Unintentionally Unsympathetic
aka: Fat Monica

"There's a difference between having a sympathetic backstory and actually being sympathetic."

When a character's supposed insecurities or embarrassing quirks are supposed to inspire sympathy, but fail to impress the audience because they're mishandled or plain written badly.

It's a cousin trope to Cursed with Awesome — it can be hard to dredge up sad feelings for a character whose life is in every respect more glamorous (or at very least, more interesting) than the reader's. True unintentional unsympathy is generally reserved for unpopular traits such as being overweight or being a nerd, both of which tend to be grossly exaggerated on television (see Hollywood Pudgy and Hollywood Nerd) and usually have nothing to do with anyone who might have such problems.

Sometimes these are humorous things in a character's past dredged up to embarrass them. This is supposed to make the character more human without affecting their present "perfection."

Can even go for villains, and here it's an especially easy trap to fall into: Sometimes one is meant to be more complex or gray-area, but their Freudian Excuse just doesn't cover the acts they go on to commit. Yeah, we're sorry your little sister died in that building the superhero battle knocked over, but that doesn't not make you a sociopath for trying to blow up the hero's entire planet. Note in this case that the "unintentionally" is an important part of this trope: if the excuse the villain makes is flimsy on purpose, it's likely not this trope.

Often a problem with The Scrappy and some varieties of Mary Sue. Also Designated Hero.

Occasionally, Values Dissonance comes into play. A legitimate cause for Angst in the country that it was produced might seem like Wangst to fans abroad, and what might be acceptable behavior in one country might lose a character a great deal of respect from fans in another

This is the opposite of Unintentionally Sympathetic, and can be the result for those who are opposing characters who are more sympathetic than the author intended.

Compare and contrast Hate Sink, when a character is purposely made as unsympathetic as possible by the author.

See also Law of Disproportionate Response.


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • I'm a Mac... and I'm a PC:
    • Aside from being a smear campaign against the PC, the Mac comes across more as a smug yuppie than anything next to the poor put-upon everyman playing the PC.
    • British versions of the ads starred Mitchell and Webb as PC and Mac respectively, in a way that was reminiscent of their Peep Show characters, Mark and Jeremy. In other words, PC is a basically likable and honest, if rather geeky, guy, while Mac is a selfish, irresponsible layabout.
    • The features they chose to highlight had this problem too. All the PC advantages the ads waved off as boring were things most people actually need, while the Mac advantages were all things that are useless to anyone who isn't a dedicated artist. It makes the Mac character come off as smug that he doesn't have a job more than anything.
  • commercials for the Toyota Highlander featured a kid bragging about how his parents are cool and not embarrassing now that they bought the Highlander. But he comes off as a smug little bastard, and we're supposed to sympathize with the other kids whose parents don't drive Highlanders. Being a nice, loving parent just isn't good enough, oh no, if you don't drive the right car your kid has every right to hate you! Even worse, once they buy the Highlander, he's seen not only pitying his friends whose parents didn't buy one, but, to make his parents "cooler", makes them throw out everything in the house he doesn't like, including their family portrait.
  • DirecTV's ads portray a man who married a... marionette and had a child with her. Yet he constantly brags about how his TVs have no wires now that he switched to Direct TV, often right in front of his wife, son, or father in law. While he attempts to deflect he was talking about the TVs, it all comes off as a man who's hating his own family for being different.
  • This recent Kia Forte commercial posits the average attention span is 8 seconds and their emergency brake system, lane assist, etc. can all help keep drivers safe. They demonstrate this with a woman who gets so caught up singing along to the radio that she nearly crashes because she wasn't paying attention to the road. While emergency brake systems do have their merits, it's not hard to think the lady shouldn't be behind the wheel.

