->''"It's already happening. You've reverted back to what you were. You've gotten soft. You're like one of those police dogs who's released into the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something."''
-->-- ''Series/NewsRadio'', "Airport"

A {{Jerkass}} softens over time, and becomes either a JerkWithAHeartOfGold or not a jerk at all. Usually this can be due to CharacterDevelopment. HeelFaceTurn may be involved as well. In some cases this may be a case of CharacterizationMarchesOn; as the series progresses, the writers realized that a nicer character fit the changing tone better than the original idea.

If done over the course of one episode or short-story, this may have been to set up an Aesop.

Naturally, the CounterTrope of TookALevelInJerkass. Compare to DefrostingIceQueen, which focuses on a specific Love Interest bringing a character out of their shell.

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!!Example subpages:

[[index]]
* TookALevelInKindness/AnimeAndManga
* TookALevelInKindness/{{Literature}}
* TookALevelInKindness/LiveActionTV
* TookALevelInKindness/VideoGames
* TookALevelInKindness/WesternAnimation
[[/index]]

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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{WITCH}}'': In the original, comic book continuity (''different'' of the animated series adaptation continuity), Vathek, one of the main villains of the first arc, is a cruel, aggressive and arrogant bastard. At the half of the arc, [[TheMole he's sent to spy on the good guys]] [[BecomingTheMask but ends up genuinely sympathizing with them]] and pulls a HeelFaceTurn. CharacterDevelopment and HiddenDepths show their faces, and at the end of the arc, he's a real GentleGiant.
* King Max Acorn in ''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehog'', post-''ComicBook/SonicTheHedgehogMegaManWorldsCollide''. Once a fairly amiable guy, one trauma after another left him a crusty curmudgeon. When the CosmicRetcon Button is hit by accident, he becomes completely mellowed out to the point where Sonic sees this change in attitude as a reason ''not'' to set things back to normal.
* It has been noted by many that, in the New 52, ''Batman'' of all people has taken a major level in kindness, while others have become bigger jerks. Bruce is actively rebuilding Gotham, trying to move on from his parents' death and even seems to be one of the nicer members of the Justice League. While some of this can be seen as the result of ''The Return of Bruce Wayne'', where he came full circle from his previous epic Jerkass characterisation, even stories set before that happened have him as one of the nicer guys.
* After mostly being an antagonist or even borderline villain in the ''[[ComicBook/DisneyDucksComicUniverse Donald Duck]]'' comics he originated in, Scrooge [=McDuck=] had to be turned into a more heroic and sympathetic character when he began starring in his own spinoff title (though even in his own comics he always remained something of an antihero).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' iteration of Calvin is much more likely to do the right thing than [[ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes his comic counterpart.]]
* In ''FanFic/TheBestNightEver'', a core focus of the story is Prince Blueblood [[CharacterDevelopment taking several levels in kindness]].
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': After arriving on Avalon, getting therapy and counselling, Asuka -who had previously been a mass of rage, cynicism and bitterness due to be psychologically broken- starts being nicer as she gradually gets over her worst issues and learns she can trust other people (specially Shinji).
* ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'': After she and Shinji get together, Asuka starts being nicer and kinder to Shinji and Rei because she knows she is not alone anymore and she does not need to push people away. Unfortunately she can not display it openly out of fear to be separated from Shinji in the event that someone finds out that they have become a couple.
* ''Fanfic/TheChildOfLove'': Due to the changes she undergoes through her pregnancy, Asuka's behaviour becomes softer. After hooking up with Shinji she is way nicer to him, at the beginning privately but later openly. When Touji muses Asuka is nicer than she used to, Shinji replies that is the real Asuka and the mean girl was a façade.
* ''Fanfic/ChildrenOfAnElderGod'': After losing her mother and being ditched by her father Asuka's temper got real bad. Fortunately she got a decent foster mother raised her properly, and her behaviour softened after a while.
* ''Fanfic/DoingItRightThisTime'':
** Ritsuko, upon discovering [[spoiler:Rei is actually a clone of her mother instead of one of Yui,]] starts being kinder to her, even going so far as to treat Rei like a little sister.
** Asuka, after returning to the past with full knowledge of how disastrous and self-defeating was her "drive everybody away in order to avoid pain" strategy, allows herself to be nicer.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': Getting together with Shinji worked wonders on Asuka's brittle temper. She calmed down -a bit- and started being nicer to people she previously declared she could not stand like Rei or Kaworu. Several characters note that she has changed and is kinder: after finding out Shinji and Asuka are iving together Misato mutters "Oh. So that is because she is nicer now". Shortly after Asuka praises Rei's performance during a volleybal match and Rei gets flustered and shocked.
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': Downplayed. Due to a being older, married and a mother, Asuka is nicer, less harsh and less mean that she used to when she was thirteen... although she is still pretty hot-tempered.
* ''Fanfic/HigherLearning'': When Kaoru starts working in the pilots' school his lessons teach Asuka to be less angry and less confrontational, and help her to open up. Her temper gets nicer and less pushy progressively, to the point she is capable of confessing her feelings to Shinji (after a bottle of sake). From that point she becomes kinder.
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': At the beginning Asuka was very angry and confrontational. However, exposure to Shinji -the nicest, kindest, less judgemental person that you will meet- helps her to improve her temper and let her nicer side out.
* ''Fanfic/OnceMoreWithFeeling'': After returning to the past, Shinji knows exactly why Asuka is rude and and confrontational and what ticks her off. So that he makes sure showing her that he is there for her and not behaving as a wimp who apologises for everything, never stands up and always backs off, to avoid pressing her berserk buttons. The result is she becomes more sympathetic and nicer. This is specially obvious in several scenes where she admits to Rei she screwed up during a battle or where she says it would be unfair going to Okinawa alone while Shinji and Rei stay in Tokyo-3.
* ''Fanfic/TheOneILoveIs'': Rei and Asuka start fighting over Shinji, forcing the latter girl to acknowledge and display her feelings openly. Since she has to stop pushing him away, Asuka starts being nicer and less harsh. In chapter 6 Shinji notes she is really kinder now.
* ''Fanfic/SOE2LoneHeirOfKrypton'': This is in fact a plot point: When Asuka finds out about ''[[Comicbook/{{Supergirl}} her powers]]'' and realizes what they entail, she strives to become a better, kinder person and be worthy of them.
* ''Fanfic/SoulChess'' has Soifon of all people take a few levels in kindness. The reason? [[spoiler: Yoruichi took Soifon with her when she left Soul Society.]]
* ''Fanfic/TheWizardInTheShadows'' has Denethor take one after a HeelRealisation.
* Precia in ''Fanfic/GameTheoryFanFic''. At the very least, she makes an effort to act pleasant instead of abusing Fate, so she's already miles ahead of her canon counterpart, and she does seem to get somewhat genuinely nicer as the story progresses.
* In ''Fanfic/AddressUnknown'', Rainbow Dash grudgingly agrees to take care of a temporarily blinded Derpy, who has recently started a relationship with Twilight. While trying to get to sleep on Derpy's couch, she is forced to confront her responsibility for contributing to Derpy's lifelong misery, and makes a tearful apology the following morning. Derpy forgives her and the two agree to start over.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' story, ''[[Fanfic/LegacyTotalDrama Legacy]]'', both Heather and Duncan have grown up, figuratively as well as literally, in the ten years since they were on the show. Duncan has even learned basic precepts of chivalry.
* Bolt and Moondancer, two of Sylvia's brothers, in the story ''Fanfic/SylviaTheSylveon''.
* In ''Fanfic/FateZeroSanity'', [[{{Jerkass}} Kayneth Archibald El-Melloi]] starts off very similar to canon, but ultimately develops into a sympathetic character, culminating in feeling genuine sorrow when his Servant dies. His last act is to give Waver Velvet his Mystic Code and make some amends towards him. [[spoiler: This makes his death all the more impactful.]]
* Faith and Cordelia both accomplish this in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/2052846/1/Faith-The-Series Faith: The Series]]'' much faster than in [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer canon]]. The former due to being HappilyAdopted by Giles. The latter due to being saved by Jesse, [[RescueRomance who she then started dating]].
* [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/4991314/1/Escape-from-the-Hokage-s-Hat Escape From The Hokage's Hat:]] Played with in that while Sakura wasn't a complete {{Jerkass}}, she still wasn't a nice person either. Suffice to say after a few BreakTheHaughty moments and several reality checks, she reevaluates herself and [[CharacterDevelopment tries to be both a better person and ninja]] even going as far as asking [[AbhorrentAdmirer Lee]] out on a date and having a much needed SorkinRelationshipMoment with Naruto where she practically begs him to find someone who'll reciprocate his feelings rather than be her HopelessSuitor.
* [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/17890/fallout-equestria-starlight Fallout: Equestria: Starlight]]: Not that she was a jerk before, but Homage comes off as much nicer then she is in FanFic/FalloutEquestria, often ending [[spoiler: her broadcasts]] with saying how one can best help others.
* The shinigami [[AntiVillain Umbra]] in ''Fanfic/AndTheStoryContinues'' is a strange case. He's become much warmer and more cooperative [[spoiler:since [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie his transformation from L]]]], especially towards [[ButtMonkey Sidoh]], [[MoralityPet Erin]] and [[FriendToAllChildren kids like Near]]. But he's also become much more amoral compared to [[spoiler:his human persona]]--for example, he doesn't hesitate to [[spoiler:offer to kill Kimiko for running over Erin's cat while driving drunk, although he does promptly back off when Erin refuses his offer.]]
* Bonnie in the ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' fanfic ''Fanfic/VacationFromTheNorm'' is much kinder than she was in the series, largely due to her marriage to Senor Senior Jr. and the father/daughter bond that developed between her and her father-in-law Senor Senior Sr., who happily indulged her passion for refurbishing motorcycles. Bonnie, in turn, convinced SSS to do a HeelFaceTurn, and the Senior family formed their own hero team called the Upperclassmen to help Kim Possible out.

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* The whole point of everything Lightning [=McQueen=] goes through in ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}'' is to persuade him to do this.
* Anastasia does this in the sequels ''Disney/CinderellaIIDreamsComeTrue'' and ''Disney/CinderellaIIIATwistInTime'', to the point where she eventually pulls a HeelFaceTurn.
** [[{{JerkWithAHeartOfJerk}} Aver]][[{{TookALevelInJerkass}} ted]] in ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsBirthBySleep''.
* ''WesternAnimation/MrPeabodyAndSherman'': In this film adaptation of the "Mr. Peabody's Improbable History" segments on ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'', Mr. Peabody is changed from treating Sherman from being merely his pet and assistant to considering Sherman his adopted son whom he loves dearly.
** In the movie itself, Penny starts as an extremely abusive AlphaBitch who tries to humiliate Sherman into acting like a dog; through her experiences with Sherman in the WABAC, she grows to see him in a new light and becomes a softer and kinder person as a result.
* 'Baby' Brent in ''WesternAnimation/CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs'', who starts being TheBully towards Flint, having also a SmallNameBigEgo personality. [[BreakTheHaughty After his popularity fades away]] thanks to the FLDSMDFR, he decides to help the main characters in the most critical moment and eventually befriends them.
** And in the second film, the [[spoiler: FLDSMDFR itself has a HeelFaceTurn,starting to make life rather than trying to destroy it.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/RuthlessPeople''. Barbara. Even granting the understandable stresses she's put under she's a pretty horrible person at the beginning of the movie, and it's heavily suggested that her unpleasant personality was a factor long before she was kidnapped. Spending time with the Kesslers, however, and losing weight has an improving effect on her personality and she gradually becomes a much nicer person.
* Onkel Sofus in most incarnations of the Father of Four movies, as his CharacterDevelopment.
* In ''Film/BadSanta'', the main character starts being a complete JerkAss, but eventually becames a JerkWithAHeartOfGold.
* Had Phil Connors of ''Film/GroundhogDay'' not done so, he probably would never have [[spoiler:broken out of [[GroundhogDayLoop his temporal prison]].]]
* The film ''Film/SonOfGodzilla'' is the start of showing the King Of The Monster's more loving fatherly side. Especially towards the end where he [[spoiler:embraces his new son to keep him from freezing to death.]]
* The whole point of the Film ''Film/{{Thor}}'', which is an ''inversion'' of ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger.'' Whereas Captain Rogers was granted power because of his kindness and decency, Thor had to ''learn'' kindness and decency first to be worthy of his power.
* ''Film/ThorTheDarkWorld'': Downplayed with Loki. He is still evil, but is less evil than in ''Film/TheAvengers'' [[spoiler:but he risks his life to save Jane Foster.]]
** Of course, [[ManipulativeBastard this]] being [[TricksterArchetype Loki]], it's anyone's guess how much of it was genuine. [[spoiler: Especially given the reveal of him impersonating Odin at the end...]]
* ''Film/MadMaxFuryRoad'': Max starts the film looking out only for #1. He only agrees to aid Furiosa in her quest to rescue [[BigBad Immortan Joe's]] [[SexSlave Wives]] out of a need for survival. Over the course of the story, he subtly becomes more protective of all of them, culminating in throwing everything has to keep them safe during the final chase and eventually giving some of his blood to save the life of a nearly mortally wounded Furiosa.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* This happens to the protagonist in the Music/OzzyOsbourne song "No More Tears." In the first two verses, he happily murders a prostitute. However, during the bridge and third verse, he finds himself feeling very guilty about what he did. By the end of the song, he actually falls in love with her (even though she's already dead).
