Volus: Shepard! Shepard! A moment of your time! Shepard: Can it wait? I'm trying to ensure the survival of every sentient being. Volus: I heard about that. And I think it's really cool. Anyway. I was thinking you could go and get me some artifacts. —Penny Arcade
And in the Great Mazinger VS Getter Robo movie, after destroying the monstrous Gilgilgan, Tetsuya and the Getter team shook -their robots- hands, congratulating themselves for their victory ... and then Boss Borot's head -that was the only body part had been left of it!- stumbled between them and remembered them angrily he also took part in the battle. Tetsuya and the Getter team laughed, and the former admited their plan had worked thanks to him. Boss smiled, stating it was about time someone acknowledged his talent.
Code Geass uses this trope for drama, as well as being probably the only series in existence to give a name to the reason this happens to certain characters: Schneizel el Britannia.
The first victim is Li Xingke, who has been in the service of the Empress for years. Then comes Schneizel to propose the marriage with his brother. Li even points out what a horrible mistake it is to let the guy that conquered half a continent run around in a country they're currently in at least diplomatic tensions, and knowing Britannia's expansive ideology... (not to mention letting some Knights of Rounds accompany him, too). Well, moving on, Li is sent in their strongest armor after Zero kidnaps the Empress. After a battle in which he risks his life, what do the Eunuchs do? They forget all his contributions and still want him executed! No wonder he ends up siding with Zero to defend the Empress from them, and from here, they get their just desserts. Ultimately, it is revealed that the eunuchs WANTED the marriage to go through so they would gain Britannian royalty, and that they were willing to kill off and replace the empress, who they saw as nothing more than a figurehead. When Zero publicly reveals the plan to the masses, well, let's just say they don't take it too well, and now it's the eunuchs who are being left to dry by Schneizel, who sees that they no longer represent the nation without the support of their public.
Then, the icing on the cake, Schneizel asking a discussion with the Black Knights, after knowing Lelouch would be too emotionally damaged by the supposed death of his sister, with a nuclear bomb pointing at their collective meeting place, threatening to blow it up if anything happens to him. So in just 5 minutes of on-screen time (couldn't have been more than 30 minutes in their time), the Black Knights suddenly forget how much Lelouch helped them and take Schneizel's word for it, although he has little proof on the matter except his word on it and some tapes that could have been fake. This is made worse by the fact that Schneizel is just using his charisma and has not, nor will he ever have, power of Geass, or even sufficient actual knowledge of it, leaving him to take any plausible liberty in order to sow the seeds of discord between the core knights and their leader.
Before any of this though, we have Suzaku, who spends most of the series trying to work within Britannia to change the system. Problem is, he's a low-ranking Honorary Britannian, which has him sent for cannon fodder missions for much of season one.
Sailor Moon has Minako/Sailor Venus. She's the Sailor Senshi active for the most time, stops bank robbers in her free time and single-handedly freed London from Dark Kingdom monsters (where the other Sailor Senshi were nearly killed many times, once being saved by Venus who had just returned from London). Comes second season and we find out that Sailor Venus has apparently been overshadowed by Sailor Moon and forgotten. At least in the manga she's still famous...
It didn't help that her Sailor V persona was presumed dead after one mission back in England.
Ash is still treated as an average trainer by new trainers that he meets despite the numerous accomplishments he has achieved. You would think that a guy who won against 36 Gym Leaders in 5 regions and got up into at least the top 10 in the league challenges that followed, beat the Orange League champion, defeated the Battle Frontier, has befriended and caught numerous Pokemon over his years of traveling, won numerous conventional battles and even those he lost against ended up respecting his talent, has helped out countless people who were in trouble, and on at least a dozen occasions saved the world from the wrath of legendary Pokemon would get a little recognition now and again. It seems extremely implausible that he hasn't at least gotten a few reporters asking for an interview or entered a town or two that has heard about him.
Hell, Ash was on the freaking news during the movie with Entei and the Unown. Yet nobody recognizes him. The only ones who ever really respected him were Gary after the two reconciled, his mother, and Prof. Oak.
He gets respect from some of the most important folks: Pokémon themselves, including most Legendaries. He's befriended most of them, and Ho-Oh seems to favor him, showing up to inspire him whenever he feels like quitting, as early as the first episode. So much attention from divine forces would probably make one think that his efforts were worth it. And in the 12th movie, he gains the approval of Arceus itself. That's definitely something to be proud of.
This got averted once, shortly before challenging Tucker in the Battle Dome.
Of course, Ash's stated goal is to be a "Pokémon Master", and admittedly, this term has no concrete definition, at least none given in the anime itself. Quite a lot of people might argue that he succeeded in this goal a long time ago, depending on how you interpret it, even if he doesn't believe he has.
Amuro Ray, the original Gundam pilot and hero of the One Year War, gets this in later series. What's his reward for winning the OYW and taking out lord knows how many enemy pilots (both Mooks and Aces)? The Federation confines him on Earth (in a nice mansion, but still), watches him all hours of the day, and won't let him go anywhere. Most of this is because he's a Newtype and the Federation leadership doesn't trust them as far as they can throw them...
It still happens in the novelization of Char's Counterattack, where the Federation denies Amuro's request to bring the Zeta Gundam out of storage because they don't trust such a powerful weapon in a Newtype's hands. Bear in mind, now he's not only an active Federation soldier, but the second-in-command of the special ops force that stands the best chance of defeating Char, who wants to Colony Drop the planet into a new ice age—and they still treat him like he's going to kill them all and violate their corpses.
In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Mahou Sensei Negima is treated with much less respect by his class (with the exception of maybe four or five out of thirty-odd students) than the average teacher, let alone one who has reached the position at an age when said students were still in primary school, let alone one who has become one of the most powerful mages alive.
Asuna is a particularly annoying example, downplaying his accomplishments constantly while giving her classmates credit for lesser achievements. (Even acting at multiple points as if she were a stronger combatant, despite her power being awakened by him in the first place)
It seems he's finally gotten the respect he deserves (from the nations of Magicus Mundus, at least) after he stopped Fate from erasing everyone. And although a lot of his students still call him Negi-bozu, it seems to have become a friendly nickname rather than a deliberate show of disrespect.
The Straw Hat Pirates fall to this quite a bit. Of course, it's granted since they ARE pirates, and most of the time the people don't even know it was them in the first place, and if they do it's usually because of their wanted posters.
Chopper, in particular, when he gets his first wanted poster, is appalled to find that the Navy has classed him as the Srtaw Hats' pet, and given him a bounty of 50. To compare, the second-lowest bounty in the crew at the time was 16,000,000.
Subverted when they get to Fishman Island and the Fishman Princes are looking for them, but not to arrest them, to deliver a message from their mutual friend Jinbe and invite them back to the Royal Castle.
Even prior to this, after the Time Skip, we find that the Straw Hat Pirates built up enough of fame/infamy that weaker pirates have started impersonating them to take advantage of their reputation.
Jonouchi has had several amazing victories over cheaters, put up a tremendous fight against the duelists he lost against, and helped save the world several times. Yet, everyone treats him like a joke or has no idea who he is. He even defeated Marik before anyone else did (taking a direct hit from Ra, something even he doesn't know how he survived), he technically lost the duel because he succumbed to exhaustion at the last second from the shadow game, but he was literally one move away from ending the arc on his own. (Actually, that may have been the one time Kaiba said anything about him may have come close to a compliment.)
It's not just dueling that makes him stand out. He's one of the most selfless guys in the series, taking some of the most dangerous risks to help Yugi, his sister, and Mai.
To make this worse, Jonouchi is almost always called a loser by folks like Haga, Ryuzaki, and Johnson, even after he beats them. (In Johnson's case, underestimating him was a mistake that cost him his life.) These guys clearly have an odd way of defining "loser". The fact that he's faced more blatant cheaters on the series than anyone else (a crime often seen as unforgivable in most cases in this series) and won only emplifies this.
He even got this from the writers (well, dub writers) in one case. In a Yu-Gi-Oh! GX story, a group of scientists were using technology to teach a monkey how to duel. Its name in the original version made sense: SAL, or "Super Animal Learning", but the dub changed the name to "Wheeler", Jonouchi's dub name. (In the original, a "dueling monkey" is slang for a bad duelist, and an insult often directed towards Jonouchi by Kaiba.) The episode here never specifically said they had him in mind, but but it was obvious. Of course, the scientists wanted it to be a good duelist, but that didn't seem to matter.) Possibly the humor was added to draw viewers' attention away from the also-obvious fact that the experiment detailed here was clearly cruelty to animals, but that's kind of a stretch.
He does get a little respect, however, just not much that he knows about. The biggest was probably from Pegasus himself in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, where he said, in a flashback scene, that he considered Jonouchi the third-best duelist he had encountered. (Still behind Kaiba, but seeing as Kaiba won on the two occasions they dueled each other, it makes sense.) Pegasus invented the game, so a guy can't help but trust his opinion here.
Another Yu-Gi-Oh! example that spans the entire franchise is... Kuriboh. Seriously. From Kaiba on down, it's hard to find a rival, antagonist, or villain who is willing to describe the little guy with an adjective better than "worthless", despite the fact that, time and time again, it and its many variations have protected its owners from monsters with godlike powers, saving them and the world as a whole from certain doom each time. (The worst part about this is, some of these folks use monsters that are, if you compare the numbers, even weaker than a Kuriboh, showing incredible hypocrisy in their words.)
Barnaby: Don't tell me you actually want some praise, too!
In Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai!, Kyousuke goes through great lengths to help Kirino's secret hobby become accepted by their father and her best friend Ayase. He also helps her to meet Saori and Kuroneko, which she forms a strong bond with and would never have met on her own. And even though he didn't really want to, he plays the gal games and eroge that Kirino dumps on him. Despite this and more, she still treats him like dirt for the most part.
In Berserk, Guts went through some pretty damn far lengths in order to help Griffith achieve his dream, up to and including doing some Dirty Work that had a pretty deepemotional impact on Guts. Despite all that he did, Griffith never really had the nerve to consider Guts a true friend, since in his eyes a true friend went after their own dream and wouldn't be a lackey to someone else's (which is a stab at the entire Band of the Hawk). After hearing this, Guts eventually gets fed up with Griffith looking down on him and up and leaves the Hawks, ironically having to defeat Griffith after he was acting very yandere-ish toward him. The sad part in this was that Guts was going to come back someday in the hopes that he and Griffith would become true friends. That would never to be.
The Jersey Club in Rinne no Lagrange spends most of their time wandering around helping other clubs, rescuing drowning children, and...what was that last thing? Oh, right: repeatedly saving the town and/or planet from annihilation at the hands of alien invaders. But, despite knowing all of this, the student council tries to take their teensy clubroom away because they're technically not an official club. They try to recruit a fourth member because 3 is too few for a club—rules are rules, apparently—but most people dismiss them as weirdos (even though the clubmembers are usually very popular), and they only manage to get one prodigious Dojikko who quits by the end of the episode.
Kamijou Touma has saved countless numbers of lives, saved Academy City in a few instance, and saved the entire world on more than one occasion. Despite this, the second the trouble is over, he's back to being lucks Butt Monkey. Usuaully signified when Index shows up and gives him the usual bite on the head.
The Survey Corps in Attack on Titan are the most active and experienced in the war against the Titans and has a higher kill count than the other two divisions combined, but the Military Police and some civilians look down on them, calling them a waste of resources and a bunch of lunatics and weirdos.
Probably because he appears as a stuffed toy, no one in the office gives Kenzou, the manager of Servant × Service's welfare office proper respect.
Saki and her teammates on the Kiyosumi mahjong team often gets this, despite having advanced far in the tournament. The media tend to focus on Nodoka who, despite her accomplishments in the middle school tournament the previous year, isn't as good as Saki, and there are those who would claim that Nodoka's breasts are the only reason she gets attention. In the first round of the quarterfinals of the tournament, one reporter gets chewed out by his colleague for even considering giving an interview to Yuuki, and he's told that Nagano is a weak prefecture.
This often crosses with Hero with Bad Publicity. Empowered often finds that her moments of saving her Super Homeys' butts are often ignored for their chance of taking yet another potshot at her fragile suit.