    Anime and Manga 
  • Fairy Tail:
    • Karen Lilica. She was a famous and beautiful Celestial Spirit Mage who was also incredibly cruel to the spirits she summoned, especially the Zodiac spirit Aries. After she abused Aries once too often, her other Zodiac spirit Leo stepped in and basically cut off her magic until she released him and Aries from their contracts (explanation: Karen was only powerful enough to support one summoned spirit at a time. As long as Leo remained in the human world, he counted as that spirit despite not following orders or fighting for her, preventing her from summoning any others). Eventually, she was killed By Angel of the Oracion Seis when she got desperate and took on a job despite not being able to perform magic. The death is played for tragedy, and it got Leo locked out of the Celestial Spirit realm (leading to him becoming Loke of Fairy Tail), but most audience members just felt sorry for Leo, since he was punished for something that was mostly Karen's fault.
    • Minerva, whose behavior is revealed to be the result of her father abusing her. Unfortunately, this comes after a long list of Kick the Dog moments in the previous story arcs, such as taking Erza and Kagura's mutual friend Millianna hostage to force them to fight each other and torturing Millianna while they do so, which the excuse does not justify or explain. Her guildmates, who were also subjected to Jiemma's Social Darwinist views, never went out of their way to sadistically torment their opponents like Minerva did. Even Jiemma himself wasn't a sadist, merely not caring about the suffering of others rather than reveling in it.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya:
    • The main character had this in The Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya. Nagaru Tanigawa wants you to feel sorry for her after Kyon scolded her, but take it into account that the reason Kyon lashed out at her in the first place was because she spiked Mikuru's drink for a scene in a movie, kept hitting her, and said "Mikuru is my toy." This is probably the only time she ever gets called out for her Jerk Ass behavior.
    • Kyon also gets this, as well. After acting without thinking and nearly hitting Haruhi, which is not something one would expect a logical mind like his to do, he blows off his angry outburst in the days that follow and refuses to even accept a single iota of responsibility for his actions, even when Koizumi outright tells him to go apologize, and even when Haruhi has one of her biggest Pet the Dog moments in the entire series.
  • To a non-contemporary-Japanese audience, Momotaro from the World War II propaganda film Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors comes off as a monster rallying adorable animals together to go to war and brutally kill British soldiers.
  • Several of the Naruto characters fall into this sometimes as well due to the author's insistence on shoving the "everyone is redeemable" moral into our face.
    • The Uchiha Clan itself comes off as this. Despite being destroyed by Konoha, the manga repeatedly goes out of its way to show that they have been a violent, unstable clan since ancient times due to their Curse of Hatred mantra. The fact that the Uchiha also have warred amongst themselves with the reality abusing Izanagi, the way they gain power by killing their friends and siblings... and when responded by a good supposition that one of their own controlled Kurama — instead of helping in the investigation and enduring a bit of surveillance to catch the culprit they isolate themselves from the village and begin plotting a coup. The four main Uchiha members suffer from this the most:
      • Sasuke seems to be meant to be seen as a morally gray character being led down the wrong path by his obsession with revenge, but to a number of fans his Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, recent descent into mass murder of Samurai he could have easily defeated non-lethally, and callous disregard for how many people have to suffer for his own emotional satisfaction has caused a number of fans to think he does not deserve Naruto's goodwill or his being treated as redeemed despite making no attempt at redemption besides an offhand apology.
      • Itachi, for his Mind Rape of Sasuke and Kakashi, which the former kicked him down the slippery slope and never gets punished despite his good intentions. All because he "loved" and wanted to "protect" his "precious" little brother. It got worse when he was turned into a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in the Fourth Shinobi World War arc.
      • Obito orchestrated the Nine-Tails attack on Konoha, which killed Naruto's parents and made him an orphan, turned the Mist Village into a brutal dictatorship that resulted in hundreds of deaths, many of them children who were forced to fight each other to the death as part of their schooling, and started the Fourth Shinobi World War, resulting in thousands of more deaths. His only real motivation for any of this being because his love interest Rin died. Despite all of that, he's meant to be a sympathetic character who is deserving of Naruto's kindness because he was similar to Naruto as a child and simply strayed down the wrong path, and his death is meant to be seen as an Alas, Poor Villain moment, reuniting with Rin in the afterlife and presumably spending eternity happy with her despite all of his crimes.
      • The real Madara is painted as a Well-Intentioned Extremist whose attempts for peace in the past is declined in favor of his rival Hashirama. So what does he do after this? He immediately challenges the first Hokage to the death in hopes to destroy their entire creation of Konoha along with it. Right before his death he ended up being Easily Forgiven by Hashirama in spite of everything that he had previously done before Black Zetsu betrays him. Also, Hashirama wanted HIM, not his brother, to succeed him as Hokage as a show of how much he trusted and believed in his rival, making Madara look like an ungrateful Jerkass due to his betrayal, preferring to destroy the Leaf Village out of spite instead of believing in his friend's faith in him.
    • Similarly, the Belated Backstory of the legendary "Salamander" Hanzo, the ninja against whom the Sannin won their titles by surviving a battle with him sets Hanzo up as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who lost sight of his goals but is honored in defeat by his rival as a man who strove for peace. By starting a lot of wars and turning his homeland into an unlivable hellhole that produced the most psychologically broken, defeated human beings in the series, just because he was arrogant enough to think his strength could unite the world. Most fans still consider Hanzo an utterly unsympathetic character whose violent death at Pain's hands was richly deserved, as his claim of good intentions didn't make him any less of a paranoid warmongering dictator.
    • Danzo as well. The story claims he wants to protect the village. While turning kids into his personal soldiers, using a method in which two children bond together and then eventually fight one another to the death, upon which the survivor is so broken Danzo can just mold them into whatever he wants, creating one of the most twisted individuals in the continent in the process. He also decides to ignore the village in its Darkest Hour in order to allow the attacker to deal with his political competition for him so he can make a vie to making himself Hokage. He himself implies that he was involved with Orochimaru's Sand/Sound invasion, if only so far as to just sit back and let him get rid of Sarutobi instead of actively trying to stop him, that he helped Orochimaru with his experiments in the past before the Third Hokage wised up to what his student was doing and got off scot free, including the experiment that created Yamato, was outright STATED that he ripped out Uchiha Shisui's right eye to get at his super powered Sharingan, which could all but control your thoughts without you noticing he was GUIDING your thoughts and without any eye contact, right at the moment when Shisui, a Leaf Loyalist, was planning to use his powers to pacify his family and stop the coup before it even had a chance to even start, which in turn leads to the possibility that the decision to kill off the Uchiha might have been manipulated by Danzo using Shisui's eye powers to control their decisions in the first place, and when Danzo's own Belated Backstory was shown, it made it seem that his efforts were guided more by jealousy and an inferiority complex towards Sarutobi and a desire to prove himself better rather than his stated desire of wanting to keep the village safe. Had the story not tried selling us the character as a Well-Intentioned Extremist and instead acknowledged him as an Obliviously Evil Control Freak Knight Templar, he might not be such a divisive character.
    • Pain/Nagato, for many readers it was impossible to sympathize with someone who killed Jiraiya and Kakashi, leveled Konoha, and then stabbed Hinata right after she sincerely confessed her love to Naruto, mostly because his Belated Backstory wasn't any worse than other characters', like Haku's or Gaara's who didn't do anything that bad. Granted, at least he got somewhat better after his Redemption Equals Death to bring said Konohans Back from the Dead.
    • Karin's tearful reaction over Sasuke's near-death is supposed to be a Tear Jerker, but when her half-assed characterization (like how she easily forgave the same man who once try to kill her because she is just a burden despite healing him before) comes into play, her crying over Sasuke is instead met with complete apathy from the readers.
    • Sakura when she confessed her feelings for Sasuke at chapter 693; we're supposed to sympathize with her when her confession got "coldly" rejected by Sasuke, except that the person that is listening to this is the same person who shows no feelings for Sakura at all and attempted to kill her multiple times without remorse, giving fans the impression that she doesn't really develops any character beyond loving Sasuke regardless of his crimes. It got to the point that not only Sasuke has an unintentionally valid point regarding her but also made fans root for Sasuke to kill her and became disappointed when it is just a genjutsu. Her easily forgiving Sasuke's weak apology and marrying the same person in the future does not help her case.
    • The way Utakata's master Harusame tries to extract the Tailed Beast from his disciple in an anime-only Filler is supposed to be seen as good intentions to the point that upon realizing this, Utakata eventually rebuilt the pedestal with him after accidentally killing him. The problem is, extracting the Bijuu from a Jinchuuriki will also directly kill the host, and with no indication of Utakata having trouble with his Bijuu, nor even knowing why his master does it in the first place against his will, it comes off as Harusame crossing the Moral Event Horizon with Utakata having every right to defy his master and killing him sounds more like a Kick the Son of a Bitch than what is supposed to be.
    • Boruto Uzumaki, Naruto and Hinata's son. It's hard to sympathize with the boy who only wanted his father to come home when he is as bad (if not worse) than Naruto during his childhood. Unlike Naruto, Boruto doesn't have a crappy childhood but takes it all for granted and does the same antics his father used to do, all so his father can pay more attention to him. He keeps calling his father a bad parent, going as far as to wish he is dead and is unable to understand other people's feelings (such as complaining that his father is never around in front of Sarada, whose father is never with her for her whole life). And when Naruto finally spends some time with him, he ignores him and brushes away his affections.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Shinji Ikari is a Base-Breaking Character example. Personality-wise, he's insecure, weak-willed, a Shrinking Violet, and mentally unstable owing to some pretty bad Parental Abandonment issues. While plenty of fans see Shinji as The Woobie, just as many find him annoying and whiny and wish that he'd suck it up and man up.
    • In a similar manner, Asuka Langley Sohryu. She's definitely a Jerkass Woobie (even providing the page image) and her backstory is undeniably tragic, but by the time that was revealed in the series, she had behaved like such an abrasive, bratty jerkass and was downright antagonistic towards the other characters (especially Shinji and Reinote ) that some fans felt that her Freudian Excuse just didn't cut it.
    • Shinji's father Gendo. While he was obviously not meant to be an upstanding or moral person to begin with, many fans felt that his abandonment of Shinji (and subsequent horrific treatment of him afterwards), treatment of Rei and his generally Manipulative Bastard nature negated any sympathetic feeling they were meant to feel towards him regardless of Yui's disappearance.
  • The title character from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water. She is an emotionally unstable, distrusting, paranoid, bad-tempered character who sometimes acts ungratefully even to people who are on her side. She dislikes grown-ups, eating meat, and abhors killing of any kind. To the point where some viewers find her alienating as a character. Case in point: she shows no gratitude to Nemo when the latter kills a soldier — to save her from being shot! — and calls him a "MURDERER!" She also nearly ruins her friendship with Jean out of jealousy when she suspects she may lose him to Electra. (Despite his occasional obliviousness, Jean is otherwise dedicated to her.) The island/Africa arc overemphasizes her character flaws and turns her into an insufferably bratty jerkass. Because of this, it is difficult for some viewers to reconcile this Character Derailment of Nadia when the show's 35th episode finally shows her maturing. (All this, despite showing scenes where she's obviously growing to care for her new friends, notably Jean and Marie.)
  • Kyousuke Kamijou from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. He is meant to be sympathetic because he's a violin prodigy who's hospitalized because of an accident that broke his left arm and left him unable to play again. Unfortunately, he comes off as an aloof boy who's ignorant of Sayaka Miki's feelings, because he dislikes her for playing music which he's unable to play. She visits him numerous times in the hospital, but he doesn't even talk to her after he gets out and blithely starts going out with Hitomi instead, starting Sayaka down the road to her Despair Event Horizon. Gen Urobuchi stated that even if Sayaka had hooked up with him, he would've stood her up on dates in favor of practicing his violin. In The Movie, he does, in fact, turn down a date with Hitomi to practice violin (the second time he's accidentally spawned a Lovecraftian monstrosity by ignoring a girl), so this may be Ascended Fanon.
  • Shaman King has Hao Asakura (the manga version), who is supposed to be a Tragic Villain, and the audience is supposed to see his eventual ascension to Shaman King as a good thing. Unfortunately, the cold hard truth is that most of the cast have pretty tragic backstories too, to one degree or another, and none of them grew up to be genocidal monsters out to exterminate "baseline" humanity! Many readers instead regard him as a Karma Houdini of the highest order, and one who hasn't necessarily abandoned his plans for worldwide mass death and destruction so much as delayed them. What doesn't help matters is that Hao's goals come as petty, arrogant, and hypocritical. He goes on big rants about how Humans Are the Real Monsters with them always fighting, killing each other or things that are different than them, and destroying the harmony of nature. The final nail in the coffin is that Hao is all of those things, and he's killed far more people than he cares to count (the body count is at least in the thousands). Many of his actions killed other humans or shamans alike; one of which that caused Lyserg's start of darkness. Compared to Hao who only lost a total of three people in his past lives: his mother, his first friend Ohachiyo (by his own fault due to revenge), and Matamune (who abandoned him when Hao went off the deep end). No wonder he comes off unlikable by a lot of readers. At least the anime adaption pointed out, in-and-out of universe, how wrong his philosophy and views were, and how they are most definitely not something you should sympathize with. Plus he avoids being a Karma Houdini in the anime. The manga tries to do this, but fails spectacularly and seems to almost agree with Hao.
  • The Commons of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V. They're the unwealthy majority of the city and are regullarly abused and oppressed by the Tops, with some even being forced into slavery during the Friendship Cup. The dimension revolves around gladiatorial combat where only the strong move forward, and the weak are mistreated. The problem is, the Commons are just as blood-thirsty as the Tops. Yuya sees such a competitive outlook as abhorrent and aims to change that, but neither the Tops or Commons care what he has to say unless he wins duels and provides blood entertainment. Yuya's may be fighting back a long-standing history of another world's different values, but the people he's trying to help still ignore his message and act like jerks.
    • Shun Kurosaki, the brooding Sole Survivor of the Xyz Dimension, who lost everyone he cared about shortly after his sister was kidnapped. His major motivation is rescuing his sister from the bad guys. Characters like Yuzu will point out his tragic past to justify his behavior as a cold loner. The problem is that he knowingly trapped innocent people in cards so he could lure out Reiji, kidnap him and use him as leverage against his Big Bad father. He's a cold jerk to everyone he meets and is quick to using violence. Once in the Synchro Dimension, he abandoned his mission to live out his dreams of being a pro duelist (He claimed he was going pro to get into the Friendship Cup and convince people to join their cause, but even the Lancers think it's bullshit.) He frequently rejects the Lancers every time they try to help him, even after they've saved his life twice and helped him break out of prison. Worse still, he still says that he doesn't consider them comrades and doesn't acknowledge how they've helped him. So it's kind of hard to sympathize with the lone wolf when the reason he's alone is because he's horrible and ungrateful to nearly everyone for no real reason, and still hurt innocent people because it was convenient for his plans.
  • This is part of the reason why many fans dislike Chris Thorndyke from Sonic X. Near the end of season two, Sonic and his friends needed to return back to their home planet to prevent time from freezing. Enjoying his adventures, Chris obviously didn't want them to leave. Many fans found Chris to be selfish since he was okay with Earth's time never going forward just so he can have Sonic and the others with him forever. The same fans were also disgusted when he turned off the machine to send the others home right when Sonic was about to go through it and ran off with Sonic.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Haruna from Tenchi Forever is supposed to be a sympathetic Anti-Villain; a woman dead before she can live her romance with the man she loves and whose soul feels so alone, than she is trying to recreate this love story with the grandson of her former lover. What many viewers see is a bitch who kidnaps, brainwashes and rapes a teenage boy.
  • WORKING!!: For many viewers, Mahiru Inami. We're supposed to feel pity because she can't help but punch any man that comes across, but that's something really hard to sympathize with, especially as she doesn't seem to do much to fix it. She also gets a romance plot with the main guy that is supposed to be endearing, but fails because it just looks abusive (and when the guy complains about being punched, he's the one shown as the bad guy).
  • Toriko: Midora comes off as this. Because Frohze died while treating his injuries he got while getting Heal Water for her, Midora throws away all of her's and Acacia's ideals to become the epitome of It's All About Me. To the point that after he defeats Ichiryuu before the Timeskip... he unleashes Meteor Spice on the entire Human World which causes 80% of it to become a barren wasteland, causes over 100 countries to break down, and displaces 32 billion people. When Meteor Spice was first revealed, people thought its because NEO intruded on his fight with Ichiryuu and killed him, and he was trying to wipe NEO out desperately, but when none of that happened... yeah... any sympathy he would have had has gone out of the window.
  • Mai from Dragon Ball Super is seemingly supposed to be viewed as a cute Love Interest for Kid Trunks. However she can come off as unsympathetic considering she's a grown woman in a child's body, and flirts (like with a flirtatious wink) with a child who's unaware of the truth. Eventually dating the child, largely because it keeps a roof over the heads of the Pilaf Gang, and gives them food, and potential access to gadgets and the dragon balls. Made worse in the future timeline where the manga reveals she, and her comrades used up Shenron's last wish on the selfish desire for her, and her comrades to have young bodies again, preventing Future Gohan from wishing any of those killed back as shortly after Piccolo was killed causing the Dragon Balls to disappear. note 
  • Matsukaze Tenma from Inazuma Eleven Go got this from a handful of people, especially in the western community. Many people find his trait of speaking about soccer like it's a person to be very annoying and childish, rather then cute and innocent like it's supposed to come off as. Incidentally, the characters in the show and the game make fun of Tenma for this exact reason.
  • Nakago, the Big Bad of Fushigi Yuugi, is supposed to be seen as a victim of circumstances that drove him to evil, and as a result, the intent is to make him come across as pitiable and worthy of forgiveness. Because of the horrific atrocities he commits, like driving Suboshi to murder Tammahome's family, this doesn't work so well: by the time his Dark and Troubled Past comes to light, many readers had lost all ability to sympathize with him.
  • Mikono Suzushiro, the main heroine of Aquarion Evol. The show tries to make her come off as a shy girl that despite of having daddy issues and insecurity problems because of her apparent lack of powers as an element, tries her best to help and understand the people around her. But to many, she comes accross as uncaring, spoiled, indecisive and useless (both in and outside the Aquarion!) throughout the entire show, as she does nothing to solve the problems between Amata and Kagura, and only makes up misunderstandings that Amata must apologize for, showing no concern over his issues or how her indecisiveness causes him and Zessica trouble. If polls and general fan reactions are to be trusted, she's one of the least liked female characters of the show.
  • Saya Kisaragi of Blood-C. At first, the show presented her as a skilled warrior against the Elder Bairns. But the problem is that she fails in protecting and saving people. The most egregious example is episode 8 where she just watched several of her classmates die before she could attack and at the end, all of them, except the class representative, are dead. Her mourning of their deaths was supposed to come out as sympathetic. But given the track record of how many people died throughout the show and the Idiot Balls that these people had been holding on, it's not.
  • Area 88:
    • In the manga and OVA, Shin is intended to be sympathetic because his dreams were crushed after he was tricked into becoming a mercenary. However, he's not a particularly heroic or moral character. His self-absorption, wangst, and failure to contact Ryoko during his deployment make him unsympathetic in some fans' eyes. In the TV anime, he's so emotionally flat and withdrawn that it's difficult to sympathize with him.
    • Mickey, a traumatized Vietnam Veteran who struggled to adapt to civilian life, is intended to be sympathetic as well. However, he comes across as amoral, self-pitying, and self-absorbed, abandoning a fortunate life and the people who loved him. Instead of getting therapy, he chooses to fight in a bloody civil war that is tearing Asran apart. His anger issues and overbearing personality in the TV anime make him even less sympathetic.
  • Akito Sohma from Fruits Basket. While her childhood was understandably horrible, it all kind of rings hollow due to the fact that she herself horribly abused the rest of the Sohma family for the most childishly petty reasons. Just to start off, she put Kisa and Rin in the hospital due to their respective relationships with Hiro and Haru, verbally and emotionally abused Yuki, half-blinded Hatori and ruined his relationship with his girlfriend, planned on locking Kyo away from society once he became an adult, and tried to kill him and Tohru during a Villainous Breakdown. To say the fandom felt she was way too Easily Forgiven at the end would be an understatement.
  • One Piece:
    • Sanji falls under this. He's a great fighter, a great cook, and a suave guy. So what's the problem? Being a womanizer and falling head-over-heels over every pretty girl he sees tends to get him in trouble. Because he won't hit a female opponent, even if his life literally depends on it, which it often does, he ends up getting himself and/or his friends badly wounded and/or captured. The fact that he never learns his lesson after getting his ass handed to him by said girl doesn't help. A particularly bad example is Pudding below, who drove him to tears and is eager to kill him, yet he still can't get his head out of his dick, only surviving because he happens to appeal to the Freudian Excuse mentioned below, which came off as a cop-out to prevent Sanji from learning his lesson.
    • Señor Pink might be hilariously manly, the Token Good Teammate of the Donquixote Pirates, and one of the few of them shown with a full backstory but he is also completely loyal to one of the vilest pirates in all of One Piece.
    • Fujitora is clearly meant as a complex old blind man who sees right through (with all the blind/sight metaphor) the corrupt Marines and World Governement and wishes to reform it completely with his plan. However his completely passive attitude during the Dressrosa arc, doing nothing while citizens are slaughtered by the arc villain pirate and at some point crashing a meteorite that wiped out many inhabitations caused some readers to completely despise him.
    • Pudding, when she breaks down crying instead of killing Sanji after he calls her Third Eye beautiful. The flashback showing that her maliciousness is the result of bullying over said third eye from her childhood came off as sudden and forced; none of her family had ever displayed any of the repulsion toward her third eye that had supposedly tormented her up until this point. Big Mom in particular has been characterized as a Collector of the Strange who found a living skeleton absolutely adorable, clearly had to have willingly had sex with a Three-Eyed man for the express purpose of producing a Three-Eyed daughter, has been shown to have conversations with Pudding while the eye was exposed without mentioning it, and was stated by Pudding herself (at a point when she had no reason to be lying) to be overbearingly affectionate to her, making her disgust toward her daughter's third eye especially jarring. It doesn't help that the same arc revealed that Sanji had suffered much worse abuse under his family and came out a much better person.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Meruem, the Arc Villain of the Chimera Ant Arc. He has something of a god complex, believes that genocide is the answer for humanity's atrocities, and abducts several gaming prodigies to test his own intellect and kills the losers. One of said prodigies is a blind girl named Komugi, who becomes a Morality Pet to him and eventually falls in love with her. Meruem's relationship with Komugi is supposed to be treated as his redeemable quality, but with the way he treated her, it bordered on Stockholm Syndrome. Not helping matters is that after he contracts radiation poisoning, rather than let Komugi leave with her life, he decides to play Gungi with her one last time. While he does warn her that his condition is contagious, he makes no effort to stop her when she refuses to leave.
    • Killua. He's apparently meant to be seen as a sympathetic Anti-Villain who just wants a buddy and has some issues that he needs to work out. However when these "issues" are "I gut people who so much as take a tone with me while grinning ear-to-ear", it's hard to see him as anything but a monster.
  • Sailor Moon: In the anime adaption, Mamoru, Haruka, and Michiru occasionally can come across as this.
    • For Mamoru, it's his breakup with Usagi during R. He receives an apparent prophetic dream that if he stays with her, she'll die. Rather than talk to her or anyone, or even assume it's a trick by a new enemy, he acts cold to her and declares he doesn't love her anymore to prevent it from happening. He remains with this act even when she's visibly heartbroken over this. Although he expresses guilt over this, he still tries to find ways to make her lose interest, even asking his friend Motoki how to be as unlikable as possible. Ironically, this didn't work on Usagi, but it was effective in making him unlikable to many viewers.
    • Haruka and Michiru, aka Sailors Uranus and Neptune, are introduced as Dark Magical Girls in a semi-antagonistic role opposite the more idealistic Sailor Moon and her team during the Infinity arc. They repeatedly discourage Usagi and the other Senshi from investigating Mugen Academy and the Death Busters, refusing to share information or open any meaningful communication with the other girls, and especially in the anime adaptation they disparage the abilities and ideals of the main characters (even though by this point Usagi and the other girls have successfully fought off two or three different groups of world-threatening villains and are hardly untried amateurs). While they have many avid fans - especially given their depiction as a committed lesbian couple who are never subjected to the Psycho Lesbian or Bury Your Gays tropes in a time when such representation was hard to find - their smug superiority, condescension toward the established main cast, and determined clutching of the Conflict Ball combined to make them unlikable to a lot of viewers.
