"It strikes me that the only reason to take apart a pocket watch, or a car engine, aside from the simple delight of disassembly, is to find out how it works. To understand it, so you can put it back together again better than before, or build a new one that goes beyond what the old one could do. We've been taking apart the superhero for ten years or more; it's time to put it back together and wind it up, time to take it out on the road and floor it, see what it'll do."
Deconstruction demonstrates what happens when tropes in fiction are played for realism. Thus, a fantasy about being a princess or a superhero is shown to have consequences, negatives, other facets, etc that are glazed over in fiction. The trope no longer works the same, so it doesn't look the same.
This is where Reconstruction comes in. A Reconstruction accepts the criticisms of the initial fantasy made in the previous Deconstruction and then modifies the initial fantasy into something that would resemble the original trope, but still work in reality.
Thus, Princess Classic is not being married into a fairy-tale monarchy, but into a post-Napoleonic 19th- or 20th-century one — a constitutional monarchy in Ruritania, with the scenery and regalia but without the power and corruption, so she won't end up like Marie Antoinette.
The new age Superhero works the required secondary powers to his advantage to find creative uses for his powers, and carefully balances his mundane and heroic lives, such as working a job that complements his superheroing (or makes it his job by working for a larger group), and dating love interests who are either heroes themselves or able to handle themselves when things get hairy.
Reconstruction can involve deconstructing said Deconstruction if someone has a different idea about 'realism' or the previous deconstruction was mixed too heavily with Darker and Edgier.
Compare the Genre Throwback, which usually involves Reconstruction, and Troperiffic works. See also Decon-Recon Switch, which is a single work which sets up a deconstruction only to reconstruct the same tropes later on.
Often confused with Adaptation Distillation. Reconstruction is when a genre is rebuilt after being hit with a criticism; Adaptation Distillation is when a specific work is revitalized, without any new objections needing to be answered in the process.
See also Reimagining The Artifact, a much more localized phenomenon.
Not to be confused with the Freeware RPGThe Reconstruction, season six of Red vs. Blue, or, for that matter, with the Reconstruction Era after The American Civil War.
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Anime and Manga
This is a Cyclic Trope, especially in the Humongous Mecha genre: every decade or so when the genre is reaching the point of seriousness. Pre-EVA, there was also Giant Robo (though this was at least partially due to the manga being made in the '60s).
Naoki Urasawa's 20th Century Boys systematically deconstructs and then reconstructs both the sort of cheesiness that came out of kids' manga in the 1970s and, really, the whole idea of childhood, childhood dreams (of becoming a hero), and, for that matter, the '60s and '70s themselves: the inspiration of the Moon landing, rock and roll, love and peace, the idea that we were entering a future where anything was possible.
As well as various AU series like Gundam Wing, After War Gundam X and Gundam 00, which addressed the fundamental causes of why the Universal Century was doomed to constant infighting and never improves.
Ratman is an interesting variant of reconstruction. It plays up the idea of the ordinary kid who dreams of becoming a hero (who also lives in a world chock full of 'em) realistically: He's duped into becoming a supervillain, but he doesn't let this get in the way of his idealism. At the same time, he's surrounded by very loving and supportive coworkers, and much of the antics he goes through is Played for Laughs. Except when it's not. It also becomes clear that the "evil crime syndicate" isn't as evil as it seems, but really are simply on the Hero Association's bad side.
Then 3.0. rolls around and sends it straight back in Deconstruction territory. Whether or not it will stay this way or head back towards Reconstruction in 4.0. has yet to be seen.
Tiger & Bunny is a curious case: it's a reconstruction of American Superhero Comic Books done as a Japanese animated show! In-universe, despite seemingly being sellouts, the heroes keep their moral ground even when an Anti-Hero and a Smug Snake mock them for it.
Whereas Fate/Zero and Fate/stay night: Heaven's Feel coldly-desconstructs the concepts of what it means to be a "hero", Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works warmly embraces its viewer and reminds them that yes, the world may be a cold-and-ugly place, but that does not mean that the honor, kindness and decency are not worth fighting for.
Popotan reconstructs itself. Throughout the series, the characters experience the consequences of Limited Destination Time (whatever friends they make they eventually have to leave behind), but in the end they learn to appreciate each other and the fact that they are still able to at least always remember their friends.
