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Non-Standard Character Design
No. This was not done with Photoshop.

A character that looks strange in the context of their cartoon world. Usually a main character and most likely because this main character was designed before the artist could get into the swing of drawing the rest of the characters. Either that, or it's to set the character apart.

Several crossovers fit this trope. It's especially noticeable when the characters are from different franchises, showcasing distinctive character designs from their respective source material.

See also Gonk. Compare Art Shift.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece
    • The Admirals Akainu, Kizaru, and Aokiji, who, mostly because they are based on actual actors, are drawn in a style more realistic than most others (especially Akainu), almost to the point of falling in the Uncanny Valley. Post-Time Skip, Fujitora (one of the new Admirals) joins them, since he resembles actor Shintaro Katsu as Zatoichi.
    • Caesar Clown's design is remarkably different from most of the characters in the series, to the point of many fans thinking he looks like somebody out of Naruto.
    • Cavendish, who's drawn as a Bishōnen, and has glinting eyes. That's a very, very uncommon trait for male characters in One Piece, not even for a Ridiculously Cute Critter like Chopper. It's usually reserved for female characters.
    • There are a handful of female characters who don't have glinting eyes. This includes characters such as Kokoro, Perona, Lola, Sweet Pea, and Monet.
    • Nico Robin looks more realistic than the rest of the Straw Hat Crew.
    • Diamante's eyes and nose look realistic, so he looks really strange with a Cheshire Cat Grin coupled with his Gag Lips.
  • Armitage III: The Second-type androids, along with Naomi Armitage and Julian Moore, are designed and drawn in a traditional, big-eyed Anime style. The humans, D'anclaude, and the Third-type androids are designed in a more realistic style (and with more visibly European facial features).
  • The fusions in Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo are drawn in a much more serious style than the regular characters. When a fusion fails, it's drawn in a much crappier style than the regular characters.
  • Not unlike the South Park celebrities example are the monkey and dog in Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan, who look like people with photographed heads.
  • In Cromartie High School, whenever Kamiyama encounters one of his former middle school classmates, they're always depicted in a simplistic cartoony style that contrast the series' semi-realistic style.
  • Haré+Guu
    • There are birds that are drawn in a crude, primitive style.
    • Guu herself has more simplistic style than the rest of the cast, lacking fingers and toes in most situations, and moves with boneless flops.
  • Darker Than Black
  • Most of the game characters in .hack//SIGN have standard Anime designs, except for "A-20", who appears in a couple of episodes and has a much more cartoony appearance and no visible nose. This looks especially strange when she's interacting with Mimiru. Of course this does lampshade the fact that the animated characters we're watching are actually supposed to be animated characters and not real people.
  • Anime Tenchou from Lucky Star, pictured above, and the rest of his co-workers are drawn in a very bold, sketchy action-series style, in contrast to the Puni Plush of everyone else. That's because Anime Tenchou didn't originate from Lucky Star, he was created by Mobile Fighter G Gundam character designer Kazuhiko Shimamoto as the mascot of Animate and had his own OVA by Studio Gainax, long before he made appearances in other anime (as he's also appeared in Hayate the Combat Butler).
  • Speaking of Hayate the Combat Butler, another example can be found in Hinagiku Katsura who was actually in a different, more...flowery style that is heavily reminiscent of Utena, which seems to be one of Hata-sensei's inspirations for her character and some elements of the plot. It's especially noticeable in her introductory chapter but as the art style for the series has become more Puni Plush her design has become more-or-less the same as everyone else's unless she's being focused on.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
    • Lordgenome is deliberately drawn in a sketch-heavy style, to highlight his role as the Big Bad. Later applied to Lordgenome's head and post-timeskip Simon.
    • The Anti-Spiral looks like a chalk drawing in animated form. This highlights not only his Big Bad status, but how utterly wrong he is. Similarly, his mecha are both CG and don't resemble a human being or animal in the slightest, unlike every previous mecha in the series. Even their codename, Mugann, means "faceless".
    • Attenborough has been nicknamed "Beamspam McMuppet", for reasons that will become apparent when you see this picture (he's the third one from the left).
  • Aburazaka from Ai Kora has a chubby-cheeked, excessively-stylized face that makes him look like a gag manga character. It contrasts not only with the relatively realistic faces of the rest of the cast, but also with his personality of a shameless pervert.
  • Soujirou Marui, father of the triplets in Mitsudomoe, is drawn with a much rougher art style and thicker outlines compared to everyone else. His face is also somewhat different from the rest of the cast, adult and child alike.
  • Soul Eater
    • The Flying Dutchman, who looks like some sort of deranged and villainous muppet.
    • Excalibur is drawn with very little detail, huge round eyes and an all-white color scheme, looking notably cartoonistic among the other characters. Lampshaded by various characters across the series, most notably how he looks like he has googley eyes from a rainy day arts and crafts project.
  • In Futaba-kun Change!, Principal Hiroin has a considerably more cartoonish look than all the characters, including a huge round head over a midget body.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood delivers a very minor example; Ed, Al, Hohenheim and all other characters of Xerxian descent are drawn with a dark yellow outline to their hair which makes them appear to glow slightly. All other characters, even other blonds, have their hair outlined in black.
  • This happened to Chiba from Wandering Son after her Art Evolution. She looked considerably more mature then most other characters, but has since leveled in quite well due to the other characters her age maturing.
  • Hiruma from Eyeshield 21, with his fangs, claws, and spiky blonde Anime Hair looks very different from the more normally drawn members of the cast.
  • It can look mighty weird when Elizabeth of Gintama is standing next to the rest of the cast.
  • The witches and their barriers from Puella Magi Madoka Magica are all animated in drastically, disturbingly different ways from the rest of the show. Each one has a unique style of animation, ranging from thick-line to shadow puppets.
  • All the diary owners in Mirai Nikki are drawn in a style somewhere between typical anime and realistic. Eighth however... Eighth is four feet tall, four feet wide, and has eyes the size of dinner plates perched over a cat's mouth. Next to other characters, she can look utterly terrifying.
