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Anime & Manga
- Mazinger Z franchise:
- In Z Mazinger, Zeus (and later Aphrodite) are extradimensional beings who came to respect humans so much that they turned against the other (evil) Greek gods in order to protect them, and later allowed their bodies to be converted into Humongous Mecha to defend against their return.
- Likewise for Shin Mazinger's Zeus, who takes this further by dressing in golden armor. In this continuity his fossilized arm is an extremely valuable source of Unobtainium - Mazinger Z both uses this material in its construction, and (after its Mid-Season Upgrade) can transform into a replica of the actual arm for its Finishing Move.
- The Mighty Thor:
- Thor undergoes a fair amount of Adaptational Heroism in this interpretation. Though he is still a Blood Knight and a bit of an arrogant jerk, he is a fair shake more heroic (by modern standards) than what Norse Mythology originally portrayed him as. He only grows more selfless and heroic as he goes through Character Development.
- Odin was portrayed early on in the series as having Omniscient Morality License. In other words, even when he's being a jerk, it's For The Greater Good. Otherwise, he's treated as wise and benevolent. In later portrayals, he's become considerably less amicable after having his rule of Asgard challenged. He invokes such tyrannical laws and harsh punishments that he essentially becomes part of the Big Bad Ensemble of Thor (2014).
Films — Animation
- Zeus is portrayed as a light-hearted, if not buffoonish king and loyal husband to Hera. While the spin-off series brings up his flaws — like forgetting he and his wife's anniversary, occasionally losing his temper and the whole "Prometheus" thing — Zeus' frequent infidelity is never brought up (most likely non-existent to keep the G-Rating).
- Hera gets this treatment even more so. In the original myth, Heracles was not Hera's child and was a product of her husband cheating on her. Feeling spiteful, Hera actively sabotaged his life and tried to make his suffer, even forcing him to kill his own family. Here, Hercules is her son and no mention of Zeus cheating on her is ever brought up, so the adaptation portraying Hera as the kind, patient and level-headed of the two. Even in the episode "Hercules and the Return of Typhon" it is revealed that she was the one who threw the lightning bolt that led to Typhon's defeat and that she allowed Zeus to take the credit for image reasons.
Films — Live-Action
- Hera from The Legend of Hercules allowed her husband to cheat on her with Alcmene so that Hercules could be born and become a hero to Greece.
- Zeus in Wonder Woman (2017) is a Posthumous Character described in Amazon myth: He created humanitynote in a Golden Age, created the Amazons when Ares inflicted war upon humans, helped free the Amazons when they were enslaved, struck a crippling blow to Ares after he killed the rest of the gods, and with his last breaths left the Amazons with the means to finish Ares off once and for all. Although that part about Ares being the cause of all war is wrong, so maybe the Zeus wasn't really so great after all.
- Subverted in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Zeus isn't portrayed as evil, but that's probably the nicest thing you can say about him. This version of Zeus is grouchy, a terrible father and so incredibly arrogant that he almost caused the total destruction of Olympus and the world twice, all because of his stubbornness and refusal to accept help.
Myths & Religion
- Classical Mythology:
- While Zeus wasn't the most empathetic of the Greek deities and was undoubtedly a terrible husband, he can be considered a relatively good parent. Granted, he cheated on Hera unceasingly, but he was shown to love the sons produced by these infidelities and often protected them from the rage of his wife, who could be ridiculously vengeful despite the rightfulness of her indignation and liked to vent it on the innocent bastards. Keep in mind also that there is a clear disconnect from how the myths portrayed him and how the Ancient Greeks saw him, with many a philosopher disdaining the myths for tainting Zeus' reputation.
- Helios (the charioteer of the Sun) is one of the more positively portrayed gods of Greek myth, probably because the best-known myth features him forced by his own oath to give his son Phaeton the reins of the sun chariot, leading to Phaeton's death. That said, he's also the father and grandfather of witches, lending his power to Circe and Medea, and the Ancient Greeks generally avoided outright sun worship.
- He was later merged with Apollo, the god of poetry (who also gets a good rep, despite not being averse to chasing nymphs and mortals, and responsible for a few cases of Disproportionate Retribution as well).
- Inverted for Huitzilopochtli, the Aztec sun god. The Aztec's infamous reputation for Human Sacrifice came from their rituals in which still-beating hearts were offered to him so as to give him the strength to prevent eternal night from covering the land. And yet the threat of daylight ending forever wasn't enough to prevent the Aztecs' vassals (from who the sacrifices were taken) from joining the conquistadors.
- Norse Mythology is rather weird about this. The chief god in recorded mythology, Odin, is more of a death-god figure and a trickster, inverting this in every possible way. However, Týr, whose name is etymologically related to Zeus, might have been the original Top God, and he is definitely a honorable person, sacrificing his own hand to imprison Fenrir. The sun (Sól or Sunna) meanwhile is a goddess that doesn't really do anything besides being eaten by wolves at the end of the world.
- Subverted big time for Magic: The Gathering 's Heliod, Theros' god of the sun. When the Theros block first came around, he seemed like an upstanding, moral Zeus-analogue, even championing Elspeth as his hero. Then Godsend Part 1 came along and showed how much of a cruel, petty tyrant he was, and it went downhill when Part 2 came out and he murdered her out of jealousy and spite. Now he's easily one of Magic's greatest Hate Sink s.
- Pharaoh: The Sun god Ra holds power over the entire kingdom (in the campaign, especially after the Pharaoh declares him the king of the gods), which translates to him increasing your reputation, export prices and amount of goods traded if he's happy, and decreasing them if displeased. Having him as patron god allows you to have crimefighting priests and salaries lower than the national average.
- The Elder Scrolls:
- Played straight In-Universe with Meridia, the goddess of light and spirit energy. Despite being a Daedric Prince (the setting's equivalent of demon lords), Meridia is one of the more beloved deities because her light is seen as purifying and she protects mortals against undead creatures and even other Daedric Princes like Molag Bal. In fact, Meridia is perfectly aware of this fact and in fact invokes it. Her actual personality is closer to that of a Knight Templar; while her followers love and serve her to combat the darker threats out there, she would sacrifice them all without batting an eyelash if she found it necessary. She is also very vindictive if you reject her or question the morality of her actions in any way.
- Kynareth is a member of the Nine Divines, and thus a more benevolent deity than a Daedric Prince. The Nords worship her as "Kyne", the shieldmaiden, war goddess, and weather goddess. She is one of the most beloved of the gods, with Nords invoking her name to grant them strength in battle and carry them to Sovngarde if they fall. When one character abandons her worship of Kyne after realizing what a blatant Catch-22 Dilemma this is note , she is unambiguously regarded as wrong by even her own son. Even though he only survived a Hopeless War because of cowardice and desertion, he vows to return to battle if Kyne spares his mother and gives her a chance to become faithful again.
- Happens In-Universe in Slightly Damned with Mother Gaia, who alongside Father Syndel created Medius and the races living there, but she and her angels received the glory while Syndel and his demons were shunned. Eventually he grew jealous and had the demons invade Medius in retaliation, and she sent the angels to drive them off, but we see in the story that they could be every bit as brutal as the demons.