Personality Powers

Often, when there's a superhero team, their powers will reflect their personalities with the most blatant symbolism possible. Someone with sun or light-based powers will be optimistic and sunny, while someone with moon or night-based powers will border on moody and dark.

Mystical characters may have this as part of their Super Hero Origin; the moon spirits seek out those who are dark and moody, or having all that moon energy in your body makes you dark and moody. But this is rare; often, it just happens that the optimistic and sunny guy is the one who gets caught in the Freak Lab Accident involving concentrated solar power.

This trope is too convenient to be a notably Discredited Trope. As a result, it is almost as common for superheroes to have the exact opposite personality that one would expect, with sun guy being dark and night guy being happy. It's much rarer to simply ignore the trope and make the powers truly random, so they don't coincide or contrast with anybody's personality.

If you count mythology, and godly portfolios as powers, this is Older Than Feudalism. Greek mythology, with its very human gods, is probably the most blatant, with the sun god Helios being inspiring and alive, while his sister, the moon goddess Selene, is aloof and solitary, and so on for most of the other gods. Of course, these are justified; the Greco-Roman gods were incarnations of that which they represented.

This can, of course, be a chicken/egg thing. If a person has a set of abilities long enough, it can influence their personality. In other cases, their personality is what influences the powers they get.

Stock personality powers include:

Elements: In a world with Elemental Powers, superheroes match their element's behavior. An earth-based hero is stubborn and sober, a water-based hero is flexible and ever-changing, a fire-based hero is impulsive and hot-headed, and so on.

Shapeshifting: People with Voluntary Shapeshifting are almost always tricksters, using their many forms to good advantage. (This, too, goes straight back to mythology.) Of course, this is one of the more justified chicken/egg scenarios, as if you did have shape-shifting powers, this is the kind of thing you would do. Similarly, those with Involuntary Shapeshifting, or who only shift to a specific form, will exhibit the personality characteristics associated with that form.

Wizards: In a superhero tale where magic and high technology co-exist, a magic user is deadly serious, pompous, creepy, or all three. Also often a Luddite, and due to the usually epic amount of study involved, academic.

Telepathy: Somebody who reads or controls minds comes in two flavors. Heroes will be wise, and almost mystically philosophical (if they aren't actual monks). The Face of the group will have something like this. Villains will be manipulative, crafty, and probably a Control Freak. (Strangely, a villain who relies on mind control rarely gets lazy and unused to manipulating people the old-fashioned way.)

Animals: People with animal-based powers often look or act like that animal before they got the powers — or more frequently, like that animal is often used symbolically.

Electricity: A character whose powers have a modern feel will often be volatile and touchy. The most recent examples often resemble a Playful Hacker, possessing machines with the same spirit hackers break into them. (This does not apply to lightning users with a more mystical feel. They tend to be straitlaced types, with an attitude like a king, or at least a Knight in Shining Armor.) Villainous electricity users, however, tend to be a little...different.

Musclemen: A character whose only power is being big and tough will be dumber than a bag of rocks. If they're good, they're doggedly loyal and probably Inspirationally Disadvantaged. If they're evil, they're bullies and thugs. While this is turned around as often as any of the other Personality Powers, a smart muscleman is particularly likely to surprise people in the story.

Super Speedsters: Impatient, twitchy, impulsive, and brash. Brag more than anyone, like a drag racer or old-time motorhead. Frequently explained (as with Marvel's Quicksilver and DC's Impulse) as a side effect of the fact that the character's super-speed makes the rest of the world seem very slow by comparison. In other words, a male speedster is usually a Keet, a female is a Genki Girl.

Stealthy Guy: Ninja-like personality, subdued action, hushed tone, love of surprises.

Time Travel: Anyone who can move through time is usually airy and disconnected, often saying that they can use their knowledge of the future to "do no wrong." Expect them to be Above Good and Evil if they're adept at controlling the past to suit their whims.

Generating Shields: Those with shielding powers tend to be a kind, caring person, and at least a Technical Pacifist if not an Actual Pacifist.

Emitting Poisons: Anyone who is made of poison/toxic waste/diseases will be a very lonely, petty, and cruel person with a cutting tongue.

Flying Brick: Superman expys being what they are their personality can come in a variety of flavors (mainly revolving around being waaay better than everyone else). You have the typical role model hero that is looked up to by everyone in the world and is near-perfect. Indeed this is such a well-known combination that subversions and deconstructions that are depicted as arrogant , god-like, and evil have become just as wide-spread and well-known. Regardless of being good or evil, having arguably the most versatile and best powerset will make damn near anyone into a Smug Super.

Side Powers: There are a few powers that are very common, like flying or being big and tough. If these are not the only powers the superhero has, the common powers have no relevance to their personality whatsoever.