    • There's also Deus Ex Machina, who is animated entirely with CG while everyone else is drawn in 2D.
  • Mawaru-Penguindrum
    • Tsubasa Yuuki stands out whenever she shows up. She's drawn in a 70s shoujo manga style, and is specifically modeled after Lady Oscar.
    • The penguins look more cartoonish than the human characters around them. The series shows realistic penguins on occasion just to draw a comparison with the usual group.
  • Pokémon
  • In Pocket Monsters, some of Red's Pokémon, most noticeably Clefairy, have much more cartoonish and expressive faces than other mons.
  • The D-Reaper of Digimon Tamers looks like nothing ever seen before (or after) in the whole franchise. Justified, as it emphasizes how the D-Reaper is neither human nor Digimon.
  • Daichi of Kotoura-san is drawn markedly different from the rest of the cast, being shorter, rounded, and with minimal facial features save his lips, usually drawn in a fish-like pursing. When he speaks seriously with Yuriko, he is drawn much more seriously and normally, complete with visible eyes.
  • Almost all characters from Pandora Hearts seem to be unrealistically good-looking, from the abandoned children who survives on the street until a head of a dukedom who is only an inch from being rotten… and then we have Isla Yura, a human form of abomination itself with horribly big nose, stick-like body, and lunatic big eyes... definitely far below the standard of the characters’ appearance.
  • Green vs. Red is a crossover of the entire franchise, if you can understand that. The OVA had the Lupin impersonators at the beginning are drawn to resemble all possible incarnations of the character and then some, including the Pink Jacket Lupin, a fat Lupin and Nabeshin.
  • Dragon Ball Z has Cell, looking like something that crawled out of a Seinen series. He starts off with pink colored Hellish Pupils then gaining blue then pink irises with black pupils in similar vein to the Androids. He is by far the most detailed character to come out of the series.
  • In Cyber Weapon Z, all the fighters in the Shaolin temple wear the same garments, except Rosaland. It may be because she's not officially part of the program. Another case is Bu-Kang who fills in for the role of the Plucky Comic Relief and is earmarked that way by looking like Krilin.
  • Deliberately invoked with Attack on Titan's titular creatures, who look much more photorealistic than the human characters.
  • Hata in Seitokai Yakuindomo is definitely the only one missing a visible nose in the entire cast and is the only one without glossy eyes. She is also rendered as a chibi more often.
  • Two opposing characters in Assassination Classroom have a different character design than most of the cast: Koro-Sensei and the Chairman of Kunugigaoka School. The former is a comically drawn smiley-faced octopus monster; the latter is much more subtle, as he is a normal human being, buthe's drawn in a more angular art style that emphasizes his status as a sociopathic Magnificent Bastard.
  • Kill la Kill is a series reminiscent of 80s anime, but Dr. Matoi and Soichiro Kiryuin look like they come respectively from a 70s series and an early 90s anime, with a wild case of Anime Hair. this is used to foreshadow that they are actually the same person.
  • Vinland Saga is a realistically-drawn series (with a few minor exceptions like Thorkell's hair going Super Saiyan). The Frank king, however, looks like Humpty Dumpty.

    Comics 
  • The Bone cousins in Bone are drawn in a simpler, more cartoony style than the other characters. Unlike the other characters they also obey cartoon physics, most notably in a scene where Phoney Bone tries to hide a partly-eaten pie by shoving it into Fone Bone's mouth and Fone Bone's head assumes the shape of the pie, complete with missing segment. They are also the first characters shown — Thorn, the first human character, doesn't appear until chapter 2.
  • The aardvarks in Cerebus the Aardvark are drawn in a cartoony style, with liberal use of zip-a-tone. Everything else, especially as the art gets better, is much more realistic and hard-edged, and zip-a-tone is used nowhere else.
  • In Mortadelo y Filemón, whenever real people (or Superman) show up, they're drawn with realistic faces, which contrasts with the usual characters looking cartoony. Then there's also the Cross Over with El Capitan Trueno, where the Trueno characters get sometimes drawn in their original realistic style and sometimes look cartoony... and sometimes it's a mix... you can see why we don't like talking about that.
  • In Spy vs. Spy, only the two main characters are drawn with the well-recognizable pointy noses. Any disguises they wear have to include a mask for this reason (and the masks somehow fit right over their noses).
  • The dinosaurs from Calvin and Hobbes are all drawn rather realistically compared to the cartoony artstyle of the comic, at least in later years after the artist had done some research. Other animals similarly became more realistic when they were the focus of a particular strip, and Calvin and Susie were drawn in a more realistic and serious manner when a strip took place from her perspective.
  • SlapStick has an appearance akin to a Looney Tunes character in a world with more realistic designs. This is to highlight his powers, which makes him and him alone follow Cartoon Physics.
  • In Dick Tracy, Dick and the rest of the police are drawn fairly realistically — but his relatives B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie are like Popeye characters. The crooks that Dick pursues are also freakish, but they're supposed to be freakish-looking in-universe.
  • This is how you tell if a character in an Astérix comic is an Comic Book Fantasy Casting version of a real person - fictional characters are quite clean and grotesque-looking, but caricatures are a lot more realistic and detailed. Compare Boneywasawarriorwayayix (who was modelled after the editor of the magazine Asterix was originally printed in, Pilote), Dubbleosix (a Sean Connery parody) and Spartakis (based on Kirk Douglas) to non-caricature characters like Fulliautomatix or Caligula Minus and the difference is obvious. This is occasionally really useful, since a lot of the 'cameos' are French celebrities that no-one outside of France would identify.
