who preys on the weak (and even looks like a vulture). The Rhino is big, tough, and stupid. Eventually, J. Michael Straczynski did a Lampshade Hanging on it, suggesting that these villains are totemic representations, and unconsciously target Spider-Man because his totemic representation is "true" while theirs are false.
    • On the other hand, Spider-Man himself is an aversion, since he's a genuinely good guy, and even maintained his Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man image during the days of the Nineties Anti-Hero. Straczynski's totem business is viewed by many fans as Dork Age, rather than something that actually develops the character.
      • Whether or not Spider-Man is an aversion is debatable, not based on his personality but rather the popular perception of spiders as evil. Spider-Man is very much like a spider in that he is misunderstood, sometimes hated or hunted, dangerous when threatened, but ultimately a helpful force in that he acts as a form of pest control.
        • Anansi the spider is a Trickster Archetype known for outwitting enemies who rely on brute force. Sounds a lot like Spidey. This shows that even if the fans thought of it as a Dork Age, Straczynski was actually thinking about what he was doing. Even JMS presented the Totem aspect as supplemental to Spider-Man's scientific origins, rather than as a replacement for them. This developed the character in that it opened the road for future stories that involved both science fiction and fantasy elements.
  • The ultimate example of this is Runaways, where the teen heroes and their villainous parents have an elaborate combination of powers that either fit their personalities, are the opposite—or are both at once. Goth girl Nico is a witch whose spells are powered by blood; her parents go to church every Sunday (but are secretly sorcerers). Dumb jock Chase, ironically, has Mad Scientist parents. The youngest and smallest of the kids has superstrength, while her parents—a doctor and a speech therapist—have mind-control powers (and their costumes suggest torture and sadomasochism). Flighty, cheerful Karolina has powers of sun, light, and flying... but her cheerful flightiness is an act. And so on...
  • Barry Allen, The Flash of The Silver Age of Comic Books, is an ironic reversal type, a speedster with a slow-and-steady personality.
    • Barry's grandson, Bart Allen (aka Impulse) plays this trope straight and to its logical extreme; he was raised in a virtual world, and so had nearly no attention span or concept of danger when he was brought out - he simply rushed at everything with little forethought (hence the codename). These aspects were taken away when the character was ReTooled into Kid Flash - some believe, to the character's detriment. However, his speedy personality returned when he came Back from the Dead in Legion of 3 Worlds.
      • Wally West, The Modern Age of Comic Books Flash, is also rather impulsive, and he mentions that it's why he wouldn't work well as Impulse's mentor (he'd lose his patience too quickly). He generally does his best to control it, though. (Not so much for the cartoon version, who essentially ripped his personality off Bart, along with adding bits of late 80s Flash in there.)
  • The Beast from X-Men is a classic aversion of this trope. His powers make him appear as an ape and give him super strength and agility, but he is actually one of the most intelligent and erudite members of the team.
    • For the first 2 issues of the X-Men comic line, the Beast played this trope straight. He was bombastic, brutish, and blunt-brained, just as you'd expect a musclebound lunk to be. The writers quickly discovered the comic potential in a 'beastly brute" who recited eloquent Shakespeare, however, and by issue 3 the Beast's well-known Harvard-educated persona was in place.
    • Nightcrawler is also an aversion. His appearance is that of an almost demonic looking creature, but he is in actuality a devoutly religious person.
      • He was originally intended to be a different aversion, not any more devoutly religious than a typical Catholic, but upbeat, cheery, and charming in contrast to his dark-skinned demonic appearance. Before his monkly Flanderization he was cast as the Errol Flynn of the group.
        • He does still have a lot of that in some adaptations, though.
      • Although it's also played straight as his appearance is just as often referred to as "elfin" or "elf-like" as it is "demonic", which fits his personality just fine.
    • A good description of Kitty Pryde from the Fanfic Bloodlines: Soul Survivor, where Peter Rasputin reflects on the effect Kitty has on him:

Maybe your power influenced your personality. No matter how many walls he put up around himself, Kitty walked right through them.

