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 will 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:
: 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.
: 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.
: 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.
: 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.)
: 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.
: 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.
: 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.
: 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 Bart Allen) 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
: Ninja-like personality, subdued action, hushed tone, love of surprises.
: 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
: Those with shielding powers tend to be a kind, caring person
, and at least a Technical Pacifist
if not an Actual Pacifist
: Anyone who is made of poison/toxic waste/diseases will be a very lonely, petty, and cruel person with a cutting tongue.
: 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
- 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.
- Jo Jos 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:
- Her first Lancer, Yuuno Scrya, Nice Guy that he is, has the Barrier Warrior with a touch of Healing Hands. Most offensive one? Razor-sharp bindings...
- Shamal, being similar to Yuuno in personality, has similar powers, but tends to specialize in being The Medic rather than a Barrier Warrior, although her barriers are fairly impressive.
- Chrono Harlown, being a Cold Boy, was appropriately given the power of the strongest Ice-based spell known, in other words, An Ice Person. Also master of Flechette Storm.
- Vita, being a Tsundere (or Jerk with a Heart of Gold for some), naturally Drops The Hammer, although she sometimes spices things up with This Is a Drill.
- In Sailor Moon, 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.
- Yes! Precure 5 even references this in their heroic titles and speeches. The Messiah 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.
- 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)
- 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...
- 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.
- 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.
- The magical girl anime Pretear 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.
- 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.
- Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara Dream Saga has a few. Brash Taizou is strong, intelligent Souta is a seer, and girly Nachi's power is dancing.
- 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.
- 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 Mega Manning.
- 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:
- Chichiri, a masked smiling monk, has the appropriately tricksterish ability to teleport and shapeshift.
- Tasuki, the brash Hot-Blooded guy of the group, gets both enhanced speed and a fan that shoots fire.
- Mitsukake, the Gentle Giant, gets Healing Hands.
- Tomo, an actor in a Chinese opera, has the ability to trap people in illusions.
- And the trope is averted with Nuriko, the extremely feminine Wholesome Crossdresser, who gets Super Strength.
- One branch of Ranma One Half 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 Nodoka 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").
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 begins as The Mentor and remains relatively stoic. The Tech Wizard is a Covert Pervert trickster. The Electricity twins, however, are still Psycho Electro.
- 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.
- In Read or Die and ROD 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.
- 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.
- 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, was rash and short-temper that matched his fire powers. Villains like Crocodile is dry and graining like sand, ect. This does not imply to all Devil Fruit users, but it happens enough to make some fans wonders how people find Devil Fruits that matches their personalties.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 versions 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 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 Nineties 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 - some believe, to the character's detriment. 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, though. (Not so much for the cartoon version, who essentially ripped his personality off Bart, along with adding bits of late 80s Flash in there.)
- 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.
- 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.
- Not so much the powers, but the names of Apollo and Midnighter. While they're both badasses, Apollo is a lot more cheerful and easygoing, whereas Midnighter is more dark and reclusive.
- 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 is an interesting variation, considering that 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.
- It was a plot point that 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 Nineties 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. (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.
- 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 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. 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.
Film - Animated
- The Incredibles intentionally 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.
Film - Live Action
- 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.
- The Fantastic Four movie produced by Roger Corman explained that the four heroes received their powers based on their personalities.
- 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.
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's has several alter ego, 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.
- 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.
- BIONICLE: 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.
Tabletop RP Gs
- In the various settings of Deadlands, any player whose character has supernatural powers is encouraged to choose those powers with some thought to the character's personality. Nowhere is this more obvious than with the Harrowed, souls that were either too lucky or tough to stay dead. A particularly stealthy character might crawl out of the ground with a power like Silent as a Corpse, while a skeptic might come back from the grave with some form of Arcane Protection (and considerable embarrassment about that "doubting Thomas" act).
- In Hunter The Reckoning, your Creed and Edges are determined by your attitude towards other supernatural denizens. Want to research them and find out more about them? You're a Visionary, and your powers are tuned towards insight. Want to protect the innocent from them? You're a Defender, and your powers are centered around wards and safety. Want to show the bad ones that there's another way? You're a Redeemer, and your powers are centered around healing and rebukes. Want to kill them all and anyone who's standing next to them? You're a Wayward, and you're fucking nuts.