Compare Planet of Hats, Transformation Conventions. See Also Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance. Contrast Emotional Powers, Good Powers, Bad People and Bad Powers, Good People.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Accel World this is a plot point, given that all of the characters' duel avatars' powers are derived from past traumas.
    • Haruyuki Arita, the main character, is a bullied child who uses games as a form of escape, and as such, gains the power of flight.
    • Takumu Mayuzumi, as a result of being bullied by older kendo students practicing piercing techniques on his throat, gained the ability to use a pile driver.
    • Haruyuki and Takumu's mutual friend Chiyuri Kurashima wants to turn back time to when they were closer, and so her avatar gains the power of time reversal.
    • Seiji Noumi was bullied by his older brother Yuuichi, who forced him to give him many things, from New Year's money to Brain Burst points, and so gained the ability to steal other avatars' powers. Fittingly enough, Seiji also became just as bad as Yuuichi was, making this also a case of Bad Powers, Bad People.
  • Zig-Zagged in Alice & Zoroku. Minnie C Tachibana's powers manifest as the arms of her late husband, who she desperately desires to see once again and which she talks to as they were him. Ichijo Shizuku, however, developed her power while she was asleep and it took the form of an anime that just happened to be on television at the time. As a result, Ichijo thinks that Dreams of Alice aren't actually intended to make one's dreams come true.
  • Attack on Titan: Many of the titan shifters are an example of this. Reiner is the Armored Titan, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin and corresponds to his Team Dad mentality (comes back to bite him in the ass later on). Bertholdt, who's said to "lack initiative", is the Colossal Titan— capable of dealing incredible amounts of damage, but very, very slow and has great difficulty moving. And finally, Eren in his titan form is basically the Anthropomorphic Personification of Unstoppable Rage.
  • A number of the characters in Basilisk have these:
    • Gennosuke and Oboro are the two characters who most want the Kouga and Iga to make peace/want everyone to ge along, and they both have powers that nullify others' attacks (gruesomely and permanently in Gennosuke's case).
    • Kagerou is a sexy kuniochi who can inflict Death by Sex, and a similar situation is in effect with Okoi and Akeginu in terms of appearance and powers
    • Hotarubi normally comes across as a sweet and friendly woman, but is a total yandere and Cute and Psycho. Fittingly, her power is being a Friend to All Living Things.... which she uses to kill people.
    • Explicitly noted of Jingoro and true of pretty much all other gonk characters is that the grotesque outside appearance perfectly reflects their malevolent personalities.
  • Bleach: Shinigami manifest their sword powers from their soul in the form of an Empathic Weapon for weaker Shinigami and Talking Weapon for powerful Shinigami. The catch is that the sword also manifests the master's personality traits - warts and all. Acknowledging aspects of themselves that they aren't proud of creates personality clashes between sword and master, making it difficult for Shinigami to truly master their swords.
    • Ichigo's sword originally lacked a hilt and cross-guard to indicate Ichigo's power was incomplete. The sword spirit initially looked like a middle-aged man who functions as a mentor, but could also manifest a second spirit, a hollow that represented Ichigo's instinct and despair. Ichigo had to learn how to master both spirits before he could manifest his full power. This wasn't possible until he had developed Fullbring and also learned that the Old Man represented his Quincy power and the hollow represented his real Shinigami power.
    • Soi-Fon has a sting-themed weapon as her shikai manifesting as a needle-like dagger that she jabs into her enemy to kill in two hits. She loves her shikai because it's perfect for her stealth ninja career and image. Her bankai is a giant stinger-missile whose Awesome, but Impractical nature is awful for a ninja but perfectly reflects her barely acknowledged personality flaw of being an attention-seeker who engages in flashy moves to show off her abilities.
    • Hisagi is a Martial Pacifist who fears his zanpakutou's power because its a killing weapon that is so focused on attack, it lacks defence. It's shaped to reap lives, is difficult to control and is utterly ruthless in battle. In the Zanpakutou Arc, Kazeshini is revealed to be an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight.
    • Yumichika claims his zanpakutou is bossy, full of itself and utterly convinced it's the most beautiful thing alive. Rangiku observes that sounds just like Yumichika. She then complains that her zanpakutou is lazy, self-absorbed and snooty and it becomes Yumichika's turn to observe just how like her it is.
    • Kyoraku and Katen Kyokotsu: He's laid-back and lazy and hates fighting seriously. His zanpakutou's power is to weaponise children's games, and its his zanpakutou that chooses which game to "play" (to the death, of course) on the battlefield, Kyoraku has to go along with the decision just like his enemy does.
    • Shinji takes a childlike delight in reversing things. He even writes backwards sometimes just because he can. It turns out his shikai inverts everything - direction, senses, everything.
    • Orihime is a gentle-spirited girl who hates to see people being hurt and who always wants to help. She has excellent karate skills which she almost never uses because she's a Technical Pacifist. Her power manifests as six fairies, each with their own distinctive personalities ranging from a very shy fairy who barely talks to an arrogant, aggressive warrior. In keeping with her personality, her strongest powers are healing and shielding powers and her weakest, least used, attack is the one that kills. As she learns to be more assertive, her powers also start to become more aggressive.
    • Sosuke Aizen is a chronic liar of epic proportions, so of course his Kyoka Suigetsu revolves around illusion. But both he and it have a flaw. When Aizen thinks he's touching an absolute power, or when he's blindsided by power he never planned for, he completely forgets about trickery. Likewise, when Kyoka Suigetsu directly touches someone, it stops its illusions. This could either mean directly stabbing someone (like Yamamoto) or being grabbed barehanded (like Gin or Ichigo).
  • Choujin Sensen has the Espers granted super powers based on their deepest desire:
    • Tomobiki Rinji gains telekinesis as a result of wanting more control over things beyond his reach (his gambling, his career, and his romance).
    • Kaminashi Akira gains intangibility from his wish to escape from his prison and become a free man.
  • In Code Geass, each person's Geass is apparently a reflection of their inner desires, often with an ironic twist.
    • Lelouch: His power to give orders that can't be refused reflects his desire to go from powerless to commanding so he can change the world.
    • Mao: His power to read minds reflects that as an abandoned orphan, he was always on the outside, looking in.
    • Rolo: The power to (subjectively) stop time reflects his inability to escape the past and move beyond his life as an assassin.
    • C.C. (pre-upgrade): The power to make people love her reflects her past as an abandoned slave.
    • Emperor Charles: The power to rewrite peoples' memories ironically reflects his hatred of lies, by giving him the power to tell the ultimate lies. May also contain some Like Father, Like Son, since both he and Lelouch have the power to alter peoples' minds and behavior.
  • With the exception of the third season, the lead character from each Digimon series represents the element of fire and has a quick temper to go with it.
  • Shown very often in Fairy Tail. The most obvious examples are Natsu Dragoneel (a Hot-Blooded fire mage), Laxus Drayer (a Psycho Electro who at one point tries to pull a Face–Heel Turn), and Laxus's grandfather and the leader of the guild, Makarov.
  • Most of the homunculi of Fullmetal Alchemist have powers related to the sin they embody (and by extension which aspect of Father's personality they were created from). Gluttony has a pocket dimension inside him that he can suck things into, Greed has a shell made of black diamond, Lust has fingers that turn into spears which can penetrate anything (giving an otherwise extremely womanly character a twisted layer of androgyny) & Envy can shapeshift. Pride's powers don't really have anything to do with Pride objectively, but they do within the context of the story, as he was created in the image of Father's original form. The other two are actually inversions, as Sloth is not only strong enough to tunnel through solid rock barehanded, but can also move faster than the naked eye can see despite being massively lazy, & Wrath has the ability to predict an opponent's moves & calculate the probability of the success of battle tactics in an instant, though you'd expect somebody named Wrath to eschew tactics in favor of brutal, all-out attacks.
    • In Sloth's case, the speed is so that he can finish his job quickly, while in Wrath, his skill's supposed to show the calm, frightening aspect of war's wrath, who destroys everything methodically.
      • Sloth's power can also be viewed as weaponized laziness. The first time he gets hit with an antitank rifle it tears half his face off. After he regenerates from the hit and complains that pain is too much effort, rounds from the same weapon simply bounce off of him. The result is a rather terrifying example of Power Copying.
      • Sloth's power is very fitting. Sloth is not being unable to do something, sloth is waste of potential. Sloth could be the most powerful of the homunculi, he could be the strongest, he could be the fastest, for all we know he could be the smartest but he's too damn lazy and slothful to use his powers and is thus a waste of potential.
    • Roy Mustang averts this though: he uses fire as a weapon, and with the exception of an Unstoppable Rage exemplifies Guile Hero.
      • Although his ambition and other smaller personality traits may embody the spirit of fire, though on a smaller scale. This lack of fire-like personality can also be explained by the fact that his powers come from study and training rather than being born with it.
    • The 2003 anime version plays things a bit differnetly, with Sloth being able to turn into water. Wrath's powers don't really tie into his theme, but he was certainly an angry little kid.