Samurai Flamenco is this towards the Japanese superhero/Tokusatsu genre, paying tribute to the heroism and ideals that those superheroes strive for, even if limited by the real life mundanity and the hero not being a superpowered being like them.
Kingdom Come was a particularly famous comics reconstruction that delivered a rather heavy-handed denouncement of the Nineties Anti-Hero. Though it should be noted that the story ended up with all the super-heroes realizing they were flawed, removing their masks, and joining normal human society.
Justice is more a reconstruction proper, as it is essentially Super Friends without the camp, token characters, and low-budget visuals. Its opening reads like a superhero deconstruction, with the rest of the series reading like a thorough rebuttal.
Whatever Happened to Truth, Justice and the American Way? was also a big contribution to the superhero reconstruction.
Batman RIP, which successfully combines the gritty Batman and the Silver Age Batman into one coherent, badass character.
Tom Strong does something similar with the pulp / comic book 'science hero' archetype.
While the first two volumes of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen were definitely deconstructions of Victorian adventure fiction (and for that matter, the concept of the Massive Multiplayer Crossover), The Black Dossier seems a reconstruction of the concept (though in doing so, it becomes a deconstruction of 20th century fiction). If you aren't somewhat confused, then Alan Moore hasn't done his job.
And even the first two books were a reconstruction in their own way. Sure, Moore brought on all kinds of moral ambiguity and tossed aside typical Victorian ideals, but at the same time he was taking some of the most awesome literary characters of the time and giving them their full due. It had been a long, long time since Fu Manchu had been anything but a parody.
Also, Genre: Heroes don't kill because of The Comics Code. Decon: Superheroes kill, and those who don't wind up getting beaten by the villain. Recon: Superheroes don't kill because they are not police or military and therefore don't have the legal authority to kill, or they do kill but only when there is absolutely no other option.
Deconstruction: He repeatedly mentions that he has no clue where his powers came from or how they work - how can he hear things before the sound waves even have time to reach him, for instance? When he actually starts going out in costume, the Superman suit works in his favour because no-one's going to believe someone saying Superman saved them. Unfortunately, he draws the attention of the military, who repeatedly try to capture him and experiment on him.
Reconstruction: He never stops helping people, and eventually proves to the people chasing him that he's more useful as a friend than an enemy. The book's overall tone and ending is completely positive.
Blue Sky is a Reconstruction of the 'Wheatley becomes human' breed of fanfiction. This extremely large branch of the portal fan-community tree is rife with variations, ranging from innocent, helpless Human!Wheatley who needs Chell, to Wheatley being a psychotic, corrupted android with a taste for non-con. In this fic, Wheatley is sorry for what he did, but he's not entirely innocent either. Chell is willing to forgive him, but doesn't right off the bat, and makes it very clear that Wheatley has to earn her trust. Even the most common thread of these stories, GlaDOS seeking revenge, is subverted. She is only interested in testing, and making Wheatley hurt to reach that goal is more of a fringe benefit than anything else.
Shattered by Time starts out as a deconstruction of many Naruto Peggy Sue fics where someone (Kakashi, in this case) goes back in time to prevent the bad guys from winning. The difference is that Kakashi has already been "shattered" before he comes back, needs to be "reconstructed," and it takes YEARS for him to get back to anywhere near normal again. But once he does, the story progresses closer to the classic versions, where he still takes in Naruto and "makes" Sasuke a good guy, etc.
The Incredibles reconstructs the superhero plot, partially by correcting the mistakes and partially by transferring them to villains. Yes, superheroes need special suits, so Edna designs them. Yes, capes are silly so Edna's suits don't feature them. (Villains, though...). Yes, heroes cause destruction, but how else can you defeat evil robots? Most supers are eager to be supers, as opposed to be tired and suicidal. The only one doing this for fame is, well, the villain. And so on.
Even as far back as Aladdin, Jasmine served as a Reconstruction of the Princess Classic. It was the first Princess film to address some of the hardships associated with the title - Jasmine has never left the palace, she's never known true friendship and she's bound by the law to marry someone even if she doesn't want to. But she realises that there are advantages to having the authority as a Princess.
