Contrasting Sequel Main Character
A subtrope of Shadow Archetype
. Making a sequel is hard. One needs to find the perfect balance of new stuff to contrast with the original. One way to get some difference is to take your old protagonist and make his mirror image. This can include changing the character's gender too.
Was he a man? Have the new one be a woman. Was he an intellectual? Have her be more of a fighter, etc... It also sets up some interesting moments should the two ever meet. Such characters may share some more basic traits, like heroism, allowing someone to note how they are Not So Different
Contrast Suspiciously Similar Substitute
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Anime and Manga
- Digimon has a history of this: the first protagonist, Yagami Taichi was hot-headed, but grew out of it, and had an aptitude for lateral thinking; the next protagonist, Motomiya Daisuke was hot-blooded and stupid to a fault; the third, Matsuki Takato, was sweet, kind and a little timid; the fourth, Kanara Takuya, was a cookie-cutter clone of Taichi; the fifth, Daimon Masaru, was hot-blooded and confrontational; the sixth, Kudou Taiki, was a thinker and tactician.
- The last arc of Digimon Xros Wars introduced a new main character, Tagiru, who was the exact opposite of previous main character Taiki. While both could be Hot-Blooded, Tagiru was much more reckless and excitable than Taiki had been.
- This is done in the Yu-Gi-Oh! series; Judai is more outgoing and laid-back than Yugi (he's stated to be more a combination of Yugi's skill, but Jonouchi's personality). Yusei contrasts both Yugi and Judai by being much more serious than either of them. Yuma keeps to the trend by being even less serious than Judai was.
- In Ginga Nagareboshi Gin the main character starts out as a puppy, who trains to avenge his father. He joins a pack of warrior dogs, and since he is smallest and youngest he has to fight hard to earn the respect of others. Eventually he is chosen to be the leader because of his deeds and he reaches the peak of his powers at the last battle of the manga. In the sequel Ginga Densetsu Weed his son somehow knows how to do his fathers ultimate move only by knowing that his father is a hero (he hasn't even met his father at this point) and everyone he meets threats him like an alpha male of the pack or something. The kid even lectures his father about how it is not right to kill your enemy after the said enemy has tortured Gin and killed one of his closest friends in extremely brutal way.
- Kimi No Iru Machi, which takes place after Suzuka, contrasts Haruto with previous protagonist Yamato Though Haruto is prone to reckless actions, he generally comes off as more responsible and thoughtful than most of his friends.
- Shinn Asuka of Gundam Seed Destiny was probably meant to be this to Kira Yamato, being confrontational and arrogant where Kira was angsty and polite. Unfortunately, many feel that his character wasn't developed to its full potential, especially once Kira returns to being The Protagonist.
- The different protagonists of each part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure tend to have default temperaments that are opposite to their immediate predecessors. Johnathan is gentlemanly, Joseph is a loudmouth braggart, Jotaro is stoic, Josuke is flighty, Giorno is driven, and so forth. It gets less apparent as the series continued on, though.
- Villainous example in the series as well with its main antagonists that have been named so far, (with the exception of Part 3 which shares the same antagonist as Part 1), going from Dio, Kars, Kira, Diavolo, Enrico and Funny Valetine
- To be specific,Part 1 and 3 Dio is a dog hating, narcissist with megalomaniacal ambitions, but is nice to humans who are nice to him and show some honor with his adversaries, Part 2's Kars respects animals, but has no honor when dealing with humans, Part 4's Kira is a Cloudcuckoolander with Super OCD that desires to not stand out, Diavolo has an extreme complex of not being seen and severe Lack of Empathy, Enrico is a manipulative, dirty fighting priest and Funny Valentine is a Well-Intentioned Extremist patriot.
- Pokémon Special has protagonists ranging from the basic To Be a Master Idiot Hero like Red or Gold, to the Speaks Fluent Animal Yellow, the Gotta Catch 'Em All Crystal, Camp Straight Ruby, Manzai duo Diamond and Pearl, etc...