    • Wolverine, an anti-social berserker who considers civilization suffocating, has claws, super-strength, a strong sense of smell, and a strong resistance and regeneration power.
  • In the latest version of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Mark Waid brought this trope in a much more subtle way than done before, basically saying that their powers changed them and so people are looking at them differently, how they interact with people is different. Chameleon, the team shapeshifter has a malleable personality so he mimics those who he is surrounded by. Dream Girl is now literally a dream. More info found here.
  • Obsidian's powers ended up changing his personality, becoming darker and more deranged until he reached true villainy. He got better, though.
    • Got laid, more like.
  • Not so much the powers, but the names of Apollo and Midnighter. While they're both badasses, Apollo is a lot more cheerful and easygoing, whereas Midnighter is more dark and reclusive.
  • Among the members of The Liberty Project, the firestarter is aggressive and has rage issues, while Slick, whose body can generate an incredibly slippery liquid, has a personality that matches his name.
  • The Incredible Hulk is an interesting variation, considering that his powers are actually based on his personality. As the Hulk himself notes, "the angrier Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets", as his strength, speed, and Healing Factor all increase with his emotions. Partially Justified Trope by the suggestion that the Hulk's powers are in fact tied to his body's adrenaline production-the more stress chemicals his body produces, the stronger his powers become.
    • It was a plot point that gamma mutants like the Hulk have transformations directly linked to their mental state. In the case of the Hulk, his transformation is linked to Banner's repressed anger issues combined with multiple personality disorder. His cousin, Jen Walters, was a meek, sexually repressed woman, but as She Hulk she becomes the ideal woman; strong, independent, beautiful, and sexually liberated. Doc Samson's transformation was based on a repressed desire to be a hero. Sam Sterns was a bit of a moron who envied the smarter people he worked around, and he became the Leader, one of (if not the) smartest people in the Marvel Universe. Emil Blonsky was filled with self loathing, and he became the Abomination. The general powers of these individuals are mostly the same (except for the Leader), but the manifestation varies widely based on the personality of the person being affected by gamma.
  • What happens when Personality Powers intersect with a Complete Monster? You get someone like Willy Pete, a wild and destructive villain whose body is covered in fire hotter than the surface of the sun.
  • Subverted and supported simultaneously by Flatman of the GLA/GLX/Lightning Rods/whatever they're calling themselves now. On the one hand his primary power is exactly that of Reed Richards (who he looks almost exactly like, strangely enough), flexing and bending all over the place, while having the personality of wet cardboard. But then again, he's got stretching and bending powers—except that he is utterly and completely flat, matching his droning lectures and utter lack of interestingness.
  • No Hero justifies this by having the drug FX7 granting powers by bringing out what was inside.
  • Rudy Jones was a pathetic janitor that had no qualms about bumming food and money off of people nice enough to share them with him such as Clark Kent. So of course he gained superpowers that reflected this as the Parasite.
  • Plastic Man is a case of someone becoming what their powers allow them to be. Eel O'Brian was a small-time gangster who got doused by a vat of chemicals, came out with superpowers, and made a Heel Face Turn, becoming a superhero. Over time, he developed into a superpowered Jim Carrey-style comedian.
  • In Elongated Man's case it's more justified. He actually admired rubber men while growing up and sought a means to make himself like them.
  • Prime from Ultraforce is a thirteen year old boy with the power to form a pseudo-organic shell around himself with powers and appearance that reflect his belief of what makes a hero. When he first manifested his abilities he was a huge fan of comic book superheroes and he could transform into a muscular caped Flying Brick. Later, after meeting individualistic cynical antiheroes and suffering from inner doubts, his new Prime form resembled a typical Nineties Anti-Hero. After reconciling his newfound cynicism with his original ideals, his final Prime form is a mix of the two that leans more towards his original Cape form. Another hero named Elven with the same powers as Prime was a fan of Elf Quest and other High Fantasy works and turned into a Hot Amazon elf warrior with magical powers.


  • The Incredibles intentionally plays this straight with the Parrs. Bob the father gets super strength because he's the foundation for the family. Helen the mom gets super-stretching, because mothers tend to many tasks simultaneously. Violet, as an insecure teenager, gets invisibility and forcefields. Dash, the hyperactive kid, gets Super Speed. Jack-Jack, as the baby, gets a grab-bag of powers, a metaphor for the vast potential of infants.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: The Super Soldier Serum always grants enhanced strength, but its other effects are extrapolations of what the recipient is like; "good becomes great, bad becomes worse". After seeing what the prototype serum did to the Red Skull, Doctor Erskine refuses to give the serum to a candidate who is in much better shape than Steve Rogers, but is also a bully.
  • The Fantastic Four movie produced by Roger Corman explained that the four heroes received their powers based on their personalities.


