troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Character Exaggeration
"I love how the Haruhi in Haruhi-chan is more Haruhi than the the real Haruhi. I should have done this for the novels (Half-serious)."
Nagaru Tanigawa, Haruhi-chan Volume 1

The vague but noticeable change in a character's personality or habits in newer adaptations. Interestingly, it is more common for traits to be overemphasized (or even changed completely) rather than deemphasized.

Unlike Flanderization, this version of the character appears like this initially rather than gradually evolving to it; most of the time it just happens that the 'new' version is based on the end-product of the 'old' version's long and changing development. Similarly production time often limits the amount a character can appear, the most 'important' traits are emphasized to make them distinctive. More negatively, subtlety can be lost if Executive Meddling changes the character to establish more broad appeal to some proven demographic. Never Live It Down is when the character doesn't actually change, but audience perception (and sometimes series karma) cannot forgive that one Noodle Incident.

Parodies are especially prone to this. That said, Tropes Are Not Bad and some examples are actually more popular and better-developed than their originals (though others...aren't).

Compare with Ascended Extra, which is done to obscure characters to make them ostensibly prominent. Contrast Out-of-Character Moment. See also Character Check, when the writers try to reverse this, if only momentarily.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Multiple Media 
  • Whenever Batman's Genius Bruiser enemy Bane is adapted to non-comics media, the result usually plays up the "bruiser" part and forgets about the "genius". Often the use and effects of the Venom drug is also exaggerated. In the comics Bane is already a mountain of a man naturally, with the Venom giving an added boost. Usually in the comics the drug is not shown to have any detrimental effect on his mental capacities either. Adaptations usually also do away with Bane's moral ambiguity.
    • In Batman & Robin Bane is reduced to Dumb Muscle henchman who never even speaks, and his muscles practically deflate when the drug-supplying tubes are knocked away.
    • On the animation front, The Batman depicts Bane as a simple hitman with average level of intelligence. Venom bulks him up to such proportions that Batman has to use a giant robot suit to defeat him.
    • Batman: Arkham Asylum and especially Batman: Arkham City fare better in showing Bane to be intelligent and a potential ally to Batman. However, according to the in-game character profile Venom nearly triples his body mass and without it he's an average-sized Joe.
      • Batman: Arkham Origins, done by a different company but still set in the same world, reverts Bane to probably the closest version of his original characterization. The plot of the game sets him up as The Dragon to The Joker, but in such a way it is clear he is the most intelligent and powerful enemy Batman faces that night, arguably even the Joker.
    • In Justice League: Doom, Bane is presented as a reasonably intelligent guy, although his actions toward Batman are very much Stupid Evil. This version also has him as slender absent Venom.
    • The Dark Knight Rises is faithful in presenting a Genius Bruiser Bane, with plenty of emphasis on the Genius part of the equation. It somewhat fits the "doing away with moral ambiguity" aspect though.

