#43: The more beautiful and pure a thing is, the more satisfying it is to corrupt it.
— Rules of the Internet
(Note: this rule is sometimes placed at #15, since only 4 of the Rules are standardized)
A series introduces a character as sweet and lovable
, more comic relief than anything, who likes nothing more than to pet little puppies. They make you adore them, root for them and love them
But then they start hanging out with the wrong type of people and make a slow walk to the dark side
Then the writers proceed to change the character's personality bit by bit, not actually breaking her
, but affecting her personality, so that she becomes either less likable or more sultry and devious
than her naturally cute self or being taught that being more aggressive will be better than being picked on
. She becomes more bold with her new personality with every act of The Corrupter
until she is not so innocent anymore. This is a common staple in various chick flicks, as what is more tempting than knowing just how awesome it could be to be popular, be powerful, and most importantly, have that Love Interest
you want so bad wrapped around your neck.
Corruption comes in two forms:
- The moral corruption of the cutie: They make dabbles and touches towards becoming a Bad Ass. Only problem is, they are doing it in a manner that is seen as intolerable or their method is negative for people around them. They will go on how the other person deserves this type of treatment and eventually they buy into their moral corruption.
- The lifestyle change. It can go either way, either the cutie is a really nice yet party-hard maniac or a lovable geek / nerd/unpopular person and wanted to see the other side of the grass. They get persuaded by their friends for the lifestyle switch or notice how cool it is at first and friends and families don't mind, until they start rubbing it on others and the new personality is way worse than the original, essentially they have all the aspects of the new life and nothing of their old life.
In the end of their transformation, there are two outcomes: either they realize the situation before they get enthralled to the lifestyle and throw it down for good
or, if the plot is rather cynical or tragic, they permanently change to that personality and that way of life for good.
See also Face-Heel Turn
, where the character isn't just morally corrupted but outright joins the forces of evil. Related to Break the Cutie
, for obvious reasons. Compare to Flanderization
. Compare to We Want Our Jerk Back
, which is the reverse, comedy version of this trope.
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Anime and Manga
- Name a shojo manga/anime and you will watch as one girl that the main girl befriends turns slowly to the Alpha Bitch. Most of them get better though.
- In many other shojo and josei manga/anime (specially in josei), the virginal and sweet female lead will be paired up with a handsome yet much more cynical male (who can go from merely Jerk with a Heart of Gold to Bastard Boyfriend levels). He will tease/mock/insult/etc. her a lot about her innocence, then try drawing her more sensual or adventurous side afloat (sometimes to the extreme).
- Mayu Shinjo's work thrives on the already mentioned stuff, and then takes it Up to Eleven. It's openly lampshaded in Haou Airen, when Reilan sets up Kurumi to be gangraped, and when she and her mooks are stopped by Hakuron, she openly claims that she wants Kurumi to be "tainted" as a part of her revenge against Hakuron for corrupting her innocent in the past.
- Also, this is part of the premise of the Netorare and many Hentai's doujinshis. In fact, it's a recurrent plot in Sanbun Kyoden's doujinshis.
- Gilbert in Kaze to Ki no Uta is an especially tragic example of this.
- Wrath in the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist starts out as a kind and innocent kid who loves life, but after being corrupted by Envy and getting his memories back he becomes a sadistic psychopath. He gets better eventually.
- In the YuYu Hakusho manga, this adds a new dimension of creepy to the genocidal Sensui and his dimension-warping Dragon Itsuki, when Itsuki says he started hanging around Shinobu in the first place because he could see that the boy's perfect blind innocence was just waiting to be shattered, and he wanted to be there to enjoy it.
- "A little girl who believes babies come from storks growing up to be in pornos...I love that kind of thing." Makes you wonder what that TV show he used as his redeeming human characteristic to stop Shinobu from killing him actually was. In the anime he just comes across as obsessively in love, though. The fangirls love him.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, one starts to get the feeling Evangeline wants to turn Negi into a monster as bad if not worse than she is (or thinks she is) by teaching him Black Magic.
- A particularly odd case of this would be Yamcha of Dragon Ball fame as revisionist history seems to paint him as some kind of womanizer in recent video games and such. Despite being a rather Badass desert bandit (who rapidly underwent Badass Decay), he was a Shrinking Violet any time he was near a woman. Early on he got together with Bulma, a Clingy Jealous Girl who always accused Yamcha of cheating any time another girl even looked at him (which was admittedly, often), despite him not looking back at them. (Eventually, Bulma ended up with Vegeta, with their son Trunks describing the version of events he was told as Yamcha cheating first before she ended up with his father.)