  • In the Potterverse, the animal shape an Animagus can take is the animal they are most like.
    • Patroni also seem to be influenced by the caster's personality. Sometimes indirectly, though: Many Patroni, fitting with their Protector intent, take the animal representation of people they are particularly close to. Harry's patronus was a stag, like his father.
    • There are examples of Patroni changing after a significant alteration in the caster's life, although it's not clear whether this is conscious or something that just happens. Tonks's Patronus changes into a wolf after she falls for Lupin, a werewolf, and (Caution: spoiler of doom) there's no way Snape's started out as a doe. The doe represented Lily, whom he loved enough to commit his life to constant danger as a spy.
  • In Sergey Vititsky's (i.e. Boris Strugatsky's) The Powerless of This World, most characters don't seem to fit this, at least not in any obvious way. However, there's also Grigori Petelin, by the nickname of Yadozub (literally translated as "Poisontooth"), whose "superpower" is his extraordinary ability to hate people. In the culmination of the novel, it apparently allows said Poisontooth to hate his unlucky target, some fifty innocent bystanders and himself to death. Anyway, that's just what he does, and it's his defining personality trait. It doesn't exactly win him friends.
  • Shade's Children: Ella, the technician and strategist, can create tools out of thin air. Ninde, the people-loving child, is a telepath. Gold-eye, the survivalist, has precognition. Then there's Drum, who could be called an aversion; he is telekinetic, a power usually reserved for physiological weaklings to allow them to measure up to stronger allies, but Drum was given steroids throughout his childhood and is enormously strong.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, the heroine suspects that a certain woman is a Were; however, she finds it impossible to guess what sort of animals she changes into.
  • Played interestingly in Soon I Will Be Invincible. Feral, either an uplifted big cat or other form of result of gene splicing, is brutal and violent and hides pain from others, while Word of God says he's gay. Fatale is a cyborg heavy-hitter, and is analytic but slow at getting abstract connections and skeptical about magic. Mr. Mystic is a poor performing magician with access to the real stuff, tends to be a creepy and withdrawn from normal society. Another character with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is so transparent as to be invisible.
  • Jurgen, faithful sidekick of everyone's favorite HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, the single most unclean, untidy and unattractive soldier in the Imperial Guard, and certainly one of the most simple-minded ones who, as Cain likes to point out, has a refreshing lack of though of his own, is a "blank", a person immune to and cancelling out psykers and any Warp-related powers. Perhaps he is so disgusting not even Nurgle wants to come close to him?
    • Justified, in that him being unattractive and devoid of much character is a direct consequence of his power. His rather obvious lack of hygiene is actually a way to give others an explanation for the uncomfortable sense of "weirdness" that his power gives off.
  • Justified in the Wild Cards setting, where mutations are caused by a burst of psychokinetic power brought on by the titular virus. While most folks tear themselves to pieces or set themselves on fire etc., for those who survive and are left with powers ("Aces") or, more often, misshapen forms ("Jokers") it's considered quite likely that these are influenced by their subconscious desires or self-image. This allows truly Silver Age corniness (or simple dream logic) to exist in an otherwise realistic setting; Captain Trips, for instance, was a biochemist who was having trouble trying to "break in" with the hippie scene to get to the girl he loved. His powers triggered when he took a hit of acid, and now he needs drugs to turn into one of his "special friends," an alternate form/personality with superpowers.
  • Scott Westerfeld's YA trilogy Midnighters also plays it straight (with perhaps the implication that your personality affects your powers and your powers affect your personality). Team leader Rex wears absurdly thick glasses and is a Seer. Anti-social Goth Melissa has Telepathy that she can't turn off and hates people because she has to listen to their petty thoughts ALL THE TIME. Polymath (read as Math Whiz) Dess doesn't want to get involved in the politics of the group; numbers are so much simpler. Jessica Day turns out to be a Flame Bringer and flighty, happy-go-lucky Jonathan, who just wants to have some fun, is an Acrobat.
  • Vampires in Barb Hendee's book Blood Memories each develop a different kind of hypnotic aura based on their strongest personality trait in life. This aura is used to help the vampire get prey. Eleisha, who was a small, delicate, sweet-natured girl in life, makes people see her as innocent and helpless. Edward, who was outgoing and likable in life, becomes incredibly charming and charismatic. Maggie and Philip, who were both considered extremely attractive and sexy in life, gain the ability to inspire sexual attraction in others. Julian, who others found creepy and off-putting even in life, gains the ability to paralyze his victims with fear.
  • Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock. Ariel the sylph explains for the audience's benefit, that when young women die, their personalities determine their roles in the afterlife: stuffy prudes become gnomes and live in the earth; romantic, emotional girls become watery nymphs; hot-tempered Tsunderes become fiery salamanders, and the coquettes who stay above real emotional connection become sylphs and live in the air. They spend their afterlives perpetuating their favorite activities: Ariel, a sylph, exists to help Belinda be even more of a flirt and heartbreaker than she already is. However, when Belinda's hair is stolen and she declares war on the race of men, Ariel can no longer influence her, and she falls under the power of the gnomes.
  • The Guardians: Each Guardian has a Gift related to their life. Someone who yearned to see the world and was trapped in their hometown will gain the Gift of teleportation, while someone who strove to be honest will gain the Gift of detecting truth and lies.
  • Twilight vampires are kinda like their human selves only enhanced. So, for example, a human who was “good at reading people” becomes a vampire who is a literal mind reader. Not all vampires gain outright supernatural powers.