     Anime And Manga 
  • In the anime-first series Neon Genesis Evangelion, we have Gendo. In the anime, he's morally ambiguous. In the manga, he's just plain evil.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Zoisite is an especially interesting example going through adaptations: Originally, in the manga he was just an attractive if somewhat effeminate-looking man. In the first anime, he is given more effeminate and catty traits and a romantic relationship with Kunzite. His DiC English dub counterpart exaggerates this further, along with making him into an actual woman.
    • The same thing occurred to Fish Eye in the fourth season. Originally, he was not much different than his strangely dressed and short-lived counterparts. His run in the show was much longer, and was made a clingy, shallow (though ultimately good-hearted) gay crossdresser, and a woman in various dubs in other countries outside of Japan. In fact, it's one of the other members of the Amazon Trio, Hawk's Eye, who crossdresses in the manga. Fish Eye actually tries to seduce Ami!
    • Usagi herself is rather exaggerated though adaptations. In the manga, she is basically a normal teenager and a surprisingly competent leader of normal intelligence. The anime version dialed up her laziness, her reluctance to fight AND her naivete slightly (for example, see her reluctance to kill anything that isn't a Monster of the Day versus her manga form who basically killed first and asked questions later). The English dub takes this even further by making her a total ditz and a Butt Monkey when it came to the other senshi. (They didn't tease her NEARLY as much in the Japanese anime.)
    • As well as Usagi/Serena, Rei/Raye was exaggerated quite a bit from the manga to the anime to the dub. In the manga, she's the Ojou with a bit of a rivalry with Usagi. In the anime, they ramped up her issues with Usagi and made her seem downright mean at times, thought it was still obvious that she cared for Usagi. Dub Raye, on the other hand, loses much of Rei's softer corners and is pretty all-out nasty with very few exceptions.
    • Haruka crossdressing. In the manga, she actually poses as a male high school student at the start of the Infinity arc, but doesn't seem particularly averse to wearing women's clothing when out of the disguise. In the anime, while she presumably still poses as a male while in the Infinity Academy, her gender is revealed in the same episode where she receives a proper introduction — but she keeps crossdressing throughout the series, even though her being female isn't treated as a secret. Apparently, in that version she likes it a lot. Furthermore, in the manga she even uses different pronouns depending on whether or not she is in disguise — ore and (of all things) atashi. In the anime, it's always the semi-masculine boku, even as Sailor Uranus.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena lead character initially was described as simply acting like a boy. Later she would speak like one, and by the time The Movie rolls around, she actually looks like one.
  • Akane Tendo from Ranma ½. She does have her reasons to be the way she is (low self-esteem, a Missing Mom, rather idealised mental concept of femininity, Ranma's verbal abuse), but her anime incarnation was still way more hot-tempered than her somewhat milder manga portrayal.
  • Love Hina: The anime made Naru's simple reprimandings start becoming physically ridiculous. Her Tsundere side was, basically, even MORE exaggerated than Akane Tendo's, to the point that Love Hina fans sometimes have to WARN newbies about her. Certain fans around the internet believe that Naru's anime incarnation actually counts as a "Failed Tsundere", or rather, a failure at trying to be one.
  • Louise Francoise Leblanc de La Vallière from The Familiar of Zero. In the novels, she's still overly violent, but she has more good moments and development and actually does get called out on her abuse of Saito when, instead of using her normal whip to "Punish" Saito, she uses an actual bullwhip to knock out an already battle-weary Saito from the night before. As of her anime incarnation, well... It's understandable why many people have been turned off by the Tsundere as a whole due to characters like her, and why many fans of the Tsundere archetype are very put off by her.
  • Galaxy Angel was also victim of this, due to the game it was supposed to be based on being repeatedly delayed until it came out only shortly before the first season ended — they didn't have much to go on other than a basic outline because of these problems, and decided to exaggerate all the character personalities for comedy and turn it into a parody to deal with the problem.
  • In the manga of Welcome to the NHK the main characters get overtaken more and more by their mental instabilities, turning them into psychiatric caricatures. This is especially poignant in the case of Satou and Misaki, who change from very disturbed but interesting and amusing personalities into lumbering, suicidal and psychotic wrecks. The anime (in case you're wondering, they're both based off a novel) has a more balanced characterization, making for a more relatable story.
  • Part of the failure of the Devil May Cry anime may be due to applying this to Dante's personality. In the games, Dante is playfully smug and very showy, but rarely does he cause collateral damage. In the anime, he seems to have a pathological "Need For Cool" that has to be satisfied regardless of what it costs him. For example, in the second episode, while chasing a demon, he demolishes a bridge along the way with his guns. The resulting repair costs cut severely from the fees he receives.
  • Creed from Black Cat is made to be even more obsessed and depraved in the anime than in the manga (which is saying a LOT). This makes for an extremely awkward Heel-Face Turn, which makes very little sense, especially since his slightly less perverted manga version didn't even do a Heel-Face Turn.
  • The Fillers in the Naruto anime often do this to several characters
    • Most obviously Naruto's hot headedness, taking him from a Book Dumb Indy Ploy master to full blown idiot that can only spam Rasengan at anything that moves.
    • Likewise, Sakura goes from only occasionally hitting Naruto when he does something perverted, to beating him at every opportunity.
    • Tsunade's temper is even shorter in the anime fillers, as she tends to yell at Naruto more often and twice threatens to send him back to the academy and started beating the shit out of Sora because she thought he called her old.
    • Hinata tends to faint quite a bit more often around Naruto, while she only fainted twice in the manga (once when going to visit him in the hospital after the Sasuke Retrieval arc- which was not shown- and when she sees him for the first time after the timeskip).