    • It doesn't help that Sailor Moon was SUPPOSED TO BE THEIR COMMANDING OFFICER, as leader of all the Sailor Soldiers. It's not unheard of in fanfics to have characters with some sort of military background to call them out for dereliction of duty and reckless endangerment.
    • Also, the Amazon Trio and Pegasus from the 90s anime adaption of the "Dream Arc" from Sailor Moon come across like this to some viewers, which is another reason why the fourth season of the anime is so disliked.
    • The Trio's Heel–Face Turn comes across as rather forced considering they spent pretty much every episode prior to that acting incredibly creepy and stalkerish to their targets, compounded by the Mind Rape tactics and sexual assault undertones whenever they attack. FishEye does get some individual character development when he begins to question if the Trio are able to have dreams of their own, mixed with his unrequited love for Mamoru and the sympathy he develops for Usagi. Hawk's Eye and Tiger's Eye, however, get no such development, with their motivations being read as wholly selfish and more for the sake of telling Zirconia off than any understanding of love or dreams.
    • Pegasus is supposed to be seen as the prince-like love interest for Chibi-Usa, but is rather emotionally abusive to her. Never mind how incredibly screwed up his interactions with her while he was still in horse, form and made some not so subtle advances towards her even though she's an elementary school student, but he refuses to answer any of her questions about who he is or where he comes from. He demands blind faith from Chibi-Usa and throws the equivalent of temper tantrums if she tries to find out any other information about him, cutting off contact from her and worsening the guilt complex she's had since "R." That he makes her continue to lie about their relationship puts Chibi-Usa in grave danger. One other aspect of Pegasus' dislike from the fans is how his presence undermined the theme of the Sailor Senshi being strong on their own as girls and a team, as they suddenly became dependent on him for their new powers and transformations. Sailor Moon couldn't even attack without him!
    • The Starlights in the last season were still dealing with the trauma of losing their princess and their planet being destroyed, but as the last season went on they kept making asses of themselves. Seiya's infatuation with Usagi bordered more on harassment, deliberately ignoring her repeated explanations that she has a boyfriend. There was even a scene where Usagi was scared Seiya wanted to have sex with her, and Seiya decides to go along with it for the sake of trolling her despite how clearly uncomfortable she is at the moment. Taiki, who was at the very least polite in the original manga, became rather pompous and condescending, at one point coldly scorning Ami's idealism. Strangely enough, Yaten, who tended to be a Drama Queen, was the least offensive of the three, but was the one who tended to get called on their behavior while Seiya and Taiki keep getting defended by the show itself. And even then, Yaten's behavior was frequently more justified than Seiya's or Taiki's.
    • In Sailor Moon Crystal, Usagi's Clingy Jealous Girl treatment of Chibi-Usa in the 2nd season makes her seem like she's a complete jerk and her relationship with Mamoru seem completely unhealthy and obsession-based. She spends most of the season with the firm belief Chibi-Usa, a child, is trying to get her man. The fact she accuses Mamoru of trying to score with her for the 2nd time even after she learns she'll be her future mother only makes it more problematic. The best she does about it is to lock herself in her room and think about how horrible she's been, but then she starts doing it all over again soon enough.
  • This trope is the main reason why Kyoma Mabuchi from Dimension W is such a divisive character. He is meant to be portrayed as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a soft spot for kids and a Dark and Troubled Past involving the deaths of his girlfriend and his fellow soldiers. But while his past is genuinely tragic, it does little to garner any sympathy for him, especially with his horrendous treatment of Mira due to her being a robot ( and resembling his deceased girlfriend.) He spends most of the series bossing her around and treating her like a robot and not a person, never calling her by name and referring to her as a piece of junk. One particularly egregious example is in episode 5 where after Mira manages to escape the other world, instead of being concerned, Kyoma punches her for not being there when he needed her (hurting his hand in the process). The fact that he warms up to Mira in the end does very little to make up for him treating her like shit for 11 episodes straight.
  • Sometimes, the Pokémon movies go just a bit too far with the claim that an antagonistic Pokémon is Not Evil, Just Misunderstood, and this is the result:
    • Though Mewtwo is indeed portrayed as a villain in Pokémon the First Movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back, it tries to mitigate by saying that he was driven to villainy by the revelation that he was an artificial being and is Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life. However, his first violent act is blowing up the laboratory where he was created, killing all of the people there, after a conversation which lasts for no more than five minutes. His creator may be a bit of a jerk by rather callously brushing off his questions, but there is no indication that the scientists were actually mistreating Mewtwo or were going to do so in the future,note  thereby making him come off as a Man Child whining about how his life sucks because he never asked to be born.
    • Pokémon: The Movie 2000: The Power of One has Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres become this thanks to Early Installment Weirdness. When the movie premiered, the anime portrayed most Pokémon as just animals with superpowers, so it could be assumed that the legendary birds just didn't have the capability of higher thought and were acting on instinct. But as the show went on, more and more Pokémon, especially Legendaries, were given fully developed personalities and were implied to have human intelligence, retroactively making the birds so selfish that they're willing to wipe out all life on Earth just because they don't want to be around one another. Pretty much every Fan Fic that translates Pokémon Speak and references this movie has Lugia rip into them for their behavior.
    • Kyurem may have had a point in Pokemon Kyurem Vs The Sword Of Justice when he attacks Keldeo as punishment for the latter's arrogance in challenging him when not remotely ready and lying about being a Sword of Justice, but that doesn't excuse Kyurem chasing him miles out of the arena and attacking a train and then a city populated entirely by people and Pokémon who don't have the slightest knowledge of their quarrel, just because Keldeo is there. He is never called out for this.
    • The Genesect Army in Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened are supposedly Not Evil, Just Misunderstood figures who were revived 300 million years after their deaths and enhanced by humans, and their driving force is trying to reclaim their homeland. However, out of the five, only one actually cares about going home (and you might say it does so too much). The rest of them, by contrast, are less angsty about their situation, and are all too happy to invade a park and attack everything living there so they can have it all to themselves. Their leader, the Red Genesect, is a full-on jerkass who mind controls its fellow Genesect constantly, attacks anyone who disobeys it (up to and including its own kind and human children), and absolutely refuses to listen to reason. Oh, and when the evicted Pokémon return and fight back later on in the film, the audience is supposed to sympathize not with all the Pokémon who lost their home and try to get it back, but rather the overpowered Super Soldiers who forced them out at gunpoint. Ash even tells the Pokémon to stop fighting them, as if the Genesect Army had merely settled in peacefully!
    • About everyone sans Team Rocket in the episode "The Path To The Pokémon League". We're supposed to see AJ as this guy who's tough but fair to his Pokémon, especially his Sandshrew, but it's hard to think so with the whips he lashes out and giving them short breaks of rest. One also finds it hard to sympathize with Ash for losing because of him being petty and bragging that AJ's Sandshrew doesn't love him. And Misty and Brock don't get off scot-free because they don't show a lot of concern about the possible abuse and goad Ash into battling AJ because he insulted their gyms.
  • In Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force, the Huckebein are this, essentially having a condition in which they must kill others in order to remain alive. While they were apparently intended as characters doing what is necessary to survive, and the author admitted to being surprised by how many people did not find them sympathetic, they come off as sociopathic mass murderers rather than sympathetic or well-intentioned characters.
  • Bayonetta: Bloody Fate:
    • There's the titular witch herself. While the movie stays true to her characterization in the game, it also plays up Bayonetta's more negative traits such as her Blood Knight tendencies, violent sadism, and her general Sociopathic Hero persona. It certainly doesn't help that some of the fight scenes are rather anticlimactic, making her come off as a boring Invincible Hero rather than the Showy Invincible Hero she usually is. Also, in the games she was very protective of Cereza, but in here, she leaves her with Luka and doesn't think about her until near the end.
    • Then there's her fellow Umbra Witch, Jeanne. While she played a villainous role in the first game, it was only because she was brainwashed into serving Father Balder and the Angels of Paradise. The anime, however, makes no mention of said brainwashing, so it seems she's serving Father Balder willingly and takes great joy in the chaos she causes, such as shooting up a train full of people during her first meeting with Bayonetta. Thus, her sudden Heel–Face Turn near the end of the film comes off as shallow and fake.
    • Enzo also ends up being this. While he was was jerk in the games, he was largely entertaining due to his Butt-Monkey status and was noted by Bayonetta herself to be a respectable family man. Like with Bayonetta, the film plays up his more negative traits, transferring his Butt-Monkey status to Luka and portraying him as a greedy sleazeball who overcharges families for funerals, something that even disgusts Rodin. The fact that he never gets punished for this makes it worse.
  • Dangan Ronpa 3 has Rukura Andou. Kimura and Andou were supposed to be portrayed as two former friends that ended up having a fallout together, but it came across as a victim finally standing up to her bully. Andou believes that the only thing good about herself is the sweets that she makes, but Kimura is on a medication that has a deadly reaction to sugar, so she can't eat Andou's sweets. Despite stating this multiple times, Andou blames Kimura for their All Take and No Give relationship, because if Kimura won't eat the sweets Andou has to offer, thus nearly killing herself, she must not care about her at all. The manga anthology shows that Andou is well aware that it might kill Kimura to eat her sweets, and doesn't seem to get why Kimura might be upset about that. Made even worse by Kimura's Extreme Doormat attitude, quietly accepting Andou's abuse until Komaeda indirectly causes their fallout.
  • Aoba Kuronuma from Durarara!!. He's meant to be sympathized with because Izumii used to hit him out of envy for their parents attention. While Izumii is second only to Izaya to being the farthest thing from a saint in the series, Aoba comes off as being just as bad as Izumii when he sets his room on fire just to get him beaten by their abusive father. Not helping matters is that the anime tones down Izumii's abuse towards Aoba, so it makes that act seem more like Disproportionate Retribution. His backstory doesn't justify manipulating Mikado and causing him to Jump Off The Slippery Slope.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: Oh boy, where to begin?
    • The Vagan: We are supposed to feel sorry for them because they live in disastrous conditions, infant mortality is high, and they were abandoned by the rest of the Earth Federation following the botched Mars colonization. However, nothing justifies their brutal attacks on civilians and slaughter of innocent people who had nothing to do with their plight.
    • Lord Ezelcant: He's a Visionary Villain who lost his son to the Mars Rays Disease and only has a few months left to live. He wants to create a new humanity that will be free of war and violence, but his methods are both so brutal and nonsensical that it's impossible to think he has a point.
    • Kio: His hypocrisy, constant whining about "understanding" and stubborn refusal to listen to more reasonable points of view overrides the fact that we're expected to pity him for being a naive Child Soldier. The utter stupidity of many of his actions, and the fact that the series itself considers him 100% right, painting negatively all those who disagree with him, and the plot bends over itself to make sure he's always right... don't really help.
  • In Detective Conan. The culprit of A June Bride Murder Case, Toshihiko Takasugi. While he does have a Freudian Excuse, his eventual redemption and the fact that he got a very light sentence for his attempted murder can make some feel sour. First, there is the fact that he goes for a Revenge by Proxy, instead of going after the man responsible for the death of his mother. And even then, Superintendent Kiyonaga Matsumoto wasn't fully responsible. He didn't see her when she was wounded during a car chase, because he was pursuing a criminal, and he never forgave himself for that. Admittedly, at the end of the episode, he feels remorse for what he did. However, it's only because he realizes that his victim was his childhood friend (and crush) all along, not because she was an innocent victim of his Revenge by Proxy.note  Moreover, he has the dubious honor to be one of the few culprits in Detective Conan who don't go after an Asshole Victim, yet he has one of the lightest punishments and gets a happy ending three years later. All in all, he may look like an Easily Forgiven Karma Houdini to some persons, when a lot of the series' Sympathetic Murderers has their lives destroyed or even die.
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, both Ryoko and Ayesha have been this to some fans, but the one character most fans strongly view as this is Haruna from Tenchi Universe, the Big Bad of The Movie Tenchi Forever! Originally Yosho's lover back on Jurai, the two ran away together because they could not get married due to her not being a noblewoman. But, on the way, she took ill and died by the time they reached Earth. Yosho buried her, and eventually fell in love with Tenchi's grandmother. But Haruna's restless spirit remained behind, and when she became aware of this, she was outraged. She kidnaps Tenchi into a pocket dimension, where she brainwashes him into forgetting all about his old life and beliving himself to be her lover. This would be creepy enough, except the film makes it pretty clear that their relationship includes sex. That's right, Haruna is, by almost every definition of the term, raping Tenchi repeatedly during the events of this film. Needless to say, most fans who pick up on this subtext are appalled and regard her as nothing more than a villain.
    • Although she's not as strongly disliked as Haruna, the OAV version of Washu falls into this for a significant number of the fans due to one particular case of Never Live It Down. Although we're supposed to feel bad about The Reveal that she had a son and a husband once, but her husband's family took them both away because she wasn't considered of sufficient social status, the infamous scene where she emotionally tortures her daughter Ryoko for giggles makes many fans skeptical that she deserved to be a parent in the first place!
  • This is without a doubt the most common reason given for a fan's dislike of The Familiar of Zero. We're supposed to sympathize with Louise because of her enormous insecurity complex, her miserable school life, an abusive older sister, emotionally distant and incredibly strict parents who are more interested in their daughter as an asset than as a person. Not to mention that being a noblewoman of minimal magical talent makes her a complete laughingstock by the norms of Halkeginia society. However, while Louise has plenty of reasons for the audience to side with her, she still drives off any supporters due to her infamously brutal and non-stop abuse of Saito; which is not only horrible on a basic human level, such as the legendary incident where she flogged him to a bloody pulp with a horse whip, but also makes her a blatant hypocrite given her home life.
    • Less commonly, some fans view Saito himself in this light. This mostly stems from his lechery and his seemingly deliberate dedication to being a Jerk Ass, and is especially fuelled by one incident in the light novels where he makes a deliberate attempt to rape Louise. The sympathy level for Saito remains so high in comparison because, A: he genuinely does grow and become less of a hornball prick over the story, and B: most of his treatment by Louise is so awful that he looks better in comparison. The Reveal that the familiar spell on him essentially Mind Raped him to be completely loyal to Louise no matter how badly she abused him also earns Saito a lot of sympathy points.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers manage to catch this in Avengers vs. X-Men, thanks to a thorough distribution of Conflict Balls among characters normally much less dickish. The Phoenix is flying through space on direct course for Earth - and destroying every planet it comes across in the meantime, killing billions.
    • While the Avengers are trying to save billions of lives, the way they go about it makes them seem like a bunch of assholes. Wolverine gives the Avengers biased information that painted a terrible picture of both the Phoenix and Hope (as well as framing Scott as being still hung up on Jean's death), and later decides the only solution is to kill Hope, the innocent teenage girl. Captain America acts antagonistically, parking an army on the X-Men's front steps and demands they hand over Hope, who is Cyclops's granddaughter and essentially a messiah to them. Cap also refuses to even think about consulting them on how to deal with the Phoenix, despite the fact the X-Men, especially Scott, are the most experienced with it.
    • When the Phoenix gets closer, Iron Man's technobabble weapon ends up splitting it, resulting in the Phoenix Five, five X-Men each empowered by a portion of the Phoenix.
    • The Avengers, who reason the P5 are dangerously unstable, decide to provoke said dangerously unstable demigods by taking Hope again. Since the P5's benign dictatorship basically takes place between issues, the reader sees the Phoenix stopped and the conflict ended, and then the Avengers immediately starting another conflict.
  • Was also a problem with Marvel's controversial Civil War where, depending on the writer, the level of sympathy one could feel for the characters at any given time wavered greatly. Sympathy for Iron Man in particular took a big hit when he and the other Pro-Registration Heroes started throwing the Anti-Registration Heroes into an extra-dimensional prison without trial(s). Again, all suffered due to the Idiot Plot and Jerkass Balls being tossed all around.
    • Came back in full force with the sequel between Carol Danvers, Tony Stark and The Inhumans, due to the fact that all three trying to act sympathetic in their causes between using and not using the Inhuman Ulysses, their actions tend to drive readers (and also drove Laura (X-23, now the "New Wolverine") and various junior Avengers who all were stuck in the middle of the chaos) away, tired of the in-fighting.
  • This proved to be a huge problem with the character Magog in DC Comics. When introduced in Kingdom Come he was a caricature of the worst part of 90's heroes, and was fairly popular for it, as he seemed so pathetic and remorseful. When he was brought into the main DC Universe he was given a huge push and eventually added to the Justice Society of America and later given his own series. He was shown to be a war veteran with PTSD, but proved to be so unlikable and mean to his teammates that he was eventually killed off in Justice League Generation Lost.
  • Otto Octavius is supposed to be the protagonist of Superior Spider-Man, being a Darker and Edgier Anti-Hero. To some he comes off as an Invincible Villain. Some of the fans despise him and the series for various different reasons. The behavior of Dan Slott has not helped in the slightest.
    • Carlie Cooper, Spider-Man's one time love interest, was featured in stories designed to make her seem similar to Spider-Man and therefore a more appropriate love interest and a better match for him as a person. Unfortunately, it caused her to come across as selfish, entitled and self-centered, declaring that Peter couldn't possibly understand what she went through. Her attempts to be seen as a more appropriate match for Peter and a more sympathetic character ultimately made her into someone the audience couldn't stand.
    • Peter Parker / Spider-Man has also become this in recent comics, mostly stemming as frustration from the controversial One More Day and Superior Spider-Man stories. Many argue that Spider-Man's new personality, coming as it does from external retcons makes him almost an entirely different character from the one planned by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. The current Spiderman stories has Peter serving as a businessman and owner of his own industries which many argue, 1) undoes Peter's original Working-Class Hero appeal, 2) is unearned, since it came from Otto Octavious hijacking his body.
  • The dragon queen, T'mat from Gold Digger. Gold Digger operates on Rousseau Was Right and everyone is given a second chance. However, it's hard to sweep T'mat's actions under the rug. T'mat was tortured and raped by her former best friend Dreadwing during his rampage 1000 years ago and suffers from PSTD from the incident and sought revenge from two elves who inadvertently helped Dreadwing gain power and threatened death on anyone who tried to stop. This led her to have the elves captured and imprisoned for her to torment at her leisure. When the elves' friends came to rescue them, T'mat went on an assault of violence and murder, all the while ranting like a self-righteous maniac. It only ended because Summoner began to threaten revenge on her for killing Tirant and T'mat saw the error of her ways and was saved by the same elves she was trying to torture. Later, she would try and enslave Britanny for her power to paralyze Dreadwing and would injure a political leader in rage. Naturally, no one's shown any umbrage at her actions.
  • The Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Metalhawk was supposed to be written as Jerkass Has a Point by voicing the harm that the war caused to all the neutrals and to the planet itself. However many of his points went unchallenged by all but Prowl and eventually Prowl fell under mind control and purposefully tried to destabilize the political climate. Metalhawk continually tried scratching open the divides between factions, from accusing Bumblebee of murdering the Lost Light crew, to undercutting him at every turn. The result was Metalhawk trying to bring the population together under a peaceful rule, by insulting the factions, driving them further apart, and not bothering to see the other side of things.
  • The deer from The Root Of The Problem of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW), despite losing their home to a genuinely evil construction company, garnered close to zero sympathy from the audience as their means of fighting back was unleashing all Hell on towns and cities full of ponies that had absolutely nothing to do with the company (while inexplicably leaving the company and construction site itself completely unmolested). Some fans were actually cheering on the construction company believing at this point that the deer deserve to lose their home, and even those who are still on the side of the deer hoped it at least ended with them learning the aesop. It doesn't.
  • Superboy Prime. He's supposed to be a Tragic Villain for having lost his world, and driven mad to the point of wanting to destroy the world to replace it with a new one. Most people instead see him as a snot-nosed brat who has murdered countless people left and right, including at one point killing a pregnant woman in cold blood, and constantly blaming all of Earth's heroes for the horrible crimes he causes by claiming they've corrupted him.
  • Deathstroke's mercenary team of Titans were described by writer Eric Wallace as being bad people, but it's clear that the majority of the team was supposed to be seen as tragic and sympathetic due to their horrible backstories and the recent series of traumas that pushed them into the team. This included Cheshire and Tattooed Man losing their respective child, Osiris being haunted by the man he accidentally killed to protect his sister, and the years of sexual abuse and Survivor's Guilt Cinder suffered from. However, any sympathy these characters might have gained was instantly crushed by the team's first actual appearance when they brutally slaughtered Ryan Choi, followed by Osiris's gradual transformation into a self-centered brat and Cinder stupidly letting a serial child rapist free because she rushed her attempt to murder him. The only member of the team who managed to retain any sense of sympathy from fans was Roy Harper, who was not a part of Ryan's death and had the distinction of being manipulated by both Deathstroke and Cheshire. It helps that readers were still majorly pissed off at how poorly Roy was being handled after Justice League: Cry for Justice and Rise of Arsenal.
    • Another Titans example would have to be Cassandra Sandsmark and Tim Drake during the "One Year Later" storylines. Understandably the two are still reeling from Superboy's death, but Cassandra began to sorely grate the nerves of the readers because she Took a Level in Jerkass and became an insufferable, bitter asshole. Tim came across as more sympathetic in his grief especially since the writers were deliberately ignoring parts of his backstory (like the stepmother who was nowhere to be found after his dad died), but then he became involved in a Wangst fueled on/off relationship with Cassandra that ultimately went nowhere. But what ultimately made the two unsympathetic was their constant zigzagging with Rose Wilson in the Titans, either accepting her as one of their own or viewing her as the team's token psycho and badmouthing her behind her back. In fact, Rose left the team and briefly allied herself with the new Clock King when she heard Tim and Cass profess she was a lost cause. This is all despite knowing very well that Rose's Face–Heel Turn was not of her choosing, but because her father pumped her full of drugs and drove her insane
  • This is the problem with The Inhumans, especially in the All-New, All-Different Marvel era that sees them at odds with the X-Men due to the Terrigen Mists. We're supposed to be sympathetic to the Inhumans because the Terrigen Mists are what activates the powers of Inhumans and losing the mist essentially forces them to lose their powers. However, the mists are killing ALL mutants who happen to get caught in its path and the mutants are left trying to figure out a way to solve this problem before they go extinct. Instead of trying to help the mutants contain the clouds safely or get rid of them, the Inhumans Royal Family actually does their best to keep the mist clouds alive, guns ready to shoot down anyone who tries to interfere. Even more so, this is all the fault of Inhumans member, Black Bolt, due to the events of Infinity.
    • Two things suck even more sympathy points away from the Inhumans. One: there have been ways of activating Inhuman powers without the Terrigen Mists for some time now. Two: in the tie-in issue of Deadpool and the Mercs For Money, it's proven that the Inhumans value the Terrigen Mists over other races' lives, as an alternate future showed that the Inhumans declared open war with the Mutants for the latter committing the crime of... successfully altering the chemical makeup of the Terrigen Mists so that they harm neither mutants nor humans, but still activate Inhuman powers.
    • In a nutshell: the Inhumans are not only not helping to resolve the problem which they caused in the first place, they're canonically willing to attack people for fixing the problem. You really have to ask just what exactly makes these guys the heroes in the first place.
    • Even prior to this storyline, the Inhumans have long been considered among the hardest Marvel characters to take seriously as protagonists, as they're members of a classist and elitist absolute monarchy that practices eugenics and for a significant portion of their history even owned slaves.
  • Bruno Carrelli in Ms. Marvel (2014)'s tie-in to Civil War II. At the end of the crossover, Bruno, furious at Kamala over how her interactions with her heroes lead him to losing the use of his left hand and all sorts college-related awards, ends his friendship with his childhood friend and decides to take up a scholarship at the only place that would take him, over in Wakanda. While this is tragic, the problem was that the situation that landed him there was his own fault - he attempted to bust out a friend who was unreasonably detained and had the cell explode on him. A friend who was going to be released the very next day, which meant that, had Bruno succeeded, he would have been in even more trouble. And he blames Kamala for all of this. Compounding on this is the fact that he turned and left his girlfriend, Mike, which hurt her even more adds on to the lack of sympathy.