- In White Wolf's Exalted, the Dragon-Blooded Exalted are thematically linked to the Elements, using Wood as a fifth element representing Life and Growth. While they are not locked to the powers iconic to each Elemental Caste (apart from one anima power unique to each Caste's type, those powers do come more natural to them and are cheaper to use mechanically. The game also plays with the trope, encouraging you to explore other aspects of the elements; a Chosen of Fire isn't necessarily an impulsive hot-head but a passionate, yet self-restrained swordsman-socialite. Many Dragon-Blooded are aware of the flaws and traits their Aspects brings out in them, and specifically work to overcome or restrain them.
- It should be noted that Dragon-Blooded charms are centered around cooperation and working with other Terrestrial Exalts- as the elements themselves do. Celestial Exalts, who are chosen by the sun, moon and stars, have charmsets focused on independence and personal deeds.
- The other Exalt variants also fit this to a degree. The Solars (and the Abyssal and Infernal variants) are chosen and empowered as to how they deal with problems; the Dawn castes fight, the Zenith inspire, the Twilights think, the Night castes are sneaky, and the Eclipse negotiate. The Sidereals are chosen by fate itself, and their Caste chosen according to their personal view of life- whether it is a journey, peace, a war, a mystery, or an ending.
- The Lunars are chosen for adaptability and the will to survive, and gifted with shapeshifting abilities. This is often compared to the way that their patron, the moon goddess, changes forms as she moves across the sky.
- In Fourth Edition GURPS Supers, the standard superhero templates come with personality powers.
- Superpowers in Aberrant occasionally match personality, but more often come themed with the way the person Erupted - particularly if the Eruption was triggered by a dangerous situation. You may walk away from a car crash with super-toughness, and jumping out of a plane just might give you flying ability to save you... but you might get something completely different. (Such as, for instance, turning into steel so you'll survive the landing, or just becoming very light.) People who try to trigger an Eruption this way often plan out the strategy carefully to avoid "lame" powers. They also have a high mortality rate, since very few actually can become Novas in the first place.
- Justified in Dont Rest Your Head where powers are closely linked with the Protagonists' insanity, and if it isn't already a manifestation of that madness, it will drive them mad in ways related to it.
- Seemings in Changeling: The Lost are based on what the changeling suffered through while in Arcadia, which could also affect their personality. So, for example, an Ogre may be prone to violence not because of their strength but because they were victims of violent abuse.
- Sonic himself is the most blatant Sonic the Hedgehog example, being an impulsive and carefree guy that loves freedom and having super speed. Shadow, on the other hand, is a downbeat speedster on rocket skates.
- Sonic is usually given some degree of aerokinesis, reflecting how he personifies the wind itself (which again, matches his carefree nature and inability to be tied down to one spot for long).
- The Guardians in Angelique.
- Commander Shepard's crew from Mass Effect games.
- Asari Justicar Samara fits the Telepathy trope very well, although granted, she is a warrior-monk/Knight Errant with a strict code governing her every action.
- Her daughter, Morinth, fits the villain side of this trope, even after Shepard recruits her. Being an Ardat-Yakshi, she has the power to kill her mates while melding, and is obsessed with finding new partners to mate with, displaying her dominant attitude quite well. She also can't read her potential victims very well (as long as they don't fall under her spell first, or if her target has a strong mind), since she doesn't pick up on the fact that Shepard is working with Samara until right before she walks in and pins her against a window.
- Master Thief Kasumi Goto fits the stealth trope (she is a thief), with impressive acrobatic skill and the ability to turn invisible for short periods of time. However, her movement is anything but subtle (watch her take out a gunship), but she is quite soft-spoken on the Normandy.
- She also fits the shape-shifter trope to an extent. She doesn't have the ability to shift her shape (she'll always be the kleptomaniac with the hood), but she can turn invisible, which allows her to sneak up behind enemies and give them a small fright(by snapping their spines).
- And she uses her tactical cloak for certain other...observational...tasks involving Jacob's workout routine.