  • The various adaptations of Mahou Sensei Negima! have done this to better pronounce certain (i.e, important) characters' notability from the rest of the (very large) cast. For example, the first anime adaptation played up Nodoka's shyness for Moe Moe purposes while trying to make her more recognizable. The second adaptation Negima!? took the alternative in trying to make her more calm and outgoing. The manga sits somewhere between the two extremes.
  • The anime of Excel♥Saga severely plays up the comic aspects of the manga, to the point of inverting the character dynamics (The manga version of Excel is substantially more competent, and thus slightly more useful, than her oft-demoted anime counterpart).
  • Sagara Sousuke has this happen to him in the manga Full Metal Panic! Overload. Originally, he's shown being stern, a bit emotionless, rather socially inept, and taking certain extreme measures to protect Kaname. In this manga, he's made out to be a complete robotic sociopath that sees nothing wrong in mass-murdering people by misinterpreting Kaname's wishes. Many times, he's even shown blowing things up and causing damage to Kaname herself without so much as a blink of the eye - something his original self would never do. In fact, Kaname and Sousuke's roles are, in a way, reversed in this, where people will feel extremely sorry for her and wonder why she puts up with the insane physical abuse Sousuke deals out to her. Sure, it's all played out for laughs, but the Character Exaggeration is incredible. His psychopathy is extreme to the point where he's shown getting withdrawal symptoms when he doesn't use his gun for a day. Seriously, in that adaptation, he could give Gauron a run for his money in being Ax-Crazy.
  • Valkyria Chronicles :
    • The anime adaptation is a rather glaring offender. During the transition from the game to anime, many of the characters' traits were exaggerated heavily. In the game, Alicia would sometimes get frustrated at Welkin's personality quirks, but ultimately understood them, but was converted into the generic Tsundere love interest in the anime.
    • Welkin was something of a Military Maverick, with a few personality quirks, but was turned into a socially inept Genius Ditz.
    • Faldio was turned from a Colonel Makepeace to a suave ladies man.
    • Susie was characterized as a somewhat mellow pacifist who had a distaste for combat. In the anime, she was so afraid of violence and the prospect of fighting that she would literally just spontaneously pass out and regards Alica as a monster when her Valkyria power awakens.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni's Maria may be strange, but the anime shot her straight into Creepy Child territory in the first episode... and has just kept dialing it up from there to the point of Narm. Battler, meanwhile, had his Chivalrous Pervert tendencies and desire to solve the mystery cranked up, at the cost of toning down his reactions to the murders.
  • One of the many complaints you'll hear from fans of the Chrono Crusade manga about the anime adaptation. Aion goes from being unsettling and manipulative to the anti-Christ and a rapist; Joshua goes from being insane, glib and somewhat immature to so childlike he doesn't even realize he's aged beyond eleven years old; Shader goes from a energetic scientist that nevertheless cares about her comrades and the children she watches to a practically sociopathic Perky Female Minion who only cares to see more blood shed...nearly all of the characters get at least a little bit of this, but those are some of the worst. And that's not even covering how fanfic exaggerates the characters even more...
  • Bleach filler tends to take the distilled essence of each character and blow it up until the character is as one-dimensional as they come. For example, despite being Ax-Crazy, Kenpachi is actually an insightful warrior as shown numerous times throughout the series (such as when he notes that Gin and Tousen are the only captains afraid to die and when he fights enemies whom brute force can't win against). In filler and movies, though, Kenpachi is offscreen until the fighting starts, at which point he just runs in laughing and slashing without any form of thought or development whatsoever. And if you think his portrayal is bad, don't get us started on Soifon, Orihime, or Ichigo.
  • Played for Laughs in Funimation's Gag Dub of Keroro Gunsou, which exaggerates pretty much all of the characters: Fuyuki's wimpiness, Keroro's abuse of his friends and comrades, Momoka's obsessive love of Fuyuki, etc.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist, the 2003 anime adaptation of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga:
    • Armstrong's character was exaggerated for the sake of humor, leading to him losing his shirt and showing off his muscles in almost every episode he appeared.
    • Edward's tendency to brood became far more prominent.
    • The writers also took a rather Out-of-Character Moment for Alphonse in the manga, wherein he has a Freak Out after his encounter with Barry The Chopper, and made naivete and bouts of irrationality a consistent part of the anime version of Alphonse' characterization.
    • Solf J. Kimblee was downright evil in the adaptation compared to what he became in the manga. When the anime aired, he had only had extremely limited manga screentime.
  • The cast of Suzumiya Haruhi was already quirky. The Haruhi-chan series turned said quirks up to thirteen''!
  • Ouran High School Host Club lampshades this, being an Affectionate Parody and all. While most of the Hosts play up their Bishounen archetype for the sake of their customers, Tamaki doesn't. He really IS that exaggerated, both in the manga and the anime. Oddly enough, these exaggerations lessen a little as the series goes on and we see some character development for all the Hosts—but don't think they sacrificed the humor. On the other hand, Renge is an exaggeration of Otaku Fan Girls... sort of.
  • Gundam Sousei takes the quirks of the staff of Mobile Suit Gundam and crank it Up to Eleven.
  • While Kyuuzou was still The Stoic in the original Seven Samurai, this is definitely given a lot more emphasis in the anime version Samurai 7, wherein Kyuuuzou is a Perpetual Frowner who rarely talks and whose emotions/motivations are hard to gauge. While the film version of the character joked with the other samurai, his anime counterpart is more like No Sense of Humor (with the other characters' reactions to him Played for Laughs).
  • Type-Moon has this to the point of being Flanderized in Carnival Phantasm. It's intentional, though, considering this is a Gag Series.
  • The Yuru-Yuri anime does this to Chinatsu, playing up her creepy and unpleasant side. This is for the best, since she didn't have much personality in the original manga.