    Comic Strips 
  • Anthony from For Better or for Worse, so very very much. You're supposed to feel sympathy for him because his wife doesn't want their baby and he "doesn't have a home," but not only is it irritating, it rubs in the fact that he harassed her into having a child she didn't want in the first place. He lost even more ground when it came to light that he even promised that he would stay home with the kid, but had no intention of keeping that promise because he expected the magic of motherhood to kick in and somehow make his wife want to quit her job (which was heavily implied to make more than his did) and raise the kid anyways. But she's supposed to be the bad guy for wanting him to keep his promise and because she's not maternal. Then throw in after saving Elizabeth from sexual assault — on the very same night in fact! — while she's recovering from the shock, Anthony decides this is the perfect time to confess that he is in love with her, and how he is so terribly lonely... while he's still married to Therese at this point and confessing to a woman who nearly got raped by a stalker. There are no words to describe the level of disgust this garnered from readers.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin's parents have moments of this. Parents as People is in full effect in this case (possibly a little too well), and yes, Calvin is a handful (to put it lightly) and would certainly test anyone's patience. However, the way they're almost always seen interacting with Calvin in a negative way, even when he's not up to something, and don't seem to care much for trying to understand him really doesn't help their cases. Calvin's mom is at least a hair better in that regard, as she at least wanted to have a kid and puts forth some effort. Calvin's dad repeatedly insisted he would rather have raised a dog and is more direct in his criticisms for Calvin, best exemplified by his apathetic reaction to when Hobbes was left in the woods during Calvin's failed attempt to move to the Yukon. This strip is probably the greatest offender and has gained responses along the lines of "with parents like that, no wonder Calvin's such a brat!" and some fans even consider Calvin's antics a form of Laser-Guided Karma for them. Bill Watterson himself has also expressed regret in a commentary about how he often had Calvin's parents always seem to be in a bad mood and have most of their appearances center around them reacting to Calvin's latest shenanigan (though he has also said that "they did better than [he] would've" with regards to the kid).