    • The exceptions are Tragicomix and (somewhat less so) Panacea, who aren't particularly based on any one person but are drawn much more photorealistically than the other characters, especially in closeup. Panacea is stylized enough to not look out of place with either Tragicomix or Obelix, but when we see Tragicomix and Asterix together it looks almost like a Cross Over (or possibly Uncanny Valley-type creepy). Tragicomix is also the only adult male Gaulish or even Celtic character to lack a moustache, besides members of the tribe in The Big Fight who were forced to shave by their chief's Foreign Culture Fetish for Rome. When Tragicomix reappeared in The Actress, he got a more stylized design based on how he looks in the Animated Adaptation Asterix Versus Caesar, making him look a lot less odd.
  • Used in Christopher Priest's run on Black Panther. Future Panther (and his former companions Abner Little and Princess Zanda) are drawn in a distinctly Kirbyesqe style. Other characters are drawn in a more modern style, highlighting how these three are in a very different world.

    Fan Works 

  • In The Light of Courage, Ganon actually has a very decent, almost professional-level model, which makes the blatant Stylistic Suck of every other character stand out even more than they already do.

    Films — Animation 
  • LeFou is far toonier-looking than the rest of the human cast in Beauty and the Beast.
  • In the 1939 Max Fleischer film of Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver is drawn in a more realistic manner (thanks to Rotoscoping) than the more cartoony Lilliputians. Except the two love-interest Lilliputians, Prince David and Princess Glory, who are also rotoscoped, wrecking the otherwise nicely stylistic contrast.
  • Up: Dug's design is a little more cutesy and more consistent with the other cartoony-looking characters than the rest of the more photorealistic-looking dogs, especially in the eyes. This is used to easily distinguish Dug as a good dog from the rest of the Mook canines the Big Bad uses.
  • Similarly, the Anglerfish from Finding Nemo is the only realistically-drawn animal to appear in the entire film.
  • During the song "I Just Can't Wait to be King" from The Lion King, Simba, Nala, and Zazu are the only characters that are drawn normally contrasted to the stylized nature of the song. The animals in the "Circle of Life" opening (and occasionally seen in the background) are all drawn realistically, despite the main and supporting cast being far more cartoon-y. This best shown by comparing the meerkats from the beginning of the movie to the far more cartoonish Timon.
  • The title character of Pocahontas had her appearance based on her voice actress, Irene Bedard, and while the rest of her tribe are portrayed fairly closely to how they would have looked in real life she sticks out like a sore thumb.
  • Similarly, Tiger Lily from Peter Pan is drawn realistically as opposed to the more "Cleveland Indians"-looking Native Americans featured in the film.
  • Madagascar
    • Melman the giraffe looks more cartoonish-looking than the realistically-drawn giraffes that inhabit Africa in Escape 2 Africa.
    • Sonya the bear from the third movie looks far more realistic than the rest of the cartoonish animals.
  • The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio is the only realistically-drawn character in the entire film considering the fact that she was rotoscoped.
  • The Fairy Prince's pet bumblebee from Thumbelina is for some reason drawn very realistically compared to the otherwise cartoonish-looking animals that appear in the film.
  • In the Cars series films, all of the characters' eyes are drawn on their windshields. In the sequel, a background salescar has, for some reason, her eyes on her headlights instead, thus looking like she wandered out of the set of A Car's Life: Sparky's Big Adventure. They probably made her look like that because she's selling headlights.
  • In Chirin No Suzu/The Ringing Bell, a cute, adorable little lamb becomes a monstrous ram that looks nothing like what he did as a kid or really any other sheep in the movie. It's Justified because of how he lived.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, while all of the other characters are drawn realistically and tend to be somewhat fleshy, Dr. Facilier is unusually tall and Noodle People thin. Same with Jafar from Aladdin. Everyone else is drawn with curves, Jafar is drawn with straight lines!
  • Watch The Great Mouse Detective. Professor Ratigan, unlike ALL the other "mice", has five fingers. Justified, because in the film, at least, he is a rat.
  • Rapunzel, unlike all the other Disney Princesses, is actually animated using CGI instead of cel animation, so she often looks very strange when they are all in a group. It also explained why she had to be redesigned when she is greenlighted into the franchise so that she can blend in with the other princesses. The first few waves of Rapunzel merch that used 2D images had a tendency to be...creepy, due to basically being paint-overs of the 3D models. It was especially obvious in the group pictures, where the rest of the Princesses big, anime-style eyes look tiny when compared to Rapunzel's soulless dinner plates. Disney seemed to have realized this though, as her official redesign fits in perfectly now.
  • Kidagakash from Atlantis: The Lost Empire for some reason despite being an Atlantean actually looks more like a white woman with tanned skin and white hair, while the other Atlanteans (including her father, King Kashekhim Nedakh) have more ethnic designs. She is the only character in the film to have blue eyes, something no one else in the film has. Her fingers have rounded tips, while the males have square-tipped fingers, the other females also have similarly-drawn fingers (Audrey has squared fingers because of her tomboyish nature, while Helga has claw-like fingers to fit her role as The Dragon).
  • King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph looks more Disney-esque and cartoony (a la Ralph and Fix-It Felix Jr.) compared to the Super-Deformed and Animesque characters of Sugar Rush. This is actually Foreshadowing that King Candy isn't who he says he is. Also happens all through the movie, whenever characters from different video games appear next to each other. The scenes between the cartoony Fix-It Felix Jr. and the more realistically designed Sgt. Calhoun are probably the most notable.
  • How to Train Your Dragon has a unusual example in that it's one of the main characters. Toothless is noticeably different than the other dragons.
  • Alice in Wonderland: The White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, and the other residents of Wonderland are cartoony, while the main character, Alice, her older sister, and Dinah the kitten are semi-realistic. This is most noticeable with Alice and the Mad Hatter. Justified as Wonderland is much wackier than the "real world" of the movie.
  • The Bohrok in BIONICLE: Mask of Light are more-or-less faithful representations of the original LEGO models, in a movie where every other character has been redesigned to look more organic and less like buildable action figures. They were actually the first characters to be designed for the movie, and ended up having a mere cameo, frozen in ice. The fire drones in the second movie, due to reusing the bodies of the Bohrok, stand out in the same fashion.