Live-Action TV

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does the ironic reversal by making its shapeshifting alien Odo a Control Freak—along with his entire species.
  • Heroes has a handful of examples: Nathan (the ambitious politician) can fly, Peter (an empathetic person who dreams of being someone else) absorbs other people's powers, Niki (a mother obsessed with protecting her son) has an alter ego that will stop at nothing to protect him, etc. And in something of an inversion, Matt the psychic is dyslexic almost to the point of being functionally illiterate; he can't read words, but he can read minds.
      • Somewhat averted in Nathan's case- during Season 1, Nathan is the biggest stick-in-the-mud of the cast, making his ability to fly somewhat odd, especially since he keeps it hidden.
    • No longer simply a theory; flat-out stated in the volume 3 finale, although this was simply a character hypothesizing. However, once Ando the resident sidekick was given powers by the formula, his ended up being the ability to enhance other supers' abilities. Simply put, Ando's superpower is that he's a really supportive friend.
    • It also happens in reverse, in a way. Sylar, no pillar of mental health himself, ends up acquiring the ability to shapeshift after going through a crisis of self. This actually starts to make him more crazy as he literally cannot control who he is anymore.
  • Averted in the miniseries The Lost Room, though with supernatural objects rather than people. The series involves around 100 ordinary items with supernatural powers. Instead of their powers being related to their form and function, powers are assigned pretty much randomly. For instance, one might expect that the object that stops time would be the watch. Instead, it's the comb that stops time. The watch hard-boils eggs. Other objects include a pencil that creates pennies, a pen that microwaves anything it touches, and a clock that sublimates brass. About the only object that has a power related to its function is the key, which allows the owner to enter the titular room by unlocking any door with it.
  • Misfits. Whilst never stated outright, it's made clear that the storm has taken people's strongest trait or desire and turned it into a superpower. In the main cast: the introverted and frequently ignored Simon can turn invisible; Curtis's regret over his past actions allows him to turn back time; Kelly's concern with what other people think of her gives allows her to read people's minds; the flirty and oversexed Alisha can drive people to uncontrollable lust by touching them; and Nathan, whose smartass attitude lets him shake off whatever happens to him, is apparently indestructible.
  • No Ordinary Family has the Powell family. Jim the father, is used to bearing the weight of his family's issues, so he has Super Strength and Nigh Invulnerability. Stephenie, the mom, is a workaholic without enough time in the day, so she got Super Speed. Daphne, who is generally empathetic and doesn't like being lied to, gained various Telepathy-style powers. JJ, who had a learning disability, gains Super Intelligence, the beauty of which is that his power is literally to learn fast and retain information for extended periods of time.

Tabletop Games

  • In the various settings of Deadlands, any player whose character has supernatural powers is encouraged to choose those powers with some thought to the character's personality. Nowhere is this more obvious than with the Harrowed, souls that were either too lucky or tough to stay dead. A particularly stealthy character might crawl out of the ground with a power like Silent as a Corpse, while a skeptic might come back from the grave with some form of Arcane Protection (and considerable embarrassment about that "doubting Thomas" act).
  • In Hunter: The Reckoning, your Creed and Edges are determined by your attitude towards other supernatural denizens. Want to research them and find out more about them? You're a Visionary, and your powers are tuned towards insight. Want to protect the innocent from them? You're a Defender, and your powers are centered around wards and safety. Want to show the bad ones that there's another way? You're a Redeemer, and your powers are centered around healing and rebukes. Want to kill them all and anyone who's standing next to them? You're a Wayward, and you're fucking nuts.
  • In White Wolf's Exalted, the Dragon-Blooded Exalted are thematically linked to the Elements, using Wood as a fifth element representing Life and Growth. While they are not locked to the powers iconic to each Elemental Caste (apart from one power unique to each Caste's type; such as Water-Aspected Dragons' ability to function under water as if on land, firing bows and such with no penalty), those powers do come more natural to them and are cheaper to use mechanically. The game also plays with the trope, encouraging you to explore other aspects of the elements; the paragon of fire isn't an impulsive hot-head but a passionate, yet self-restrained swordsman socialite. The other Exalt variants also fit this to a degree. The Solars (and the Abyssal and Infernal variants) are chosen and empowered as to how they deal with problems; the Dawn castes fight, the Zenith inspire, the Twilights think, the Night castes are sneaky, and the Eclipse negotiate. The Sidereals are chosen by fate, and this molds their view of the world, as to whether life is a journey, peace, a war, a mystery, or an ending.
  • In Fourth Edition GURPS Supers, the standard superhero templates come with personality powers.
  • Superpowers in Aberrant occasionally match personality, but more often come themed with the way the person Erupted - particularly if the Eruption was triggered by a dangerous situation. You may walk away from a car crash with super-toughness, and jumping out of a plane just might give you flying ability to save you... but you might get something completely different. (Such as, for instance, turning into steel so you'll survive the landing, or just becoming very light.) People who try to trigger an Eruption this way often plan out the strategy carefully to avoid "lame" powers. They also have a high mortality rate, since very few actually can become Novas in the first place.
  • Justified in Don't Rest Your Head where powers are closely linked with the Protagonists' insanity, and if it isn't already a manifestation of that madness, it will drive them mad in ways related to it.
  • Seemings in Changeling: The Lost are based on what the changeling suffered through while in Arcadia, which could also affect their personality. So, for example, an Ogre may be prone to violence not because of their strength but because they were victims of violent abuse.


  • Bionicle: While Tahu and Kopaka, the first Toa of Fire and Ice in the series, followed the concept of fire = quick temper/ice = cold shoulder very closely, Vakama and Nuju broke the mold. Vakama was very quiet and unconfrontational (until going all Leeroy Jenkins during the Visorak arc), while Nuju was less antagonistic towards the others ("Let's get this job over with" as opposed to Kopaka's "I work alone"). The third Toa of Ice, Matoro, was even less "cold", and his heart made him the arc's Chosen One. The trope also applies pretty well to the other heroes, who have Water, Earth, Stone, and Air as their powers.
    • It's worth noting that the writer deliberately went for an ironic power with one of Matoro's teammates: the cave-dwelling Toa of Earth is the one who got the Mask of Flight (the Toa of Air was not amused).