- Mahou Sensei Negima! stars a young, cute, anxious Child Prodigy Negi Springfield. Its sequel series, UQ Holder, stars a much more classic Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero, Touta Konoe.
- When making the 2011 prequel to The Thing (1982), the director understandably didn't want to make his protagonist too similar to Kurt Russell's memorable character. The solution was to contrast Russell's performance as an experienced, scruffy, alcoholic anti-social helicopter pilot with a young, less experienced but professional-minded female student of palaeontology.
- James Franco's Oscar "Oz" Diggs, the protagonist of Oz: The Great and Powerful, bears this relationship to Judy Garland's Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is a pure-hearted, relentlessly optimistic farm girl who's unshakably loyal to her friends, always tells the truth, and spends the whole story eager to get back home. Oscar is a cynical Guile Hero and a master showman who uses illusions to his advantage, he spends the first act of the movie as a stubborn loner, and he ultimately elects to stay in Oz permanently as its ruler.
- In Mariel of Redwall, the fourth in the Redwall series, Brian Jacques intentionally made Mariel very distinct from Matthias, Martin and Mattimeo, the protagonists of the first three books. Most obviously he made her female, but her revenge motive and relative dose of combat pragmatism serves to distinguish her personality. Her weapon, the Gullwhacker, is even designed to be as unlike the Sword of Martin as possible, being a disposable object (it is revealed in The Bellmaker that she keeps replacing the original) instead of an ancestral heirloom weapon.
- Keladry and Alanna of the Tortall Universe are pretty much opposites - Alana is very short, quick to anger, quicker to fight and has an extremely powerful magical Gift. Kel, who follows in her footsteps as a lady knight, is tall (over 5 foot 8 the last time we see it mentioned, and still growing), rather serene and calm - she doesn't show her emotions and is very much The Stoic, and while she does go bully hunting, she'd much rather not have to smack people around. She is also the only one of Tamora Pierce's protagonists not to have any kind of magic.
- Kel is also Pierce's first protagonist to have Good Parents who are both alive at the start (and remain so for the entire series) rather than a Parental Substitute who adopts her (although her Knight Master, Raoul, was a father-figure in her teenage years).
- Vin of Mistborn: The Original Trilogy and Waxillium (aka Wax) of Alloy Of Law. Vin started out as a mistrustful and abused Street Urchin while Wax came from a noble family and ran off to the untamed wilds to become The Sheriff. Vin is somewhat Book Dumb, but thinks quickly on her feet; Wax is more intellectual, relying more on science and plans things out.
Live Action Television
- Kirk of Star Trek: The Original Series and Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Kirk is more adventurous and action prone, Boldly Coming and more likely to dive and be at the fore front of any situation. Picard, on the other hand, is more diplomatic, older, more reserved and philosophical. He's also more prone to delegate to his subordinate, almost never going on away missions - unlike Kirk. Also unlike Kirk, Picard does not generally mingle in his free time with his bridge crew — it's why the final scene of the series, where he finally joins their weekly poker game, feels so meaningful. Kirk, however would regularly play chess with Spock or spend time with Bones, going on shore leave with Scotty.
- The same can also be said of Picard of Next Generation and Sisko of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Picard is the quintessential Officer and a Gentleman, being content to look at the big picture in a given situation, while Sisko is much more of a front-line officer, and is more willing to get his hands dirty and deal with problems directly. Notably, Sisko is also the first Star Trek protagonist with a family (he's a widower and a single father), meaning that he's also far less stoic and objective than Picard, and is more likely to get emotionally involved in situations since he knows that he has a son to protect, and because he had to endure losing his wife in a previous battle. And while Kirk and Picard were idealists who took the high road whenever possible, even when it cost them, Sisko will gladly commit atrocities if it gets the job done.
- Kung Fu takes place in the Wild West, where Caine is alone Walking the Earth. Kung Fu: The Legend Continues takes place in contemporary Stargate City. The job of Protagonist is split between Kwai Chang Caine II (the Identical Grandson of Kung Fu's Caine) and his son Peter, a police detective. "I'm not my father. I don't do kung fu. I'm a cop, that's who I am, that's what I do."