     Comic Books  
  • All-Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder contains a Batman that is explicitly a hyper-exaggeration of Batman's well-known aggressive crimefighting tactics and grim personality. The degree to which it is an exaggeration is divisive as whether or not it's a grand cockup or hilarious self-parody. Either way... He's the goddamn BATMAN.
  • This is the main source of humor in Twisted Toyfare Theatre. Spider-Man's role as Unlucky Everydude turns him into a couch potato Deadpan Snarker, Reed's Insufferable Genius tendencies get taken Up to Eleven, Northstar is a Camp Gay, and Dr. Doom is such a Large Ham that he makes his in-continuity counterpart look underplayed in comparison.
  • The various Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tend to be subject to this to various degrees, especially Donatello, who is turned into a full-on Gadgeteer Genius in some adaptations when in the original he only had a knack for fixing things; and Michelangelo, whose original tendency to be more light-hearted than the others served as the basis for his "party dude" persona. Raphael's hot headedness gets interpreted in different levels of either violent aggression or comedic grouchiness, while different medias tend to take varying methods to divert Leonardo from his Standardized Leader persona.

    Fan Fic 
  • This is notoriously common in fan fics as a whole, due to the author's perception of characters, his/her ability to depict them, and of course intentional changes made to suit the nature of the story. Note that this can be both good and bad.
  • In Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, the titular duo become a Gadgeteer Genius and Cowardly Lion, respectively.
  • In Star Trek, the Vulcans kiss with their fingers, as well as having a finger caress that's a bit more intimate. This is taken to highly illogical levels in fanfic, such as one in which Spock almost orgasms from the finger stimulation from giving Kirk a backrub, and then does orgasm when Kirk starts caressing his hands.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the book Coraline, Mr. Bobo simply happens to be Slavic (Russia isn't even mentioned, actually); it's not even implied that he has an accent until Misses Spink and Forcible happen to talk about him near the end of the book. However, the movie makes Bobinsky extremely weird and extremely Russian. Even though the flag outside his door is from Montenegro.
  • In the books, Basil of Baker Street is a bit eccentric and prone to sudden bursts of energy. The Great Mouse Detective turns this Up to Eleven, while also changing him from a perfect gentleman to rude and socially inept....basically more like Sherlock Holmes himself than Basil.
  • In the original book Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Jeremy was a naive young crow if otherwise lucid. In The Secret of NIMH he is a klutzy Cloud Cuckoo Lander that serves as the film's comic relief. This change seemed to prove popular with O'Brien's daughter, Jane Leslie Conly, who adapted Jeremy's more whimsical film persona when writing the novel's sequel.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the film Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm was a comical Deadpan Snarker. In the original novel, he was a much more serious character, although he did have some humorous moments — such as dismissing the argument comparing reviving dinosaurs to using cloning to save the California Condor by pointing out the obvious fact that condors don't eat people. Although, perhaps as a nod to this change, while delirious from drugs and severe injury in the sequel novel, The Lost World 1995, he temporarily takes on a talkative, wisecracking persona similar to his movie one, although much more over-the-top.
  • The trope flies both ways in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the film adaptation of Gary Wolf's Urban Fantasy novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit?.
    • The title character went from being cunning if somewhat self-obsessed, with only a select few cartoony quirks, to being a full-blown wacky Cloud Cuckoo Lander. Roger Rabbit being changed from a comic strip character who can only "talk" via text balloons in the book into an animated cartoon character in the film also has a lot to do with the wackier persona.
    • Eddie Valiant went from being an extremely over-the-top parody of the Film Noir Private Detective to being a fairly normal guy, given the circumstances.
  • The Harry Potter movies:
    • In the movies, Snape is suavely and delicately malicious. The Snape of the books can be snarky at times, but he's just as likely to be loud-mouthed and unsubtle. You couldn't picture Alan Rickman's Snape throwing the fit the character throws at the end of the book version of Prisoner of Azkaban. While they probably did this because a lot of shouting doesn't translate well to the screen, the change has certainly helped to increase the character's popularity.
    • In the sixth movie, Jessie Cave took the Sickening Sweetheart part of Lavender's character and played it to the hilt.
    • Miranda Richardson on playing Rita Skeeter: "Rita reads rather differently than how I played her. She reads more, to me, like Dame Edna. And there's no way I'm going to do Dame Edna. So it's a different twist on the character."
    • Happens rather dramatically to the Crouches in the fourth movie. Barty Crouch Sr., the one on the "good" side, went from being a kind of wizarding Senator McCarthy in the book to being a completely sympathetic character in the movie. Barty Crouch Jr., on the other hand, became a little psycho, never bothering with his Innocent Bystander act and basically screaming "Hi, I'm evil!" in every scene he appeared in as himself. And the change in his father's characterization eliminated his potential Freudian Excuse. The change is most clearly seen by the fact that in the book, Crouch Sr. sends his son to Azkaban out of pure spite, but in the film it's stated, "He had no choice." Crouch Jr. is crying and begging him not to do it in the book. In the movie, he's twitching his eyes, licking his lips, and cackling. Yeeeah...
    • Helena Bonham-Carter takes Bellatrix's insanity and plays it up to make her childishly thrilled by such things as getting to torture and murder people.
    • In the books, Ginny is a Fiery Redhead, but in the movies she comes off more as a Girl Next Door. This may not really sound like an exaggeration per se, but it does play up an aspect of her book self's personality.
    • Ron is a lot more cowardly and much more of a Sidekick than he was in the books. His Deadpan Snarker tendencies get quite a downgrade in the films, too, though that might be more Rupert Grint's take on the character than an adaptation change.
  • Several in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings, notably Gollum which took his somewhat split personality and division between the two equally troublesome sides of it (characterised as Slinker and Stinker by Samwise in the book) and exaggerated them into the sweet but obsequious 'Sméagol' and the abusive, addicted 'Gollum'.
    • Denethor notably suffered as a result of this trope, with his deteriorating mental state and frosty relationship with his suriving son becoming full blown Large Ham frothing-at-the-mouth madness.
    • Gimli becomes Plucky Comic Relief, as opposed to his grimly serious personality in the book.
  • Everyone in the Matt Helm (a.k.a. Dean Martin as proto-Austin Powers) series.
  • The Dark Knight features a debatably good example of this with regards to The Joker. His more comic aspects are largely dropped in favor of playing up his psychotic and anarchistic tendencies. The end result is hardly the comic book Joker, but it clearly conveys the deep-rooted insanity and desire to lock wits with Batman that so heavily defines the character. Some versions of the Joker are played more seriously than others, however - when Frank Miller writes him, for example, he is never funny or likeable in any way. The Joker has gone through so many different versions and writers that might be impossible to ever put him in this trope.
  • James Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek bears much more resemblance to the pop-culture idea of Captain Kirk than the actual original series character.
    • Several other characters are exaggerated as well, and in ways which are harder to explain away as immaturity. For example, Chekov went from simply being the youngest person on the bridge crew to a genius child prodigy who is assigned to the bridge while still a minor, and his accent is more ridiculous than ever. Instead of just having fencing as a hobby, Sulu now has a fancy collapsible space katana which he apparently regularly takes along with him on dangerous away missions. Spock's half-human half-Vulcan dual nature manifests in a nearly bipolar tendency to flit between detached intellectual coldness and intense emotional outbursts.
  • Teatime, in Hogfather , is a notable example. In the book his eyes, actions, and the content of his dialogue is what makes the character disconcerting, at times terrifying, as it directly contrasts with his boyish charm, manner and appearance. In the adaptation, however, Marc Warren emphasises the character's way of speaking, in order to make his evil-ness just that bit more obvious, as well as losing the trademark 'ever present grin', which gave the original character a misplaced sense of childlike innocence. In a matter of fact, many people just think that the over-hamming of the character has meant the subtle, deep-seated sense of 'there's something not quite right' seen in the book has been lost.
  • Johnny Depp takes Willy Wonka's most readily apparent traits (and some not-so-obvious ones as well) and turns them Up to Eleven.
  • In The Blind Side, based on the story of Michael Oher, apparently the actual problems Michael Oher was helped through simply weren't enough for Hollywood. The movie's portrayal of Michael needing to learn American Football was pretty much Blatant Lies. Oher himself was notably upset over this particular piece of "artistic license". As for needing to toughen up, shockingly that was also untrue. In fact the very notion of putting aggression into someone is dismissed by Oher.
  • The Brady Bunch movies exaggerated the characters' personalities a bit such as Jan's jealousy towards Marcia and Cindy's tattling, but true to the show. They were the characters from the later seasons stuck in the 1990s. The TV movie The Brady Bunch in the White House made them unloveable parodies, such as Marcia crying when she got captain of the cheerleading squad and the vote wasn't unanimous.

    Literature 
  • Sherlock Holmes
    • In addition to being Promoted to Love Interest in nearly every adaptation, Irene Adler is often portrayed as a Diabolical Mastermind and famous criminal as well. Her only appearance in the Arthur Conan Doyle canon may be awesome, but her only crime was owning a photograph that an ex-lover (who happened to be foreign royalty) felt could be used to blackmail him... which she ultimately never does. The 2009 movie is particularly guilty of this, in Scandal in Bohemia she was more of a Guile Antivillain, an adventress and an opera singer. In the movie she is more like Catwoman of the 1890's.
    • Many adaptations of the source material have taken Dr. John Watson from simply being Holmes' chronicler who is not nearly as brilliant as his mentor but still an intelligent man and a respected physician, to a blithering idiot played up as the Plucky Comic Relief. The movies with Nigel Bruce are the poster example, although this seems to have ceased in the most recent adaptations.
  • To a lesser extent, almost every adaptation or parody of Moby-Dick shows an albino whale, different from Melville's description (that says that it only has a white forehead and a white hump).
  • Flonne of the Disgaea series is a nice, flaky, adorable and optimistic Otaku angel whose dream is to spread love to every corner of the galaxy. In the novels she gets possessive Clingy Jealous Girl tendencies added to her personality, when a girl gets close to Laharl Flonne almost enters the border of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • One episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine features a Department of Temporal Investigations agent name Lucsly, who makes an offhand remark about Kirk's frequent time travel and dubs him a menace. This single line is referenced in just about every novel or short story featuring him. By the time the Department of Temporal Investigations have their own series, the Department in general and Lucsly in particular are portrayed as having an obsessive bordering on irrational hatred of Kirk, regarding him as the worst temporal criminal ever and comparing him to Hitler.