Used as Character Development in Astro City. Confessor's Kid Sidekick Altar Boy holds his father in contempt because he worked as a doctor despite being stiffed by his patients and died with no respect, and wants to be a superhero because they are respected. After watching Confessor through a period where superheroes do not get any respect, he realizes his warped priorities and that his father had acted nobly.
One of the (many) complaints against the MarvelCivil War series: superheroes had been saving the World for over a decade. Then when ONE questionable incident happens, the public turns against ALL of them and the government is happy to hunt them down. Said fans forget that this is far from the first questionable incident between all the mind control, Heroic BSOD, Face-Heel Turn, impostors and so forth.
As a matter of fact, this is the public of the Marvel Universe! If anything, that makes it almost predictable.
The Amazing Spider-Man, from the very beginning, as he was conceived as the first hero with everyday problems. This is so frequent that some (including other superheroes) joke that it's one of his superpowers. Luckily he does have a number of fans (how often they show up depends on the writer however), and most of the other heroes, at least nowadays, do show him considerable respect.
The The DCU reboot of Aquaman turns him into this. Every person he meets has apparently watched the Superfriends and taken it for a documentary, and his abilities are constantly and openly doubted and he's asked insulting questions about mockable aspects of the character that, in the comics universe, have now never been the case.
Sonic from the Archie comic book adaptions has occasionally run into this, where despite his numerous acts of heroism, King Charles and Geoffrey St. John treat him with no respect and have no interest sending him out on missions, despite that he has list of heroic acts that would take too long to list.
In recent years, Captain Britain. Despite being the UK's most well known superhero, leader of Britain's biggest superhero team, and basically in charge of policing the multiverse, a position of responsibility to make the Green Lantern Corps look like a couple of mall cops, he's often finding himself a punchline to mean-spirited jokes by some of themoreJerkass Avengers. Subverted with Hawkeye though; when the two were on the Secret Avengers together, they ended up getting a big Bromance going.
Despite the fact that for years, they were the only superhero team in Los Angeles, the Runaways were constantly threatened with forced dissolution by Tony Stark and the other Avengers. During the events of Civil War, Maria Hill, presumably acting with Tony Stark's approval, actually authorized plans to use deadly force on Victor Mancha and send the alien members of the group to a brutal prison. This treatment continued until the two-part "Homecoming" arc in Avengers Academy, in which the Runaways won enough sympathy from the Academy students that Hank Pym decided it would be better to make a deal with them instead of trying to force them to dissolve.
Hey everybody! It's me, your beloved Deadpool! Wait, what am I doing on this page? Everybody loves me! Like Spider-Mannote who has never thought of me as nothing but a soulless serial killer; but then, he kinda thinks that about anyone willing to use lethal force, and Wolverinenote y'know, except for that Reason You Suck Speech he gave me in Uncanny X-Force and kicked me off the team, and even Squirrel Girlnote it's not like she constantly addresses me as "evil, evil man"...and even if she did it wouldn't be hurtful, so yeah...everyone...(sniff)...can I get a hug?
In Grimms'Ferdinand the Faithful, after being slandered, Ferdinand must get a bride for the king and then all the things she demands before she will marry him. However, in the end, the bride tricks the king into letting her kill him, and then marries Ferdinand.
In "The Grateful Beasts", the king orders Ferko to perform three tasks at the incitement of his brothers; his own daughter the princess argues with him until he imprisons her in a tower. However, the last task is to summon all the wolves in the kingdom, the wolves then proceed to kill all the court, and Ferko frees the princess, marries her, and becomes king.
In Esben and the Witch, whenever Esben succeeds in a task, his enemy at court incites the king to give him another, and the king is only too willing to listen.
In the Manhattanverse, where Twilight went to the city of Manehattan, this is averted completely. Unlike in canon, the Manehattan Six are shown to receive enormous recognition for their deeds. Trixie gets an award for fixing the broken wheel of the mayor's cart. In fact, this fame becomes a plot point when Trixie's mother, a noblemare uses her aristocratic privileges to force her to live with her again, since as the Element of Laughter, she is a tool to increase her family's power.
Film - Animation
This is actually the driving force behind Wreck-It Ralph's plot: Ralph, the villain of Fix-It Felix Jr., is constantly snubbed by the NPCs of the game, the Nicelanders, on account of that he's the bad guy, even though that's just his job and it technically makes him the second most important person in the game. And having this done to him for thirty years starts to wear on him, to the point where he's willing to take on a dare and game hop to win that respect.
A significant part of Monsters University, where Mike works hard to search for appreciation for his Scaring intellect despite lacking ability.
Film - Live Action
In Forrest Gump, Lt. Dan wanted to die in combat, so naturally, he doesn't take living with amputated legs too well. And watching Forrest receive a Medal of Honor from the President himself sure didn't help.
Lt. Dan: "They gave you the Congressional Medal of Honor."
Forrest: "That's Lt. Dan ďż˝" [turns around and sees Lt. Dan] "Lt. Dan!"
Lt. Dan: "They gave you the Congressional Medal of Honor!"
Forrest: "Yes sir, they sure did."
Lt. Dan: "They gave you, an imbecile, a moron who goes on television and makes a fool out himself in front of the whole damn country, the Congressional Medal of Honor?!"
Forrest: "Yes, sir."
Lt. Dan: "Well, then, that's just perfect! Yeah, well I just got one thing to say to that. Goddamn bless America."
In The Hebrew Hammer, the title character has saved Hanukkah, and has dinner with his stereotypical Jewish Mother, who's been berating him the whole film for not being a doctor. She actually is proud, just playing it up.
Mrs. Carver: So you saved Hanukkah! It's not even one of the High Holy Days!
Played for Drama by Salieri in Amadeus; Salieri is insanely jealous of Mozart and fears that his own musical contributions are being forgotten. In reality Antonio Salieri was famous in his own time as a highly-regarded composer whose contributions to music are still recognized today. In addition to introducing opera to the Viennese court and setting the stage for the development of German opera, Salieri was responsible for teaching (among others) Beethoven, Schubert, and Liszt. Even Mozart himself acknowledged Salieri's talent.
Regarding Jane Foster's motivation in Thor, her actress, Natalie Portman, explained that her theories about connecting dimensions have her being looked down by the scientific community. If the post-credits scene is anything to go by, she finally got it.
Natalie Portman: Everyone thinks she’s on the fringe of science and that she’s this kook, so this is her opportunity to prove herself.
Janine/Giannine from Heir Apparent is a victim of this: in order to advance in the virtual world game, she has to go on quests and help everybody to win their approval; and even though she eventually succeeds in winning the guards' and her half-brothers' respect, she just can't seem to please the queen.
Benjamin Weaver from A Conspiracy of Paper also suffers from this as well. He helps his clients retrieve what has been stolen from them and all he gets in return is racist remarks and scorn just because he's a Jew.
The Great Gatsby. In a subversion, the narrator eventually realizes that for all his faults, Gatsby is still better than the Upperclass Twits who dismiss him as nouveau-riche.
This happens so many times in the Star Wars Expanded Universe that it's not even funny. Luke and Leia in particular get accused many times of trying to take over the government they helped create. No matter how many times they (or their families... or Jedi in particular...) save the world, whoever's in charge blames everything on them or the Jedi. Leia has actually been accused of trying to seize power just like Darth Vader. This is the same woman that originally didn't want to have children out of fear that they'd become Sith.
The White Council of The Dresden Files, towards the title character. No matter how far backwards he bends, they still think he's going to go warlock on them without a second's notice. Ultimately, Harry is a maverick at best, hardly the way to win the respect of a very conservative organization. Honestly though, wouldn't you be a little paranoid about a guy who can control an undead T-Rex?
Played straight and then later subverted: Sherlock Holmes was treated like this by the official police in the early part of his career. Gradually, however, his track record won them over and they began according him respect. In one story ("The Adventure of the Six Napoleons"), Inspector Lestrade even tells him that they are extremely proud of him at Scotland Yard, and every officer in the building would be glad to shake his hand if he came to visit.
As part of the deconstructive tone of the Sherlock TV series, while Sherlock is something of a celebrity to the general public, most of the police don't exactly like him, since his successes are literally incredible. That, coupled with his abrasive and condescending personality. It's implied that he would have more success with them if he chose to be a bit less of a bell-end.
In The Clone Empire by Steven L. Kent, the main character had previously rescued an entire planet from a race of hostile aliens who had occupied it and were on the verge of rendering it uninhabitable, thus killing everyone. The locals are not very grateful. "Yeah, good job saving us all from certain death, then committing your engineers to rebuilding our cities, restoring power, and giving us food and water. Now would you kindly get the hell off our planet, you sick, violent brute? Oh, and we're taking your engineers too. Toodles!"
In the Star Trek: Voyager Relaunch, Chakotay gives a truly epic one to Counsellor Cambridge, accusing Starfleet Command of almost criminal negligence in its treatment of the Voyager crew. Despite everything they did and their loyal service throughout their time in the alpha quadrant, Starfleet still doesn't trust them (or so Chakotay suggests) simply because they didn't participate in the Dominion War. Instead, they're given ridiculously easy missions like escort duty, and viewed with suspicion by the admiralty. Chakotay bitterly insists that they've never been appreciated and that he's tired of people who are only alive because he bled for them judging and harassing him.
The title character of Harry Potter is turned on by Hogwarts students and the wizarding world in general at the drop of a hat, despite Harry having saved both several times.
A Song of Ice and Fire has literally hundreds of named characters. Here is a list of those who respect Tyrion Lannister: Jon Snow, Bronn, Jaime Lannister, Garlan Tyrell, Maester Aemon... and that's it. This is a very intelligent man who is directly responsible for protecting King's Landing from Stannis, schemed his way out of captivity (multiple times), survived two battles despite being a dwarf, and is basically one of the most intelligent, decent people in the whole damn series.
Stannis himself suffers from this; during the rebellion he held his older brother Robert's seat at Storm's End against a siege for almost the entire rebellion, (which went on for two years) subsisting on rats and leather boots before Davos showed up. How does his brother thank him? By claiming that Ned Stark deserved all the credit for lifting the siege and giving the castle over to their youngest brother Renly, a little kid who did absolutely nothing of note during the war. Robert then sent him off to capture the remaining Targaryens on Dragonstone, and berated him when they escaped at the last minute. This does not amuse Stannis.
Monstrous Regiment has an especially cruel one: The Ragtag Band of Misfits has managed to survive in the wilderness for days, evaded capture by the enemy multiple times, break into the Keep and free the imprisoned Borogravian soldiers, thus turning the tide of the war...but none of it stops them from being arrested and thrown in the same dungeon they freed the soldiers from, just because they were all women and women aren't allowed to be soldiers.
In Veronica Mars, Veronica overcomes or utterly humiliates the Rich Bitch, Jerk Jock, or local idiot sheriffevery single episode, but they're right back to acting completely dismissive of her the next day, often reaching the point of Bullying a Dragon. It's like they want her to dig up their deep personal secrets. Lampshaded by Veronica in the series finale: "After all these years, do you not instinctively fear me? Maybe you should write yourself a note."
In Rome: when Titus Pullo leaves the XIIIth legion, and come back to participate in Caesar's triumph, he is rejected because he does not work anymore with them, and they start calling him "citizen" in order to show him that he is not part of the military elite anymore. For a man who participated in the war of the Gauls and saved Caesar's ambitions a couple of time, that is, to say the least, a little rude. Averted later when Mark Antony, who became the de facto ruler of Rome, treats Pullo with respect when he meets him.
Psych: Every week Shawn solves, or helps the police solve, seemingly intractable cases using strange methods. And every week, he gets identical hostility from Lassiter, firm skepticism from Da Chief and complete reluctance from Jules.
Gus points this out in the season four finale after Da Chief calls one of Shawn's theories "nonsensical." As he says, "You know, I think our track record speaks for itself."
This is especially bad coming from Lassiter. Yes, he and Shawn constantly needle each other, but every time Lassiter offhandedly dismisses Shawn's methods in favor of "real police work," somebody should remind him how Shawn got him off the hook for a murder charge (exposing a Corrupt Cop in the process).
Though this is mainly because he acts like an utter whiny little brat every time he appears.
Well, he does eventually get together with Jules.
There's also the fact that his dad (a retired cop) who wants Shawn to be a real cop, not a fake psychic, dismissing all his solved cases as if it was child's play.
