"Now Halloween is over. No more tricks. No more bombs. No more webbing. No more masks! You were right earlier. This has never been about Spider-Man and the Green Goblin. It has always been about Peter Parker and Norman Osborn. Tonight we will settle this face-to-face. As men!"
Protagonists and antagonists hate each other. It's generally accepted that there could be a few deaths, injuries, psychological trauma, and physical destruction over the course of their struggles in a story. However, sometimes motives can run deeper than just simply the other person having opposing goals, and "struggles" can hit far closer to home and heart than is comfortable.
Family members (or even entire races, countries, and cultures) may have been decimated, either as part of a character's backstory or during the story itself. Homes may have been burned down, and lifelong dreams may have been crushed. However you put it though, somebody's embarrassed, saddened, angry, or let down, and they believe somebody (they most often know who they want to extract retribution on, by the way) has to pay for what they have done to them.
In short, this is where a character (or characters) has a highly close, emotional investment in the story's conflict.
The Stuffed into the Fridge and Friendly Target tropes are invariably a setup for this.
Usually eventually leads to Not So Different. For a more specific form of this, see You Killed My Father. Often enough, This Means War!. When done to their home or base, the hero will usually take a moment and Watch Troy Burn. If the one whom It's Personal for finally gets to stare down the one who made it personal, expect a And This Is for... beatdown.
The Disposable Woman is a character who exists only to make It's Personal happen. When it gets personal, characters insist they must work alone.
One common variant is to order/trick allies aside to set up an one-on-one duel without interference. This can be risky but the avenger wouldn't risk anyone else getting hurt/someone stealing his precious right to do that particular kill himself!
If a character has this as his primary motivation rather than as part of another quest, then he's Not in This for Your Revolution.
Contrast when it's Nothing Personal, or at least they claim it's not.
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Anime and Manga
Soukou No Strain; as if her beloved older brother killing her whole school didn't already give Sara Werec this complex, he goes and offs Carris too, just after exposing her true identity. True, he did have a bit of a suicide wish...
The final arc of Rurouni Kenshin has Kenshin fighting Enishi Yukishiro, his brother-in-law because Kenshin accidentally killed Tomoe Yukishiro, Enishi's sister, and Kenshin's first wife. Enishi makes it clear that this is personal, by sending Kenshin into a "living hell" by defeating him and killing Kenshin's lover Kaoru, though he actually only kidnaps her.
Mobile Suit Gundam: Amuro Ray and Char Aznable become mortal enemies after the tragic death of Lalah, who has been so dear to both of them.
Mobile Fighter G Gundam has Domon Kasshu, who is really pissed at his brother Kyoji for getting their mother killed and father imprisoned. Which turns out to be a frame-up by the Japanese government; when he learns the truth, Domon switches targets accordingly. He's also out to get Master Asia after learning he's in cahoots with the Devil Gundam. On a smaller scale, there's Andrew Graham of Neo-Canada who is totally uninterested in fighting anyone but Argo Gulskii, as he blames Argo for his wife's death.
Kira himself meanwhile opposes Zaft after they supposedly send assassins after Lacus (and further attempts on their life prove him correct) despite them looking like the good guys in the war at first. At the end of the series he personally goes to confront the chairman at gunpoint over this and his attempts to destroy Orb. He also starts viewing Shinn as a serious threat after his first defeat of him, although he doesn't hold a grudge when the war is over.
This seems to run a lot in Gundam 00. Dark Action Girl in training Louise Halevy wants a piece of the Celestial Being for what she thought to be massacring her whole family and crippling her. Meanwhile, many people want a piece of Ali Al-Saachez for several reasons:
Lockon Stratos wants him dead for being responsible for the death of his entire family save his twin brother. He fails, unfortunatley, which sets the motivation for the next guy.
Tieria Erde wants him dead for killing Lockon, his partner and first love.
Nena Trinity wants him dead for killing her brothers. Ironically, she's the one who actually killed Louise's family.
And Ali's eventual killer? Lyle Dylandy, the twin brother of the original Lockon Stratos who now took his name. In an aversion of this trope, he didn't exactly kill Ali because he killed his brother. In fact, he offered him one last chance at redemption, which Ali promptly refused.
In Gundam AGE, one of Grodek Ainoa's reasons for hijacking the battleship Diva is to avenge the death of his wife and daughter, who have been murdered by the Ax-Crazy Unknown Enemies.
Flit has it in for Decil thanks to Yurin's death at the end of the first generation, and Decil towards Flit for beating him. Interestingly, Flit is rather a Combat Pragmatist who's perfectly willing to gang up on Decil or fight him with the Diva itself rather than insisting on a duel... which makes Decil flip out even worse.
There's also Asemu and Zeheart, but in Asemu's case it's less about vegence or anger and more about proving he can fight him equally despite not having psychic powers. He also starts hating on Desil (everyone hates this guy). When he kills Woolf. But unlike Flit who clashed with Desil for years, Asemu promptly killed him almost immediately, meaning it was personal for about 5 minutes.
In Mazinger Z, Dr. Hell got Kouji's grandfather assassinated. After his grandfather died, Kouji swore he WOULD find the responsibles and WOULD make them pay. That is one of his motivations to piloting Mazinger-Z and fighting Hell. Moreover he has stated he does not want nobody else loses his/her families cause the ambition of Hell.
In the sequel, Great Mazinger, fighting the Mykene became personal to Tetsuya after Professor Kabuto, his adoptive father died to save him.. And in the Gosaku Ota manga version, he wanted Marquiss Yanus dead after she tore Misato in half to his face.
And in the OTHER sequel, UFO Robo Grendizer, the version manga of Duke Fleed hated Commander Barendos after he dropped his little siblings from a height from three kilometers in front of him. The sole sight or mention of him press HARD Duke's Berserk Button.
Despite already hunting him for the nine-tailed fox, Pain happened to make things very personal for Naruto when he killed Jiraiya, forced Kakashi into a Heroic Sacrifice, and destroyed the Leaf Village. After injuring and potentially killing Naruto's toad allies, his stabbingHinata after she told Naruto she loved him is enough to force Naruto into his six-tailedstate.
Averted by Tobi/Obito Uchiha. While Rin's death was Obito's Start of Darkness, and Obito (knowing Kakashi feels guilty about being unable to protect her) plays with Kakashi's feelings for a bit ("Because you let Rin die"), he is well-aware that Kakashi was forced into that situation and admits that it's not Kakashi's fault that he became what he did, but rather the world's fault.
In YuYu Hakusho, Toguro capitalizes on this trope in order to get Yusuke to fight him at his full strength. He does this by first killing Genkai before the finals, and then during his fight with Yusuke, seemingly kills Kuwabara, but he had only pretended to. Ironically, 50 years ago, a demon named Kairen had killed all his students and forced him to come to the Dark Tournament, which precipitated his Start of Darkness.
In Monster, Eva is only linked to Johan by her connection to Tenma. But when Martin dies, Eva decides she's going to go after him herself.
Sonic X: Seeing his friends attacked, injured and imprisoned by the Metarex in the episode Testing Time gives us the first appearance of Dark Sonic in animated Sonic continuity. And also show us a side of Sonic that we've really never seen in full swing before - namely the part of him that you do not, under any circumstances, piss off.
Yu-Gi-Oh!: Do NOT mess with Yugi (or Tea, for that matter). Yami WILL kill you. For that matter, don't screw with Mokuba. it's a great way to get Kaiba pissed off.
The Demon Arc in Mahou Sensei Negima! turned out to be very personal indeed for Negi when Wilhelm revealed to him that he was the demon that petrifiedhis hometown. Cue Negi blindly charging, and having to be pulled out of the line of fire by Kotaro.
Also, Fate Averruncus. Initially, to Negi, it was just a really powerful evil guy that had to go down, but it was personal for Fate because Negi managed to hit him. Subsequent encounters made it personal for Negi as well.
Happened again with Negi to Governor General Kurt Godell after learning Godell was one of many responsible for the destruction of his hometown. It gets pretty intense after Negi literally turns into a demon. Even got to the point that Shrinking Violet Nodoka couldn't use her mind reading book to tell what was going on inside Negi's head save for three sentences "Make them atone. Don't Forgive. Kill them all."
In chapter 301, Dynamis breaks out of his Stoic facade. In a Crowning Moment of Funny, he laments the fall of the organization's power from boasting an army of thousands to relying on a few relatively weak little girls and that they were forced to play dead to survive. Dynamis blames this Villain Decay on Takamichi and Godel, and really reallyreally wants to make them pay.
Zommari Leroux, on the verge of defeat against Byakuya, rants about Soul Reapers persecuting Hollows and declaring that they have no right to judge them merely for eating humans. Byakuya then cuts him down, replying that his actions had nothing to do with Soul Reaper duties, but for Zommari's trying to kill his sister Rukia.
Aizen made it very personal for Hitsugaya after brutally stabbing Momo Hinamori, Aizen's previous lieutenant and Hitsugaya's friend, when the former defected from the Soul Society. Then Aizen tricked Hitsugaya into impaling Hinamori in chapter 392 and suddenly this trope was cranked Up to Eleven.