    Live Action Television 
  • Winston Churchill as depicted in the new Doctor Who is a caricature which takes a few of his best-known attributes and plays them up. He has a cigar in his mouth almost constantly, always wears a suit with a bow tie and quotes his own famous speeches.
  • Dr. Martin Ellingham of Doc Martin is a case of this in respect to his original incarnations as a character in the movie Saving Grace, in which he originated, as well as the original specials of which he was the protagonist (in both, he is called Dr. Martin Bamford). In the movie and specials, Doc Martin is a pretty normal, friendly guy who happens to be a Fish out of Water. In contrast, the series character is an abrasive Doctor Jerk. Perhaps explained in part by another case of Character Exaggeration in which the Quirky Town in which Martin lives is considerably quirkier in the tv series.
  • Played for laughs in the House episode "Two Stories". House relays the events of the past days with all his colleagues at one point being portrayed as gross exaggerations of their primary traits. While they all ignore the patient who is coughing up his lungs in front of them, Foreman is a dick who refuses to consider everyone else's opinion but his own, Masters is a morally self-righteous shrill, Taub immediately proposes an extramarital affair to a pretty nurse he sees while Chase suggests a threesome to her.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • A number of LEGO Island characters were exaggerated when they appeared in Dino Attack RPG:
    • A minor note in the LEGO Island Comic Adventures stated that the Brickster wished to be as evil as Evil Ogel. In Dino Attack RPG, the Brickster has been exaggerated to the point of being Ogel's self-proclaimed #1 fanboy.
    • Especially in Atton Rand and imperial officer's posts, Enter and Return have been exaggerated to the point that the only jokes they are capable of are variations of their "stretcher, megaphone, shark, tree, umbrella, and mailbox" sketch. In some other peoples' posts, their humor extends a little farther (for example, in one of PeabodySam's posts, they were arguing about the color of their shirts), but for the most part, we only hear jokes about bringing a shark.
    • In the non-canon scene where Papa Brickolini was arrested by the Nick Brick, the Brickolinis were exaggerated heavily. In the original games, the Brickolinis spoke with a light Italian accent and accidentally freed the Brickster twice (and the second time, they were Genre Savvy enough to try to prevent it from happening again). In this scene, the Brickolinis' Italian accents were turned Up to Eleven, and the two chefs were depicted as completely oblivious as they incompetently freed the Brickster again and again over the years by constantly sending super-spicy pizzas to the jail, even after what happened the first two times.
  • Exalted has this as a game mechanic. During a Limit Break, a character will suffer from a brief period of insanity where one of their defining characteristics (Valor, Temperance, Conviction, or Compassion) is totally in control of their actions. Your character is a Technical Pacifist who sees one injustice too many? Nothing in your sight can be unjust without spectacularly aggressive intervention! Can't stand to see someone you love get hurt? Heroic BSOD! Were you a Knight Templar to start with? Well now you're all out Ax-Crazy!

    Theater 
  • Shakespeare used this to great effect in Troilus and Cressida, basing his version of The Trojan War around Chaucer's in-between-scenes story about the titular characters. Ulysses is a deceitful blowhard who talks too much and is obsessed with his own cleverness; Ajax (the one who didn't offend the gods) is a musclebound dolt; Achilles is even more of a jerk than his Homer-penned counterpart; and Cressida's uncle Pandarus is so flamboyant that modern performances often portray him as a drag queen. A lot of these exaggerations make the play far more entertaining, as it is essentially a cynical deconstruction of the tired ground of the Trojan War.
  • Les Misérables as compared to the original Les Misérables exaggerates the degree to which Inspector Javert is single-mindedly obsessed with capturing Jean Valjean (as opposed to single-mindedly obsessed with enforcing the law generally). This is in part due to a case of Pragmatic Adaptation. In the novel, after Valjean has to reveal himself to prevent the wrongful conviction of an Identical Stranger, he asks to be allowed to bring Cosette to Fantine before she dies, which is refused, at which time he allows himself to be arrested. He then escapes, only to be quickly recaptured and confined to a ship, wherein he is believed to have drowned following his rescue of a sailor. It is only after this, that he goes to rescue Cosette. The musical simplifies this by having it that when Valjean's request to fetch Cosette is refused, he simply knocks Javert out and flees, which means that unlike in the novel, in the intervening years, Javert knows Valjean is alive, and is thus obsessed with capturing him.
    • The musical also amps up Eponine's unrequited love for Marius and tends not to highlight everything else about her character, although the numbers "Castle on a Cloud" and "The Robbery" do provide a contrast between her pampered childhood life and her poor teenage life.

