And there's a million of us just like meA character who is so popular and impactful that many other characters created afterwards are heavily inspired by it. They share even more than its Archetypal Characters, they are its expies basically the same old character recycled, with some minor changes, to make it fit into the new setting. The original one gives inspiration not just for their basic Characterization Tropes, but for parts of their relationship dynamics, personality, and appearance. While too many authors using the same obvious expies could be considered a worrying trend in terms of originality, it isn't an inherently bad thing. As a longer time passes, creators might be more and more likely to make bigger changes to the character, eventually growing it into a whole new Character Archetype trope on its own. In other cases, it's possible that the resulting characters are too different even for that: Talented writers can explore certain aspects of a character with an expy, and other aspects with another expy, in a way, that if you would compare the two expies, they wouldn't even appear that similar to each other. While it's possible that a Fountain of Expies also serves as a Trope Codifier for the character's most fundamental tropes, other times the shared similarities are more vague. In the following "subtropes" list, only add trope pages whose descriptions are explicitly based on the idea of collecting characters that are based on a first one. There are other tropes that were more indirectly started or codified by certain characters, but these should only be referenced in the second, character-based listing. Expy refers mainly and solely to characters drawn from pre-existing fiction, for characters derived from historical figures, please see No Historical Figures Were Harmed. A subcase of Follow the Leader. Though Fountain of Expies is not a trope in the traditional sense, it does have Sub Tropes. note These are:
Who cuss like me; who just don't give a fuck like me
Who dress like me; who walk, talk, and act like me
And just might be the next best thing, but not quite me!
Who cuss like me; who just don't give a fuck like me
Who dress like me; who walk, talk, and act like me
And just might be the next best thing, but not quite me!
— Eminem, "The Real Slim Shady"
- The Ahnold (spoofing any action star, usually Arnold Schwarzenegger)
- Alice Allusion (Alice)
- Batman Parody, The Cowl (Batman)
- Big Red Devil, Satanic Archetype (Satan)
- Bruce Lee Clone (Bruce Lee, specifically his character Lee from Enter the Dragon)
- Byronic Hero (Archetypes derived from the poems of Lord Byron)
- The Cape, Flying Brick, Superman Substitute (Superman)
- Captain Patriotic (Captain America)
- Char Clone (Char Aznable)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Parody, The Wonka (Willy Wonka, usually Gene Wilder's 1971 portrayal of the character)
- Classical Movie Vampire (Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee as Dracula)
- The Commissioner Gordon (James Gordon)
- Cthulhumanoid (Cthulhu)
- Darth Vader Clone (Darth Vader)
- Dr. Fakenstein (Victor Frankenstein)
- Electric Black Guy (Black Lightning)
- Fish People (Gill Man)
- Gentleman Thief (Arsčne Lupin)
- The Grinch (The Grinch)
- Hockey Mask and Chainsaw (Composite Character example. Jason Voorhees and Leatherface)
- The Igor (Composite Character example. Fritz, from the original film adaptation of Frankenstein (1931), and Ygor, from Son of Frankenstein)
- Inkblot Cartoon Style characters (Felix the Cat)
- Just Like Robin Hood (Robin Hood)
- King Koopa Copy (Bowser)
- Long John Shout Out (Long John Silver)
- Looks Like Cesare (Cesare)
- Looks Like Orlok (Graf Orlok)
- The Mad Hatter (The Mad Hatter)
- Mascot with Attitude (Sonic the Hedgehog)
- The Mean Brit (Simon Cowell or Gordon Ramsay)
- Messianic Archetype (Jesus)
- Monkey King Lite (Sun Wukong)
- Not Zilla (Godzilla)
- The Ophelia (Ophelia)
- Overused Copycat Character (when a work jokes about how many times a certain character has been copied) Originally called Drizzt Syndrome.
- Rei Ayanami Expy (Rei Ayanami)
- The Scrooge (Ebenezer Scrooge)
- Shana Clone (Shana)
- Sherlock Homage (Sherlock Holmes)
- Shotoclone (Ken and Ryu)
- Stock Shonen Hero (Goku)
- Stock Shonen Rival (Vegeta and/or Seto Kaiba)
- Stock Shoujo Heroine (Usagi and/or Tsukushi)
- Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl (Sadako Yamamura/Samara Morgan)
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist (Kouichi Zenigata)
- Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
- Theatre Phantom (The Phantom of the Opera)
- Trenchcoat Brigade (John Constantine)
- Tuxedo and Martini (James Bond)
- The Watson (John H. Watson)
- Yellow Peril (Fu Manchu and Ming the Merciless)
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Anime And Manga
- Sailor Moon: Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn was so popular for whatever reason that a few Magical Girl series following copied her character in particular, such as Michal Amagi in Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. Tsubame Sanjou from Rurouni Kenshin is also explicitly mentioned by Word of God as being based on her character.