- Played in Hellsing TV series with both Seras Victoria's and Integra Hellsing's different temptations during the series.
- Implied to happen to Manami in Life. She starts out as being a bubbly, cute girl who befriends the outcast protagonist, however after her boyfriend dumps her she spirals into a depression and becomes suicidal. She's taken in by a gang of boys who get her into sex, drugs, and alcohol.. And next time we see her she's become the antagonist of the manga, being an extremely manipulative Bitch in Sheep's Clothing with a Girl Posse who enjoys abusing people for her own needs.
- Vincent of Pandora Hearts is hinted to want to do this to Ada.
- Sailor Moon: Chibi Moon, is captured by Death Phantom, and false memories of persecution are inserted into her psyche convincing her her mother Usagi and friends the sailor senshi are really her enemies, she slowly morphs into Black Lady. There are many hentai stories that provide a more lewd version of what happens, especially in relation to the body changes. From a young prepubescent young girl to a full grown voluptuous woman with a whip.
- This happens within the first episode of Death Note to Light Yagami, where he goes from a mild-mannered, upstanding star student to a mass-murderer with a monster god complex. Of course, he stays in the territory of Anti-Hero for a while after that, then gradually loses the ideals that led him to go in that direction in the first place.
- Pictured above: One of the storylines of Countdown to Final Crisis revolves around Mary Marvel slowly losing her moral compass after being given Black Adam's powers.
- Happens to Envy Adams in Scott Pilgrim, starting off as a cute dork who then went through a personality shift (Scott saw her as a nice girl who changed) for the worse, becoming aggressive and callous, having affairs behind Scott's back, and eventually taking over his band and breaking up with him (although that was a blunder on Scott's part on provoking the harsh breakup).
- Although the final volume eventually reveals that thanks to Gideon Graves fiddling with Scott's brain, Scott is not the most reliable of narrators, and everything we've seen of his memories was from his potentially distorted perspective.
- Illyana Rasputin in X-Men. Part of Belasco's goal in bringing her to Limbo was to destroy her soul and turn her into a monster. Ultimately, he succeeded; thanks to her time in Limbo, she has gone from a sweet, innocent child to a ruthlessly insane demon sorceress. Toward the end of Avengers vs. X-Men, she chided her brother Colossus for giving up so much to save his "little snowflake". Not only was she beyond salvation, she reveled in her insanity. In her own words, "There are no snowflakes in hell!"
- Played straight with Rarity in the second story-arc of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, completely averted with Spike, as the baby dragon manages to remain loyal to his friends even after being tempted with an ideal Lotus-Eater Machine world.
- The Lion King Adventures does this to just about all of the cubs.
- Duni was just a poor cub, down on his luck. He got struck by lightning and turned into Shocker.
- A Collection of Pointless Adventures has Fluttershy as a raging drunk
- Pretty much everyone in the series fits this trope.
- Jailbait (2013). Doe-eyed talented and aspiring Classical Cheoist and achieving student Anna Nix (Sara Malakul Lane)is charged with involuntary homicide (manslaughter) as she accidentally kills her grotesque step-father who sexually abuses her. She is sent to a maximum security juvinel prison where every party of her being: innocent pure body, mind, soul, virginity, is violated and corrupted by beastly carnal predatory peers and authorities. For example, In order for her to survive the predatory pack like hunting ground that is a maximum prison sentence, Anna is forced to prostitute her body to the wolf like Warden Frank. He ironically has a daughter as we can see from photographs and he appears as a concerned fatherly reformer who just wants her to share her amazing musical therapeutic talent. He just happens to encourage young Anna to pollute her pristine virgin lungs with smog like Methathemines)and offers her favors such as early parole for sexual favors. Anna's mind is corrupted as she continues to abuse heavy drugs such as heroin and she hallucinates of her dead abusive step-father suffers the humiliation of withdraw, threatens suicide, attempts suicide, and is frequently sent to the "hole" (solitary confinement when she initially refuses Warden Frank's advancements). Anna's once pristine child-like corporal body temple is desecrated as the possessive leader of the gang she is forced to side with leaves her with a permanent token of her affections by cleaving a scar, which Anna is forever to carry as well as gang tattoo. Anna's body is further harmed through as she learns to fight contrary to her gentle nature, or is attacked by guards, self inflicted cutting, and pock marked with heroin needle scars. Anna's soul is scared as her useless mother initially blames Anna and suffers from Stockholm syndrome as she loved her abusive step father. Ignorant adult caregivers and guards unjustly dismiss her as willfully destroying her once promising prospects, as opposed to kicking a sweaty ogre like fat grunt off her clean body.Anna's music sooths the battered spirits of the girls during the talent show however Frank soon ruins the touching moment by again sexually assaulting her. However despite all these unholy desecration to her entire being we are seen at the end Anna's courageous ability to overcome and retain her healing humanity, despite her: Spirit, body such as her organs (lungs, kidneys (heroin), SKIN), Bones (from multiple beatings), Virginity, her mind polluted and plundered by vicious survivalist hedonistic inmates. Anna still retains a uncorrupted humanity. As the film closes she is seen preforming beautifully regardless of the gang leader's permanent mark of immortal love. A GASH scar under her eye! Oh she also witnesses the horrible death of another fellow CHILD who was being nursed in rehab something a young teenager should never have to experience.
- The Thing That Couldn't Die. Attempted with Jessica. The crew of MST3K remark she's become more like a racy nun than actually evil.
- This is the premise of many, many Teen Drama-type movies.
- John Tucker Must Die has the main protagonist helping a group of girls get back at John Tucker and turning into the Alpha Bitch in the process.
- In a slightly rarer male version, Will Stronghold has a Corrupt the Cutie sequence in Sky High. This being a feel-good family-oriented movie, he gets better.
- Jenny from Forrest Gump. It's debatable if she got better as she ends up dying from a disease (probably AIDS) she gets in her former lifestyle, but is redeemed as a person.
- In Star Wars, Anakin Skywalker starts off as a Wide-Eyed Idealist little boy whose first thought is how he can endanger his own life just to help a group of strangers get off a planet. As he grows older, however, he becomes more and more ambitious in his desires for power and for love, partially egged on by Palpatine. As Palpatine plays him against his own Jedi brethren, who in turn play him against Palpatine, he marries in secret and his wife ends up pregnant. He then starts having visions of her death. The stress of the situation builds and builds until finally...
- The Godfather: Michael Corleone starts out as the one member of his family who is definitely not going to have anything to do with the family business; he ends up succeeding his father as don. This doubles as a Break the Cutie because he also gradually loses everyone he loves, becomes totally disillusioned with his own actions and dies alone.
- Janet Weiss of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
- Sandy in Grease
- Andy in The Devil Wears Prada. Much is made of Andy's shifting standards and priorities, particularly in the way she treats her friends and her boyfriend, as the attitudes of the Runway staff start to influence her. Andy ultimately leaves the magazine - and a lucrative career - behind, in part because she realises she's becoming someone she doesn't like.
- Selina Kyle in Batman Returns
- Subverted in Pitch Black. Riddick pulls a magnificent attempt with Carolyn at the end by encouraging her to leave Imam and Jack behind to come with him instead. He's practically nice about it, being helpful by telling her he will leave her, and recognizing how difficult it must be but that nobody would blame her. She breaks down in front of him and he gets even nicer, encouraging her like a small child. One would think he's nothing but a Magnificent Bastard but it's likely he very much likes Carolyn. Doesn't ultimately take anyway as she violently rebuffs him and convinces him to go back for them anyway after remembering what she'd attempted to do at the beginning of the movie.
- Done in The Things They Carried (Tim O'Brien), when Mary Anne Bell is brought into the area to visit her boyfriend, Mark. She starts off as the epitome of sweetness, but soon starts to sneak out late at night and join the Green Berets on missions. At the end of her corruption, she is caught by Mark one night in a very disturbing scene, surrounded by death and destruction, with a necklace made of human tongues. It's rumored that she does not get better, and eventually just walks of into the mountains, never to be heard of again.
- This is pretty much the entire point of The Picture of Dorian Gray. It doesn't end well.
- Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack concerns a middle-class girl whose family becomes poor and moves into Harlem. As she interacts more with the petty criminals of the region, she begins to act and speak like them. She passes beyond their sense of honor, is rejected by them, and winds up losing everything and everyone she cares about. At the story's close, she's about to join the worst gang in the city and forget she ever lived an honest life.
- The Marquis de Sade's Philosophy in the Bedroom is a textbook example of this in action. Over the course of the novel, fifteen-year-old Eugénie is "educated" in the ways of the libertine by Madame de Saint-Ange, her brother Le Chevalier de Mirval, and their friend Dolmancé, who introduce her to all kinds of sexual practices, and she proves to be a fast learner. In the final act, when Eugénie's mother, Madame de Mistival comes to rescue her from the libertines that have corrupted her, Eugénie and the libertines deal with her in truly sadistic fashion, with Eugénie herself taking an active part in the brutality visited upon her mother, and even declaring that she wants to kill her, before then proceeding to sew her genitals shut after Dolmancé has her raped by a guy with syphillis.
