Rescued from the Scrappy Heap
"Jar-Jar, you're a genius!
Sadly, the Mary Sue
's aura of awesome does not extend out of the pages she's written on, and that "sympathetic" teen genius Wesley
and "adorable" feisty pup Scrappy
aren't exceptions either. Even the "cool" plot twist can go awry. What's an author to do? There's always the option of Putting Them on a Bus
, or hoping to succeed with an Author's Saving Throw
, but this character, for various reasons, just can't be done away with like that.
Well, there's only one thing left to do... get them Rescued From The Scrappy Heap
This is a reinterpretation of the character or idea, be it in the form of Character Development
, a Retool
, a Time Skip
making the character mature a bit, or giving the actor acting lessons. In any event, they get fleshed out in a way that wins over bitter fans and breathes new life into the series.
A few series can even do this intentionally, and have an otherwise unlikable Smug Snake evolve into
a more human, three-dimensional character.
Not to be confused with Took a Level in Badass
, which, while capable of being a step in the right direction, is about a wimp becoming a badass. This is about a hated character becoming
a much less hated character. To illustrate the difference:
- If Scrappy Doo were able to fight the monsters on a roughly equal footing, then he'd have Taken A Level In Badass. It'd be a step in the right direction, but he'd still be a somewhat disliked character.
- If Scrappy Doo were to grow up a little, and stop trying to fight monsters all the time and doing all his other stuff that irritates fans (while keeping his lack of monster-fighting skill), that'd be this trope.
Naturally, the two can be combined, if the main reason a character is disliked is their cowardice and lack of skill.
In a way, this is the opposite of Canon Discontinuity
, which excludes the character from canon
entirely. Compare Ensemble Dark Horse
and Badass Decay
. Also contrast Author's Saving Throw
, which is an attempt to Hand Wave
away the offending element, rather than fix it outright. See Growing the Beard
in case you feel this way about the show itself. Might overlap with Alas, Poor Scrappy
, Reimagining the Artifact
, or especially A Day in the Limelight
open/close all folders
- Magic: The Gathering has had a few mechanics that have become rescued over time.
- Green as a color. Its creatures have been powered up and cheapened over the years (compare Terra Stomper to Force of Nature, for example). In Rise of the Eldrazi, it has an affinity-like ability where Khalni Hydra gets cheaper for each green creature you control.
- Defender, or not attacking. Rise of the Eldrazi gave a lot of creatures with defender that count creatures with defender.
- Big creatures. Normally they don't come out until you're dead. Shards of Alara made an exception, with Naya's "five-power matters" rule. Also, Rise of the Eldrazi again.
- Lands. You either don't have enough or have too many. Zendikar (and Worldwake and Rise of the Eldrazi) made them relevant with the landfall ability, which triggers whenever a land comes into play.
- Poison. The entire purpose of Scars of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Besieged, and New Phyrexia. Instead of "When CARDNAME damages a player, that player gets a poison counter.", infect creatures do damage equal to their power in poison counters, making it mutable, and more deadly. Although this has caused a bit of a Broken Base in the Magic community, as there are plenty of people who absolutely hate the powerful Infect creatures running about Standard.
- Lifegain. Historically seen as weak, but lifelink creatures and equipment, and cards where lifegain is a side effect made it playable. Life payment made it useful.
- In the Yu-Gi-Oh! card game, the Elemental Heroes were hated for a long time for numerous reasons - in the anime, because Judai's obsession with using the same monsters over and over. In the card game itself, due to the near-uselessness of the cards and the fact that they flooded every single set through almost two years. When the Yu-Gi-Oh GX manga kicked in, though, it introduced two new additions, which greatly boosted the popularity of the Archetype:
- The "Omni-Heroes", six Elemental Heroes that work by fusing any Hero with any Attribute monster, which not only managed to make them much more powerful, but allowed clever deck-building by combining multiple Archetypes.
- The "Masked Heroes", which revived a long-favorite mechanic (Fusing with a single monster, introduced with the now-banned Metamorphosis) and made it relevant again.
- Skull Servant was originally a useless normal monster and the butt of many jokes until Konami started releasing a series of cards that made the card into a semi-viable deck type.