Gets a little frustrating in NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS and JAG. Nerds like Eric, early season McGee and 2nd/3rd season Bud get teased a lot by the Action Hero main characters. All very funny, but they seem to forget the nerds showing loyalty and sacrifices for the other characters.
Notably in NCIS:LA, Sam calls Eric and asks him to show up in the middle of the night to analyze a dead body, no questions asked—and proceeds to mock his pajamas.
This comes up a lot in Merlin, where the eponymous character is a powerful warlock who has saved Camelot more than once and saved Arthur more times than we can count, but since magic is banned on pain of death, he has to keep it a secret. He's Arthur's manservant, and the two share a very vitriolicfriendship, so he gets plenty of humiliating tasks on a regular basis. Though it's usually Played for Laughs, it can be surprisingly poignant at times.
Merlin: I just want Arthur to trust me. And to see me for who I really am.
Gaius: One day, he will.
Merlin: When? Everything I do is for him, and he just thinks I'm an idiot.
Over time, Arthur does come to respect Merlin's opinion and occasionally admits what a good friend Merlin has been. Doesn't stop them from being Vitriolic Best Buds, though.
On The X-Files, every time Mulder presented Scully with his theory for what was going on in their current case, she would automatically dismiss it, even after he'd been proven right nearly every time. Most of the time Mulder was OK with this, saying that Scully's skepticism kept him on his toes. Sometimes, however, he'd get fed up with it and say something like "How often have I been wrong?" To which Scully just gives him a look and implied "Do I have to remind you?" question, because he would be wrong at times or it wasn't all that clear what had happened.
The original Doctor Who series has this to the point of nausea. No matter how many times the Doctor would save planets, galaxies, and even the very fabric of reality, no-one thought of him as anything other than a meddling madman, if they had even heard of him at all. Even UNIT, who have extensive knowledge of the dozens of times the Doctor has pulled their butts from the metaphorical fire, treat him like a walking hazard (which he is, but still), while his fellow Time Lords consider him to be just as dangerous as renegades like the Master. Indeed, one of the major ways the new series departs from the original is going in the precise opposite direction, with the Doctor regarded throughout time and space as a Shrouded in MythPerson of Mass Destruction who can make a sapient, carnivorous swarm retreat simply by telling it who he is. Singlehandedly wiping out the two most powerful civilizations in all of time and space at once will do that.
No matter how many times Buffy saved Sunnydale High from not just vampires, but bug people, evil robots, invisible people, fish monsters, nightmares come alive, ghosts, reanimated corpses, werewolves, and ancient evil abominations, most of the school populace treated her as a Cool Loser at best. However, this was subverted toward the end of the third season at the prom, where the entire graduating class gave their thanks to Buffy for saving them multiples times. And this was right after saving them from some hellhounds, too.
Eureka's Sheriff Carter has to solve dozens of life-threatening, town-threatening, and/or world-threatening scenarios before people start taking him seriously.
It pretty much has to do with the fact that, in a town full of geniuses, he has an average IQ (his offer to fix a boiler gets rejected on the grounds that this task requires a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics). However, his street smarts save the day more than he can count.
Michael Bluth from Arrested Development gets this in spades from his own family. This is probably to be expected given how immature and self-absorbed they are. You can hardly blame him for taking his son and abandoning them in the series finale.
Fabian from House of Anubis. Despite the fact that he does much of the research and saved most of this friends from danger on numerous occasions, he has been continuously pushed around by everyone, most notably his own crush and (ex) girlfriend, Nina Martin. It gets to the point where he struggles to be more assertive and demand his respect for the things he does for the others, resulting in this one line:
Nina: *Looking at the formally lost artifact/cube Fabian brought back* Where did you find it?
Fabian: Jasper said he found it at the school. Good thing as well, other wise we might have lost it for good.
Nina: But how did it get from here to there?
Fabian: I... I don't know. *Pause* Why don't you ask the cube? Maybe it speaks and answers questions since you have so many!
Nina: *Glares at Fabian*
Fabian: I... I'm sorry. It's back now... that's the important thing. You could have said thank you, at least.
Three different characters have this in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Batiatus who despite being very cunning and having some of the best gladiators around is still seen beneath standing; Ashur who faithful serves Batiatus' ludus and brings it to glory, but is treated with contempt by the gladiators (Batiatus at least recognized his skills); and Glaber who learns that despite being a Preator with a powerful army, is not liked or respected by anyone. This leads to Ashur doing a Then Let Me Be Evil, and all three tend to react the same way to this: murder whoever did it.
That said, with Ashur and Glaber it makes a certain amount of sense. Ashur was very cunning, and a master manipulator, but a weak combatant. The gladiators who only respect fighting skills, view his manipulations and backstabbing with disgust. Glaber wasn't very intelligent, and enough of a dick that's it no real surprise no one liked him.
Crichton of Farscape fame gets this quite a bit early on, even though he saves the day at least Once an Episode. Eventually, though, the members of Moya's crew become close friends and respect each other more. Even after the crew have become True Companions by the end of the first season, Crichton still gets this treatment. A good example occurs mid-season 2 when Aeryn is giving John a flying lesson:
Aeryn: (mildly annoyed) Would you like to learn how to do this, or are you content to continually display your ineptitude?
John: (mildly annoyed back) My ineptitude? You mean my improvisation - the kind that bails your sorry military—
3 Doors Down 's famous career-making single "Kryptonite" features a narrator who uses the character of Superman as an allegory for how he feels like someone in his life or perhaps the people in his life in general make him feel this way by taking everything he does for granted. The narrator points out that he works hard to do things that the person/people he is addressing want him to do, essentially becoming their Superman despite their lack of acknowledgement. He notes that he really doesn't mind the work, but it's the lack of appreciation that leaves him extremely frustrated. Still, he will always stand by the song's subject with all of his might. He also wonders if when he's doing well and being strong whether the person(s) will still be there for him, as Brad Arnold says:
"It's not just asking, ďż˝If I fall down, will you be there for me?ďż˝ Because it's easy to be there for someone when they're down. But it's not always easy to be there for somebody when they're doing good. And that's the question it's asking. It's like, ďż˝If I go crazy, will you still call me Superman?ďż˝ It's asking, ďż˝If I'm down, will you still be there for me?ďż˝ But at the same time, ďż˝If I'm alive and well, will you be there holding my hand?ďż˝ That's kind of asking, ďż˝If I'm doing good, will you be there for me? Will you not be jealous of me?ďż˝ That's the basic question that song's asking, and maybe throughout the years of singing that song, I might have come up with more meanings for it than it actually might have originally had."
If you're wondering why All the love that you long for eludes you And people are rude and cruel to you I'll tell you why You just haven't earned it yet, baby You just haven't earned it, son You just haven't earned it yet, baby You must suffer and cry for a longer time
Hercules was originally sentenced to ten labors, but the king ruled out two of them and sentenced him to two more.
That wasn't due to lack of respect. It was because he hated him. Most of the Labors were designed with the intent to kill him, humiliate him, or just make his life miserable, and the guy would use any excuse he could find to prolong the thing.
The Trojan princess Hesione was Chained to a Rock to appease a sea monster set loose because the king of Troy had cheated the gods of their payment for building the walls of Troy. Hercules rescued her. Whereupon the king of Troy tried to cheat ''him''. Hercules, however, did not take it quietly but sacked Troy.
This is actually a fairly common trope in Greek myth. A king would try to kill a hero, either out of personal vendetta, fear of a prophecy, or as a favor to another king. But the king would learn of this need after receiving the hero into his household, and the code of hospitality (xenia) of the time forbade him from killing a guest. So the king would set the hero on some impossible task (usually "kill this monster"), which the hero would feel obligated to complete because of the responsibilities of a guest under the same code, hoping the hero would die in the attempt. He usually didn't.
Even Jesus gets hit with this one: "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household." (Matthew 13:57)
In Dino Attack RPG, Andrew "Pyro" Jackson felt this way during the Final Battle. After helping the Dino Attack Team retake LEGO Island and Gold City, he is rewarded by his teammates telling him to shut up and put some clothes on. Given that he was running around in his underwear and shouting loudly into the radio, while his daughter was posing as him so no one recognized him as agent Pyro, the lack of respect was justified, though.
"For ever hero commemorated, a thousand martyrs die, unmourned and unremembered."
The controversial Fall of Medusa V global campaign of 2006 provides a meta-example. The results of various worldwide tournaments were submitted to determine the fate of the planet Medusa V. The Space Marines and Imperial Guard lost a good majority of their battles; the former due to Space Marines being the usual go-to army for novice players, and the latter because they were consistently bottom-tier. However, the Space Marines were (and still are) far and away the most popular army of the game, and seeing a Space Marine defeat as a serious setback to the brand's image, Games Workshop declared that even though the Space Marines and Imperial Guard lost the majority of their battles, they were still the canon winners of the campaign on moral groundsnote They claim that the Space Marines won the space battles, and while the planet was lost to heresy, the Space Marines managed to evacuate most of the civilian population before leaving. Understandably, the players of the other factions were less than pleased.
In Ajax, the main character's anger is slightly more understandable relative to his culture where self-worth is based on publicly received respect. Odysseus wins Achilles' armor through persuasion, but Ajax, the greatest warrior on the Greek side, has reason to think he deserved it more. He goes on a rampage over this issue.
After having convinced all guests at a high society ball (including a linguistics expert) that she is a foreign princess, former flower seller Eliza Doolittle is very disappointed when all the credit is given to Professor Higgins.
Roger Wilco in Space Quest saves the universe not one, but several times, thwarting alien invasions and evil corporations, but he often gets some minimal praise at the end of each episode, only to find himself again as a humble space janitor, still treated as crap, in the next one.
Space Quest 6 starts with Roger getting demoted from Captain back to Janitor Second Class. Why? Because, in the course of saving the universe from "pukoid" monsters, he was forced to destroy a StarCon ship, commandeer the StarCon flagship, and get together with a StarCon ambassador (who's destined to be his wife anyway). The only reason he's not Thrown Out the Airlock is because he's a very good janitor.
Of course, this has a lot to do with the fact that while Roger can save the universe when he has too, he seems to be a slacker and a moocher when he's not doing so, and drives his co-workers crazy.
People should learn that messing or inconveniencing Kazuma Kiryu, protagonist of the Yakuza series, is a bad idea, but they still do it anyway. It actually takes a measure of suspension of disbelief to swallow the fact that so many gangsters are willing to pick a fight with him considering his reputation. In fact, the only gangster so far to actually admit how badass Kazuma is is Nagahama in Yakuza: Dead Souls, who freely admits that he may be a gangster and he may be tough... but he's no Kazuma Kiryu.
Nowhere is it more obvious then in Fallout 3. There, a DJ will constantly tell tales of your exploits, along with giving you a nickname or title based on your level and karma. Now, if you have good karma, it makes perfect sense for people to bother you with whatever problem they have: They know you've helped others, why wouldn't you help them? The joke comes when you have bad karma, no reason is given why people will come to you for help, or why the guards don't simply SHOOT YOU on sight, knowing all too well that whatever business you have in town, it's not going to be good (you're the only guy in the wasteland with a Pipboy on his arm so it's not like you're hard to identify). And of course, 90% of the people will treat you like a bag of shit, no matter if you are the best thing that has happened to them or a dangerous, homicidal nutso who could snap from the slightest insult and bash the insulter's head in without a bit of remorse.
It doesn't matter if you're level 2 or level 20, the Brotherhood of Steel and the Outcasts will still treat you like a n00b who shouldn't even be allowed to handle a gun, even if you took out squad after squad of Super Mutants with a shotgun while wearing leather armor while they're struggling along with power armor and miniguns. For the Brotherhood of Steel, at least, this is perfectly in character.
Finally, with the Broken Steel DLC, after the final story quest, you become an honored member of the BoS after the activation of Project Purity and, a few hours later, they celebrate you as a hero after blowing up the Adams Air Force base, where the remaining forces of the Enclave were stationed.
There is an aversion: A certain quest line involves you writing a survival guide for life in the wasteland. You can do the research as seriously as you want, and the end result varies from the book being a joke to being a bible containing all you need to live in a post-nuclear wasteland. Later you can meet someone who's read the book and recognizes you, his reaction will be appropriate to the effort you put in the book, from saluting you as a survival guru to calling you a joke.** While Fallout: New Vegas partially averts this (the major factions are willing to go as far as pardoning all your crimes against them just for the opportunity to offer you a job), this is played to the hilt for minor factions and independent NPCs until you do their quests, with the exception of the Powder Gangers (a gang of ex-cons turned raiders), who will alternatively send a messenger offering a ceasefire between you and their gang if you kill enough of them.
