Adaptational Wimp
The opposite of Adaptational Badass.


(permanent link) added: 2013-03-11 15:31:30 sponsor: Cuchulainn edited by: Knight9910 (last reply: 2013-03-18 07:58:32)

Add Tag:

(Well, I'm not sure where the OP is, so I'll just keep taking care of this one. -Knight9910)

The character used to be so cool. They might not have been a true bonafide Badass, but at the very least they were strong and capable of standing on their own.

Then the work was remade by new writers, possibly in an entirely new medium and everything changed. The once awesome Action Girl is now a Distressed Damsel. The Badass Bookworm is now just a plain old Nerd. The Action Survivor is now just The Drag-Along, or worse.

This character has been the victim of Adaptational Wimpification. Just to be clear, as with the inverse trope Adaptational Badass, this is not about characters who simply suffered a minor power decrease. This is also not the case when a Retcon decides the character Did Not Get the Girl or something similar. This is specifically for those characters who went from actually useful to... decidedly less so.

Contrast Adaptational Badass. Compare Badass Decay, for when the character becomes a wimp within the original work. Is often a symptom of Adaptation Decay. Often happens in the case of a Hidden Badass character who isn't fully understood by the new writers.
Comics Film
  • M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender suffers from this on two major fronts:
    • Elemental bending is a lot less impressive than it was in the original cartoon. For example, in the show earthbenders could create and manipulate relatively simple objects like stone carts, they could open holes in the earth to swallow foes, or bring up pillars of stone to throw their enemies around. In the movie, they just chuck rocks.
    • In the show, firebenders could easily create fire from their own body heat. In the movie only the greatest firebenders are capable of this - for most of them they can only use their bending abilities if there's an existing source of flame, like a campfire or a torch.
Video Games
  • Warhammer 40K: Depending on the Writer, every faction has suffered from this to a degree alongside Adaptational Badass. The Imperial Guard might be quite capable in their codex, but are a Redshirt Army in all others. [Example really needs to be elaborated on.]
  • A number of Superman games, including the notorious Superman64 suffer from downplaying Superman's powers in order to provide some risk for the player character. The problem is that they go too far into this trope and also remove the fun of playing as a ridiculously powerful character like Superman.
Western Animation
  • Many examples, from Justice League:
    • In the first season, the writers had Superman succumb to The Worf Effect quite often, inadvertently making him look like one of the weaker Leaguers. They eventually noticed and corrected course, leading to Trope Namer for the "World of Cardboard" Speech.
    • Similarly, Green Lantern's ring was used in a much more limited fashion in the early seasons. Eventually, this too changes with the writers lampshading the matter by having his fellow Lantern Katma Tui lecture him on his unimaginative use of the ring.
    • There's also Wonder Woman very belatedly getting the full powers of her lasso unlocked, finally bringing her up to par with her standard comics incarnation.
  • Examples from Super Friends:
    • While Aquaman has always been at his best around open water, he still has super strength and resilience even on land. Super Friends downplayed this to the point of him being almost completely defenseless out of water. This led to the popular belief that he was the most useless member of the team, with many viewers considering him The Scrappy.
    • More generally, the "no hitting" rules imposed by the Moral Guardians of the time ended up making many of the heroes and villains look unusually ineffective. Hawkman and Solomon Grundy were probably the hardest hit given that they were all about melee combat in the comics.
  • In the 2010 Black Panther cartoon, every non-African American character is either evil, stupid, or both. The Juggernaut in particular is depicted as being quite a good deal dumber than usual, at one point being described by the other characters as basically brainless.
replies: 14

TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy