Adaptational Nice Guy

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, and doesn't make them more heroic if they were heroic in the first place. 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.


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     Multiple Media 

     Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball. The English dub tends to increase Goku's more noble aspects while downplaying his more selfish side present in the Japanese version, such as valuing fighting a stronger opponent over the safety and wellbeing of others.
  • Elfen Lied: While still a murderous Villain Protagonist, Lucy is considerably less sadistic and Ax-Crazy in the anime than in the manga, where she was prone to Evil Laughs and Slasher Smiles while literally tearing people to shreds.
  • Pokémon:
    • Clair's anime personality is far nicer than her game one.
    • This happens with Gladion:
      • 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.
    • Misty gets this treatment in the English dub. In Japan, she was very narcissistic in Kanto (especially before she got Togepi) but the dub toned her down.
  • This happens with Silver in Pokémon Adventures. 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.
  • 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.
  • Aquarius in Fairy Tail was a virtually through-and-through Jerkass who belittled, threatened, and sometimes even attacked Lucy whenever the two appeared together, with just a few Pet the Dog moments to show that she wasn't totally heartless. The anime adaptation sprinkled in a few more kind gestures towards Lucy and toned down her harsh attitude, particularly in the Filler arc leading up to her Heroic Sacrifice in the manga's next major arc, which helped make the scene more poignant.

     Comic Books 
  • While still antagonists, Jem and the Holograms toned down The Misfits compared to the original Jem. Their antics are a lot less outlandish and they no longer get away with obviously criminal or career ruining things, like destroying property every other episode. While they still can be mean, the comic puts much more emphasis on their friendship and Hidden Depths. Jetta in particular also changed fom the least sympathetic Misfit who barely cared for her band to a rather nice ladette.

     Films — Animation 
  • In Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, George and Harold are still pranksters, but are given more heroic moments compared to their borderline-Designated Hero counterparts. That being said, they're also still Anti-Heroes who do have their less-than kindhearted moments...
  • Coraline: In the book, the cat is extremely egotistical and aloof, only helping Coraline if he happened to be in the area anyway and if helping her didn't hinder him in any way. In the film, he's her Mysterious Protector and Servile Snarker, often going out of his way to watch over her, warn her against and save her from the Other Mother even when she's very rude to him.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
  • While still somewhat insensitive in How to Train Your Dragon, Gobber is nicer in comparison to his book counterpart, who was a great deal nastier.
  • A behavioral example with Mr. Peabody in Mr. Peabody & Sherman. In the original cartoon, he was a strict and distant authority figure towards Sherman, and considered himself Sherman's master, not his father. He also treated Sherman like his pet and lowly assistant rather than his son.
  • The Peanuts Movie: Snoopynote  and the kids are certainly nicer to Charlie Brown than they were in the strips or TV specials (with the exception of Lucy, who is as much of a jerk as always).note  Perhaps a case of Society Marches On as bullying is more discouraged today than it was in the 20th century.
  • The film version of A Silent Voice had to remove a lot of scenes and elements in order to fit the story into such a short timespan. Kawai in the manga is an Academic Alpha Bitch and a narcissist, while and Satoshi is a violent Bully Hunter. The film had to tone down or remove these elements.

     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.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • The movie version of Bobby Drake is much sweeter and more mature than his comic book counterpart's Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Man Child persona.
    • In The Wolverine, Harada is far less of a Jerkass than his comic counterpart, who is a foreigner-hating bigot.
    • Logan's version of Zander Rice is nicer than his comics counterpart. They both see Laura as a weapon, but comics Rice also delighted in torturing her and went out of his way to make her life pure hell.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Sansa Stark doesn't do things like calling Arya cruel names, such as "Horse-face", the way she did in the novels.
    • Tywin Lannister 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 Stark has warmer relationships with Gendry, Hot Pie and even Sandor Clegane than she does in the books.
    • Loras Tyrell 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.
    • His sister, Margaery Tyrell, became nicer and friendlier to Sansa in the show where after her planned engagement to Loras was foiled by Tywin, who decided to have her wed to Tyrion. Margaery comforted her and reassures her that marrying Tyrion might not be bad. However, her book counterpart shuns Sansa after the plot to marry her to one of her brothers fell through.

  • 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 

     Western Animation 
  • Avengers Assemble: Captain America's father is shown here to be a good parent, judging by the photo of him and a young Steve fishing together. In the comics, he was a drunk, a wife beater, and generally an unpleasant person.
  • Since Baby Looney Tunes is a show meant for little kids, the Looneys are much sweeter and innocent than their adult counterparts.
  • In Justice League Action, while she's still a villain, Killer Frost is nicer than her other incarnations, especially compared to Justice League, Young Justice, and Batman: Assault on Arkham.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), this happens with this incarnation of the Shredder, where his love for his daughter, Karai, is very genuine. The problem is that he has rooted himself so deep in his hatred toward the Hamato Clan, even his love for his daughter doesn't seem to matter, culminating in her mutation, which he still blames on the Hamato Clan despite him being the one using her as bait for the trap that did it.
  • Teen Titans Go!: In stark contrast to the rest of the Titans who all went through a case of Adaptational Jerkass, Starfire became far nicer, to the point of Good Is Dumb levels.
  • This was put on display in the Thomas the Tank Engine special The Adventure Begins which was a readaptation of some of the earliest stories of the The Railway Series books and TV series:
    • Thomas is far more idealistic and innocent than he was in his debut novel in where he would play tricks on the other engines and is something of a Bratty Half-Pint.
    • Henry is far more meek and gentle, and his hatred of the rain is treated more as a phobia (in the books he was merely pompous about getting his paint spoiled, if you don't go by the theory that Henry was actually having mechanical issues that day and had stopped in the tunnel to cover them up).
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • Compared to his — shall we say, controversial comic-book counterpart, Scott is kind to his friends, likable, and much more unambiguously heroic in this series.
    • Due to the series' changes to certain character's ages, Wolverine never falls in love with teenage Jean Grey, and therefore never has the heated rivalry with Cyclops that is the cause for much of his Jerkass behavior in the comics (though the two did briefly have a leadership struggle). Also, while he always was fond of young mutant daughter figures, it would take decades of Character Development for him to be anywhere close to willing to play father figure with Storm and Xavier for an entire group of mutant children before any school for gifted youngsters or superhero team was properly established.