They look like the same girl right? Except they're not. (Hint: Look at their eyes.)
"You had the existence I could only dream of.
Every pleasure at your disposal and you wasted it.
You don't deserve this life, Clark, but I do."
These kinds of characters have a lot of envy
. They don't just want to be like
the person they envy. They literally want to be
the person they envy and live their life. Not that they will admit it
. These kind of characters are often Woobies
and Jerkass Woobies
, hence the reason they don't like their life.
They will try to be close as possible as the person they envy and/or simply become obsessed with surpassing them.
Given the right circumstances, these kind of characters will swap places with the person they envy. This can result In Grand Theft Me
May lead to being Driven by Envy
. This is a very extreme form of Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
. Expect lots of Ho Yay
if both characters are of the same gender.
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Anime & Manga
- In the romantic comedy Orange Chocolate, the lead girl makes a wish to be like the guy she adores. She's envious because he is a prodigy onnagata, i.e. male performer of female roles, and she feels he is more beautiful and graceful than she is. Then something happens. Guess how it goes wrong.
- In an episode of Detective Conan. A moderately wealthy stock-trader murders his brother - a previously-successful and prize-winning novelist who spent too much time resting on his laurels and just loafing about, leeching off of his brother (he had some blackmail material about illegal insider trading, so the brother couldn't kick him out). The twist was that the stock-trader didn't murder his brother for blackmailing him, or for living off of him - but because he admired him. He despaired at seeing his once-great brother sink into laziness, and decided to become him, so that he could bring back the brother he'd once admired. But of course, he'll first have to get away with murder... which won't happen while Conan is around!
- Mikael from Tenshi Ni Narumon pretty much emulates his teacher on every occasion when they are NOT together. When they are - he shifts back to his usual and quite opposite true self
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica Spin-Off Puella Magi Kazumi Magica: The Knight of Cerebus Yuuri is actually a girl named Airi, who wished to become her the real Yuuri after she died.
- Deadman Wonderland: Hagire Rinchinchou wants to become Shiro, a young girl with powerful "blood-bending" powers that he experimented on. To a guy like him, wanting to unite with a Person of Mass Destruction is the closest he's ever felt to being in love.
- Gundam Seed Destiny: Meer Campbell for Lacus Clyne. Being a Lacus fangirl, then having her face surgically changed into Lacus's seriously messed with her sanity.
- Corrector Yui: Grosser wanted to be Yui.
- In Fruits Basket, Kyo secretly wishes he was Yuki, because he is envious of how Yuki seems to be a favorite in the Sohma family (as the Cat, Kyo is almost entirely hated by his family). Yuki, meanwhile, secretly is envious of how Kyo has a chance for a normal life, free of the confining Sohma family (as the "favorite" of the head of the family, Yuki was confined so much that for a time, he honestly had no idea how to interact with other children). For much of the series, Tohru is the only one who realizes how the two secretly admire each other. At the end of the series, when Tohru is in the hospital, Kyo finally spits out to Yuki how "I always wanted to be you!" and how he thinks Yuki is always able to do the right thing. Yuki, who is already angry with Kyo for rejecting Tohru's advances, punches him in the face while shouting "Shut up! Shut up! I was the one who always wanted to be you!"
- The Familiar of Zero has a magic mirror that temporarily turns whoever looks into it into who they most want to be. Louise turned into Cattleya, Princess Henrietta turned into Louise, Scarron turned into a beautiful woman, etc. Hilariously, Guiche was unaffected by the mirror, because his incredible vanity meant he saw himself as the ideal man.
- In A Certain Magical Index, Ayu Mitsuari hated Misaki Shokuhou and thought it was unfair that she had a better life and privileges than her. For example, Ayu and Misaki started out with the same power (Mind Manipulation), but Academy City's higher-ups decided to devote more resources to fulfilling Misaki's potential and snubbed Ayu. Ayu learned of Touma Kamijou and tried to contact him and ask for his help, but he ran into Misaki and became friends with her, and as a result did not notice her message. She describes herself as an ant that wants to be a bee (referencing her and Misaki's respective Animal Motifs). She eventually captures Misaki and attempts to transfer Misaki's memories into her own brain, in essence becoming Misaki herself while leaving the original a vegetable. When Misaki proves too strong for the procedure to work, Ayu changes her mind and tries to murder her before Touma arrives and saves her.