- The Persona Spin-Off series revolves entirely around this - the characters summon Personas, which are manifestations of their personalities. This starts getting really obvious in Persona 3, when the gameplay changed to make various party members only use one Persona - one greatly befitting their personality and skills, typically. (The Lancer is the class clown and hothead, with the physical/fire affinity Persona Hermes, two childhood friends have the Gemini, and the protagonist... All things considered we saw that coming.)
- Played with a little in Persona 4. The one with Agi skills isn't Chie, but rather Yukiko. Instead, Chie, and later Teddie have Bufu skills. On the other hand, they, and their Shadows, out right state they are quite close. Thus it makes sense that they would have the element that fits each other. Plus, Yukiko's Shadow mentions that she hates her name, since snow is weak.
- This also plays to the central theme of the game, which is largely about accepting what's Beneath the Mask. Both Chie and Yukiko feel the opposite of how they act, and their real personalities fit the elemental stereotypes much better.
- The Cobras of Metal Gear Solid 3 take the trope a step further, actually naming themselves after the emotion on which they base their particular ability. This includes the Sorrow, a spirit medium who converses with dead soldiers, the Fury, who torches everything in sight with his flamethrower, and the Pain, who's... covered in bees.
- On the other hand, the Beauty & the Beast Corps in Metal Gear Solid 4 are not associated with this trope, since their personalities and first part of their codenames (borrowed from the above Cobras of MGS3) have nothing to do with their abilities and second part of their codenames (borrowed from the members of FOXHOUND from MGS).
- Freedom Force touches this. One character comments that it is quite interesting that all the heroes have powers that match their personalities. It is never expanded upon however. Most noticeably El Diablo, who is a hotheaded Latino with fire powers.
- Then there's poor Man-Bot...
- Also Minuteman, a patriotic nuclear physicist who is imbued with powers that closely reflect his patriotism; Iron Ox, a British boxer who becomes a typical strongman; Bullet, a fighter jet pilot obsessed with speed becomes a version of Flash; Law and Order, a duo of a young, idealistic policeman and a judge's assistant, both of whom believe strongly in the law, are merged into a single body to met out justice; Man O' War, a Scottish fisherman who gains water-related powers.
- On the villain side, Deja Vu is an escaped mental patient who gains the ability to clone himself and others at will. Talk about a split personality disorder.
- The sequel adds The Bard, a man obsessed with Shakespeare, who is turned into a superhero able to sing hypnotic odes and throwing exploding Yorick skulls. The villain Fortissimmo was an Italian opera singer before gaining the ability to destroy things with his voice (usually involves him holding a high note).
- Mentor notes on this in the original, and gives the obvious example of El Diablo. Man-Bot asks what aspect of his personality lent himself to being such a conduit of Energy X and gets no answer. A possible answer is that he has tremendous potential that he never used, now he's literally bursting with energy.
- Morrigan in Dragon Age: Origins is a shapeshifter, and acts more like a particularly cruel cat than a human. Likewise, Wynne is a healer/buffer mage and is a protective and motherly sort.
- Dragon Age II continues this trend with Aveline, who is a defensive warrior and nigh-impossible to kill, and is very protective of her friends. Merrill, however, subverts this in a very extreme fashion by being a sweet innocent Fish out of Water and being a blaster mage/demon-summoning blood mage. Anders is an interesting case; he combines compassion for mages and the war refugees he treats in his free clinic with a ruthless hatred of templars, and he's possessed by a demon of Vengeance. Symbolically of his dual nature (kind and ruthless and/or human and demon), he's a mode-shift Combat Medic; in Panacea mode, his healing abilities improve but he can't cast damage-dealing spells, whereas in Vengeance mode, he deals more damage but takes extra damage himself and can't be healed.
- Amusingly, Pokémon manages to avert this trope, and avert it hard, in Diamond/Pearl, especially with the gym leaders.
- The Ice-type Pokemon Gym Leader is a peppy, tomboyish young girl with a fiery personality who openly wonders out loud if she should cultivate a "Ice-Type" personality, aloof and cold.
- The Water-type Gym Leader is a completely crazy, over-the-top madman who wears a mask—AT ALL TIMES—demands that people call him Crasher Wake, and donates to charitable causes in his free time.
- He also has his own theme song. That he sings himself.