Aizen thinks Ichigo needs this trope to win a fight. He's wrong.
The Visoreds had a personal grudge against Aizen for forcing hollowfication on them. Then Gin sliced Hiyori in half, and cranked this trope up for Shinji, who directed his ire at Aizen, not Gin: Gin was just the subordinate doing Aizen's dirty work, so Aizen was the real threat.
Ishida's battle with Mayuri is one of the most epic cases of this trope in the series, second only to...
...Yamamoto's truly incredible explosion of rage in Chapters 503-505.
In Full Metal Panic!, it's revealed that Gauron and Sousuke initially had nothing against each other. And then Gauron decided to attack the Guerilla village Sousuke had been living in, mass slaughtering all the citizens while Sousuke and Kalinin were out. Not to mention how, after that, he decided to accept a job from the KGB to go after Sousuke and Kalinin and kill them. After all that... it became personal.
In Knights, Mist is especially driven to stop the Corrupt Church and their witch-hunts after seeing his own mother burned at the stake, and at his father's hands.
Anti-Villain example: In Eureka Seven, Ray and Charles Beams fight against Gekkostate not merely because the military pays them to (though that is a factor), but also because of a grudge against Eureka, whom they believe is to blame for Ray's infertility.
Fang of the Sun Dougram has a minor plotline about two Humongous Mecha pilots going AWOL to avenge the deaths of their comrades. When command orders them to retreat, the older one cuts off the radio saying that this is personal.
The very first episode of A Certain Scientific Railgun has Saten trying to be Badass Normal by stopping an escaping bank robber. Unfortunately for her, she's just a teenage girl while her target is an adult man. Mikoto witnesses the bad guy kicking into Saten. Cue Mikoto showing why is her nickname "the Railgun" despite the fact that as a Badass Bystander, she has no real reason to join the fray.
A lot of major characters in Inuyasha have it in for Big BadNaraku, who has a huge list of wrongdoings including, but not limited to: tricking Inuyasha and Kikyo into thinking they had betrayed one another after he kills Kikyo; cursing Miroku's family; murdering Sango's family and destroying her village (and framing Inuyasha for it) and brainwashing her younger brother; using Sesshomaru several times to kill Inuyasha before trying to absorb him and kidnapping Rin (but it's Kagura's death that was the last straw and he starts going after Naraku in order to avenge her); and killing Koga's pack (which he once again frames Inuyasha for).
In one episode of Detective Conan, the murder takes place at a reunion of Kogoro's old high school Judo club, with both the victim and killer being members (and therefore longtime friends). Kogoro's anger over the situation and resolve to see it through to the end convinces Conan to let him have this one, though he does help out by subtly nudging Kogoro in the right direction.
Also, did the killer of the week target Ran? Conan will take that ''very', very personally.
This was Tubby's attitude in Episode 6 of the Little Lulu anime, after Lulu had gotten him into trouble, leading to him to invoke this line in the English version;
Tubby: Lulu's played her last dirty trick on me! This time, I'm just really fed up! This time, the worm is gonna turn!
This is Crocodile's main motivation throughout the Whitebeard War in One Piece.
This is usually the main reason the Straw Hats choose to get involved conflicts. They typically don't care about the politics of the islands they visit and don't go out of their way to try to be heroes, but if you mess with a member of the crew (or someone they've befriended ), it's ON.
Let's just say that Smoker didn't take Vergo's betrayal of the Marines very well and leave it at that. Then Vergo went and attacked his subordinates. At the time of this writing, Smoker is currently kicking Vergo's ass.
In One Piece Film: Z, this was the Straw Hats' main motivation for going after Z. He attacked them after they went out of their way to heal him, had one of his subordinates rejuvenate Nami, Robin, Chopper and Brook and finally, taking Luffy's hat.
Law's plan and alliance with the Straw Hats was not to go after Kaido. In truth, it was to screw over Doflamingo for an unspecified event in Law's past thirteen years ago. Law himself is about to fight Doflamingo one-on-one, and even if he dies in the ensuing battle, the destruction of the SMILEs factory will ensure that Doflamingo will die anyway at the hands of Kaido. Since Law intentionally pissed off Doflamingo with the entire plan and the killing of two loyal subordinates, the conflict is personal on both ends.
Holyland: Masaki originally did not want to lead the rest of the street fighters against King, but when Yagi tried to kidnap Mai, he changed his mind.
In Saki, during the individual tournament, Momo makes it her goal to defeat the eponymous main character, since Saki faced Momo's friend and senpai Yumi in her match, defeating her and eliminating Momo and Yumi's school from the tournament; Momo notices that in spite of Yumi taking her loss gracefully, she was still quite disappointed. Momo doesn't succeed, though.
In Fairy Tail, this is the Tartarus guild member Silver's history with Gray, as he makes no secret that he absolutely loathes him. Which actually makes sense, when you realize he's actually Deliora, the demon who destroyed Gray's hometown and forced his beloved mentor and surrogate mother to sacrifice her life to stop. He never forgave her or any of her students. For those same reasons, and considering he's also currently using Gray's father, Silver's, corpse as a vessel, this trope is in full swing by Gray to him as well.
The Punisher MAX series had one story arc that involved a vengeful mob boss trying to get revenge on Frank Castle - and he started by unearthing the bodies of Frank's deceased wife and children and urinating on their bones. Frank wasn't very happy about this. The arc ended with Frank dragging the man out into the woods and shooting him in the stomach, then leaving him to die a long, inevitable death.
Before this he kills fifty eight mobsters in one night and vows to continue until the police bury his family, tortures the assassin said mobster hired and is saved from a suicide strike on mobster by hot sex crazed Punisher fan lady. On the plus side? Crime rate went down.
Which gets a "Fuck you Johnathan" as the mayor's reply, after another aide suggests they hope he just stops.
Another hot sex crazed Punisher fan lady shows up, going to far as to take his clothes and seek out revenge on those who wronged her, before beating one of them to death, naked, in front of Castle. Compared to Jenny, O'Brian is perfectly sane.
At one point in Preacher, Allfather D'aronique explains to Jesse Custer why he changed his plans from exploiting the word to killing him:
Allfather D'aronique: You killed her, Custer. You killed my Aunt Marie! Jesse: Grandma.
In the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic, Mammoth Mogul told Sonic that he now understands he can never defeat Sonic. He is content to outlive Sonic and make sure that Sonic never knows peace until the day he dies.
The newest Spider-Woman comic series revolve around Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) coping at her new life after she has been rescued from the Skrulls after 2 years in captivity, the Skrull Queen posing as her, and now she got an even worse reputation than what she got in the first place. Needless to say, she came to hate Skrulls, and when she found a Skrull posing as Spider-Man, trying to trick her again, boy, is she pissed off like hell.
Johnny Alpha in Strontium Dog has a couple of these, notably against Nelson Kreelman in "Portrait of a Mutant"/"Wanted", and Max Bubba in "Rage".
Played for laughs in issue #4 of The Awesome Slapstick. When the Neutron Bum is rampaging through Manhattan, Steve Harmon flatly refuses to get involved (he was waiting in line for a concert). He leaps into action only after the Bum attacks the Tower Records building.
In Superman: Red Son, Lex Luthor was originally hired to kill Superman (here a champion of the Soviet Union) by the US Government and just saw it as another problem to solve with his genius intellect. But he decides to devote his entire life to the task shortly after Superman defeats a Bizarro duplicate he created. But he later reveals that wasn't the problem- the thing that drove him over the edge was that Bizarro managed to beat him in chess, implying that he, and by extension the original Superman, was more intelligent then he was.
Spider-Man has so many villains that fit this mold, he can sometimes seem as though he isn't actually doing any superhero work but is rather trying to survive the next villain who wants to get even:
The original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, started off trying to take control of the New York underworld but by his second appearance, he was dedicated completely to killing Spider-Man. See quote for this trope. It's only been during the recent Dark Reign crossover that he has begun to do other villainous things besides messing with Peter Parker.
The same goes for the second Green Goblin, Norman's son Harry. He went into villainy just to kill Spider-Man as revenge for his father's "death". It doesn't help that he was always going through a Heel-Face Revolving Door so he never really wanted to do anything evil when he wasn't after Spidey's blood.
The first Venom was Eddie Brock who was also only after Spider-Man and not only had no aspirations for further villainy, but he was something of a Sociopathic Hero. Once he agreed to a truce with Spider-Man, he became an Anti-Hero.
The Jackal was also mostly interested in Spider-Man and was the villain responsible for kick starting The Clone Saga... apparently For the Evulz.
Kraven the Hunter was hired to captured Spidey one time and failed, resulting in him becoming obbessed with Peter Parker to the point where he was Driven to Suicide.
Over the years, his wife and three children all took turns trying to kill Spidey in revenge.
The Mad Scientist Spencer Smythe was likewise hired to build spider-slayer robots. He was driven to insanity and financial ruin due to building wave after wave of robots designed to kill Spider-Man, only for them to be busted into pieces. Eventually, he died of old age.
His son then took up his mantle during a single storyarc where he built an entire robot army of spider-slayers which, as expected, were destroyed by Spidey. He even turned himself into a cyborg in order to beat Spidey one-on-one. He lost.