- In the very dark Spider-Man storyline "Fearful Symmetry: Kraven's Last Hunt", Kraven the Hunter drugs Spidey and buries him for two weeks while he imitates the wall-crawler. He proves to be unbelievably brutal to the point where even Mary-Jane knows it ain't him.
- Starting with Spider-Man #700, Doctor Octopus is Spider-Man.
- Carl King was a Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up who once tormented Peter Parker. He became envious of Peter after discovering his secret. Wanting to get spider powers like him, he find the dead spider that bit Peter (which had been preserved for study) and ate it. Instead of getting powers like Spider-Man's, he turned into a swarm of spiders called The Thousand that can invade people's bodies and control their corpses like puppets. The Thousand attempts this on Spider-Man so he can take his place.
- Lex Luthor is almost always depicted as The Resenter of Superman's power and public adoration, but during Blackest Night the influence of the lasso of truth makes him admit that he wants to be Superman. Wonder Woman wasn't surprised. In 52, Lex even used his Everyman exo-gene therapy to copy Superman's powerset and even said "I'm Superman".
- Superboy Prime introduced in Infinite Crisis wanted to kill Connor and Clark so he could be the one and only Superman.
- Hugo Strange. He was so obsessed with Batman he eventually wanted to become him, using genetic engineering and training to get himself to the same physical condition, getting a copy of Batman's costume which he creepily wears around his house and even manages to deduce Batman's identity. He once even managed to defeat Batman and temporarily take his place.
- Hush, or Tommy Elliot, has similar issues towards Bruce Wayne, going right back to being jealous of his parents death in childhood. He even got plastic surgery (which he performed on himself) to look identical to him.
- Joss Whedon's X-Men run suggested that deep down in his subconscious, Cyclops desperately wants to be Wolverine, who is far more popular and memorable than him.
- In Green Lantern, Hector Hammond is obsessed with Hal Jordan. He wants to take over Hal's life and relationship with Carol Ferris, even trying to steal Hal's memories.
- General "Thunderbolt" Ross always coveted the power Banner wielded as The Incredible Hulk. Ross spent years pursuing the Hulk when he wanted to be the Hulk all along. He eventually got what he wanted when he was turned into Red Hulk.
- "Primus apotheosis", an obsessive desire to be like the Autobot leader Optimus Prime, is a diagnosed mental illness that two percent of all Autobots and even a few Decepticons suffer. Pyro from Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers has the worst case of it Rotorstorm has ever seen. Pyro even modified his own chassis to resemble Optimus, right down to having a chest cavity for the Matrix of Leadership 'just in case'.
- In Transformers Dark Cybertron, Rodimus admits this to Orion Pax/Optimus Prime as part of a Rousing Speech. Rodimus never really wanted to be a Prime, a title that Orion rejected because he felt he could not overcome the shameful legacy of his predecessors, he just wanted to be Optimus.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog Alternate Universe Always Having Juice, Metal Sonic is desperately doing everything in his power to become "The Real Sonic". Including kidnapping a small child in order to learn the true meaning of Hanukkah.
- In Brainbent virtually all of Vriska Serket's current persona is copied from her Auntie Mindfang, including being a Biker Babe and self proclaimed slut. In reality Vriska was originally a Shrinking Violet who grew up in a conservative household and does not actually have much of a sense of self. This is in turn based on the original Vriska's characterization where she did the same thing with her ancestor Mindfang.
- In Equestria: A History Revealed, all the Celestia-bashing aside, it becomes pretty clear later on that the Lemony Narrator wants to be like Princess Celestia. To an extent, she also acts this way to Princess Twilight too, and lashes out at the both of them due to her issues of self-worth and her desire to prove herself.
- In chapter two of Princess Celestia Hates Tea, Twilight admits that she once forced herself to drink so much tea that she overdosed on caffeine in an effort to get over her distaste for it because she wanted to be just like Princess Celestia, who everypony knows is an avid tea drinker. This is one of the reasons she can't accept that Celestia actually hates tea.
- In Link's New Look, Young Link tries to use this as an excuse to avoid being punished when he's caught in Peach's room. Things don't go as planned.
- In Vengeance of Dawn, this is Breaking Dawn's entire motivation. Her envy of Twilight Sparkle and desire to get Celestia's love back causes her to do some very regrettable things, not realizing that Celestia really isn't going to like what she's doing.
- In Out Of The Dead Land, the Winter Soldier desperately wants to be Bucky Barnes and gain the deep affection Steve had for Bucky by proxy. The irony, of course, is that the Winter Soldier is Bucky, but a Bucky who's been brainwashed and memory-wiped for so long that he believes the only way he can be a Bucky Steve will approve of is to do a meticulous "Dead" Person Impersonation.