- Yasunori Kato, antagonist of the classic series Doomed Megalopolis, has inspired a slew of imitators, which have in turn inspired others, to the point where it's difficult to tell who inspired who after the original. Characters of his lineage include M. Bison, Washizaki, Rudolph von Stronheim, the Blocken family, Brocken, and Shiliew, while surprisingly, we have a heroic version in the name of Raidou Kuzunoha. Also, they are ALL descended from the Hugo Boss-designed Nazi officer uniforms.
- Another Shonen Jump starter was YuYu Hakusho's Sensui. Before him there were just Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy and Smug Snake Chessmaster villains in anime/manga, then with his extremely suave persuasions, extremely broken (in more ways than one) abilities and able to turn every little mishap to his advantage, is what defines today's anime/manga (particularly Shōnen) villains. Just ask Madara of Naruto, Blackbeard of One Piece, Byakuran of Katekyō Hitman Reborn!, Naraku of Inuyasha, and Father of Fullmetal Alchemist. Though Sensui has some more traditionally direct (as in, based directly on him in particular and not just the type of overpowered shounen Anti-Villain he created) expies as well- Bleach gives us Jin, Aizen, Kariya, Ginjo (Ginjo to the extent that if you just put a bindi on his forehead he looks exactly like Sensui were Kubo Tite to draw him), and Ulquiorra (his R1 and R2 transformations during his fight against Ichigo), Hunter × Hunter has Chrollo (unsurprisingly, from a manga by the same author), Naruto has Pain (his background and his powers such as the six paths of pain relating to Sensui's multiple personalities), and Saiyuki has Homura.
- Captain Harlock is very iconic in Space Opera anime, and he shows up damn near everywhere in anything where there are huge spacey battleships. Notable Harlock expies include Alex Row of Last Exile, stoic renegade captain of the legendary steampunk battleship "Kill'em All" Silvana, and the villainous Vicious of Cowboy Bebop , who even has the weird bird, probably to make up for his distinct lack of a battleship. Speaking of Leiji Matsumoto's creation, the Maetel archetype is also popular: tall, willowy blonde women with few words and deeply mysterious origin. Nekota from Girls und Panzer (a Fall 2012 Anime) is an obvious nod to the original Maetel.
- More Neon Genesis Evangelion expies:
- In a similar vein to the Rei Ayanami Expy above, Kaworu Nagisa has a similar amount of Expies (such as N from Pokémon Black and White and Akise from Future Diary). You will often find a light (typically white or grey) haired Bishōnen who's Ambiguously Gay/Ambiguously Bi and aims for the lead character. If Foe Yay is part of the character, he's more than qualified for the Expy.
- We also can count Shinji Ikari. After the series, countless Classical Antiheroes appeared with dark hair hair and angst similar to Shinji's. Renton Thurston from Eureka Seven (in vain of Follow the Leader) also counts as well as Ouma Shu from Guilty Crown and Amano Yukiteru from Future Diary.
- Gundam sure likes to recycle character attributes, much more character designs, as exemplified by the Char Clone page. As to other characters: Relena Darlian/Peacecraft, herself the Sayla Mass to Heero Yuy's Amuro Ray and Zechs Merquise's Char Aznable, has expies of her own in Dianna Soreil, Lacus Clyne, Cagalli Yula Athha (who's also partly based on Sayla; and who would later on get an expy of her own in Ange), Princess Rele, Marina Ismail and Kudelia Aina Bernstein, and outside of Gundam, Nunnally Lamperouge and Euphemia Li Brittania (the latter who's also partly based on Lacus), and Asseylum Vers Allusia.
- Then Heero himself is thrown into the mix as well. Former child soldiers who can keep the military aspect of Real Robot shows while still being young enough to appeal to kids and/or teenagers. Such expies include Setsuna F. Seiei (who later gets one in Mikazuki Augus) and Sousuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic! (who pulls double duty as an Affectionate Parody of the character type).
- Hero Killer Yazan Gable of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam infamy is second only to Char in number of knockoffs. There's Rakan Dahkaran of Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Rezun Schneider of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack, Ash Grey of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray, Ali Al-Saachez of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 and Decil Galette of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, as well as Code Geass' Sir Luciano Bradley. All are Sociopathic Soldiers who joined the army for the chance to kill as many people as possible, act as The Brute within their respective forces, have no redeeming qualities whatsoever, possess fearsome reputations in-story, and with the exception of Ash and Decil, are badass normals to boot.
- MSG Big Bad Gihren Zabi has expies in Glemmy Toto, Fonse Kagatie, Seidel Rasso, Patrick Zala, and Flit Asuno.
- Guts is the pretty much the basis for every "manly" Japanese hero after him. Some examples are Ike and Hector from Fire Emblem, Auron from Final Fantasy X and Caim from Drakengard. Guts also has some characters based off of him like Kirito from Sword Art Online who is called the Black Swordsman who is dressed in black and gets a BFS later and The Dragonslayer of Dra Koi who wears a similar armor to Guts's Berserker Armor. Although he turns out to just be a Suit of Armor and The Protagonist is much of a Guts Expy when wearing The Armor and fighting fate.
- The "golden-haired green-clad elf chick" inspired by Deedlit from Record of Lodoss War, such as Tiffania Westwood from The Familiar of Zero and Tuka Luna Marceau from Gate, and spread to video games (e.g. Lucia from Capcom's Dungeons & Dragons arcade series).
- Being one of the most iconic anime characters ever, this obviously happened to Astro Boy. There have been numerous stories about humanoid robots that rely heavily on the series. The American Robotboy and My Life as a Teenage Robot come to mind, along with the Japanese Jetter Mars and Mega Man.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has a mess of recurring archetypes, in both its spinoffs and its ripoffs.
- Yugi, or better Atem, is a role-model for many other protagonist, by being a rather short (or simply not being tall), using a wide variety of monsters with his ace having 2500 ATK, having crazy Anime Hair and use magical powers to win the duel even if they actually defy the rules. They are all almost Invincible Heroes and they tend to have Spiritual Advisors residing within their bodies.
- Seto Kaiba. Since he was the Breakout Character, the various spinoffs traditionally have at least two characters who have lots of money, act cool in all circumstances, get obsessed with the main character after he insults the character's pride, know their way around machines, stay clad in a gravity-defying coat, are/were successful and famous pro Duelists and specialize in dragons. Oftentimes, they'll give some Kaiba traits to one character and others to another. Yu-Gi-Oh! GX had Manjoume, who got Kaiba's wealth, obsessiveness, the coat and expies of some of Kaiba's lesser archetypes, while Kaiser got the stoicism, the coat and expies of Kaiba's signature Blue-Eyes, and Edo got the fame and success and is an even more effective Foil to the protagonist Judai than the other two. Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has Jack, who got the obsession, the wealth, the fame, the coat and the dragon focus (as well as a similar backup strategy with Fiend-Types), though unusually, most of the other usual Kaiba traits got filtered into Yusei. Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL has Kaito who got the coat, the technology and the dragon, while Shark got the fame and has one-to-two dragon-like sharks, and both of them can be stoic. Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has Reiji, who got the money, the technology, the fame, but lacks the dragons; he also plays with the Expy trope by being a Contrasting Sequel Main Character at the same time, having three copies of a 3000 ATK beatstick that loses its role as Reiji's signature card and doesn't focus on a single monster by having a lot more variety, similar to Atem.
- Kaiba and his expies usually have a younger brother they have to babysit. The younger brother might be a Duelist or not. Mokuba is the original (and he is a Capsule Monsters Chess player), with his expies being Sho from GX (although his brother Kaiser often distances himself from him), Haruto from ZEXAL and Reira from ARC-V.
- Jounouchi and Shizuka are the first characters to introduce the deep-bonded big-brother-little-sister dynamic, a pair that appears in all other anime series. GX has Fubuki (a Red-Eyes player like Jounouchi) and Asuka who even invert Jounouchi and Shizuka's hair colors, 5D's has Lua and Luca, ZEXAL has Shark and Rio, and ARC-V has Kurosaki and Ruri. Most of the time, the big brother is very protective towards his younger sister.
- Bakura's archetype as a Sixth Ranger Traitor who has some kind of connection to the protagonist, quickly bonds with them, and ends up battling them for greater reasons while serving the Big Bad (usually forcibly) has recurred several times, with Johan in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, Bruno in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, and Vector in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL. Vector, by being a deliberate case of The Mole but eventually turning good of his own will, spawned a few of his own, including Sora and Dennis in Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V.
- Insector Haga/Weevil Underwood wasn't the guy who started the idea of a Starter Villain who's a Hollywood Nerd, a cheater, a Hate Sink, and a Smug Snake, but characters who are clearly cut from his cloth pop up fairly frequently - most obviously, Ura from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, and Eita from Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V.
- In an odd case of an archetype starting from a Canon Foreigner, Dartz's role as a leader of an evil organization (typically a cult) of more sympathetic characters who are being kept in place by More Than Mind Control and inevitably undergo a Heel–Face Turn has been redone several times, with Saiou in GX, Divine in 5Ds, and Don Thousand in ZEXAL. The latter even copies the twist of Dartz having manipulated his underlings into their Start of Darkness. Dartz also, oddly, seems to have been a bigger inspiration for the traditional Final Boss character than most of the original canon villains - while the originals tended to be self-centered dirty fighters who were roughly equal with the protagonists, Dartz was a borderline SNK Boss who played two-on-one and overpowered the protagonists at every turn, with a more altruistic motivation (on the surface, anyway) and Hannibal Lectures at every opportunity - a set of ideas that fit Darkness, Z-One, and especially Don Thousand quite well.
- While Hayate the Combat Butler has Nagi Sanzen'in - one of the Holy Trinity of Shana Clones - as one of the main heroines, it's Breakout Character Hinagiku Katsura that has inspired plenty of imitators after her unexpected popularity. Previously, if an anime/manga featured a Student Council they were either protagonists as seen in Maid-Sama! or major antagonists as seen in Revolutionary Girl Utena (usually being absurdly powerful in either role). What Hinagiku brought to the table was the cool and extremely popular (with both genders) Beautiful Elite version popular with antagonists (to the point of originally being drawn in an extra flowery Non-Standard Character Design which resembled Utena) that was also a very kind and helpful supporting character to the unpopular main characters. Characters following in her example can be seen in Hisa from Saki, Yanagin's Sempai from Daily Lives of High School Boys (whose character notes even lampshade it), and Captain Liliana from Queen's Blade (as a busty, semi-evil pirate version of Hina) as just ones that share her voice actress. Megumi Imae from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular! fits as well with her being very nice and supportive of the bizarre and unpopular main character.
- Free! turned out to be so popular, there seems to be an expy of main character Haruka Nanase appearing in every sports anime since. This has gone through a bit of Memetic Mutation, with fans calling any Haruka expy that appears "X Haru", with the X representing what sport the anime centers around. Volleyball Haru, Running Haru, Bike Haru… the list goes on.
- Osomatsu-kun's popularity saw a rise in overbite-ridden, overzealous mustachioed showmen a la Iyami, down to their own use of his famous "Sheeeh!" pose or something like it.
- The Sextuplets deserve a mention, since they defined and established the 'Children with Wacky Adventures' formula. Notable characters that were based/inspired by them include Nobita from Doraemon, Eiichi from Kiteretsu Daihyakka and Kenichi from Ninja Hattori-kun.
- Pokémon's Team Rocket have become so iconic that Jessie and James's dynamic (e.g. aggressive female paired with passive male, wearing red and blue respectively) has become a staple of villainous duos in both anime and western animation.
- Azumanga Daioh:
- Azumanga Daioh codified the Slice of Life high school comedy genre to the point where there's an expy in nearly every entry to the genre since, typically Osaka or Tomo.
- Yukari is the Trope Codifier for Sensei-chan characters. Though most aren't as mean-hearted as her, many characters take inspiration from her.
- While Superman could be said to be the Trope Codifier for the whole Super Hero genre, he is even more directly the inspiration for every single Cape superhero in terms of personality and outfit, and for anyone with the standard Flying Brick powers (including the aforementioned Goku!). Then there are those characters more directly and deliberately inspired by him, including Supreme, Samaritan of Astro City, and Marvel's Gladiator.
- Similarly, Batman (himself borrowing heavily from Zorro and The Shadow) gave rise to every single Badass Normal in (American) Comics, particularly those that work during the night. This is lampshaded in a JLA 80-Page Giant issue when Green Arrow talks, In-Universe, about how Batman was the coolest non-powered hero around, so of course GA had to have a cave, and an Arrowmobile, and a sidekick.
- If there are expies of Superman and Batman in a story there is probably a Wonder Woman expy somewhere there to complete the Trinity.
- Robin as well set the pace for the Sidekick in comics. Following his creation, numerous other Kid sidekicks were created, Bucky, Aqualad, Speedy, Kid Flash, the list goes on.
- Lois Lane as well, as the journalist love interest of the hero - think of Vicki Vale, Iris Allen, Betty Brant, Roxanne Ritchi...
- Captain America is the best known patriotic superhero, and as such has inspired numerous Expies. Among them are the Fighting American, the Guardian (also created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby), Agent Liberty, General Glory from the JLI, and Commander Steel from the comic book series of the same name.
- Captain America himself is inspired by The Shield (by the publishers of Archie), the first known patriotism-themed superhero in comic books.
- Wolverine. Nearly every "exciting new character" introduced in The Dark Age of Comic Books was a cheap knockoff of him. Wolverine himself is an expy of Timber Wolf from the Legion of Super-Heroes.
- Wolverine isn't the only one to have inspired these characters. Watchmen's Rorschach was a major influence in many ways across the board and helped codify many of the tropes for AntiHeroes. His popularity was certainly a factor in the creation of the '90s Anti-Hero, and every one of those characters owes something to him, be it a willingness to kill, working alone, constantly brooding, being intimidating towards the criminal scum and not cooperating well with police or other heroes. Rorschach did most of it first. Rorschach is himself an Unbuilt Trope of this, ironically.
- In the Golden Age of Comic Books, there were countless Expies of Mandrake the Magician, usually complete with top hat and tails. The most well-remembered one is Zatanna's dad Zatara.
- Spider-Man is often credited as being the Trope Codifier for the non-sidekick Kid Hero and the Unlucky Everydude Superhero. A lot of characters owe much of their characteristics to him such as the latest Blue Beetle, Static, Freedom Ring from Marvel Comics Gravity, Kyle Rayner aka Green Lantern, and his own Legacy Character Miles Morales, the second Ultimate Spider-Man.
- Almost without exception, if a work is intended as a parody of/meditation on/deconstruction of/homage to the idea of superheroes in general, there WILL be a Justice League of Expies and/or an expy Fantastic Four.
- Justice League Expies include the Champions in Soon I Will Be Invincible; the Seven Sentinels in Top 10; the Honor Guard in Astro City; Marvel's Squadron Supreme; the League of Honor in The Pro; The Guard of Silver Age Sentinels; the Freedom League of Mutants & Masterminds; and the original Global Guardians in Invincible.
- Fantastic Four expies include the Parrs of The Incredibles; the Furst Family of Astro City; the Nobles of Noble Causes; Cyborg Superman's backstory in DC Comics; the Atom Family of Mutants & Masterminds; the thoroughly evil 4 in Planetary, and the Impossibles of The Venture Bros. One episode of Batman Beyond involved an expy team going rogue.
- Due to complex rights issues, Black Lightning was barred from appearing in DC animated productions until around 2009 or so, which lead to the creation of numerous thinly-veiled substitutes with similar powers. Among them are Black Vulcan from Super Friends, Soul Power from Static Shock, and Juice from Justice League Unlimited. This ultimately resulted in black characters with electric powers became a trope in off itself.
- The character Fantômas, originating as the Villain Protagonist in a series of novels, was an Omnicidal Maniac with Gentleman Thief trappings, who was aided by a Dark Mistress and pursued by a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist. He inspired the Villain Protagonist Gentleman Thief of Diabolik (similarly aided by a Dark Mistress and pursued by a Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist), who in turn inspired a number of other (usually more sympathetic) comic book characters, including the X-Men character Fantomex, a heroic take on Fantômas in Mexican comics, and Paperinik, a secret identity used by Donald Duck in Italian comics. Tellingly, among the many names given to Paperinik in translations are Fantomiald (France), Fantonald (Norway), and Phantomias (Germany).
- The Shadow was contemporary with a number of similar pulp heroes: the Crimson Clown, Thunderbolt, the Spider, and... well, Batman himself. A few more stand-ins for him have appeared in modern times, including the Gray Ghost and the Silver Shroud.
- Certain actors with memorable appearances and manners of speaking have spawned many homages and caricatures in the popular culture that followed, especially in cartoons: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson, Peter Lorre, Orson Welles, Marlon Brando, etc.
- It is perhaps easier to count the number of Adventurer Archaeologists who are not Indiana Jones clones than the number of those that are, and Indiana himself descended from a long line of Adventurer Archaeologists.
- Audrey II of Little Shop of Horrors, who brought you other Man Eating Plants like the Piranha Plants from Super Mario Bros.
- King Kong may be the single most aped character who is not technically in the public domain, but it hasn't stopped many from copying him (probably because it's rather difficult to copyright a giant ape, whether we all know who it is or not). This was proved when Universal Studios famously sued Nintendo over Donkey Kong; they lost because they'd previously successfully argued a giant ape climbing a building was public domain.
- The creatures in the Alien series inspired countless other alien monsters with elongated heads, rows of fangs, and an overall nightmarish appearance, especially common in video games. The sister franchise to Alien, Predator, has similarly had this occur with several mercenaries/killers (Whether they're aliens or not) taking after the monster's cloaking device and wrist blades, flat mask, dreadlocks, mandibles and hunting tactics.
- Godzilla, the quintessential city wrecking giant monster, has had too many monsters based on him. You can say "Godzilla-sized" and everyone will know what you're talking about. See Kaiju and Rent-a-Zilla for examples of Godzilla clones.
- A lot of mafia bosses act suspiciously like Trope Codifier The Godfather, down to the odd mannerism of speaking.
- Another Star Wars example: many a Lovable Rogue takes a cue from Han Solo (like the above mentioned Dr Jones).
- Every Drill Sergeant Nasty in fiction after 1987 will invariably be heavily inspired by Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket. Notable in that most of these will have the same actor (R. Lee Ermey) portraying him, as well.
- Got Powered Armor? Expect an Iron Man-esque suit-up sequence complete with robot arms, on the spot assembly, and the iconic "Stepping into the boot" shot.
- Oddjob from the James Bond film Goldfinger was so popular that actor Harold Sakata got several more roles as taciturn thugs wearing black bowler hats and suits.
- Perennial Bond bad guy Ernst Blofeld inspired countless villains who sinisterly stroke cats. Particularly those who are initially only depicted as hand petting a cat obscured by a large chair.
