Split-Personality Team

Split Personalities aren't always hostile to the original or radically different in Character Alignment. Sometimes the personalities are different in complementary rather than strictly antagonistic ways. Sometimes they even have common goals.

In a Split Personality Team, a character's multiple personalities have a "division of labor" in which each personality takes charge during a particular emotion, challenge, or aspect of life. The personalities that take over during these special circumstances generally have skills or psychological traits that suit them for the job. A common variation is a more resilient or even badass personality that surfaces during moments of extreme stress if the core personality is psychologically fragile.

The Split-Personality Team is less horror-oriented than other Split Personality Tropes, because the alternates are generally on the core personality's side, or at least looking out for their shared welfare. It's more commonly used in psychologically oriented stories exploring the complexity of a character's fractured mind. Some Real Life accounts of Dissociative Identity Disorder report a similar phenomenon, which may have inspired the trope.

May involve Talking to Themself. Compare Mind Hive and some instances of Multiple Head Case. Multiform Balance is the shapeshifter version.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Shinobu Sensui from YuYu Hakusho has seven personalities, created after a psychologically traumatic event to help carry his burdens. They could even converse with each other and convince each other to take a particular course of action. i.e, the suave Manipulative Bastard seen at the beginning is "Minoru", created to contact and deal with Sensui's followers, and when Yusuke manages to land a hit on "Minoru" Sensui switches to a personality named "Kazuya", who is an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight that handles the actual killing of the human beings Sensui hates so much.
  • In Naruto, Zetsu is the only Akatsuki member who doesn't go around in Evil Duo - his teammate is himself, i.e Black and White Zetsu. The white is goofy and gleeful while the black is serious. He can also split into two halves.
  • Change 123 plays with this. Shrinking Violet Motoko possesses four other personalities. The first three, known collectively as "HiFuMi", are able to converse among themselves and, when Motoko is in danger, can trade off as needed to combat the threat. Motoko, however, can not and is often left dealing with the aftermath of their actions. The last personality, Zero, is a rage-fueled Implacable Man and, thus, not typically cooperative.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Before Yami's true nature and origin were revealed, everyone thought he was a Split Personality of Yugi (Yugi called him "other me"). As Yami was the better duellist and had the mind powers to punish cheating opponents, they switched out for battles. One one occasion, they defeated a mind reader by switching out before drawing a card. Yami and Yugi's final duel serves to demonstrate that Yugi no longer needs Yami to fight for him, letting Yami move on to the afterlife.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure has this in the form of Part 5's main villain, Diavolo, and his split personality, Doppio. Being extremely paranoid of people finding out his identity, Diavolo doesn't go out in public, preferring to "switch" to Doppio, who definitely seems more normal so long as you don't stick your nose too deep into his business...

    Comic Books 
  • The Incredible Hulk: In the early 2000s Bruce Banner develops Lou Gehrig's Disease, which is killing him. He strikes a bargain with the various Hulks in his head (primarily the green Savage, gray Joe Fixit, and Professor personalities): they can come out whenever they think is appropriate, and in turn they keep Banner alive.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Fai Films' Ferngully The Last Rainforest has The Hero Zack needs Batty Koda to fly him to the control section of the leveler, but Batty's instinctive fear of anything man-made obstructs this effort. Zack slaps Batty, which literally rewires the bat's brain, until Batty thinks that he's in a John Wayne movie, whereupon he bravely flies Zack to the Giant Mecha.