- Arya from A Song of Ice and Fire. She started out as a tomboyish and adorable little girl. As of A Dance with Dragons she's a face-stealing assassin. Yeah.
- Famously played with and subverted in Lolita
- An important part of the plot of Dangerous Liaisons is the corruption of Cecile de Volange by Merteuil and Valmont.
- The Phantom of the Opera: In the original book of Gaston Leroux, Long time before even meeting Christine, Erik, the titular phantom, did work for the Sha-in-Sha: the little sultana, the favorite of the Shah-in-Shah, was boring herself to death. Erik built a Hall of Mirrors for her. When she bored of that, Erik transformed it into a Robotic Torture Device aptly named “the chamber of horrors”, used to execute people sentenced to death. He also teach her how to strangle people efficiently. The little sultana soon applied that knowledge to simple peasants and her own friends.
"Wretched man!" I cried. "Have you forgotten the rosy hours of Mazenderan?"
"Yes," he replied, in a sadder tone, "I prefer to forget them. I used to make the little sultana laugh, though!"
- In the Indian novel The White Tiger: When Balram first comes to Delhi as a driver, he's described as a 'sweet, innocent village fool'. He does not stay that way.
- The french theater piece Lorenzaccio introduce a main character whose job is to find naive girls and turn them into prostitutes. It turns out that he used to be a naive boy who wanted to infiltrate the corrupted aristocracy to kill them, but ended up becoming like them, thus making him a corrupted cutie that corrupts cuties. Even after he tries to reedem himself by killing his city's tyrant, he realizes he is still as corrupted as he was, and commits suicide.
- June from Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. Her roommate Chloe's loose morals start to rub off on her. She starts out as a naive trusting young woman from Indiana with a deeply religious background. By the first season finale she is consuming copious amounts of booze while saying "I'm a slut" at her roommate Chloe's urging. She ends up in the hospital with alcohol poisoning by the end of the opening of the episode.
- Kes from Star Trek: Voyager appeared headed this way, which somewhat contradicts the statements by the Powers That Be that they got rid of the character because "she was turning into Nurse Chapel" and they couldn't figure out what to do with her. Therefore her return several seasons later with a complete Face-Heel Turn seemed completely bizarre to fans.
- Occurs in Lizzie McGuire to the titular character in one episode.
- The Beauty Of The Game has the main character being corrupted by Treacherous Advisor Fung, she first help alleviate her anxiety working in the industry then she starts introducing her to modern day comforts and turns her to a Hollywood scandal material celebrity. As she corrupts the main character, she also works on cementing her trust with Tong, whose financial problems are hidden by her Rich Bitch facade.
- The Vampire Diaries - Damon tries to do this to most of the other characters in the show. Most notably his brother, Stefan, the Vegetarian Vampire who he wants to become a 'normal vampire' and drink human blood but also with Elena, Caroline and Bonnie. Katherine, another vampire, does this to him and his brother. But frankly, what do you expect if vampires are involved?
- Klaus did this to Stefan as well.
- Degrassi The Next Generation has Jay trying to do this towards Emma in season 4 "Secret." He later tries to talk Darcy into doing something she would find morally questionable. Alli accuses Eli of similar intentions toward Clare.
- Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, definitely. Though it can't be definitively said that lesbianism or even magic is corruption exactly, she has a distinct addiction arc with the magic. Besides, she starts the series as the most adorable poster child for cuteness and then... well, she grows up. Because... evil and suffering is everywhere, and Status Quo Is Not God.
- Though it is to be noted that the most decisive single event in her loss-of-cuteness, up to the whole Face-Heel Turn thing, is not horror and evil but her boyfriend leaving her for her own protection. Therefore Suddenly Sexuality.
- That may have hurt (for her. For the audience it was hilarious), but she was already dabbling with dangerous magics before then, had been warned about it, and been given a glimpse of herself without inhibitions along with its associated pros and cons. Her boyfriend leaving mostly just showed us how terrible she is at dealing with grief.
- French Jerk Henri wants to do this to Woody's girlfriend Kelly on Cheers.
Sam: Listen, Kelly is Woody's girlfriend. I'm sure you could have any woman you want.
Henrí: I know, but Kelly is so innocent and naive. I love to change that.
Sam Malone: Boy, I'm kind of torn here. I mean, Woody is my closest friend, but that's a real solid argument.