     Video Games  
  • Occurs in the Lufia series. In the first game, Lufia & The Fortress of Doom, the prologue of the game features you playing as your heroic ancestor, Maxim, and his comrades 100 years in the past. These heroes speak much more formally than the main characters. Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals was actually a prequel featuring the entirety of Maxim's adventures, eventually ending in the same manner as the first game's prologue. However, in this game the characters who all spoke formally in the flashback sequence speak in much more contemporary language (except Artea, who speaks formally regardless.) This leads to a somewhat bizarre occurrence in the final dungeon where the party enacts a conversation that was fairly ominous in the first game, but actually sounds somewhat silly in the breezier language of the prequel.
  • In Final Fantasy VII spinoffs and in fan portrayals, Cloud's brooding tendencies tend to be central to his character. In the original game, he was a man of few words, but he only brooded during a handful of appropriate scenes.
  • Everyone in Dissidia: Final Fantasy is exaggerated to some degree from their original appearances to make individuals stand out from a mass of main heroes and main villains (...and Jecht). For example, much of Kuja's dialogue and attacks are based around a theatre motif because he showed a loving to stage arts once or twice in his game of origin.
  • In the Disgaea games, you can recruit the protagonists of the past games as bonus characters. However, their personality is reduced to one or two of their traits tuned Up to Eleven. It's most noticeable with Laharl and Etna, the two main characters of the first game. Laharl was a the son of the previous Overlord, who started as a arrogant brat who hated love but matured into a responsible Overlord. Etna was his vassal, who was jealous of him for getting all the attention of his father, who she admired and saw as a paternal figure to herself, but as Laharl matured, she started to see that he was more than a spoiled brat and learned to respect him. In every subseqüent appearance, Laharl is a arrogant brat Overlord who wants to be the main character again to get more screentime and is an ass to his peers, while Etna is on a quest to gain more power to defeat Laharl, who she deeply dislikes. Etna also had two minor traits increased by a lot: she is complexed by her flat chest (a point raised in one line in the first game) and that she's a sweet tooth (also mentioned once in the first game, and became her difining trait in spinoffs, where she is always looking for some legendary candy).
  • Touhou's fandom has a tendency to take a single aspect of a character and run it into the ground. The worst part is that some characters get multiple flanderized versions, depending on which part of Fanon you listen to. For example, Flandre is canonically difficult to communicate with because she's a bit nuts, but depending on where you look, fans portray her as either a walking ball of moe or an extremely psychotic and violent girl.
  • Next Level Games took the National Stereotypes of the previous Punch-Out!! games and ran with them to the extreme for the Wii version. Where before their personalities were only communicated through text and a few simple gestures, the Wii game has all the boxers feature hammy voice acting and ridiculous stereotypical antics. Notably, Disco Kid was the result of Kid Quick becoming so exaggerated that the producers made him a separate character. Also, King Hippo at least communicated in ordinary sentences in the NES game, while he only grunts in the Wii version.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog tends to undergo this frequently in different ways in alternative medias. In early video games Sonic wasn't really able to develop much of a personality outside cocky expressions and poses via his gameplay sprites. As such his ego and brashness is often a defining point of his character in many early cartoons and comics, sometimes to borderline Jerk Jock levels (Sonic the Comic and Sonic Satam are key examples). Some later medias such as Sonic X tend to go the opposite way with this, making his confidence give him a very laid back and mellow demeanor.

     Visual Novels  
  • Saber in Fate/stay night went from someone who enjoyed food a great deal and ate a surprising amount for her size, about five feet tall, and weighing less than 100lbs. That's comparable to Shirou and probably slightly more, but less than Sakura, who eats twice as much as a normal person and tries to hide it. However, in the anime adaptation people stop and stare as she eats as much as any two or three of them and does so with extreme speed. Possibly the best way they could show how important food is to her within the time frame available.
  • Tsukihime:
    • Kohaku is a gigantic woobie who also sets up a pretty damn Batman Gambit against the Tohno family. Kagetsu Tohya and Melty Blood tend to discard the woobie aspect of her character in favor of portraying her as a cheerfully plotting psychopath with a Shiki obsession who doesn't seem to care about masking her goals.
    • Akiha started with 'You don't mind that I have small breasts... do you?' and nothing more. But the fans and the sort-of sequels Kagetsu Tohya and Melty Blood ran with it until she went from Saber's breast size and a little insecure to completely flat and willing to turn you over to Kohaku over comments made about her chest. Which is, of course, much funnier.

     Web Comics  
  • In The Last Days of Foxhound, (about the lives of the Quirky Mini Boss Squad from Metal Gear Solid) the personalities of virtually all the characters are moderate flanderizations of the originals. At first this is played for laughs, later it mixes with real Character Development.
  • Invoked in Homestuck: Caliborn could be interpreted as something like an exaggerated version of Karkat. Where Karkat is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Caliborn is a Comedic Sociopath. Where Karkat has a soft spot for romcoms and romance, Caliborn gets a perverse sexual pleasure out of ordinary non-sexual shows of romantic affection such as hugging. Where Karkat is a pretty terrible artist, Caliborn is so impossibly bad that a pile of coloured scribbles is what passes for a drawing in his eyes. Even Caliborn's one-sided Foe Yay-ridden relationship with Dirk could be seen to hark back to Karkat's unrequited blackrom interest in John. The theory makes even more sense considering Caliborn and Karkat have similar text colours and the exact same blood colour.
    • The Dancestors, full stop, Damara and Meenah are the only ones that don't seem to be exaggerated versions of their post-scratch counterparts.

     Web Original  
  • Growing Up Cullen had entirely too much fun turning Edward's sexual repression into an inability to deal with any sexual talk whatsoever, no matter with whom, to say nothing of Emmett's fratboy behavior.
  • YouTube Poop is all about this. For example, the King from The Legend of Zelda CDI Games is always portrayed as an always hungry glutton for dinner solely for saying "I wonder what's for dinner" in Zelda: The Wand of Gamelon.
  • In We Are Our Avatars, there is Young Lordgenome. Because Etheru did not know much about Young Lordgenome, he used several parts of the eighth Parallel Works Video, such as being with animals and no humans in sight as reference. Thus, Lordgenome's personality is dominated by his loneliness and love of animals.)
  • There is a Tumblr blog, Shit the Signs Say, that focuses on doing this for each of the twelve signs of the zodiac.