Marvel supervillain Jackie Dio, aka Underworld, asserts that while the mutilation of one of his friends by Hammerhead may have been "just business," it was personal to him, and shoots Hammerhead for it.
Death Of The Family: Barbara Gordon had been left paralyzed by The Joker in The Killing Joke and Jason Todd had been murdered by him in A Death In The Family. Now that Joker is after both of them, Barbara and Jason have some scores to settle with him. Made worse with the poisoning of Jason's girlfriend, Joker's poisoning of Commissioner Gordon, and his kidnap and mutilation of Barbara's mother.
Red Hood and the Outlaws: The Joker is really, really irritated that Jason went off-script and basically ruined one of the best jokes he pulled on Batman by coming back to life. So he prepares a little surprise for Jason as an aside from Death of the Family and booby-traps one of Jason's helmets, causing him to receive a face-full of acid.note Red Hood and the Outlaws #18 (2013)
X-23 is ordered by her mother to kill Rice and destroy the Facility to prevent them from making more clones of her. When Laura puts up her claws to beat Rice to death over the course of ten minutes while having Flashback Cuts to the severe physical abuse he subjected her to throughout her life it's pretty clear she's made it personal.
Clash of the Elements: In Part 2, Gemini has this with Smithy, Luigi with Dimentio, and Alpha with Cackletta
The Immortal Game: General Esteem being Rarity's father naturally evokes this between them. However, it's Twilight who ends up having a personal vendetta against him, as he's the one who turned her into Nihilus.
Mare of Steel: Both Zod and Brainiac end up with this with Rainbow Dash/Supermare. Especially Brainiac, who nearly kills her mother.
Mr. Black has one against Wily for killing his wife, Tonya.
As of episode 11, Wily has one against Dr. Light running even deeper than before.
Films — Animated
In Epic, Mandrake really gives his all in defeating the Leafmen after one of them kills his son.
Averted in Tarzan when Tarzan fights with Sabor. He doesn't know that Sabor had killed his parents or Kerchek and Kala's son, so the fight between them has more meaning than he realizes.
Films — Live-Action
The popularity of the phrase possibly originates from Jaws: The Revenge's tagline: "This time...It's personal." Given that the film came out in 1987, the concept is probably substantially older.
It was the driving plot point in most, if not all of the action films of the 80s and early 90s. It was particularly egregious in martial arts films revolving around a tournament (Bloodsport, Kickboxer, The Karate Kid, Best Of The Best). It's not enough motivation for the hero to just compete with honour in a competition. Nope, his main rival has to have killed his brother, molested his girlfriend and kicked his dog too. Cop movies were bad too—in every Lethal Weapon movie, the villains threaten Murtaugh's family, and in the second film we learn the villains have not only killed Riggs' current squeeze, but also killed his wife previous to the events of the first movie.
Parodied in Back to the Future, when Marty sees an ad for Jaws 19 with the tagline "This time it's really really personal!" All Marty has to say is that the shark still looks very fake.
The 1989 Tim BurtonBatman movie adds this to the relationship between Batman and the Joker — it is revealed that the Joker was the man responsible for murdering Bruce Wayne's parents.
Subverted in Batman Begins: Bruce plans to murder Joe Chill, the man who killed his parents, but is denied the chance when a crime boss' assassin kills him instead to prevent Chill from testifying against him. Ironically, being denied this chance for personal closure is partly what leads Bruce to the path that will result in his becoming Batman.
Invoked in The Dark Knight when Joker kills Rachel Dawes and drives Harvey Dent insane. Joker is trying to make Batman think It's Personal and act as such; trying to push him over the edge and kill him. More broadly, he is personal in symbolising everything that Batman is opposed to, and intentionally threatening the (mostly) crime-free city he had dedicated his life to.
Harvey Dent, now Two-Face also hunts down members of the mob, Gordon, and Batman because he views them to be responsible for Rachel's death. So now It's Personal for the villain.
Same goes for Bane in The Dark Knight Risesand Talia. It's out of revenge for Bruce Wayne killing R'as al Ghul: The attempted destruction of Gotham City's society is purely to make Bruce psychologically suffer as much as possible before killing him. Bane sets up a state-of-the-art TV system in the prison to make sure Bruce sees it happening.
The James Bond film Licence to Kill exemplifies this trope. The slimy villain, Franz Sanchez, throws Felix Leiter (Bond's best pal) to the sharks. Bond is naturally pissed, and subsequently blows up windows, laboratories and trailer trucks to get to Sanchez.
As bad as almost killing Felix by shark is, the real Moral Event Horizon was that the gang also raped and killed Felix's wife... on the night of their honeymoon!
The latest James Bond film, Skyfall has Silva, a villain that doesn't want to destroy/take over the world. He just wants revenge on M for leaving him to be tortured to the point of insanity when Silva was an MI6 agent.
On a more amusing note, it wasn't until Silvia shoots up the iconic Aston Martin DB5 that Bond really gets pissed off.
Averted with Eve. While Bond enjoys snarking at her for accidentally shooting him, he is more angry at M for giving the order.
This is one reason why The Ring Two was less successful than the first: Samara's wrath was horrifying in the original precisely because it was impersonal. Not only was she out to kill people who had never done anything to her, she was out to kill anyone who watched the video, regardless of whether they had done anything wrong ever. In the sequel she targets Rachel and Aiden specifically, and the feeling of "it could happen to you," so powerful in the first film, was accordingly defenestrated.
Saint Clair: "Please understand... it was all business. It wasn't personal."
Bryan: "It was all personal to me." (shoots him with every round in his pistol)
The whole reason Tom Sawyer wants to join the League in the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is because the Phantom killed his Secret Service partner, who was also his childhood friend. He never actually comes out and says this was Huckleberry Finn, but it's pretty well implied. Unfortunately, the scene in which Tom explains this to the League was cut from the film and only appears in the DVD extras.
The novelization has him outright confirming that it was Huck Finn he was out to avenge.
There's a craptacular film called Diplomatic Immunity which has this as its' premise, as the daughter of a (I think) retired army dude is killed during rough sex by the douchebag son of some foreign diplomat, and gets away with it because, well see title. May be the only film to feature 'death by exploding camera.'
When his wife is accidentally killed by a crooked cop firing off his Thompson in Legends Of The Fall, Tristan and his father-in-law seek out retribution together. While Tristan kills the mobsters that had forced the confrontation, the older man waits with a powerful rifle on a hilltop near the police officer's patrol route. The first bullet doesn't kill him, nor, in all likelihood, was it meant to.
This was introduced in Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Return of the King, where what finally causes Aragorn to accept his destiny is Elrond telling him that his lover Arwen will die if Sauron is victorious.
Matches between Godzilla and his Archenemy King Ghidorah often come off this way; in Scott Ciencein's novelisation, Godzilla vs. The Space Monster this is made explicit, as Ghidorah's gleeful enjoyment of what he does, mockery of his opponents, and unprovoked attack on Monster Island really piss the big guy off. By the end of the novel (and the later films in the franchise), it's personal on Ghidorah's side as well, given the damage Godzilla has done to him.
In Sunset, it becomes personal for Wyatt earp after Christina is murdered.
In Tombstone, another movie about Wyatt Earp, it becomes increasingly personal as the film goes on and the Cowboys keep killing people connected to him. This culminates in the death of Wyatt's brother, at which point he declares "I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it!"
Nothing is personal in Live Free or Die Hard, at least not until the bad guys make the huge mistake of kidnapping Mcclane's daughter. Of course, this was in response to Mcclane killing the Big Bad's girlfriend Mai after which Gabriel said "You want to make it personal? Fine. It's personal." Still, it was a very very bad idea on Gabriel's part, and he paid the price eventually. Don't fuck with Mcclane's family.
In the original Die Hard, Mook Karl loses interest in the robbery after Mcclane kills Karl's brother, fellow Mook Tony and cares only about killing Mcclane for the rest of the film.
Loki in The Avengers deliberates gives every single member of the Avengers a personal reason to take him down:
Thor, because Loki's his brother and he feels responsible for his actions.
The only thing in the world Victor cares about is his baby brother. When said brother walks out on him, he doesn't take it well.
This is also how Stryker gets Jimmy involved in the Weapon X program.
When Logan gets bashed through a wall by Gambit, he sees Victor. When Gambit appears right behind him, intent on continuing their fight, Logan doesn't even spare him so much as a glance before elbowing him in the face and fighting Victor.
An infamous and brutal example in Genesis 34. Shechem, prince of Shechem, rapes Jacob's daughter Dinah, and then has the audacity to ask for her hand in marriage. Dinah's brothers say sure, but first you and the entire male population of Shechem have to be circumcised in accordance with their tradition (keep in mind that at this time, the "kingdom" of Shechem was probably a small city-state with a few hundred people). Shechem and the males agree, and are circumcised. With the newly circumcised men too sore to do anything, two of Jacob's sons, Levi and Simeon (and probably a number of servants and retainers Jacob's family, making it the size of a small tribe), enter Shechem and kill all the men, enslaved the women and children, and looted the town.
"He killed Angua. Doesn't that mean anything to you?" "Yes. But personal isn't the same as important."