- Detective Inspector Sam Tyler of the original BBC series Life On Mars was the calmer By-the-Book Cop to Gene's Cowboy Cop. Detective Inspector Alexandra Drake of the spinoff Ashes to Ashes is less by the book and more Tsundere Lady Drunk.
- Maia of Summoner 2 compared to Joseph of Summoner. Joseph shunned his destiny, and only answered The Call because The Call Knows Where You Live - twice. Maia's been raised as The Chosen One and embraces her destiny, seeking to accomplish it. It makes her more headstrong, but also less likely to listen to others - believing she knows best, unlike Joseph who was far more willing to take advice - but could be (and was) manipulated as a result.
- The "hero" of Drakengard, Caim, is a bloodthirsty Ax-Crazy Sociopathic Hero, only saved from Villain Protagonist status by The Empire he fights being worse. In the sequel, he's something of a villain and the protagonist is a fairly standard Idiot Hero.
- In Disgaea (which has a new protagonist in each game, plus cameos from the previous cast) the personalities of each main character alternates. The first and third games had characters who were after power (Laharl wanted to become an Overlord, while Mao was in it For Science!) and the second and fourth games had characters with more noble goals (Adell wanted to end the curse which turned everyone into demons and Valvatorez wanted to keep his promise to the prinnies he's trying to emancipate).
- Solid Snake, a hardened, battle-hardened, cynical Ladies Man Anti-Hero, of Metal Gear Solid as against Raiden, an optimistic, idealistic rookie with no real combat experience and a steady girlfriend, of Metal Gear Solid 2. Made particularly explicit as Snake is the protagonist of the introduction to the latter game.
- The protagonist of Tales of Symphonia, Lloyd Irving is a classic Idiot Hero - headstrong, quick to action, confident in himself, and optimistic about bringing change to the worlds. In contrast Dawn of the New World's protagonist, Emil Castagnier, is a male Shrinking Violet, quick to apologize, lacking confidence in himself, and very quick to apologize until his Character Development and Superpowered Evil Side / Split Personality kick in.
- Altair of Assassin's Creed I is a no-nonsense (if overconfident) veteran Professional Killer.
- Ezio of Assassin's Creed II is a playboy youth and an Assassin rookie who isn't even inducted into the order until the last mission.
- Connor Kenway of Assassin's Creed III, also a rookie, has a Black and White Morality outlook in a Grey and Grey Morality world and is obsessed with avenging the death of his mother, which he blames on the Templars, but is not above helping those worse off than himself and lends a hand whenever he can. His father, who is played in the opening segment, has a much more nuanced view of of the situation, as well as more social skills. At the same time, he's regularly more ruthless and has less consideration for other people as individuals. He also has a rather Nice Hat.
- Assassins Creed III Liberation has the series' first female and black protagonist, Aveline de Grandpre. She can switch between different "personas" for different situations, which is a lot more subtle than Connor. She rebels against her assigned role as a nobleman's daughter, while Connor's Native American background was clearly dominant. She's also more conflicted than Connor about morality, and tends to be impulsive in contrast to his stoicism. She too, has a Nice Hat.
- Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag stars Connor's grandpa, Edward Kenway, a nigh-alcoholic, selfish pirate who end up getting mixed up in this Assassin and Templar nonsense entirely by accident. He also spends a good portion of the game pining over his lost love. Also, he's blonde. At the same time, he and other pirates attempted to establish their own Republic, which harkens back to Connor's beliefs in freedom.
- In the first The Legend of Kyrandia, the protagonist is a classic heroic Prince Charming. In the second, the protagonist is a Plucky Girl alchemist. In the third, the protagonist is an Omnicidal Maniac.
- .hack R1 Games' Kite is an optimistic Kid Hero, while .hack//G.U.'s Haseo is a darker, more brooding figure who prides himself on killing Player-Killers.