- Supernatural. There are no right choices in the setting except Heroic Sacrifice, and under some circumstances Agree With [main character]. And if your Heroic Sacrifice involves selling your soul, you probably shouldn't do that, either. John Winchester managed to make it work out by saving someone substantially more important to the story than himself...but even that led to the breaking of the first seal. Everything you do will sooner or later make things worse in the big picture, even if it's good in the small one. Therefore the process of living tends to Break the Cutie one way or another. This trope is the demonic Evil Plan for the first six seasons.
- Sam Winchester's entire life consists of a plot to do this to him. Prior to the series, a Deal with the Devil before he's even born ensures he'll be infected with demon blood as a baby, and his mother is killed because the demon Azazel wants him. Friends, teachers, and others are demonically possessed throughout his life, and his girlfriend is murdered, just to keep him on the path to Azazel's plan for him. The first three seasons and the season break before four read like a saga of breaking Sam down—he was always categorized as 'selfish' vis-a-vis his family in that he wanted to go live a normal life for his own sake, but he was also The Heart and highly empathic and concerned with the right thing.
- Then there's the long, long arc of Sam, his psychic powers, and the fear that he will 'go darkside,' because as a family of hunters their default assumption is that anything supernatural is probably evil. This assumption is usually justified. When Sam refuses to lead hell's army, demon Lilith steps into the Evil Power Vacuum to wreak havoc, killing his brother Dean in front of him. Sam thinks demon Ruby is teaching him to use powers fueled by demon blood to make him strong enough to kill Lilith and prevent the Apocalypse, so he follows her lead even though it alienates his resurrected brother and he knows it's corrupting him, since he doesn't doesn't expect to survive.
- By the end of season four, he beats up his brother, who called him a monster, in order to return to Ruby and gain the power to kill Lilith, even letting Ruby drain a possessed woman for it. Even the angels were manipulating him to this end. Unfortunately, it was all a Thanatos Gambit, so no ambiguity about whether the ends justified the means.
- After Sam starts the prelude to Apocalypse by killing Lilith, thus releasing Lucifer from his prison, Sam learns that the final goal for Azazel's Batman Gambit was actually to get him to say "yes" as Lucifer's chosen vessel so Lucifer could raze the world. At the end of season five, he finally does say "yes" just so he can take Lucifer back into his prison even though being locked in there with a vengeful Satan is a Fate Worse than Death, so the corruption doesn't stick.
- Many of Azazel's other chosen children, notably Ava, who started kind and very normal and very intentionally resembled Sam, and who went violently insane during the months she was trapped at Cold Oak.
- The demons also planned this for Dean. They first trapped him in Hell, so they could torture him until he completely broke and become Alastair's student in torturing the human arrivals. Alastair later tells him what that moment meant, telling Dean a prophecy; "The First Seal shall shatter when a righteous man sheds blood in Hell. As he breaks so shall it break." Dean kickstarted the run-up to the Apocalypse, so Dean and Sam both got this between seasons three and four.
- Castiel gets this in season six. You could say Dean started the corruption in season four, but that's a different kind. The Free Will Castiel came to value through helping Dean by choosing humanity over his brothers' goal to have Michael and Lucifer fight doesn't offer the same moral certitude as he was used to as a warrior angel, and in season six, Castiel's soldier-like willingness to do anything for the cause gets completely out of hand so that he winds up offing his dearest lieutenants when they find out that he's working with a demon and trying to save the world by risking opening a door better left unopened that might destroy the world. And then he drives Sam insane as a distraction. He risked the fate of the world for this guy a couple of years ago. Then Castiel went completely overboard and declared himself God. He was wrong. Castiel in season seven gets Drunk on the Dark Side, goes on a murderous rampage with the help of The Corruption, has an Ignored Epiphany from Dean, becomes a Knight Templar, and inadverently releases a horde of Eldritch Abominations on the world, pretty much justifying all Dean's efforts to talk him down or kill him if he couldn't.
- Ricky actively tries to corrupt his boyfriend Junito in Noah's Arc. While Junito is monogamous and believes in love and affection before all else, Ricky sets him up on sex dates in order to turn him into a promiscuous sex maniac just like himself.
- Morgana from Merlin is first established as a kind and sometimes heroic character. A combination of fear of her new developing powers (in a society where magic is outlawed) and a series of clashes with the King push her towards the dark side. By season 3 she has spent a year in the company of her evil half sister Morgause who has corrupted her completely.
- Jenny Humphrey from ''Gossip Girl'.'
- Vivian in Chuck. Also happens to Sarah in the show's final story arc, but she eventually recovers.