In a later book, Jingo, Carrot decides to go to have a nap while pursuing Angua's kidnappers by boat, on the basis that if he stayed awake fretting about her, he would be useless when they caught up to them.
Partially subverted in Terry Pratchett's Thud!!. The baddies and the Summoning Dark try to get the main character Vimes to make it personal multiple times. Whether they succeed is subject to discussion (though it does seem so in the end).
And a whole mess of other people, and screwed up many more (Cedric and Neville's parents are two of the many, many examples that Harry thinks of when Dumbledore poses the question to him).
In Shadows of the Empire, crime lord Prince Xizor would hate Vader anyway, since they're more or less rivals for power under the Emperor. But Xizor has a special hatred for Vader and wants to kill his son, because there was a hazard lab on Xizor's homeworld, a flesh-eating bacteria escaped, and Vader had the site - and the city around it, including Xizor's family - "sterilized" (ie. incinerated) from orbit. Xizor erased all record of this, but Vader's spies find out about this near the end of the novel.
For the first eleven books of the Dresden Files series, Harry fought vampires, necromancers, werewolves, faeries and God knows what else because it was his job and because he helps the helpless. The twelfth book, Changes (whose very name is a change from the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming of the rest of the series), has the monsters bring the fight to Harry. The first line promises a rampage to end all rampages. And it was. It was spectacular. Fuck with Harry Dresden's family, and he will be willing to sell his soul to get back at you. Not that he does, but it's close:
I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, "They've taken our daughter."
Subverted in The Acts of Caine. For the main bad guy (the Blind God) and his minions, everything is impersonal, and that anonymous hunger is their defining trait. There are lots of side characters (Raithe, Kierendal, Orbek, Avery Shanks) with personal grudges against the main character, since Caine has a tendency to ruin people's lives. But the protagonist himself doesn't count, despite the horrible things done to his family and friends, not because he doesn't take their vengeance personally, but because he takes every single fight personally. Something as trivial as getting drunk and shouting at him is enough to get your jaw broken, minimum.
Daine's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in The Immortals. She didn't like Ozorne very much before, but she wasn't gung-ho about doing what the Graveyard Hag wanted... until Ozorne had Numair (fake) killed. Daine promptly unleashes her new necromantic powers and awakens a horde of dinosaur fossils to storm through Ozorne's palace.
In the Animorphs novel The Andalite Chronicles, Visser 32 (the future Visser Three), promises Elfangor that he will kill Elfangor for all of the crap Elfangor has put him through, and that he would make it personal. Very personal. Visser Three kept his word in the first book of the main series when he turned into a horrible monster and ate Elfangor alive.
I'd count Marco and Jake in on this too, when the Yeerks went after their families. Marco, in particular, battled his way through half the Yeerk Pool with the rest of the group helping him, to save his mother. He also took on several hork-bajir and human controllers singlehandedly to save his father, although Rachel showed up for backup partway through.
Don't forget David and Rachel. After two books with no interaction, Rachel swears to kill David after he almost kills Tobias. David in turn makes Rachel his number one target after she jams a fork into his ear and threatens to kill his parents.
Rachel also almost killed Taylor after she tortured Tobias, and only Tobias's pleas stopped her. Tobias got one of his own when his mother was being targeted by the Yeerks.
Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The first 7 books have almost all the members of the Vigilantes wronged in some way. Naturally, it is quite personal for them. Some of the books after that have the Vigilantes taking action, because one of their friends or loved ones is in trouble.
In the Dale Brown novel Shadows of Steel, being told that Hal Briggs is with the group he is being asked to help convinces Pat to come out of "early retirement" where more nebulous appeals fail.
In When Gravity Fails, the killer leaves a message, written in the blood of his last victim, next to the corpse, saying, "Audran, you're next." Up until that point, Audran didn't even know the guy knew he existed. Suddenly, matters become much more urgent.
It pops up with a vengeance, complete with Disposable Woman, in the second Amber novel. A minor character murders one of Corwin's casual flings. It's not a good idea to cross Corwin.
I spoke not a word when I unhorsed him, nor afterward, and I did not use my blade, though he drew his own. I hurled his broken body into a high oak tree, and when I looked back it was dark with birds.
In Michelle Paver's "The Chroniclesof Ancient Darkness:Oathbreaker," Torak swears he will avenge his cousin Bale and kill Soul-Eater Thiazzi. However, when he finds Thiazzi (staying in the tree Torak was born in, no less), he has to break his oath in order to save Renn, who is trapped inside with a fire and who is quickly running out of breath.
The titular heroine is quite willing to make peace with the people she's fought for most of her career in a sometimes very vicious and brutal war that has cost her many friends, because they were only doing exactly what she would have done in their place. The sneak attack on Manticore that kills most of her extended family (as well as several million other civilians) by the Mesan Alignment, on the other hand — that has her out for blood.
Queen Elizabeth III had it out for Haven because their agents assassinated her father. She's since discovered that the Alignment, ultimately, was the reason for Haven's expansionism which led to her father's death, and is not at all pleased. The Havenites aren't too happy about the revelation either; the Alignment's manipulation re-started military hostilities and resulted in the death of the President of Haven's lover and de facto husband. And when Eloise Pritchart carries a grudge against someone, that someone is going to die. Painfully. The only thing that can make the Alignment's situation worse is having Manticore and Haven join up in a military and political alliance — which they do.
After discovering all of the above, the Alignment does the only thing it can do: get the hell out of Dodge. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they'll be able to get out fast enough...
In the Rainbow Magic series, Rachel takes it personally when Jack Frost threatens to ruin her mom's birthday.
In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain, one of the things that keeps the superhero/supervillain fights nonlethal and relatively harmless is that everyone goes to a great deal of effort to keep things from getting personal. Villains who prey on kids or heroes who try too hard to discover supervillain secret identities tend to get "accidentally" killed.
Live Action TV
24: Features this in pretty much every series. Over six hellish days, Jack has had to deal with people he's already killed, his former partner, his former mistress, his mentor and his own family. He seems to have accepted this as standard practice, though- he gets quite upset early on when his wife is murdered, but when his best friends are killed in Series 5 he barely even blinks.
Angelus got annoyed with the vampire hunter Holtz, so he decided to go murder his wife and infant son, turn his daughter into a vampire, and leave her there so Holtz would have to kill her. Holtz responded by time traveling two hundred years into the future, stealing Angel's own son, and raising him to hate his father.
There's also Lindsey McDonald who really starts to hate Angel after he cut off his hand and goes after Angel with a sledgehammer after he sleeps with Darla.
Gob: Let me ask you something. Is this a business decision, or is it personal? 'Cause if it's business I'll go away happily. But if it's personal, I'll go away... but I won't be happy.
Michael: ...It's personal.
Babylon 5: A major catalyst of why Londo Mollari really becomes so belligerent against the Narns is their invasion of Ragesh 3 in the episode, "Midnight On The Firing Line." In that episode, Londo's nephew, who had been assigned there to keep him safe, was among the capture and he was tortured and forced to cooperate in their propaganda, and the Centauri Republic was too weak to respond. So, Londo blames G'Kar in particular for these events, even after Commander Sheridan manages to undo the Narn's aggression, and later sees Mr. Morden's offers to assist him partially as a chance to prevent further such incidents against his loved ones.
Does this somewhat frequently. When someone threatens either Booth or Bones, it becomes quite personal for the other.
The Gravedigger and Harold Epps are the most guilty of invoking this. The Gravedigger kidnapped Bones and Hodgins in one episode and Booth in another. Epps poisoned Cam, tried to blow up Zack, and used Booth's son as a clue, all in the same episode. Making it personal was pretty much his M.O.
Breaking Bad: Gustavo Fring, a drug trafficker with a restaurant chain as a front, is the textbook example of a calm, collected businessman (despite a few frightening acts here and there). However, there's a moment in his past 20+ years ago that sticks with him: The cold-blooded murder of his associate by the cartel members he sought to go into business with. Though he retains a business relationship with the cartel, he plots his revenge against them for 20+ years.
This is the entire character description for the villain Angelus.
Also, Oz references the line as a suggestion after some failed quipping during sans-Buffy patrolling at the beginning of Season 3.
Oz: If I may suggest: "This time it's personal." I mean, there's a reason why it's a classic.
Much of the criticism with Buffy's handling of Faith boils down to this. It's not enough for her to become The Dragon and get off on killing, she has to shoot Angel with a crossbow that poisons and slowly kills him to make Buffy seriously risk falling to The Dark Side and breaking her Thou Shalt Not Kill rule.
Anything which touches on the murder of Kate Beckett's mother is this trope. It's also a Deconstructed Trope as well, as where she's normally a rational, level-headed and effective investigator her mother's case sends her completely off-the-rails, leading her to make big mistakes as a result.
It's also notable that most of Richard Castle's Badass moments tend to result from situations where Kate Beckett's life is in immediate peril.
Several villains decide to target the family or friends of Chuck, Sarah and Casey, making missions suddenly very personal:
Volkoff directly threatened Ellie and Devon, though was forced to back down when Mary reminded him that she will protect her children.