- There's more than one way to portray water. Pounding surf and rapid mountain streams are just as watery as a tranquil pool.
- The last is the best one. Most Ghost-type trainers are weird, anti-social people—possessed mystics, mediums, psychics, and the like. In Diamond/Pearl, the Ghost-type Gym Leader, Fantina, is... a beautiful, vivacious woman who has her Pokemon compete in beauty contests, nicely tells trainers who are way too weak to battle her that they can't face her now and should come back later, and happens to have gotten into Pokemon as a kind of hobby she turned out to be good at. She is also foreign to the main country—apparently, Dark is French.
- Hmm... ghosts are "outsiders", no?
- There's also the 4th-gen. Electric Gym Leader, who's quiet and withdrawn even after you motivate him to actually fight you.
- The Sinnoh Elite Four play it straight, though. Flint is a fire trainer, and energetic and hotheaded. Lucian's the psychic trainer, and he seems fairly intellectual, for example.
- Grass-type Gym Leader Erika in the 1st-gen fits the trope, being a kind-hearted friend of nature with green thumbs... It was her Pokemon that subverted it, Vileplume both in name and its paralyzing powder and smell being its strengths. In the remake Yellow it was downgraded to Gloom to match the anime, which still totally subverts the trope. Not to mention Victreebell/Weepinbell, which is an acid spitting bug eating plant.
- Erika is one of the few that benefited from the Yellow downscaling, as then in Gold/Silver Gloom was evolved to the sunny dispositioned Bellossom itself, turning the subversion into a straight up match.
- Blaine was eccentric, but far from fiery or aggressive despite being the first Fire-type Gym Leader. He's actually a bit of a Pokemon nerd and loves trivia and riddles. His hometown/island, on the other hand, totally fits the trope, being on a giant volcano and having a ruined lab full of Fire and Poison types.
- Most Legendary Pokemon, on the other hand, are literal personifications of the elemental powers they represent. Lumbering juggernaut Regigigas even has an Ability to makes it start a battle slow but its strength builds as the fight goes on.
- It's more evident in the Mystery Dungeon series, where the boss or plot important characters are often partially defined by their types. Your rival team in the first series is the bullish Ghost-type Gengar (who does a partial Face-Heel Turn later in the plot), and in the second series it's a scheming Dark/Poison type Skuntank. They even treat Ninetales as a proper kitsune long before the other games or series did.
- Just the Guild members in the second series. Lovable buffoon Bidoof, cheerful Valley Girl Sunflora, literal loudmouth Loudred (the species is based around sound based voice attacks in general)...
- Interesting enough, some aspects to Natures will play this straight. For example, some like Hasty and Jolly are speed-promoting natures that happen to be extroverted traits while more introverted Calm and Modest ones promote to Special Attack. Of course, the natures might zig-zag this since some natures sometimes don't seem to fittingly line up in description at times.
- Some Fire Emblem characters come with special skills that befit their personality. For instance, the feisty Mia in Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn starts off with Vantage, which allows her to attack first even when it's the enemy's turn.
- In Backyard Skateboarding, the personalities of the already-established characters affect their special moves.
- Hi there, Golden Sun.
- This trope is strongest around Fire Adepts, who are inevitably either Hot-Blooded or Fiery Redheads, if not both. Being the one exception is probably part of the reason Saturos is so popular with the fandom.
- Earth Adepts seem prone to Chronic Silent Hero Syndrome, leadership roles, and puzzle-solving.
- Water Adepts are calm, generally keep to themselves or are outright secretive, and are intellectual, usually trained as medics. They're also frequently the resident Deadpan Snarker, especially when it seems counterintuitive for them to be.
- Wind Adepts tend to be mysterious and often have traditional Psychic Powers (mind-reading, clairvoyance, and precognition) in addition to wind and lightning powers. Karis averts both the ESP and the mystery, and this might not be a coincidence.
- Soranica Ele plays this one pretty straight. Water-powered Honoka is a calm, shy type. Fire user Naki is a hot blooded determinator. Saya, who has earth powers, is the most grounded of the cast. Kaguya, with wind powers, is flighty, eccentric and fragile. Zenobia, with dark powers, is aloof but not a bad person, and Ophelia, with her power of light, is a guiding force that the rest of the cast looks up to.
