This trope is when a character is made nicer (or at least a bit more sympathetic) in an adaptation than they were in the source material. For instance, a character who is a Jerkass in the source material becomes a Jerk with a Heart of Gold or even a Nice Guy in the adaptation of said material. While there may be some overlap with Adaptational Heroism, the key difference is that the character doesn't necessarily become heroic if they were villainous or neutral in the source material. Characters affected by this trope will generally stay on their respective alignments (whether good, evil or neutral), but they will become a bit more approachable in the adaptation. Its inverse is Adaptational Jerkass. A subtrope of Adaptation Personality Change. Compare Took a Level in Kindness (which is basically what this trope does to a character in an adaptation), and by extension contrast Took a Level in Jerkass.
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Anime and Manga
- This happens with Gladion in the Pokémon anime:
- In the Pokémon Sun and Moon games, Gladion is an enforcer for Team Skull who is incredibly abrasive in conversation and a perfectionist in battle due to being disowned by Lusamine as a result of not wanting to follow her example. While his counterpart in the Sun and Moon series has shades of these traits, he is also shown to have a more noble attitude towards his relationships with people; such as treating Ash in a more friendly manner and fighting off Team Rocket and the recurring Team Skull grunts.
- He also doesn't seem to have any relation to Team Skull and may have a different reason for running away from home, which may imply the anime version of the character may be an even more morally-gray rival than his video game counterpart.
Films — Animation
- Disney Animated Canon:
- In the original The Jungle Book, while Baloo genuinely loved Mowgli, he was a Stern Teacher to the man-cub who did not shy away from Corporal Punishment to discipline him. In Disney's The Jungle Book, he's a laid-back Big Fun character who would never hurt Mowgli.
- Pinocchio was still the hero in the original, but was altered from a Bratty Half-Pint to a more innocent and merely easily misguided Cheerful Child.
- Geppetto is a milder example. He was similarly altered from a bad-tempered, antisocial crank to a kindhearted character who genuinely wants a son of his own — and becomes something of a Badass Grandpa to boot.
- Eeyore in the original Winnie-the-Pooh books is a Deadpan Snarker and has the tendency to guilt-trip his friends into feeling sorry for him. The Disney cartoons omit this side of his personality, making him more of The Woobie.
Films — Live-Action
- In The Amazing Spider-Man, Flash is a much nicer guy than in the comics and the previous films. When Uncle Ben dies, Peter goes sullen and violent in his grief, and when he gets violent at Flash, Flash just takes it and then asks, "Feels good, doesn't it?", implying that he has gone through something similar.
- In Elektra, Stick is a nicer, more caring person than the cynical hustler who put Matt through Hell while training him.
- In Daredevil, the Punisher is more noble than his comic self usually is.
- Game of Thrones:
- Sansa doesn't do things like calling Arya cruel names, such as "Horse-face", the way she did in the novels.
- Tywin is a Magnificent Bastard Pragmatic Villain Jerkass who mistreats his own children in both versions, but his scenes with Arya in Harrenhal in the show bring out a paternal side that's not present in the books.
- Arya has warmer relationships with Gendry, Hot Pie and even Sandor Clegane than she does in the books.
- Loras is much more mild-mannered and level-headed than the arrogant hothead of the books, as shown by his sympathy for Sansa and his intention to be a decent husband instead of simply treating her with empty chivalry as in the novels.
- In Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth, this happens with Obed Marsh. In the original story (The Shadow Over Innsmouth) Obed was implied to have been a Card-Carrying Villain who summoned the Deep Ones to Innsmouth purely out of Greed and who was willing to give them whatever they wanted in exchange for their gold. His journals in the game make him out to be more of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, who only summoned the Deep Ones in order to save his dying city and then had to keep working with them because breaking the deal meant they would slaughter his people. His descendants are still just as evil as they ever were, though.
- In South Park: The Stick of Truth, this happens with Cartman. In the cartoon, he's always been a racist asshole who only looks out for himself and uses others to get what he wants, but in the game, Cartman is the first one to befriend you and provides tutorials for your character to defend yourself from enemies.
- In the original Mega Man (Classic), Doctor Wily the Big Bad wants to Take Over the World with his robots because he wants to get back at Dr. Light for being Always Someone Better. In Mega Man Battle Network, Wily is still a resentful villain (perhaps even more so), however he was close friends with Dr. Hikari Sr. (Dr. Light's counterpart), and he also took time to raise a child of his friend when said friend goes to war, and he also disapproves of his son's actions, as he's an even worse Big Bad than Wily.
- Freeza gets this in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. He's still a genocidal tyrant, but he shows much more care and concern for his higher-ranking minions than his canon counterpart ever did.
- In Justice League Action, while she's still a villain, Killer Frost is nicer than her other incarnations, especially compared to Justice League, Young Justice, and Batman: Assault on Arkham.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), this happens with this incarnation of the Shredder, where his love for his daughter, Karai, is very genuine. The problem is that he has rooted himself so deep in his hatred toward the Hamato Clan, even his love for his daughter doesn't seem to matter, culminating in her mutation, which he still blames on the Hamato Clan despite him being the one using her as bait for the trap that did it.
- Thomas the Tank Engine: In the special The Adventure Begins which is a readaptation of the first two books of The Railway Series and the episodes adapted in the first season, Thomas is portrayed as idealistic and innocent compared to his original portrayal where he would play tricks on the other engines and is something of a Bratty Half-Pint.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, though he's still a villain, the Rhino is made out to be a much more sympathetic character. In the show, he's a bullied teenager who sought out superpowers as a last resort against his tormentors, while in the comics, he's just a petty thug in a rhino suit. In "Web Warriors", he even has a Heel–Face Turn and joins S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy.
- X-Men: Evolution:
- Regular Apocalypse is an utter monster, but here, he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
- Due to the series' changes to certain character's ages, Wolverine never falls in love with teenage Jean Grey, and therefore never has the heated rivalry with Cyclops that is the cause for much of his Jerkass behavior in the comics (though the two did briefly have a leadership struggle). Also, while he always was fond of young mutant daughter figures, it would take decades of Character Development for him to be anywhere close to willing to play father figure with Storm and Xavier for an entire group of mutant children before any school for gifted youngsters or superhero team was properly established.
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