Volkoff is a particularly interesting case because It's Personal on both sides. Stephen and Mary had been trying to stop him for twenty years because Alexei Volkoff is actually their close friend Hartley Winterbottom, victim of an Intersect experiment Gone Horribly Right that they are now trying to fix.
And of course, Shaw shot and killed Chuck and Ellie's father, making the beat-downs he receives from both in season three and four, respectively, very personal. And satisfying.
Quinn made his vendetta against Chuck personal, blaming him for not receiving the Intersect. It's revealed that FULCRUM, the Ring, and even Volkoff were aided by Quinn as part of his quest for revenge. He even more personally attacks Chuck by turning Sarah Brainwashed and Crazy, to the point she even threatens Ellie.
Has had quite a few where the case directly related to one of the team, and some where it didn't but one of the team identified with one or more of the people involved.
Hotch is probably the best example out of the whole team. When Foyet returns to get his revenge on him, he infiltrates the Hotchner residence, threatens Hotch's son, and shoots Hayley while on the line with Hotch. When he's finally captured, Hotch goes into a fir of Unstoppable Rage and literally beats Foyet to death. It's not until Morgan pries him off that he calms down.
In one specific episode, Morgan is accused of murder. It's immediately personal for the rest of the team, who are still allowed to investigate it despite their connection to him.
Usually starts or ends a season with an "It's Personal" episode.
When the investigators fly off the handle, they sometimes violate some of the suspects' rights with their outbursts (Catherine Willows and Sara Sidle are especially guilty of this) or some of the ways they try to obtain evidence. As just one example, getting a suspect to give a urine sample through saying it's required by law, when it actually isn't, sounds like grounds to have the evidence thrown out of court, given that it was obtained under false pretenses, or was coerced.
In early seasons, even if there weren't a direct relationship between the investigators and the criminals, the nature of the crime would often make the investigator take it personally themselves. For instance: domestic abuse, or overall violence towards women? Sara would sympathize. Broken marriages, or mothers (especially the working kind)? Catherine. Damaged childhoods? Nicky. Grissom himself explicitly stated that drug dealers and people who harm children make him furious.
"You prey on innocent children, and you think we came all the way out here to bust you for posession, you dumb punk?!"
CSI: Miami: By contrast, features such episodes all the time. And when it's not threatening the characters, it's arresting the characters. It's so frequent, you'd think the whole place would get shut down by Internal Affairs just on...(cue dramatic sunglasses removal) general principles.
CSI NY: Same thing. Many seasons start or end with personal eps, though they can come at any time. It's in between CSI and CSI Miami, basically. The end of the Shane Casey case is a good example, it got seriously personal for both Danny and Lindsay. And then it got personal for the entire team in 'Near Death' when Mac got shot. It also got personal really fast when Mac's girlfriend was kidnapped. In that case, Mac will kick your ass so badly, you'll be lucky to survive to trial.
ER: Happens with some frequency. From the very first episode, Carol Hathaway was treated for a suicide attempt and by the time the final episode aired, nearly two-thirds of the characters having been in the ER for one reason or another, and not all surviving.
In a pivotal scene, Mal and his tormentor are struggling near the edge of a Malevolent Architecture pit when Mal's allies arrive. It is played straight at first: Jayne raises his gun to shoot the tormentor, but is stopped by Zoe. "Jayne. This is something the Captain has to do for himself." Then they turn it into an Inverted Trope. Mal: "No! No it's not!" Zoe: "Oh." The ensemble promptly riddle the tormentor with bullets.
Played straight when Mal discovers Jayne betrayed Simon and River to the Alliance.
Mal: To turn on any of my crew, you turn on me!
In From Dusk Till Dawn the manhunt for the Geckos becomes very personal for Ranger Gonzalez after they kill his partner.
iCarly: Trying to take down iCarly.com is one thing.. hurting Carly herself will get your ass kicked by Sam.
Law & Order: For a series that is mostly plot-driven, not character-driven, the franchise and its various versions did this relatively often.
It's Personal episodes give us rare glimpses into the characters' home lives/personal histories (Logan confronts the priest who abused him in childhood, Logan tracks down his partner's killer, Briscoe tracks down his daughter's killer).
And Jack literally breaking all the rules to make sure Alexandra Borgia's killers are punished.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Did it too, with Goren and Eames finally solving the murder of Eames' late husband and also with the illness and death of Goren's mother.
The series itself could be said to be made up almost entirely of It's Personal episodes, with each investigator having buttons that make them consider the case personal. (Why let someone work on a case they are clearly biased towards? No one ever plants evidence in this world, I guess...)
Olivia Benson is searching continuously for her mother's rapist/Benson's biological father. While only one SVU episode dealt with investigating Ma Benson's rape, this Back Story was touched on in any episode involving pregnancy from a rape and at other times as well.
Benson has also been stalked by perpetrators at least three times in six seasons.
Benson took it to the extreme when someone who was convicted because of her testimony and was later cleared by DNA evidence eight years later started actually killing people. Other people she had brought in and testified against. She took it so personally that she said she would accept responsibility for the man's crimes. He committed Suicide by Cop before the situation was resolved.
On the other hand, her partner, Elliot Stabler, has his buttons pushed by any crime involving children (which is roughly every episode that doesn't involve a rape—and, for that matter, not a few which do).
In the episode "Persona," Judge Elizabeth Donnelly took a leave of absence and dusted off her ADA credentials to prosecute a murderer that escaped out a bathroom window after setting up a meeting for a plea deal when she was a junior prosecutor over three decades before.
Deconstructed in "Gambler's Fallacy," when Detective Rollins' It's Personal connection to the case makes her an unwitting accessory to the rape SVU is investigating, ultimately blows up their investigation, earns her a blisteringWhat the Hell, Hero? from Benson, and nearly gets her fired. On the other hand, Rollins has also been the subject of two It's Personal episodes that were actually pretty great about the detectives following protocol while still being supportive and protective of her.
Averted by Amaro in "Russian Brides": near the beginning of the episode, he and Olivia have a conversation about their respective fathers, in which Amaro reveals his father was physically abusive toward his mother. Later in the episode, the victim of the week is alleged to have had an abusive ex-boyfriend. Rather than leaping to irrationally believe her due to his own hot button issues, Amaro is immediately (and as it turns out, correctly) skeptical that the victim might have been engaging in a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
Law & Order: UK: The team basically goes all-out to bring Alesha's rapist to justice and later does the same regarding Matt's killer.
Used twice in the pilot. Dubenich gets Nate to take on the job because the company they're targeting is ensured by Nate's old company, who refused to pay for the procedure that could have saved his son. When Dubenich turns on Nate and the team, Nate strikes back because he used his son's death as emotional blackmail.
For the rest of the team, it was personal mainly because they hadn't gotten paid. In later episodes, though, Eliot's old girlfriend's barn is burned down, which pisses him off about both the girlfriend and the horses, and Parker gets obsessed with a job dealing with mistreated orphans, because she was one herself.
At the end of the first season, Nate targets the man who is the head of his old insurance company. In season two, there are also several versions of this, they target a hacker who tried to kill Sophie and a psychic who brought back bad memories for Parker among several others.
Life: Crews has pretty much taken the Roman situation to an It's Personal level after finding out that his partner's been abducted, probably by Roman, who has shown an increasing interest in her.
Little Mosque on the Prairie: Played with when Reverend Magee beats Baber in a Koran quiz and the two of them have a fight over it: on accepting a rematch, Magee declares that this time it's personal, but Baber points out it was personal for him the first time, too. "Seriously, my feelings were hurt."
The Others tend to see the survivors of the plane crash as interlopers on their island, and take a somewhat detached attitude to them, but their decisions, particularly abducting Walt, end up being personal for the survivors, especially when Sawyer executes Tom after he surrenders "for taking the kid off the raft".
Ben's feud with Widmore suddenly becomes personal when Alex is killed by Widmore's Psycho for Hire.
In the final season, the battle between the few remaining Candidates and The Big Bad becomes this after he causes the deaths of Sayid, Jin and Sun in one fell swoop.
The Mentalist: Fundamental to the show, where the titular mentalist, Patrick Jane, is only helping the California Bureau of Investigation because they're his best shot at catching Red John, the Serial Killer who murdered Jane's wife and daughter. Also the reason why, at the start of the second season, the CBI has taken the Red John case away from the team Jane works with, because the team head was also losing her detachment from the case and indulging Jane's recklessness too much.
A variation of sorts. Due to his father's anti-magical stance, Prince Arthur has witnessed dozens, possibly hundreds of people being put to death for the crime of witchcraft. Throughout it all he has remained stoic, and when arguing for clemency for various people (Mordred, Gaius, Merlin) he does so in a calm and reasonable manner. But when Uther accuses Guinevere of being a witch and ordering her to be burnt at the stake? Arthur almost tears down the throne room, three armed guards, and his own father to get to her...
Merlin is a fairly calm person, generally speaking, but if you dare to threaten someone he cares about, he will hurt you.
NCIS: Contains quite a few examples of members of the team being either targeted for or accused of murder, in addition to the fact that Gibbs especially takes his ties to both the Navy and the Marine Corps seriously.
