Created By: StevenTMarch 22, 2012 Last Edited By: ArivneAugust 15, 2014

Realistic Equals Beautiful

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Page Type:
Trope
In a world featuring characters who if not "cartoony"-looking, still look exaggerated and/or "monstrous", a character who is meant to be attractive in universe and the creators want to show it (instead of just saying it) they're likely to be designed so they're more "realistic" (or at least less exaggerated) compared to other characters.

See also Cartoonish Companions, which could in at least a few cases be an inversion of this trope. The more realistic characters can end up in the Uncanny Valley, they are often also examples of Nonstandard Character Design.

Compare Humanoid Female Animal.

Contrast No Cartoon Fish where realism is used for the opposite effect, real fish are ugly non-cute and eatable.


Examples:

Newspaper Comics

Video Games
  • In Tomodachi Life, the Miis' faces will be put on realistically-proportioned bodies when using the Compatibility Tester, possibly because their normal super-deformed bodies would lessen the visual effect of predicting romantic relationships.

Western Animation
  • On Animaniacs, Hello Nurse is the most human-looking of the main characters.
  • In Max Fleischers Gullivers Travels the handsome prince and beautiful princess are drawn realistically from models, as opposed to most of the other characters which are drawn freehand. (Gulliver himself is rotoscoped.)
  • Inspector Gadget uses extremely cartoony proportioning for the male characters, Penny and several other minor females have more realistic anime-like proportioning.
  • In Tale Spin Baloo and other Jungle Book characters are largely proportioned similar to their non anthropomorphic counterparts, compared to female characters who are more human proportioned.
  • Inverted and played straight in Earthworm Jim. Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is repulsive by human standards but considered incredibly attractive in-universe, however her (unattractive by their species' standards) sister, Princess What's-Her-Name, is incredibly attractive by human (and Terran earthworm) standards.

Community Feedback Replies: 38
  • March 22, 2012
    TwinBird
  • March 22, 2012
    Psi001
    • Inspector Gadget uses extremely cartoony proportioning for the male characters, Penny and several other minor females have more realistic anime-like proportioning.
    • In Tale Spin Baloo and other Jungle Book characters are largely proportioned similar to their non anthropomorphic counterparts, compared to female characters who are more human proportioned.
  • March 22, 2012
    shimaspawn
    The women on The Simpsons are just as cartoony as the men, if not more.
  • March 23, 2012
    StevenT
    Is it better now?
  • March 23, 2012
    Shnakepup
    Not sure if this is an example, but...

    • Present in some Miyazaki films, such as Princess Mononoke or Spirited Away. The main characters, along with various other "good" supporting characters, are drawn in a normal looking style, while villains, their mooks, and unimportant side characters drawn in ugly, caricatured styles (big noses, fat, old and excessively wrinkly, etc).
      • Subverted, at least at first, with the villain Cob in Tales From Earthsea. He's portrayed as beautiful, even effeminate. Later on it's revealed that this is a spell, and that he's actually horribly warped and ugly by his evilness.
  • March 23, 2012
    KingZeal
    I think we can do this with examples that aren't cartoony, either.

    For example:

    • In Mass Effect, the asari are the most human-like alien race in the galaxy, and they're also considered to be the most beautiful. It's speculated in universe that they have some sort of Glamour power in which every species sees them most like themselves. Their character models, however, have distinctly human characteristics.
      • This goes Up To Eleven with Liara, the only romanceable asari in the game, who is the only one with facial markings that look similar to eyebrows. This was invoked intentionally to make her more attractive to the player.
      • In Mass Effect 3, the long-awaited photo of fan-favorite Tali'Zorah reveals that quarians are amazingly human-like in facial features, to the point that her portrait is a photoshopped stock Getty image.
  • March 23, 2012
    Cider
    Considering humans are attracted to other humans and most viewers are humans, I'm not seeing the point of this being a page.
  • March 25, 2012
    randomsurfer
    In Max Fleischers Gullivers Travels the handsome prince and beautiful princess are drawn realistically from models, as opposed to most of the other characters which are drawn freehand. (Gulliver himself is rotoscoped.)
  • March 26, 2012
    Bisected8
    @Cider: This isn't just characters that are attractive looking to humans who look human (as you said, that's a given), this is characters being made to look more human to look more attractive and characters considered attractive in-universe looking attractive to (human) viewers.