  • The LEGO Movie
    • Whilst most of the other main characters are your standard LEGO minifigs or human, Princess Uni-Kitty is a cat/unicorn made entire out of bricks, with her face being printed on a brick.
    • Emmet and Benny have Black Bead Eyes reminiscent of the early generations of minifigs, while the other major characters have reflections in their eyes.
    • Metal Beard is built much more like a BIONICLE or Hero Factory figure than something from a traditional set.
    • Vitruvius is a minor offender here: Almost all of the non-licensed characters have yellow skin, with a few non-humans (e.g., the vampire) having non-human skin tones. Vitruvius owns the Magical Negro trope by having brown skin, which is otherwise very rare on non-licensed minifigs.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Unusually for a highbrow live-action film, Akira Kurosawa's Ran includes two characters (Lord Ichimonji Hidetora and Lady Kaede) who are set apart by their Noh-inspired costume and makeup.
  • The villains in the French film Immortel are realistic CGI— all other characters are played by live actors.
  • Most of the Jaegers in Pacific Rim are fairly humanoid, except Crimson Typhoon has three arms and digitgrade legs and Cherno Alpha has, in place of a normal head, something that looks like a nuclear cooling tower.
    • In regards to the Kaiju, Onibaba sticks out like a sore thumb due to its crustacean body and four, centaurian legs as opposed to the bipedal, semi-reptilian Kaiju in the film.

    Literature 
  • The eponymous character of The Little Engine that Could, for some reason, has her face drawn on her funnel instead of the smokebox unlike all the other locomotives in the book. Averted in the film adaptation however, where the "Shiny New Engine"'s face is drawn on his cockpit, the "Broken Down Engine"'s and the "Big Strong Engine"'s faces are both drawn on their smokeboxes, and the "Rusty Old Engine"'s face is also drawn on his funnel.
  • The title character of Clifford the Big Red Dog, in both the books and the cartoon, is the only character in the series that has visible sclerae. Averted in the movie, however.
  • The art style of Precious Moments figurines and other media uses large heads, rounded faces, and teardrop-shaped Puppy-Dog Eyes, on both adults and children. In the Precious Moments Storybook Bible, the only two humans not depicted this way are adult Moses and adult Jesus, who are drawn much more realistically.
  • Mr. Messy from the Mr. Men series has no outline; he's just a bunch of scribbles with eyes and a mouth.

    Music Videos 
  • Cherry, lead singer of the animated band Studio Killers is CG animated, while the rest of the band and other characters are all 2D.

    Toys 
  • LEGO
    • Tim from LEGO Time Cruisers and the Indians from the old Wild West sets are some of the few original LEGO Minifig characters to have noses.
    • Whereas most BIONICLE beings have tribal-looking masks, robotic faces or animalistic heads, the Skakdi have organic faces made out of rubber and bear big toothy, cartoony grins. The Toa Inika stand out in the same fashion, having rubber masks and actual mouth openings, sans Matoro and Kongu, though the latter still stands out for having what seems like a toothy sneer on his mask.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney
    • Both Mike Meekins and Spark Brushel stand out as cartoony compared to the rest of the cast.
    • Before Art Evolution kicks in Maya Fey looks very cartoony as well.
    • In contrast to the bright colors and simple faces of everyone else, Detective Badd has drawn facial definition and much darker colors.
  • Professor Layton
    • Professor Layton VS Ace Attorney, the crossover with Ace Attorney, Phoenix and Maya retain their typically manga style while the rest of the world is drawn mostly in the style of Professor Layton's universe. There are other characters drawn in an anime style, though.
    • Professor Layton himself looks a little creepy with his plain black cartoon eyes while everyone else around him has sclerae.
  • The Professor, his pet dog (who thinks it's a cat) Mochi, and his spaceship in Contact are in a Retraux pixel art style that's vastly different from everything else in the game.
  • Disgaea
    • The few females with above small breasts (the Nekomata, Succubus, and Jennifer) are significantly different looking because they were drawn by a different character designer (who did designs for earlier Nippon Ichi games).
    • Kurtis is significantly different looking from the other characters, his design being based heavily on Jet Link. The Prinny commentary in the DS version makes a point of repeatedly mocking his nose.
    • Asagi was originally from Makai Kingdom before she started making appearances in the Disgaea series, so she had slightly different proportions than the rest of the cast. But this trope really came into play in Disgaea 4, where every character gets nice looking HD sprites... and Asagi's still pixilated! If you speak to her, a few of her quotes draw attention to this fact. A high-res version of her is free DLC, however. And the new Asagi will even talk about how nice it feels to be HD.
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • By virtue of being a crossover, it features many different types of character designs in one universe. The toony Funny Animals from the Classic Disney Shorts, the less toony Disney Animated Canon characters, the cast of The Nightmare Before Christmas who have more detailed textures due to their Stop Motion roots, the Anime-like Original and Final Fantasy characters, and the Pirates of the Caribbean and TRON casts, who are as close to photo-realistic depictions of their actors as the game engine will allow. The first four groups mesh pretty well, but the addition of the last group makes things pretty jarring.
    • In Birth by Sleep, instead of getting a design in Nomura's normal style but with bigger feet and brighter colors, which is standard for the Final Fantasy cameos, Zack Fair's design is heavily influenced by the style used in Hercules, while still retaining a Final Fantasy style face and hair.
    • In Dream Drop Distance, characters from The World Ends with You show up, they're not that out of place, but like the Zack example above, their extremely thin style, carried over from their home game looks a bit odd compared to the still stylized, but not to that extreme, Sora and Riku.
  • Parajump, a video game in pre-production, has this as its main gimmick. Overlaps with Mars Needs Women in that the main character has a fetish for anime-eque characters.
  • Thanks to constantly reusing the same outdated sprites, Morrigan looks completely out-of-place in all of her 2D non-Darkstalkers appearances.
