A New Character For A New Era
A character is introduced to a work, has a highly different theme to any character in that work
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(permanent link) added: 2012-05-20 16:19:57 sponsor: Astromatech edited by: BibsDibs (last reply: 2013-06-13 00:28:50)

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So you have a franchise, and it’s going, shall we say, slightly downhill. In an effort to spice things up, you add extra details to the character models, shift around certain priorities, and add another character to help cement these changes. If done well, this can breathe new life into a much ailing work of fiction. If done poorly, this can lead to The Scrappy. Either way, you are introducing A New Character For A New Era.

Symptoms of A New Character For A New Era include:

  • using methods or techniques that other characters wouldn’t, wouldn’t need to, or wouldn’t even dream of. IE; weapons, unusual transport, superpowers, etc.
  • possible overlap with Mary Sue or God-Mode Sue.
  • Sometimes but not always being created in a period of the franchise’s history when sales (and respect) are low.
  • Will often have a backstory added later or subtly, to either excuse or explain how they are. Other times, may be retconned (or Ret-Gone’d) entirely.

A character that fits this trope could be seen as an embodiment (or instigator) of Tone Shift, but not necessarily in the same way as the similar Knight of Cerebus.

Note that whilst the name implies a grim attitude, an overly flowery character in a particularly Grim Dark setting would definitely count as well. Also, remember that Tropes Are Not Bad. It is entirely possible for a character to embody this trope whilst also adding further depth and character to the world.

As a further addendum, this is a trope ONLY for characters native to the series, or at least characters that are an integral part of that series. Guest Fighter characters need not apply.

Compare and contrast Knight of Cerebus, The Scrappy, The Wesley, and Characterisation Marches On.

Examples: Anime and Manga:
  • In Dragonball, Dragonball Z and Dragonball GT, there are several characters that could be considered to have the syndrome, but only GT would most likely qualify, as (to this troper’s knowledge), the series was still going strong during the original run and Dragonball Z.
    • One example from GT would possibly even be Goku himself, under the effects of the Super Saiyan 4 transformation. He becomes, to some fans, increasingly brutal and callous throughout. YMMV, of course.

Video Games:
  • Shadow the Hedgehog, when he was introduced, was intended to be a one-shot character (hence his apparent death at the end of the first game to feature him). Since then, he has gone on to utilise realistic firearms, vehicles, and to push the boundaries of the series in new ways. Most fans will agree that he is a successful utilisation of this trope, and is indeed the source for the original name of the trope.

Western Animation:

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