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 and he lacks the skills of the previous protagonists at the beginning of the story. Yuya is a bit more like Judai with more serious issues, but he acts more comically whenever he is doing his finisher combos to entertain the audience.
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 Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny was probably meant to be this to Kira Yamato, being confrontational and arrogant where Kira was angsty and polite.
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 a gambling-addicted Martial Pacifist, Giorno is driven and honorable but ruthless, 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.
During the period in Grant Morrisons Batman when Batman and Robin briefly replaced the flagship Batman title, Morrison intentionally subverted the classic dynamic between Batman and Robin by putting Dick Grayson in the cape and cowl and making Damian Wayne his Robin. In contrast to the setup that we all grew up with, Dick was a cheerful, outgoing, blue-collar Batman trying to cope with his relative lack of experience, whereas Damian was an angry, brooding, blue-blooded Robin who was raised to be a stone-cold killer.
"Pretty much every place where Stan (Lee) zigged, I zagged... whereas Peter Parker is a high school student, Miguel is a fully-realized adult working in a laboratory. Whereas Peter was shy and reticent and didn’t know how to talk to girls but talky and outgoing as Spider-Man, Miguel O’Hara was a fully-confident wiseacre with a fiancée…and as Spider-Man, relatively mute."
In Necessary To Win, Miho Nishizumi is the main character; as you might expect, she's kindhearted, meek, open to reaching out to others, and does not see victory as the be-all and end-all. In the prequel, Paths Toward Victory, her mother, Shiho Nishizumi, takse her place as the main character, and is cold, arrogant, detached from others, and ruthlessly determined.
Made apparent in A Different Kind Of Truth. Yu Narukami was a stoic yet all around nice guy with the talent of being perfect in everything he tried and the ability to easily make friends. Jonathan Joestar was a kind, idealistic, unselfish, and musclebound man. Johnny contrasts both by being a snarky, fundamentally selfish, cynical, self-centered, and scrawny kid who cannot move anything below the waist while also not intentionally looking forward to making friends or being with other people.
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 paleontology.
By the same token, for the Alien prequel Prometheus, Ridley Scott intentionally avoided making Noomi Rapace's character Elizabeth "Liz" Shaw too similar to Sigourney Weaver's iconic Ellen Ripley. While Ripley was a working-class engineer and single mother just looking to make an honest paycheck, Shaw is a bookish archaeologist driven by her thirst for scientific knowledge, and she's romantically involved with her crew-mate.
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.
Pretty much every series in the Tortall Universe has a quite different main character from the previous.
Daine of The Immortals isn't as different from Alanna as the rest, but she's a Nature Hero and foreigner to Tortall who is almost exclusively a mage rather than a knight and combatant.
Keladry of Protector of the Small is a spiritual successor to Alanna of Song of the Lioness as a knight-in-training, but they're quite different to each other. Alanna is short, quick-tempered, quick to fight, and has a very powerful magic Gift. Kel is very tall and keeps growing (5'8" last time we see it mentioned) and quite The Stoic—while not averse to a fight, she doesn't like to if it's not needful. She's also a Badass Normal without even a sniff of magic and has Good Parents who remain quite alive throughout her books.
Beka Cooper of the Provost's Dog books is a commoner living in Corus' slums and as such her life and morality is a lot messier than any of the previous protagonists, and she meets most nobles at a distance.note While Daine is a village-born commoner, the king's personal Archmage takes her under his wing as soon as she gets into Tortall. She's also a Shrinking Violet who keeps a journal.
In The Hobbit, Bilbo is a respectable gentlehobbit who wants nothing to do with adventures, but is prodded into it and comes back happier, having traded his reputation at home for many friends throughout Middle-earth and mostly good memories. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo, Bilbo's cousin and adopted son, is seen as odd (even before he starts idolizing Bilbo) and very much wants to go on an adventure like his cousin; when he does, it takes a heavy physical and emotional toll on him and leaves him unable to live in peace in Middle-earth.
The title character in the Discworld novel Mort (first in the Death subseries) is a vaguely well-meaning young man who "thinks too much" about useless things (like why the sun comes out during the day, when the light would be more useful at night) and is prone to going along with things because it's easier than arguing. His daughter Susan, in Soul Music and subsequent Death books, is a highly determined and practically-minded young woman who has very strong opinions on everything.
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 always Shoot the Dog if it gets the job done.
One can't emphasise enough how having a family makes Sisko different from other captains. He's far more hesitant to put his life on the line for an ideal - not if he can find a more pragmatic point. Not that he's a coward, but he's got first hand experience of the effect this has on relatives to lose a love one, while Picard and Kirk have no such dependants to really mourn them. He's even more reluctant to order his subordinate to do the same because of his own family experience. When Sisko looks at a casualty list, it's not just a list of dead officers, but its a list of orphans, single parents, and parents who mourn their child. It's what ultimately motivates him in In The Pale Moonlight to ultimately betray his principles so that the Federation might stand a chance to survive, and its soldiers who died didn't die in vain.
The same pattern holds true when comparing Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager to Sisko. While both had inclinations in both command and technical directions, Sisko was a full-time command officer who would occasionally do engineering work, while Janeway had spent long enough at the science officer's desk that she was doing double duty for about half of Voyager. Sisko, as discussed above, was focused on doing what he had to do, while Janeway cared about Starfleet ideals to an almost unhealthy degree. Sisko had a very low tolerance for many groups of adversaries, while Janeway was more diplomatic most of the time, even negotiating with the Borg - when Sisko, in the same situation, would probably have needed to be physically restrained to stop him hammering his way through Borg space on a campaign of vengeance. Unfortunately, Voyager's writing was just too inconsistent to play up the differences that much.