    • In 'Brotherhood, Roy and his Shadow Archetype, Isaac avert this even more so, with Axe-Crazy Isaac embodying the kind of mad arsonist persona you would expect Roy to have. In FMA, life experience contributes far more to your personality than your powers do.
  • Occurs in a few, but by no means all, characters in Fushigi Yuugi:
  • The Nimrods in HandShakers are shaped and created from the most dominant trait of their users and can only be manifested within Ziggurat, may it be light-rods, gears or cards or god-knows-what.
  • Well-justified in Hunter × Hunter; Nen users don't get their Hatsu (special ability) spontaneously, they have to go through extensive and difficult training to develop it, and very few can manage to develop more than one. Thus, Nen users are frequently encouraged to develop a Hatsu that "suits them" and "feels right".
    • The only exceptions to this are people who manifest Hatsu without any training whatsoever, like Neon Nostrade and Alluka Zaoldyke.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure uses this off and on. Some Stands are based on the user's personality, such as Devo's Ebony Devil (Devo is a cruel, hateful person and his Stand is powered by hatred) and Josuke's Crazy Diamond (Josuke is a kind person who wants to help people). Others, however, have no connection to the user's personality.
  • Some of the many examples from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Mahou Sensei Negima! usually follows this when the partners are granted their artifacts. The Playful Hacker Cosplay Otaku Girl gets a Magical Girl Staff that gives her super hacking powers, the bookworm gets a Magical Database / Great Big Book of Everything, the Shrinking Violet gets Telepathy, the School Newspaper Newshound gets recon equipment, etc.
    • Done on two levels with Negi's artifact. It's played first because he's a quintessential Magnetic Hero, and his artifact lets him borrow the powers of his own partners but also because he constantly trains to become stronger so that he won't endanger his True Companions by forcing them to support him, and can take care of everything on his own, so borrowing his partners' artifacts (not just copying; he seems to take the actual artifact) means he can fight so they don't have to.
    • Also Jack Rakan says that Negi's frequent bouts of self-loathing make him well suited to Dark Magic.
  • To a certain extent, the girls of Mai-HiME exhibit Personality Powers, not all of which are elemental. Of the main Power Trio, hot-blooded Determinator Mai fights with fire; while her cold, no-nonsense sidekick and rival Natsuki utilizes ice attacks. Mikoto, who is considerably smaller than both girls but deceptively strong, simply slashes through her foes with a sword much larger than she is.
    • This extends a bit to some of the secondary powered characters, as well. Femme Fatale Nao uses a pair of sharp claws, and a giant spider-like summon beast to paralyze and toy with her opponents. Shizuru, who appears kind and gentle at first, but can become very ruthless if you push her the wrong way, wields a naginata with an extendable head and uses a multi-headed snake-like CHILD.
    • By contrast, the quiet and reserved Yukino didn't get off quite as lucky, as her abilities in both the anime and manga relegate her to support roles most of the time. This actually does fit her shy, sweet, non-confrontational personality, though.
  • Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara Dream Saga has a few. Brash Taizou is strong, intelligent Souta is a seer, and girly Nachi's power is dancing.
  • In One Piece some character's personality do tend to match aspects of their Devil Fruit abilities. Luffy is bouncy and energetic like rubber. His older brother, Ace, is rash and short-tempered to match his fire powers etc. This does not apply to all Devil Fruit users, but it happens enough to make some fans wonder how that many people found a Devil Fruit that matches their personality.
    • Black Beard, user of the Yami Yami fruit (the power of darkness) initially follows this perfectly, preferring to operate out of the light, hiding behind men like White Beard or the World government to further his plans. After the events at marineford he seems to have thrown this out the window. He also states that the fruit chose him though whether this is just one of his boasts or not has yet to be seen. However, his power also essentially lets him become a black hole. His new desire to be the center of attention as the Pirate King perfectly matches up with this aspect of his powers.
    • Bartolomeo is an unusual but entirely valid take on this trope applied to a Barrier Warrior. Namely, he's a complete Troll because no one can actually hit him and make him stop. The caring and protective aspects of a Barrier Warrior come into play when he fights alongside his idols the Straw-hats.
  • The magical girl anime Prétear does this to some extent with the Leafe Knights. For example, Sasame's powers are related to sound, and he's portrayed as a good listener and works at a radio station, while the energetic hot-head of the group has fire powers. They lampshaded it by mentioning that the Knights get jobs related to their powers.
    • At least in the case of Sasame — when Himeno is at the radio station in the second episode, she says that his manner of speech is just what one would expect from the Knight of Sound. The manga version also does some Lampshade Hanging on this. Kei, The Smart Guy of the team, is the Knight of Light — which he often points out when other characters start to doubt his plans. Hayate works as a messenger boy — upon learning this, Himeno giggles and asks if it is because his power is Wind.
  • Justified and reversed in Puella Magi Madoka Magica: after contracting, Homura gains the ability to rewind time, which she uses often. Because of the constant rewinds, Homura becomes exceedingly complacent (because, technically, she's already lived through any surprises life throws at her) and determined (because she knows she has the power to avert nearly any event that isn't in her favor).
    • Madoka's ascension provides a different method of justifying the trope. All her life, Madoka was a empathetic, selfless girl who wanted to help others. So naturally, upon contracting, she asks for the power to bring hope.
    • Kyubey communicates entirely through telepathy, and definitely fits the pattern of telepaths being evil and manipulative.
    • Kyouko used to be able to create illusory copies of herself while she was living a sort of double life as supporter of her dad's church and fighter of witches. After her dad found out, went mad, and killed her whole family and himself, she decided to live only for herself, and lost this ability.
  • One branch of Ranma ˝ Fanon claims that Jusenkyo's curses are embodiments of this trope, reflecting aspects of the cursee's personality (another claims they act to 'balance out' character flaws). The prime example is Genma Saotome, who turns into a panda- he abandoned his still young and sexy wife Nodoko for about a decade to train Ranma, he's a terrible father who never fights and leaves it to Ranma to clean up his messes), and his primary interests are lounging around and eating. Similar characters who are used as "evidence" for this theory are Ryoga ("pigheaded"), Shampoo ("sly as a cat") and Mousse ("birdbrained").
  • In Read or Die and R.O.D the TV it is pretty damn obvious - every paper user aside from Anita (who, admittedly, had a reason, and got into it later) are bibliophiles. "Extreme" bibliophiles.
  • In the original Sailor Moon anime, Sailor Mars has fire-based powers and is hot-tempered, Sailor Jupiter has thunder powers and is big and tough, Sailor Mercury controls ice and fog and is cool and intellectual...
    • Averted in the manga, where Mars was a level-headed and standoffish Shinto priestess with fire-based powers. At least until she got mad, then she really burned with a fiery passion.
  • Sekirei averts this with an almost complete reshuffling of personalities. Earth types (Musubi, Kuu) are genki ditzes. Water is a Hot-Blooded and stubborn Tsundere. Wind is a Cool Big Sis Hard-Drinking Party Girl. Fire is wielded by a Sugar and Ice Personality Aloof Ally. The Tech Wizard is a Covert Pervert trickster. The Electricity twins, however, are still Psycho Electro. And the An Ice Person is still stoic, subdued and focused on her work but not entirely cold and even careless sometimes.
  • Speed Grapher goes one step further by having all Euphorics gain powers based on their fetishes and obsessions. A man with a rubber fetish literally becomes a Rubber Man. A woman with a diamond fascination gains the ability to literally transform her flesh into diamonds. And the lead, a former war photographer who occasionally got an erection from getting good shots, gains the ability to make anything he photographs explode.
  • Played with in Tiger & Bunny. Blue Rose is expected to maintain a 'cool and sexy' persona for her fans but off-screen has a temper at times. Of the two fire-using NEXTs Lunatic is creepily calm in and out of costume, while Nathan is flamboyant and cheerful and rarely shows anger. Pao Lin/Dragon Kid is a more clear aversion being in no way a Psycho Electro. The two leads have very different personalities but have identical superpowers.
  • Yes! Precure 5 even references this in their heroic titles and speeches. All-Loving Hero Nozomi? "Great power of hope". Easily angered tomboy Rin? "Red flame of passion". Happy Idol Singer Urara? "Scent of a bursting lemon"... okay, this is a language pun involving her bubble-based powers and cheerful personality that didn't quite translate.
    • Mitarai/Seaman is "emo" (sorta), since he has to cut himself to create his monsters and has a Freudian Excuse based in the extreme abuse he suffered at school. Kido can act dark and mysterious, as he proved when he captured Yusuke using his shadows... and poor Yanagisawa has to use his 'Copy' technique to have a personality in the first place, it seems...
  • Several ace cards from Yu-Gi-Oh! have effects and/or traits that are seemingly tied to that of their masters.
    • For example: Stardust Dragon sacrifices itself to protect the controller's field from destroyed by a card effect, similar to how Yusei often willingly help others in need. Or Blue-Eyes White Dragon having a brute power strategy mirroring Kaiba's brutal outside.
  • In the anime YuYu Hakusho, there's a story arc in which humans acquire special abilities. It is explicitly explained that characters receive abilities specifically related to their personalities, even though about half of the characters abilities seem to otherwise have nothing to do with the characters (does Seaman cry me a river? Does Shadow seem that dark and mysterious? Most of the villains make sense, and Taboo is pretty thoroughly shown to be appropriate)