Batman Begins is a reconstruction of the idea of Batman, not only giving a plausible explanation for how Bruce Wayne acquired all of his Bat-themed crime fighting equipment and training, but also exploring the motivations behind what would drive a man to dress up in a rubber Batsuit to fight crime.
The Dark Knight reconstructs how a superhero can operate in, and have an effect on, a larger society.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer takes the dumb blonde who gets killed in horror movies and reconstructs her as an action heroine, then deconstructs the supergirl concept by giving her real world problems.
Clueless is a reconstruction of Teen Movies after the bitter deconstruction of Heathers.
While also taking some time out to reconstruct Jane Austen by way of adaptingEmma into a modern-day setting where it actually more-or-less works.
Hard Boiled features every single police officer character as unambiguously heroic, as an apology by John Woo for the way Chinese films had started to glorify criminals (including some of Woo's previous films). Their conduct in the hospital sequence in particular puts an extra helping of "Heroic" in Heroic Bloodshed.
Hot Fuzz was partially an attempt to revive the British police officer as a credible movie hero after almost every British crime movie of the previous decade (or at least since Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) had instead focused on glorifying criminals. Hot Fuzz spent its first half deconstructing the police-action movie, then used its second half to gleefully rebuild it.
When the series appeared dead (and had been somewhat deconstructed in the Timothy Dalton era), True Lies appeared to reconstruct the spy-action-adventure genre by way of Affectionate Parody. Ironically, it is a remake of a French parody of Hollywood action-adventure movies.
The Daniel Craig movies gradually undergo this process; Casino Royale begins the process of deconstruction by placing Bond in a more gritty, 'modern' setting, and Skyfall begins with raising the question of whether the typical Bond-style hero is necessary or even relevant in a modern setting, before gradually reintroducing a lot of the traditional elements of the Bond series that had disappeared over the Dalton, Brosnan and Craig movies.
The film version of Kick-Ass reconstructs its own original comic's deconstruction of the superhero genre. In the comic, the hero is a sorry loser who never trains, gets beaten up all the time, and screws up his relationship with his new girlfriend. In the film, super-heroism is played mostly straight, with Kick-Ass becoming an inspirational underdog with low-level superpowers who eventually helps save the day and gets the girl.
Kick-Ass was called a superhero version of Zombieland, a film where zombies are not used as some kind of political or sociological metaphor, but just something to have fun killing.
Due to the dark nature of the material to begin with, the line between Deconstruction and Reconstruction can frequently be blurred with slasher films. This became increasingly true in the post-Scream era, simply because many of the things that originally set Scream apart became, themselves, cliche. It became increasingly normal for characters to be at least somewhat Genre Saavy, almost all killers were both ideologically driven, and shameless self-promoters, and most slashers such as Saw began deconstructing their own franchises within a few entries, simply because deconstruction was the norm. If there is a definitive Reconstruction of the slasher genre, it would likely be You're Next, simply because it takes the entire storyline in such a wildly different direction, and uses characters who make fairly rational decisions regarding how to counter the killers, without being particularly Genre Savvy (ie the house is under siege, begin baracading).
Cloverfield does this to kaiju movies. Ironically, people believed it to be a deconstruction, forgetting what a horrific anti-atomic weapons allegory the Trope CodifierGojira really is. It started out horrific, got light and fluffy, and returned to being horrific. The film performs this reconstruction by showing the events of the film through the perspective of normal civilians. It's a surprisingly effective way to show just how gut-wrenchingly brutal and terrifying a giant monster attack would be in real life.
Although it didn't stick, The Outlaw Josey Wales can be seen as an attempted reconstruction of the old-style "sagebrush" western, with a more ambiguous and nuanced view of morality, the Civil War, and Indian raids. Essentially, The Man With No Name leads a group of pioneers to seek their fortunes in Texas.
Goodbye Lenin reconstructs, of all things, Marxist Socialism. The film blatantly acknowledges the problems of socialism and the good things provided by the West but by the end of the film we see that the hopes and dreams of the East German people are not necessarily defeated.
The Joshuu Sasori films are a reconstruction of the Women In Prison genre. While the genre normally consists of deeply misogynist, red-hot-lesbian flicks created purely for men's tittilation and possessed of virtually no artistic merit, Shunya Itou made the Joshuu Sasori films thoughtful, vicious, artful and surreal works with an overtly feminist message, without even changing the basic common plotline.