"Thank you for disarming the nuclear bomb threatening our town and saving us all... HEY! Don't you dare look at my fridge, you thieving scumsucker!"
Very much present in Black & White, where, despite being a god, you must perform fairly menial tasks like finding someone's sheep or throwing rocks.
Well, considering that you're only a god for as long as someone prays for you to help them, this makes sense.
Justified in that the game is a Perspective Flip. If any deity is present out there, that deity would probably look upon all of our world problems as "a rock has rolled into my lovely garden".
In Blazing Angels 1 and two, over time, your service record indicates hundreds of aircraft destroyed, thousands of vehicles blown up, and dozens of ships sent to Davy Jones Locker, and stopping entire enemy offensives single-handedly, and in the endgame, your final objective, destroying an elite German jet squadron, has them taunting you. You've destroyed a twentieth of the Axis air force, a Panzer army, and a quarter of the Japanese Navy, and they STILL INSULT YOU? Granted, in the sequel, the game makes up the excuse that you are in a top secret elite squadron who has experimental equipment, and you get all of the nation's top awards, but that doesn't cover up the fact that you destroyed enough enemy units to make up the campaign record of an air force.
In Grand Theft Auto III, by the time you reach the third section of Liberty Island, you've assassinated the heads of The Mafia and the Yakuza, you've completely obliterated the Triads, and you've severely damaged the drug smuggling operation of the Colombian drug cartel. You've also probably killed hundreds to thousands of people and caused millions of dollars' worth of damage to the city. In Real Life, you'd be the most notorious criminal ever to set foot in the city country, but that doesn't seem to hold much sway with the Red Jacks street gang, who want you to join them in drive-bys and street brawls.
It was so ridiculous that the sequel Vice City almost completely averted it. Only the Haitians are still a problem by the end of the game. Not a huge problem either, a minor annoyance with weak guns at best.
Golden Sun: The Lost Age has this trope in the beginning. In the Tower of the Sea God next to the first town, a boy is trapped on a high ledge and his friend cannot get him down. Even though you save the kid with the Lash Psynergy, both boys coldly thank you and are more concerned about eating something instead of being grateful you didn't leave the kid to starve to death.
In Dark Dawn, TLA's hero Felix is a Hero with Bad Publicity, if he's mentioned at all, while Isaac is a celebrity for triggering the Golden Sun event and saving the world... which was Felix's mission alongside the Mars Clan. Who are likewise never mentioned. It's clearly an in-universe case of Unreliable Narrator.
Meanwhile, Matthew and his friends apparently invoke this trope by being low-key about being the children of the famous Warriors of Vale (and Kalay and Imil). Amiti only finds out who they are after he's been traveling with them for a while, and his reaction is rather amusing (especially since he's no stranger to celebrity himself).
In the Pine Valley level of World in Conflict, Captain Bannon begs for your help in repairing one of his damaged vehicles. When you do so, he berates you for taking too long, no matter how fast you do it, thanks to his Jerkass personality.
In Mass Effect, much is made of the fact that the protagonist is the first human Spectre... unfortunately, no one you talk to quite holds you in the same regard and are all too happy to demand that you help them perform all kinds of menial, unethical and even sometimes illegal tasks despite your supposedly being Earth's poster boy/girl. And before you were Earth's poster boy/girl, you were a high-ranking military officer, so you didn't exactly jump ranks. All things considered, the title of Spectre comes off almost like a "KICK ME" sign.
No matter how many favors you do for the Council, and no matter how often you are proven right, they still refuse to believe anything you say. Even in the second game, after you saved them. If you sacrificed the original alien Council and let Udina assemble an all-human one, they'll refuse to even reinstate you as a Spectre. (Then again, it's Udina we're talking about.)
Honestly, by the middle of the second game, it's ridiculous that there's any conflict at all outside of the Collectors - Shepard has shown him/herself to be the most hard boiled, unstoppable killing force in the galaxy for whom death is not a problem.
When you bring Liara for a nice chat at the end of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, Shepard can admit to her that everyone keeps jumping at the chance to get his/her help and it pretty much wears him/her down.
Mass Effect is actually better about this than most series. With most of the sidequests, it's Shepard that offers to listen to their problems, and it's Shepard who offers to help them. They don't just demand that (s)he drop what (s)he's doing for their trivial problems. And most of the time, they are pretty grateful once you've completed their tasks.
Mass Effect 3 finally averts this, what with the Reapers knocking down the galaxy's front door and Shepard basically being given the most right to an "I told you so" ever. Almost every sidequest is simply overheard whilst Shepard roams around, and the few people that actually tell Shepard to do something (such as Aria T'Loak) are revered badasses, old friends, or both. People will also frequently point out who Shepard is and how s/he deserves some respect.
Of course, even then, Shepard has to build his reputation with a reputation mechanic and while the Council finally believes him, they won't help him right away.
Even Aria's mission comes with a benefit to the cause. If you help her get the support of the three groups, she promises to use them to fight the Reapers. The forces she gives you this way are actually worth more to the final battle than what most entire races can commit, and if you finish her DLC as well she's your most powerful single alliance.
Also, during the mission where the Citadel is under attack by Cerberus, when you are trying to protect the council from assassins, Udina tries to convince the others that YOU are the assassin, since he is the actual traitor. If you saved the salarian councilor earlier, the asari councilor will side with you, saying that you have been right every time up til now.
In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you can be the freakin' Archmage and everyone in town will still treat you like J. Random Peasant. And even if you helped the emperor's heir save the world or something, you still have to start as an Apprentice in the Mage's Guild or an Amateur in the Fighter's Guild with others treating you like crap. Later averted, though; when you complete the main story, people will shower you with praise when they see you. And if you are the Arch-Mage, the mages at the Arcane U show proper respect.
The former can create moments of hilarity due to the limited dialogue options in the game. For instance, if you sneak up on a pair of bandits, you might hear them singing your praises (literally, in some cases) as they banter with each other. But that won't stop them from trying to kill you the moment they lay eyes on you.
Played with in Knights of the Nine, the expanded content mission, where you require the approval of a prophet before going on a crusade for the gods. Boast of doing good deeds and he'll just mock you and refuse to help you; you have to either be humble, or confess to (i.e. boast about) evil you've done to gain his help.
Doubly subverted in the Shivering Isles expansion pack. After taking the mantle of the Madgod, most of the realm's populace, including the haughty guards, will express their respect/reverence to you, and you cannot be arrested for crime (though you still have to pay the fine or be booted out of the city until you do). Unfortunately, you are still forbidden from entering the Saint/Seducer sanctuaries, Zealots will remain hostile toward you, and do not expect anyone in Cyrodiil to believe you.
After closing the Oblivion Gate outside a city and completing a minor side quest for the countess (which she delegates to you because "you seem like the trustworthy type"), you approach her to buy a house in a city, only to be told, "I don't trust you enough to talk about that."
Morrowind was worse than this, as you could be head of the Imperial Legion and soldiers would still treat you like dirt. Same goes for being head of a great house, which fails to gather respect from fellow house members. Although in the case of the Telvanni, it's in-character.
You do get respect for completing the main quest (to the point that you can walk around in your underwear and many NPCs will still just gush about the mighty player character deigning to speak to them), and the mechanisms of the game means that members of a faction you are the head of tend to treat you better. Not because your rank as such, mind (that is limited to switching one word to your current rank), but because to get to a higher rank you have to increase your reputation in that faction... which, in turn, makes members of that faction react more positively to you. In other words, they do not give you the respect you deserve, but they do, at least, tend to react to you as a friend rather than as scum.
Skyrim has some examples of this, in the same vein as Oblivion, but there are some awesome aversions. For example, kill a dragon in a busy town/village, and witnesses will look on in awe and stutter lines to the effect of "did he/she really just kill that dragon single-handedly? By the Divines, he/she must be the Dragonborn" as you absorb the dragon's soul and then ride off into the sunset.
Also, city guards will utter special lines according to quests you have completed, and they're not really condescending, in fact a lot of the time they're genuinely grateful. Whether it's re-opening the local trade post, or eliminating the remnants of the most nightmarish assassin guild in all Tamriel. That said, occasionally, lines for the same quest occasionally overlap: you could be referred to as the new guild recruit, and then referred to as the leader of the guild. By the same NPC. Within moments of each other.
The biggest offender however, is Vilkas. After succesfully defeating Alduin (leader of all the dragons), becoming Archmage, Listener of the Dark Brotherhood, Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild, Thane of every city, and pretty much single handedly winning the civil war, and countless other stuff. You walk into Jorrvaskr with the intention of becoming a companion, only to be refused by him, telling the harbinger "I've never even heard of this outsider"
One of the NPCs, Calcelmo, seems to feel this way. The first time you try talking with him, his reaction is... less than friendly.
"You idiot. Do you even know who I am? The most recognized scholar on the Dwemer in all of Tamriel, and you people keep bothering me!"
He does, however, sincerely apologize right afterwards, explaining that he is a very busy man with a lot going on at the moment, and he implies that being interrupted for trivial things is a common occurrence for him. He's fairly nice to you after that initial outburst, and helps you out a bit.
This can be quite jarring if you're a Legate in the Imperial Legion, just happen to encounter a few Imperial soldiers escorting a prisoner (Stormcloak) along the road, and will tell you to get the hell away from them and not interfere with "Imperial business." Bonus points for, following that line, they warn you to get the hell away from them before they draw their swords and attack you.
The Companions can lead to a lot of humorous instances of this trope. Like the second-newest member (after you) boasts about killing a bear yesterday, asking what *you* killed the day before. Unfortunately, there is no way to respond with "two dragons, a drauger deathlord, and an entire bandit encampment." And some of the more senior members will still openly tell you that they think you're a wimp.
Mostly averted in Quest for Glory but played straight in the fourth game. In it, the character is magically teleported halfway across the planet to a small, isolated village that's highly distrustful of strangers and has no way of knowing all the amazing stuff you've done (like, oh, saving the entire world from total destruction twice over). Only three characters in the entire game respect your abilities, two of whom are returning Big Bads (Baba Yaga and Ad Avis) and the other being this game's Big Bad, who is the master of the latter.
The people in the fourth game do greatly warm up to you once you do some notable good deeds. It gets downright heartwarming with comments like "I never believed true heroes existed until now."
The aversion comes in every other sequel, where your character is specifically asked to help out in a foreign land in need, and thus rumors that the hero who saved a city/the world has come to town spread like wildfire, and quite a few characters will talk excitedly about the possibility of meeting this hero.
Rather strange case in Final Fantasy X. Auron is supposed to be 'The best guardian there ever was' and 'The Legendary Guardian', but guess how many characters except the party acknowledge his pure Badassery and reputation? Two! Canon says he is one of the men guardians look upon in respect, but does he get any of said respect or has he influence to any of the events? Little or completely none. Damn, being famous in Spira must suck!
Look at him though. Do you think that he wants to be hero worshiped? He'd probably tell them to shut up then give a Rousing Speech.
It's completely true that he doesn't want the fame and honor he's supposed to have, but given his deeds in Spira, everyone should probably at least know his name and acknowledge that he is a walking legend. It's true that people will get old (unless you are Sean Connery◊), but c'mon, you can't forget the face of a national hero in ten years, even if he has lost his other eye and has gotten few gray hairs from stress.
Granted, most people presumed him to be dead. After all, nobody had seen him for the past decade (he was playing babysitter for Tidus in Dream! Zanarkand) and guardians and summoners very rarely came back after finishing the journey.
Final Fantasy XI has players build up their reputation in cities to staggering amounts, and be lauded as a hero... and go to an NPC in said town to discover that they have no damn clue who you are. Could you stir up any trouble... like everyone who didn't do this quest in the first place.
In Final Fantasy X-2, your exploits in the previous game are well-known throughout the entire world, and you even get a cool title to go with it. But that doesn't mean you can expect any actual respect for bringing about a global renaissance. In one particularly egregious case, you can get run out of your own birthplace for being on friendly terms with a rival faction.