- Both Bryce and Sarah are concerned with this happening to Chuck. Bryce seems more concerned for Chuck's chances for survival; Sarah is horrified at the idea of "her" Chuck becoming a ruthless cold-blooded killer before her eyes.
- Claire in LOST, after being infected with The Sickness. She goes from a sweet, good-natured girl to a paranoid, psychotic shadow of her former self who even tries to violently murder her former best friend. She breaks out of it by the end, though.
- In Once Upon a Time, flashbacks show young Regina first gets thoroughly broken, but hasn't yet turned evil. It's then revealed that Rumplestiltskin, the Mad Hatter, and Dr. Frankenstein collaborated to push her over the Despair Event Horizon, and allow Rumplestiltskin to fully corrupt her. All because he needed someone evil to cast a curse to serve his ends. The poor girl never stood a chance.
- Rumplestiltskin, of all people. All things said and done, life in the Enchanted Forest didn't exactly conspire to make his a particularly nice path. He's drafted into a war fighting awful creatures with perhaps even more awful fellow soldiers. His wife leaves him for another man. The war lasts long enough that his son becomes at risk of being drafted. Ends up in his current situation thanks to the previous Dark One pulling a gambit on him. Loses his son as a result. Loses his true love for over three decades thanks to his archrival. It's like the Enchanted Forest needed a villain and picked him. Becoming the Dark One was the root of most of what followed, though.
- The Wire features a tragic example in Randy Wagstaff. He starts out a sweet kid who wants to play with his friends and make some extra money by selling candy to other kids. After Herc lets slip that Randy is a snitch and the other kids burn his house down, injuring his foster mother, he has to go to a group home. At the group home he is abused and tortured, and when we see him again in season 5, he has become hard and violent.
- The Offspring's song "Want You Bad" is pretty much the basis of this.
- Many people have been accusing Miley Cyrus of this ever since she released her Can't Be Tamed song. The music video doesn't really help either.
- You might say that Hollywood/the entertainment industry have done this to more than a few childhood stars and starlettes, though the females seem to get more coverage and finger-wagging from the press. Something of a double-standard about virtue and innocence, probably.
- Michael Hutchence's relationship with Kylie Minogue was pretty much this: he stated that his favorite hobby was corrupting her as she was still seen as very innocent and cute at the time. In a positive twist, this didn't hurt their images at all and they remained very close friends after their breakup and up to his tragic death.
- The pro wrestling valet character Woman (played by the late Nancy Benoit) started this way. She was initially Robin Greene, a geeky fan with a crush on Rick Steiner. She eventually went to Femme Fatale Missy Hyatt for advice on how to win him over, got a sultry new makeover... and shortly afterwards, realizing the power her looks gave her, ditched him for Doom.
- Dragon Age: Origins gives players the option to "harden" (not like that!) Alistair or Leliana, two of your most idealistic, pure, good-hearted companions, after their personal quests: Alistair is told that "people are selfish and you need to look out for yourself" and Leliana is told that "despite the whole religious thing deep down you're really a killer at heart". The two of them tend to lose less approval over morally dubious acts after that, and Alistair is an interesting case: he becomes more confident at leading and a better king if he's crowned at the Landsmeet and he'll keep the Warden on in a relationship instead of dumping her if she's not a female Human Noble, but it's at the expense of Anora or a future wife and kids.
- Dragon Age II:
- Played for Laughs with Isabela's ongoing quest to corrupt Bethany and Merrill. Although not entirely straightforward - when Merrill laments how boring her life was compared to Isabella, Isabella told her that "You deserve better than what I have" (or something along those lines). On the other hand Merrill proves all too eager to be corrupted a little.
- Played for Drama and a brutal Player Punch with Anders. When he was introduced in Awakening, he was a snarky but kindhearted Lovable Rogue of a runaway mage. As of Part I of Dragon Age II, he's a devoted healer of refugees and defender of mages and Kirkwall's poor, fighting his Superpowered Evil Side. He gradually becomes more and more fanatical, paranoid, and foul-tempered as he and the former spirit of Justice, now a demon of Vengeance, corrupt each other, until finally he manipulates the Player Character into helping him blow up the Chantry and start a war in the name of mage freedom.
- "Maou" and Kyousuke both attempt it on Tsubaki in G-Senjou no Maou. They don't exactly succeed, but Tsubaki is hardly innocent by the time the game ends. Kyousuke succeeds in the bad ending to her route.