If any one [[Franchise/Power Rangers Power Ranger is targeted specifically, he or she will usually lead the others in retaliation, and may even give the order for the finishing blow. If one Ranger is captured, The others will'allget mad.
In episode 3, Private Richards made things personal with Danny over the death of Richards's best friend Templeton. Danny handled that one in short order.
In episode 10, things got personal between Miles Matheson and Tom Neville when Miles used Neville's wife Julia as a hostage. Neville swore revenge on Miles for that.
Danny Matheson's death in episode 11 made things very personal for Rachel and Charlie. It basically had them committed to fighting Sebastian Monroe however they can.
Things became personal between Jason Neville and Tom Neville the minute the latter realized that the former had not only turned against him, but was now working for the rebels in episode 13.
Rachel is now fully dedicated to return power to the world. Not because it would be better for everyone. It's only to allow Monroe's enemies to have occasions to kill him, as well as get revenge for her son's death. Never get a mom angry. She said as much in episode 17.
Monroe has it in for Miles, but he really cranks up the personal part in episode 15 by going back to their hometown in Jasper, and threatening to kill everyone there, starting with Miles's highschool fiance Emma. Emma ends up dead, and Miles more or less states this trope.
Episode 18 reveals that Jim Hudson has been out for Miles's blood, because Miles ruined his life back in episode 12.
The first season finale reveals the reason things got so personal between Miles and Monroe in the first place. A rebel bombed a restaurant the two men were in and injured Miles. Monroe, acting on his borderline erotic fixation for Miles, responded to this by executing the rebel and his entire family. You get to see five coffins being loaded. Miles responded by trying to assassinate Monroe while the guy was sleeping...but he couldn't do it. Miles just walked without an explanation and Monroe was never the same since.
Sherlock: In The Great Game, Moriarty straps random people to bombs, and while Sherlock puts real effort into solving the mysteries to rescue the hostages, he remains largely unmoved, because caring about the people won't help save them. When Moriarty straps John to a bomb, though, Sherlock freaks the fuck out.
Although the team seems to take it personal every time one of the main characters is hurt/threatened/kidnapped/killed/whatever, the conflict with the Goa'uld was personal for both Daniel (because of what happened to his wife) and Teal'c (because of his history as Apophis' First Prime). The team actually gets called on taking things too personally a few times, but they generally shrug it off.
Jack also tends to take it somewhat personally when Skaara is involved, a holdover from The Movie, where Skaara is the Abydonian Jack interacts with the most and becomes rather protective of, possibly reminding him of his recently-dead son whom he was still mourning heavily. And Sam, of course, when her father/Selmac is involved.
The Next Generation: Naturally, the Klingons have a tradition called the "Rite of Vengeance." Worf invokes it on Duras when Duras kills K'Heyler.
Deep Space Nine: Sisko's pursuit of Michael Eddington. He's absolutely livid that Eddington betrayed him to the point where Starfleet brass takes him off the case—until Eddington beats them and Sisko's the only one available to capture him. Which he does by bio-bombing the Maquis planet Eddington is on to make it uninhabitable to humans (with ample time to evacuate, mind, but it still makes Worf balk).note He took the idea from the Maquis themselves, who bio-bombed a Cardassian planet so the Maquis could take it.
Enterprise: Trip wants to personally pay back the Xindi for killing his sister Elizabeth. When the Xindi official Degra (who lead the attack on Earth) starts working with the crew, Trip wastes no time letting him know, verbally, how much Trip hates him. Archer also has this attitude to a lesser degree.
The Wire: Season one: Omar and his crew have ripped off one too many Barksdale stash-houses, so Avon places a bounty on the three of them. One of them, John Bailey, is found dead, having been shot 39 times with three different guns. The other, Omar's boyfriend Brandon, suffered two broken arms and several broken fingers, several knife wounds, cigarette burns, and one of his eyes was gouged out. It's unsurprising that Omar takes this personally and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Barksdale gang. Later, Omar and Stringer discuss the issue quite plainly:
Stringer Bell: But y'all was fucking with my stash. Anything after that — part of the game.
Omar: Maybe, but you see, y'all went past that with Brandon.
Stringer Bell: What happened to your boy was business. But how that shit happened — you got a right to take that to heart.
Without a Trace: After distinguishing itself in the beginning by not having episodes of this type, this show has since had at least three.
If there is an episode that involves anything relating to Samantha Mulder, it's probably this trope.
A more subtle example is in Season 3's "Revelations," where Scully, investigating a case of a young boy with stigmata, is forced to confront the gulf between her Catholic faith and the scientific procedures she must follow as a federal agent.
There are quite a few episodes in which Scully deals with her faith, and the slow losing of it. Others include "Redux II", "All Souls", "Biogenesis" and its sequels, and all of the things surrounding Wiliam's conception and birth.
Also, involving either Mulder or William in a conpsiracy is a good way to bump the episode up to a "it's personal" for Scully.
Eventually, the "it's personal" thinking shifts from something involving Samantha to events involving Scully. In "Redux", he tells Scully he can't let his crusade rest because they gave her cancer:
Mulder: "There are those who can be trusted. What I need to know is who among them is not. I will not allow this treason to prosper, not if they've done this to you."
Hulk Hogan has been involved in numerous examples of the trope, with perhaps the most important being AndrÚ the Giant ripping off his crucifix during a Piper'sPit segment, as part of the lead-up to WrestleMania III. The feud continued to become more and more personal as Hogan felt that Andre, who had sided with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan in a Face-Heel Turn out of nowhere after being out of the ring for some time, had betrayed him by doing so.
Kane entered the WWF (now WWE) in 1997 with the purpose of destroying The Undertaker, who he believed had murdered their parents.
Partially subverted in the feud between Randy Orton and John Cena in the last several years. Orton made things personal with Cena when he attacked Cena's father note Who, as "Johnny Fabulous," has wrestled in New England independents but never had a career comparable to that of Randy's father, "Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr. on multiple occasions. Cena returned the favor in recent years as he constantly got in Orton's way and drove the character to a near-obsession with getting Cena out of his life, and just when it seemed he was going to do so at Bragging Rights, Kofi Kingston prevented Orton from getting the victory. Which then caused a feud between Randy and Kofi.
It had become so personal, that during the match Orton tried to blow Cena up with pyrotechnics. Cena barely rolled out of the way.
Chris Jericho's feud with CM Punk over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 28 is one of the more notable ones in recent years after the whole Cena/Orton debacle. Both were arguing over who was the best wrestler in the world, and that should have been enough — but Jericho proceeded to make it personal by bringing up the history of alcohol and substance abuse of Punk's family, which caused him to go absolutely postal. Became even more personal after 'Mania when Jericho proceeded to dump beer all over Punk's prone body after a match with Mark Henry, leading into a Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules for the title.
Punk's feud with his former best friend Paul Heyman was similar in a way. It was one thing when Heyman cost him another Money in the Bank briefcase and therefore another chance at the WWE title, but then Paul brought up Punk's family, or lack of. While Punk was stuck battling the many wrestlers under Heyman's management (including Brock Lesnar), it was clear to everyone that he couldn't care less about them — all he wanted was to get his hands on Heyman, which he eventually did.
Shawn Michaels and Triple H's feud circa 2002-2004. The sheer hatred and blood shed between the former best friends over the course of those three years was immeasurable. They went through every single match in the book (barring an "I Quit" match), including one of the bloodiest Hell in a Cell matches in the history, and didn't make up until mid-2006 in order to reform DX.
In the musical 1776, Lewis Morris of New York always abstained (courteously!) because the New York legislature never gave him instructions about what to do or how to vote or even whether the colony was pro or anti independence. Then toward the end, as they're ratifying and signing the Declaration of Independence, Morris finds out from George Washington that the British army had destroyed his home, his wife and most of his children fled to Connecticut, and his oldest sons were now in the Continental Army fighting the British.
Morris: To hell with New York! I'll sign [the Declaration of Independence] anyway!
Chris in Resident Evil 5, when he pretty much abandons his original mission to search for Jill Valentine instead, who he had earlier thought was dead, but turned out to be alive. And then of course, when he kills Wesker in the end, this is not only his job as a BSAA member, but it's personal considering Wesker kidnapped/brainwashed Jill, and Chris used to work with Wesker before he went all evil and tried to infect the whole world with the Uroboros.
Again in Resident Evil 6, Chris has this with Ada Wong, or so he thinks (it's really Carla Radames) after she kills his entire team, save Piers.
Helena in Resident Evil 6 has this with Simmons because he basically killed her sister.
Assassin's Creed I: Robert De Sable defeats Alta´r in combat and thus making him fail his task and loose his his rank. Although Alta´r realises he was arrogant and he itself was main reason of his failure. Still, its VERY personal.
Assassin's Creed II: Templars kill half of Ezio's family which gives Ezio motivation for 3/4 of the game.
Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: Yet again, Templars strike against what is valuable to Ezio. This time uncle Mario, and whole town you spend previous game pimping it.
Assassin's Creed: Revelations: First AC game which don't start with with this trope. Ezio seeks knowledge and not revenge this time. Until he hooks up with Sofia, what is Big Bad eager to exploit. He is even realizing he is making things fully personal against one of the most dangerous killers of the world.