     Western Animation  
  • In the very first episodes after The Fairly Oddparents became its own series, after just being one feature of an anthology series, Cosmo turned from being a bit dense and bumbling, but largely intelligent and reliable, to being a complete idiot. To parallel the change, his voice drastically went from suave and somewhat charming to high-pitched and prone to squealing. Strangely, even that level of idiocy apparently wasn't enough, and the later Flanderization made him even dumber.
  • In the Korean-American flash animation Pucca, the title character was a naïve pre-teen Cute Bruiser who wanted to steal kisses from her Heroic Mime boyfriend Garu. When a TV series was made, Pucca became a selfish and spoiled Clingy Jealous Girl with a psychotic fixation on Garu, and Garu's cooties went from "I like her and she's sweet, but she just doesn't let me train" to a borderline "I HATE THE BITCH I HOPE SHE DIES." Guess the Running Gag got old after the first episode... And the Running Gag was little more than a Gender Flip of the classic Pepe LePew cartoons, with Pucca playing Pepe and Garu playing Penelope the Pussycat.
  • The Ember Island Players from Avatar: The Last Airbender specialize in this trope, which we get to see in their theatrical version of Team Avatar's adventures. For example:
    • Aang is one of the younger and more energetic members of Team Avatar, and is somewhat less manly than Sokka, the other male member. In the play, he gets portrayed as a mischievous Perpetual Smiler, but the worst part is that the actor playing him is a woman in a bald cap (a Shout-Out to how Peter Pan has traditionally been played by a woman on stage).
    • Katara is the Team Mom, and she often manages to lift her friends' spirits with motivational speeches. So she gets portrayed as a fat, matronly woman who's always tearfully preaching about hope. She also seems to have more of an open attraction to bad boys, especially Jet and Zuko.
    • Toph, a tomboyish Little Miss Badass, is played by a huge muscleman. She actually thinks that's kinda cool, though.
    • Sokka goes from being a goofy but still valuable team member with surprising tactical skill to being nothing more than the "meat and lame jokes" Plucky Comic Relief. His relationship with Yue is particularly bad, though it still moves Sokka to tears.
    Suki: *giggles* You never told me you made out with the Moon Spirit!
    Sokka: *teary-eyed* Shhh! I'm trying to watch.
    • Also, to be fair, Sokka also deliberately gives his actor some jokes to say, because he thinks the jokes in the actual play aren't funny enough.
    • Zuko's quest to regain his father's approval, which he's gotten over already by this point, becomes him going around shouting "HONOR!!" all the time, his Important Haircut (or perhaps lack of haircut) got exaggerated to the point where his hair was flowing down to his shoulders.
  • In Making Fiends, Charlotte is a lot less intelligent and more optimistic in Nickelodeon's TV series than in the web series. For example, in the web series she would have a blank expression on her face and sometimes say "Huh?" if she heard or saw something strange or frightening. She would try to change the topic, find something positive about it, or just ignore it. In the TV series, she responds "Yippee!" to Vendetta's death threats and has absolutely no sense of logic.
  • Inspector Gadget went from a bumbling but somewhat effective agent with the occasional help of Penny and Brain in the original pilot to an Inspector Oblivious that is almost completely reliant on his Hyper Competent Sidekicks doing all the work for him. In spin offs such as Gadget And The Gadgetinis this was exagerrated to the point of being excessively Too Dumb to Live.
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Fred is portrayed as a trap making fanatic, the only thing in his mind is making new traps for him to set up.
    • In several other interpretations such as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and What's New, Scooby-Doo? he is also more ditzy and oblivious, in the original series he was bumbling but only as much as the others in Mystery Inc (if somewhat ineffective as a leader).
    • All three of the other members of Mystery Inc tend to undergo this in revival medias, since the original series revolved the formula more around Scooby and Shaggy's comic relief, the others were left with little to behold outside trying to solve the mystery normally, thus they had what few quirks they had originally amped up so as to allow stories to give them more key focus.
  • In Disney's Aladdin films (the first and third one anyway) The Genie is a cartoonish, but highly intelligent and formidable ally. In Aladdin: The Series he was reduced to a playful, silly, and just plain weird well-meaning buffoon who often did as much harm as he did good. This may have been sneakiness/laziness on the part of the writers — if the Genie is magical, smart and free to use his magic to solve problems and fight bad guys, then who needs Aladdin? Also, Genie is a living Deus ex Machina. If he were smart enough to use his powers to just defeat conflict by himself, what would the writers do with the other twenty-nine minutes of the episode?
  • Ben Tennyson, as portrayed on the original show, was mischevious, immature, impulsive, and a generally justified case of Idiot Hero - he was 10 years old, after all. In Alien Force, he is now fifteen, and becomes smarter and more serious and while not without a sense of humor is not very humurous at all. After the fans complained about him not having any personality, writers did all they could to bring back his original personality, gradually flanderizing him. By Ben 10: Omniverse, he pretty much Took a Level in Dumbass, even though he was 17 years old at this point and had several years of experience with being a hero. He also became an overly clumsy Destructive Savior and an immature Leeroy Jenkins with a major ego problem.
  • When Thomas the Tank Engine diverted into original stories, many of the original characters from The Railway Series underwent exaggeration, most of which only elevated as the show went on and Flanderization kicked in. Gordon and James in particular became exaggeratedly vain and hammy, originally just the arrogant big engines of the main line.
    • Edward and Toby actually did have odd insecure moments in the original novels, albeit very subtle and rare (eg. Edward being downtrodden by the bullying of the other engines, or Toby being meek towards travelling without Henrietta) with them usually playing the Only Sane Man. Later writers of the TV series seemed to latch onto these for token flaws they could utilize for limelight episodes, and by the time of the CGI transition, Edward is an Extreme Doormat and Toby is a Lovable Coward.
  • For the second season of Ewoks due to Executive Meddling, a lot of characters had their appearance drastically changed, almost all the voices were re-cast and the characters' personalities changed.
    • First season Wicket often had low self-esteem, was sincere and childlike. In the second season, he's overly confident and hot-blooded.
    • First season Princess Kneesaa was not preaching to her friends on every occasion. In the second season, she's doing that in every episode.
    • First season Latara was a dreamer who preferred art to everyday chores. In the second season she's selfish, materialistic and expects others to serve her.
    • First season Teebo could hypnotize, summon other creatures and was careful and subtle. In the second season, he trips and falls on every occasion, is obsessed with Latara and can't do anything right.