- Diablo III has this. Okay, we have this cute girl named Leah, who is arguably our main heroine whom the heroes helped all the way in the 3rd Act and thus finally sealing the last of the Seven Evils in that level. All is fine right? WROOOOOOONG! After sealing that evil being Azmodan, Tyrael wishes to destroy it but then Adria the Witch says that a proper ritual must be done. All of them (including Tyrael and our heroes) returned back to the town which turns out to be the most heart-wrenching scenes of them all. She betrays them all. She butchers the guards, binds Tyrael down so that he could not move, and then slams the Black Soulstone into the chest of Leah and thus The Lord of Terror came all the way. He is not alone, the other six came along with him and thus Tethamet got revived. The worst part for Leah is that it's implied that SHE has been corrupted to the point where she believes she is Diablo, near-absolutely unable to retain her identity and resist the influences of seven demon overlords simultaneously working together, and that her constant boasting about her forces and basically explaining to the Nephalem where to hit them is the small bit of her sanity left begging the heroes to completely obliterate her.
- In the Capcom vs. Whatever series, Morrigan Aensland has a number of win quotes where she makes comments showing an interest in this trope, paired with Double Entendre.
- Iji starts out as an Apologetic Attacker, shakily apologizing to her enemies after she kills them. Kill enough enemies, though, and this stops, and go on the warpath and start killing everything and she eventually becomes The Berserker, yelling out battle cries and variations on "YOU DIE!" instead.
- Would you believe that Jak, a young rebel with an "anger issue", a gun and willing to take out anyone who gets in his or his allies' way, was originally an adorable young boy? That's right; two years of being imprisoned and tortured with Dark Eco is enough to drastically warp an innocent teenager into someone who spends the first few days of his freedom seeking revenge.
- Sora of the Kingdom Hearts series got corrupted twice in the series (by Marluxia and Master Xehanort, respectively), both of which resulted in him being put into a coma. The trailers and interviews for Kingdom Hearts III imply that the second corruption would result in his child-like nature to vanish completely, similar to Jak (see above).
- When you're first introduced to Elizabeth in Bioshock Infinite, she is a wide-eyed, idealistic, very naive girl who is full of hope and joy. A major part of her Character Development is having that innocence chipped away, just a little at a time, until she goes from a girl who is utterly horrified by the violence that main character Booker leaves in his wake, to one willing to cut off her dead mother's hand just to get past a gate. The turning point is when she stabs Daisy Fitzroy from behind with a pair of scissors, staining her outfit with blood. When Booker later rescues her from Comstock House, her attitude on killing has gone from "heat of the moment" to being completely comfortable with premeditated murder.
- By the time of the Burial at Sea DLC, she's grown even more desensitized to utterly horrific levels of violence, glaring implacably while Comstock, whom you've been playing as this whole time, is impaled from behind by a Big Daddy. She later finds out that The Luteces arranged the situation with Daisy to turn her into a killer, which Daisy herself carried out willingly. This was so that she would possess the fortitude to do what needed to be done. What separates a girl from a woman? Blood.
- Seen twice in Bittersweet Candy Bowl, both with Daisy being corrupted by Augustus and Tess corrupting Jessica by ruining her reputation.
- The whole point of Demon Candy Parallel. In a twist, it's the females doing the corrupting.
- Ariel in Drowtales has a horrible stepmother (and possibly ruthless stepfather), and it goes downhill from there. As a result, when given the forced choice of killing a kid who tried to kill her first or face permanent disgrace from her biggest role model (third option is to duel-to-the-death a family member instead) she picks the former. Having been mentally injured from the consequence of losing her best friend who then caused the death of two innocents (in a different scenario but one she could have definitely altered), she gets angry at one of her friends for being cowardly and murders an innocent slave who was trying to protect him, just to make a point. She's still generally good, but the corruption has a noticeable effect on her actions from then on.
- Most of the cast of Ménage à 3 are enthusiastic about sex and a bit amoral, while some of the others are cute but less experienced or more confused, so it's not surprising if this is a fairly frequent source of character motivation — although it's usually all fairly good-natured and comedic. Some examples:
- Zii's offer to get Gary laid could be a case in point. It's not that Gary needs corrupting, exactly, but he needed help in getting to act on his impulses — and Zii occasionally fantasised about him becoming rather more bisexual than he himself seemed to want. Then he stunned her by developing a fairly colorful (heterosexual) sex life.
- Zii also had hopes about DiDi, although her actions there were perhaps even less systematic. In fact, it soon came to seem that DiDi had been hanging out with Zii for too long, as her capacity for good-natured mischief increased, followed by her less good-natured active pursuit of an orgasm. Admittedly, given things like her pre-existing love of cross-dressing guys and horror movies, it may not have taken much.