The Legend of Zelda: After a dozen games, you would think that people in Hyrule would have the common sense to understand that this guy with a green hood and the Master Sword represents 99.9% of their country's military might, and is the only thing to have saved them from slavery to Ganon; but no they keep treating him like dirt. Some of the games can justify this with explanations that the Master Sword is usually hidden away somewhere to protect it so most don't even recognize it or believe it's the real deal, as well as other reasonsnote In The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time the outfit is only worn by a hidden group of Forest Spirits and he's just a kid for most of it, in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker the outfit is only worn by people on one island and the Master Sword isn't fully restored until late in the game, in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (aside from being the earliest chronologically) all the knights get a one color tunic and it's vaguely suggested that the other knights are often the Hero of Another Story, so Link's nothing special to those that don't know the full story, but the worst offender is Zelda II: The Adventure of Link, when the protagonist is the SAME Link from the first game. You can understand that people might ask him to save a kidnapped child or help the citizenry; after all, that's what he is supposed to do. But to refuse to let him cross a bridge, or to ask him to fetch some water? Not only did this guy save the country from the local Evil Overlord, but he is the envoy of the ruler of said country.
The skepticism directed at Link in some of the games is better understood if it's considered in context of the religious significance surrounding the Hero myth in Hyrule. Initially, people would likely be skeptical to the claim that a Hero was among them, given the reverence devoted to the legacy.
In Majora's Mask, if you bring the Couple's Mask to the Happy Mask Salesman, he acknowledges that while he didn't see it, you probably did a lot of frustration-inducing stuff to get it, and even says he wishes he was looking for that mask so your efforts would be for a little more than (as far as he knew) nothing.
Skyward Sword can get pretty bad with this sometimes. Granted, virtually none of Skyloft's denizens know Link is risking life and limb to save the entire world each time he heads off on his Loftwing, but quite possibly the only people in the entire game that show Link anything approaching proper respect for a good portion of the play time are Fi, who acknowledges you as her master from the get-go, and Zelda's father. Pretty much everyone else gives Link no end of crap; Faron the dragon doesn't care that you killed a scorpion the size of a school bus and crossed swords with a demon lord, she still questions what the goddess was thinking choosing you, while Scrapper contrives to be a condescending Jerkass to you at any available opportunity, even though you're the reason he's operational at all.
Faron is particularly bad. It's not enough that you have the Scale that's supposed to be obtainable only by the chosen hero of the Goddess; you have to prove yourself by fetching magic water for her before she'll let you into the temple containing one of the Sacred Flames. And later on, you have to learn part of a song from her; despite having gotten her scale, proving yourself worthy of entering the temple, AND getting the Flame from said temple, you have to prove yourself AGAIN before she's convinced that you're the real deal.
The lack of respect can be understood between games, because there are very few direct sequels. Most of the games represent different generations, eras, and in some cases realities. So, why would they immediately give respect to some prancy little sword-wielding elf just because he wore the same duds as some other dude 200 years ago?
Played a little too straight in the Wii game My Life As a King. Once you've set your minions (ahem, "adventurers") their tasks, the only thing you can do all day is run around the city, talking to the citizens or building buildings to allow even MORE citizens in. Talking to them allows you to stay up later in the day (extends the game clock), so that your minions can actually complete their tasks. To add insult to injury, once your city gets to a certain point, some of your citizens will begin offering fetch quests. Doing these quests involves issuing a "bequest" - tasking your minions to find something in the town - which costs you money. Only reward is a morale gain - which lets you stay up late at night.
In Ōkami most people only view you as a wolf, a lovely white wolf that brings good luck, but a wolf all the same. Up until halfway through the game you won't get much if any respect for the deeds you've done by most of characters in the game. Although, there still is a rather long side quest where you have to prove to a Flat Earth Atheist that you're god.
And then the game subverts this trope hard during the Final Boss: with Issun's help, every character in the game realizes that you're really a deity and prays for your success and to thank you for all you've done. And since respect equals power in this setting, their prayers give you the power to defeat the Big Bad.
The main character of Rhodan: Myth of the Illochim is a 3,000-year-old immortal hero and the head of government for Terra (Earth) and its colonies. He spends the entire first level of the game trying to escape his own home after being confined there by his best friend (his own security minister) for unexplained reasons. At a later point in the game he's arrested on suspicion of murder and thrown straight into a filthy cell, with no opportunity to try and explain what happened - even though he was found unconscious after being attacked at the crime scene.
World of Warcraft. This is especially prevalent in the second expansion of the game, where by level 80 your character has probably slain multiple dragons, Eldritch Abominations, demon lords, and more monsters than should logically exist, but will still be treated like dirt by NPCs, rarely acknowledging your exploits, and if they do, its just to say "I don't care about them, go kill some animals and bring me their meat. I'm hungry".
Though one NPC early in Borean Tundra will refer to your arrival on the battlefield as "command sending in the big guns".
Admittedly if you do enough notable things NPCs will start to sing your praises, and once you've helped somebody their dialogue will generally be friendly to you, but that won't stop everybody else demanding you fetch them Twenty Bear Asses.
Not as bad in the new Cataclysm zones from the third expansion. Characters will generally recognise you as a great hero and faction leaders frequently show up and make it clear that they know who you are and what you're capable of. They still want you to collect bear asses, but they have more flattering ways of justifying it. The rewritten early quests also tend to try to make you feel less anonymous.
A fairly amusing case happens with one Shrine of Seven Stars draenei NPC who's in an argument with a pandaren. If you try to convince him of what the pandaren is arguing, he will say "What do you know? You act like you're the savior of Azeroth!" even if you have the "Savior Of Azeroth" title (from defeating MadnessofDeathwing on Heroic)
An aversion happens early on in Mists of Pandaria for Horde players, when General Nazgrim gives players a letter asking them to report in. If you played through the Vashj'ir storyline and saved him from the naga, he will give a friendlier version of the letter, referring to you as an "old friend" and saying that it's good to see you again.
Similar to the Nazgrim example, Gryan Soutmantle in Grizzly Hills will recognize players who met him in Westfall. He even has a variety of reactions depending on how far you got into the Westfall quest chain, welcoming you as a friend if you completed it all up to and including the Deadmines dungeon.
This is largely averted in Mists of Pandaria as a whole, with characters constantly referring to past deeds. One notable line is Lor'themar commenting that "your actions in Northrend and during the Cataclysm are the stuff of legend."
During Escalation, players are given a quest to help an old seer retrace the steps of Emperor Shao Hao, who appreciates that despite being a powerful warrior, you are willing to help an old man climb a mountain. When it's done, the seer commends you for your humility, then reveals that he is the ghost of Emperor Shao Pao, and tells you how Pride was his one great vice.
Sort of subverted in Neverwinter Nights 2, when you initially step in front of Alliance Arms Inn in Port Llast, a group of watchmen will confront you and try to kill you because you're accused of being the butcher of Ember, but you're actually framed for this. You can intimidate them that you've slaughtered orcs invading Old Owl Well. If you succeed intimidate check, they'll back off, but if you fail, they will attack you anyway, and get slaughtered.
Regardless, random City Watch will still be all "I'm busy. Find another people to chat up." Wonderful thing to say to a Knight and member of Nine, you bastard. Well, at least they are nameless.
It's even worse if you sided with the City Watch instead of the Shadow Thieves in Act I since Captain Brelaina promotes you to the rank of Lieutenant to replace the late Lieutenant Kyton (who was the ranking City Watch Officer in the Docks District). Any member of the City Watch who says that to you is essentially snubbing their commanding officer. Another odd thing, according to realms lore the Neverwinter City Watch functions as an extension of Neverwinter's standing army (they become entirely one and the same during wartime, sort of like how the US Navy takes over the Coast Guard). This means that for some reason the Neverwinter-Luskan Extradition Treaty doesn't apply to commissioned officers of Neverwinter's military.
Intentionally used in Divine Divinity, after you've poisoned the orc army/discover the origin of ravaging disease/discover the former king's death (or any combinations), you are then taken into the court as Lord Protector to the current king, who gives you all sorts of stupid, menial task that should have been given to a servant. Also averted because quite a few characters will also mention on your reputation after you do certain main quests. Also? You DO get hero discounts from merchants.
Rand's mother in Breath of Fire II has no problem with setting you with the duty of cleaning up her fields. Of course, the obstacles are really monsters, but come on...
Justified - to her you're not heroes, you're her son and his friends.
In any of the first three Ace Attorney games, you aren't respected by almost EVERYBODY except your friends/assistants (and even then they may make fun of you), even though you've solved cases that were unsolved for years, gotten EVERY SINGLE ONE of your clients a Not Guilty except Matt Engarde, but he really was guilty so it was all good in your entire short career. The prosecution (understandable), witnesses (also understandable, especially if they did it), the police, and even the judge respects every prosecutor in court (even the ones that whip him and insult him), and they never cease to tell you that the only reason you win is because of luck or your old mentor helping you. It's even lampshaded by your assistant in court during a case. This eventually reaches a head in the fourth game where this is one of the reasons Kristoph set Phoenix up to lose his badge; he thought Phoenix was beneath him and used the forged evidence to frame you. Hell, even Zak showed he didn't respect Phoenix by keeping THE ONE PIECE OF EVIDENCE THAT COULD HAVE CLEARED HIM, all because he liked his daughter more than his attorney.
This seems to have been passed onto Apollo Justice as well since almost everyone seems to put him down for being a loud rookie with two "horns"/spikes on his hair.
Note, this seems true for any defense attorney. Considering that Edgeworth (who has been praised by many people in game) got roughly the same treatment when he played for the Defense (he even wondered if there was a target/"Kick Me" sign on his side of the court).
This goes out the window once Edgeworth starred in his own game; all the witnesses and potential suspects go out of their way to be unhelpful as possible and Edgeworth's sidekick, Kay, seems to try and be annoying as possible to Edgeworth in public. It seems the general rule of thumb in the Ace Attorney series is whoever is the player character will be met with disrespect by just about everyone.
Subverted in Scarface: The World is Yours. Initially, Tony will be unrecognized by the citizens, but as he rebuilds his reputation they will recognize and respect him; at high levels it is possible to talk people into giving him their cars.
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception plays it mostly straight. Though your own side worships the ground you fly over, the enemy still seems to see you as a punk kid, just a very lucky punk kid. "Aaah, there he is. There's Nemesis. Stay away from him, he's allll mine." *shot down in 10 seconds* Although you become renowned throughout the entire enemy military, as either The Southern Cross or Nemesis, Gryphus 1 just gets no actual respect from them, not even after shooting down the Invincible Superweapon. Partially justified in that Leasath is portrayed as being full of hardline fanatical military hardasses, someone so 'fresh' accomplishing so much is very upsetting to them, so their reaction is surprise and jealousy instead of fear. (See also: Some Gundam series have similar reactions from Zeon pilots)
Air Force Delta Strike plays this straight. Lilia treats the pilots with the same condescending tone all the way to the last mission.
Perfect Dark 64. Despite being the trusted Golden Girl of the paramilitary outfit, the lackeys and scientists still treat you like garbage in the training areas. Of course, once you get to the level where they are hostages, they are happy to see you, and at least once you've beaten that level they'll stop insulting you whenever they see you. Apart from that guy in the basement, anyway.
Champions Online averts this quite thoroughly. Completing the training mission (an alien invasion) earns you a ceremony thrown by the city and a key to the city, and afterwards NPCs in passing refer to you as "the hero of the Qularr invasion." As you level up, other major missions get mentioned as well. Even NPC members of the Champions greet you and remark about the impression you're making...
City of Heroes. Incredibly. "Oh, what's that? You just saved the entire city from a devastating plague? Wow, you're a hero! Now go deliver my mail. And defeat a few cultists. Just think, in five more levels we'll let you wear a cape!"
Though the citizenry do start to sing your praises as they pass by.
Fable I is built around averting this trope, with people praising you if you're good and cowering if you're evil. Then you meet Briar Rose, an experienced heroine who mocks the Player Character early in the game. It's a scripted event, so even though it's possible to go through a large chunk of the game's world thanks to its open-endedness and gather much experience and fame along the way, she'll still call you out for being a greenhorn. There's also the fact that people will, no matter what, call you a chicken chaser (after the Hero's initial title) and laugh at you until you buy another title.