    Fan Works 
  • Frigid Winds And Burning Hearts claims to be even-handed when it comes to Princess Luna vs. Princess Celestia, but swiftly comes down on Luna's side. Even as it reveals she was perfectly willing to have all of Equestria collapse into riots and civil war if it meant she could leave. Even as she bullies, lies, and manipulates every other pony she meets to have her way.
  • In How I Became Yours, Prince Zuko, upon finding out that Mai hid his letters to Katara, hits her, divorces her and runs off to go to Katara. He's meant to be motivated by love and reacting to Mai's betrayal, but he comes off as an abusive husband and irresponsible ruler. Similarly, Katara is portrayed as grieving over her baby's death, but comes off as selfish by inexplicably emphasizing that her unborn son died a day before her birthday, and the morality of her decision to kill Mai with bloodbending instead of taking her in alive comes off as fairly questionable.
  • My Immortal: According to the author, you are supposed to like Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way. For those who don't know, Ebony is every negative stereotype about goths made manifest, in the vessel of a self-centered sociopath. Of course, it could be INTENTIONALLY Unsympathetic if you subscribe into the theory that it's a Troll Fic instead of just really bad writing.
  • In The End of Ends, Beast Boy is this, even before he becomes Count Logan and starts destroying entire worlds. His whining over Terra wanting a normal life, even one away from him, easily qualifies as Wangst, he essentially stalks Terra, and resigns from the Titans because after they call him out on beating up Terra's friends, he's convinced none of them like or appreciate him.
  • Despite Cori Falls going out of her way to make them sympathetic woobies, her versions of Jessie, James, and Meowth become very unsympathetic as her stories go on, not only in their brutal treatment of characters like Ash, but in their self-righteous behavior, constant whining about their bad lot in life, and blaming their (usually self-inflicted) problems on anyone but themselves.
  • Princess Celestia in Chains. Even though it's made clear she didn't enjoy turning the humans living in Equus into slaves for the ponies and she is genuinely haunted by her decision, the fact that the flashbacks explaining why humanity was enslaved in Chapter 15 made Celestia look like she was carrying a massive Idiot Ball, her weak attempts at justification to a very angered Luna, as well as the fact that she refuses to just overturn slavery overnight have made her come off like a weak and incompetent leader easily manipulated by her Evil Chancellors to many a reader. The fact that it took protests from pegasus abolitionists to outlaw the practice of human gladiatorial rings, as well as the fact that a great many slaves are being mistreated (Twilight and Applejack are very clearly exceptions rather than the rule), yet Celestia doesn't seem to have done much to improve those conditions doesn't exactly help her case either. The author eventually had to pull an Author's Saving Throw of sorts with the reveal that Celestia funds anti-slavery movements and is playing the Long Game, and with Celestia herself feeling she can never truly atone for what she did, but for some readers it just didn't cut it.
    Celestia: Luna, please, I need your help. I want your help to bring things to how they should be, with humans free.
    Luna: Why don't you just force the council to do as you command?
    Celestia: That would not solve the problem. Ponies have had humans as slaves for centuries, to just force them to give it up would be difficult, these things will take time, but...
    Luna: You say you want to set things right, but you're not willing to do so in the quickest and simplest way?
  • Little Sun has Sunset Shimmer as Princess Celestia's biological daughter, with her anger over being given up for adoption and keeping it secret during years as Celestia's student leading to her Start of Darkness. This was after Celestia saved her from an assassination attempt, showing that the reasons for secrecy, which weighed heavily on Celestia and leaked through no fault of hers, were fully justifiable. Then there's Sunset inexplicably, instantaneously becoming a jerk, forgetting all the good times they had together and rejecting everything Celestia offers to reconcile insisting she be made an ailcorn, the one thing beyond her power.
  • The Doctor Who fanfic Fragments tries to be a Fix Fic for the Tenth Doctor's regeneration. Here 10 comes across as incredibly selfish, hating 11 just for being the next Doctor and wishing he could die so he was the last. And for this he gets Rose. Karma Houdinis together.
  • The Axis Powers Hetalia Alternate Universe fanfic Not Everything is Silver and Gold tries to paint Prussia/Gilbert as sympathetic because he lost Ludwig, and can't get him back unless he finds a Pure One, a being that can find treasure easily, to Arthur, the guy who murdered the reader's parents. However, the fact that chapter 2 involves Gilbert raping you instead of explaining what's going on, and why, then constantly forcing himself onto you and basically behaving like an abusive boyfriend doesn't exactly win sympathy from the readers.
  • Emerald of I'm Here to Help can come across this way, especially if one interprets the fic as him being right.
    • Various records throughout the fic hint at an extensive terrorist record in the future, which involve multiple attacks on Crystal Tokyo that put a lot of people's lives in danger. It doesn't help matters that the senshi of the future aren't shown having actually done much wrong and actually try to create a peaceful world where everyone's safe.
    • The fact that it's implied that Emerald and his teammates chose to attack the senshi first makes them not come across as particularly admirable or make the senshi look very unlikable for choosing to send them away regardless of who was in the right about the purification.
  • Iris lands in this territory in Ace Attorney fic The Fey Family Cousin. Not only in this continuity she was watching Phoenix's trial and haven't lifted a finger to help him(in canon it was heavily implied that she didn't know about it until it was already over), but her motivation for not telling him the truth about herself mas moved from canon "I Want My Beloved to Be Happy" to "I don't want to be hated" and from there to "just leave me alone" making her seem rather selfish.
  • In My Little Unicorn, pretty much all the protagonists are this. The Original Characters come off as racist and sexist, treat everyone with different views than them as enemies that need to be destroyed or re-educated, and change Equestria's society into what reads uncomfortably like a fascist regime. The canon characters have been reduced to one-note caricatures almost solely devoted to either Character Shilling the OCs or clutching the Idiot Ball. As a result, it becomes hard to sympathize with any of them.
  • In The Real Us, Harry and Hermione are pathological liars (The entire canon series is pretty much lies they told), have a sociopathic disregard for anyone who isn't them and won't worship at their feet (for example, manipulating the Weasleys, including by using memory charms at the slightest provocation), manipulate the law and their status as heroes of the Wizarding World to visit Disproportionate Retribution on their personal enemies, and are insufferably smug about everything, outright boasting about how they lied to and manipulated everyone. Is it any wonder that they come off as outright villainous?
  • The eponymous character of Sylvia the Sylveon is admittedly a naive, frightened lost child, but more often than not comes off as selfish, willfully ignorant, and even Too Dumb to Live. To put it into perspective, she encounters a human teenager who is Driven to Suicide and makes no effort to approach her, and then proceeds to mentally pontificate about how everyone will hate her for not saving the human. She also abandons an elderly and dying human caretaker who was looking after her and other abandoned Pokemon without a second thought. In addition, Moondancer, one of Sylvia's brothers, refers to an autistic girl as "dribbling" and "addle-brained".
  • In Continuance, Izumi Seta, mother of Souji Seta (the main character of Persona 4) comes off this way to some parts of the readership. As implied in the backstory of the game, she and her husband were frequently busy with their jobs, resulting in them having little time for their son- working abroad for a year was why Souji had to stay with Izumi's brother Ryotaro Dojima in Inaba. Of Souji's parents, Izumi is portrayed significantly more sympathetically, and gradually develops the desire to reconnect with her son, but while some people find this to be believable Character Development, to others, it comes off as forced and too little, too late. By comparison, Yuuma, Souji's father, more or less comes off as a Hate Sink, so readers may not like him, but they don't see his portrayal as a point against the fic.
  • One notorious Rule 34 fic featured Matthias and Cornflower, the supposed Messiah figure and his girlfriend, responding to overhearing someone being raped and tortured to death by randomly starting to have sex.