  • Banjo-Kazooie
    • In Terrydacty Land in Tooie, some of the dinosaurs are done like realistic dinosaurs, so this trope comes to mind when the cartoony-looking Banjo and Kazooie are seen next to one. Best example would be the Chompa dinosaur that eats you.
    • Beautiful Grunty from the first game's Game Over cutscene.
  • In Super Mario RPG, Bonus Boss Culex is designed more like a Final Fantasy enemy than a Mario one, including having a static 2D battle sprite instead of animated faux-3D like the rest of the game.
  • Another Mario example would be those realistic-looking grubs found in the "Gusty Garden Galaxy" level from Super Mario Galaxy (which can be used by Mario/Luigi as ladders to get from one planet to another there), which totally clashes with the series' art style especially when there are already Wigglers (cartoony grublike enemies that debuted in Super Mario World which get angry were Mario/Luigi were to stomp on them) found in that game.
  • It's not as if characters based off real actors is uncommon in the Metal Gear world, but the BB Corps in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots took it one creepy step further by being digitally-scanned-in Serkis Folk, instead of completely digitally rendered like everyone else. While they look quite pretty on their own, if you don't look too closely, there's enough of a subtle anime influence to the faces of the rest of the cast that the proportions look subtly off in comparison, and their eyes in particular look completely dead. They'd all undergone heavy Mind Rape and were no longer either physically or psychologically entirely human, so this was very, very intentional.
  • In Mass Effect 2 and 3, Tali'Zorah is the only quarian with her form of unique suit design (with the head cloth attached to her shoulders and wrapping around her waist). The rest of the female quarians have a simple cloth hanging like long hair, and all male quarians look the same except for suit colors.
  • In Pokémon Black and White, one of the gym leaders, Cilan, is a polite young man with green hair and... Skintone Sclerae, making him the first and probably only character in the entire franchise to have these. It looks rather creepy compared to everyone else.
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising has Magnus, an old(er), muscled, bearded, deep-voiced, dark-clothed, BFS user. He completely (and intentionally) clashes with the rest of the game's aesthetic by looking noticeably less stylized (and by being the Anti!Pit in design).
  • Skullgirls has Peacock, who is drawn in a way similar to 30's cartoons while other characters have an Animesque design. Nearly all of her body was horribly mutilated and has been replaced and reconstructed with robotics, with the addition of reality warping weapons systems. It probably helps that Pea herself is a big fan of old cartoons. A few of her alternate palettes remove her shading, making her stand out even more.
  • By Mega Man 6, the bosses have become more detailed (tricks are used to keep the same colors), while the hero still has the simplistic design he had in the first game. Once the series got off the NES, though, everyone got new sprites, and this was no longer the case.
  • Due to its Loads and Loads of Characters, multiple authors, and accessibility, it's not uncommon to see a couple (or even 3 or 4) characters in a M.U.G.E.N fight that look NOTHING alike. They can also end up on a stage that suits none of them.
  • Inhert, with its gel armor on a visible skeleton and goddess statue on its cockpitnote , and Lloyd with his three rods sticking out of his head, are all rather different from the other Zone of the Enders mechs and characters. This is due to being designed by Kazuma Kaneko instead of Yoji Shinkawa.
  • While most of Borderlands is done in a Thick-Line Animation style, The Guardian Angel is portrayed as an FMV of a real woman whose image appears on the top of the screen whenever she communicates with the player. In the sequel, this is revealed to be due to the fact that she is a Siren interfaced with all technology on Pandora. Near the endgame, when Angel dies and Lilith is kidnapped to replace her, Lilith communicates with the player in much the same way.
  • Jones In The Fast Lane: Most characters in the game are digitized photographs. The computer-controlled opponent Jones, however, is a highly cartoonish, big-headed fellow, which is quite jarring.
  • Project X Zone: While every character has dozens of highly-detailed sprites, the characters from Gods Eater Burst have certain attacks involving their transforming weapons animated frame-by-frame, making them look incongruously fluid and profoundly out of place.
  • Sonic Lost World: While most of the series's characters are based on animals and follow a strict design style, the Deadly Six are instead based on demons, and look very out of place. Justified by the fact they are native to a different planet.
  • Monokuma in Danganronpa (and Usami in the sequel) is drawn to look like a kawaii mascot without many details, wheras all the other characters have a more realistic pop-art manga-type look.
  • All the bird characters in Hatoful Boyfriend are represented by stock photographs of real birds. In Holiday Star, the King is an extremely stylized watercolor painting of a bird that matches the fantasy world he lives in. It's an early clue that whatever he used to be, he isn't any more.
  • The second Fossil Fighters game, Fossil Fighters Champions, underwent an Art Shift from the first game, and features a more anime-like style when compared to the first game's cartoony visuals. Those few characters who do appear in both games (like the dinaurians) feature updated looks to fit the new style... with the exception of former sidekick Rosie, who retains the first game's heavily cartoony style.

    Web Comics 
  • In Experimental Comic Kotone, the author had difficulty drawing a convincing middle-aged father... so he based Laika's dad on a character from The Lord of the Rings, making stand out next everyone else, who are drawn in a simplified Moe style.
  • In Fite!, Mutali was originally designed to look very out-of-place compared to the rest of the characters, but the author changed his mind and switched to a character design in a style more like the others. Original, final.
  • Gharsena, the Big Bad of Garanos, is the only character who's drawn without any light reflections in her eyes.
  • In Overcompensating, Andrew Hussie is portrayed in a pixelated style with animated fidgeting reminiscent of the art for his webcomic MS Paint Adventures.
  • General Protection Fault has most of its characters given simple designs. Some secondary characters, however, look vastly more realistic. It can be quite jarring to see two characters like Trudy (Blank White Eyes, No Mouth, generally cartoony design) and Dr. Not (a far more detailed and human looking woman) side by side, especially since both are meant to be attractive women. Compare and contrast.