- Psychonauts is an interesting example: fully qualified Psychonauts have access to a host of different powers, but the active agents you meet (and at least a few of the campers) tend to specialize in powers that fit their personalities. For example, Germanic Depressive, emotionally closeted Sasha Nein specializes in controlling emotions and turning them into mental blasts, while bubbly, caring, fun-loving Milla Vodello is a levitation expert, a power mainly used to reach new heights and escape danger.
- Played straight and subverted in Chrono Trigger. The Hero Crono gets Light(ning) magic while Magus the dark sorcerer is a Shadow innate; on the other hand, Marle, the impulsive, Rebellious Princess of the party, casts Ice magic while the level-headed gadgeteer genius Lucca hurls fireballs.
- It's notable that, in the alpha of the game, Marle could use fire magic. You can even see it on the original cover art.
- Final Fantasy XIII:
- Kingdom Hearts features many. Earth-wielding Lexaeus is the strong, silent type. Fire wielder Axel/Lea is impulsive, Saix, who gets his powers from the moon, is both The Stoic and The Berserker. Donald Duck with his famous Hair-Trigger Temper had literal Firework magic. Ventus is innocent and lighthearted and has Wind and Light as his specialty. Sora is The Messiah and The Power of Friendship is literally his superpower.
- Teen Titans has Beast Boy as the usual shapeshifting trickster. Starfire flies, has solar bolts, and is perpetually cheerful, while Raven is a part-demon sorceress who is dark and moody. (In the "Freaky Friday" Flip episode, it is revealed that Raven and Starfire's powers are literally tied to their emotions; Star's to her joy and fury, Raven's to calmness and control.)
- W.I.T.C.H.: Flighty Hay Lin has power over the air element. Preppy princess Cornelia, who can't stand dirt and bugs, gets the 'ironic reversal' version: earth powers.
- Of course, Cornelia's also stubborn and proud.
- Actually, as Yan Lin explains, they all have personality powers: Irma got water because it can't be contained (like Irma when she decides to do something), Taranee got fire because she's the only one reliable enough to be trusted with it (as Cedric points out once, when Taranee gets pissed you must RUN. And he did so), Cornelia got Earth because she tends to function with hard logic, and Hay Lin got Air because she's a dreamer. Will's power remains unexplained until the New Power saga of the comic, when her 'Energy' power is finally defined as that which unites the elements and leads them, balancing between their different personalities. Will fits this archetype after her character develops.
- Inversion: American Dragon Jake Long has the oracle twins, Kara and Sara. One is a dour goth who only sees positive visions of the future, while the other is a giddy Pollyanna who can only see gloom and doom. This is actually explained as the former has every good surprise in life spoiled and the second sees anything at all positive as phenomenal compared to the horrible visions she has.
- Bending in Avatar The Last Airbender is strongly linked to people's personality.
"Fire is the element of power. The people of the Fire Nation have desire and will and the energy and drive to achieve what they want. Earth is the element of substance. The people of the Earth Kingdom are diverse and strong. They are persistent and enduring. Air is the element of freedom. The Air Nomads detached themselves from worldly concerns and found peace and freedom. Also, they apparently had pretty good senses of humor. Water is the element of change. The people of the Water Tribe are capable and adapting to many things. They have a deep sense of community and love that holds them together through anything."
- Firebending is fueled by "emotion and rage" but lightning by a lack thereof (or, more accurately, control over it). More to the point, firebending of any kind requires an unbending will and a forceful, disciplined personality, which tends to lead to ambition. Later episodes reveal one reason the Fire Nation is so messed up is that their current bending style is corrupted and focuses too much on anger.
- Zuko experiences this firsthand in "The Firebending Masters". After he has a Heel-Face Turn, he's less angry and can't fuel his fire the way he used to. He learns that fire can also be fueled by passion, which he still has plenty of.
- A major roadblock for Aang when it comes to Earthbending is that he has to "stop thinking like an Airbender" and learn how to "be steady and strong" like rock.
- In Sequel Series The Legend Of Korra this issue is made explicit with the strong, brash Mighty Glacier Korra as explained by her airbending teacher:
Tenzin: Often the element that's most difficult for the Avatar to master is the one most opposite to the Avatar's personality. For Aang, it was earthbending.