Enchanted takes a stereotypical Disney princess and puts her in the real world of New York. Giselle starts out tripping over her own feet and being generally clueless, and making life very difficult for her caretaker. Soon, her quirkiness and overall sunshine start affecting her new world positively, and at the end she's seen using her gown-making skills and ability to control animals to start a successful fashion store.
Iron Man 3 reconstructs how grandiose villains with a thing for theatrics and terror can be adapted to operate in the real world. The flashy villain adapted from the source material is actually a fictional character played by an actor made to distract the public from the real villain, who instead takes advantage of anonymity to perform his manipulative deeds. This villain, however, still shares characteristics with the same character from the source material. Iron Man 3 does this with The Mandarin, who is both Trevor Slattery and Aldrich Killian.
While Cloverfield isn't 100% Deconstruction, Pacific Rim definitely moves things back in the opposite direction, focusing on the heroes combating the kaiju, not civilians trying to escape. It also makes kaiju cool again, rather than just terrifying. It also gives Humongous Mecha a comeback in the big screen and they are as awesome as they are big.
Godzilla (2014) is a double Reconstruction for Godzilla. On one hand, it takes a Revisiting The Roots approach to Godzilla, bringing back the grim tone and the scary-force-of-nature characterization of the King of the Monsters. At the same time, the movie Reconstructs the Lighter and Softer "Godzilla vs." movies that came afterwards; rather than treating such a set-up as a joke like so many parodies have done, it instead treats the "Godzilla vs." style in a straightforward way by introducing the same grim approach as Godzilla had in his initial solo outing.
Michael Chabon loves these. He's one of the most respected writers in America, yet many of his books take on subjects usually seen as meaningless pop culture, as if to prove that they can have literary merit if done right.
The Canterbury Tales seems to do this with the courtly love genre in the Franklin's Tale. Chaucer had parodied the genre in both the Miller's Tale and the deliberately suckyTale of Sir Topas (which Chaucer assigned to himself). The Franklin's Tale Reconstructs it by keeping the postive genre element of celebrating honorable conduct, but jettison's the genre's stance that love only exists outside of marriage.
Boris Akunin's Erast Fandorin detective novel series was made with the specific intention of reviving and uplifting the Russian detective genre after it sunk to a particularly terrible low.
Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol actually deconstructed the idealistic Self Made Man with Ebeneezer Scrooge, a man who had become wealthy through greed and at the expense of other people. However Scrooge learned the error of his ways and became a good person and thus an idealistic Self Made Man.
Sunshine by Robin McKinley may be a reconstruction of urban fantasy and vampire books. Instead of accepting a secret world of magic or trying to rationalize it, it's thrown out: vampires and magic have always been around. Enough names are droppped to indicate that history hasn't remained the same, it's a different world than ours, but the protagonist is young and focus-minded enough that the author can get away without describing the details. Magical superpredators of humans (vampires) come across as physically and mentally alien — though they can pass when they need to.
Cho Chang in Harry Potter served to deconstruct the Relationship Sue trope by being Harry's perfect match - with whom he ended being incompatible with. Ginny Weasley on the other hand reconstructed the idea. She realised Harry would never be interested in her and instead settled for becoming a better friend to him. Because of that, Harry finally starts noticing her and they end up Happily Married with three kids. It goes to show that the Relationship Sue can exist as a person outside of being someone's perfect match and reminds people why ending up with one of these characters would be a good thing.
After the years and years of mockery and criticism of Doctor Who's Daleks, mainly regarding their impractical design and their weapons, the episode "Dalek" addresses these criticisms to return the Daleks back into their previous threat level, by taking these criticisms and turning them on their head.
The earlier "Remembrance of the Daleks" does something similar — however, since it was made at a point where Doctor Who was at a low point with regards to it's popularity with low viewing figures, it was decided that the audience would need a refresher course in Why Daleks Are Actually Scary. Interestingly enough, in the Daleks first appearances in comics during the 60s they were already shown flying.