  • Brawl in the Family normally uses a simple cartoon style, but it's fond of characters suddenly becoming hyperdetailed for a gag, such as Dedede's father being a photorealistic penguin.
  • The ninjas recently introduced into The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! have been revealed to be fairly detailed manga-style characters beneath their masks, in contrast to the western toony style of everyone else in the comic.
  • The Humanoid Steelswarm except Roach take on a hyper-realistic look in comic #46 of the Yu Gi Oh Card Game Gusto Fan Comic
  • Andrew Hussie's Author Avatar in Homestuck is the only character who is drawn with a "guardian"-esque base yet has visible eyes (which are completely white in spite of white eyes usually meaning the character is dead, the avatar does die but that's not until much later in the story) and lacks an outline. He is also drawn with orange-ish skin, whereas every other human who isn't a celebrity or part of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is drawn blank white.
  • In The Frumps, the two main characters. are the only non-realistic characters, appearing like "slugs with floating limbs" . Everyone else is human, or humanoid.
  • In Something Positive, Kestrel, who was originally the main character of Queen of Wands, retains her green eyes, even though other S*P characters have no visible irises.
  • Roommates has one character, who the fan's dubbed the Scribble Person because (s)he looks like an ever changing collection of scribbles/words in a vaguely humanoid shape. (S)he is the Story.

    Web Original 
  • The title character of Blockhead is drawn in a rather simplistic and cartoonish style while all other characters are drawn in a comparatively more realistic style.
  • Homestar Runner
    • Crack Stuntman is the only character to exist in the "real world" of the main characters that actually looks like a normal human being. He is also drawn in the style of the cartoon he voice acts for rather than the style of the main characters.
    • In an April Fools cartoon, all the characters are replaced by "revamped for the '90s" versions of themselves with black outlines and exaggerated jagged edges, except Homsar who doesn't change at all. The final scene shows all the characters together, with Homsar obviously clashing with the rest.
  • The characters of Potter Puppet Pals are naturally hand puppets. Except for Neville, who's a butternut squash on a stick, and Cedric Diggory, who is a face drawn on a foot.
  • The Whites, in comparison to the Proles, in Lucky Day Forever. This trope is used to show that the Whites are completely inhuman.
  • Lumpy from Happy Tree Friends is taller than the rest, and is one of the few characters to lack a heart-shaped nose. In addition, his hands don't turn mitten-esque like the other animals and has simple beady black pupils rather than the traditional Pie-Eyed pupils. Furthermore, his popsicle stick head and bulbous nose sticks out amongst the rounded oval-esque faces of the other characters.
  • The countries in Polandball usually take the form of spheres with their nation's flag emblazoned on it. However, several of them break this mold. Poland itself has its flag upside-down (a reference to the attempts on Drawball to flip the flag upside down), Israel is a tesseract rather than a sphere (a Take That to its 'artificial' nature), Nepal is the actual flag with teeth added, and the Reichtangle is a rectangle.
  • In Mario Brothers, All character sprites are from the original Super Mario Bros with the exception of the Toads, whose sprites are from Super Mario Bros. 2 and have a slightly different artstyle (most notably, being outlined in blue while no other sprites have outlines). This is likely due to Toad's only sprite in the original game not exactly lending itself well to all the action required by the Toads in this series.
  • All the Doctors in the Mashed spoof Time Traveller Boyfriend are drawn in a cute Moe style except for the Fourth, who is drawn as a Gonk. His dialogue is all in capital letters as well.

    Western Animation 
  • In general, cartoon crossovers where two different shows with two different animation styles stuck out like sore thumbs like in The Grim Adventures Of The KND
  • The title characters of Ace Ventura and The Mask stick out like a sore thumb when they crossover in each other's respective cartoon series.
  • The title characters of Beavis and Butt-Head, who have gigantic heads compared to the fairly realistic design of the other characters. This was lampshaded when the police showed a composite sketch depicting them as they would look like if they were drawn like everyone else.
  • The title character of Kappa Mikey is drawn in "American" style, with a thick black outline, while just about everything else is uses an Animesque style. This is because he's an American Animated Actor in Japan.
  • The first episode of the Krypto the Superdog cartoon has an appearance made by Superman, who's sporting his DCAU looks. This is in contrast to all the other characters, who are drawn in an art style reminiscent of Dennis the Menace or a classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
  • In the obscure cartoon Project G.e.e.K.e.R., the title character is drawn in a simpler and more cartoony style than the rest of the more realistic cast. Justified in that he's an artificial human with incredible shape-shifting abilities, and it's even lampshaded a few times in the show (like when he tries to grow extra fingers on account he's the only character on the show with Four-Fingered Hands).
  • South Park:
    • Ike looks different from everyone else. This is explained because he is Canadian. Later on we see that Canadians are drawn like him. It is questionable whether or not this was planned from the beginning.
    • There are also a few characters whose heads are just taken from celebrity photos. A handful of examples include the Christina Aguilera monsters that Cartman sees in "Timmy 2000", Mel Gibson in his appearances, Ben Affleck at the end of "How To Eat With Your Butt", Mr. Garrison after his nosejob in "Tom's Rhinoplasty", and of course, Saddam Hussein.
    • Iraqi and Iranian people were depicted in the Canadian character design template in "Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus". Subsequent episodes featured them in the normal character design, though the aforementioned Saddam Hussein retained the design as he debuted on the show in the same episode. Since Not Without My Anus is a Show Within a Show, the "Iraqi and Iranian people" were probably Canadian actors, and Saddam himself speaks in a heavy Canadian accent for no apparent reason this is probably due to Rule of Funny.
    • The Danish as well, in "Canada On Strike" which calls them "The Canadians of Europe"
    • Also the band Korn in "Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery". The band meant to be a parody of the Scooby-Doo gang and aren't designed like South Park characters, but how they would be in a Hanna-Barbara cartoon.