Video Games

  • Sonic himself is the most blatant Sonic the Hedgehog example, being an impulsive and carefree guy that loves freedom and having super speed. Shadow, on the other hand, is a downbeat speedster on rocket skates.
  • The Guardians in Angelique.
  • Commander Shepard's crew from both Mass Effect games.
    • Asari Justicar Samara fits the Telepathy trope very well, although granted, she is a warrior-monk/Knight Errant with a strict code governing her every action.
    • Her daughter, Morinth, fits the villain side of this trope, even after Shepard recruits her. Being an Ardat-Yakshi, she has the power to kill her mates while melding, and is obsessed with finding new partners to mate with, displaying her dominant attitude quite well. She also can't read her potential victims very well (as long as they don't fall under her spell first, or if her target has a strong mind), since she doesn't pick up on the fact that Shepard is working with Samara until right before she walks in and pins her against a window.
    • Master Thief Kasumi Goto fits the stealth trope (she is a thief), with impressive acrobatic skill and the ability to turn invisible for short periods of time. However, her movement is anything but subtle (watch her take out a gunship), but she is quite soft-spoken on the Normandy.
      • She also fits the shape-shifter trope to an extent. She doesn't have the ability to shift her shape (she'll always be the kleptomaniac with the hood), but she can turn invisible, which allows her to sneak up behind enemies and give them a small fright(by snapping their spines).
      • And she uses her tactical cloak for certain other...observational...tasks involving Jacob's workout routine.
  • The Persona Spin-Off series revolves entirely around this - the characters summon Personas, which are manifestations of their personalities. This starts getting really obvious in Persona 3, when the gameplay changed to make various party members only use one Persona - one greatly befitting their personality and skills, typically. (The Lancer is the class clown and hothead, with the physical/fire affinity Persona Hermes, two childhood friends have the Gemini, and the protagonist... All things considered we saw that coming.)
    • Played with a little in Persona 4. The one with Agi skills isn't Chie, but rather Yukiko. Instead, Chie, and later Teddie have Bufu skills. The rest are played pretty straight, though.
      • Actually, Chie and Yukio's powers make sense. They, and their Shadows, out right state they are quite close. Thus it makes sense that they would have the element that fits each other. Plus, Yukiko's Shadow mentions that she hates her name, since snow is weak.
  • The Cobras of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater take the trope a step further, actually naming themselves after the emotion on which they base their particular ability. This includes the Sorrow, a spirit medium who converses with dead soldiers, the Fury, who torches everything in sight with his flamethrower, and the Pain, who's... covered in bees.
    • On the other hand, the Beauty & the Beast corps in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots are not associated with this trope, since their personalities and first part of their codenames (borrowed from the above Cobras of MGS 3) have nothing to do with their abilities and second part of their codenames (borrowed from the members of FOXHOUND from MGS 1).
  • Freedom Force touches this. One character comments that it is quite interesting that all the heroes have powers that match their personalities. It is never expanded upon however. Most noticeably El Diablo, who is a hotheaded Latino with fire powers.
    • Then there's poor Man-Bot...
    • Also Minuteman, a patriotic nuclear physicist who is imbued with powers that closely reflect his patriotism; Iron Ox, a British boxer who becomes a typical strongman; Bullet, a fighter jet pilot obsessed with speed becomes a version of The Flash; Law and Order, a duo of a young, idealistic policeman and a judge's assistant, both of whom believe strongly in the law, are merged into a single body to met out justice; Man O' War, a Scottish fisherman who gains water-related powers.
    • On the villain side, Deja Vu is an escaped mental patient who gains the ability to clone himself and others at will. Talk about a split personality disorder.
    • The sequel adds The Bard, a man obsessed with Shakespeare, who is turned into a superhero able to sing hypnotic odes and throwing exploding Yorick skulls. The villain Fortissimmo was an Italian opera singer before gaining the ability to destroy things with his voice (usually involves him holding a high note).
    • Mentor notes on this in the original, and gives the obvious example of El Diablo. Man-Bot asks what aspect of his personality lent himself to being such a conduit of Energy X and gets no answer. A possible answer is that he has tremendous potential that he never used, now he's literally bursting with energy.
  • Morrigan in Dragon Age is a shapeshifter, and acts more like a particularly cruel Cats Are Mean than a human. Likewise, Wynne is a healer/buffer mage and is a protective and motherly sort.
    • Dragon Age II continues this trend with Aveline, who is a defensive warrior and nigh-impossible to kill, and is very protective of her friends. Merrill, however, subverts this in a very extreme fashion by being a sweet innocent Fish Out of Water and being a blaster mage/demon-summoning blood mage. Anders is an interesting case; he combines compassion for mages and the war refugees he treats in his free clinic with a ruthless hatred of templars, and he's possessed by a demon of Vengeance. Symbolically of his dual nature (kind and ruthless and/or human and demon), he's a mode-shift Combat Medic; in Panacea mode, his healing abilities improve but he can't cast damage-dealing spells, whereas in Vengeance mode, he deals more damage but takes extra damage himself and can't be healed.