After several seasons of gradually deconstructing the Doctor and revealing what a dangerous, threatening presence he could be, and how many of his enemies rise as a result of their sheer terror of him, "The Wedding of River Song" begins a reconstruction of him; upon what looks like the increasing inevitability of the Doctor's death, one of his companions sends out a distress signal to everyone he's ever helped — and everyone he's ever helped basically responds with "we'll do whatever we can to help." For all that he has his dark side, he's still devoted his life to protecting the innocent and those who can't protect themselves, and is rightly loved by them as a result.
After facing criticism for the unhealthy nature of the food on The Galloping Gourmet and facing his wife's heart attack caused by said food, Kerr made The Graham Kerr Show to reconstruct his previous recipes using healthier ingredients and cooking methods.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine took a hard look at Proud Merchant Race the Ferengi and rebuilt them into a more solid fictional society - without them ever deciding that human or Federation values were innately superior to theirs. For instance, women's lib kicked in as much for practical reasons (more workers, a bigger consumer base) as ethical ones. Also, the Ferengi have never had wars with the scale or the frequency of Earth's.
Sufjan Stevens' yearly Songs For Christmas EP's were a personal reconstruction of Christmas Music for Sufjan: his attempt to capture the sublime melancholy of Christmas music at its best, and to come to terms with the Glurge of the holiday season. (Sufjan had previously dismissed Christmas itself as a social construct.)
Tenacious D's music seems to be a reconstruction of classic rock. Though they don't take themselves or their lyrics very seriously, they certainly take the music seriously. As they wrote in "The Metal":
You can't kill The Metal... The Metal will live on! Punk Rock tried to kill The Metal... but they failed, as they were smite to the ground! New Wave tried to kill The Metal... but they failed, as they were stricken down...to the ground Grunge tried to kill The Metal... Hahahahaha, THEY FAILED! as they were thrown to the ground!
Monster Magnet is another reconstruction of classic rock, as are the Hellacopters. (especially on their early albums)
The Darkness, with their five minute guitar solos and soaring falsettos is either a reconstruction or brilliant parody of Glam Metal.
A reconstruction basically. Sadly for them, they got pigeon holed rather unfairly into being a novelty parody, and faded away after the misguided fans got bored of the 'parody' and started ignoring the music.
Rappers like 50 cent, Boyz n da Hood, et al were supposed to be a reconstruction of hardcore hip-hop in the mainstream. But it never really caught on. Likely because of the lack of mainstream media support. Although "fiddy" defied this with radio friendly songs like "In da Club", "Candy Shop" etc.
Similarly rap group Dead Prez tried to reconstruct rebellious, hardcore, socio-political rap.
Would Flipsyde count as something related?
The Tel-Aviv City Team (aka: "Tact Family") uses a large portion of their music to perform a deliberate reconstruction of Zionism or Jewish nationalism in response to the deconstructions that came from the left in the '90s and 2000s. They actually have a rap rivalry with the older left-wing group Hadag Nachash over the precise definition of Zionist Hip-hop.
Hegelian dialectic, usually presented in a threefold manner, was often presented as compromising three dialectical stages of development: The thesis is an intellectual proposition. The antithesis is simply the negation of the thesis (the Deconstruction), a reaction to the proposition. The synthesis solves the conflict between the thesis and antithesis by reconciling their common truths and forming a new thesis, starting the process over (the Reconstruction, forming a Cyclical Trope).
Another version that was used by Hegel is Abstract-Negative-Concrete. The formula, thesis-antithesis-synthesis, does not explain why the thesis requires an Antithesis. However, the formula, abstract-negative-concrete, suggests a flaw, or perhaps an incomplete-ness, in any initial thesis—it is too abstract and lacks the negative of trial, error and experience (An example is the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism Versus Realism. The Ideal is the Abstract, the Negative is how cynics deconstruct the Abstract with Reductio Ad Absurdum and reveal it as unrealistic. Reconstruction occurs when preserving the useful portion of the deconstructed idea, while modifying it to allow it to move beyond its limitations).
In the wake of such incidents as the Chris Benoit murder-suicide, the WWE started trying to distance itself from the dark and gritty Attitude Era and clean up it's image, moving back to the cartoonish and family friendly programming of The Eighties and Early Nineties; banning blading, pushing squeaky-clean stars like Rey Mysterio and John Cena and forbidding moves like chairshots or piledrivers to make wrestling safer. The movement has been pretty controversial among fans, and it's debatable how much success they've had, but they're making a lot of money off it so they're unlikely to stop any time soon.