Thunder, another hero in Bowerstone shows even more contempt towards you although some of that is due to kicking his little sister's ass during hero training beforehand.
His sister, Whisper, is literally the worst case of this in the game. Okay, sure, when you first arrive at the Hero's Guild, a bit of arrogance on her part is understandable (though ironically, that's when she's at her nicest). But she will then spend the rest of the game essentially mocking you and telling you just how much better than you she is, regardless of how many times you beat her in a fight, completely outmatch her in a quest where you directly compete against her, or otherwise demonstrate that she is literally nowhere near in your league.
She will eventually admit that its only because she's jealous of you for being so much better than her.
Given that it's always other heroes who disrespect you, it's likely due to them being in a similar line of work. Unless you've gone far out of your way, when you first meet Briar Rose she actually is a better and more famous hero than you, Whisper is constantly bitter about you being a better hero and Thunder hates you because Whisper does.
Justified and then averted in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines. At the start of the game, you play a fledgling vampire who's just been introduced to undead society and is sitting firmly on the bottom rung. A fair number of your quests involve trying to curry favor with various political leaders and sects, and some of the older vampires actually have freaky powers that force you to obey them. The aversion comes later in the game—as you get stronger, carving through hoards of enemy vampires and even vampire hunters, the elders of the city start treating you as someone they want on their side, or else as someone they want to dust before you become a threat.
Lampshaded (sort of): At one point the player has the option to tell some uncooperative NPCs, "I've got to get a publicist. You two obviously aren't aware of my reputation."
In Chrono Trigger, most of what you do goes unnoticed because... well, you did it centuries ago. That's the drawback of Time Travel. Thing is, in the individual time periods where you did the incredible thing (particularly 65 Million BC and 600 AD), certain townspeople do recognize you and praise your accomplishments.
It's not much, but after saving the world in 600 A.D., if you go back to 1000 A.D. and order some food in the Castle you can order a 'Crono Special,' which was "named after a famous hero of the past." And, to be fair, it looks delicious.
Terranigma has got to be one of the most extreme examples of this trope. Thanks for reviving the world, defeating all the villains and monsters who were threatening it, and sealing away the very spirit of darkness, Ark! Now go ahead and die, we're done with you.
My World My Way features the princess of the land moonlighting as a hero. She averts this because everyone immediately recognizes her as a hero (because the king's agent is paying them to, against her knowledge), but they still play it straight and give her meaningless Fetch Quest and With A Herring jobs, because "That's what heroes do!"
Lampshaded particularly well in Oasis Town, where the heroine directly asks what quest this town is going to give her, and the response is to 1. Collect 5 cough grass to make cold medicine, 2. gather 5 mountain grapes in a forest you have to plant, 3. kill 10 venombugs eating the mayor's garden, 4. Go pick 10 birthday flowers, 5. Light bonfires to attract firepigs, which are a nuisance, so kill 10 of them after you bring them here, and 6. collect 10 Magic Fellworts. This is just the stuff the mayor spat out at you before the princess interrupted him screaming that she's not his maid.
zOMG! actually averts this. Once your level reaches a certain point, the NPCs who give you the repeatable quests say "I should stop wasting your time here, you probably have better things to do. I'll handle the rest myself." Of course, then you can suppress your level and they'll get right back to bossing you around.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas twists this around in a plot heavy way. You can increase your respect (which, in game play terms amounts to how many fellow gang members you can take to assist you in a mission) by working out, dressing nice, doing missions and driving out the gangs from the city. However, after a -certain- mission, you are suddenly dumped without warning into the countryside and the gangs retake the entire damn city, including your home street.
Played straight however with CJ's brother Sweet. No matter what he does, CJ is nothing more than the family black sheep to him even though he's actually more "put together" than Sweet. What's worse is that Sweet tends to lord the fact that Brian (CJ's other brother) died on CJ's watch and knows he feels extremely guilty about it. Their sister Kendal even stays away from that topic but at one point outright tells CJ she knows it's not his fault. Even when CJ is pretty much leading a successful life with his True Companions (Woozie, Truth, Kendal, Cesar), Sweet still calls him a "buster".
Freedom Fighters has this as a game play mechanic. You are a plumber thrust into fighting off a Soviet invasion of New York, so other rebels initially treat you as just another mook. However, as you destroy enemy targets and retake sections of the city, you gain the ability to lead a squad of rebels. By the end of the game, you are the de facto leader of the rebellion and can command up to twelve other soldiers in the field.
Inverted in Brütal Legend, where - as you are a roadie - you're supposed to stay the hell out of the spotlight. Not that it stops your buddies from appreciating what you do.
Lampshaded in Jak II when Daxter asks Torn why they get all the crummy missions:
In the Overlord games, especially the 2nd one, most people don't show you the respect an Evil Overlord deserves. In the first game you can try to earn their respect or slaughter them. In the second game you don't even pretend to be nice; you can either brainwash them or again slaughter them.
In the Eye of the North expansion to Guild Wars, 'faction' mechanics toyed with in previous installments reach the point where some items are only possible to acquire through earning a reputation-based title with that faction, with characters lacking that title being rudely informed that the items in question aren't available to just anyone. Nevermind that for three of these factions, it is perfectly possible to have single-handedly rescued the organisation from their greatest enemies or to have destroyed the entity that serves as their greatest nemesis without having achieved sufficient reputation to "earn" these services.
In all of the Monkey Island sequels, no one is inclined to believe Guybrush's claims that he is the Mighty Pirate who defeated LeChuck (four times!). Most of the time, he can't even convince people he's over twenty-one.
In Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, this is particulary ironic as he tells everyone about his exploits enough that people who know him are sick of hearing about them. He's also penned a trilogy of books about his killing of LeChuck.
Averted in Tales of Monkey Island, however, as Morgan LeFlay has heard of, reveres, and has a somewhat creepy fangirl crush on Guybrush due to tales of his adventures and his reputation as a Mighty Pirate(tm), even when she's been hired to capture him. In fact, her squeeing over Guybrush is a vital plot element, as it drives her to depression when she finally succeeds and hauls her very angry and rightfully betrayed idol in, and further when she gets in a fight with an jealous ghost-pirate-cursed Elaine because of Morgan's crush.
Drawn to Life. Holy cow the villagers are selfish for so much stuff. In the beginning of the game, the town is in ruins and covered in shadows, and everything that ever existed is disappearing due to damage to the book of creation. After the hero brings back the sun, food, weather, time, and other necessities, the hero is told to get things like beach toys to make the beach more lively.
Both played straight and averted in the Baldur's Gate series. During the first game, much of what you do is (presumably) actively kept secret by the Iron Throne, as it would do their plans no good for your actions to come to light, so it's understandable that people haven't often heard of you. Averted by the Big Bad, who does give you 'respect' by sending ever stronger assassins, and by circles who have access to first-hand information. In the second game, you're in a different country, so your actions in the first game are obviously not as widely known, although the quests you actually do in Athkatla don't have much effect on people's responses to you. Even after becoming known as the killer of a whole nest of vampires, you will still be asked to find a missing gong.
Tales of the Sword Coast has an aversion - While ordinarily you'll be forced to fight the werewolf chiefteness, if you did enough sidequests (saving kidnapped babies, befriending a local person of the opposite gender), the mother and your friend show up and convince her to let you go in peace.
Averted in the expansion pack Throne of Bhaal, where practically everyone is aware of your massive power level and previous achievements and reacts accordingly. Even Elminster openly admits he has no wish to pick a fight with you, because there's a very good chance he'd lose.
Your reputation in ToB is so widespread that fearful sovereigns feel the only way to subdue you as a possible threat is to send an entire army out to kill you. It doesn't work.
Saemon Havarian: We could argue about who's done what to whom all day. Or maybe less, as I imagine my being chopped to bits might make your argument a little more effective than mine.
Memorably subverted when talking with an insane NPC very late in the game. He asks you to go and fetch an eyestalk. You have the option to subcontract to less accomplished adventurers, as such tasks are now beneath you (and act like a Large Ham when giving them the quest in the process). Hilarity Ensues.
Hilariously lampshaded in the original Baldur's Gate: At one point, you will get the option to say this:
Main Character: OK, I've just about had my fill of riddle asking, quest assigning, insult throwing, pun hurling, hostage taking, iron mongering, smart arsed fools, freaks, and felons that continually test my will, mettle, strength, intelligence, and most of all, patience! If you've got a straight answer anywhere in that bent little head of yours, I want to hear it pretty damn quick or I'm going to take a large blunt object roughly the size of Elminster and his hat, and stuff it lengthwise into a crevice of your being so seldom seen that even the denizens of the Nine Hells themselves wouldn't touch it with a twenty-foot rusty halberd! Have I made myself perfectly clear?!
In Diablo II: Lord Of Destruction, the expansion pack for Diablo II, this is how you are treated by the Barbarians (and especially by the corruptElder Nihlithak) in the fifth and final Act of the game. You have just defeated the Lord of Terror himself, Diablo, not to mention previously defeating his brother Mephisto, and what do you get? Qual-Kehk says, "You have the look of a warrior. An extra soldier would be useful, but don't expect anyone to mourn if you get yourself killed." Nihlithak is a lot nastier. "After so many have died, who are you to think you can accomplish what our warriors could not?" And, "Ending the siege [will] not earn immediate respect, outsider. Respect only comes with sacrifice — something I'm sure you know nothing of." The worst from Nihlithak? "What are you still doing here? I thought you were going off to die. Go...Be quick about it."
In Runescape, your character is verbally trodden upon regularly by computer characters. Many of the quests involve menial tasks with lots of time-consuming running around, to the point that the game develepors (Jagex) treat it as an in-joke. In some of the quests, your character will actually say things along the lines of "Let me guess, you want me to run around all over Runescape to get some easily-obtainable item?" And some of the computer characters inspire true hatred with their constant refusal to recognise your contributions/good work/single-handed saving of everyone.
Averted as much as it is played straight.
Reimu Hakurei of Touhou has saved Gensoukyou from everything from minor annoyances to potentially apocalyptic destruction, yet the humans ignore her (at best), the youkai mooch off of her (at best) and she has no worshippers whatsoever at the Hakurei shrine. Indeed, most residents of Gensoukyou genuinely don't know that Reimu has stopped most of the regular incidents, and those that do are either too stupid to recognise they should give her respect or too powerful too even bother.
During the ending sequence in Dragon Quest VIII, Prince Charmles does not allow the protagonist to attend his royal wedding, despite having saved the world, being close friends with the bride, Medea, being captain of his father-in-law to be's royal guard and having personally helped the prince in an earlier part of the story, on account of the hero and his friends being "commoners."
This is actually averted, most of the time. As you help people, they acknowledge that you and your friends have helped them in the past, such as a king who you drag out of his depression of losing his wife. Also, Prince Charmles' behavior bites him in the ass after banning you from the ending, as no matter which ending you get, Medea runs off and marries the main character. It's worse in the ending for completing the New Game + dungeon, where not only does he lose his bride, but also the throne to the person who he just banned from his wedding. I guess the lesson is, 'treat people with respect when they help you'.
Pokémon is generally guilty of this trope. Somehow, the fact that the player eventually becomes the League Champion, the hero who liberated the region from a criminal syndicate and saved the world, and the Trainer of multiple Eldritch AbominationOlympus Mons does not impress many of the game's NPCs, who treat you pretty much the same as any other ten-year-old Trainer. Made even worse by the fact that your own mother has absolutely nothing to say, ever, about the fact that you've beaten the best Trainers in the entire region.
In the Video Game Remakes of Gold and Silver, there are some people who recognize you. Usually just important characters you saved personally, but the Trainers in Clair's Gym are impressed that you've fought alongside Lance (though not beaten him yet), and Irwin occasionally calls you on the phone to tell you that you're awesome after you save the Radio Tower from Team Rocket. Come to think of it, the criminal grunts do tend to recognise you, too. That's not admiration, but it sure does count.
None of the in-game trainers even bat an eye when you send out Pokémon thought to be long extinct or urban legend, legendary Pokémon that are the only one of their kind in existence, or even Pokémon that are believed to be God. They have no qualms about attacking these wonders either.