Films — Animation
- In Disney's Animated Adaptation of The Jungle Book, King Louie sings a musical number "I Wan'na Be Like You" about how much he envies humans.
- My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Sunset Shimmer, Princess Celestia's personal student before Twilight Sparkle, doesn't necessarily want to be Twilight Sparkle, but she certainly wants to have what Twilight has (princesshood, immense responsibilities, world-altering magical power, and the esteem and admiration of those around her) — until her Heel-Face Turn at the end of the first film.
Films — Live-Action
- Single White Female, Trope Codifier. Alison Jones' roommate starts to take over her life, including dressing like her and impersonating her to seduce her boyfriend.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Lucy Pevensie envies her sister's life and beauty. She has a dream where she is actually Susan Pevensie while she was never born. She almost uses a spell to look exactly like her sister.
- In The Roommate, Rebecca feels this way toward her roommate Sara.
- Black Swan, Nina to Beth.
I just wanted to be perfect like you.
- In a spoof Mission: Impossible II featurette about the stunts, Ben Stiller plays Tom Cruise's stunt double Tom Crooze. Throughout the segment Cruise is clearly struggling to write off Crooze's antics as anything other than obsessed or insane. It's also revealed that even when they don't request Crooze's work on a particular Cruise film, he just shows up anyway.
Tom Crooze: You really have to become one with the actor. You have to walk like the actor, uh... talk like the actor... legally change your name to sound like the actor's...
- Taken to a disturbing extreme in The Talented Mr Ripley.
- The extended cut of Spider-Man 2 reveals that for all his supposed hatred towards the webslinger, J. Jonah Jameson secretly wants to be Spider-Man. After Spider-Man quits and discards his suit, Jameson buys it and later is shown wearing it, jumping onto his desk and pretending to shoot web.
- This is Edward Nygma/The Riddler's motivation in Batman Forever, to the point that Nygma copies Bruce Wayne's hairstyle and facial mole.
- Touched upon in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford when, at one point, James says to Ford, "I don't get it, do you want to be like me or do you want to be me?" Complete with Ho Yay, as the former says this while the latter watches him bathing.
- In Basic Instinct, it's eventually revealed that Beth had an affair with Catherine back in college and got obsessed with her to the point of trying to be like here in every way, even dying her hair blond. When Nick confronts Beth over this, she asserts that it was the other way around: Catherine was obsessed with her.
- In Scream 4 Jill, whose one of the Ghostface murderers and the mastermind behind the killings, uses the theme of movie remakes to try and kill her older cousin Sidney so she can take her place as the celebrated, tragic, victim and become rich and famous. She recreates the original murders in Woodsboro with changes consistent of a movie remake. She does this out of jealousy, because of Sidney getting all the attention of her family, and majority of the small town associating with her, only because she's related to her.
- In Making Money:
- Cosmo Lavish is obsessed with becoming Lord Vetinari, to the point where he wears a duplicate of Vetinari's ring, practices facial expressions in the mirror all the time, and has his assistant steal worn out pairs of Vetinari's shoes. (Well, shoes that his assistant Heretofore was able to buy at the palace and convince Cosmo were Vetinari's. They were, as a later conversation reveals, actually Drumknott's.)
- Then there's an entire ward in the hospital of people who want to be Lord Vetinari and have regular eye brow raising competitions. Cosmo joins them at the end of the book.
- Though not as dramatic as in the film version, Lucy in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is jealous of her older sister Susan's looks, and almost uses a spell that would make her World's Most Beautiful Woman (and not, in fact, like her sister at all).
- Sweet Valley High featured a plot involving a psychotic girl named Margo, who happened to look identical to Elizabeth and Jessica and was so jealous of them that she planned to kill one of the twins and take over her life. Later, Margo's own identical twin shows up and they both decide they want to become the Wakefield twins.
- The spin-off series Sweet Valley University had a book that copied Single White Female almost exactly, with Isabella acquiring a roommate who wants to become Isabella and starts taking over her life.
- In both The Best Friend and its sequel in the Fear Street series, Becka Norwood's life is invaded by Honey Perkins, who claims that they used to be best friends until Honey moved away. Becka has no memory of Honey, but Honey proceeds to both invade Becka's life and copy it, right down to dating and then breaking up with Becka's ex-boyfriend. Eventually, Honey attempts to murder Becka's actual friends and her boyfriend.