- The game has lots of Tier Induced Scrappys, like Dark Strike Fighter, who became one due to its ability to perform a OHK or even a FTK. However, changing the Errata, like so, made it playable again, shifting it from the Forbidden to Limited list.
- The Hill of Swords, a Zero no Tsukaima fanfic by Gabriel Blessing which does this in spades for Louise. It has been observed by some that the vast majority of reasons for Louise's Scrappy-hood can be traced back to a combination of her low self-esteem and having an idiot of a love interest who can't stop pushing her Berserk Buttons and damaging her self-image further still. Gabe's response was to replace Saito with someone who would dodge said Berserk Buttons and help Louise get her magic working, namely Shirou Emiya. The result sees Louise getting massive amounts of Character Development and turning into an admirable young lady with Shirou's help. The story worked so well that it sparked the creation of an onslaught of fanfics following similar variations on the "Replace Saito with (Insert Competent Character Here)" premise.
- Sailor Moon Millenials gives Chibi-Usa this treatment by having her come back from the future as a teenager. She isn't quite Future Badass levels, but the upgrade from Sailor Chibi Moon to Neo Sailor Moon has clearly done some good things for her.
- Deepest Descent by Succubus Yuri is a Kingdom Hearts story on Fanfiction.net. He (I'm sure the writer's a "he") made Kairi more than just a girlfriend to the main character. She actually uses her new Keyblade in real combat. Though she still lacks in personality, she isn't afraid to take hits from dangerous foes. There are other good stories where she does have a developed personality, but this story has managed to turn her into a force to be reckoned with.
- Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams and Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light both deliberately emphasize this trope. Heroes and villains alike who are typically C-List Fodder in the official comics are given the spotlight, as the author very deliberately subverts the traditional pecking order of the Marvel Universe. In this universe, characters like Sleepwalker and Darkhawk take center stage away from the likes of Wolverine and the Punisher, while villains like 8-Ball, the Dreadknight, Jack O' Lantern and Firebrand are just as dangerous as the likes of the Green Goblin or Bullseye.
- Shinji and Warhammer 40k. When Shinji Ikari finds a little box washed up on his shore, things begin to change. Oh yes.
- Hunting The Unicorn does this for Blaine Anderson due to the story's Cerebus Retcon fleet. Klaine is a shallow Fairy Tale romance? The story's plot parallels The Last Unicorn. Blaine is a Relationship Sue? With his nonexistent family and incredibly damaged self-esteem, it's no wonder he'd latch onto Kurt so fast. They're too chaste? It turns out in Blaine's last relationship, he tried to invoke Sex Equals Love. At sixteen. And it didn't work. Essentially, Blaine is why an actual Relationship Sue would desperately need therapynote and hugs. Most of the readers are already Klaine fans, but a few of them didn't like Blaine at all before reading the fic.
- The Pony POV Series does a combination of this and Alas, Poor Scrappy with the entire G3 world. The biggest complaint about G3 were the characters were bland and seemed to all have the same personality and stuck so close to the model it was hard to tell them apart. So how does the fic do this? The End of the World as We Know It. Their universe begins to die because the spell used to make their world "perfect" violates the laws of magic and the laws of the universe to the point it begins to break, and threaten to take the timeline with it. The only way to stop this is with a Cosmic Retcon by the Alicorns and Draconequi, essentially erasing the timeline, and its inhabitants, from existence so the timeline can be saved. As their world dies, the characters Take a Level in Badass and undergrow character growth in response to what they're faced with, becoming complex and likable characters...which makes it that much of a Tear Jerker when they ultimately fail to save their world in the end, resulting in the creation of the G4 timeline.
- Misa becomes a Bad Ass in Gods Of This New World in her Dying Moment of Awesome- the Big Bad stabbed her in the chest with a sword but when he threatens her Light she gets up and keeps fighting him anyway!
- Thanks Kyubey does this for Kyubey, the Jackass Genie/Big Bad of Puella Magi Madoka Magica by playing the Mentor Mascot trope straight instead of subverting it and giving Kyubey emotions as an experiment by the Incubators in response to complaints for using humans. Kyubey returns the favor by hitting the Reset Button, reviving Gertrud and Charlotte and bringing the Puella Magi down to normal and is rewarded by turning into a white haired girl. Much to Sayaka and Mami's ire.