Korra: Yeah, well, I'm about as opposite an Airbender as you can get.
- Justice League's Flash is a classic speedster personality. J'onn J'onnz is a shapeshifter and a mind reader, but doesn't quite fit either mold because, in a fit of originality, the writers made him into The Spock instead.
- Being the Spock makes sense with telepathy, as it gives one the ability to understand and control one's own emotions. Also gives good reasons to control one's emotions, for fear you'll lose control of the power. (Vulcan's are telepathic, after all)
- Well, if you consider the potential of having both telepathy and shapeshifting, a logically driven character is much more likely to do good with these powers than a more emotionally driven one. Especially since the same combination is associated with succubi...
- Blitzwing in Transformers Animated actually has Split Personality powers, or rather weapons and modes. His calm side has a freeze ray and can take the form of a jet, his angry side has a flamethrower and tank, while his crazy side can apparently use either. He changes them when his temperament changes whether he wants to or not.
- The Five-Man Band of Animated is a pretty charming display of Personality Powers themselves. Bumblebee is a caffeinated speedster, Prowl is a psuedoninja Ineffectual Loner, Bulkhead is a big dumb guy (subverted in the space bridge plot, but aside from his one intellectual specialty Bulkhead is still a tanky dolt). Optimus isn't in the above list, but his "modernised" archaic weapon is almost certainly an expression of his Knight in Shining Armor personality. Ratchet is a fun exception, as a medic who is a grouchy old cretin rather than a Mysterious Waif (but hey, this isn't a JRPG).
- It mostly plays this straight (for instance Cobra Queen and Longhorn have their personalities match their respective animal), but it also contains an aversion in Cave Guy, who is actually very sophisticated and intellectual despite appearing like a pre-historic caveman.
- Freakazoid himself literally changes personality while the powers are active. Supposedly he's insane because he has all the information of the internet inside his head (and this is pre 4chan, imagine it today?) and his powers are based on high energy, jumping around in bolts, moving through cyberspace and electrical lines, and being a cartoon.
- Captain Planet and the Planeteers anyone? Justified in that Gaia chose her multiracial team of teenagers for certain personality traits suited to wielding the rings (and the Captain himself is an entity that exists for no purpose beyond defending the planet, so there's that).
- Particularly true of Ma-ti, as his kindness is the only thing stopping heart's power to mind control people from being terribly abused.
- On the other hand, wouldn't you want the kid given dominion over fire to have a bit more impulse control than Wheeler?
- In Visionaries, the characters gain the power to shape shift into an animal based on their personalities. The heroes become lions and hawks and dolphins and such. The villains become sharks and insects and dragons and other nasties. Big Bad Darkstorm is particularly offended at gaining the power to turn into a giant disgusting mollusk.
- My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Pegasi are the fastest species of pony, and Rainbow Dash plays the impulsive, brash speedster personality right to the letter. Earth ponies are patient and strong, better at farming than any other race- and Applejack exemplifies that. (Though Pinkie Pie, another Earth Pony, subverts it- with good reason, as she was originally intended to be a pegasus.)
- Element wielders also fit. Pinkie Pie is the Element of Laughter, and is simply energetic all the time, always wanting to make everyone around her as happy as can be. Gentle Fluttershy is the Element of Kindness, and is always taking care of wild animals. Twilight Sparkle is the main character and is actually a double subversion, as she is the Element of Magic, but is a very skeptical pony who says everything must have a logical explanation. However, she claims that even magic is logical, because it works how you expect it to work.
- To an extent, every pony alive fits this trope, as their cutie marks (marks that appear on a pony's flank after a certain age that represent his/her special talent) can also represent what job they have.
- Unicorns especially, since the magic they can use is specifically linked to their special talent. Rarity is a good example; she's a fashion designer who loves working with jewels, has three diamonds for a cutie mark, and uses a spell which lets her locate buried gems with her horn.
- Averted with Princess Luna. She's intimidating at first due to being a Fish Out of Temporal Water, but after learning An Aesop or two becomes very kind, fun-loving, and friendly. She's even nice enough to swing by Scootaloo's dream to help her out of a scary nightmare.