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/ShawnMichaels TookALevelInJerkass after kicking Marty Jannetty through a window and became an even bigger jerkass after the screw job against Wrestling/BretHart. Then he retired. Then he came out of retirement to fight the seemingly never ending reign of Wrestling/TripleH, gradually becoming a nice guy who would try to help younger wrestlers.
* Annie Social changed much in the four five years between her WEW debut and the rise of new all women's promotions Wrestling/{{SHIMMER}} and Wrestling/{{WSU}}. She started out as a petty criminal out to cause as much ruin as possible, to finding a like minded friend in pro wrestling, then another, then before you know it she's best known for managing hot prospects and her {{tag team}} runs.[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* William Winsbury in ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' is introduced as an [[http://gunnerkrigg.com/?p=18 abrasive]], [[http://gunnerkrigg.com/?p=34 bullying]] [[KidsAreCruel twelve-year-old brat]]. As he gets older and [[http://gunnerkrigg.com/?p=447 spends]] [[http://gunnerkrigg.com/?p=610 more]] [[http://gunnerkrigg.com/?p=935 time]] with his classmates, he loses his antagonistic streak, and is on friendly terms with them by the [[http://gunnerkrigg.com/?p=1393 cruise]] at the end of Annie's third year.
* Karkat in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' becomes less of a {{Troll}} and more interested in the success of his prior antagonists. And if he's not a JerkWithAHeartOfGold, at least he's a shrewd enough leader to know when to play TeamMom for the other trolls.
** Over the course of Act 6 Dave gradually drops his obsession with cool-guy irony and starts trying to focus on being a decent person instead.
** Similarly, after Dirk recognizes that he's been a real asshole (especially to Jake), and also hears about [[EvilMeScaresMe how awful his alt-universe self was]], he resolves not to turn into that person and becomes much nicer.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Franchise/{{Noob}}'', [[TheAce Fantöm]] started out with an attitude about his high-level player status that bordered on InsufferableGenius. The franchise's WhamEpisode enventually led him to let go of the insufferable part in the webseries and novels, while the comic is currently doing an AdaptationExpansion of the arc that led to the change.
* Weiss Schnee of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' started out as a bratty RichBitch who looked down on all of her classmates. She begins to show a softer side after losing the Team RWBY leadership race to [[TheHero Ruby]]. By Volume 2, she loses the more abhorrent aspects of her personality and becomes friendlier and more supportive to her teammates, most notably showing concern for Blake's moping. By Volume 3, she offers to treat her teammates to noodles, and also [[TakingYouWithMe willingly risks herself to shove Flynt into a flame vent]] to stop him taking out Yang. The only time she is shown getting angry in that volume is when another person's (a Faunus at that, the very people she ranted about in "The Stray") hurt by a robot, and she rushes at it armed with only her sword, to see her [[spoiler:summoning abilities awaken for the first time]]
[[/folder]]

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