- The Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha fanfic Game Theory does this for first-season villain Precia Testarossa by giving her a small but significant competence boost. And that competence boost is realizing that there are better ways to control your Dark Magical Girl than by whipping her. The end result is that while this Precia is still kind of a bitch, she is also a sympathetic Anti-Villain and an extremely competent Chessmaster - a portrayal the reader can empathize with and even support.
- Cornelius Fudge in the Harry Potter AU Raised By Darkness after seeing how badly Dumbledore screwed up placing the Boy-Who-Lived in an abusive home he spontaneously grows a backbone, becoming competent and calculating. He no longer runs to Dumbledore for advice and begins making his own decisions starting with allying himself with the Boy-Who-Lived and his Dementor guardians. He also begins to put aside his Fantastic Racism for the sake of other alliances with so-called "Creatures" such as the Goblins.
- Much to the joy of Danny Phantom fans, annoying Opposite-Sex Clone Danielle gets a chance at Character Development in post-Grand Finale fics such as the Facing The Future Series.
- Suzaku and to a lesser extent Nina both get this in Dauntless
- Surprisingly, the normally universally hated Umbridge has this in ''Harry Potter Junior Inquisitor, largely because not only is she not against Harry but he's actually helping her discredit Dumbledore without alienating the entire student body.
- Likewise, Minister Fudge comes across as far more likable once it's shown that is plot to reform Hogwarts education is because the educations standards have fallen and Hogwarts has gone from one of the best schools in the world to well on its way to being a laughingstock. Granted his reasons are selfish (wanting to be remembered for something after he leaves office) but it's nonetheless a noble cause.
- Do you hate Prince Blueblood? Then read The Best Night Ever, where he gets trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop and ends up getting immense amounts of Character Development before managing to break the loop. Self-entitled jerk goes in; decent, friendly, and likable prince goes out.
- Chris Thorndyke is no longer a whiny, entitled, dependent brat in Sonic X: Dark Chaos. He's an utter Adaptational Badass who fights demon lords by himself and uses his intelligence to Genre Savvy effect.
- Also about Star Wars, Abel G. Pena's retcons in reference books, making even such "gems" as Kadann and the Prophets of the Dark Side seem plausible.
- The Lego Starwars video games of the prequel trilogy achieved the seemingly impossible feat of redeeming Jar-Jar Binks... he was suddenly a worthwhile member of the team, with useful skills, actual combat ability and perhaps most importantly, zero lines of dialogue.
- A rather complicated (and completely intentional) version occurred in The Chronicles of Narnia with Edmund Pevensie. In the beginning of the series he was...well...kinda detestable, but by the end of the first book he made a complete turn around and showed in later books that he had definitely changed for the better. A lot of people never read any further than the first book and so by the time Prince Caspian came out their hatred for Edmund was pretty deep seated. Needless to say, many people were completely blown away by seeing "bratty" Edmund behaving so maturely. The many crowning moments of awesome he got probably didn't hurt, either.
- Star Trek: Generations: Peter David made Captain Harriman, a.k.a. the indecisive idiot who got Kirk killed, a lot more tolerable in his tie-in novel "The Captain's Daughter".
- A one shot comic did the same thing: after a talk from McCoy telling him to get his act together, Harriman, when the ship was caught in a Klingon ambush and had no chance of winning, pulls off the same con Kirk did in Star Trek III. Only his surrender involved beaming his ship's entire load of torpedo warheads on to the Klingon ship. He gains a great deal of self-confidence and the respect of his crew.
- Erickson in Saw VI. In the standard year-long wait between Saw films, Erickson had become something of an in-joke with the fanbase for his ever-present bluetooth headset, as well as what was seen as his "unfortunate status" of being the last good guy still standing (and seeming to blindly play his role in The Chessmaster's latest plan, at that). VI... changed that, and to say how without spoilers is impossible. The first scene Erickson appears in in Saw VI's present timeline has him revealing that he had helped fake a fellow FBI agent's demise for the sake of effectively putting her out of harm's way, so the two of them would have the time and evidence necessary to convict Jigsaw's living apprentice. Granted, he kills both of them, but he has to Take a Level in Badass to do so, and they make him sweat heavily in the process.
- Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of Bruce Banner in The Avengers made the character the film's Ensemble Dark Horse. Shortly before the film's release it was flatly stated there were no plans for any more Hulk movies; shortly after it was announced a Hulk movie may be in development for 2015 and the actor had signed on for six more films.
- The version of Godzilla seen in Godzilla (1998) was so disliked that fans took to calling him GINO (Godzilla In Name Only). Toho even had him officially renamed "Zilla" for taking the "God" out of "Godzilla." But after Godzilla Final Wars and subsequent Godzilla comics made him a canonically separate kaiju who fought the real King of the Monsters, fans have warmed up to him on these grounds. This is particularly true after Godzilla Rulers Of Earth turned him into a full-on Villainous Underdog, facing up to the vastly stronger Godzilla with nothing but his tunneling skills and strategic sense. Gareth Edwards, in an interview where he talks about making Godzilla (2014) more faithful to the spirit and aesthetic of the original series, admitted that he finds Zilla to be pretty cool looking on its own.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past:
- This movie pretty much saved the X-Men movie franchise in the eyes of many fans after two underwhelming movies, and two more that were better-received but overshadowed by the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and resented by some for not being part of it).
- Before the movie's release Evan Peters' portrayal Quicksilver was already being highly criticized for a) not being the same as Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: The Age of Ultron and b) his costume, which many called ridiculous. When the people got to see him in the actual film though, the public's opinion of him changed radically after the Kitchen Scene.
- In A Brother's Price Corelle is a case of BigSisterBully at the beginning of the novel. However, after she gets severely punished for her misbehaviour the punishment consists of having taken away everything she owns, except for her working clothes and guns she redeems herself by not whining about the punishment and protecting Jerin. At one point she even rescues him from dancing with a woman who embarasses him, and comes up with a witty retort when the woman, who is a noble, objects.
- It seems that most readers of A Song of Ice and Fire start out hating Sansa Stark. But thanks to her Character Development over the last three books, a lot of people have started to warm up to her, and she also has plenty of die-hard converted fans - an unusual instance of a character being rescued from the Scrappy heap via Break the Cutie. It might be a case of her initial unlikable status being intentional, since the Stark kids seem to exist to give numerous different perspectives on the path to maturity. Sansa starts as idealistic, naive, and, frankly, rather foolish, but is forcibly disabused of her innocence.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe book The Courtship of Princess Leia had an exceedingly two-dimensional, generic froth-at-the-mouth-when-things-go-wrong bad villain-of-the-book. Warlord Zsinj was also visibly overweight, petty, and rather stupid. Early books in the X-Wing Series, set before Courtship, don't show him directly, he's said to be cautious and opportunistic. A character believes he's more dangerous than the notes on his file indicate. In the Aaron Allston books he's a major character, a very smart and clever warlord who uses Obfuscating Stupidity despite knowing that plenty of the people he worked with can see through the act. He's still evil, but entertainingly and memorably so.
- In fact Zjins was stated as being perhaps the most powerful third party in the galaxy, after the Empire and the New Republic. This means he was considered more powerful than the Hutts (massive criminal empire), The Hapes Consortium (high tech amazon royalty), and Kuat (a group of planets that's essentially a MASSIVE shipyard). His biggest problem was his inability to properly administer his sector, he was a military officer not a good politician.
- For clarity, this was more in terms of threat assessment. The Hutts and Kuat have no real military forces. The Hapes Consortium has a significant military force, but is militant over their neutrality. Zjinj was clever, has enough forces to be a valid threat, and had a goal that could make his an actual threat.
- It also helps that several more clever and dangerous Imperial officers turned Warlords were wiped out by the Imperials or Rebels prior to Zjinj's appearance.
- According to Word of God, Lily Bart of House Of Mirth was intentionally made to be as unlikeable as possible specifically so that she could be redeemed in the latter part of the novel. Readers vary as to whether or not this was successful.
- Getting your warrior name is apparently a pretty good way to be rescued—Cloudtail and Squirrelflight are both significantly less annoying than they were as apprentices. Berrynose shows that this doesn't always work, though.
