"I don't need a me who isn't perfect!"A character that has to be perfect at what they do, or at everything they do. There's a variation when some sort of special event is going on, where there's usually one crazy organizer who takes charge and the rest just go along. This chief organizer has a pretty good chance of becoming an overbearing perfectionist. Of course, said person obviously needs to learn that nothing is perfect in life. After all if it was, it'd be pretty boring. Whether or not the message gets through is up to the character. In a Four-Temperament Ensemble, this character is Choleric or Melancholic. Compare and contrast Super OCD (even if in Real Life perfectionism is more likely to be a trait of OCPD), as well as the Ultimate Life Form and Go-Getter Girl, who is "perfect". Also compare the Broken Ace, who often overlaps with this character.
— Ayaka, Ano Ko ni Kisu to Shirayuri wo
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Death the Kid from Soul Eater. Symmetry is just his most prominent obsession. Others span from trivial ones like writing his name perfectly on test paper to maintaining perfect balance of good and evil in the world.
- For Chiri from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, everything has to be done "properly" ... even things that are not right, if you don't do them the right way.... let's just say things don't get pretty.
- Deconstructed with Machi in Fruits Basket. Throughout her childhood, she was forced to be absolutely perfect. Now, perfection actually causes her to snap and wreck things on purpose.
- Asuka Langley from Neon Genesis Evangelion, who uses perfectionism as a way of avoiding dealing with her cripplingly low self-esteem. Once she loses her status as the number one pilot, bad things begin to happen to her sanity.
- A Certain Magical Index has Shizuri Mugino, at least before her Heel–Face Turn. Shiage Hamazura noted that if she hadn't been obsessed with a perfect victory, she would have been able to kill him in an instant. Instead, she toyed with him while waiting for the perfect moment to end the fight, allowing him to counterattack. He also describes her as someone who will freak out if they beat a video game without doing 100% completion.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, the teacher Ukyo Kitano acts like this when possessed by No. 34: Terror-Byte, to the point that he devotes some of his resources to make sure he never takes any damage. In his normal persona, he's a kind man who encourages his students to take risks and learn from their mistakes.
- Henry Wong from Digimon Tamers has this as one of his few flaws. In addition to the inherent problems this causes, it comes into conflict with his pacifism, since perfectionism abhors compromise.
- Miki Aono/Cure Berry from Fresh Pretty Cure! usually peppers her words with "Perfect" to the point her Catch-Phrase is "I'm perfect!". As an aspiring model, she usually goes out of her way to keep up with her perfect appearance and manner, but unlike most of the examples here, she could take failures better, by lamenting "I'm not perfect...". Also, if she really perceives that something is really her fault or there's bigger stakes at hand, she'd ignore whatever imperfect look she had, in order to fix that fault or solve that stake. Unlike most examples here, however, Miki remain a positively good and sane girl despite her 'perfectionist' stance.
- In Bleach, although one would expect him to be one considering his love for experimentation, Mayuri makes it quite clear that he absolutely loathes perfection. To him, perfection means there is no place left for additional knowledge and abilities and thus nothing left else for him as a scientist to strive for.
- In Naruto, the Sunny-Side Battle! OVA has Itachi attempting to make breakfast: every single one of his eggs is a failure in some way. Everyone else would just pick the eggshel out of the yolk or, if that seems too Squicky, settle for the egg whose yolk dripped out. But Itachi is having none of that. His sunny-side up egg has to be absolutely perfect.
- David has long been praised as absolute perfection of human anatomy. Michelangelo worked for two years straight on David, sleeping rarely and eating sparsely. There are hundreds of tiny details that you can see, from the raised veins on his hand from the grip on the stone to the small genitals, not only standard for the time and area, but also an example of pre-battle shrinkage.
The only notable anatomy flaw is that of a missing muscle in the back. But it was necessary. A flaw in the block of marble prevented Michelangelo from carving it, as mentioned in a letter he released at the time of finishing. It's the same flaw (among others) that had the block of marble sitting in a plaza for 40 years before Michelangelo took a chance.
- Twilight Sparkle in Stardust upon being asked to take a break after working for nineteen hours: "Sleep is for B minus ponies. I'm an A+ pony."
- Vigil in The Irony Of Applejack has this as one of his defining traits. It also counts as his Fatal Flaw.