The Ibsen Follies has a sufficiently loose relationship with the fourth wall for the Interactive Narrator to discuss this. She's based on a real-life woman whom Henrik Ibsen fell in love with and then broke up with, and whom he fictionalized as a selfish schemer in his tragedy The Master Builder. At the play's beginning, she watches Ibsen sitting in his chair, and speaks of how they could have lived a romance of dropped handkerchiefs and humorous misunderstandings—but Ibsen did everything he could to destroy that genre, replacing moth-eaten, badly painted backdrops and cheerful endings with despair and misery. Then she declares that it's time for turnabout, and a moth-eaten, badly painted backdrop slides onto the stage as Ibsen moans in despair and exits. The rest of the play is an old-fashioned romantic comedy about the (also real-life) relationship between Ibsen's son and the daughter of his greatest rival.
Surprisingly, for all of its mockery of religion, The Book of Mormon ultimately reconstructs it, as it comes to the conclusion that the core of religion; to help people in need and give them morals to follow to become better people, can indeed have a positive influence on others.
Chaos bills itself as an "anti-dystopia". If you read what it says about itself in the Introduction, it is obvious what it means: it is meant to be a reconstruction of the utopia/dystopiacyclic trope. So if the original concept of utopian fiction was supposed to be a hypothetical world that looked perfect, and indeed actually was, and the original concept of dystopian fiction (back when it originally started, with works like Brave New World) was supposed to be a hypothetical world that looked perfect on the surface, but if you dug a little deeper, was actually a lot darker than it seemed, and then more recent examples of dystopian fiction (works like Judge Dredd and Warhammer 40,000) have completely ditched the idea of looking perfect on any level and become total crapsack world futures; then with Chaos, this "anti-dystopia", the concept is a hypothetical world that seems, at first glance, as dark and brutal as any dystopian future… with endless war, bloodshed, horror, all of that… but if you dig a little deeper, is actually a lot happier and brighter than it seems on the surface.
Masahiro Sakurai, famous for Kirby, Super Smash Brothers and Kid Icarus: Uprising feels this is his style of game development, deconstructing it and taking away genre mainstays that aren't necessary and then reconstructing it by adding what he thinks is fun.
Afterwards, he went on to make Metal Gear Solid 2, one of the most extensive deconstructions of video games ever.
He then reconstructed them with Metal Gear Solid 4, taking the same deconstructive plot and putting it - and with it, many of the same genre presumptions - back together.
The Darkness Goes even further in Reconstructing the Nineties Anti-Hero then the comic, after over a decade of deconstruction and parody. Taking the criticism that most Dark Age characters are shallow and over the top, the game makes Jackie complex and subtle, while playing many of the Dark Age tropes straight and for realism, minus the ridiculous Liefeldian costume.
The Mass Effect series is a reconstruction of classic science fiction tropes (especially Space Opera), even down to the visual styling.
The series as a whole deconstructs and then reconstructs the issues of what happens when you take a room full of elected politicians and tell them the world's about to end, from verbal support and no actual action in ME1, to blatant head-in-sand refusal to believe anything's going wrong in ME2, to an almost embarrassing about-face when the shit finally hits the fan in ME3.
Disgaea was this to the Strategy RPG genre, mostly by being very comedic, not taking itself seriously, and dropping most of the long winded political stuff that the genre had favored since Ogre Tactics.
Much of Nintendo's massive success with the Wii and DS is due to reintroducing the simplicity and arcade-style gameplay that made the original NES and Game Boy mass phenomenons. Nintendo even went so far as to make all-newMario2D sidescrollers for both of them.
Half-Life 2 reconstructs the Zombie Apocalypse in a few areas, specifically the near-totally infested town of Ravenholm. Said zombies are created by a huge Puppeteer Parasite that latches onto the head (the headcrab), but it's surprising how many zombie tropes are played with and how many work.
The Add-on Episode 2 leads out of the ruined and mostly abandoned cities and turns to the wilderness, which is the more post-apocalyptic version of the ...well, Zombie Apocalypse. Many of the best scenes consist of exploring seemingly abandoned buildings next to the road.