- Zii probably barely thought of her seduction of Sonya as "corruption"; she was just encouraging Sonya to express her bisexual side. However, the effects were much more dramatic (and less fun for Zii) than she expected. Sonya not only took to bisexuality and group sex, she became obsessed with Zii, and used increasingly amoral tactics to catch her.
- Matt may have hoped to "corrupt" Sandra, though he soon discovered that she became every bit as kinky as he wanted when she'd had a few drinks.
- The transsexual Senna made it plain from the first that her aim with regard to Gary involved making him question his sexuality — by getting him into bed. Her problem for a long time was getting to be in the same city as him, and by the time she managed that, he was a little less inexperienced than at their first meeting. But he was still cutely confused by her, and not long after she caught up with him, she was semi-accidentally getting him drunk and then getting hot and heavy with him.
- Bubbles from The Powerpuff Girls does this... twice. Once when she wanted to prove that she was HARDCORE! The other was when a Identity Amnesia made her think she was Mojo Jojo (and a more effective one at that). And again to a lesser extent when she infiltrates the Rowdyruff Boys by impersonating Boomer (although it seems he's probably more gross and suggestible than evil).
- Jimmy from Ed, Edd n Eddy. In one episode, Eddy teaches Jimmy just about everything he knows—and while Jimmy does revert back to normal at the end, he retains the knowledge he gained of trickery and whatnot and uses it against the Eds on several occasions.
- Katara of Avatar: The Last Airbender heads down this path when she has issues with the team's new ally and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to find her mother's killer with him to let out her bitter feelings. Thankfully, she gets better. But not before snapping at her friends and brother and nearly murdering her target. She also bloodbends another man she initially believes to be the killer, without any warning at all. This is a show rated TV-Y7, by the way...
- One episode of Hey Arnold! has Arnold's grandpa Phil, complete the last three years of grade school that he missed out on due to the Great Depression putting him out of school. As he enters the 6th grade, he goes from a ditzy yet amiable and lovable grandpa to a
juvenile delinquent who, along with fellow 6th graders, tags dumpsters, sneaks into PG-13 movies despite being 81, and becomes a Jerk Ass.
- Season 2 of Xiaolin Showdown had Chase Young did this to Omi. First through type A and then by kidnapping Master Fung, leaving Omi the only option to go into Ying Yang World to retrieve him and come back evil.
- An episode of KaBlam!'s Life with Loopy featured Larry working out to beat up a bully...and then the once warm-hearted kid we once new became a huge Jerk Ass.
- Terra from Teen Titans. She's introduced as a character so likeable, it doesn't take the Titans more than an episode to invite her into joining the team. However, she's persuaded by Slade into joining him, so she can gain full control over her powers. She becomes so captivated in trying to do so, while also holding a grudge against the Titans (hammered in by Slade no less), she goes as far as repeatedly attempting to kill her friends. Because of this, she's possibly the most polarizing character in the series.
- It was heavily implied that she had been damaged by rejection like before she met the Titans and Slade used that knowledge to manipulate the situation and plant the seeds of doubt in her mind.
- In the two-part season 2 premiere of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, five of the six main characters are corrupted by Discord into inverse versions of the Elements of Harmony they embody: Applejack becomes a chronic liar, Pinkie Pie becomes a laughter-hating grump, Rarity becomes a self-absorbed hoarder, Fluttershy (who Discord has to straight-up brainwash since she's far too sweet and kind to submit to his mind games) becomes a cruel brute, and Rainbow Dash abandons everyone. Twilight Sparkle, meanwhile, mostly just breaks rather than being corrupted, because her best friends are now treating her like dirt.
- In "Putting Your Hoof Down," Iron Will inadvertently accomplishes what Discord could not: make Fluttershy take a level in jerkass through words alone. After attending an assertiveness seminar when her friends point out how much of a pushover she is, the self-titled "New Fluttershy" starts resorting to physical confrontations with pretty much everyone she sees, including Pinkie Pie and Rarity, who she thinks want her to go back to being a pushover when they really just want her back to her kind old self. It's only after she sends the two running away in tears with a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech that she realizes what monster she's become, so she finds much kinder yet still effective ways of asserting herself.
- In the first season of Young Justice, Miss Martian was so sweet and innocent that it got on the nerves of some fans. In the second season (which takes place a few years later) she's become a little overly fond of using her powers to put bad guys into permanent comas. Her boyfriend, Superboy, finds out about this and gets upset, but he really becomes disgusted with her when she attempts (but fails) to erase his memories of it.