    Comic Books 
  • In the early days of the Fantastic Four comic book, the fire-throwing Human Torch was a hot-tempered grease monkey, the Invisible Girl was shy and meek, the brilliant scientist Mr. Fantastic had powers based on being flexible and adaptable, and the musclebound, monstrous Thing, while not stupid, maintained a "Brooklyn bruiser" persona and had trouble expressing his feelings. Although this is less blatant in more recent comics, it's still sometimes referred to.
    • In What If? #6, the FF got different powers, which still reflected their personalities. Interestingly, Sue got the Mr Fantastic powers, with her meekness being described as a "pliable" personality. The other three powers were completely different (Reed was a living brain, Johnny's interest in mechanics made him a robot, and Ben's love of flight caused him to grow wings).
      • A later What If issue (v2 #11) explored what might have happened had all 4 gained the SAME power, and suggested that, while the Invisible Girl/Woman would always be happiest with her power, Johnny might actually be happier as Mr. Fantastic (which he used to become a popular entertainer, more akin to the "sillier" Plastic Man and Elongated Man), while Ben would have been the most comfortable as the Human Torch (which helped in his job as a test pilot, allowed him to become a stuntman, and ultimately led him to become a popular solo superhero).
      • The Reed Richards from another reality received the Thing's power and called himself The Brute. While Ben Grimm dated and eventually married Sue, this version of Reed went into seclusion and had a somewhat manic mood. The 616 version of Richards sometimes spoke to him (as he does with most alternate reality versions of himself). The Brute would help him but also warned him not to talk to him for long because seeing a normal-looking version of himself could potentially throw him in a rage.
    • This was likely unintentional on the part of the creators, though. Given how brimming with exposition those early Marvel comics were, it's doubtful this wouldn't have been mentioned somewhere in the scripts (and it wasn't) if it was on purpose.
    • More recent interpretations have emphasized The Invisible Woman's forcefield power as related to her Team Mom or Mama Bear traits. Likewise Mr. Fantastic's malleable body is shown as an extension of his expansive and malleable mind.
    • In the Ultimate Fantastic Four series, it was definitely a case of powers causing personality for Reed as he was revealed to be stretching his brain to make himself smarter. This perhaps helps explain why building a teleporter took him so long while his Time Machine was built in a relatively trivial fashion off-screen.
    • The Fantastic Four are also a classic example of Elemental Powers (Reed:Water, Sue:Air, Johnny:Fire, Ben:Earth) which has been pointed out in a number of comics, and even been plot relevant in a few such as Neil Gaiman's Marvel 1602.
  • The Spider-Man comic book had a mind-numbing amount of animal-themed Personality Powers, along with an occasional Meaningful Name or Steven Ulysses Perhero. Otto Octavius has tentacles like an octopus, and he's grasping and manipulative. The Vulture is a mean, bitter man who preys on the weak (and even looks like a vulture). The Rhino is big, tough, and stupid. Eventually, J. Michael Straczynski did a Lampshade Hanging on it, suggesting that these villains are totemic representations, and unconsciously target Spider-Man because his totemic representation is "true" while theirs are false.
    • On the other hand, Spider-Man himself is an aversion, since he's a genuinely good guy, and even maintained his Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man image during the days of the '90s Anti-Hero. Straczynski's totem business is viewed by many fans as Dork Age, rather than something that actually develops the character.
      • Whether or not Spider-Man is an aversion is debatable, not based on his personality but rather the popular perception of spiders as evil. Spider-Man is very much like a spider in that he is misunderstood, sometimes hated or hunted, dangerous when threatened, but ultimately a helpful force in that he acts as a form of pest control.
      • Anansi the spider is a Trickster Archetype known for outwitting enemies who rely on brute force. Sounds a lot like Spidey. This shows that even if the fans thought of it as a Dork Age, Straczynski was actually thinking about what he was doing. Even JMS presented the Totem aspect as supplemental to Spider-Man's scientific origins, rather than as a replacement for them. This developed the character in that it opened the road for future stories that involved both science fiction and fantasy elements.
  • The ultimate example of this is Runaways, where the teen heroes and their villainous parents have an elaborate combination of powers that either fit their personalities, are the opposite — or are both at once. Goth girl Nico is a witch whose spells are powered by blood; her parents go to church every Sunday (but are secretly sorcerers). Dumb jock Chase, ironically, has Mad Scientist parents. The youngest and smallest of the kids has superstrength, while her parents — a doctor and a speech therapist — have mind-control powers (and their costumes suggest torture and sadomasochism). Flighty, cheerful Karolina has powers of sun, light, and flying... but her cheerful flightiness is an act. And so on...
  • Barry Allen, The Flash of the Silver Age, is an ironic reversal type, a speedster with a slow-and-steady personality.
    • Barry's grandson, Bart Allen (aka Impulse) plays this trope straight and to its logical extreme; he was raised in a virtual world, and so had nearly no attention span or concept of danger when he was brought out - he simply rushed at everything with little forethought (hence the codename). These aspects were taken away when the character was ReTooled into Kid Flash. However, his speedy personality returned when he came Back from the Dead in Legion of 3 Worlds.
    • Wally West, the Modern Age Flash, is also rather impulsive, and he mentions that it's why he wouldn't work well as Impulse's mentor (he'd lose his patience too quickly). He generally does his best to control it after Character Development, though. (Not so much for the cartoon version though.)
  • The Beast from X-Men is a classic aversion of this trope. His powers make him appear as an ape and give him super strength and agility, but he is actually one of the most intelligent and erudite members of the team.
    • For the first 2 issues of the X-Men comic line, the Beast played this trope straight. He was bombastic, brutish, and blunt-brained, just as you'd expect a musclebound lunk to be. The writers quickly discovered the comic potential in a 'beastly brute" who recited eloquent Shakespeare, however, and by issue 3 the Beast's well-known Harvard-educated persona was in place.
    • Nightcrawler is a deliberate aversion on two fronts, both hinging on the fact that he has looked like a blue demon since the day he was born:
    • A good description of Kitty Pryde from the Fan Fic Bloodlines: Soul Survivor, where Peter Rasputin reflects on the effect Kitty has on him:
      Maybe your power influenced your personality. No matter how many walls he put up around himself, Kitty walked right through them.
    • Wolverine, an anti-social berserker who considers civilization suffocating, has claws, super-strength, a strong sense of smell, and a strong resistance and regeneration power.
    • Rogue can be both an inversion or a straight example. Her main comics depiction tends toward a being a cheerful, outgoing woman... with an uncontrollable deathtouch. Other media versions cast her as a gloomy, withdrawn goth with an uncontrollable deathtouch.
  • In the "Threeboot" version of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Mark Waid brought this trope in a much more subtle way than done before, basically saying that their powers changed them and so people are looking at them differently, how they interact with people is different. Chameleon, the team shapeshifter has a malleable personality so he mimics those who he is surrounded by. Dream Girl is now literally a dream. More info found here.
  • Obsidian's powers ended up changing his personality, becoming darker and more deranged until he reached true villainy. He got better, though.
  • The Authority: Apollo literally runs on sunshine, while Midnighter's powers relate exclusively to beating the crap out of his opponents in the most efficient way possible. Though how much of Midnighter's disposition comes from natural cynicism, and how much of it comes from being the ruthless killing machine among more, er, constructive powers, is up for debate.
  • Among the members of The Liberty Project, the firestarter is aggressive and has rage issues, while Slick, whose body can generate an incredibly slippery liquid, has a personality that matches his name.
  • The Incredible Hulk
    • As far as the Hulk himself, his powers are actually based on his personality. As the Hulk himself notes, "the angrier Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets", as his strength, speed, and Healing Factor all increase with his emotions. Partially justified by the suggestion that the Hulk's powers are in fact tied to his body's adrenaline production-the more stress chemicals his body produces, the stronger his powers become.
    • Gamma mutants like the Hulk have transformations directly linked to their mental state. In the case of the Hulk, his transformation is linked to Banner's repressed anger issues combined with multiple personality disorder. His cousin, Jen Walters, was a meek, sexually repressed woman, but as She-Hulk she becomes the ideal woman; strong, independent, beautiful, and sexually liberated. Doc Samson's transformation was based on a repressed desire to be a hero. Sam Sterns was a bit of a moron who envied the smarter people he worked around, and he became the Leader, one of (if not the) smartest people in the Marvel Universe. Emil Blonsky was filled with self loathing, and he became the Abomination. The general powers of these individuals are mostly the same (except for the Leader), but the manifestation varies widely based on the personality of the person being affected by gamma.
    • Thunderbolt Ross hunted the Hulk for years but secretly envied and coveted the Hulk's power all that time. So it's no surprise that his mutated Red Hulk form looks almost exactly like the big green guy except for the coloring.
  • Empowered: Willy Pete, a wild and destructive villain whose body is covered in fire hotter than the surface of the sun.
  • Subverted and supported simultaneously by Flatman of the GLA/GLX/Lightning Rods/whatever they're calling themselves now. On the one hand his primary power is exactly that of Reed Richards (who he looks almost exactly like, strangely enough), flexing and bending all over the place, while having the personality of wet cardboard. But then again, he's got stretching and bending powers—except that he is utterly and completely flat, matching his droning lectures and utter lack of interestingness.
  • No Hero justifies this by having the drug FX7 granting powers by bringing out what was inside.
  • Rudy Jones was a pathetic janitor that had no qualms about bumming food and money off of people nice enough to share them with him such as Clark Kent. So of course he gained superpowers that reflected this as the Parasite.
  • Plastic Man is a case of someone becoming what their powers allow them to be. Eel O'Brian was a small-time gangster who got doused by a vat of chemicals, came out with superpowers, and made a Heel–Face Turn, becoming a superhero. Over time, he developed into a superpowered Jim Carrey-style comedian.
  • In Elongated Man's case it's more justified. He actually admired rubber men while growing up and sought a means to make himself like them.
  • Prime from Ultraforce is a thirteen-year-old boy with the power to form a pseudo-organic shell around himself with powers and appearance that reflect his belief of what makes a hero. When he first manifested his abilities he was a huge fan of comic book superheroes and he could transform into a muscular caped Flying Brick. Later, after meeting individualistic cynical antiheroes and suffering from inner doubts, his new Prime form resembled a typical '90s Anti-Hero. After reconciling his newfound cynicism with his original ideals, his final Prime form is a mix of the two that leans more towards his original Cape form. Another hero named Elven with the same powers as Prime was a fan of ElfQuest and other High Fantasy works and turned into an elf warrior with magical powers.
  • The original W.I.T.C.H. plays this trope much straighter than the cartoon adaptation does. Cloud Cuckoolander Hay Lin controls air, grounded, skeptical Deadpan Snarker Cornelia controls earth, while Taranee is an ironic reversal of the usual Playing with Fire type, being very shy and gentle and thus reliable enough to be entrusted with the most easily destructive element (you should still Beware the Nice Ones, though). Irma, who controls water is kindhearted and laid-back, but also impulsive. Will, who controls energy and electricity, is emotional and volatile, but also determined.
    • All generations of Guardians have similar personalities linked to their power. This was a source of anguish for Will, for her predecessor became a villain.