Sonic Colors is SEGA's attempt at reconstructing the light-hearted feel of the classic Sonic the Hedgehog era, having decided the series has gotten way too serious as of lately. General consensus is that they succeeded. Spectacularly so.
Before Colors, there was Sonic Unleashed. While having a somewhat more serious tone than Colors, Unleashed was nowhere near as dark as any of the main post Genesis games barring Sonic Heroes, which, in stark contrast to the Sonic Adventure games, was pretty lighthearted itself. Coming before two of the darkestgames in the series and being far more cartoony in general only made the change even more noticeable.
The whole point of Sonic Generations. You even get to see a cartoony Sonic right next to his late-2000s/early-2010s appearance.
Fire Emblem Jugdral is a deconstructionand a reconstruction at the same time. The first part of the game ends up with Sigurd and several of his fighters killed, the others as either prisioners or on the run, and they're all labeled as traitors, in the second, however, Sigurd's son Seliph picks up the pieces, ultimately is succesful in his quest, is crowned as Emperor of Grandbell, and both he and his army meet a much happier ending.
The two first opus of the Diablo franchise were basically doing a massive deconstruction of the Heroic Fantasy genre with a butcher knife: the story takes place in a Crapsack World where Demons are running around murdering everyone in gruesome ways For the Evulz Angels are Knight Templars who hardly care about humanity, and humans heroes who try to slay demonlords only end up helping them, being corrupted or becoming Axe Crazy, if not all of those at the same time. Come Diablo III, while the Darker and Edgier approach is still present, the protagonist is now revealed to be a Nephalem, such making him able to face Demonlords, an Angel actually sacrifices his divine nature to help humanity, and you do get some actual victories on the Demons. Perhaps most notably, it actually has a fairly happy ending with the heroes saving the day and evil being defeated even if it was at a cost.
Singularity manages to simultaneously deconstruct and reconstruct the Last Second Ending Choice, where if you manage to jump the rails of one man's plot you end up on the rails of the other's, and the choice is presented as just another extension of one plot or the other, but at the same time, the entire game has been building up to this one moment of free will, the first chance you've had to actually choose anything, and at that moment the fate of the world really is in your hands. Especially if you Take a Third Option.
Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine reconstructs the portrayal of the Ultramarines chapter of Space Marines, who take a lot of flak for being a Creator's Pet (and Matt Ward elevated them to Canon Sue until he discovered the Grey Knights, but that's another discussion). This game's version of the Ultramarines are still Nice Guysnote one of their Hats is treating ordinary people with kindness and respect, unlike a lot of other folks in the setting, but they're not invincible. The portrayal also doesn't fall into the opposite problem, i.e. making them nearly useless if they face a problem that the Codex Astartes doesn't have a specified solution fornote Their other Hat is super-adherence to the Codex, being that their founder wrote the damn thing.: Captain Titus gently rebukes one of his squadmates for this in an early cutscene, pointing out that sometimes you need to throw out the manual and think on your feet.
Titus' rebuttal showed that Relic "did their homework" in regards to 40k fluff since Gulliman intended the Codex as a guideline in terms of strategy by creating a set of precidents to use in case a new scenario showed up.
School Days is another case in which a deconstruction can potentially be a reconstruction. Yes, we know, the anime and some routes of the game can totally smash Love Triangle and Unwanted Harem to pieces — but if the player takes the right decision, both tropes can be played straight. Or, with lots of effort and planning, evolve into One True Threesome.
Red vs. Blue. Notable in that the new series is actually called Reconstruction. After five seasons of picking apart gaming tropes, they are now being put back together. What was once laughed at by the main characters is now a serious threat. Of course, it never made the audience stop laughing at them.
Reconstruction is actually a Double Subversion. Yes, it put some tropes back together but it utterly obliterates some of the jokes the series as a whole has built over five seasons.
The Randomverse seems to have gone this way. It started off with heros discussing their movies, to heroes discussing their movies while socialising, to Lex Luthor attacking the heroes while they're trying to socialise, and has since built up a canon of jokes and joke-threats ad threats that used to be jokes, and constantly flipping allegiances. And it's still flipping hilarious.
