Regardless of the medium, characters are introduced and established as having certain traits and, as such, the fans of those works expect those characters to adhere to them. If they're The Hero's trusted friend in the novel, the film adaptation should convey that as well. But wait — why is the hero's trusted friend from the novel, suddenly giving him the cold shoulder in the motion picture? Why is the faithful Love Interest from the manga two-timing him in the anime? And the Lovable Rogue, who gives to the poor in the television series, only cares about lining his own pockets in the Made-for-TV Movie. They weren't like that before, so what happened? The answer is: the character has suffered from Adaptational Jerkassery, the narrative equivalent of Taking a Level in Jerkass. Whatever the reasons, the writer(s) has seen fit to change the character's original postive portrayal, to make them more of a jerk. Perhaps the character was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in the original work, but the adaptation failed to convey the "heart of gold" aspect. Thus, turning them into a total jerk. Or it could be due the adaptation being Darker and Edgier than the original, and the character's portrayal was changed accordingly. However, while there may be some overlap with Adaptational Villainy, the key difference here is, the character isn't necessarily villainous. In many cases, they're still on the good side and can range from being a Comedic Sociopath, to an Anti-Hero, or just The Friend Nobody Likes. Because of the nature of the trope, it's obviously related to Took a Level in Jerkass and by extension contrasts with Took a Level in Kindness. A subtrope of Adaptation Personality Change. Its inverse is Adaptational Nice Guy.
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Anime and Manga
- Amy Rose from the Sonic the Hedgehog games was a lot nicer earlier in the series, but in Sonic X, she is short-tempered, aggressive, violent, and downright nasty to others, most especially in the third season. This personality in the anime bordered to the games later on, but it is toned down.
- Downplayed in BlazBlue: in the original games, Jin is already quite a Jerkass, but he still has a soft spot for his Childhood Friend Tsubaki. In Blazblue Alter Memory, that soft spot is gone.
- DD Fist of the North Star has Toki, who does have jerkass tendencies in comparison to his original counterpart who is Kung-Fu Jesus and a Nice Guy. DD has Toki attempting get a job as a part-timer in Ryuken's store, and will use any means to get the job, such as having Raoh arrested for murdering Jyuza.
- In Kirby, King Dedede, while he's a lazy and rather greedy king whose "royalty" is questionable, he can be a pretty good guy every now and then who helps Kirby saving the day. In the Kirby of the Stars anime, Dedede is more of a jerk who wants to "clobbah dat dere Kirby" almost every episode and treats other people like crap.
- Sailor Moon: Rei is an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl in the manga, but in the first anime adaptation, she is Hot-Blooded and often picks fights with Usagi. Rei is very prone to insulting Usagi, much more than the other way round and in many cases without provocation or reason other than teasing Usagi. Despite their bickering, they're still the closest of the senshi (in the manga Rei is closer with Minako than Usagi). The Dic dub takes this a step further. Rei is made even meaner to Usagi, losing almost every little hint of strong companionship they have in the original version.
- Inverted in School-Live!. The anime changes The Reveal that Megu-nee has been Dead All Along and Yuki hallucinates her presence to happen much later than it did in the manga, and has Miki be a character from episode 1 instead of being rescued early on (thus adding her into certain scenes and having certain chapters become flashbacks). To avoid spoilering Megu-nee's death the anime removed all of Miki's confrontations with Yuki and Rii early on, making her a far more subdued character.
- This is utilized with several gym leaders. Many, most notably Lt. Surge, Erika, and Skyla, are egotistical Jerkasses with a condescending demeanor towards their challengers (or, in Erika's case, towards those who don't appreciate the perfume her gym makes). Pryce is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is cold towards Pokemon due to a misunderstanding with his Piloswine long ago, although he does get better when the Piloswine is found and the situation explained. In particular in the games, Pryce is a perfectly pleasant and decent man, Erika is a laidback Ojou, and Lt. Surge, while cocky in the games, isn't nearly as mean about it as he is in the anime (being a Type 2 Eaglelander instead of a Type 1). All of them make friends with the heroes in the end.
- Misty downplays this more than the others, as her anime counterpart is a tsundere with a temper (though she calms down once Togepi enters the picture) while her game counterpart doesn't seem to be that way. The English dub also toned down her narcissism compared to the Japanese version.
- Iris in the games is very peppy and nice however in the anime, while heroic, her Catch-Phrase is telling Ash that he is "just a kid" due to his immaturity (despite being the same age as him) and she's brattier than in the games.
- Inverted with Gary in the English dub. In Japan, he and Ash are friendly rivals and Gary is respected. The dub has Gary be far more hated in general and he is a jerk towards Ash. This makes him more in-line with his game counterpart, Blue.
- Pokémon Adventures:
- Norman, the protagonists father in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. In the games, Norman is a kind, gentle person who respects his child's wishes and would most likely not use physical violence. In the manga, Norman is a lot meaner and beats up his son for disobeying him. Despite his harshness, he is on the side of good— he is genuinely supportive of Ruby.
- Inverted with Silver. His game counterpart from Pokémon Gold and Silver is the most Jerkass rival thus far, literally pushes you around, and is mean to his Pokemon prior to his Character Development. Silver in the manga is aloof but not as confrontational or aggressive.
- Killua is an Anti-Hero in all versions of Hunter × Hunter however in the 1999 anime adaptation there are more allusions to his dangerous Creepy Child nature from the get go.