  • Amusingly, Pokémon manages to avert this trope, and avert it hard, in Diamond/Pearl, especially with the gym leaders.
    • The Ice-type Pokémon Gym Leader is a peppy, tomboyish young girl with a fiery personality who openly wonders out loud if she should cultivate a "Ice-Type" personality, aloof and cold.
    • The Water-type Gym Leader is a completely crazy, over-the-top madman who wears a mask- AT ALL TIMES- demands that people call him Crasher Wake, and donates to charitable causes in his free time.
      • He also has his own theme song. That he sings himself.
      • There's more than one way to portray water. Pounding surf and rapid mountain streams are just as watery as a tranquil pool.
    • The last is the best one. Most Ghost-type trainers are weird, anti-social people- possessed mystics, mediums, psychics, and the like. In Diamond/Pearl, the Ghost-type Gym Leader, Fantina, is.... a beautiful, vivacious woman who has her Pokémon compete in beauty contests, nicely tells trainers who are way too weak to battle her that they can't face her now and should come back later, and happens to have gotten into Pokémon as a kind of hobby she turned out to be good at. She is also foreign to the main country- apparently, Dark is French.
      • Hmm...ghosts are "outsiders", no?
    • There's also the 4th-gen. Electric Gym Leader, who's quiet and withdrawn even after you motivate him to actually fight you.
      • The Sinnoh Elite Four play it straight, though. Flint is a fire trainer, and energetic and hotheaded. Lucian's the psychic trainer, and he seems fairly intellectual, for example.
    • Grass-type Gym Leader Erika in the 1st-gen fits the trope, being a kind-hearted friend of nature with green thumbs... It was her Pokémon that subverted it, Vileplume both in name and its paralyzing powder and smell being its strengths. In the remake Yellow it was downgraded to Gloom to match the anime, which still totally subverts the trope. Not to mention Victreebell/Weepinbell, which is an acid spitting bug eating plant.
      • Erika is one of the few that benefited from the Yellow downscaling, as then in Gold/Silver Gloom was evolved to the sunny dispositioned Bellossom itself, turning the subversion into a straight up match.
    • Blaine was eccentric, but far from fiery or aggressive despite being the first Fire-type Gym Leader. He's actually a bit of a Pokémon nerd and loves trivia and riddles. His hometown/island, on the other hand, totally fits the trope, being on a giant volcano and having a ruined lab full of Fire and Poison types.
    • Most Legendary Pokémon, on the other hand, are literal personifications of the elemental powers they represent. Lumbering juggernaut Regigigas even has an Ability to makes it start a battle slow but its strength builds as the fight goes on.
    • It's more evident in the Mystery Dungeon series, where the boss or plot important characters are often partially defined by their types. Your rival team in the first series is the bullish Ghost-type Gengar (who does a partial 'Face Heel Turn' later in the plot), and in the second series it's a scheming Dark/Poison type Skuntank. They even treat Ninetales as a proper kitsune long before the other games or series did.
      • Just the Guild members in the second series. Lovable buffoon Bidoof, cheerful 'Valley Girl' Sunflora, literal loudmouth Loudred (the species is based around sound based voice attacks in general)...
  • Some Fire Emblem characters come with special skills that befit their personality. For instance, the feisty Mia in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn starts off with Vantage, which allows her to attack first even when it's the enemy's turn.
  • In Backyard Skateboarding, the personalities of the already-established characters affect their special moves.
  • Hi there, Golden Sun.
    • This trope is strongest around Fire Adepts, who are inevitably either Hot-Blooded or Fiery Redheads, if not both. Being the one exception is probably part of the reason Saturos is so popular with the fandom.
    • Earth Adepts seem prone to Chronic Hero Syndrome Silent Hero Syndrome, leadership roles, and puzzle-solving.
    • Water Adepts are calm, generally keep to themselves or are outright secretive, and are intellectual, usually trained as medics. They're also frequently the resident Deadpan Snarker, especially when it seems counterintuitive for them to be.
    • Wind Adepts tend to be mysterious and often have traditional Psychic Powers (mind-reading, clairvoyance, and precognition) in addition to wind and lightning powers. Karis averts both the ESP and the mystery, and this might not be a coincidence.
  • Soranica Ele plays this one pretty straight. Water-powered Honoka is a calm, shy type. Fire user Naki is a hot blooded determinator. Saya, who has earth powers, is the most grounded of the cast. Kaguya, with wind powers, is flighty, eccentric and fragile. Zenobia, with dark powers, is aloof but not a bad person, and Ophelia, with her power of light, is a guiding force that the rest of the cast looks up to.
  • Psychonauts is an interesting example: fully qualified Psychonauts have access to a host of different powers, but the active agents you meet (and at least a few of the campers) tend to specialize in powers that fit their personalities. For example, Germanic Depressive, emotionally closeted Sasha Nein specializes in controlling emotions and turning them into mental blasts, while bubbly, caring, fun-loving Milla Vodello is a levitation expert, a power mainly used to reach new heights and escape danger.
  • Played straight and subverted in Chrono Trigger. The Hero Crono gets Light'Em Up(ning) magic while Magus the dark sorcerer is a Shadow innate; on the other hand, Marle, the impulsive, Rebellious Princess of the party, casts Ice magic while the level-headed Gadgeteer Genius Lucca hurls fireballs.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Hope Esteim, the White-Haired Pretty Boy heart of the group (at least after he gets past his angst and grief) happens to be the best Medic.