- In the sequel, Becka is trying to start over at a new school and make new friends, until it starts becoming apparent that the strain of Honey's memory is causing Becka to become like Honey. It turns out that the first portion of the book was from Honey's point of view, trying to start over as Becka. In the second portion, we learn that Honey was really Hannah Paulsen, a classmate of Becka's from elementary school. Hannah was an utterly needy and whiny kid desperate to be part of Becka's circle of friends. One day Becka and her friends had Hannah completely humiliate herself to become part of their group, then tell her she never stood a chance just to get her to stop bothering them. Sadly, Hannah would then witness her father murder her twin brother, mom, and then himself. Becka had completely forgotten about the incident and felt disgusted with herself that she could've been so cruel.
- R.L. Stine has tried a few different spins on this trope. In another Fear Street story, an Accidental Murderer takes on the persona of her victim, both as a kind of penance, and as a kind of denial (if I'm her, and I'm alive, then she can't be dead, so I can't have killed her, right?) It's hinted at first that she might be responsible for a more recent string of murders, but the real culprit is actually seeking revenge for a separate incident. As part of confronting him, she's forced to accept herself, setting her on the road to recovery.
- In another Fear Street story ("The New Girl"), a girl who is insanely jealous of her sister kills her and takes on her identity.
- In the Death Note spin-off novel Another Note Beyond Birthday is this to L.
- Throughout the Harry Potter series, it's mentioned that Ron sees Harry as having all the things he wants but can't seem to get: fame, respect, money, and the love of both Hermione and Ron's own family (while Hermione really loves Ron and the Weasley family don't really favor Harry over him, Ron was in a pretty unbalanced state when he believed it). Ron tries to hide his insecurities and jealousy as best he can, seeing as Harry's his best friend, and a lot of the later books have him getting many of those things through his own efforts (by the end of the series, he has been Keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, Gryffindor Prefect, destroyed a Horcrux, was well-known as one of the heroes who fought against Voldemort, became an Auror for the Ministry of Magic, and ended up Happily Married to Hermione, with several children.
- In The Silence of the Lambs Buffalo Bill, who is obsessed with becoming a woman, asks Clarice "What is it like to be so beautiful?" as he dies by her gunfire.
- "Richard Cory" in a song by Simon & Garfunkel, even after Richard Cory "put a bullet through his head."
- Which was based on the poem "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson.
- Busted - "She Wants To Be Me"
- "David Watts" by the Kinks.
- "Invidia" by Delain. I don't wanna be like you/It seems like you outrun me every time/I want to be you/But why can't I erase you from my mind?
- I'd Be You by Stephanie Mcintosh uses this trope to it's full potential. Look at the title.
- "Why Can't I Be You?" by The Cure is a silly, playful take on this.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse Skindancers are disgruntled kinfolk who want to be Garou. By ritually sacrificing five Garou, they can become werewolves like their relatives.
- The Seventh Generation has shades of this. Their theology borrows heavily from Black Spiral Dancer traditions, and their writings refer to Black Spirals as "True Dancers" (suggesting that their own rites pale in comparison). In a chapter of Chronicles of the Black Labyrinth outlining Seventh Generation rites, the author beseeches the Black Spiral Dancers to accept them as fellow servants of the Wyrm.
- Kingdom Hearts gives this one a little twist. Riku was always the cool one, the strong one, the popular one, and the special one, but he's spent his life intensely jealous of his best friend, Sora, for his simple mind and easy-going personality. And when it becomes clear that Sora, not Riku, is the hero of the story, Riku's envy finally drives him off the deep end.
- The irony is not lost on Riku when he later has to face off against a clone of his Heartless form from the first game in Chain of Memories who is obsessed with killing him so it can be the "real" Riku.
- In The World Ends with You, Shiki was incredibly jealous of her outgoing, talented best friend Eri. So much so, in fact, that when she entered the Reaper's Game, she essentially became Eri, copying her appearance and bubbly personality after she lost her real appearance as her entry fee. Thankfully, her Character Development allowed her to come to terms with her issues and learn to appreciate her true self. Interestingly enough, the fact that her entry fee was her real appearance implies that deep down she really did like herself since the entry fee is always whatever is most precious to the player.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, Metal Sonic, the first Evil Knockoff Eggman made of the eponymous hero, is either completely deluded into thinking he is the genuine article and wants to destroy Sonic believing SONIC is the knockoff, or he knows he's a copy but believes that he is superior and constantly challenges Sonic to prove it. Of course, this is Depending on the Writer.