- Contrasting Prequel, but nonetheless, Zack Fair from Crisis Core is more hotheaded, attitude-driven, laid back, and friendlier than the colder, psychologically questionable, stoic Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII fame.
- Cecil of Final Fantasy IV was an emotional man atoning for the sins of his past, while Bartz of Final Fantasy V is more of a laid back Idiot Hero. Then Terra of Final Fantasy VI was an emotionally damaged girl searching for her place in life, then Cloud of Final Fantasy VII and Squall of Final Fantasy VIII were Defrosting Ice Kings with repressed or forgotten traumas that had turned them into stoic types, then Zidane of Final Fantasy IX, Tidus of Final Fantasy X and Vaan of Final Fantasy XII were more friendly and confident heroes before reverting to a Defrosting Ice Queen in Lightning for Final Fantasy XIII.
- The Power Trio in Valkyria Chronicles III definitely contrast the trios in previous games. Whereas the the first two (Welkin-Alicia-Isara and Avan-Zeri-Cosette) are fighting for clearly honorable cause, basking in public accolade, and supportive of each others from the beginning; Kurt-Alicia-Imca are fighting in morally dubious missions, are hated by just about everyone they meet, and starts with a lot of venom between them. Apart from those, though, Kurt is just as nice a guy as Welkin.
- Arguably the case with Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, highly trained pros from Resident Evil, and Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield from Resident Evil 2, the first a rookie cop on his first day on the job, the second a civilian with minor training.
- The first two Silent Hill games feature this. Silent Hill 1 stars Harry Mason, an implacable Papa Wolf who, in the best ending, is painted as Messianic Archetype. In Silent Hill 2, the new protagonist, James Sunderland, is quite the opposite: cowardly, self-centered and even responsible for at least two deaths.
- The first game's reimagining Silent Hill: Shattered Memories does this with the same person. Here, Harry retains his drive, but lacks the physique to, say, fight off monsters with his bare hands. What's more, he loses his role as a Chaste Hero, and has gone through a divorce instead of having his wife die. Also, the game silently judges you on what your real intentions are; if you're not focused enough, it'll turn him into a drunk, a womanizer or a coward.
- Persona 3 and Persona 4 do a subtle change off. Both main characters are still blank slates, but Yu has a larger build than Minato and also looks far more masculine. Most likely a result of a few fans complaining that Minato looked wimpy. Even in the crossdressing contest later in the game, it's very hard to mistake Yu as feminine. Teddie, on the other hand...
- Both of them show a contrast in a single character archetype: The Stoic. Minato in the manga shows emotion when pushed, making him a Beware the Nice Ones, while Yu is, depending on the Alternate Character Interpretation, is either a Deadpan Snarker or a Cloud Cuckoolander, due to his incredibly weird sense of humour.
- Contrasted yet again with the optional Female Protagonist of Persona 3 Portable, whose dialogue choices imply she's much more upbeat and energetic. It's even apparent in the color choices for each scenario. Minato is associated with the color blue, and the Female Protagonist, red.
- The Persona 2 duology pulls this with its player characters: Innocent Sin 's Tatsuya Suou, an aloof loner, and Eternal Punishment 's Maya Amano, a perky, outgoing young woman.
- Prototype and Prototype 2, complete with making the protagonist of the first the villain of the second. Alex Mercer, the original protagonist, was amnesiac, manipulated somewhat easily, and sullen. The protagonist of the second, James Heller, was rage filled, remembered everything, and saw through his enemies' plans. Alex also became more verbose in 2, in contrast to Heller's bluntness and propensity for swearing.
- Jack from BioShock, as an ordinary human who fights mostly with scavenged small arms and improvised weapons, had a distinct feeling of vulnerability to him even as he acquired more powerful Plasmids and began to prove himself in battle. This is compounded by the revelation that he was little more than a mind-controlled slave of Fontaine's from the very start, devoid of free will. Subject Delta, on the other hand, is a hulking, heavily-spliced monster of a man, clad in an armoured suit and capable of braving even the ocean floor unscathed. Meanwhile, others regard him as nothing but a mindless automaton, but the fact that he actually does possess free will is a large part of his character and motivation.