Downplayed in the postgames of Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 and Pokémon X and Y. Several people in the world actually treat you as if you're important. Of course, you're still often treated like the average trainer, but there's at least some respect. You also seem to get a very public parade and award ceremony for your achievements in Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, as one of the photos in the credits show, and you actually get one in Pokémon X and Y.
Averted in Pokestar Studios. Make enough movies that have "Good" endings, and you'll get a room full of fans, plus the admiration of studio's staff.
In the Gamecube Custom Robo title, after defeating an Eldritch Abomination intent on destroying the remainder of life on the planet everyone treats you the same because the government covers your involvement up. Allegedly to allow you to live peacefully.
Averted with a vengeance in Arena, where the fact the player character keeps clean-sweeping team tournaments by himself is, for once, not lost on people. By the Playable Epilogue, you're a household name, recognized by nearly all NPCs and hero-worshiped by some of the very same characters that dismissed you early on.
Mega Man Battle Network: Each game ends with Lan saving the world from criminal organizations that have made everyone paranoid and scared and as such is heralded as a hero... until the next game, when everyone seems to have forgotten everything and suddenly he's just another kid.
In Little Big Adventure II, you have a museum dedicated to you and your heroic deeds from the original game... which you are forced to pay for entering, because the ticket vendor is an idiot who doesn't recognize you (he does note that you "look like the guy in the picture" after you don the Ancestral Tunic — and that's it). If you talk to the museum owner, Twinsen will complain about that. Subverted with the School of Magic: they know that you have saved the world, but it just doesn't give you the right not to pass the exams.
It's lampshaded in Ys Seven, when a man asks you to go find some earrings for him after the village elder already told him (and everyone else in the village) about you and how important you are: "Strange men with weapons are the best at finding lost earrings, right?"
The Exile in Knights of the Old Republic II. Despite being a Jedi and a war veteran, a surprisingly large amount of people you encounter think you're puny and incompetent next to them, such as when you spar with the handmaidens or the Mandalorians. Admittedly, you do get to gradually build up their respect with your accomplishments, but there are still a few who look down their noses at you.
Jedi in general seem to get this in Kotor II. While a Jedi Knight certainly isn't invincible, and they've been getting thrashed by the Sith for years, only an idiot wouldn't respect their power (we are talking about a group of people who can lift heavy object with their minds, heal wounds instantly, possess lightning quick reflexes and swords that can cut through almost anything), yet most people you encounter in the game will think of Jedi as absolute pushovers. You even counter a pair of women on Dantooine who look like nothing more than simple farmers, who seem to seriously consider taking on a Jedi to collect on the bounty. Yeah, that'll go well for you.
Star Wars: The Old Republic class storylines play this straight first and slowly avert it later. For instance, when playing as a Sith Inquisitor (who starts off as a recently-freed slave), you get treated like crap by pretty much everyone except your Affably Evil future master until about the time you finish the Prologue. Throughout Act I, you receive more and more recognition (especially from the Imperial Intelligence, who know everything about everyone) and most quest givers approach you primarily because of your reputation as an unstoppable, lightning-flinging death machine. By Act II, you are already firmly entrenched in the Imperial noble caste, with all due benefits.
In Ultima VI you are the Avatar, most likely Britannia's most legendary hero ever, and some people who recognize you do sing your praises. And your first order of business is to reclaim the shrines and purify them, for which you'll need the eight runes. The runes which you spent the fourth game tracking down everywhere, and which should now be locked up as national treasures. Except people apparently pass them around everywhere, and has lost or hidden or dropped some of them. The most Egregious offender is the Rune of Sacrifice, held by the guild leader of Minoc. He'll give it to you... when you become a member. Which you can only become by performing "Stones" on a set of pipes. Which you need to have someone make for you. Who will need you to provide the wood. And so on. Yes, you're a legendary hero who is busy trying to stop an invasion and save the world for the sixth time now, but this guy still expects you to jump through hoops for no reason beyond propriety.
In Ultima Underworld you are suspected of kidnapping a baron's daughter. Though you claim you are the Avatar the baron doesn't recognize or believe you with the only explanation being that several years had passed since you were last in Britannia. Again, you are the Avatar, the man who not only saved the world six times by this point but is also the Messiah of the only organized religion in the world. You'd think that everyone in the entire planet would know what the Avatar looks like.
The Spoony One had a field day with all of these moments in the Ultima games.
Baron Ulric sends you to the Abyss on a mission to rescue his daughter. He notes that if you are really the Avatar, this is your thing, and not only should you be able to get her back, you should feel obligated to do it. If you're lying, you'll get what you deserve.
In Mega Man Legends, the title character spends the entire game in the same city (and the nearby dungeon). When the Bonne's show up and start destroying the city, the Mayor asks Mega Man to go out and stop them. He does so, and instead of medals or parades, they ask him to donate money to rebuild the city. The entire city would be a smoking ruin several times over without Mega Man's intervention, and he never gets so much as a "thank you."
Well, to be fair, at the end of the first game you do get a massive farewell from the whole town as you prepare to leave, which is even covered by the local TV station. And while the Bonnes are an obvious threat, nobody really knows what danger lurks in the Main Gate, or that the massive "eye" in the sky was a Kill Sat set to obliterate all carbon-based life...
Dark Reign 2, in the JDA mission you have spent the last 10 missions fighting the Sprawlers, and evacuating civilians. Then you are ordered to stay behind to destroy the artifacts, which will destroy Earth itself, while the JDA go on to become the Imperium.
In the Ravenhearst Story Arc of Mystery Case Files, you play the Master Detective, a sleuth who has extensive experience in dealing with the paranormal and supernatural in order to solve mysteries and crimes. In 13th Skull, you travel to Louisiana to investigate a disappearance, and run into a slew of characters who have chunks of information you need to solve the case. In spite of your badge and authority, almost none of them will tell you much of anything until you've performed a Fetch Quest for them. (The lone exception requires you to beat him at checkers before he'll help you, but after that he's perfectly friendly and useful.)
In The Game Of The Ages, you'd think your status would change after lifting the town's curse. Not particularly.
While the first The Godfather subverted this by causing you to become increasingly respected as you advanced through the plot and ranks, the sequel plays this particularly straight. Both Michael and others belittle you even when you've proven yourself capable of mowing down whole enemy Families.
Overlapping with being an Unpopular Popular Character, Laharl from the original Disgaea is treated as a joke in every cameo appearance he makes. Granted, he heavily suffers from Aesop Amnesia and Flanderization, but, he always appears as a Bonus Boss, i.e, threats face during the main that are play seriously are nowhere nearly as strong as he is, but he's always treated as a joke. The exception is Disgaea 2, where he serves as a Hopeless Boss Fight that's generally impossible unless playing on a new game+, but despite easily defeating the game's entire cast when he first appears, he's still treated as a a joke in the game's sidequests.
Standard fare for demons and particularly overlords who, for all their power and ability, are incredibly childish, petty and stupid. In Makai Kingdom, practically everyone made fun of Zetta even before he's crippled by being bound to the Sacred Tome, and it gets worse after that. This is the guy who claimed the title of Most Powerful Overlord In The Entire Cosmos, and whose footsoldiers can, with a bit of creative leveling and tactics, beat the snot out of other overlords and draft them into service.
Averted in The Sims 3 expansion Nightlife, where a sim with high celebrity levels will get discounts and gifts, even if all they did to gain celebrity was reach high levels in their career.
Almost any wide open sandbox criminal based game that has gangs will have this trope in full force, even if you thoroughly trounced all gangs and organizations that stood in your way, have the cops bow to your will, or even single handedly gained control of a whole town. None of that matters as enemy gangs are far too happy to take you and/or your legion on.
Early in Brotherhood just after Ezio returns to Monterigioni he meets a young woman who asks him to carry her things up to the mansion for her. During the walk she is very flirtatious and talks at length about Ezio's faults, not realizing that the handsome young man carrying her things is Ezio. This is especially odd because A) Ezio is essentially the Lord of Monterigioni, and B) the young woman is best friends with Ezio's sister Claudia.
To be fair Ezio's gone off hunting down Templars most of the time and isn't in Monterigioni for long periods of time it seems. So it's possible that while she heard of him she's never really seen him.
Both averted and played straight in the Persona series. For example, in Persona 4, your uncle (the police chief) is very suspicious of your seeming involvement with the murders and kidnappings, whereas your friends frequently praise you for your work in saving the victims. You get very little respect outside that, but for a good reason; no-one else knows that you're saving people's lives.
Your protagonist also tends to get praise for helping others in social links, and their gratitude turns into energy for Personae.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey (also part of the SMT series) averts this. The crew of the Red Sprite continually notes and praises your accomplishments, and your opinion is taken into account by Arthur from the start. As the game goes on, the main character's importance and skill are given higher and higher regard, until at the end of the game, the demons themselves panic on seeing you enter the final area. It's quite satisfying when you confront an ancient god and their response is terror from your reputation alone.
Deconstructed in OFF: Japhet, guardian, creator and sovereign of zone 2, only wanted his citizens to acknowledge him and be thankful for making them and their abodes. They, in response, proceeded to forget who he even was. The result? One very pissed off phoenix trying to raze the entire area with an army of ghosts.
In L.A. Noire, it doesn't matter how much goodwill Cole Phelps builds up over the first few sections of the game. As soon as he's caught visiting Elsa Lichtmann at the end of his time on Ad-Vice, he gets suspended and is forced to completely rebuild his reputation.
Final Fantasy XIV has many people sending you on quests doing menial and tedious tasks, such as fetching wine for someone or slaying some monsters, even though your character tells them that he/she defeated Ifrit already and needs to find the group of people that defeated a god so that you can learn how to beat it yourself. You eventually find out the trope is subverted when all the people you been doing the boring side quests for are actually the group that defeated the god you're trying to defeat yourself and they tell you that they were testing you to make sure you were just not another adventurer trying to make a name for himself.
Star Trek Online ties Character Level to your player character's military rank in Starfleet, the Klingon Defense Force, or the Romulan Republican Force. This is tolerable up to level 39 (Captain or equivalent and below), but after that, not only are you an admiral running around in a ship, but by the time you hit the level cap at 50 (Vice Admiral), you actually outrank 90% of the mission givers. And yet O-7s and below still love to order you around like you're a totally green ensign.
Rounding out the GTA series (thus far), Grand Theft Auto V goes back and forth with this. Each of the major characters has someone in their life that treats them this way, be they spoiled brat kids that don't understand the realities of dad's life, chronically inept best friends that keep making deals with people who have actively tried to get them killed, or a mother that still treats them like a worthless, snot-nosed toddler. That's to say nothing of Steve Haines who actually knows how much of a psychotic killer each of the three playable characters are, but also knows full well that he's got each of them by the balls and can blackmail them to do whatever he wants. He suffers from this himself, though, as he completely snaps if he feels he's not being paid enough respect. Despite all of this, anyone who ISN'T an explicit asshole just using you for their grungiest of work shows you the amount of respect you rightfully deserve, and some of the biggest violators actually get over themselves by the end of the game, notably Micheal's family (mostly.)
The page quote from 8-Bit Theater is basically what every video game hero ever should be saying. It loses its effect however considering that the person Thief is talking to didn't even want his help in the first place (Thief, in a moment of misplaced Genre Savvy simply walked up to a random NPC assuming he had some inane sidequest for him). Not to mention the protagonists of 8-Bit Theater are anythingbutheroes.
Used for humorinCheer, when a military enthusiast finds herself in her RPG-obsessed friend's dream.
Dominic Deegan has done a number of quite impressive things including—most notably—saving the universe as the Champion of Balance. He is a really good seer. But he still gets this when he tries to give warnings.
Administrator: Your friend with an arrest record, no job, and a history of breaking down in front of students.
Szark: That happened once.
Somewhat justified in that not much of what he's done that was awesome was in the public eye. A lot of it, even those immediately involved didn't know the extent of his contribution. And the war in Hell, the only effect we know he had was saving the lives of his loved ones and helping Karnak keep going long enough to blow Hell up (because if Karnak died, so did Szark). Although maybe Karnak blowing up Hell was good apart from killing Siegfried.
Gil from Girl Genius has just destroyed a whole army just by himself! Will you stop treating him as a kid?!