- Shirou in Fate Revelation Online became this as a blacksmith. If the sword he created didn't match what he envisioned, he immediately breaks it down and uses the materials to try again. Lisbeth doesn't understand how he can be so good at his job and yet, for quite a while, not produce a single sword he didn't deem a failure.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, the Stardroid Terra sees any sign of imperfection as disgusting, even extending to things such as dirt.
- Lord Shen works for perfection in many aspects throughout The Vow, like his fighting style and appearance, the gifts and training for self-defense he gives Lianne, his coming wedding and his attempts to be theatrical.
Films — Animated
- The LEGO Movie: Lord "All I want is total perfection" Business, to the point where he doesn't believe in failure. This normally results in him exacting his murderous wrath on anyone when an imperfection turns up. He has also created a Police State where everyone has to follow the instructions, otherwise they will be put to sleep, connected with his hatred of Master Builders who are a lot more chaotic and individualistic than his system is. Mostly because he is a representation of Finn's father in real life, who likes order and control and doesn't want anyone messing with his LEGO sets.
Films — Live-Action
- Nina's Fatal Flaw in the Black Swan.
- In Pacific Rim, both Chuck Hansen and Mako Mori are perfectionists who have no social life, very few if any friends, and are completely invested in the Jaeger Program. They don't tolerate failure from anyone, including themselves.
- TRON: Legacy: "I'm Clu. I will create the perfect system."
- Mentioned by the Navy psychiatrist as one of Lt. Queeg's faults in The Caine Mutiny.
- Thoroughly Deconstructed in The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, with the titular character.
- In Terra Ignota, the Utopians are an entire quasi-nation of perfectionists due to attracting this particular type of members. They always take the time to do everything perfectly, no matter how small an error or how long it takes. For example, the worldwide transit system is controlled by the Humanist Hive, and is the safest, fastest, and most efficient transit system in human history. There was an accident which resulted in a number of Utopians (and others) dying. Everyone else accepted it as an unfortunate statistical error, but the Utopians removed themselves from the Humanist system and created their own transit system. It is slower and smaller, but it has never caused even one death.
Live Action TV
- Monica Geller from Friends, especially in later seasons when Flanderization set in.
- Bree van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives, especially in the first season. Her second husband Orson could qualify too.
- Boston Legal: Denny Crane has never lost a case. Nowadays he only takes cases he thinks it's a lock to win, and/or takes second chair in cases so if he side does lose it doesn't count for his stats.
- Game of Thrones: A defining feature of Tywin Lannister. Tywin is obsessed with House Lannister's reputation, never misses an opportunity to point out his children's flaws and disrespects anyone that does not live up to his standards... which is everyone else but himself. On the other hand, his perfectionism is one of the major reasons he is aware of everything that goes on around him and what makes him a deadly strategist.
- In Star Trek, the entire Borg Collective is this trope, with special mention for Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager.
- Masato Jin/BeetBuster of Tokumei Sentai Go Busters is an inversion of this trope. While he sees nothing wrong with perfection, he feels that flaws make things more interesting.
- Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory counts, he constantly tells everyone how smart he is, and organizes everything he does to the smallest detail.
- Recurring character Craig "The world's most perfect paramedic" Brice on Emergency!. He drives the main characters nuts with his insistence on doing everything perfectly.
- Detective Amy Santiago in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, who describes herself as "a little OCD". This is a little like saying that the Atlantic Ocean is "a little wet". Detective Jake Peralta is an interesting case, in that he initially appears to be a lazy slacker who doesn't take anything seriously, but he can be surprisingly intense when it comes to doing his job successfully; he just has slightly different standards of 'perfect' than others.
- One of the My Kitchen Rules judge, Colin Fassnidge, is known for setting a very high standard for himself and others. Suffice to say, this gives him a reputation of being ultra-critical and awfully hard to please, and the scores he gives to the contestants is almost always in the lower margin.
- Lito in Sense8 always asks the director to film one more take, even after he's told that he nailed it.
- Deconstructed with Vanessa from Backstage: When she gets a role in a ballet production of Cinderella, she obsesses so much over dancing perfectly that she isn't able to relax and enjoy herself, which negatively affects her during rehearsals. Worse yet, she initially takes her teacher's attempts to remedy this as personal attacks, though she eventually eases up.
- In the Pilot Episode for the Amazon Studios series The Interestings, the members of the title group are having a hypothetical discussion about living people who could be God in disguise. When Ash Wolf (another member of the group) is brought up as a candidate, the suggestion is immediately shot down because Ash fits this trope. "She would never have let a mistake like Dick Nixon slide."