  • Played with in Bird. There is an element in Burnscar and Labyrinth's powers- the Pyrokinetic that is compelled to burn and the girl that literally gets lost in imaginary worlds. Others are less clear- like Charnel and Auspice. Justified in the former case (she's a girl profoundly transformed by a villainous wetware tinker), and the latter case is an abstract Thinker power (though considering the owner's Book Worm tenancies...)
  • Zigzagged in A Posse Ad Esse. Rather than mapping specifically to their personalities, the superpowers map to whatever therapeutic mindset or "stage" the disabled cuddly toys were at at the time. EG: Since Kroko is at the stage where he believes he is an eagle, the power surge enables him to fly and gives him enhanced vision; since Sly is in a high-speed tail-obsessed circuity mental state, he gets the Super Speed and electric powers; etc.
  • In A Typical Pokemon Journey, the characters typically have Pokemon based on their personalities. For example, Lucy, who has a rather sweet personality, has a Clefairy as her starter Pokemon (though aside from being cute Clefairy is also rather smart and a kleptomaniac). Sometimes however the characters will have a Pokemon that one would not typically expect them to have, such as the nerdy Ned having a Gyarados.
  • Played mostly straight in Child of the Storm.
    • Thor is the God of Thunder and Lightning (not Reason and Understanding), the Lord of Storms, and like the weather, he can flip moods pretty dramatically from calm and steady to Unstoppable Rage pretty quickly, when someone threatens his son.
    • Jean-Paul zig-zags the tropes, being a light hearted speedster who apparently zips from one casual relationship to another and moves on pretty quickly from changes. However, this seems to be something of a façade.
    • Diana also zig-zags the trope. On the one hand, she's an Empath, among other things, and a gentle, kind and friendly person in the Mind over Manners sort of way. On the other hand, she's also The Berserker, something she actively tries to suppress.
    • Harry pretty much plays it straight. He's brilliant with fire, and, once he begins to open up and acknowledge his feelings more, he proves to be quite Hot-Blooded. But, at the same time, he's also warm and kind. You just really, really don't want to piss him off.
  • In the Pony POV Series, the Elements of Harmony and the Elements of Chaos both work this way, giving their users superpowers based on how they represent it (though this is only seen in the Dark World as the main timeline versions don't use their's often enough to develop the powers). For example, Fluttercruel is a Serial Killer and a Psychopathic Manchild, so her Element of Cruelty manifests by letting her make weapons from her body. When Rarity gets it (via her Element of Desire), she's a lot less restricted in what she can make and what its made of (ranging from weapons to shields to walls and composed of anything from diamond to platinum), likely due to not representing a single aspect of the Element of Cruelty like Cruel did. When Dark World Diamond gets it in Loose Canon as Cruelty's Redeeming Replacement, the power changes completely to Words Can Break My Bones. Other examples include the paradox loving Element of Laughter Apple Pie having the ability to alter or disrupt the flow of mana via invoking Logic Bombs and the Determinator Element of Loyalty Derpy Hooves getting Super Toughness and a Limit Break that lets her continue fighting in order to protect what she cares about.
  • In Perfection Is Overrated, the SUEs often have powers that reflect the effect various Mary Sue archetypes have on canon.
    • Hitomi, being sadistic and without regard for the well-being of others, has a Child that can torture people, and an Element that enables her to use Mind Control on others.
    • Shizune, being a fundamentalist Christian, has Anti-Magic powers that reduce the effectiveness of the Himes' abilities.
    • The Usurper, who seeks to impose his will on the world, has the ability to possess and control someone.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Splash Woman is vain and self-centered, and her powers make robots enamored with her. If she wanted she could have everyone worship her.
  • In The Games We Play. this is not outright stated but implied with Adam. At first, all he could do with his Semblance was take in energy and release it as an attack, reflecting how he absorbed his frustration with and hatred of the world and threw it back. He eventually learns to control the absorbed energy, first to buff his sword strikes and then to buff himself directly, reflecting how he changed to absorb the hurt and draw strength from it.
  • Shows up at a few different levels in RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse.
    • Unicorn ponies' spells are generally tied to their cutie mark, which is in turn tied to their personality.
    • Shows up to a lesser degree with the other two tribes, as more of their magic is internal.
  • A Better Class of Criminal Bookworm, as shameless a geek and nerd as any, gains libriomancy, the power to make small items from books real.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Incredibles plays this straight with the Parrs. Bob the father gets super strength because he's the foundation for the family. Helen the mom gets super-stretching, because mothers tend to many tasks simultaneously. Violet, as an insecure teenager, gets invisibility and forcefields. Dash, the hyperactive kid, gets Super Speed. Jack-Jack, as the baby, gets a grab-bag of powers, a metaphor for the vast potential of infants. There's also the cool and collected Frozone.
  • Frozen uses and justifies this trope; the dangerously uncontrollable nature of Elsa's powers strongly influenced her personality. Elsa herself is artistic, intelligent, and hides from the world by acting emotionally detached.