In between the jokes though are serious stories about why idealism and optimism are important in comic books. There's segments on how Superman is still relevant today, why Batman is really revered (hint: it's not about the gadgets), and why Spiderman could perhaps be one of the most amazing heroes ever for the Heroic Sacrifice he does more than any of the other two mentioned ever would. It's practically a Reconstruction of understanding on why we loved these favorite heroes in the first place.
Imperial Dawn reconstructs the creation of Plato's The Republic, in the sense that it introduces the idea of a philosopher-king in a fairly organic and realistic way.
The Pokédex - Extended Fanon Edition, maintained on this very site, acknowledges that yes, Pokemon are potentially incredibly dangerous, but just as long as you're not a complete idiot, it is very possible to care for and love them. And you can do so in one piece, to boot.
The Justice League episode "Legends" is both an Affectionate Parody and reconstruction of The Golden Age of Comic Books. In it, a few members of the league travel to an Alternate Universe and meet the Justice Guild of America, ersatz versions of the JSA. The episode points out the racism and sexism prevalent in the Golden Age, and the Flash mocks the Guild's cheesy "let justice prevail!" catchphrase, but at the end of the story the Guild helps defeat the villain, knowing that they'll fade from existence when they do, and when they yell "Let justice prevail!" that time, it's completely awesome.
The episode was in dedication to Gardner Fox, a rather influential comic writer, so it wasn't just Reconstruction; it was an Homage to the man.
The Venture Bros., after the first two and a half or so seasons, has slowly evolved from being a Deconstructor Fleet to gradually reconstructing several of the tropes it has taken great pain to tear down.
Much of the second and third seasons were spent lampshading the utter ludicrousness of the Guild of Calamitous Intent and the Office of Strategic Intelligence's secret costumed battle for supremacy, showing them both to be hidebound, ossified and frankly, quite ineffectual. Eventually, certain members of OSI saw through this and decided enough was enough, dug out some old equipment, and thus SPHINX was (re)born, as a more dynamic alternative focused on actually eliminating threats (costumed and otherwise) and not maintaining a BS status quo.
The status quo itself was deconstructed. When Jonas Jr. tried to kill The Monarch while the latter was attacking him, it's quickly pointed out that killing a supervillain leads to escalation from the Guild. On the other hand, it's revealed that keeping to the status quo keeps supervillains placated and not committing real crimes. So while the OSI is pretty ineffectual by dealing with the Guild, it keeps an army of supervillains from wreaking havoc.
Colonel Gathers is back as head of the OSI because he complained about how thing were going. Its basically been revealed the the Secret Peace between heroes and villains is really just a front the even more Secret War between heroes and villains which is far far stranger and multi-leveled than any other kind of politics.
This is the entire purpose to the newest Scooby-Doo series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. The series takes a comically cynical approach to the Scooby Doo mythos, but it doesn't outright parody or deconstruct the elements. While the kids are, realistically, treated as a nuisance by the law and their parents constantly question why they're obsessed with solving mysteries, the kids still get the job done and solve mysteries because they love it and love hanging around with each other.
Case in point, at the end of Episode 11, the gang breaks up under the weight of the group's relationship issues. A straight deconstruction would probably end there - Mystery Inc. is a group of teenagers in high school investigating crimes in their home town, so eventually they have to grow up and find real jobs. However, Mystery Inc. gets back together by the end of the next episode, realizing that solving these mysteries really is what they were meant to do, and the team begins repairing their bonds - the reconstruction is that the Scooby Gang would have personality clashes, just like any group of friends, but acknowledging these clashes and finding ways to cope with them strengthens the group. (A straight parody, on the other hand, probably wouldn't even bring up these issues in the first place.)
There's also Rarity: Told that there would need to be fashion elements, the writers dumped that role on a single stereotypically vain and superficial character — and then made her strong, independent and capable anyway, with a meaningful artistic career in fashion.
Afterwards, the series flip-flops between this trope and its opposite, although not necessarily from one episode to the next.
The show also reconstructs the trope Amusing Injuries - characters repeatedly have to deal with the long-term ramifications of the injuries they suffer (usually at Archer's hands) but it never stops the initial accidents being Played for Laughs.