- Oliver the Great from Dogs of C-Kennel.
- Canonically in most Dungeons & Dragons settings, it's a traditional mentality of elves. This means they spend centuries to improve some or other art, craft or fighting style as far as they can. So they end up regularly doing stuff that amazes others, but being too focused on refinement to ever do much of anything at all.
- Magic: The Gathering: Yawgmoth, and by extention every Phyrexian, is obsessed with perfection. Their methods to reach it always include a good dose of Body Horror. On New Phyrexia, the white Praetor Elesh Norn made it a religion.
- Creepily shows up with Sirush from The Reconstruction. One of his passive abilities even revolves around this.
No room for error. None.
- The Avatar from Fire Emblem Awakening aims to have no war casualties and will consider any mission a failure, even if the mission was successful, if one of his/her units dies. Fitting considering how most gamers play Fire Emblem.
- Roy in Fire Emblem 6 has a similar attitude to his troops, as revealed in a support conversation with one of his cavillers.
- Relius Clover in BlazBlue is a horrific perfectionist, as he is also a Mad Scientist with penchant of Mind Rape and possessing complete Lack of Empathy. He's trying to achieve perfection and his goal was to create the "Perfect Doll". And he has never suffer a crushing defeat... until BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, where he witnessed his plan to reset the world completely obliterated by the hands of Bang Shishigami. As this was his first time taking utter, unsalvagable defeat right on his face and his plan cannot be prepared again in a short time, Relius ends up suffering a quiet, but massive and well-deserved Villainous Breakdown that he's willing to let himself be beaten down to near death (he was just about ready to get himself killed) by his rival, and then lets himself be put on the leash by the very son he deeply traumatized nonchalantly in his quest of perfection and the woman whose emotions and love he just recently manipulated just so he could get extra fodders.
- Amara in Fleuret Blanc is actually fairly successful at this, to the point that she's comfortable being a Snark Knight. Tying into the Central Theme of materialism, she tries to surround herself with only the most expensive and high-quality of items.
- Interestingly, her prized possession is a reminder of an instance where she slipped up: she used the metronome to maintain her rhythm during fencing practice, but accidentally damaged it with a botched thrust.
- Gaichû in Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong is a mild example, mentioning that his role in his former team was to be the one to hone the team to perfection in the minutiae and never being satisfied, thus keeping them constantly drilling. This meant that, when he was exposed to The Virus and became a ghoul, he became affixed on mastering his new form as if it was any other kind of handicap.
- The Jennerit from Battleborn in general are this. Anything they deem imperfect must be fixed or destroyed. If the Jennerit need to manipulate the laws of the universe in the process, so be it.
- Blue Revolver will accuse the player of being one if they restart Stage 1 three times in a row, "awarding" them the "The Perfectionist" achivement.
- Jett in SC2VN leaves her old team because they're worse than bad - they're complacent.
- In Reflections on the River, Prince Shun tends this way. Being something of a Sheltered Aristocrat, he can often achieve perfection at home, but as Zheng's prisoner, he's exposed to new challenges. When cooking, for example, he's actually distressed to find that although most of the pieces of radish he sliced are exactly equal, there's one on the end which isn't. Zheng, who never bothers to even try, is bemused.
- Manfred von Karma from Ace Attorney, who maintained a perfect win record for over 40 years through perfectly coached witnesses and perfectly prepared evidence. When defense attorney Gregory Edgeworth manages to land a penalty on him, von Karma enacts a revenge that defines Disproportionate Retribution. (Unfortunately, his perfectionism has left him with the no ability to think on the fly nor to cope with a situation not perfectly under his control, leading to his downfall).
- Manfred's daughter, Franziska, is also a perfectionist because she believes she has to uphold the family name. In a late, unguarded conversation with her brother, she admits that she's neither perfect nor a genius but she had to be.
- Klavier Gavin is not a perfectionist in court, where he's one of the few prosecutors who aren't at all amoral. When it comes to his career as a rock star, on the other hand, he won't tolerate even the slightest error in his band's performances.
- The cranes of Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story seem obsessed with keeping the Vinylmation figures in a very specific order.
- Grandmaster of Theft's Cassidy Cain strives to be the perfect at anything she aims at, to the point where she relentlessly drills herself, seeks challenges to improve, and won't accept anything less of her.
- The Nostalgia Critic always wants everything to be perfect and breaks down in disappointment when the movies he's watching inevitably "fail" him.
