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 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
, who is
"perfect". Also compare the Broken Ace
, who often overlaps with this character.
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 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 Precure 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.
Films — Animated
- 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.
Films — Live-Action
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sturgis Turner from JAG.
- 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 insistance 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.
- 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.
- Manfred von Karma from Ace Attorney, who killed a defense attorney and raised said attorney's son into a ruthless prosecutor just because his perfect win record was slightly damaged (and he still won the trial!).
- Manfred's daughter, Franziska, is also a perfectionist.
- 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 FE 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.
- 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.
- Archibald Asparagus from Veggie Tales.
- 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.
- 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 the greatest dancer in Hollywood film history.
- 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.