    Films — Animation 
  • Valka in How to Train Your Dragon 2. So a dragon smiled at your baby? Well, the obvious move after that dragon carries you off is to leave behind all your loved ones, letting them think you're dead, using the flimsy excuse that your husband is too violent a man to understand your friendship with the dragon, but then leaving your only child with said husband which will no doubt lead to an abusive relationship. It's not hard to see that she was originally intended be a bad guy, with her motivation boiling down to "dragons are good and people are evil."
  • Ricardo of The Jungle King. The story tries to present him as a funny sidekick and outright gives him a happy ending, even though he clearly helped with Chancellor Hyena's treason plan and doesn't show any signals of remorse or willingness to be good. Even if he is mistreated by Hyena, his lack of actual redeeming qualities make him unsympathetic.
  • One of the bigger complaints about Chicken Little is that the dad, Buck, is supposed to be a guy who just wants to connect with his son, but the movie repeatedly shows him to be an awful, awful father. He neglects his son repeatedly when his son is ostracized by the community. He only gets interested when his son wins a baseball game and brings him some fame among the other parents, but when his son needs him, he turns his back again, and even joins the town in excluding him and laughing at him. It takes the literal apocalypse to get him to try to actually reconcile. That being said, Buck DID apoligize sincerely to his son, joined him on his quest to save the town, and even saved him by fist-fighting the aliens who tried to capture him.
  • Davey from Eight Crazy Nights apparently lost his parents in a car accident on their way to see him on his basketball game... during Hanukkah. Even worse, before he learned of their deaths, he worked himself to the core winning as a tribute to not only his parents, but to the parents who always came to watch their kids play basketball... despite the fact that they never win! While that may pass him off to be a Jerkass Woobie, the way he takes his anger out on nearly everyone and being more as an outright bully, which really loses him sympathy points. Yes, he eventually learns to be a better person, but he also never faces any consequences for his nasty behavior or selfish attitude, which, as many critics have pointed out, is not how someone tends to deal with what he went though.
  • Sunset Shimmer's Evil Plan from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls resulted in her transforming into a demon, brainwashing Canterlot High, and tried to murder those in her way. This was meant to be her being corrupted into something much worse than she was normally willing to act; thus her shock, horror, revulsion, and Heel–Face Turn after her defeat. But, while she never used physical violence prior (even letting Spike go when could have pulled a Hostage for MacGuffin), she had been an Alpha Bitch through the whole movie; and according to Princess Celestia and her origin-story comic, had been so for quite a while before then. Thus, most found her deservingness of forgiveness lacking, and many suspected she was faking remorse to get off easier. But in the next movie, Rainbow Rocks, the rest of the school was just as unforgiving, or worse; even the principal took snide little potshots at her. But she pushed on through this, proving that she was sincere and now trustworthy, with Friendship Games making explicit that she had gone mad in her demon form.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Zachariah Kull, the Big Bad of The Scream Team (a Disney Channel Made-for-TV Movie). He's the vengeful ghost of someone wrongly executed for his wife's alleged murder (it was an accident). However, he makes himself far worse than his Kangaroo Court executioners by absorbing the souls of innocent dead people to make himself powerful enough to go Person of Mass Destruction on his executioners' equally innocent descendants. And his Talking the Monster to Death-induced surrender just makes this worse — he got so caught up in his Revenge Before Reason, he carelessly left his wife Barred from the Afterlife (she refused to pass on without him). And even though he does abandon his vendetta, release said souls, and pass on with his wife at the end, it's still extremely glaring to see him go completely undisciplined by the Powers That Be (the same ones revealed as willing to penalize the titular ghosts who, despite helping stop Zachariah, accidentally exposed The Masquerade in the process).
  • Bastian Balthazar Bux of The NeverEnding Story III infamy. Fantasia depends on him to save them but, unlike the previous two films, he's now an incompetent, stupid jackass who does nothing to find his friends that are lost in his world. He doesn't tell his dad about what's going on, even though he found out about it in the second movie, and acts like a jerk when his parents try to help and when he finds out his sister uses his magic wish medallion, even though it was his fault for leaving it behind in the first place.
  • Mary Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life. George comes home, clearly distressed. Rather than ask him what's wrong and try to calm him down, she ignores the signs and continues to let him make an ass of himself. However, she does make up for it later by working with the townsfolk to gather money for him.
  • Peter Parker, in the 2012 reboot The Amazing Spider-Man, is clearly meant to be someone we are supposed to sympathize with given the tragedies in his life and the twists and turns he goes through, but a lot of audiences tend to instead see him come off as an unlikable prick. While he is grieving for half the film following his uncle's death, a lot of audiences don't see that as justifying enough, primarily with breaking his promise to George Stacy right after his death.
    • However an Author's Saving Throw is made in the sequel where it is shown that he is completely racked with guilt over doing this to the point that he and Gwen break up. That being said, his conversation with Harry as Spider-Man doesn't help him avoid this trope.
    • Gwen herself suffers from this as well. She's perfectly fine with dating Peter, essentially dishonoring her father's last wish, because who she dates is his call. Her death was supposed to be heartbreaking, until you remember that she ignored Peter's wishes to stay out of harm's way.
    • Harry also hasn't earned much sympathy from fans. He is supposed to be pitiful for audiences since he is terminally ill, got kicked out of his company, and was neglected by his own father Norman Osborn. However, Harry comes off as an entitled jerk. Not mention that he crosses his Moral Event Horizon by attacking Peter and killing Gwen.
  • In Avatar:
    • Many viewers saw the Na'vi as arrogant, xenophobic hypocrites who were Not So Different from the human antagonists. For example, they hold themselves above humans because they always mate for life, but when Neytiri finds out Jake's true mission, she leaves him to die.
    • Furthermore, while we don't know who fired the first shot originally, the first time the audience sees Neytiri she's shown planning to shoot Jake with an arrow coated with a neurotoxin, simply for the crime of walking in their territory. Furthermore, the RDA machinery are covered in those same arrows, meaning that the Na'vi are just as guilty of attacking the Humans and are indeed, actively doing so throughout the film.
    • There is supposedly a Deleted Scene that would've revealed that the impetus for the current conflict, the destruction of Grace Augustine's school and the accidental death of Neytiri's unmentioned-in-the-film-proper sister therein, involved both species acting badly to various degrees, getting across some moral ambiguity not present in the final cut.
    • Jake himself, the movie's main hero, spends months dicking around with the Na'vi and enjoying having legs again while feeding intel to Quaritch, instead of warning them about their imminent destruction. Supposedly they won't listen to him until he passes his manhood ritual, but when he finally does pass, does he tell them about the invasion that will be arriving to wipe out their home tomorrow? Nope, he goes and bones the Chief's daughter instead. How It Should Have Ended calls this out, claiming that the ending of the film could have been avoided if he just did his job in the first place and negotiated with them like he was supposed to.
  • In The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, the Kids are obviously intended to be depicted as the innocent, sympathetic victims of prejudice in a story about how people should be judged for their personalities rather than their appearances. Fair enough, except they have almost no personality outside of being incredibly disgusting. Between extremely gross and/or uninteresting pointless shenanigans and frequently breaking the law, they come off more as Humanoid Abominations than The Grotesque.
  • Harry in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when he attacks Snape in Shrieking Shack. Sure, Snape wasn't the nicest person in the world but Harry had him Blown Across the Room for no apparent reason, just because he tried to take Sirius (who was escaped convict at the time) and wanted revenge on him (which isn't any different from what Harry wanted for most of the movie). Averted in the books, where Harry attacks Snape because Snape didn't want to listen to them and tried to get them Fate Worse Than Death without giving them any chance to explain themselves. Harry tried to convince Snape to at least listen to them, and only after Snape had shown that he has no intention of doing so, Harry attacked him, and had his doubts even after the fact.
  • A lot of Christian propaganda films suffer from this, with the main characters often being just as bad as the atheists being set up as the main antagonists of the films by being just as stubborn towards wanting people to believe what they believe, only on the other end of the scale. The films lack any semblance of logic on either side of the debate, and have poor characterizations all around due to obvious straw characters, extremists, and universal refusal of everyone to accept any other person's beliefs.
    • In Rock: It's Your Decision, the main character is meant to come off as a good Christian trying to steer clear from the "sins" of rock and roll and save others from it, but instead he comes off as a closed-minded and bigoted jerkass to anyone who doesn't share the same values and interpretations of Christianity as the protagonist (and then in some cases, as many Christians have no difficulty reconciling their faith and an enjoyment of secular entertainment).
      • At the beginning of the movie he was a normal guy until he found out about all the dangers of rock music, and then he became a walking stereotype.
      • He even turns against his own mother, who brought the youth pastor in to get him to quit rock music in the first place, when he decides that the soap operas she always watches are evil, too.
      • His sermon in the penultimate scene of the film sees him condemn all rock music as 'evil' through various and unsupported claims of such music promoting Hell and the Devil; he goes out of his way to decry homosexuality through the course of this bigotry-laden rant.
    • God's Not Dead achieves this through its protagonist, Josh. He's a religious college student challenged to debate the existence of God by his Jerkass professor. Despite being painted as a righteous Christian fighting a smug Hollywood Atheist, Josh's actions range from questionable to obnoxious.
      • Breaking up with his longtime girlfriend, Kara. Admittedly, she's painted as clingy and unsupportive, telling Josh it's a bad idea to debate Professor Radisson. Nonetheless, her concerns are justified, as Radisson outright tells Josh that he'll ruin his academic career if he goes forward with the debatenote . We also learn that Kara turned down two other colleges to stay with Josh, and even resisted her mother's disapproval to date him. Josh is unmoved by all of this, dismissing her without a second thought and (it's implied) hooking up with another girl later in the film.
      • For that matter, not only Kara but several characters note that Josh could easily drop the class and take a similar course with a less obnoxious professor. Josh's counterargument is that doing so would "mess up my schedule." Naturally he's portrayed as a principled martyr rather than a kid too lazy to move some classes around.
      • YMMV how effective Josh's actual arguments are, but he's just as apt as Professor Radisson to use cheap shots and insults when arguing his points. The worst comes when Radisson confides in Josh that a personal tragedy drove him away from religion. Josh uses this in their final debate, browbeating Radisson with an Armor-Piercing Question of why he hates God, driving Radisson into an anguished Motive Rant in front of the whole class. The movie treats this as a brilliant move on Josh's part, rather than a low blow exploiting Radisson's past to discredit his argument.
    • A Matter Of Faith:
      • The Bible-believing creationist father, Stephen, is presented as the usual Christian Hero fighting against the evils of "The Myth of Evolution" by protesting its teaching in his daughter's college. However he goes behind his daughter's back to question her biology teacher, something she is incredibly embarrassed by, tries to force his belief into a class that has nothing to do with it, and practically guilt trips his own daughter into fully accept his beliefs again based on feelings rather than facts.
      • The film attempts to portray the actions of the creationist characters as exposing the pro-evolution biology teacher of having an agenda of corrupting students away from God, however through the film it's clear that he's just doing his job of teaching the theory of evolution as accepted by the scientific community, and it comes off instead as them trying to force their beliefs into the public education system.
    • In God's Not Dead 2, the main protagonist mentions Jesus by name when answering a student’s history-related question and another student gets triggered by what she says, setting up the main plot of the film. Not only does the fact that the circumstances in which she came to be in court afterwards have no basis in reality, as she was answering a question rather than preaching her beliefs, she later won’t back down from wanting to be able to preach her beliefs in a public school classroom, despite this not only being both illegal and unethical, but actually has grounds for dismissal of a teacher.
  • In Star Trek: Insurrection, the Ba'ku were supposed to come off as innocent victims of an under-the-table Federation and the devious Son'a (who are actually exiled Ba'ku), but instead, they came off as selfish/self-righteous pricks who won't share (or tolerate anyone of their own who wants to share) their planet's amazing healing powers, leaving the rest of the galaxy to die of ailments they themselves easily overcame. There's only a few hundred of them, so the vast majority of the planet is uninhabited. It's worth noting that Picard's argument that moving them violated the Prime Directive doesn't even hold up, since they were an non-indigenous group of Luddites, so they had just as valid a claim to the planet as the Federation colonists.
    • It certainly doesn't help that the movie, despite clearly treating their relocation as the Trail of Tears in space, doesn't at all play up the imagery of that event. On the contrary, the Ba'ku look more like the 1800s middle-class all-white individuals responsible for the Trail in the first place. Roger Ebert described them as a "gated community."
  • In Unstoppable, main character Will Colson's wife has a restraining order against him keeping him from being able to see his son. The reason for the restraining order is because he suspected his wife was cheating on him, then gets upset when she won't submit to his spot check of her cell phone, grabs her violently, pulls a gun on a police officer and friend of his because he suspects he's sleeping with his wife, and she's not even cheating on him. Because he one of the heroes of the movie, we're meant to sympathize with him and want him to get back together with his wife, despite the fact that he could easily be the villain in a Lifetime Movie of the Week.
  • Hannah Montana: The Movie has both Hannah/Miley and her boyfriend, Travis. Miley, for not really trying to stay away from her Hannah persona (that was the whole purpose of her family heading out to Tennessee in the first place), and Travis for being too stupid to recognize her up-close. It took Miley accidentally removing her wig in front of him for him to put two and two together.
    • The town's people, too. They have money problems and, what do they do? They reject the construction of a mall, something that could help them get out of their debt by increasing tourism. Not to mention, it was going to be built in a large, empty field they weren't using, anyway.
    • Then, the town's people state that, after she reveals herself on stage to them by pulling her wig off, pouring her heart out to them, that they want Miley to put her wig back on and keep being Hannah, despite part of the movie's plot revolving around Miley questioning whether continuing to be Hannah is still a good idea and finally pulling the trigger to unmask in front of a large crowd. They come off more as selfish assholes rather than encouraging enthusiasts for wanting Miley to keep suffering the constant struggle she's been having ever since they started the Hannah identity.
  • Red Dawn attempts to pull a not so different moment with three Soviet soldiers by showing them fooling around before being ambushed and executed by the Wolverines. However, the rest of the film and its backstory portrays the USSR and its troops as monsters who nuked America and China unprovoked, and proceeded to invade them and slaughter their civilians (including their children) for the evulz. Even if one states that they were either drafted or volunteered before they knew what they'd be doing and said they were Just Following Orders, (a defense that famously didn't save Eichmann), A. The Geneva Convention obligates them to disobey orders that would constitute war crimes, including using illegal weapons, perfidy, killing civilians, and waging wars of aggression, and B. They show absolutely no remorse for their or their comrades actions. Much of said fooling around consists of mocking America and its culture, as opposed to the Wolverines, who were later deeply disturbed by killing the enemy combatants.
  • Queen Gorgo in 300: Rise of an Empire mourns Leonidas' death and doesn't want to commit her remaining Spartan troops to help the Athenians. This is suppose to spark sympathy with the audience because of her losses, but instead she comes across as stuck up, prejudice against the Athenians, and whiny. Subverted at the very end, after she pulls a Big Damn Heroes right when the Athenians were about to lose the sea battle against the Persians.
  • Griffin from Red Zone Cuba was supposedly meant to be seen as a mostly decent person who was down on his luck and held back by a Hair-Trigger Temper, and what happens to him at the end of the movie was supposed to be tragic and thought-provoking. Unfortunately, all sympathy for him is lost by the time he rapes a blind girl and murders her father, making the ending seem more like justice being done than anything else.
  • The portrayal of Lyndon Johnson in Selma, judging by reactions from some critics and historians. The filmmakers want to show Johnson as a complex figure who supports Civil Rights, but a) views it as part of a larger agenda, and b) is restrained by political realities - more or less Truth in Television. But since virtually every scene featuring Johnson shows him trying to block or undermine Martin Luther King's actions, he becomes the film's de facto antagonist; many viewers consider his portrayal bordering on Historical Villain Upgrade.
  • David and Mia, the main characters of Evil Dead (2013), are given an elaborate and tragic backstory (which is relayed all at once through dialogue even though they obviously both know the details) clearly meant to make them sympathetic, but the rest of the movie never really succeeds at showing either of them, or any of their friends for that matter, in a particularly positive light. Even though these people are all supposedly friends, they treat each other distantly at best or hostilely at worst; for example Mia is shown to be totally incapable of overcoming her heroin addiction despite constantly assuring everyone else that she can, and they criticizes her for it even though their over-the-top method of "helping" her is incredibly unhealthy and harmful, making it impossible to even figure out who's really to blame out of these assholes.
  • Jonathan Kent's stiff and uncompromising demand in Man of Steel for Clark to suppress his abilities goes so far as for him to suggest his son should have let a busload of children drown rather than out himself by saving them. It's obvious that he wants to protect Clark and let him have a normal childhood, but he never even attempts to explain why he believes letting innocent kids die was the better choice. He then refuses rescue and forces Clark to watch as he's killed by a tornado, because safeguarding his son's anonymity is apparently more important than not leaving him traumatized and fatherless. The idea seems to be partially ripped from Superman: Birthright, where Pa Kent is similarly apprehensive about his son's heritage - the difference being, that version ultimately admits he's acting stupid and lashing out at something he can't control, and apologizes for it.
  • In The Birth of a Nation, Austin Stoneman's horrified reaction to Silas wanting to marry his daughter is intended to be an Even Evil Has Standards moment but to modern audiences it actually makes him seem worse by revealing him to be a gigantic hypocrite.
  • The "heroes" of The Lost World: Jurassic Park become a lot less heroic when you realise that they release the dinosaurs from their perfectly secure containers and cause them to go on the rampage that causes all the deaths on the island. Their actions also cause the corrupt corporation that owned the dinosaurs to bring a T. Rex to San Diego which causes even more death and destruction. So the heroes cause every death in the film with the highest body count in the series and never get punished for this. The motives for all this are that the dinosaurs should be allowed to live in their natural environments which a) do not exist any more and b) is in direct opposition to the moral of the first film and the books both films are based on. Dr. Sarah Harding being made into a Composite Character with Dr. Richard Levine makes her a standout example as the latter described as having "a world-wide reputation for being a pain in the ass" and lacking any idea of consequences or any training in fieldwork as he preferred to study museum samples. His poor traits makes the movie version of Sarah much harder to sympathize with.
  • Sean from the 1996 Alaska being upset over his mom's death gives him a reason to feel sorry for him. But the way he takes his anger out on everyone and his overall, unpleasant and nasty personality ends up making him more of a whiny Jerkass instead. Even going as far as to wishing his own dad had died instead of his mom!
  • In the movie Trainwreck, the main character, Amy, and her sister go and visit their Dad in a care home to tell him that Kim is pregnant. He's happy about the news and says he's excited to finally have a grandkid. Kim gets offended and says he's forgetting her step-son, Alistair. He says he cares about the boy and worries about him getting bullied but he's not, technically, a blood-relative. Kim gets so offended she yells at him and storms out, and because he was an Alcoholic Parent to Amy and Kim when they were kids, we're obviously meant to sympathise with her. But the thing is, the Dad is right in this situation and considering Kim wanted to put him in the worst care home she could find and throws out his possessions when she's sorting through them with Amy, it makes her look incredibly petty and looking for an excuse to be pissed off at him.
  • Shelby and the Kappa Nu sisters in Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising. The sequel takes a more sympathetic stance on them partying and disrupting the Radners' lives than it did with Teddy and his frat brothers in the original. However, the problems with it are 1) they use Straw Feminist arguments to rationalize their actions and never get called out on it, 2) the only things the Radners actually did to them was politely request they keep the partying down until they can officially sell their house in 30 days and call their parents when they refused, and 3) the things they do to the Radners are far more malicious (such as intentionally trying to break up the Radners' marriage and stealing their possessions to sell to pay for house rent). It's somewhat made up for by them buying the Radners' home from them, therefore being the solution to the problem they caused in the first place, however this still means that they got off without any real punishment or ever really acknowledging that what they were doing was wrong.
  • TRON: Legacy: Flynn lost a lot of sympathy in the fanbase once they checked out the Expanded Universe; he is something of a jerk to his friends and family, taking their devotion for granted, lies to everyone (including his wife!) about what he's up to, blows off multiple warnings about The Grid's instability, the Program/Iso tensions, Clu's ambition, etc. He was also being something of a Jackass User, not healing Dyson (which caused Dyson to sign on as of Clu's lieutenants during the coup). Top it off with deciding to self-imprison himself in the Outlands and devote everything to protecting Quorra while the Programs are left to Clu's dubious mercy, justifying it with a throwaway line about how resisting Clu would somehow make him "stronger" when Clu already has full run of The Grid.
  • The Wizard of Oz:
    • It contains one of the most infamous examples in film. The movie combined two witches — the Good Witch of the North and Glinda the Good Witch of the South — into one character. This creates a Plot Hole where Glinda gives Dorothy the red slippers but doesn't tell her how they work, causing her to go on a journey and nearly die just for Glinda to tell her later. This has caused generations of viewers to consider Glinda a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing or wonder if Glinda was really the villain and that she sent a random child on a wild goose chase to kill her enemy. More than a few jokes have been made about this, such as the Mad TV "alternate ending" sketch where Dorothy calls out Glinda.
    • The title character himself also qualifies. As written, the Wizard is supposed to be a loving and caring grandfatherly character who doesn't want people to find out he's really a humbug. However, he sends a little girl and her companions to kill arguably the most dangerous person in Oz (who has already tried to kill Dorothy and her companions several times) and bring back the witch's broom as proof... pretty much unarmed against the impenetrable castle and the Witch's loyal army of flying monkeys. His claims of being "a good man but a really bad wizard" come off as less apologetic for being unable to help and more trying to justify his own actions. note 
  • The alien in Super 8. We're instructed by the script to feel sorry for the way it was treated by the military and root for it to return home, just like E.T., even when it starts lashing out and killing several people who had absolutely nothing to do with its mistreatment and posed no threat to it, very much unlike E.T. That it's intelligent enough for the kids to reason with suggests it didn't kill innocent people due to panicked self-preservation, but out of revenge, which makes the ending seem like a miscarriage of justice to many viewers, instead of the "D'aww!" moment it was meant to be.
  • In The Kid (2000), we are supposed to feel sorry for Russ's father for trying and failing to get Russ to spend time with his family, and view Russ as a callous jerk for constantly blowing him off. But later in the movie, it's revealed that when Russ was younger, his father took his anger out on his son after Russ was sent home from school for fighting some bullies. Not only did Russ's dad blame him for the incident, but he also accused the boy of making his mother die faster (she had cancer), and then physically shakes him and rubs his eyes so hard that Russ is left with an involuntary eye twitch well into adulthood, along with major emotional suppression. Knowing about this incident (as well as realizing that Russ had to be raised by his dad after his mom died), it's no wonder Russ wants nothing to do with the man.
  • Tony Stark's treatment of Peter in Spider-Man: Homecoming is supposed to come off as a father figure where anytime Peter makes a mistake, we are supposed to side with him and is supposed to help him out whenever he is in trouble. The problem is, he treats Peter as a little kid and outright dismisses Vulture as being "below his pay grade", giving the impression that he is not taking Peter's claims seriously. This especially comes to a head during their argument after fixing the ferry where he attacks Peter for ruining the FBI bust on Toomes but had he just told Peter he was actually taking this seriously and what his plan was, chances are Peter wouldn't have gotten involved or even get put in danger at all. And yet he decides to take Peter's new suit away because the latter said that he is nothing without it, but judging from the fact that he doesn't know Peter's situation of being trapped in a building nor even made aware of, it give fans the impression that he actually gave up on him for real as he seemingly does not put any sort secret tracker just in case he gets into trouble again and needs to save him. All in all, what is intended for Tony's treatment to Peter being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold end up being a straight-up Jerkass neglectful father figure, bordering on Abusive Parent who is never treated as being in the wrong or called out (this is a huge contrast to the previous movie where when he does do something wrong, the narrative treats it appropriately) by the other characters for his treatment of Peter. There is also the fact that he is responsible for creating Vulture when he forced New York City to cancel Toomes' contract and doesn't do anything to reimburse him for the costs. And yet no one calls him out for yet again causing all the problems of the film.