    Literature 
  • This is explored in depth in Mirror Dance. Mark Vorkosigan develops a Split Personality Team he dubs the "Black Gang" (because they do the dirty jobs) in order to survive and eventually escape Cold-Blooded Torture. Three of the personalities are Too Kinky to Torture (in different ways) and one of them is a manifestation of Mark's assassin training. Mark's only regret is that he can't take his alternate personalities to a posh dinner like Miles can with Admiral Naismith.
  • When Rabbit Howls: The Troops have some elements of this, although they don't always surface for practical reasons. Mean Joe protects the most vulnerable personalities, Grace the Zombie keeps going under immense strain, Black Katherine deals with rage, and so forth. They also don't sequester emotions to certain people. Each has his or her own full range of emotions, but handle them in different ways; through art, writing, work, etc.
  • Aristoi by Walter Jon Williams features a ruling class of people that pretty much have this as a superpower.
  • Joe's World by Eric Flint: Wolfgang Laebmauntsforscynneweeld, wielding the twin powers of madness and amnesia, and is himself both "the main patient, the head psychiatrist, the chief tester as well as testee of experimental drugs, and the captain of the security guard" at the Begfat asylum that he himself founded, so he could have a home of his own.
  • This Alien Shore by Celia S Friedman: The main character Jamisia is on the run, and struggles to understand the Others, extra people who live in her head. In the space colonies, mental "disorders" have been accepted as variant normal (people paint their faces with kaja designs, associated with totemic animal spirits, to indicate what variances they have). The most prominent among the Others in the story are Derik, aggressive and impulsive; Raven, trained as a pilot and a technician; and Katlyn, the seductress. At the very end, the group escapes to a safe area of space and is identified as belonging to a kaja called rusa, a deer which in Japanese mythology sheltered within its body the spirits of lost souls.
  • Discworld: Altogether Andrews is one of the Crazy Homeless People introduced in The Truth, whose eight or so personalities manifest themselves whenever they need to express their opinion, in this case whether selling newspapers constitutes work.
  • In Blindsight multiple personalities are no longer considered to be a mental disorder and some people have them surgically induced for multi-tasking. The team's linguist, known as "The Gang" has four primary personas and dozens of partial personality nodes.
  • In Artemis Fowl: The Atlantis Complex, Artemis develops a second personality called Orion. After the Big Bad brands Artemis with a rune of enthrallment, Artemis endures an electric shock in order to awaken Orion, who turns out to be unaffected by the rune and possesses martial arts prowess which Artemis does not, making him very useful in the conflict that follows.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Jekyll, Jackman and Hyde agree to devote their respective talents towards the common goal of saving Jackman's family. True to the trope, they retain their individual personalities and and powers or lack of them. Their alliance is simply a case of switching voluntarily depending on which would be most useful at any time.
  • A Sense8, from the show of the same name, consists of eight people with a mental link, turning them into a collective Hive Mind. Each original personality still exists, and can take over for someone in a situation where one person's skills is better suited to another person's problem.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Practiced by Eldar in Warhammer 40,000: keeping themselves free of Chaos influence requires utmost focus on whatever they do — in particular, all the craftworld warriors have a civilian and warrior persona, switched through an elaborate pre-battle ritual.

    Video Games 
  • The killer7 use this as a gameplay mechanic, with all the Smiths playing differently, using different weapons, and having different skills despite being split personalities of one man (the twist being that the one man is not the one that we think. They even appear to change form when they switch personalities and have their own health meters.
  • In Grandia II Elena, a White Magician Girl by default, gains a Superpowered Evil Side, who is a Person of Mass Destruction, as a result of Demonic Possession. When she becomes Millennia, usually right before a major boss battle, she helps the party, at first because their short-term goals coincide, and later because she's in love with the main character. Just before the final boss, she gains a separate body and they are able to fight together.

    Visual Novels 

    Western Animation 
  • Mike of Total Drama has this going for him. His personalities include a resilient Situation expy, an athlete, a Grumpy Old Man, an Adventurer Archaeologist ... and Mal. All of these personalities except for the latter (maybe) have easy if slightly situational triggers (athletic challenge, not wearing a shirt, wearing a certain type of hat, etc.) that can be exploited to this effect.
  • In Transformers Animated Blitzwing has three personalities. Anger brings up a drill sergeant who transforms into a tank and uses fire as a weapon. When calm, a more rational personality, in the form of a tactical specialist, takes over. This one transforms into a jet and uses ice as a weapon. These two personalities conflict with each other, and the third personality acts as a bridge between the two. This last one shows up randomly, without provocation, and is insane; however, he is the most powerful out of the three because he can use both ice and fire. He does not appear very often, and when he does, only sticks around for a few seconds.
  • Alpha Q in Transformers Energon has a few, very distinct, separate personalities. Each personality has their own face. Overlaps with Multiple Headcase and Mind Hive.
  • Invoked in South Park: A psychiatrist diagnoses multiple personality disorder at Butters when he plays trucker, cowboy or detective. It then turns out that the psychiatrist himself has MPD and one of his personalities, a boy named Billy, tries to convince Butters to become "Inspector Butters" in order to solve a crime. Butters plays along, because the psychiatrist is armed and one of his personalities is ready to shoot him if he steps out of the line.

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