    Film — Live Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: The Super Soldier Serum always grants enhanced strength, but its other effects are extrapolations of what the recipient is like; "good becomes great; bad becomes worse," After seeing what the prototype serum did to the Red Skull, Doctor Erskine refuses to give the serum to a candidate who is in much better shape than Steve Rogers, but is also a bully.
    • In The Avengers, it's explained that the backstory established by The Incredible Hulk was that Banner had been attempting to replicate the serum, having been told by the Military that it was a way to make soldiers resistant to radiation, only learning the truth after he used himself as a lab-rat. It's inferred that in Banner, it vastly magnified his suppressed rage, while Blonsky ended up losing control to his Blood Knight tendencies.
  • X-Men Film Series: Professor Charles Xavier is cerebral and emotional, and his telepathy happens to impact both of these domains in other people.
  • The Fantastic Four movie produced by Roger Corman explained that the four heroes received their powers based on their personalities.

  • In The Zombie Knight, most of the major characters have these. Generally they have at least two pieces of symbolism, one each for the nature of their power and the way that they use them. For example Ax-Crazy Desmond has transfiguration to sodium. An element as unstable as his personality, and he uses it for Having a Blast, by ripping off his limbs and throwing them.
  • In The Quest of the Unaligned, mages in the kingdom of Cadaeren are impacted by the type of elemental magic that they use. This means that, as they use their powers, shamais (waater) tend to become staunch, hidebound traditionalists; aeshes (fire) grow to be intelligent, innovative, and inconoclastic; aretzes (earth) tend to be stable, kind, and reliable; and ruahks (air) grow flighty and hyperactive.
  • In the Potterverse, the animal shape an Animagus can take is the animal they are most like.
    • Patroni also seem to be influenced by the caster's personality. Sometimes indirectly, though: Many Patroni, fitting with their Protector intent, take the animal representation of people they are particularly close to. Harry's patronus was a stag, like his father.
    • There are examples of Patroni changing after a significant alteration in the caster's life, although it's not clear whether this is conscious or something that just happens. Tonks's Patronus changes into a wolf after she falls for Lupin, a werewolf, and (Caution: spoiler of doom) there's no way Snape's started out as a doe. The doe represented Lily, whom he loved enough to commit his life to constant danger as a spy.
  • In Sergey Vititsky's (i.e. Boris Strugatsky's) The Powerless of This World, most characters don't seem to fit this, at least not in any obvious way. However, there's also Grigori Petelin, by the nickname of Yadozub (literally translated as "Poisontooth"), whose "superpower" is his extraordinary ability to hate people. In the culmination of the novel, it apparently allows said Poisontooth to hate his unlucky target, some fifty innocent bystanders and himself to death. Anyway, that's just what he does, and it's his defining personality trait. It doesn't exactly win him friends.
  • Shade's Children: Ella, the technician and strategist, can create tools out of thin air. Ninde, the people-loving child, is a telepath. Gold-eye, the survivalist, has precognition. Then there's Drum, who could be called an aversion; he is telekinetic, a power usually reserved for physiological weaklings to allow them to measure up to stronger allies, but Drum was given steroids throughout his childhood and is enormously strong.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, the heroine suspects that a certain woman is a Were; however, she finds it impossible to guess what sort of animals she changes into.
  • Played interestingly in Soon I Will Be Invincible. Feral, either an uplifted big cat or other form of result of gene splicing, is brutal and violent and hides pain from others, while Word of God says he's gay. Fatale is a cyborg heavy-hitter, and is analytic but slow at getting abstract connections and skeptical about magic. Mr. Mystic is a poor performing magician with access to the real stuff, tends to be a creepy and withdrawn from normal society. Another character with Chronic Backstabbing Disorder is so transparent as to be invisible.
  • Jurgen, faithful sidekick of everyone's favorite HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, the single most unclean, untidy and unattractive soldier in the Imperial Guard, and certainly one of the most simple-minded ones who, as Cain likes to point out, has a refreshing lack of though of his own, is a "blank", a person immune to and cancelling out psykers and any Warp-related powers. Perhaps he is so disgusting not even Nurgle wants to come close to him?
    • Justified, in that him being unattractive and devoid of much character is a direct consequence of his power. His rather obvious lack of hygiene is actually a way to give others an explanation for the uncomfortable sense of "weirdness" that his power gives off.
  • Justified in the Wild Cards setting, where mutations are caused by a burst of psychokinetic power brought on by the titular virus. While most folks tear themselves to pieces or set themselves on fire etc., for those who survive and are left with powers ("Aces") or, more often, misshapen forms ("Jokers") it's considered quite likely that these are influenced by their subconscious desires or self-image. This allows truly Silver Age corniness (or simple dream logic) to exist in an otherwise realistic setting; Captain Trips, for instance, was a biochemist who was having trouble trying to "break in" with the hippie scene to get to the girl he loved. His powers triggered when he took a hit of acid, and now he needs drugs to turn into one of his "special friends," an alternate personality with superpowers.
  • Scott Westerfeld's YA trilogy Midnighters also plays it straight (with perhaps the implication that your personality affects your powers and your powers affect your personality). Team leader Rex wears absurdly thick glasses and is a Seer. Anti-social Goth Melissa has Telepathy that she can't turn off and hates people because she has to listen to their petty thoughts ALL THE TIME. Polymath (read as Math Whiz) Dess doesn't want to get involved in the politics of the group; numbers are so much simpler. Jessica Day turns out to be a Flame Bringer and flighty, happy-go-lucky Jonathan, who just wants to have some fun, is an Acrobat.
  • Vampires in Barb Hendee's book Blood Memories each develop a different kind of hypnotic aura based on their strongest personality trait in life. This aura is used to help the vampire get prey. Eleisha, who was a small, delicate, sweet-natured girl in life, makes people see her as innocent and helpless. Edward, who was outgoing and likable in life, becomes incredibly charming and charismatic. Maggie and Philip, who were both considered extremely attractive and sexy in life, gain the ability to inspire sexual attraction in others. Julian, who others found creepy and off-putting even in life, gains the ability to paralyze his victims with fear.
  • Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock. Ariel the sylph explains for the audience's benefit, that when young women die, their personalities determine their roles in the afterlife: stuffy prudes become gnomes and live in the earth; romantic, emotional girls become watery nymphs; hot-tempered Tsunderes become fiery salamanders, and the coquettes who stay above real emotional connection become sylphs and live in the air. They spend their afterlives perpetuating their favorite activities: Ariel, a sylph, exists to help Belinda be even more of a flirt and heartbreaker than she already is. However, when Belinda's hair is stolen and she declares war on the race of men, Ariel can no longer influence her, and she falls under the power of the gnomes.
  • Each Guardian has a Gift related to their life. Someone who yearned to see the world and was trapped in their hometown will gain the Gift of teleportation, while someone who strove to be honest will gain the Gift of detecting truth and lies.
  • Twilight vampires are kind of like their human selves- only enhanced. So, for example, a human who was “good at reading people” becomes a telepathic vampire. Some vampires seek out particularly skilled/talented humans to turn, knowing that they will make strong allies.
    • The fourth book reveals that supernaturally-powered humans keep and expand their abilities when turned.
  • Justified in the Wearing the Cape books. The psychological component of 'breakthroughs' means that the powers of new-minted superhumans are seldom at odds with their personality types. Aggressive breakthroughs gain offensive powers, non-violent breakthroughs gain defensive powers, and so on.
  • GONE series by Michael Grant;
    • Sam Temple can emit light and warmth from his hands...He's the warm-hearted, heroic force of good. He is also afraid of the dark.
    • His long lost twin brother Caine Soren has telekinesis, the power to control every inanimate object and even people, moving and levitating them to his every whim...He's a controlling, power-hungry dictator who loves to manipulate situations. He also developed a power that impressed Diana.
    • Caine's girlfriend Diana has the power to tell if someone has powers, and how powerful they are if they do have powers, or basically "to read" someone...She's also super judgemental and sarcastic, and can read everyone's flaws as well as their powers.
    • Brianna is a zippy, hyperactive, borderline ADHD 13 year old girl who talks way too fast...and has Super Speed.
    • Brittney is resilient and never gives up, even when all seems hopeless...She's immortal and cannot die.
    • Computer Jack developed super-strength, a power that would impress Diana.
    • Lana and Orc gained their powers to survive a coyote attack.
    • Bug gained his powers in order to hide from his Abusive Parents.
  • His Dark Materials has daemons, which are a physical representation of the soul. Each person has only one, and a momentous event in a person's life is when their daemon 'settles' into one animal form, meaning that it can no longer change shape freely and that the person in question has realised who they are. Daemons are very useful in combat (especially a child's daemon, because it can become any animal imaginable) and therefore act as a variant of this trope.
  • The Dresden Files have two examples: the divinely-empowered Knights of the Cross and the more complicated wizards. The Knights wield powerful, glowing swords that are each named after a particular virtue, and will only function as the magical, priceless artifacts they are when wielded by someone who embodies that virtue. Given that the Swords of the Cross are literally distributed by angels, you can more or less expect someone who uses one to be an incorruptible, fearsome force for good.
    • Wizards share at least some common spells and magical abilities such as the Sight, but all wizards eventually specialize during their training, becoming expert at one or two aspects of magic that are relevant to their personality. For example, Harry Dresden is a passionate, bluntly honest wizard who prefers combat to the intellectual politicking of his peers, and often finds himself needing to take the fight to his enemies; because of this, he specializes in conjuring fire and making spells that track people. (The latter is also useful in his day job as a private investigator.)
    • Molly Carpenter is an insightful teenager whose personality juxtaposes an innocent, very strong desire to do good with the trauma-induced cynicism of her later years. This translates into her becoming a 'sensitive-' a magician who specializes in mind magic (illusions, invisibility, brainwashing...) but who has an empathic connection to all beings (good or evil, happy or sad) around her that she cannot turn off. Also, mind magic can be adapted to help in nearly any situation, but it counts as black magic- which is literally addictive and hurts your soul.
  • Played with in Milly Taiden's Sassy Mates series. For plot reasons, every female protagonist ends up becoming a werewolf- even Nicole, a materialistic girly-girl who hates being out in the wilderness. Some enjoy their wolf forms more than others, but the writer makes it clear that a 'wolfish' personality is not a prerequisite.
  • Manifestation: Multiple characters have this, but the most notable is one of the main characters, Tock Zipporah. She is studying mechanical engineering, and she ends up with a power that can repair mechanical and electric devices.
  • The Stormlight Archive: As a Lightweaver, Shallan has the ability to cast illusions and to Soulcast, transforming one thing into another. A large part of her arc is lying about things (such as her wish to become Jasnah's ward or describing the deserter band as heroes) and then making them true.
  • Magic Ex Libris the libriomancers can magically recreate small items, magic or high tech, from books and at higher levels duplicate literary spells and powers. No person seems to gain this power without already being a dedicated and enthusiastic reader.