     Real Life  
  • Oda Nobunaga and Yagyu Munenori are probably two of Japan's Sengoku Jidai figures that suffers this trope greatly. Almost every fictional works featuring them depict them as bastardly villains. The reasoning for Nobunaga was due to his brutality as a warlord, especially the burning of numerous Buddhist temples critical of him and the slaughter of its inhabitants. Naturally, it's somewhat understandable how this might overshadow his brilliance as both a tactician and a businessman, how he revolutionized how wealth was counted, encouraged trade with Europe and other Asian nations, allowed Christian missionaries into Japan, made social reforms, etc. Though oddly enough, the brutality of most other warlords of the era seems to be less remembered. Munenori suffers this due to the fact that he was a shrewd politician as well as a swordsman, and in fiction, political people are often evil, so depicting him as scheming and amoral has become standard. Even worse for Munenori is the fact that his son Yagyu Mitsuyoshi (both has attained the title 'Jubei') is one of the most romanticized samurai of all time and a hero to the people, (who was known to disdain politics and court functions) so many authors feel the need to use Munenori as an Evil Counterpart to Mitsuyoshi. If a writer really wants to have Munenori Kick the Dog, then they cite the almost certainly untrue story that Mitsuyoshi lost an eye during his life and make Munenori the culprit. (There are softer versions where it was an accident, a strike gone wild in a sparring session, but the most popular and 'dramatic' versions have Munenori doing it on purpose because he's either jealous of his son's potential or he wants to teach Mitsuyoshi a lesson not to mess with him). Also, Munenori is often set up as an antagonist to another legendary and heroic swordsman that has no relationship with him: Miyamoto Musashi. Which he does entirely with underhanded tactics too. Munenori must have rolled over in his grave a few times at some of these depictions.
    • Not to mention that in Real Life, according to sourced quotes in The Other Wiki, Munenori cited stuffs that clearly defies evil. And yet, those who follows his Flanderization trend ignore them all for the sake of evilness, the very thing he defies in real life. Munenori was Demoted to Extra.
    • If you actually look at the manuals written by the two samurai, Musashi is revealed as more than a bit of a jerkass himself. He made his living by what engaging in what amounts to mutual and simultaneous acts of attempted murder, and never bathed or performed other hygeinic acts. "The Book of Five Rings" devotes an entire section ("the Wind Scroll") to criticizing all styles not his own, and he claimed that his mastery of a single area of expertise allowed him to extrapolate that skill towards mastery of all other skills and disciplines. By contrast, Munenori titled his own book "the Life Giving Sword," and filled it with exhortations of using the sword to only fight evil, and so defending the good, as well as the importance of a ruler being devoted to the common people under his rule and not simply the aristocracy. Simply put, Munenori was the good guy who devoted himself to the betterment of his country and the service of his lord, while Musashi was the smelly little bastard who ran around killing people for profit.
  • A less more 'demonization' or 'villainization' example of that is the son of Takeda Shingen, Takeda Katsuyori. While he eventually causes the downfall of the clan, the man was actually a decent, competent general in battlefield. In fact, when Shingen couldn't take a certain castle from the Tokugawa, Katsuyori eventually took it. Unfortunately, these days, he's just remembered as the cause of the Takeda's collapse and as a hotheaded idiot, when the man was merely more capable as a general than a daimyo.
  • Similar to the Japanese examples above, the classic Chinese pseudo-historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms Flanderizes many, many of its characters into over-the-top superheroes, while others are portrayed as moustache-twirling villains..
    • The 'three brothers' of the Shu kingdom (Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei) are the closest thing the story has to protagonists, and thus can do no wrong (with a couple of notable, even fatal, exceptions), while the Wei kingdom are Flanderized into the Bad Guys and the Wu kingdom are mostly inneffectual in the long term, despite possessing many excellent generals. Perhaps the most notable Flanderizing going on other than the Brothers' is as follows;
    • Lu Bu's combat prowess is exaggerated to the point of near invincibility, and entire armies flee from the sight of him. Seems to fade as the story goes on, though and his death is as anticlimactic as it comes; both Cao Cao and Liu Bei agree that the captured Lu Bu is too treacherous to be allowed to live, and he's simply hanged after begging for his life. The wuss.
    • Zhuge Liang's tactical genius, to the point that he comes off as somewhere between a wizard and a saint, performs several acts that are only plausible if one considers him to have magical powers (besides his practical omniscience), and even manages to humiliate and terrify his Wei rival posthumously.
  • Willie Nelson is arguably the most important figure in country music history. You name it: songwriting, singing, breaking free of the Nashville establishment: he helped change the rules forever. He did the impossible and bridged the gap between hippies and rednecks. He expanded the musical vocabulary of country by throwing in everything from rock to The Great American Songbook...oh, and he likes to smoke pot. Unfortunately, that fact has taken over his public persona to the extent that his name has almost become a drug-humor punchline in and of itself. Nelson himself didn't help this part, doing things like giving exclusive interviews to High Times magazine and recording a reggae album, and it's admirable for someone of his stature to be so open about it, but still, he's about a step or two away from Cheech & Chong now.
  • General George Armstrong Custer has been regularly portrayed as a Leeroy Jenkins, who charges into battle without second thought. He is considered as a reckless and incompetent leader who favored his looks over tactics. However Custer was pretty much a decent leader, and is respected by his men. His cavalry charge tactics were indeed effective, one of his best achievements was his participation at Gettysburg, his cavalry stopped Confederate reinforcements from supporting Pickett's Charge, and ensured the Unions victory. However this has been over shadowed by his last stand at Little Big Horn.
    • Even at Little Big Horn, Custer followed a strategy (divide his force and attack an Indian camp from multiple directions) that had worked brilliantly in the Washita Campaign of 1868. Of course, at LBH Custer faced a 2,000-man Indian army rather than an Indian village of mostly women and children. Probably Wrong Genre Savvy more than simple recklessness.
    • Custer was also a victim of bad information - the people who ran the reservations of the time had either vastly inflated the number of people living in them, or ignored it when they simply walked away, in both cases so they could keep receiving money for their "charges" while skimming off the top. Custer, operating under the numbers from these reports, justifiably believed that it was impossible for there to be that many Indians out there. The discrepancy ended up being deadly.
  • Most Elvis impersonators go for the him being fat and wearing leisure suits ans sunglasses rather than the attractive well-dressed man he was in the 50s and 60s.


Catch PhraseAbridged Series TropesCluster F-Bomb
Themed Stock Board GameMedia Adaptation TropesChickification

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
128211
0