- Sherlock Holmes. The inspiration for hundreds of eccentric private detectives in all kinds of settings, many of them explicit expies, to the extent that from the time he became popular until Trent's Last Case Deconstructed the type in 1913, it was well-nigh impossible to find a Great Detective who didn't rip him off, or, for that matter, a crime-solver who wasn't at least a parody of a Great Detective. Several characters inspired by Holmes have become distinctive popular characters in their own right, including Gregory House and Batman.
- Conan the Barbarian: The most well known Barbarian Hero, whenever he's brought to pulps, paperback novels, comics, or motion pictures, he always brings with him a slew of imitators. Some of the obvious ones are Lin Carter's Thongor the Valkarthian, Gardner Fox's Kothar the Cumberian, John Jake's Brak the Barbarian, and Alan Moore's Bram the Berzerkian.
- Some of Kothar's prose stories were actually adapted into Conan comic book stories.
- The barbarian class in Dungeons & Dragons was created more or less entirely for the benefit of people who wanted to play as Conan.
- In recent years, the name Clonans has seen increasing use among fans.
- Drizzt Do'Urden, as mentioned on the Overused Copycat Character page (he used to be its Trope Namer).
- The Lord of the Rings
- Big Bad, Sauron- though the Evil Overlord archetype is almost as old as humanity itself, many modern fantasy Overlords owe quite a bit to this guy, particularly if they live in an Evil Tower of Ominousness in Mordor, are He Who Must Not Be Seen for most or all of the story, are Tin Tyrants decorated with Spikes of Villainy, use an Artifact of Doom, which may double as a Soul Jar, and they cannot comprehend good.
- Also, Elves. Extremely common in fantasy literature, but post-Christianity and pre-Tolkien, fae in general were portrayed as small, cute, harmless, etc. Or as The Fair Folk.
- And Hobbits. There are now lots of "halflings" and other short-people-who-are-not-dwarves in the fantasy literature and in fantasy RPGs.
- The archetype of a wandering, humble-seeming wise old man with a wide-brimmed hat and an array of supernatural powers may be started by Odin of Norse Mythology, but most aren't aware of that and base their Wizard Classic upon Gandalf.
- Smaug from The Hobbit brought the "silver-tongued dragon" archetype to Western audiences.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz gave us: Cyborgs/Androids afraid of losing their humanity (the Tin Man), Cowardly Powerhouses (Cowardly Lion), the most iconic Wicked Witch of them all, and a very typical girl heroine (Dorothy).
- Hawk from the Spenser novels by Robert B Parker codified and popularised the Psycho Sidekick in the private eye subgenre.
- The Cthulhu Mythos has been the inspiration of Eldritch Abomination trope. If a creator likes to make one, it would usually have a face full of tentacles.
- James Bond is possibly the most famous depiction of a spy and is copied endlessly. His villains have also had a big influence on fictional characters, with Ernst Stavro Blofeld being quite possibly the most commonly copied.
- Journey to the West: Son Wukong In addition to many Chinese adaptations and knock-offs, the immortality-seeking monkey king with an extensible staff and great magical powers is known to the Japanese as Son Goku. (Most expies, however, only copy Wukong's Munchkin-levels of mischievousness and forget that he's also a Guile Hero.)
- Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser had a huge influence on both the Sword & Sorcery genre fantasy roleplaying games, and gave rise to a frequently copied adventurer pairing of Brains and Brawn and/or Sword and Sorcerer.
- Many a Kill All Humans-minded race of Mechanical Lifeforms owe a debt to Fred Saberhagen's Berserker series.
- Discussed in Thursday Next; "generics" (basically book extras) in the Well of Lost Plots are affected by strong personalities and model themselves accordingly, which are then distributed in lots of other books. (one example In-Universe is how many Merlins appeared following The Once and Future King, which then were sent to books throughout the fantasy genre.)
- Nasir from Robin of Sherwood introduced the idea of adding a North African or Arab character to the Merry Men in Robin Hood retellings. Several subsequent works, most notably Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and the 2010s BBC Robin Hood, have done the same, either out of a conscious desire to ethnically diversify the cast, or due to accidental Lost in Imitation.
- In Visual Kei there are a lot of artists that get this treatment, but probably the most notorious is hide. The amount of hide clones or one-time hide clones within Visual Kei is enough to fill an entire page, but some of the more well known are Die and Kaoru of Dir en grey (though they currently are not), Jun of Spiv States plus the entire band concept of Spiv States being a thinly veiled copy of hide's solo band, and a 2013 photoshoot for a band called CELL featuring everyone in the band as a hide clone. It's been overdone to the point that anyone in Visual Kei with red or pink hair, especially paired with hide's face or eye makeup, is a clone of him regardless of sound or instrument.
- George Strait. In The '90s, many young up and coming males in Country Music followed his pattern of being youngish, clean-cut, sharp-dressed good ol' country boys with a bit of a honky-tonk flair to their music. Their copying of Strait's image was dubbed "hat act". Over time, so many "hat acts" flooded Nashville that the phrase quickly became a derogatory term, and most new males in country music ever since have abandoned the Strait archetype (except Strait himself, of course).