- A lot of Stormtouched artists in Twisted Cogs are this. It's justified since making even the tiniest mistake can block your storm from acting properly.
- As an example, when Frederica, a Caelator, had to go on with her project, it ended with the sculpture being born...with its first memory being agonizing pain due to a scratch mark on its face.
- In Noob, Saphir, Justice guild's recruiter, has to make sure only the best players join the guild. She hence requires candidates not only to be maxed out on any in-game feature one can think of, but to have a spartiate lifestyle outside of it. Requirements include no job (e.g. either living with one's parents or living off unemployment benefits), no romantic relationships, not requiring too much sleep, having only one meal per day because having three is lost time in her opinion. She also seems to have a bane for interviewing players in Dead Character Walking form.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula is shown to have heavy dosages of this, first seen when she is practicing her Lightningbending. Graceful execution, deadly precision, power, and striking speed... but a single hair out of place. Not satisfied with being "almost perfect", Azula's shown compulsively retrying her technique. Later down the road it turns out that being Daddy's Little Villain doesn't save you from being used in Ozai's schemes, and Azula's cool demeanor breaks, culminating in a colossal Villainous Breakdown.
- Rarity from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- Twilight Sparkle even more so. She has the version of this you find in Real Life in people who did very well in early schooling... and thus never got used to getting less-than-perfect scores.
- Applejack likewise has an episode ("The Last Roundup") devoted to this character trait. Although in this case, it was less to do with the fact she didn't do perfectly in and of itself and more that the fact that she didn't do perfectly meant she didn't get the money she promised. She was less concerned about the fact that her performance was flawed and more that she made a promise to someone who was counting on her.
- Courtney from Total Drama, a straight-A student, an aspiring lawyer and an Insufferable Genius with a notoriously competitive streak who does not take well to failure. Ironically, her overly-competitive drive usually proves to be her greatest weakness in the game.
- Archibald Asparagus from VeggieTales.
- Peggy from King of the Hill in the later seasons who just can't stand being upstaged or wrong in the slightest.
- Helga's older sister Olga from Hey Arnold!, who once broke down into a state of teary depression over a B+.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Mr. Harriman is this trope, full stop. The Camping Episode had him repeatedly demanding the tent to be torn down and set back up again when it doesn't reach his standards. When they finally have it perfect, he tells them to tear it down again and make it more perfect.
- Pearl from Steven Universe is clearly this.
- "Symmetrical means BOTH SIDES HAVE TO BE THE SAME!"
- In the early seasons, the titular Kim Possible strived for this. It was even lampshaded in her Animal Motif.
- In the rebooted series of Bob the Builder, Roley is this trope. His tendency to ensure his job is done perfectly can result in jobs being delayed, as shown in the episode "Car Wash".
- Fred Astaire's flawless dancing technique came at a cost. He often failed to meet his own expectations, and constantly questioned whether or not he was a good dancer and we're talking about somebody who's considered to be the best dancer in the history of the Hollywood film industry.
- NBA legend Jerry West suffered from this. Even when he posted a quadruple-double he criticized how he played defence. During his playing days, when he won a game he'd feel nothing, when he lost it felt like the end of the world. When West was GM for the Lakers he often couldn't watch the Lakers play because he couldn't stomache the idea of losing.
- A positive example is Jerry Rice, the all-time NFL leader in...a lot of things. He was perfectionist about how he ran routes, his physical conditioning, his exact weight for a game, where he would catch the ball and the list goes on. During his hall of fame induction speech he (positively) credited being afraid of failure as the engine for his peerless work ethic and success.
- Thomas Andrews, the head designer for the RMS Titanic. He was aboard for its maiden voyage to observe the general performance of the new ship and note anything that needed improvement. Despite some cosmetic changes, he said to a friend that the ship was "as nearly perfect as human brains can make her." Of course, he said this on April 14th, only a few hours before the sinking.
- Richard Donner has this reputation, using the word "Verisimilitude" as a mantra during production of Superman, best exemplified in its tagline "You will believe a man can fly." Unfortunately, he got fired during production of Superman II because of his perfectionism. And years later, while making the music video for The Goonies soundtrack song "(Goonies 'R) Good Enough", Cyndi Lauper found him so hard to work with, doing take after take even when she was tired, that it wasn't until 2003 that she'd include the song in her discography.
- According to most accounts, George Broussard's rampant perfectionism was a primary factor in the Troubled Production and penultimate demise of Duke Nukem Forever.