- Apparently this was the original idea behind Jane Austen's Emma. She wrote Emma as someone who was originally unlikable and slowly redeemed her through the book. Risky literary experiment, I'll tell you that.
- Edmund and Eustace in The Chronicles of Narnia both had this effect built into their Character Development, starting off obnoxious and unlikeable but turning around thanks to their experiences in Narnia, and filling much more sympathetic roles in later books.
- Lampshaded in The Silver Chair as Eustace confides in Jill Pole that he really regrets having been a jerk in school (he was taken into Narnia during vacation) and Jill first listens to his self-hating rant, then says "well, you were a jerk, you know."
- Also inverted with Eustace at the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; after he returns to Earth, it's mentioned that his parents are upset with how he's changed.
- Mat in The Wheel of Time spends most of the first two books either being possessed or recovering from being possessed and is generally The Load and many peoples' least favorite character. Starting with the third book, where the lingering effects of the possesion are cured and he promptly Takes a Level in Badass, setting himself on the way to becoming a Badass Normal Loveable Rogue and Guile Hero, he morphed into a substantial portion of the fanbase's favorite character.
- Egwene seemed to be rescued from alternating between scrappy heap and being not too bad in the third to last book, but is not only tossed on the scrappy heap but buried under it in the last two books.
- The characters of the Wheel of Time have a tendency for this trope and the reverse. Examples for turning points besides the ones above are: Rand growing more ruthless, Rand changing dramatically by a Deus ex Machina, Rand turning from adventuring to court and cosmology, Rand turning back to adventuring for a book, Rand turning away from adventuring again (this repeats itself a couple of times), Perrin going back to the two rivers, Perrin getting mind controlled by his wife, Perrin trying to rescue his wife, Nynaeve alternating between being a bratty and ignorant youth and a merely impulsive (and quite awesome) young woman, and so on.
- Balthamos from His Dark Materials. You'd expect the death of his lover to win him some sympathy points, but the fact that his portrayal of grief is to moan and wail extremely loudly until the twelve year old that he's travelling with is forced to tell him: "dude, calm down, you're going to attract the attention of the people who are trying to kill us" and that he abandons said twelve year old as soon as their enemies turn up throws him firmly on The Scrappy pile. However, by the end of the book he returns as a Chekhov's Gunman and kills the fanatical Father Gomez, thereby preventing him from killing the children about to save all the worlds in existence.
- In "The Railway Series": Toby, Trevor, Stepney, Oliver, Gordon (who was almost dumped into the sea by Bill and Ben), Duke, and several other minor characters were all literally saved from scrap.
- In The Heroes of Olympus, Jason was seen by many as a bland and uninteresting character, especially compared to the rest of the Seven. In The House of Hades he finally gets some Character Development, and his treatment of Nico after Jason finds out about his crush on Percy in particular endeared him to readers.
- In Divergent, Peter was an irredeemable bastard, making him The Scrappy. However, Insurgent showed his more admirable traits. First, he helped Tris escape execution. Sure, it was out of obligation, but it's still something. Near the end, he took the time to comfort his grieving mother after finding out his father died in the invasion. More so in Allegiant when he reveals that he knows he's a horrible person and disgusts himself but can't help it and decides to wipe his own memory in hopes of becoming better. Makes him almost cross into Jerk Ass Woobie territory.
- Kiina from BIONICLE. Many fans disliked her brash, impatient Genki Girl personality and her tendency to shout "WOOHOO!!!" at the top of her lungs as per her portrayal in The Legend Reborn. However, in more recent Bionicle media, she seems to have undergone some Character Development, being more sensible and thinking before she acts, as well as displaying a more gentle side — but without being any less Bad Ass in battle. The novelization of said movie also retroactively justified her personality therein, explaining that she actively forced herself to appear joyful, fearing that otherwise The Hero (who she hoped would save her people) would have bailed.
- Metallica, after their We're Still Relevant, Dammit shark jumpage between the albums Load and the critically despised St. Anger, were Rescued from the Scrappy Heap when they released the album "Death Magnetic," despite its production issues, to the point where fans begged for a better remix and pirated Guitar Hero DLC versions of the songs.
- And then promptly dropped back in hard with the release of LuLu.
- They then proceeded to launch themselves right back OUT of the Scrappy Heap with their 30th anniversary shows.