- Sonic Heroes uses both simultaneously, with Metal Sonic (now Metal Overlord) referring to Sonic as his copy while still acknowledging the fact that he was built for the sole purpose of defeating Sonic. It really drives home the Sanity Slippage Metal suffered from his multiple defeats over the years quite well.
(at the beginning of the battle
): "No long time no see, Sonic, my loathsome copy!" Metal Overlord
: "Sonic... I was created for the sole purpose of destroying you. But I can never seem to defeat you! That is why, I transformed my own body with my own hands." Metal Overlord
(upon his defeat
): "Guooooo! Why! I had it all! I am the ultimate overlord
, Metal Sonic
! I am the real
- In Mass Effect 3, the Big Bad of the Citadel DLC is revealed to be an clone of Shepard seeking to Kill and Replace them. It's fair to say, they've developed a major inferiority complex towards the original.
: Look at you! What makes you so damned special? Why you and not me?!
- In Dead Rising 3, Kenny Dermot was envious of Nick Ramos and wanted to be a hero like him, to the point of dressing up like him and training to be a zombie-killer. Kenny goes off the deep end and puts a woman in danger so he can rescue her and "one-up" Nick, then eventually tries to kill Nick to prove he's superior.
- The Envy Demon in Dragon Age: Inquisition has already taken on the identity of a very powerful and important person Lord Seeker Lucius, leader of the Templars. The moment it learns about the Herald of Andraste (the player character), it becomes obsessed with becoming the Herald.
- This is part of what's going on between Kuchiki Toko and Mizuhara Toko in Kara no Shoujo.
- Used very weirdly in Tsukihime, Kohaku who was naturally shy desperately wants to become her twin sister Hisui who was naturally cheerful. Her sister goes along with this because Kohaku was raped in her place so she could live a normal childhood. Kohaku becomes a Stepford Smiler and Hisui becomes a Emotionless Girl.
- In Higanbana No Saku Yoru Ni, this turns out to be what Midori's contract with the Black Tea Gentleman involved. In exchange for a small portion of her soul, the Black Tea Gentleman let Midori switch places with another student she was jealous of. However, as long as the Lotus-Eater Machine is in effect Midori herself doesn't remember this, and instead she believes that her contract was to get a role she wanted for a play.
- The Nostalgia Critic has messed up views on getting attention, sexual or otherwise, and so jealously hates on Satine from Moulin Rouge! (not getting that she's still just a hooker), child actors (not understanding that they're treated terribly), and Lois from the Superman cartoon (missing the point that she wants to be noticed for her work and not her mini-skirt).
- In Death Note: The Abridged Series (Kpts4tv) there's the Noodle Incident where L's crazy-obsessive stalker Beyond Birthday kidnapped L in Guatemala and took his place.
- Briefly mentioned in the Decemberween episode of Teen Girl Squad, where the opening cast call lists each character's Decemberween wish. The Ugly One's wish is "to be Cheerleader".
- In The Fairly OddParents Veronica Star, a popular kid, is very jealous of Trixie's life. Mainly because she is more popular than her. And more importantly because Timmy is after Trixie and not her. She is hinted to be crazy.
- In the Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "Big Pink Loser", Patrick wants to win an award just like SpongeBob, so he decides to dress and act just like him.
- On one episode of The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Tigger tries to teach Eeyore how to be more cheerful. Eeyore interprets his lessons as "being just like Tigger", and soon he's painted himself in orange and black stripes and bouncing the others.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball, Robot Kid Bobert wants to become a real boy, so Gumball tries to teach him how to act like one. Bobert then gets the idea of becoming - and, eventually, replacing - Gumball.
- In one episode of Recess, Randall had a breakdown and admitted that he wished he was T.J. because of T.J.'s ability to make friends. T.J. is sympathetic and offers Randall advice, which seems to work. Unfortunately, Randall's efforts also alienate him from Ms. Finster. Ultimately, Randall decides being a teacher's pet is more important to him than making friends with the other kids. T.J. actually encouraged him to do this, saying that close friendships like the one between Ms. Finster and Randall are worth it.
- In The Batman Dr Langstrom turned himself into Man-Bat because he wanted to be like Batman. Not that he wanted to be a crime fighter, he just wants to be fearsome and powerful.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The Great and Powerful Trixie, humiliated by Twilight Sparkle in season 1, returns in season 3 with a powerful magical amulet, taking over Ponyville and driving Twilight out.