- Though Eminem song "The Real Slim Shady" serves as the current page quote, he himself comes from a long line of white rappers with that particular look (tank top, shorts, backward baseball cap, etc.), a family tree that includes Vanilla Ice.
- George Wagner is not just the Trope Maker and Trope Namer for Gorgeous George but the originator of The Gimmick as it would be used in pro wrestling from the 1930s onward. Besides ambiguously gay wrestlers like "Exotic" Adrian Street (who is himself a fountain of expies), his influence is also transparently shown in Natural Guy Buddy Rogers (another fountain of expies).
- El Santo, which ironically was a gimmick intended to cash in on the popularity of The Masked Marvel, only the The Marvel gimmick was supposed to be that of a Heel everyone wanted to see unmasked. Santo instead underwent a Heel–Face Turn after reaching a point no one wanted to see him unmasked and after the man died he was buried in it. Some of expies include Mil Mascaras, who in turn inspires his own expies, Black Man, who became Mexico's biggest draw (alongside Kung Fu and Kato Kung Lee) after succeeding an LLI feud Santo was a part of, Novia Del Santo(Irma Gonzales), El Zorro Plateado(who spawned his own Legacy), El Santos from the satire series of the same name and Number Five from Angel.
- Fray Tormenta is the Masked Luchador with the most expies after El Santo, which include Tiger Mask (which would in turn become another fountain of expies), Sagrado, Místico (that one too), El Generico, Tekken's King and Nacho Libre.
- The French Angel, aka "The World's Ugliest Man", became such a huge draw when he arrived in the Boston territory that a wave of expies rose across North America, including but not limited to Swedish Angel (formerly Phil/Olaf/Popey/Frankenstein/Olaffsen), Russian Angel (formerly Tony Angelo and a former Masked Marvel), Canadian Angel (formerly Bill Rush, who beforehand was in another ersatz role as Red Masked Marvel), Polish Angel (formerly Iron Talun, who in a bit of variation was cute), Czech Angel (formerly Stanley Pinto), Irish Angel (formerly Clive Welsh), Golden Angel (formerly Tiger Jack Moore) and Black Angel (Gil Guerrero). There was also Super Swedish Angel (formerly Tor Johnson) who was a Captain Ersatz of an expy and two distaff counterparts, the Lady Angel gimmick being taken up both by Jean Noble and Yulie Brynner. The animated ogre Shrek also closely resembles the world's ugliest man.
- Filipino wrestler Rey Urbano started The Gimmick of Asian wrestlers with "ninja cheats", though more imitators were inspired by his expy, The Great Kabuki, who in turn was overshadowed by one his own expies during the territorial era when promoters in the National Wrestling Alliance pushed The Great Muta as his son. Far more wrestlers have imitated Muta's style but the poison fog/colored mists come from Kabuki and the face paint and or mutilation come from Urbano.
- "Superstar" Billy Graham, whose expies include many other blonde and or bearded "body builder" types in fancy get ups such as Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura and Scott Steiner, who all also took elements of his promos, though adding their own unique tics.
- Final Fantasy:
- Final Fantasy VI: Kefka. He may well be the inspiration for every Camp, Monster Clown, Nihilist in gaming the world over. Ironic, considering he's frequently considered the FF version of The Joker. He also started the trend of RPG bosses having a vaguely angelic One-Winged Angel form, predating even the Trope Namer up above. Ardyn from Final Fantasy XV is usually considered to be following in Kefka's footsteps, and Kuja from Final Fantasy IX is like a mashup between Kefka and Sephiroth.
- Sephiroth of Final Fantasy VII, while hardly the first white haired Bishōnen villain, did inspire a whole slew of imitators trying to get the same sort of Multiple Demographic Appeal. Just look at the design of Magic: The Gathering's Sorin Markov. (That "control other player" part sounds morbidly familiar...)
- These characters, derisively called "Sephiroth Clones", are becoming increasingly common, especially in later Final Fantasy games. On any given Final Fantasy XI server, you will find dozens. All of them Elvaan males, all with long silver hair, almost always Samurai.
- As an amusing point of fact, Sephiroth was himself inspired by Psaro of Dragon Quest IV. In the Nintendo DS remake of the game, Psaro's redesign lifts a few elements from Sephiroth in turn.
- The success of Final Fantasy VII's Cloud meant every JRPG until about 2002 had to star a moody, arrogant, aloof, charismatic, Anime Haired young man (or woman) with '90s Anti-Hero and Emo Teen elements, an Inferiority Superiority Complex, a Dark and Troubled Past, access to a motorbike, a uniquely designed BFS, and usually some form of amnesia or magical dark side. None of these traits are unusual in protagonists, of course, but it was unusual until then to have a JRPG protag of this kind, since the kind of storytelling usually used in the genre favours more naive and helpful characters than this. The Follow the Leader died out when the Cloud copies got so extreme with the angst, coolness and attitude that it was impossible to enjoy being in their company any more.