- Megadeth released Risk which garnered a similar hatred as Metallica's St. Anger, though for different reasons; St Anger was hated for it's ghastly production quality and for the drums that made it sound like Lars Ulrich was banging on trash cans, while Risk had decent production but represented a drastic change in style. Risk was however saved by hardcore Megadeth fans who argue that if you judge the album as just an album and not as a "thrash metal" album that the songs are quite well written, evoke genuine heartfelt emotion, and are actually quite catchy.
- Swedish Death Metal band Hypocrisy has gone through several stylistic changes throughout the career and experimented with a number of different sounds. Generally, they were very well received...except for the Nu-metalish album ''Catch 22" which was almost universally panned by their fans. As an apology of sorts to the fans, the band re-recorded the album with much better vocals, more powerful drumming, and remastered production. The re-recording was much better received by fans.
- Blaze Bayley was the Replacement Scrappy in Iron Maiden, but that doesn't stop his solo career from being arguably the best received of the three singers (the guy he replace also had some success, but unlike Blaze people didn't hate his guts).
- The guy he replaced being Bruce Dickinson, who had a couple of false starts but has made three albums widely regarded as classics in a row since Accident of Birth, Blaze's solo career being more successful is very debatable.
- In 2005, electronic musicians Daft Punk released Human After All, which was a great disappointment to critics and fans alike; the songs were criticized as being boring and tedious, particularly when compared to the vibrancy of the duo's two previous albums. Three years later, most of those same songs were performed on their live tour, and they are awesome.
- After their first return in 1985, cult Post-Punk group Wire drew much ire from much of their fanbase by releasing a string of poppy, overproduced records, culminating in the critical disaster that was 1991's Manscape. Live, however, the songs often took on a very different character, though Wire, being the contrarians that they were, never released a proper live album from this period... Until 2010, with the inception of their "Legal Download Bootleg Series", one of the first of which was an 1988 performance from the Astoria in London. To summarise the average fan reaction: Hot damn.
- Or, somewhat earlier, their revival of various '80s numbers on their 2000 comeback tour.
- Deftones and Slipknot are the most respected bands associated with Nu Metal, to the point where their fans argue that they are not really Nu Metal at all.
- Arguably System of a Down as well; although despite their rise to popularity around the same time as the majority of the other nu metal acts, people have always been divided between whether or not they actually count as a nu metal band or if they've always been too political to properly fit that category.
- James Blunt when he appeared on Top Gear.
Come on you little ***
- To an extent, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd. His last album with the Floyd, The Final Cut, was an Anvilicious, dark, Love It or Hate It album and a slow seller, and he carried the Wangst and Control Freak tendencies well into his solo albums. He gained a certain amount of bad press over the lawsuits and public arguments over the rights to the name "Pink Floyd", as David Gilmour's Lighter and Softer Floyd gained success in the late 1980's and early 1990's. By the end of The Nineties, his feelings over Pink Floyd and the media cooled and he started performing Floyd-like arena shows with heavy emphasis over his former band's works, to the delight of many, with full performances of The Dark Side of the Moon and later, The Wall, and slowly patched things up with his old bandmates. This culminated in the Floyd's reunion show for Live 8 in 2005, and since then he has had great success and better press lately, and his full-scale performance of The Wall is a massive success.
- Whenever Kanye West releases an album it almost makes you forget that he's a douche. Almost...
- Christina Aguilera rescued herself by appearing on The Voice.
- Whenever a One-Hit Wonder releases a new single that becomes a hit, this happens. Examples include Billy Ray Cyrus with "Ready, Set, Don't Go" (16 years after "Achy Breaky Heart"note ) and Jason Mraz with "I'm Yours" .
- The Pathfinder book Misfit Monsters Redeemed attempts to do this for ten of the corniest monsters in D&D history (Including the infamous flumph, no less.) by turning their ridiculous characteristics upside-down. The aforementioned flumphs are instead benevolent Eldritch Abominations, lava children become child-like monsters rather than child-headed, the adherer's sticky bandage-like skin is instead ethereal webbing from horrible experiments by the phase spiders, and the Wolf-in-Sheep's-Clothing's lure-growth is the puppeteered corpse of a previous meal. To put is simply, Paizo succeeded.