Same with Alta´r. He is wise enough to not let himself consumed by anger, but you know Abbas is finished when he let execute Alta´r's youngest son and indirectly kills his wife.
Assassin's Creed III: Destruction of Connor's Village is what keeps him going.
Final Fantasy X's Auron is the stoic, quiet, all-knowing, Badass Longcoat of the group, never losing his cool or raising his voice. He doesn't have to - his reputation and obvious awesomeness compels everyone else to fear and respect him. The one and only time we see any passion from him is when he and the heroes confront Yunalesca... who, when he last saw her, calmly explained how his friends' deaths were meaningless, then killed him. Yes, he has a bit of a grudge there.
Vent and Aile of Mega Man ZX lost their mother to a Maverick raid on Area H ten years ago, and the lack of intervention on Slither Inc's part gave them a reason to hate the company. The truth behind it gives them a reason to search for Model W...and that's to destroy it.
While we are on the subject of Mega Man, this is why Omega-Xis steals the Andromeda Key in the first Mega Man Star Force game. His reason behind stealing the item is so that King Cepheus can't use it to blow up anymore planets, like he did to Omega-Xis's home planet.
It's a common enough multiplayer game trick to have allies beat all the mooks on the way to some huge big bad monster, but that monster you must defeat alone (so you get to win a quest at a lower level than would be doable alone, get powerful and untradable monster drops, or make a memorable revenge video against some enemy gang). Bonus points if both gangs are into roleplaying enough to stand aside while 2 people duel it out without interference.
In Starcraft, Raynor, Zeratul, Mengsk and Artanis have all sworn revenge against Kerrigan for her general Not-So-Magnificent Bastardry.
By Starcraft II, Raynor seems to have softened a bit, partially at the guilt he feels about going along with Mengsk so long that he feels complicit in what Kerrigan has become.
Once the Heart of the Swarm expansion rolls around, Kerrigan herself has been partially de-infested and is only now aware of the atrocities she has committed. As such, she now wants personal revenge against Mengsk for delivering her to the Zerg in the first place.
In The World Ends with You, Neku starts to distrust Joshua after he finds out that Joshua shot him. At the end of the chapter, Neku goes totally berserk on Sho Minamimoto after it's revealed that the image Neku discovered was incomplete and Minamimoto shot him instead of Joshua. Although, even THAT image was incomplete. Joshua really did kill him. Neku gets another "It's Personal" moment while facing Kitaniji, who possesses Shiki and the rest of Shibuya.
In Shadow Hearts: From The New World, Ricardo signs on with Johnny after his lover, Edna, is given the Kiss of Malice by Lady and turned into a conduit for monsters. He's forced to kill Edna himself to free her, and follows Johnny to make sure the one who turned his beloved into a monster dies.
Reversed in Metal Gear Solid 3, with the villain declaring It's Personal on the hero. Volgin already intended to kill the CIA operative who had infiltrated his base. But after he found out what Snake did to Major Raikov...
It is then played straight with Snake whose mission had always been to kill Volgin but after the torture he went through by his hand Snake becomes motivated to get a little payback which he succeeds in doing by humiliating Volgin in hand to hand combat. Then after a long battle with Volgin in the Shagohad Snake witnesses Volgin have a villainous breakdown over how Snake has ruined his plans and dies a karmic death by lightning before he can attack Snake again.
In Metal Gear Rising, the final boss has this to say when you drop him to about a third of his health:
Senator Armstrong: You know what?! Fuck this war! I just want you dead!
American McGee's Alice: The Mad Hatter trampled your friend the White Rabbit into the ground, causing Alice to break down... and when the Queen of Hearts slaughtered the Cheshire Cat, you knew Alice was going to break her into pieces.
In the first Mercenaries, the player character was going after General Song for the One Hundred Million Dollar bounty on his head. In the sequel, Ramon Solano hires you to rescue General Carmona, a friend of his. Carmona then launches a coup, and Solano is installed as the President of Venezuela. Rather than pay the merc and let them be on their way, Solano tries to have them executed. People trying to kill them? That's something Jennifer, Chris, and Mattias are used to. Getting screwed out of a paycheck? It's Personal now.
You forgot the part where the merc you're controlling got shot in the ass. To quote Chris:
"Yeah! No one shoots him in the ass and gets away with it!"
In The Godfather game, you as Aldo Trapani already had a personal stake in attacking the other families as the Don of the Barzinis killed your father Johnny. After Tattaglia goons abduct and kill Frankie Malone, though, you'll definitely have it in for them. The game Hangs a Lampshade by naming this particular mission "Now It's Personal".
In Battalion Wars II, Marshall Nova comes to have this attitude when Ubel takes command and invades his country. To recap: Ubel killed his father, wired the national monument he was buried at to explode, and in general devastated the Tundran Territories in a way unprecedented throughout history. The Alliance of Nations reformed solely to say "AW HELL NAW" to that behavior, because goddamn.
The entire reason Link goes out on the Great Sea in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is because his little sister was kidnapped by the Helmaroc King, a minion of Ganon. Which makes his fight against the bird nearly half-way through the game all the more epic.
In the first Mass Effect, Saren makes it personel for Shepard and the Normandy crew when Shepard is forced to leave Ashley or Kaiden behind on Virmire.
In Mass Effect 2, things get personal right from the get-go: the Collectors attack and destroy the Normandy, kill twenty-one crewmembers, including First Officer Pressley, and kill Shepard. Later on they attack the Normandy SR-2 and kidnap the entire crew, save for Joker and the squad members. And of course, it gets even more personel if Shepard loses squad members during the suicide mission.
In Mass Effect 3, it's personal from the very beginning when Earth is attacked, but even more so when Shepard finally gets to kill Kai Leng, who had previously attacked both Thane and Miranda.
Shepard: That was for Thane/Miranda, you son of a bitch!
Played for Laughs in the Citadel DLC, where Shepard's evil clone intends to have Shepard's space hamster destroyed, among other items of value in his/her cabin. S/he is so rattled s/he asks his/her teammates why they're not saying anything, before thinking they don't have the words for it. As opposed to, y'know, questioning Shepard's sanity.
When you select the hamster cage multiple times:
Shepard: (Reading aloud) "Please send this to an animal shelter for proper disposal as a warship is not an appropriate..." Oh, that is not OK!
Shepard: They messed with my hamster guys. Now it's personal.
Shepard: Guys? Were you going to say something or... No, no, I get it. It's hard to even find the words.
Shepard: Should we check on my fish? Cause if they're getting rid of all the pets...
Shepard: We should probably deal with them first.
Shepard: All Right. Sit tight, little guy. anybody gives you trouble... Go for the eyes.
In the viral advertising website for BioShock 2, Mark Meltzer was devoted to finding out more about the recent kidnappings of six and seven year old girls around the North Atlantic, namely, who, why and where to. He eventually estimated where the next kidnapping was due to be and went there with his family. His family included a seven year old girl. The kidnapper, a Big Sister, obviously recognised Mark as a threat and kidnapped his daughter. He then put his search into finding out where the girls had gone to in full motion after that, until eventually he found where the girls had been taken...Rapture. In the game he is caught by Sofia Lamb, the Big Bad who kidnapped the girls in the first place and is made into a Big Daddy for his daughter Cindy (now a Little Sister), something you discover only after you kill Mark.
The Knights of the Old Republic duology have a luggage shuttle of these. Carth going after Saul Karath for the destruction of Carth's homeworld, the death of his wife, and letting his son fall into the hands of the Sith. Juhani and Xor getting into a scrap because Xor killed Juhani's dad, then later tried to buy her as a sex slave (for a T-rated game, they sure got a lot of crap to sail under the radar...). Canderous wanting to kill Jagi for insulting his honor in the first game, then being tricked by Kreia in the second because he needed to find out why Revan abandoned him. In the second game, Bao-Dur also joined the Republic forces and created the horrific Mass Shadow Generator to make the Mandalorians pay for what they did to his homeworld. Atris's hostility towards the Exile has shades of it. You can also state this as a motive for either PC. Strangely, most of these revenge motives get inverted or subverted in some way.
From the same family, you also get a couple of these in Jade Empire. Sky's got a "thing" about slavers...having your five-year old daughter run through by a group of them would kinda do that. There's also "The Serpent" running the Imperial City arena that Black Whirlwind has an axe to grind with...literally. And it certainly goes there with your PC and "Master" Sun Li - he killed your people, spent your entire life grooming you as a Unwitting Pawn, then killed you after all.
Ellis: Aw, c'mon Coach, that biker guy seemed nice. Coach: He's probably stolen the Jimmy Gibbs Jr. by now. Ellis: He is a dead man.
Of course, whenever one of the survivors ends up dead, some of the remarks the others make lean more towards this.
Bill: *concerning Zoey's death* One of those sick sons of bitches just sealed all of their death warrants.
Supplementary materials reveal that while Final Fantasy VIIBig Bad Sephiroth had grand ambitions of godhood, it was his very personal hatred of Cloud that gave him the strength to maintain his identity in the Lifestream. Being killed by an unremarkable grunt was apparently too much for Sephiroth's ego.
CJ's reasoning behind taking on Big Smoke alone at the end of San Andreas.