    • Inverted and played straight in Earthworm Jim. Queen Slug-For-A-Butt is repulsive by human standards but considered incredibly attractive in-universe, however her (unattractive by their species' standards) sister, Princess What's-Her-Name, is incredibly attractive by human (and Terran earthworm) standards.
  • March 26, 2012
    miru
    Rouge the Bat from the Sonic The Hedgehog series.
  • July 15, 2013
    XFllo
    BMP
  • July 16, 2013
    lexicon
    The two lines of description aren't telling me what this is supposed to be and the examples aren't helping. None of the examples say how Attractive People Look More Human and Blondie and The Simpsons don't even say who is attractive. How do you make someone Look More Human anyway?
  • July 16, 2013
    KingZeal
    It means they look less cartoonish than the rest of the cast.
  • July 16, 2013
    DAN004
    Define "looking less cartoonish".
  • July 16, 2013
    KingZeal
    Less like a cartoon?
  • July 16, 2013
    DAN004
    This would be related to Nonstandard Character Design, btw.
  • July 16, 2013
    lexicon
    Try giving it more lines to the description and some context to the examples. You can start with what it means to look like a cartoon.
  • July 16, 2013
    m8e
    ^^Also somehow related to No Cartoon Fish where the less cartoony is used for the opposite effect.
  • July 16, 2013
    KingZeal
    This is a terrible choice for a rename in my opinion.

    The original name was broad enough to include characters that looked "realistic", but not human. For example, works with fantastic creatures like orcs, elves, lizardfolk, etc all seem to be excluded by the new name.
  • July 16, 2013
    Halen
    ^^IMHO, that seems like that could be a trope to itself. And we do have Humanoid Female Animal. From the works already there, I thought it was about attractive characters being more "realistc".
  • July 17, 2013
    Tallens
    Such characters can wind up in the Uncanny Valley if not careful.
  • July 18, 2013
    lexicon
    The new name is more clear to me and the description is getting better. What would really be good is one example that says who looks realistic and beautiful and how do we know. How do the unrealistic/unattractive characters look as a contrast?
  • July 18, 2013
    DragonQuestZ
    It isn't clear to me. It implies that people think realistic things are more beautiful than impossible things (I saw the name and thought it meant people saying that "this is realistic, therefore it's better").

    The name also doesn't indicate this is about drawing styles in anyway.
  • July 19, 2013
    TonyG
    I think we have this covered by Cartoonish Companions.
  • July 19, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ I guess Cartoonish Companions is an inversion of this trope...
  • August 1, 2013
    lexicon
  • August 20, 2013
    KingZeal
    ^ What?!

    If this YKTTW is ever going to get improved, should we let it just wallow at the bottom? I'm not the one who bumped it before, but that criticism confuses me.
  • August 20, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^"Stop just bumping this to the top." The examples in the writeup are all Zero Context, none of the provided examples have been added. Instead of just Null Edits to bump, they could add to the writeup.
  • June 15, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 15, 2014
    BaffleBlend
    • In Tomodachi Life, the Miis' faces will be put on realistically-proportioned bodies when using the Compatibility Tester, possibly because their normal super-deformed bodies would lessen the visual effect of predicting romantic relationships.
  • June 15, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    In Wreck It Ralph, Sgt. Calhoun, The Lancer's Love Interest, is a first person shooter character, with all the realism that implies. Not only is she more attractive out-of-universe, but Felix, In Universe, seems to consider her prettier.
  • June 15, 2014
    Snicka
    • Panacea, Obelix's Love Interest in the Asterix comics looks much more realistic than Asterix or Obelix.
  • June 15, 2014
    Tallens
    • Snow White And The Seven Dwarves: The dwarves look very cartoonish while Snow White and the prince are much more realistic looking, as is the queen before she turns herself into a hag.

    This might also apply:

    • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Princess Celestia is clearly supposed to be extremely beautiful for one of her kind, and she has proportions much closer to that of actual horses than most ponies.
  • June 28, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • July 2, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Many examples have not been added.
  • July 29, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • July 29, 2014
    Snicka
    The Tale Spin example fits Humanoid Female Animal better; Rebecca's not more realistic but more anthropomorphic than the rest of the bear characters.
  • August 15, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.

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