- Half-Elfs and Half-Orcs in 3.5 were some of the worst race options a player could pick (outside of Diplomacy maximizing for Half-Elfs), with only some minor boosts to skills and immunity to sleep effects that high level characters are immune to anyways (Half Elfs) or the only race feature to make up for their unbalanced racial modifersnote being Darkvision, which other races have anyways (Half-Orc) compared to a Human's bonus feat and extra skill points. In Pathfinder both races get to pick +2 to any attribute with no penalties. Half-Elfs can pick any Skill Focus or Weapon Proficiency feat for freenote , can pick two favored classes and have the best Bard and Summoner favored class alternatives. Half-Orcs have actual racial features and a decent range of alternate features to customize themself with.
- Goblins received this right off the bat, going from generic cannon fodder for low-level adventurers, to something the creators describe as a cross between Stitch and the Gremlins, as well as making them a race of insane Improbable Weapon Users. They've become so popular now that they are the game's unofficial mascot and even have their own comic book.
- The Necrons in Warhammer 40,000 were criticized for the Story-Breaker Power technology, boring play style, and lack of unique characterization. After the newest Necron codex, their technology was tweaked and they were given a distinctly different motivations along with a variety of different viable strategies.
- Not everyone would agree with that. Yes, the Necrons did have a reputation as a bit of a Villain Sue, but many people did like the scary Cosmic Horror and Enigmatic Minion aspects of their lore, and flipped out when these were removed. The general consensus of the Oldcrons vs. Newcrons debate seems to be "Newcron game mechanics and units are better, but Oldcron lore and their general theme is better". The Forgeworld Imperial Armour release: Fall of Orpheus helped as well, by demonstrating that it was quite possible to keep many of the enigmatic horror elements that made the Oldcron fans loved, while still keeping with the new fluff.
- The Dark Eldar were also unpopular because of their ugly models and lack of good story material. The new Dark Eldar line of models fixed most of the problems, leading to a surge in popularity.
- The Chaos Spawn which is often seen as the worst unit in the whole game recently got a nice buff.
- Mention of the Chaos Spawn and no mention of many of the 6th edition updates? Abaddon is shown to not only have the 13 Black Crusades perfectly under control, Possessed are now more reliable (or unreliable in an awesome way), Belial gained himself a perfectionist character, and some could argue that Ethereals are now a must have in a Tau list, thanks to how much Vettock improved them.
- Writer Matt Ward is generally not very popular at all within the fandom, for his favouritism of the Ultramarines and the Grey Knights and for being the guy who changed the Necrons into what they are now. However, he has earned a surprising amount of respect from Eldar players, because despite all his failings and bad writing, he's the only current writer who treats the poor pointy-ears as a credible force in the galaxy, rather than the universe's piss-stained punching bag.
- Darths & Droids turns Jar Jar Binks into a likable character...by making him the imaginative product (and character) of a nine-year-old girl playing an RPG. Sadly, by their own admission, they may be throwing R2-D2 onto The Scrappy heap in his stead (making him the character of an annoying Munchkin).
- An in-story example of this can be found in The Order of the Stick, where one of the marks of Roy's Character Development is how his feelings change about the Spoony Bard Elan: originally, he thinks of him as an annoying, worthless member of the party, but eventually, he considers him a true friend (at least to the "will rescue him from a gang of bandits" level). It helps that Elan himself learns to make himself more useful.
- In the Empire of Blood storyline, Elan has become the main character, with everyone else taking a backseat. (True to the strip's usual meta attitude, the arc villain strives to make Elan the main character, myth arc be damned.)
- Chris Hazelton, author of Misfile, lampshades fan reaction to the comic's resident Scrappy, Missi's, rescue from the heap in this strip.
- Mike from Something*Positive. While still quite prone to forays into dumbass territory, he has become a much wiser, more mature, and more decent person than he was in his first appearance. He has handled the pressures of being a family man with amazingly few missteps, and he was depicted as dealing with a stint working fast food with surprising grace. When you consider that most of the strip's antagonistic characters either stay antagonistic or sink to new lows, his evolution as a character is remarkable.