    • In the episode "Here Comes The Neighborhood" Aslan the lion is animated like he was in the animated film of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from the 1970's.
    • Mr. Mackey.
    • The head Sixth Grader's eyes are slanted compared to the typical circular eyes of the show.
    • Osama bin Laden is wildly different from the standard designs: he is a caricature but doesn't have a photo for a head, and is much more detailed and narrow-bodied than the other characters. The difference can be jarring.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • Most of the cast of are sea creatures, with the exception of the eponymous character himself, who's more or less an artificial dish sponge with arms and legs — even unlike his parents. It's unusual.
    • Squidward doesn't look much like a squid at all, and Word of God is that, despite his name, he's actually an octopus. With six legs. So he's apparently a hexopus.
    • The occasionally seen news reporter/anchor fish is a photograph of an actual fish.
    • In the later seasons there are plenty of characters who pretty much look like humans with odd skin colors and no noses.
    • Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy appear to be humans (the former being an expy of Aqua Man) that are drawn in the show's usual animated style while any other human that appears in the show is live action.
  • The Angry Beavers
    • Mom's assailants in the episode "The Mom from U.N.C.L.E." were depicted as relatively anatomically accurate humans with unusually heavy inking.
    • The Beavers' cousin in the episode "Kreature Komforts" is a photo-realistic beaver that acts like a beaver actually would, much to the annoyance of the protagonists.
    • Whenever the beavers watch an old B-movie, its characters are drawn realistically. The contrast is clearest in the Halloween Episode, when Dag and Norb meet the actors and get involved in their adventures.
  • In Undergrads most of the characters are relatively realistically drawn. Except gimpy, who has a lizard like face, one bulging discolored eye, and pretty much looks like a cartoon character that's been microwaved.
  • In The Misadventures of Flapjack, Flapjack, K'nuckles, and Bubby are drawn in a bit of a more cartoon-ish style than the rest of Stormalong Harbor.
  • Word of God states that Jet and his gang in Avatar: The Last Airbender were a stylistic departure compared to the other characters, much more closely resembling the style of Cowboy Bebop, but were kept because the creators loved the designs too much.
  • Penny on Inspector Gadget looked ridiculously more realistic than everyone else on the show, who had exaggerated cartoony features. The more realistic/cute look was frequently shared by incidental or single-episode female characters, unless they were MAD agents or intended to by unattractive, in a sort of reverse Gonk effect. Averted in Gadget And The Gadgetinis, where her design is closer to how everyone else in the show looks.
  • Twipsy draws a sharp distinction between humans, who're drawn in a style vaguely reminiscent of Rugrats, and AIs like the title character, who resemble nothing so much as Cubist portraits.
  • Mr. Stenchy is actually the only alien experiment from Lilo & Stitch: The Series to have sclerae and pupils instead of the solid black eyes his "cousins" (including Stitch) actually all have.
  • The title duo from Fanboy and Chum Chum are constructed more realistically and carefully than the rest of the characters. Especially prominent in this shot.
  • The Simpsons:
    • God is actually the only character in the show to ever actually be drawn with five fingers on each hand, and five toes on each foot.
    • The Space Coyote in Homer's hallucination from "El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (voiced by Johnny Cash) is drawn in a boxier style partially to resemble the style of coyotes in American Southwestern sand paintings.
    • Bart, Lisa and Maggie are almost the only characters on the show who have 'hair' anything like theirs (that is points coming directly out of the top of their heads identical in colour to their skin and with no visible dividing line between forehead and hairline.) Nominally they are all blonde but every other blonde haired character in the show is drawn with more realistic hair. The show has lampshaded this several times.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine:
    • Similar to The Little Engine That Could example mentioned above, unlike all of the other mechanical characters in the show, for some reason Jeremy Jet has his face drawn on his cockpit while everyone else's are drawn either on their smokeboxes (most of the steam locomotives, Trevor, George, and Buster), their front panels (Toby, Spencer, Cranky, Colin, Kevin, Rocky, Harold, Daisy, Boco, Diesel 10, Elizabeth, Isabella, Madge, Derek, "the Diesel", Bulstrode, Thumper, Scruff, 199, and most of the rolling stock), or their grilles (Salty, Rusty, Diesel, 'Arry and Bert, Mavis, Splatter and Dodge, Den, Dart, Sidney, Norman, Paxton, Dennis, and most of the non-rail vehicles).
    • An earlier example would be the bee that stings James in the episode "Buzz Buzz." Just compare it with James.
    • City of Truro is The Faceless, unlike all the other locomotives.
  • Superjail!
    • The Warden is far more cartoonish than every other character appearing, often distorting his body into shapes and having stretchy limbs.
    • Aside from his oversized head, Jared is depicted as having four fingers on each hand, while other characters tend to have the standard five-digit hands.
    • Although it's not as visible when they're shown by themselves, the Twins have wider and larger heads compared to the rest of the cast, whose heads are (mostly) more proportionate to their bodies.
  • In El Tigre, Frida's blue hair and goggles look like they would fit better on an Anime character.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The mane six are largely identical, except the episode "The Cutie Mark Chronicles" reveals, in a flashback, that Fluttershy as a filly was a bit taller and skinnier-looking like a real filly, compared to the others which are essentially just smaller, bigger-headed versions of their adult forms.
    • Princesses Celestia and Luna are huge compared to everypony else, with appropriately long horns and wingspans, and their manes are long, constantly flowing and contain thematically-relevant patterns (aurora and stars, respectively). In their frequent shots together Celestia positively towers over Twilight, and Luna's spot on her rear, a very similar trait to a real life Appaloosa horse, marks her as one of only two ponies with multicolored coats (the other is Pipsqueak, a pinto colt who just so happens to be a big fan of her). In contrast Cadance and Twilight are significantly closer to the standard body type.
    • In the episode "Dragon Quest", the Paper-Thin Disguise adopted by the ponies following Spike is accepted by the teen dragons because it looks identical to a dragon named Crackle. Unlike most dragons, who are slender, streamlined, and elongated, Crackle is squat, rotund, Gem-Encrusted, and has eight legs.