- Unlike the first two, Booker DeWitt has a significant identity outside of his mission, which isn't a quest for survival; he's hired to rescue Elizabeth, who is herself a marked contrast to the loneliness that permeated the first few games. He speaks and comments much more on the things going on around him, in that he speaks and comments at all.
- The first three Halo games are fought as the heroic Spartan super-soldier Master Chief. Halo 3: ODST reduces the protagonist's fame and power by having them play as an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper, an unaugmented special forces soldier who is looked down upon by the rest of his team mostly for being a rookie. Additionally, ODSTs hate Spartans and compete against them. Halo: Reach has you as a super-soldier again, but now a cheaper Spartan-III who specialized in black-ops missions against humans, not Covenant.
- The Mega Man franchise does this all the time.
- The innocent, childlike Mega Man Classic of the original series was followed by X, who both looks and acts more grown-up.
- Mega Man X was contrasted (both in his own series and the sequel) with Zero. Where X is deeply conflicted about violence and morality, Zero loves to fight and doesn't worry much about gray areas.
- After Zero came Aile and Vent in the first Mega Man ZX game. Zero is a robot who's missing his memory but knows how to handle himself; Aile and Vent are humans with no mental problems, but they have a lot to learn about the heroism business.
- The second ZX game pulls this trope on the first in two ways. The new player characters (Ashe and Grey) have more complicated pasts and more adult perspectives than Aile and Vent. Their partner, Model A, is very different from the easily heroic Models X and Z — he's selfish and unmotivated for large parts of the game. (He doesn't even change forms the same way they do.)
- In the Alternate Universe, Mega Man Battle Network's optimistic and fun-loving heroes Lan and MegaMan were succeeded in the Mega Man Star Force games by the mopey Geo and his gruff, strange-looking alien friend Omega-Xis. This has often been compared to the original/X series change.
- Knights of the Old Republic While both protagonists were canonically light-sided by LucasArts fiat, outcry over making Revan yet another white, male, heterosexual video game hero (like every Star Wars game hero had been up until that point) led to Exile being an Ambiguously Brown female. Of course, just try asking the fanbase about it.
- King's Quest: King's Quest III had a quiet, bookish wizard's slave named Gwydion discover he was a prince named Alexander and endure an arduous quest to rescue his sister. King's Quest IV follows spirited, Plucky Girl Princess Rosella as she is disguised as a peasant on a quest to rescue her dad. The characterization of Alexander and Rosella still falls into Sibling Yin-Yang
- Not a sequel, but a prequel: The protagonist of Fate/stay night, Shirou Emiya, is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is dragged into the 5th Holy Grail War. In Fate/Zero, his adoptive father Kitsurugi Emiya is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who willingly enters the 4th Holy Grail War.
- The protagonist of Akai Ito, Hatou Kei, is a timid, unassertive girl who constantly need to be protected by her girlfriend(s). Her cooking is also honest-to-the-gods awful. Cue the sort-of sequel Aoi Shiro, where the protagonist, Osanai Syouko, is a clear-headed captain of an all-girl kendo team with a very good sense of culinaire— good enough to exceed the girl that she must constantly protect.
- In Danganronpa, protagonist Makoto Naegi is idealistic, non-confrontational, and a little naive, and in awe of his fellow classmates' talents that helped them get into Hope's Peak Academy since his own talent is rather mundane in comparison (Super High School-Level Good Luck, due to being picked from a lottery to be able to attend the school). In Super Dangan Ronpa 2, Hajime Hinata is more cynical, outspoken, and sarcastic, and despite being unable to remember what his talent is he treats his classmates more or less as equals, while at the same time being more wary of them.
- Every protagonist to follow Battler in Umineko no Naku Koro ni is a contrast to him, Ange most of all. She's a female Kuudere to his Hot-Blooded male, with completely opposite biases.