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine does the ironic reversal by making its shapeshifting alien Odo a Control Freak — along with his entire species.
  • Heroes has a handful of examples: Nathan (the ambitious politician) can fly, Peter (an empathetic person who dreams of being someone else) absorbs other people's powers, Niki (a mother obsessed with protecting her son) has an alter ego that will stop at nothing to protect him, etc. And in something of an inversion, Matt the psychic is dyslexic almost to the point of being functionally illiterate; he can't read words, but he can read minds.
    • Somewhat averted in Nathan's case- during Season 1, Nathan is the biggest stick-in-the-mud of the cast, making his ability to fly somewhat odd, especially since he keeps it hidden.
    • Niki has several alter egos, but they aren't her superpower, but her mental illness. Her actual power is superstrength, Niki herself has that power, too, not only "Jessica".
    • No longer simply a theory; flat-out stated in the volume 3 finale, although this was simply a character hypothesizing. However, once Ando the resident sidekick was given powers by the formula, his ended up being the ability to enhance other supers' abilities. Simply put, Ando's superpower is that he's a really supportive friend.
    • It also happens in reverse, in a way. Sylar, no pillar of mental health himself, ends up acquiring the ability to shapeshift after going through a crisis of self. This actually starts to make him more crazy as he literally cannot control who he is anymore.
  • Averted in the miniseries The Lost Room, though with supernatural objects rather than people. The series involves around 100 ordinary items with supernatural powers. Instead of their powers being related to their form and function, powers are assigned pretty much randomly. For instance, one might expect that the object that stops time would be the watch. Instead, it's the comb that stops time. The watch hardboils eggs. Other objects include a pencil that creates pennies, a pen that microwaves anything it touches, and a clock that sublimates brass. About the only object that has a power related to its function is the key, which allows the owner to enter the titular room by unlocking any door with it.
    • And don't even get started about the combinations of objects which most likely result in an effect unrelated to their original functions or their original effects.
  • Misfits. Whilst never stated outright, it's made clear that the storm has taken people's strongest trait or desire and turned it into a superpower. In the main cast: the introverted and frequently ignored Simon can turn invisible; Curtis's regret over his past actions allows him to turn back time; Kelly's concern with what other people think of her gives allows her to read people's minds; the flirty and oversexed Alisha can drive people to uncontrollable lust by touching them; and Nathan, whose smartass attitude lets him shake off whatever happens to him, is apparently indestructible.
  • No Ordinary Family has the Powell family. Jim the father, is used to bearing the weight of his family's issues, so he has Super Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability. Stephenie, the mom, is a workaholic without enough time in the day, so she got Super Speed. Daphne, who is generally empathetic and doesn't like being lied to, gained various Telepathy-style powers. JJ, who had a learning disability, gains Super Intelligence, the beauty of which is that his power is literally to learn fast and retain information for extended periods of time.
    • Also, Daphne is a teenage girl, in a social setting that fosters an obsession with what other people think of you, and now she knows exactly what other people are thinking about her.
  • Loosely applied in the first season of Charmed with the sisters.
    • Prue, who is motherly but also very controlling, gets the power of telekinesis.
    • Nervous, meek, and insecure Piper gets the power to stop time, giving her an opportunity to calm down.
    • Phoebe, the youngest and most impulsive who lacks forethought, gains the power to literally see the future.
    • Later Prue essentially gains the power to clone herself, when she feels the need to be in two places at once; Piper gains more confidence and learns to blow stuff up; and a more caring Phoebe becomes The Empath.
    • Caring Leo was a former medic and in death he became a whitelighter with the power to heal others. Later, after being promoted to Elder, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and gains the ability to throw lightning.
    • Paige's powers have a genetic justification - she's half witch, half Whitelighter. In accordance, her personality and control of her Whitelighter is different then what is demostrated by Leo or other Whitelighters in the series. Other whitelighters are very collected and calm, with a rather zen approach to life. Paige, a Fiery Redhead, has a more emotional and tempermental approace to magic (not unlike her sisters), and often bumbles around adorkably using varying levels of Buffy Speak to induce magic.