Web Comics

  • A very literal example in Sfeer Theory. Sfeer abilities are classified as Introverted or Extroverted, and what sort of powers one has is dependent upon the cyclist's overall disposition. How powerful they are is literally based on the force of their personality.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, the very calm and laid-back Andrew Smith has the ability to subconsciously create order where there was none, or in Parley's words, "It's like his superpower is to make everything boring!" Also, according to the word of Tom [dead link],

Q: Could Annie create a shield that could block a dog made of wood?
A: Maybe if she had a lot of metal plating and knew how to weld

developing stealthy magic and "If You Make a Cloud of Crows, You Just Might be Goth".

    • EGS also makes fun of the implications:

Tedd: I... I've been given the power to turn myself into a girl?!
Tedd: Wow that's redundant.
Grace: You have, what, three ways of doing that now?
Tedd: Four if you count asking Ellen, and I'm working on more.

  • Drowtales has an interesting aversion in Nishi'kanta, a powerful fire sorceress whose personality, as far as the reader can tell, seems to border on emotionless-girl. Her sister, Sil'lice, starts as an aversion and turns a straight example through character growth. Before getting ejected from her clan by her sisters, Sil'lice was an almost hotheaded warrior who apparently valued honor above reason. Yes, her power is ice. However, after her clan's coup, she calms down and starts scheming. She starts holding a grudge....
  • The Last Days of Foxhound averts the trope of a crafty and manipulative telepath. Without his powers, Psycho Mantis is terrible at persuasion, apparently having gotten so used to never needing to try that he no longer knows how to. This isn't helped by his tendency to go straight to telepathy the instant non-psychic persuasion doesn't work.
  • Slightly Damned tends to play fast and loose with this trope, playing with or against type as on an individual character basis.
  • In Homestuck, Sburb players are given a title based on an aspect of themselves, or in some cases, an aspect they are destined to have. To start off with, the title is more about the player's duties and role within the game, but when they ascend to God Tiers, they become alot more literal.
    • Kanaya theorizes that the game gives players their titles to challenge them.
  • Wayward Sons: Everyone's powers seem to be related to their personality or pre-existing skills in some way.

Web Original

  • While not every character in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe followed this trope, enough of them did to make it rather common. For example, Fidget, one of the Kid Hero speedsters at the Hyperion Academy was literally incapable of sitting still, ever; Oracle, a telepath, was quiet, wise, and serence; Warlock, a powerful mystic hero, was correspondingly creepy, pompous, and deadly serious about his "responsibilities"; Heatwave was an impulsive, fire-wielding hothead; Achilles is quiet and subdued; Bungie, the primary team's Rubber Man, is an irrepressibly cheerful prankster; and so on.
  • The speedsters at the Super-Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe fit this trope. Scrambler is scatterbrained and talks at an unstoppable pace. Quickie needed almost a year to figure out why everyone thought her codename was so funny. Hyper is even worse. Aries, who's a speedster and also a brick, doesn't have the problem; but he's a very dangerous supervillain.
    • Fireball was a fiery flame manifestor who even dyed her hair flame-red to fit her motif. When she was turned into what looked like a flame demon, she became the darker version of the trope.
  • Despite the fact that the powers are completely randomized, some of the mutations on Survival of the Fittest: Evolution ended up coincidentally fitting the characters' personalities. The most notable example would be Cristo Ruiz, a drug addict, having hallucinogenic venom secreting from under his fingernails. Lampshade hung in his profile's conclusion:

Conclusion: So the drug addict now secretes a hallucinogen. Hm.

  • Many of the Beacon Academy students in RWBY have a "semblance", a magic-like gift, and at least some seem to reflect their owners' personalities.

Western Animation

  • Teen Titans has Beast Boy as the usual Shapeshifting trickster. Starfire flies, has solar bolts, and is perpetually cheerful, while Raven is a part-demon sorceress who is dark and moody. (In the Freaky Friday Flip episode, it is revealed that Raven and Starfire's powers are literally tied to their emotions; Star's to her joy and fury, Raven's to calmness and control.)
    • This reveal, however, presents a question of its own; if Starfire's starbolts come from fury, and her flight from joy, how is it she always seems to be doing both at the same time?
      • Maybe she enjoys being furious. Remember, she was raised in a Proud Warrior Race Guy culture and likes to fight.
      • Note that it was specifically "righteous fury", it would be entirely possible to feel joy in putting an end to that you consider evil.
  • WITCH: Flighty Hay Lin has the elemental air powers. Preppy princess Cornelia, who can't stand dirt and bugs, gets the ironic reversal version: earth powers.
    • Of course, Cornelia's also stubborn and proud.
      • Actually, as Yan Lin explains they have all personality power: Irma got water because it can't be contained (like Irma when she decides to do something), Taranee got fire because she's the only one dependable enough to trust her with it (as Cedric points out once, when Taranee gets pissed you must run. And he did so), Cornelia got Earth because she tends to function with hard logic, and Hay Lin got Air because she's flighty. Will's power remains unexplained until the New Power saga of the comic, when her 'Energy' power is finally defined as The Power That Unites the elements (and if the Keeper falls, the Guardians tends to disband, as shown by Nerissa backstory).
  • Inversion for irony: American Dragon: Jake Long has the oracle twins, Kara and Sara. One is a dour goth who only sees positive visions of the future, while the other is a giddy Pollyanna who can only see gloom and doom. This is actually explained as the former has every good surprise in life spoiled and the second sees anything at all positive as phenomenal compared to the horrible visions she has (which is actually kinda creepy and depressing).
  • Bending in Avatar: The Last Airbender is strongly linked to people's personality.
    • Iroh says it best:

"Fire is the element of power. The people of the Fire Nation have desire and will and the energy and drive to achieve what they want. Earth is the element of substance. The people of the Earth Kingdom are diverse and strong. They are persistent and enduring. Air is the element of freedom. The Air Nomads detached themselves from worldly concerns and found peace and freedom. Also, they apparently had pretty good senses of humor. Water is the element of change. The people of the Water Tribe are capable and adapting to many things. They have a deep sense of community and love that holds them together through anything."

Tenzin: Often the element that's most difficult for the Avatar to master is the one most opposite to the Avatar's personality. For Aang, it was earthbending.
Korra: Yeah, well, I'm about as opposite an Airbender as you can get.

  • Justice League‍'‍s Flash is a classic speedster personality. J'onn J'onnz is a shapeshifter and a mind reader, but doesn't quite fit either mold because, in a fit of originality, the writers made him into The Spock instead.
    • Being the Spock makes sense with telepathy, as it gives one the ability to understand and control one's own emotions. Also gives good reasons to control one's emotions, for fear you'll lose control of the power. (Vulcans are telepathic, after all.)
    • Well, if you consider the potential of having both telepathy and shapeshifting, a logically driven character is much more likely to do good with these powers than a more emotionally driven one. Especially since the same combination is associated with succubi...
  • Blitzwing in Transformers Animated actually has Split Personality powers, or rather weapons and modes. His calm side has a freeze ray and can take the form of a jet, his angry side has a flamethrower and tank, while his crazy side can apparently use either. He changes them when his temperament changes whether he wants to or not.
    • The Five-Man Band of Animated is a pretty charming display of Personality Powers themselves. Bumblebee is a caffeinated speedster, Prowl is a psuedoninja Ineffectual Loner, Bulkhead is a big dumb guy (subverted in the space bridge plot, but aside from his one intellectual specialty Bulkhead is still a tanky dolt). Optimus isn't in the above list, but his "modernised" archaic weapon is almost certainly an expression of his Knight in Shining Armor personality. Ratchet is a fun exception, as a medic who is a grouchy old cretin rather than a Mysterious Waif (but hey, this isn't a JRPG).
  • Freakazoid! mostly plays this straight (for instance Cobra Queen and Longhorn have their personalities match their respective animal), but it also contains an aversion in Cave Guy, who is actually very sophisticated and intellectual despite appearing like a pre-historic caveman.
    • Freakazoid himself literally changes personality while the powers are active. Supposedly he's insane because he has all the information of the internet inside his head (and this is pre 4chan, imagine it today?) and his powers are based on high energy, jumping around in bolts, moving through cyberspace and electrical lines, and being a cartoon.
      • Though, oddly, when Ricardo Montalban gains the same powers, and presumably the same information, his personality doesn't seem to change at all. And neither does Freakazoid's mentor's. So, you know, what the Hell?
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers anyone? Justified in that Gaia chose her multiracial team of teenagers for certain personality traits suited to wielding the rings (and the Captain himself is an entity that exists for no purpose beyond defending the planet, so there's that).
    • Particularly true of Ma-ti, as his kindness is the only thing stopping heart's power to mind control people from being terribly abused.
    • On the other hand, wouldn't you want the kid given dominion over fire to have a bit more impulse control than Wheeler?
  • In Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light, the characters gain the power to shape shift into an animal based on their personalities. The heroes become lions and hawks and dolphins and such. The villains become sharks and insects and dragons and other nasties. Big Bad Darkstorm is particularly offended at gaining the power to turn into a giant disgusting mollusk.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Rainbow Dash plays the impulsive, brash speedster personality straight to the letter.
    • Several other ponies also fit. Pinkie Pie is the Element of Laughter, and is simply too energetic all the time, always wanting to make everyone around her as happy as can be. Fluttershy is the Element of Kindness, and is always taking care of the wild animals and is simply gentle (sometimes too gentle...). Twilight Sparkle is the main character and is actually a double subversion, as she is the Element of Magic, but is a very skeptical pony who says everything must have a logical explanation. However, she claims that even magic is logical, because it works how you expect it to work.
      • To an extent, every pony alive fits this trope, as their cutie marks (marks that appear on a pony's flank after a certain age that represent his/her special talent) can also represent what they are.
      • Unicorns especially, since the magic they can use is specifically linked to their special talent. Rarity is a good example; she's a fashion designer who loves working with jewels, has three diamonds for a cutie mark, and uses a spell which lets her locate buried gems with her horn.