Created By: NightShade96 on May 7, 2017 Last Edited By: NightShade96 on May 28, 2017
Troped

Adaptational Nice Guy

A Jerkass becomes nicer in an adaptation.

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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.

Examples:

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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 

     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.

     Literature 

     Live-Action TV 
  • 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.

     Podcasts 
  • The Film Reroll version of Frozen skips the entire subplot where Hans tricks Anna into falling in love with him, making him come off as less of an emotionally-manipulative jerkass, but he's still the main villain of the story and still tries to kill Elsa at one point.

     Video Games 
  • 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.

     Web Original 
  • 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.

     Western Animation 

Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • May 7, 2017
    TheFarmboy
    How does this differ from Adaptational Heroism?
  • May 7, 2017
    pointycatears
    I agree, this just seems like a downplayed version of that
  • May 7, 2017
    NightShade96
    I took inspiration from Adaptational Jerkass. This would make a good contrast to that.
  • May 7, 2017
    Getta
    Such as a jerk villain becoming a nicer villain? I can see that.
  • May 7, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Yeah, exactly.
  • May 8, 2017
    313Bluestreak
    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.
  • May 8, 2017
    Getta
    I wonder if this happens in any Marvel movies...

    By the way, "adaptation gives someone more/less sympathetic elements" is different from this, right?
  • May 8, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Pretty sure those fall under Adaptational Heroism and Adaptational Villainy.
  • May 8, 2017
    Getta
    ^ I mean, maybe a straight up hero becomes an Anti Hero in an adaptation or vice versa...
  • May 8, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ That would probably fall under Adaptational Jerkass.
  • May 8, 2017
    NightShade96
    Added example from Adaptational Jerkass.
  • May 9, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 10, 2017
    Getta
    ^^^ No no, what I mean is that jerkassery or niceness aren't really sympathetic or unsympathetic traits. When I said Anti Hero, it is more than just "jerk hero".
  • May 10, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ True.

    Pretty sure that isn't its own trope. If someone were to make a TLP, it could be named Adaptational Anti Heroism or something similar.
  • May 10, 2017
    Getta
    ^ Fair enough.
  • May 10, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 11, 2017
    NightShade96
    Any other indices which this could fit under?
  • May 12, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump for examples.
  • May 15, 2017
    PaulA
    I know I have seen adaptations that made me wish for something like this, because the character was nicer but not really more heroic. None of them are coming to mind just at the moment, unfortunately.
  • May 15, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ That's fine. If you can come up with some examples, that would be great.
  • May 15, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 15, 2017
    PaulA
    I've remembered one: The Film Reroll version of Frozen skips the entire subplot where Hans tricks Anna into falling in love with him, making him come off as less of an emotionally-manipulative jerkass, but he's still the main villain of the story and still tries to kill Elsa at one point. The Film Reroll page currently lists it as a "Very Downplayed" example of Adaptational Heroism, for want of a better option, but "heroism" really doesn't describe it.
  • May 15, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Yeah, that looks like it'll fit in this page.
  • May 16, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 17, 2017
    Skylite
    • The Amazing Spider Man with Andrew Garfield has Flash as a much nicer guy. When Uncle Ben dies, Peter goes sullen and violent in his grief. When he gets violent at Flash, Flash just takes it and then asks, "Feels good doesn't it?" implying he has gone through something similar.
  • May 17, 2017
    Getta
    • 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.
  • May 18, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 19, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 20, 2017
    NightShade96
    Bump
  • May 24, 2017
    Snicka
  • May 27, 2017
    Snicka
    Is it okay to launch something that has eight hats but also four bombs? 8 - 4 = 4. I know it's technically possible, but what's the consensus?
  • May 27, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ It seems to be okay for launch (I could be wrong, though). Now there are nine hats.

    Might need a few more examples in any case.
  • May 27, 2017
    Snicka
    Of course, many "downplayed" examples of Adaptational Heroism can be migrated here (if there are any).
  • May 27, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Found a few. Thanks for the suggestion.
  • May 27, 2017
    DustSnitch
    No one has addressed the complaint that this is a downplayed version of Adaptational Heroism beyond pointing to another unlaunched draft that may not be valid.

    Right now, this looks The Same But More Specific.
  • May 27, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ I also updated the description to distinguish it from Adaptational Heroism.

    If you have any suggestions for improving this further, those would be welcome.
  • May 27, 2017
    Getta
    ^^ villains also count here, so it's not even related to Adaptational Heroism.
  • May 27, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Should I wait for more hats to launch, with all the bombs?
  • May 27, 2017
    PaulA
    If anything, I would say this is less specific — there are a lot of ways a character can be made nicer that don't qualify as making them heroic.
  • May 27, 2017
    Getta
    ^^ Launch away
  • May 27, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Okay then, I'll launch in a few hours :)
  • May 28, 2017
    Snicka
    Another Film-Animated example came to mind:
  • May 28, 2017
    Snicka
    Also, this is a subtrope to the broad supertrope Adaptation Personality Change.
  • May 28, 2017
    NightShade96
    ^ Added to Adaptational Jerkass as well.
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