Red vs. Blue: Agent Washington falls prey to this. Throughout the course of Reconstruction, Wash selflessly puts his life on the line, getting beaten, blown up, shot and incredibly annoyed by his team mates all in the name of bringing a corrupt military program to justice. For all his efforts, he gets arrested. For the lack of his team's efforts, they get brand new bases. It seems this may have turned into a Beware the Nice Ones, as in Recreation, he appears to have pulled a Face-Heel Turn and proceeds to shoot Donut and Lopez.
The Spoony Experiment: "I'm the goddamm Avatar!" In Spoony's Ultima Retrospective, it seems that the player character gets a lot of flack, especially in the later games when it makes the least amount of sense.
Mikami: Of course people showed respect differently back then...
Also when Matsuda solves the Kira case and everyone ignores him.
This is justified in Worm in the case of Weaver, a villain-turned-hero who finds herself relegated to menial tasks and forced to keep from using her powers at their full effectiveness. When she brings this complaint to her superiors, it's pointed out to her that her Heel-Face Turn involved murdering two people in a psychotic breakdown, and they need to know that she can be trusted to work for them.
Ultra Fast Pony: In spite of saving the world multiple times, Twilight Sparkle is one of the most-hated ponies in Ponyville. Even her friends frequently snub her. Of course, when Twilight isn't saving the world, she's usually being an insufferable know-it-all—that probably has something to do with it.
Comes up in Kim Possible, as Ron gets no respect in school, despite his key role in regularly going to Save The World with Kim. Even she doesn't get much slack from people on the home front for all the times she's saved them all from doom.
Ironically, Drakken gets this as well. Despite the fact he's probably come closer to succeeding than any other villain, he has trouble getting people to take him seriously and is sometimes mistaken for Professor Dementor. This is lampshaded in a couple of Post Script Season episodes in which other villains break Shego out of prison while leaving him to rot.
All six of the mane cast (andSpike) are essentially living superweapons, having fought against Nightmare Moon, Sombra, Discord (then being very publicly knighted by Celestia for that one), and the entire changeling army. Rarity is quickly becoming a well-know fashion designer, Fluttershy had a brief but successful career as a model, Rainbow Dash is the fastest pony alive and won the Best Young Flier's competition (saving three ponies in the process) after performing a Sonic Rainboom (another feat only She can perform), and Twilight, in addition to being the protege of the princess is also part of the royal family through her brother. All of them had star roles in the biggest performance of the "Hearth's Warming Eve" tale in Equestria. Still, no one even seems to recognize them, and upperclass ponies are exceptionally snobby around them, dismissing all six because of where they live.
Even the residents of Ponyville fall into this, as while they hold the mane six in very high esteem it's "only" for their far more mundane day jobs and not, you know, saving the town from a rampaging Ursa Minor, being choked by dragon smoke, or Cerberus. Yes, that Cerberus.
Fluttershy seems to get this harder than anyone else, since she's such a quiet-voiced shrinking violet. As said above, she's a national hero, was a famous model, and shows compassion to just about every pony she meets. The one time she's seen mingling with ponies in town to do shopping they treat her particularly nasty, going far enough to actively scam her on the price of goods and even butt her out of line. No wonder she tends to prefer the company of animals over other ponies...
Played for Laughs for Spike. He tends to do a lot of menial labor for the mane 6, without any hesitation, and yet they hardly thank him, and generally order him around or ignore him. While in spite of it all, they do on occasion give him some respect (it never lasts long), in Owl's well that Ends well, the owl manages to gain more respect and attention from the mane 6 in one day than he did in his time in Ponyville. He then gets a stained glass window to commemorate his assistance in defeating Sombra and saving the Crystal Empire... and then it takes a turn right back to this trope when he's not invited back to assist the Ponies in getting the Empire approved for the Equestria Games.
The sequel to The Secret of NIMH completely ignores everything that Mrs. Brisby did in the first movie (ie the one that people actually like) in favor of giving a massive amount of praise to her late husband, Jonathan Brisby. Sure, Mrs. Brisby is arguably too modest to bring this up herself and would probably decline a statue built in her honor but the fact that nobody else in the sequel even so much as points out that Mrs. Brisby saved everyone and is AT LEAST as deserving of praise as Mr. Brisby makes the movie seem far more sexist than it should have. Oh, and the opening of the movie only refers to her as a widow.
Beast Boy from Teen Titans. Deconstructed in "The Beast Within", where it's clearly shown during the fight against Adonis that he has deep anger issues because of the lack of appreciation from the other Titans, and during the fight all of his repressed anger goes out and he totally curb stomps Adonis, much to the shock of the other Titans. Then throughout the rest of the episode, he attempts to force the Titans to give him respect by acting out like a jerk and threating them with physical force if they speak back.
Played for laughs at the start of season 5. Cyborg rescues Elasti-Girl, only for her to refer to him as "whoever you are". Cyborg is quick to show annoyance, noting that he's saved the world several times already.
Not just Elasti-Girl, but the rest of the Doom Patrol, Beast Boy's former team, seem to view the Titans as bratty rebel teenagers who don't know what kind of trouble they're getting in to. They really don't seem to know that the Titans fought villains just as dangerous as their arch enemies, the Brotherhood of Evil, including one maniacal demon that was very close to taking over the world.
A villainous example from Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures. The Dragon, Lorenzo, is fairly competent and unflinchingly loyal; his only flaw is being Book Dumb. The Big Bad, Jeremiah Surd, and the Dark Action Girl, Julia, never give him the time of day. In one episode, after he saves Surd from cardiac arrest, Julia goes, "Jeremiah! Thank the stars that you're alive!" Lorenzo retorts, "The stars had nothing to do with it", but they ignore him.
The title character of Dexter's Laboratory is by no means "mr. popular" and is obviously cut off by everyone around him, his family included, mostly due to his vast intellect. He also mistakenly gets into trouble that are beyond his contol or he didn't do in the first place.
Tony Toponi complains briefly at the end of An American Tail for not being thanked for his efforts to reunite Fievel with his family, but he recieves a kiss from Bridget and all is well again.
Played absolutley straight in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls. The girls had a full week of baddie stompin', city savin', and other matters that involved super heroines. However, the citizens get more and more demanding, each task more menial than the next, until the girls took no more and went on strike. Said tasks included carrying groceries, opening jars of pickles, and cleaning cat litter. Ironically, a monster attacked at that moment of the strike. The girls had to coach the town in defending themselves...and was responsible for pre-party cleanup afterwards.
Jabberjaw constantly complains about not getting respect.
Raimundo of Xiaolin Showdown is constantly on the receiving end of his peers' (and occasionally his mentors') disrespect, despite the numerous times he's proved himself/been completely right.
This tendency has been played with throughout the series as well. At first, it's deconstructed when it goes far enough that it drives Raimundo into making a Face-Heel Turn. Then it gets reconstructed later when Raimundo uses that attitude to convincingly pretend to pull the same thing again as part of a Batman Gambit for the good guys. And finally, it gets fully subverted at the series finale, when Raimundo's accomplishments get recognition, culminating in him being appointed leader of the Xiaolin Dragons, over the more traditional hero Omi.
Zig-Zagged with Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender . On one side a lot of people just think he's a kid, dangerously naive or blame him for neglecting his duties accidentally or not. On the other side being the Avatar itself is a respected position and even the most important people in the country will speak with him. Even the Fire nation also have a great respect for him... so they send their best soliders to kill him.
This gets somewhat egregious in the followup comic, The Promise. Sokka and Toph are trying to calm a crowd of angry Earth Kingdom villagers who want the Fire Nation out. So what happens when Sokka speaks up for them to chill out? He gets nailed in the head with a rock and called a "Water Tribe savage". And to think, one year ago he was instrumental in keeping the entire Earth Kingdom from being incinerated.
It seems to be a major theme with Regular Show. Sure, Mordecai and Rigby are the embodiment of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, but they still clean up their own messes, save the park, and on some occasions, Benson's life. He usually repays them by threatening to fire them if they don't get back to work.
Harold from Total Drama Island. He has helped his teams in numerous occasions and even saved a part of the campers from near-certain death. And yet, he hardly gets any respect, especially from Duncan, and to a lesser extent, from almost anyone else. Oh, and he is most likely the cause of a lot of the lack of respect towards him, but that's another story.
Played with in Lenny Bruce's Thank You Mask Man (both the cartoon and the stand-up comedy routine it was based on). The title character initially disdains expressions of respect and reward, but once a little boy thanks him he decides he likes it and demands more respect from the townspeople.
Pretty much all of humanity has probably felt this way to the rest of humanity at some point when the rest of humanity seems to be taking them for granted.
In Russia, this has been the case for veterans of the Great Patriotic War (WWII as experienced by the Soviet Union), which are rapidly forgotten for now and get only formal respect.
Nikola Tesla. Mostly due to actions of Thomas Edison his reputation was ruined, and never got the Nobel Prize for Physics he deserved even though his research was the basis of much of 20th century electricity-driven technology. Until a popularity surge many decades after his death, he was barely mentioned in history books.
James Clerk Maxwell was a British 19th century Physicist who laid down the foundation for Einsteinian Relativity and basic Quantum Mechanics by demonstrating that light is formed of electromagnetic waves, but few people have ever heard of him. Some scientists believe that if he hadn't died of cancer at age 48, he may have beaten Einstein to the theory of Special Relativity by around 4 decades.
Benedict Arnold was one of the best US generals but was constantly passed over for promotion and generally treated like shit by his superiors, so him becoming a turncloak is quite understandable.
Ironically, after his defection Arnold was rewarded by the British with a commission of brigadier general, a reduction from his Continental Army position of major general. He was treated with contempt by his superior, Sir Henry Clinton, and mistrusted by his subordinates because they considered him a traitor—both to Great Britain and to the colonists.
During the golden era of heavyweight boxing, the now late boxing legend Joe Frazier had to struggle and earn the heavyweight championship the hard way. However, he was always in the shadow of Muhammad Ali whom many people believed was still the true champion. Frazier, at first, still liked Ali and even gave him some money during his boxing exile and helped him get his boxing license back, so the two can finally fight. How was he thanked for this? Ali went on an bashing campaign, calling Frazier some of the worst names he'd ever call an opponent. To make matters worst, the boxing fans and even the media, mostly took Ali's side and joined in ridiculing Frazier. After the two fought for the first time and Frazier won, the crowed still chanted for Ali. When Frazier fought and lost his title badly to George Foreman, the most played back clip of the fight, was the one where Howard Cosell said "Down Goes Frazier!." It's still a well known statement today. Overtime, however, people began to feel sorry for Frazier and even got on Ali for his cruel ways back then, forcing him to apologize. Today, Frazier is considered just as great as Ali, but for different reasons.
Italy in World War I. The Italian army complete and total victory at Vittorio Veneto kicked the Austro-Hungarian Empire out of the war and hastened the German surrender (before Vittorio Veneto, the German commanders knew they had lost the war but still expected to be able to resist the whole winter and force more favorable conditions, but after the battle and Austia-Hungary's unconditional surrender they had a massive army marching unopposed to their undefended southern border, and sending enough troops there meant stripping the western front enough to allow the collapse there, hence the surrender). Yet Italy's role in shortening the war was played down and ignored since the peace conference, and nowadays is mostly unknown in spite of the German high command plainly admitting it.
Rafael Nadal has more French Open titles than anyone in the history of tennis but is usually The Unfavourite when he plays the French Open with many people, the French crowds included, deriding him for being a Boring Invincible Hero there.
Meanwhile, his countryman David Ferrer has become more well-known for the alleged lack of respect he gets from tennis pundits and fans than anything about his actual gameplay. The Indian Wells tournament organizers even forgot to put his opening round match on the schedule once — and this was when he was the fifth-best player in the world!
Jackie Gleason had lots of fans, but he was snubbed every year at the Emmy Awards. Supposedly, his friend and co-star Art Carney (who won six Emmys in his career) was upset that Gleason had never won the award, and locked up all of his statuettes whenever Gleason visited his house.
Jobs that are in the public sector (retail, police, teachers, etc.) rarely get thanks for the hard work they do for the people they serve. Many war veterans that returned home alive and well can also get the same treatment from their fellow countrymen.
The discovery that the Earth orbits the sun has been attributed to Copernicus for many centuries, at least among laymen. In truth, the idea was conceived and partially provenalmost two thousand years earlier by Aristarchus of Samos, whose texts were studied by Copernicus. Have you ever heard of him?