- Girls und Panzer has a few examples from the manga adaptation:
- An odd example comes with Anchovy, since the manga was released before the anime showed her match with Oarai. In the anime, Anchovy's competitive but fairly good-spirited, and after losing, invites the Oarai crew to eat with her and the people who set up the match. In the manga, she starts off by accusing Miho of having a "weak" way of tankery, and at the end, accuses Miho of costing her old school the championship by abandoning the flag tank.
- Erika is a Jerkass in the anime, but mainly to the extent of being snide and condescending toward Miho (for example, in the finals, saying that Oarai must be weak if she became its commander). In the manga, between the semifinals and the finals, Erika flies over to Oarai, confronts Miho, and angrily accuses her of not just costing them the victory, but abandoning them in their time of crisis, and vaguely insinuates that Miho traded her vice-captaincy of her old school for captaincy of her of her new school. She's significantly more vicious and angry in that scene from the manga, and leaves Miho in tears at the end of it.
- Leon MacNicol in the Bubblegum Crisis OVA was supportive of the Knight Sabers. Leon in the Tokyo 2040 remake considers the team vigilantes and a blight on the AD Police.
- Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie is more easily annoyed and angered than he is portrayed in the games.
- Sonic the Hedgehog is a heroic, laidback character in the games, and at the time of Sonic the Comic comics was written in western canon as being a Totally Radical Mascot with Attitude. But in here, he's a bullying, immature Jerkass, especially with the way he treated Tails. Despite caring for his friends, he really has a hard time showing it.
- Jem and the Holograms:
- The Misfits are still the antagonists and still not nice girls (except Stormer), but it's slyly demonstrated that each of the band stands solely on their own. Pizzazz's temper is even worse, and feels she literally cannot trust anyone in her life. Roxy and Jetta aren't down each other's throats anymore, but they'd just as easily laugh if one was the butt of a joke. Pizzazz, Roxy, and Jetta still gang up on Stormer, but Stormer is actually more likely to snark back at them, insult them and even scream at them, unafraid to stand up to even Pizzazz. Clash in the cartoon also wouldn't have tried to seriously injure, or outright murder, Jem like that.
- At the same time though, this in inverted as their softer sides and Hidden Depths are more present. Jetta went from the Token Evil Teammate to being calm and relatively nice (especially towards Roxy, who she's best friend with in the comics but is enemies with in the cartoon). A lot more emphasis goee into giving Pizzazz's Hidden Depths focus. She has a lot more moments of sincerity, happiness, and vulnerability. In one issue she actually listens to Stormer's wants to do a ballad and ends the issue on a middle ground. She'll allow a ballad on the next album, not the current one. In the cartoon scene that was inspired by Pizzazz outright just shredded the lyrics because she doesn't like "soft" songs.
- L from Death Note is subject to this in the TV drama. Though not exactly a 'hero' (with Word of God admitting that he's a bit evil), he usually comes across as A Lighter Shade of Gray when compared to Light and a few spin-offs (namely the film L: Change the World and the light novel Another Note) portray him more sympathetically. The drama by contrast draws more attention to the amorality of his actions and he generally is far more smug and arrogant than most portrayals.
- While Shadow is far from a nice guy in the Sonic the Hedgehog games, in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, he is more of a Jerkass here. He is an abrasive, bullying Jerkass who calls Sonic weak for relying on his friends. His rivalry with Sonic is a lot more antagonistic than in the games as he's only there to fight him for no reason other than to antagonize him.
- In the Advanced Variable Geo series, Yuuki is shown to be a Good Samaritan who protects other women from muggers and rapists. But the OVA adaptation nearly makes Yuuki out to be a rapist, herself, by having her sexually harass Satomi during their fight.
- Mega Man Battle Network: Downplayed with ProtoMan.EXE. The original Proto Man in Mega Man (Classic), while aloof, is a supportive big brother figure for Mega Man. In BN timeline, ProtoMan.EXE is considered a rival to MegaMan.EXE because their operators are also rivals, but ProtoMan doesn't take it personally; he's also more willing to scold and even fight MegaMan if it's necessary.
- In Teen Titans the Titans are straight-laced heroes. In Teen Titans Go! they regularly display Jerkass behavior, are often Vitriolic Best Buds, and are Heroic Comedic Sociopaths.
- Anyone familiar with Link, the hero of The Legend of Zelda, knows he's near consistently portrayed in adaptations as, and implied in the games to be, a brave, humble, all around heroic person who saves the land of Hyrule and its princess without expecting anything in return. People familiar with Link's other portrayals will probably be surprised that in the The Legend of Zelda cartoon, that came after the NES games, he's the complete opposite. This Link was lazy, self-centered, whiny and is only motivated by getting Zelda to kiss him.
- In the Witch cartoon Cornelia is presented as more of a straight Alpha Bitch than the Lovable Alpha Bitch she is in the Witch comics. She's ruder and generally more aggressive. In the comics she is a Bully Hunter but in the cartoon, prior to her Character Development she was The Bully herself.
- Fred from Scooby-Doo has become this in ''Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!", rendering him into a dimwitted, control freak and an unmasking hog.
- The Flying Scotsman seemed relatively humble and respectful in his few speaking roles in The Railway Series, but in his first appearance in the TV series' special The Great Race, he's much more pompous and arrogant, has a low opinion on Sodor's engines, and often makes remarks to rile up Gordon, his brother.
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