Dougai Ryuuga the bearer of the GARO title from GARO The One Who Shines In The Darkness is hotheaded, emotional, socially outgoing, but inexperienced in battle. Whereas Saejima Kouga, the main character from the original GARO series is stoic, almost always ahead of his enemies, but socially detached.
Happens again with GARO, the Makai Flower. Raiga, the song of Kouga and Kaoru, is a very caring and warm person, who is generally good with people, while pre-character development Kouga was everything but that.
Most incarnations of the Doctor are the opposite of their previous incarnation in some large, glaring way (while other parts of the characterisation shift more subtly). Over the classic series, the haughty and moody First Doctor was followed up by the Hoboish and easy-going Second, who was succeeded by the grumpy, elegant and noble Third, the childish, scruffy and carefree Fourth, the responsible and kindly Fifth, the obnoxious and unstable Sixth, the playful and Machiavellian Seventh. The Eighth Doctor was more of an Adaptation Distillation of traits from the Fourth Doctor (but Hotter and Sexier for the Americans) than a reaction to the Seventh in any way, and he and the incarnations going onwards have contrasted each other much less aggressively so far (the aim being to present a slow character growth, valuable lessons learned forming the basis for the new Doctor's personality, rather than the Classic series' reliance on Campy gimmicks and shocking Freak Outs).
Certain companions were replaced with their complete opposites:
The concept for Ace was basically 'the exact opposite of Mel'. Mel was a girly, garishly-dressed Damsel Scrappy who nagged the Doctor into improving his health, wheras Ace was a punky tomboy who lived on a council estate and blew things up with homemade explosives.
Toa Tahu, leader of the heroes in BIONICLE's first saga, was a fiery, impulsive hothead, always wanting to prove himself and compete with his fellow Toa. Toa Vakama from the second saga (actually a prequel) was insecure, perpetually angsty, but more controlled and calculating, although still ruled by his emotions. Toa Jaller from the third saga deliberately invoked this trope, having learned from Tahu's and Vakama's mistakes, so he was more level-headed and confident in his approach, but willing to listen to others. Also, Tahu and Vakama both struggled to keep their team together and act as a leader, whereas Jaller was already a respected Captain and friends with his team members prior to becoming a Toa.
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.
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).
Raiden is in turn contrasted by Naked Snake in Snake Eater. Naked Snake was energetic and confident, experienced and was much more sexually active. And Naked Snake in turn was contrasted by Old Snake (Solid Snake after some Rapid Aging) in 4. Now nearly a Death Seeker, a man without a place in the current battlefield and almost no attraction to his female allies.
Which was contrasted by Big Boss (formerly Naked Snake) in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, a disillusioned veteran without a country or cause, seeking a purpose. Unlike Snake, Raiden, and even his younger self, he forms a sort of ersatz family out of his mercenary company, compared to the series' typical lone wolf approach.
Which may be contrasted in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain by "Punished Snake" (an even older, grumpier Big Boss), who the entire world wants dead. There's the "prequel chapter" Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes, but that takes place less than a month after Peace Walker, while Phantom Pain takes place after a ten-year coma. Odds are Snake is going to contrast both himself and Raiden.
Whenever the Assassin's Creed series introduces a new assassin protagonist, you can bet that they'll be different from previous protagonists in some way. The series never sticks with one assassin for too long.
Assassin's 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 ends 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 attempt to establish their own Republic, which harkens back to Connor's beliefs in freedom.
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.
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 start with a lot of venom between them. Apart from those, though, Kurt is just as nice a guy as Welkin.
The first game's reimaginingSilent 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 theother hand...
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 1, 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 of Bioshock Infinite 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 innocent, childlike Mega Man 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.)
Baten Kaitos has Kalas, who is (initially) a jerkass who cares nothing of anyone's problems other than his own. Meanwhile in Origins, Sagi is quite the nice guy, and is often eager to help out others. Also, while Kalas is a spiriter, Sagi's is a malideiter, his power coming from a dark god.
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 Dangan Ronpa, 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.
The Science Adventure series tends to have fairly distinct protagonists. Chaos;Head has Classical Anti-Hero Takumi Nishijou who is pretty much a cowardly otaku who takes awhile to gain motivation. Steins;Gate's Okabe retains some loser traits due to his delusions, but is portrayed as much more confident in his ambitions. At least until the plot rears its head.
Avatar Korra of The Legend of Korra compared to Avatar Aang of Avatar: The Last Airbender. They are of opposite genders, Aang was pacifistic & spiritual, knew only airbending till the start of the series, and initially Refused The Call. Korra is hot-headed, far more prone to violence, has known how to waterbend, earthbend and firebend since she was a child, and Jumped at the Call. And by her own admission, she's not so good at the spiritual stuff. Both however share a good sense of humor, lots of compassion for strangers, and a certain impulsiveness.
It's worth nothing that there's a twist to the formula here: Aang and Korra are technically the same person. Korra is the reincarnation of Aang.
Ariel from The Little Mermaid and her daughter Melody in the sequel. Ariel is a mermaid who's obsessed with the land and wants to become human, while her daughter, the main character of the sequel, is a human but is drawn to the ocean and wants to be a mermaid. They're not strikingly different in temperament, but their goals are complete opposites.
Joker: (After getting kicked in the crotch) What are you doing?!
Batman: Fighting dirty.
Joker: The real Batman would never (kicked again).
Wendy and Jane from Peter Pan and it's sequel Return to Neverland respectively. Wendy's character arc was about learning that no matter how much she might want to stay a child, she needs to grow up eventually. Her daughter, Jane, on the other hand, grew up too fast due to World War II and needed to be reminded that she is still a child.