    • Bulk Biceps, a Recurring Extra pegasus with an abnormally muscular physique, a large muzzle, defined hooves, and tiny wings.
    • Back in Season 1 when Only Six Faces was in full effect, Big Macintosh was this, being distinctly larger and bulkier than other male ponies and having actual visible hooves, rather than monochromatic legs like most characters. Later seasons diversified the character designs enough so that he no longer qualified.
    • The third season briefly features two delegates from Saddle Arabia, who look like actual horses (specifically, Arabians). Their forelegs have actual anatomy, instead of being meat-pipes sticking out of their torso, and despite being adults they have no cutie marks.
    • Discord isn't even close to anything else in the series, with a mix-and-match design that looks like someone chopped up half a dozen different creatures, lost most of the pieces, then tried to stick them back together. Quite appropriate for the Anthropomorphic Personification of Chaos.
    • The changelings are relatively standard bug/demon monsters, but their queen is drastically different from them, resembling a cross between a beetle, a pony, and a decomposing corpse, as well as having a size and anatomical proportions very similar to those of Celestia. You can possibly also throw in some Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism on top if the changelings are insect-like in more than outward appearance.
    • King Sombra has such an over-the-top cliche villain design - complete with Red and Black and Evil All Over, Spikes of Villainy, flaming eyes, and a horn that looks less of a horn and more a spike driven into his skull - that when his appearance was leaked before his debut, many fans thought he was rejected early concept art, given how sharply he contrasted with the other, more subtle villain designs. This makes a lot of sense given that he is essentially (and was devised as) an equine version of Sauron.
    • Fleur dis Lee, the pony hanging off of Fancypants in "Sweet and Elite", has a modified and recolored version of Princess Luna's body, giving her a tall skinny frame (though no wings. She's just a typical unicorn) seen on no other non-alicorn.
  • The original My Little Pony special Rescue from Midnight Castle (a.k.a. Firefly's Adventure) had Tirek and Scorpan, who are drawn in a far more dark and realistic style that is unusual for such a show.
  • In the show Dinosaur Train, all of the younger dinosaurs are drawn in a more cartoony manner, while all of the adult dinosaurs are drawn more realistically.
  • The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Zoobotnik" featured Katella the bounty huntress who was drawn more human like than the rest of the humanoid characters.
  • The Powerpuff Girls, besides lacking hands, feet, or noses, are drawn with a focus on curves rather than the heavily angular designs of most other character to make them stand out even more. There is one episode that shows what they would look like if they had been born as normal little girls, but those designs still seem... off.
  • Animaniacs
  • The Loparts in Handy Manny have smaller pupils than the other human characters in the show.
  • Queen La from The Legend of Tarzan looks nothing like the characters from the Disney film Tarzan and looks more like a character from Atlantis: The Lost Empire instead. Justified, if you consider La's true heritage.
  • In the Yoohoo & Friends cartoon, the eponymous characters look like they should be in a completely different show from the supporting characters.
  • The main characters from UPA's Dick Tracy cartoon look more realistic that the supporting cast with a more standard cartoony design typical of UPA.
  • Glaringly obvious when Lilo & Stitch: The Series does crossovers with other Disney Channel cartoons with vastly different art styles such as American Dragon Jake Long, Kim Possible, The Proud Family, and even Recess. It can become rather unsettling when having Lilo and the other potato-nosed realistically proportioned Hawaiian inhabitants interact with the American Dragon with Skintone Sclerae, the teenaged crime-fighter with the exaggerated tiny waist and Hartman Hips, or Penny Proud and her family's overly expressive faces.
  • Gravity Falls
    • Rumble McSkirmish from the episode "Fight Fighters" is a video game character brought to life, and as such is rendered as 16-bit pixel art reminiscent of Street Fighter.
    • There's also Xyler and Kraz who look like they're straight from an 80s cartoon than the original designs from the show.
    • The Boy Band Sev'ral Timez are also the only characters in the series so far with visible blue irises in their eyes instead of just pupils.
  • In the short-lived series Popeye and Son, most of the characters have typical late 1980s Hanna-Barbera designs, while Popeye, Olive and Bluto have their designs closer to the comics and cartoons.
  • Spy Groove features a recurring villain named Rock Debris. In a world filled with otherwise vibrant, flamboyant, and lovably ridiculous villain designs, a gaunt man in a pale suit who rarely even smiles sticks out like a sore thumb.
  • Adventure Time
    • The Lich's design is far more detailed than the rest of the rather simplistic cast. This is not a good thing.
    • Lemongrab has actual pupils and sclerae, in a show were everyone else just has black dots for eyes. This makes his constant freak-outs even more disturbing.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show has the space monster disguised as a female Chihuahua in the episode "Marooned", who looks more realistic compared to the more abstract Ren, and Cat Jesus from the unproduced "Life Sucks", who has a realistic cat body compared to the more bean-shaped Stimpy.
  • In Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, most of the cast consists of either spheroid Pac-Man-like characters or ghosts. Ghoulasha the witch, however, looks like a regular human witch.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • The show itself doesn't have much of a standard character design, from the flat 2D drawn animation of Gumball and his family to the CGI animation and claymation to other characters, including a photo-realistic Tyrannosaurus Rex.
    • Humans are either depicted as live-action (usually on television) or as Filmation-era cartoons. Neither of which is common for the show, since the former is often left out in favor of using a variety of animation techniques, and the latter is desgigned to look crappy and choppy while it's clear that the animators are making the other characters with their best foot foreward.
  • The valley girl in the newscast at the end of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 miniseries. A very minor character, but very weird-looking compared to everybody else.
  • Lampshaded in an episode of Cow and Chicken, where the title characters take part in a Plastic Surgery Tournament, and one of the task challenges at hand includes recreating a "photo-realistic beaver".

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