- Similarly, Kharisma, whose self-absorption, vanity, and contempt for others had her squarely in the scrappy zone from her first appearance. She's suffered quite a bit since then, but in the process she's gained quite a lot of sympathy from the readers. As the author put it: "I have to say I'm surprised by how many people actually look forward to Kharisma strips and more stunned it's not to see her suffer."
- Marigold from Questionable Content . During her first appearances she was your stereotypical otaku/ gamer nerd: far less attractive than any other character, a virgin, ridiculously slobby, a stereotypical Yaoi Fan Girl with bad skin and No Social Skills. The first story arc she was used in involved her lusting after a guy who wanted another girl (one of the main characters) instead, and was written in such a clumsy way that implied otaku/geek-girls are untouchable. Lately, she's become a lot more likable (and less offensive), with her appearance being updated ( or to be more accurate, "completely changed"), quickly getting over her crush after she learns it wasn't viable and being less mopey and self-obsessed than most of other main characters.
- Lyonel from Samurai Princess was introduced in such a way ( Giving a well liked character a Traumatic Haircut) that he was doomed from the start. He is now becoming a more likable and enjoyable character.
- Melissa from El Goonish Shive was introduced as a Clingy Jealous Girl and Stalker with a Crush who betrayed Justin's trust by publicly outing him, insisted his homosexuality was "just a phase," and constantly hounded him for dates, refusing to take no for an answer. The New and Old Flames story arc toned down her psychotic tendencies and revealed a surprisingly compelling backstory, even giving her a few genuinely badass moments.
- Magick Chicks: When Faith's character was first introduced, she was perceived as a smug antagonist to Mel, who most readers felt was too powerful. But her development following the Layla incident and Hecate's attack revealed she was well-meaning (albeit morally grey), causing a significant portion of the readership to change their opinion of her - with some becoming fans of her character.
- There was also speculation that Faith was somehow mind controlling the student body, in order to seduce them; causing some readers to question whether any of her trysts could be considered consensual. The truth regarding whether her powers were at work was revealed to have occurred without her being aware of it. Faith was sufficiently horrified when faced with the realization.
- Happens from time to time in Survival of the Fittest, usually because of Character Development and/or Characterization Marches On. The most classic example would be v1's Nanami Nishida who was universally considered annoying by most handlers when she was alive. Sometime after her death, though, handlers started to realize just how much her life sucked. Likewise, in v4 Liz Polanski and Raidon Naoko had many handlers skeptical when their profiles first came up (the former being a Broken Bird drug dealer, the latter being a Japanese immigrant whose father was a member of the Yakuza). Once they officially made their first appearances on the island and turned out to be a Crazy Awesome Trickster Archetype and Anti-Villain Philosopher respectively, however, many handlers changed their minds and adored them. There are countless other examples that it's impossible to name them all.
- In Sim Brother Network's "Sim Big Brother USA", Maya. Week 2, she gets in a huge physical fight with Shantel and becomes disliked. Only reason people voted to evict Shantel over her? Because Maya would make drama. However, Alex and Nicola became the new antagonists as they broke Duncan's Heart and rubbed it in his face after a night of drinking. When Duncan was near the Despair Event Horizon, Maya said that what Alex and Nicola did was despicable and was there for Duncan, especially after Big Brother asked her to. She then proceeded to become a "hero" for the rest of the season with Duncan as The Woobie and finished in second.
- In Death Note The Abridged Series (Kpts4tv) Takada and Near are far more likeable and/or interesting than their canon counterparts. Takada is a reasonable and likeable Only Sane Woman and Near is Laughably Evil.
- Cortana in some ways in Arby 'n' the Chief. In her first appearances in Season 2, all she did was flirt with Todd while complaining about how awful her life is with Arbiter and Chief and ultimately wound up disappearing along with Todd and Travis. However come Season 7, she returns and is more outgoing and voluntarily helpful to Arbiter and Chief. This however is sadly short-lived.
- The Lizzie Bennet Diaries did this with Lydia; many people who found her unbearable in the original book grew to love her more likeable personality in the webseries and consequently hate Wickham even more for his emotional manipulation of her.
- Animator vs. Animation III has Clippy, loathed by everyone who has had to use Microsoft Office, put up a surprisingly good fight against the Chosen One.