    Literature 
  • Two big ones in The Demon's Lexicon.
    • Seb. It starts well enough, with his genuine regret for his bullying of Jamie, which is even revealed to be because he's an Armored Closet Gay who was terrified of his attraction to him. But then he's revealed to be a magician, despite which we're still supposed to think he's a nice guy whose eventual Heel–Face Turn was inevitable. Just one problem: before that turn there are not one but two scenes where the other magicians, in his presence, threaten to kill a little kid, and he doesn't raise a single word of protest. It doesn't even come off as him being too scared to speak up; his presence is simply ignored.
    • Helen. She's supposed to be seen as a Worthy Opponent who simply sides with the magicians out of pragmatism. Except at the end of book 2 she murders Annabel without a second thought, and despite her posing no real threat. This makes her Heel–Face Turn come off more as a Karma Houdini who's still just as evil, and just biding her time until she can show her true colors again.
  • Zoey and her friends, in The House of Night series. The group as a whole are supposed to be outcasts known as "the nerd herd", but it's hard to see them as that when all of them are given extra-special powers directly from the vampire goddess. All of them have a tendency to be pretty rude to each other (most often it being the Twins constantly making gay jokes at the expense of Damien and Jack), which is meant as friendly ribbing but doesn't really come across as such. Zoey herself is extremely judgmental, dubbing many female characters (including ones we never even see in the series) as "sluts" and "hos", constantly making disparaging comments about the behaviors or appearances of people in various groups (this includes, but is not limited to, goths, emos, chess club members, cheerleaders, people who use too much eyeliner, people who smoke marijuana, women who give blowjobs, people with bright red hair, girls who take dance class, and homeless people). She's incredibly shallow, constantly focusing on outward appearance first and foremost. She constantly complains about suffering stress from the various hardships she has to deal with, but she does virtually nothing to solve the problems herself. Instead, she waits until the end of the book, when Nyx magically tells her what to do and gives her the powers to do it. When we see her meeting her mother on her birthday, she constantly reacts in a condescending manner, and makes no effort at all to reach her mother halfway on any attempts made to bond with her.
  • Patch, from Hush, Hush. We're meant to feel sorry for him for losing his status as a well-respected archangel and the mortal woman he loved, as well as pity him for lacking the ability to feel things. Trouble is, he chose to abandon his job and home for a girl he hardly knew. Upon losing his wings, he sought out a Nephilim and forced the poor guy to be his slave for eternity, stealing his body for two weeks out of the year (and with the Nephilim able to feel everything). In other words, his situation is entirely his fault, but he never really acknowledges it. Oh, and his ultimate plan to become human and fix his problems centers around murdering an unsuspecting girl. He doesn't go through with it, but he does lure her to a motel room and hold her on the bed while threatening her, which is supposed to be steamy but comes across as something else entirely.
  • Pedro from Like Water for Chocolate. He only marries Rosaura de la Garza to be close to her sister Josefita aka Tita (who's stuck as The Dutiful Daughter), heavily neglects Rosaura which furthers her increasing Jerkassery and ultimately destroys her and Tita's already shaky relationship, causes poor Tita quite the misery as well (and she doesn't forget to call him out on it), and years later bullies and pressures Tita when Nice Guy Dr. Brown shows interest in her. (Not to mention, he barely seems to acknowledge his and Rosaura's children unless it's needed for the plot.) So, Pedro is supposed to be Tita's One True Love and the right guy for her... why?
  • Janie from Their Eyes Were Watching God . Her first husband spends the first few months of their marriage waiting on her hand and foot, but when he eventually starts expecting her to pull her weight around the farm she runs off with the first young hottie she sees. She even tells her grandmother that Husband #1 is completely incapable of ever being loved by anyone...because he's ugly. Her issues with Husband #2 are more legit (he hits her at one point), but even then it's hard to sympathize—unlike Husband #1, he doesn't want her to work much, but then she just complains more about being bored and how the little work she has (watching the store) is too much math for her poor little head. Then she tells him off on his deathbed and at one point blames all her problems on her dead grandma, who told her not to run off with Husband #2 in the first place. Jeez!
  • It's easy for Okonkwo, protagonist of Things Fall Apart to come off this way. He's meant to illustrate a rich native culture that is destroyed by the European colonists. Unfortunately, he's also a racist, sexist control freak who savagely beats his own son after they convert to Christianity, causing them to leave the family. The finale of the book, meant to elicit despair, can instead come across as justice being served.
    • This may be intentional, showing the good and bad sides of Igbo culture. It is unlikely the reader is supposed to identify with Okwonko's actions, as even other people of his society criticise his behaviour.
  • In Trixie and Dan's interactions in the Trixie Belden book The Black Jacket Mystery, neither of them are portrayed as completely innocent. Trixie, however, is the main character, and it is obvious from the narration that the audience is supposed to side with her. However, looking at the book from Dan's perspective, a sheltered, spoiled, wealthy girl who is loved by all continually belittles and insults him, destroys his chances of turning over a new leaf, temporarily ruins his relationship with his uncle, and makes false accusations against him, and leads to a dangerous criminal being able to go undetected. It's a wonder why Dan bothered becoming friends with Trixie afterward, let alone saving her and her younger brother's life at the end of the book.
  • Bella Swan from Twilight, whose helplessness, constant whining, frequent disdain for other people, and lack of any real problems cause many to regard her as little more than a whiner. Ditto for her love, Edward, who is so smug and perfect that it's hard to care about any emotional issues.
    • The Cullens in general could count. They are held up as the epitome of generosity and goodness. Even so, they generally are cold and anti-social to anyone who isn't another vampire or Bella, they are hostile towards the werewolves even though some (for example, Alice) never even met the werewolves before, and they are perfectly fine with letting vampires that do drink human blood hang around the area. Apparently their desire to protect humans only counts as long as they themselves are killing, and so long as the human isn't Bella. Also, every one of them except for Carlisle has killed at least once in their past, and recollections of said murders are generally treated as embarrassing incidents that are swept aside.
      • There's a scene in Breaking Dawn where the Cullens invite a bunch of vampires into town and give them keys to their cars so that they can feed on humans from out of town, because apparently their friends murdering people is okay so long as they don't know the people being murdered.
    • From the latter half of and on, Jacob generally becomes this. His endless pining after Bella, even though it's obvious she'll always choose Edward over him, makes him come across as pretty dense (and also raises the question of what he finds so great about her that he constantly returns for more abuse). In Eclipse we're meant to feel sorry for him for being rejected, but he becomes unlikable when he continuously guilt-trips Bella into showing affection for him. This reaches its peak when, upon finding out she got engaged to Edward, he threatens to let himself die in battle if she doesn't kiss him... and then complains mid-makeout session that she's not putting her all into it. Any sympathy Jacob still has is lost in Breaking Dawn, when he becomes infatuated with a baby. Thanks to convenient superfast aging, she looks 17 by the end of the book, but he's still helping to change her diapers while planning to later make out with her, making him look like a pedophile grooming an infant for sex. Which he is. Naturally, this is presented as romantic.
  • Joane Walker from The Walker Papers. While admittedly having a metric ton of very good reason be sullen, cynical, and unwilling to take up her intended calling of Shaman, the way she was written comes off as bitchy, idiotically immature, and obstinate out of spite towards the world, and her redeeming qualities are there just to artificially induce sympathy.
  • Caine for a lot of the series Gone, particularly in Plague. You're supposed to see him as a misguided and twisted person, but ultimately understandable. But it's hard to feel sorry for him when he takes advantage of and abuses Diana, the only person who actually cares about him. This was fixed in Light for a lot of fans, though.
  • Christian Grey from Fifty Shades of Grey. We're supposed to feel sorry for him because he was hungry as a child, his mother was, in his words, "a crack whore" who died when he was small, and her pimp was abusive. This supposedly justifies all his current abusive behaviour. Also despite using his past as a means to guilt-trip Ana, he never thinks about helping the 15.9 million American kids who suffer from hunger every year, despite definitely having the means to do so. It eventually got worse with the release of Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey As Told by Christian when many, including some fans, were turned off by his internal thoughts where he comes out as a creepy stalker.
    • Anastatia Steele as well. Having her complain about the very things she has just agreed to do with Christian can come across as an author tactic to keep up her "innocence" in the eyes of the reader.
  • The main characters of Left Behind are supposedly models of great Christian virtue who we are supposed to support, sympathise with and emulate. Critics of the series are more likely to describe them as callous, spineless, misogynistic, self-righteous knobs.
  • Harry Potter:
    • One of the reasons Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is so polarizing was Harry's characterization. We're supposed to feel sorry for Harry because he witnessed Cedric's death and nobody believes him about neither Voldemort nor the Dementor incident, but he comes off as incredibly wangsty when he complains about it, especially since this was the third time Harry was accused of something, but handled the first two with better maturity. Then there's his breakup with Cho. Harry of all people should have known that she was still grieving for Cedric, but still decided to date her anyway. Then there's Harry dumping her because she called out Hermione for disfiguring her friend, and she had every right to.
    • On the flipside, there's Cho herself. The reader is obviously supposed to feel sorry for her because her boyfriend Cedric died, but she comes across as a demanding and whiny brat who hasn't sought out any help in dealing with her current emotional situation and repeatedly demands that Harry talk with her about it, despite him not wanting to talk about it, because he not only also saw Cedric die, but also was fearing for his own life at the time and has been suffering from PTSD and nightmares of being back in the graveyard and bringing it up in every situation won't help. The fact that Cho sees nothing wrong with the fact that her friend ratted everyone out to Umbridge, which had the consequence of Dumbledore being forced to leave Hogwarts among other things makes her come across as selfish and incapable of seeing her part in it. After all, she was the one who dragged the friend to the meetings.
    • Base-Breaking Character example: certain members of the Weasley family can come off as this for the fans that feel they're major Creators Pets.
      • Fred and George fall into this category for some, who find their Naughty Is Good mentality and propensity for playing often destructive pranks as more indicative of amoral bullies than carefree jokesters. This reached a crux in, yet again, Order of the Phoenix, where a prank they play on one of Professor Umbridge's minions nearly - albeit accidentally - kills the unfortunate schmuck in question.
      • Ron comes off as this for the fans that find his flaws annoying rather than sympathetic or likable. His self-righteous attitude, tendency to get easily jealous (to the point that he turned his back on Harry in the fourth book, and then abandoned Harry and Hermione in the middle of the seventh book over the locket), and his lazy attitude towards working in general (while bemoaning his status as the Can't Catch Up Butt-Monkey) have only added on to this. The films just exacerbate this, since nearly all of his heroic moments from the books were either removed or given to Hermione instead, turning him into The Load and leaving viewers questioning just what his good qualities were supposed to be in the first place.
      • Molly can be this for the fans that find her shrill, demanding and annoying. The implication that she wanted a daughter so badly that she kept popping out kids until she got one (leaving Ron feeling like The Unfavorite) also hasn't helped her case.
  • Let's just say Ayn Rand invited this kind of criticism in more or less all her novels and leave it at that. Her vision of the ideal Objectivist paragon as presented in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged is contested, at best, especially given her own problems with living up to her own idealised standards.
  • In The Firebrand, a wife argues with her husband about his decision to kill their newborn son, who is prophecied to bring doom upon their city. It's a justifiable point, but her arguments are ridiculously, unnecessarily, misandrist. Apparently their son should live because she's a woman and she says so - not because they love him, or it would be the right thing to do.
    "What right has a man over children?"
  • In the eyes of many fans, Luke Skywalker became this toward the end of the Star Wars Legends continuity, frequently sanctioning drastic measures such as torture and assassination to stop villains. The intent was to show the character growing increasingly cynical with age, but the fans argue back that even so, that's not a very good way to write Luke Skywalker.
  • Kerim in From Russia with Love becomes this on sheer force of Values Dissonance. When describing his past to Bond, he blithely admits to kidnapping, false imprisonment, and Attempted Rape he committed as a rowdy teen, and his present-day self's reflection on this is essentially, "Oh I sure was stupid as a kid, huh? Besides, she didn't hold it against me." Keep in mind that even for the '50s Kerim was clearly intended as an Unscrupulous Hero - he shows himself to be okay with gunning down a fleeing opponent, for one, something Bond mentally notes he'd never do - but to modern readers taking him seriously as a protagonist at all can be difficult.
  • In Shadow Song, we're told that Bobo Murphy and Amy Lourie/Myers aren't in particularly happy marriages, and their chance meeting at Avrum's funeral is portrayed as fulfilment of a destiny, a teenage romance finally getting a chance to bloom away from meddling parents and whatnot. It's certainly portrayed as romantic, but at the end of the day, they are cheating on their spouses.
  • Circe in The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince is described as being kind and compassionate, but she only curses the Prince after he jilts her personally (even though one would think she would have picked up on the fact that he's rather selfish and misogynistic in general), she extends the curse to the servants after he taunts her (essentially messing up their lives just so he'll be a little worse off), and then completely ignores him for years, without even thinking to check in on his progress until she hears her sisters are doing so behind her back (because of this, she doesn't learn about the abuse he heaped on Princess Morningstar until it's nearly too late to save her and her family). And on the subject of the last point, despite knowing how her sisters operate on a different moral sense than her and hate the Prince, she does little to enforce her order to leave him alone and is easily manipulated by them into not noticing them attempting to kill Belle and the Beast. The end of the novella also has her showing more sympathy to Belle than the Beast, who besides being the character she actually knew and claimed to care about, is on the ground, dying of a stab wound.
    • The Prince/Beast himself suffers from this in the same book. While he's meant to be unsympathetic to an extent as the majority of the book is about his life before he met Belle and thus was still self-centered, he's also meant to still be sympathetic enough for his eventual redemption and romance with Belle to feel earned and believable. Unfortunately, the author completely overshot the "flawed but redeemable Beast" portrayal and landed squarely into "complete asshole who ruins the lives of multiple people for 5/6ths of the book" territory instead; when your protagonist cruelly dumps two women who loved him - one of them with full knowledge that he's dooming her entire kingdom by doing so - and orders the murder of a painter just because he drew a portrait of him with signs of the curse taking effect on him and shows absolutely no signs of reforming or regretting his actions until the last 20 pages, it becomes quite hard to root for him to get his happy ending with Belle especially since Belle never learns about any of this.
  • Marcus Yallow, The Hero of Little Brother. You're supposed to feel sorry for him because of the abuse he goes through from the Department of Homeland Security, but he comes off as incredibly self-righteous. During the book, he gets into an argument with his father, who agrees with the DHS's methods, but he had every right to since for several days, Marcus was missing after the terrorist attack that triggered the book's conflict. He regularly ignores his friends' warnings that he shouldn't pick fights with the government. Finally, him being monitored by the DHS is his own fault because he did nothing but make himself look suspicious at the beginning of the book. He used his hacking skills to cut school, and according to his principal, it wasn't even the first time he used hacking to screw around in school. When he got interrogated, he refused to hand his phone over to the Big Bad of the story. Not because he had anything incriminating on it, but because of the principle of privacy. Finally, to make a point to his father, he tampers with the DHS's security system to cause a city-wide halt on everything, but that leads to the DHS to start increasing security, making things worse for Marcus. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! at its finest.
  • Edward Fairfax Rochester in Jane Eyre is very rude, scornful, uses other women to make Jane jealous, plays mind-games with her and other women, and even tries to trick her into marrying him although he is already married.
  • Jane Rizzloi of the Rizzoli & Isles books. Certainly the first one. The reader is presumably meant to empathize with her feelings of inadequacy regarding her plain looks and struggling for recognition at work and in her own family, but she comes across as so unlikable that it's difficult. Her dislike and resentment of Catherine Cordell—a woman who was drugged, raped, and nearly disemboweled by a psychopath and is now being stalked by a copycat—for no reason other than that Catherine is beautiful and her warped belief that Catherine stole her partner's affections from her don't do her any favors either. It's also hard to sympathize with her jealously of beautiful women when she practically refuses to put any effort into fixing herself up — the Serial Killer that she's tracking is among the people who note that she'd look prettier if she wore makeup and more flattering clothes.
  • Victoria where the protagonist, John Rumford, is cashiered out of the US Marines when making a principled stand... by refusing to let a woman Marine honor the dead of Iwo Jima. Because, you see, no women fought at Iwo, therefore no woman deserves to honor the dead as a Marine. This is his character introduction, by the way, and it only goes downhill from here.