CJ: Smoke played me. Tenpenny played me.
This is what motivates Lu Bu's relentless pursuit of Nezha in Warriors Orochi 3. After soundly thrashing Lu Bu by himself, the Mystic turns and casually kills Diao Chan right in front of him.
Mickey Mouse, of all people, has this briefly in Kingdom Hearts 2 when Goofy pushes him out of the way when a Heartless was about to attack him and gets hit instead. And was thought to be dead.
This occurs in the Endgame to Quest for Glory IV: When Katrina is killed through the machinations of Ad Avis, the game makes it clear that the Hero is partly driven by the realization that Katrina truly didlove him when he finally puts his nemesis down for good. Shadows of Darkness allows the player to take dialog options earlier in the game that indicates the Hero was in love with her as well, and her death is stated to weigh heavily on him during the victory celebration. It's not that the Hero needed any more motivation than saving the world and stopping the Dark One from escaping imprisonment, but killing the woman he loved was probablynot the best idea.
Invoked by Handsome Jack in Borderlands2. He does what he can to stop you from getting in his way and he acts like a total douche about it until you kill his daughter, Angel (she asked you to kill her so that Jack can't power up the Vault Key). Jack becomes deadly serious after the event and vows to personally kill you after what you did.
Much of of Krieg's motivation to fight Hyperion is because both sides of his personality are ripshit pissed off because of the experiments they put him through.
In Virtue's Last Reward, while Akane engineered the events of the game to ostensibly save humanity from Radical-6, she's also out for revenge against Brother.
Done in Thor: God of Thunder, a game set before the events of Thor itself. Sif is impaled, after pushing a fellow Asgardian out of danger, and becomes temporarily dead. Although it wasn't planned or caused by a Big Bad, her death enrages Thor and causes him to seek vengeance, to the point where Odin worries that "Thor will slaughter and bring holocaust" if he doesn't do anything.
Odin:(discussing bringing Sif back to life and interfering with fate) If I do not, I fear that Thor will...
Loki: Thor will defy you and wage war against the Jotuns from now until Ragnarok.
In Sword of the Stars: The Pit some characters have this sort of reason for getting involved. The Marine is looking for his Love Interest, who was working in the mountains near the facility. Said Love Interest is the twin sister of the Scout. The Engineer is out to avenge a friend killed by enemies he tracked to the Pit. The Warrior is seeking help for his afflicted friends and neighbours.
In the comics Bane wants to break the Batman because he's the biggest challenge out there. In the Batman Arkham Series, it first appears that this is the case, while also making him something of a dumb brute. Origins brings the character more in line with both the comics and the The Dark Knight Saga, and also provides information that he's after Batman for revenge ("the Batman's death will bring him peace"), though revenge for what isn't stated.
Doc: Rayner, you killed my mentor, and you kidnaped my sidekick. I met Death himself last night, and he's going to follow me all the way to your house. You made it personal.
Played with later when the Doc is facing down Rayner and tries to remember the cool thing he said about meeting Death earlier, but can't get the phrasing right, so he just gets down to kicking his ass instead.
Subverted in Sluggy Freelance. Torg is all set to kill Lord Horribus for killing Alt-Zoe. But, at the last second, he decides saving the world is more important, and settles for knocking Horribus down a steep hill instead. And it's revealed he wasn't exactly trying to "make him pay" — he wanted to make up for failing to keep her safe as he had promised.
In DMFA, Kria points out that Dan's rivalry with Dark Pegasus is not that personal, but that his hatred for Regina definitely is.
Even though the trope isn't played straight by any means, it's said in thesepages of Homestuck we get one from DocScratch after Spades Slick breaks Vriska's God Tier clock, leaving it stuck on 'Just':
Doc Scratch: Slick, I can tolerate many things from a guest. Curt manners. Egregious womanizing. Murdering the help. Casual arson. Even atrocious candy bowl etiquette. But it is the desecration of a priceless timepiece where I must draw the line. I'm afraid I must now insist that you take your beating quite personally.
Later actually played straight when John has a rematch with Bec Noir in the dream bubbles, ostensibly because he's just remembered, through the dream bubble's projection, the scene of the murders of Dad, Mom, and Rose, as well as his own second death.
In The Gamers Alliance, Refan goes after Zarnagon because Zarnagon has harmed Refan's loved ones. This also happens when Refan confronts Awar who has slain Refan's dear friend and adoptive little sister Nalaen, and it eventually leads to Refan brutally disarming and murdering Awar in cold blood, signalling Refan embracing his demonic side.
Doctor Horrible's rivalry with Captain Hammer is more or less a fact of life for the both of them, with the Doctor trying to take down Hammer with nonlethal means, and getting thoroughly pounded on every time by the Captain. When Hammer announces to Horrible that he's going to sleep with Penny "just because you want her," it gets personal. The normally pacifistic Doctor upgrades his Stun Ray to a Death Ray, and makes his intentions quite clear with his next song:
It's a brand new day, and the sun is high All the birds are singing that you're gonna die!
Fetus and Acrylic's motivations for taking down MegaCorp in Next Breed Of Thief. The former's parents were killed and harvested for biological materials; the latter was basically a guinea pig for cyborg enhancements.
Spoofed in the Kids Next Door episode "Operation DODGEBALL", where the self-proclaimed "Dodgeball Wizard" lures Numbuh 4 into a dodgeball match by kidnapping his family. After finding the ransom note, Numbuh 4 dramatically declares "This time, it's personal!". When Numbuh 2 points out neither of them have ever met this Dodgeball Wizard, Numbuh 4 responds he just wanted to use that line.
Kinda used straight in "FOUNTAIN" when it's revealed that Numbuh 5 always pursues the Delightful Children, because she can never forgive them for what they did to Numbuh 1 (make him bald).
Much more seriously, the fight between Chad and Nigel in Operation: T.R.E.A.T.Y., stemmed from the underlying resentment over Chad's betrayal of the KND. Nigel had idolized Chad, and the betrayal stung him deeply, while Chad resents Nigel for being considered the best KND operative on Earth, still believing himself to be the best. The fight however, proves him wrong, showing that Nigel has indeed surpassed him.
An episode of The Simpsons has recurring character Sideshow Bob attempting to rig the election for Mayor of Springfield by including the names of dead people and animals as those who voted for him. When Lisa's cat Snowball appears on the list, she angrily declares that "nowIt's Personal!" Bart points out, with some irritation, that "he did try to kill me, you know."
Another episode has Alec Baldwin use this line (in reference to Homer). When Kim Basinger and Ron Howard just look at him, Alec says, "What? He has our underwear!"
Another episode subverts with little subtlety - in an episode of Police Chief Wiggum becoming determined to be a good cop (for the episode, of course), he realizes evidence for a case which involves a food. He tells the other cops that they're going to the Kwik-E-Mart. Lou says with exasperation "Chief, you already sent us there two times today.", to which Wiggum answers "Yeah, but this time, its not personal."
Plus, another episode parodies this. Marge and Homer invite Apu and his wife to come to dinner, but Apu responds "No no, you hosted our wedding! We will have YOU over for dinner. Yes.... it is payback time, and this time It is Personal." (dramatic music)
Parodied in an episode of Futurama, when giant alien brains are trying to gather all knowledge in the universe.
Fry: So they're trying to learn things? The bastards!
Nibblonians: Yes. Then, once it has collected all data in the universe it will open its protective shell, so as to scan itself.
Fry: I'm as mad as I've ever been!
Nibblonians: Then, it will destroy the universe, so no new information can come about.
Fry: Now it's personal.
Also spoofed in "M÷bius Dick": "It's not personal, that whale ate my delivery. This time, it's business!"
Subverted in Batman Beyond. Terry believes his relationship with Season One Big Bad Blight is personal. Blight is ignorant of this.
Blight: [being stalked from the shadows by Batman] Who are you?!
Then again, Blight was turned into a "walking meltdown" thanks to a fight with Batman, and Batman kept foiling his various Evil Plans, to the point where Blight visably lost his temper at even the mention of Batman's name. So in a way it was personal for Blight too...just for completely different reasons.
In the Kim Possible episode "Car Alarm", the tweebs supe up Kim's Cool Car after Motor Ed blows outruns them. Emphasized by the shifty camera angle and the fact that they actually say "This time its personal!"
Kim herself claims that it's way personal when Ron is kidnapped. And after everything that happens to her in So the Drama, can you blame her for whaling on Drakken and damn near cold bloodedly killing Shego?
The fighting that goes on between The Powerpuff Girls and Mojo Jojo is taken to a new level when it revealed early on (and mentioned several times afterward) that Mojo could actually be considered the girls' true father, since he was directly responsible for their creation.
In Megas XLR, Coop often lists several offenses (or perceived offenses) as to why he's going to kick the badguy(s)'s ass(s), usually ending with a personal grievance. So, for Coop, nearly every fight is personal. Heaven forbid someone should spill his slushy or scratch his paint...
In one episode, Kiva does this.
The leader of the Glorft also takes their defeats personally and often vows revenge on Coop, even to the point of resigning himself and his crew to being trapped in the past by ordering the destruction of MEGAS (and thus, also its time drive).