- FromSoftware is fond of this while creating in-universe expies of expies, it often occurs to characters with the same voice actor, or having similar appearance and backstories, especially anyone who happens to be named Patches.
- The slimes from Dragon Quest inspired a wave of copycats until it became a JRPG cliche to have a weak, low level Blob Monster enemy, often with a cute face and Mascot Mook status.
- Inverted in Star Wars: The Old Republic. Every class is an expy of one or more characters from the Films, as are their starships. Companion Characters also channel minor characters from the films and Expanded Universe. Excepting minor cases of characters who are Expies of non-Star Wars characters (the Imperial Agent is a dead ringer for James Bond) and of earlier BioWare characters (Kaliyo is Jack).
- If a video game produced after 2001 has a main character who's head to toe in Powered Armor and has any sort of personality, you can bet that said personality will resemble Metroid protagonist Samus Aran, Master Chief from Halo, or as of late, Doomguy from Doom, as will the abilities and limitations of said Powered Armor.
- There will always be many gameplay expies of Mario. The main characters of which will be expies of Sonic, either in design or personality.
- City of Heroes had (has?) a problem with this. It's very easy to make an obvious Captain Ersatz with it, and Marvel Comics sued them over it once. When the Twin Blades power set was added to City of Heroes, thousands of clones of the aforementioned Drizzt Do'Urden were the first characters seen using it. Drizzt's popularity as an overused character even extended to video games...
- When the first expansion for World of Warcraft hit, giving the Horde blond elves, in the first hours there were literally thousands of variations of Legolas, most of them hunters with bows, as well as hundreds of Sephiroths. The game's Orcs i.e. the Proud Warrior Race shamanistic type are almost as common as the original Always Chaotic Evil type nowadays.
- The protagonist of any Yume Nikki fangame is an expy of Madotsuki by default.
- Several Fire Emblem games feature a pair of Macho Camp bandits, often found in desert areas who serve as a Dual Boss. There are enough recurring character archetypes throughout the series to merit an entire category on the Fire Emblem Wiki.
- Every generation after the first will have an adorable electric rodent resembling Pikachu. The exact species varies (there have been mice and squirrels so far) but all of them have cheeks that conduct electricity. which seems a little redundant given that Pikachu itself is also available in every generation bar the fifth. This trend is spoofed by the introduction of Mimikyu, a Ghost and Fairy-type who wears a poorly-made Pikachu costume in the hopes that he will become as popular as Pikachu.
- Every generation after the first also tends to feature an early-route Pokémon resembling a small rodent or other similar creature in the vein of Rattata, A bug-type Pokémon not unlike Weedle or Caterpie, and a bird Pokémon rather similar to Pidgey.
- Pick a MOBA game. any MOBA game. There is always a knockoff Meat Hook ability. Every single time.
- We've long since lost count of how many low-budget horror games have tried to be Freddy Fazbear and the gang.
- Dak'kon, the Githzerai Warrior Poet from Planescape: Torment, permanently altered the perceptions of the Githzerai. Before Dak'kon, the canonical alignment of the Githzerai was mostly Chaotic Neutral, befitting a people who lived in Limbo, a plane directly tied to chaos, with the Lawful Neutral Dak'kon being an explicit and very unusual exception to the rule. However, due to Dak'kon's influence (both in-universe and out-of-universe), level-headed, monastic, Lawful Neutral Warrior Monks became the norm for the Githzerai thereafter.
- Inverted in Super KO Boxing 2, where nearly all boxers have the gimmicks of Punch-Out!! boxers. Examples include:
- KO Kid = Little Mac
- Big Gip/Bigger Gip = Glass Joe
- El Bulli/El Diablo = Don Flamenco
- Sake Bomb = Piston Hondo with Bald Bull's knockout recovery
- King Tub = King Hippo
- Executioner = Every final opponent in the game.
- Shining Series has one inspired by Zylo, the claw-wielding, wolfring warrior king from the original Shining Force. Since his debut, there's been a Wolf Man character in nearly every game in the series that emulates to some degree. Notable examples include:
- Back in the early 1930s, every new cartoon character that came along was a Mickey Mouse clone. Ironically, Mickey himself was merely following the formula established the decade before by Felix the Cat, and more than one person has stated that he was merely Disney's previous star Oswald the Lucky Rabbit with round ears and a long tail. Some people theorize that the whole "black skin, white mouth" genre of funny animals started out as an animated version of minstrel shows. Felix's ability to spawn expies even extended past animation. Sonic the Hedgehog looked more or less exactly like Felix in the Genesis era, which kickstarted a bunch of expies in video games, though almost none besides Sonic himself remain.