    • While Tahu and Kopaka, the first Toa of Fire and Ice in the series, followed the concept of fire = quick temper/ice = cold shoulder very closely, Vakama and Nuju broke the mold. Vakama was very quiet and unconfrontational (until going all Leeroy Jenkins during the Visorak arc), while Nuju was less antagonistic towards the others ("Let's get this job over with" as opposed to Kopaka's "I work alone"). The third Toa of Ice, Matoro, was even less "cold", and his heart made him the arc's Chosen One. The trope also applies pretty well to the other heroes, who have Water, Earth, Stone, and Air as their powers.
    • It's worth noting that the writer deliberately went for an ironic power with one of Matoro's teammates: the cave-dwelling Toa of Earth is the one who got the Mask of Flight (the Toa of Air was not amused).
    • Likewise, Jaller's character upon upgrading into a Toa was specifically written around the notion of going against elemental "stereotypes", as he did not want to repeat the mistakes of the previous two fire-element leaders, Tahu and Vakama. This worked out fine — until Matoro stepped forward as the one making decisions because his destiny said so, which was when Jaller realized he'd failed to suppress one fiery personality trait: the belief that he has to be a central figure at all times.
    • Kongu from the same team was something of a Double Subversion — he was surprisingly serious and stern for an Air-type, but due to the persuasion of Toa Lewa, he adopted the wise-cracking attitude typical of previous Air-Toa.
    • Rhotuka Spinners are a type of Energy Weapon with this as a function: What the Spinner it launched did was different for each person. Roodaka's could mutate anyone into any shape she wanted, Sidorak's made people obey him for twenty four hours, Norik's could slow people down, ect.

Alternative Title(s): Personality Power