    Music 
  • Taylor Swift:
    • The protagonist of "You Belong With Me". This is about a shy girl who has a crush on a boy who already has a girlfriend but, as the title suggest, she feels that he's obligated to be with her because she somehow understands him better, with no indication that she's said anything to him to indicate her interest in being more than friends. Then she criticizes his girlfriend for wearing high heels and short skirts. The video also portrays her as a stalker. The whole song comes off as a more passive-aggressive version of Avril Lavigne's "Girlfriend".
    • "Better Than Revenge" is about a woman who is mad that another 'stole' her crush. It's quite easy to view the protagonist as very in the wrong though. There isn't even concrete proof that the woman took her boyfriend - they could have been in a steady relationship or in a flirtatious pre-dating state - but the protagonist is absolutely rabid at the other woman for having the guts to be interested in the same guy as her. There's a fair share of Slut-Shaming in the song and it's vague how far she'll go with her revenge but it doesn't sound like she'll go easy on the woman.
  • The title character of Bruce Springsteen's song "Johnny 99", who is sentenced to 99 years in prison for a murder he committed while drunk over the loss of his job. The song does its best to portray him as a victim of a broken system, even demonizing the judge who sentences him, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still a killer and that most people who have been in his situation haven't killed anyone.
  • The protagonist of .38 Special's tender ballad "Second Chance" really sells how sorry he is over a mistake he made, and the song pressures the subject to stop making such a big deal over it and take him back. The singer then proceeds to specify that the mistake was cheating on her, and defends it by saying this of the girl he cheated with: "I never loved her, I never needed her. She was willing and that's all there is to say." In other words, the guy didn't cheat because he's a flawed man who was tempted and gave in to his own weakness and selfish impulses; he cheated on her because he could, and then tries to guilt his lover for holding that against him. It makes him seem more like a self-absorbed sociopath than a man who's genuinely contrite over what most people consider a very serious betrayal of trust.
  • In the Megadeth song "1,000 Times Goodbye", we're clearly supposed to sympathize with the protagonist, since his lover left him for another man. However, her voice clips make it clear that she's been suffering for years under him and tried repeatedly to make their relationship work, making the protagonist sound more like a narcissistic jerk than a jilted spouse.
  • The Bullet for My Valentine album The Poison has several songs relating to finding out that a girlfriend or love interest is sleeping with other people, and how painful this is to experience. However, this becomes less sympathetic and more disturbing when the protagonist is revealed to be a violent stalker in "Hit the Floor" (one who has apparently put thought into how and when he could attack his target) and that his retaliation over her infidelity is to murder her and any man he catches her with (as shown in "Room 409" and "The Poison"). Yes, cheating is bad, but stalking and murder are usually considered to be far worse things.
  • Drake's "Hotline Bling" is probably supposed to come off as the lamentations of an ex who feels a deep sense of disappointment and unfulfillment in regard to a failed relationship and can't stop being reminded of how much better than him his former partner seems to be doing. Instead, he comes off as a whiny, clingy, prudish, controlling Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who can't come to terms with the fact that his ex has become her own person and deals with it by whining about how she's a lesser person for no longer being at his beck and call.
  • The protagonist in "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood. We're supposed to root for her when she trashes her boyfriend's car, giving him his just desserts as revenge for him cheating on her. The problem is we don't even know if he's cheating; she's acting on unfounded and unproven suspicions and seems to take pride in it.

    Theater 
  • This is one of the main criticisms of RENT. At best, the heroes—Mark and Roger in particular—are Brilliant, but Lazy and want the adoration that being a respected artist would bring, but have yet to actually produce anything to earn it. At worst, they're spoiled elitist brats who think working a regular job is beneath them and expect to stay in their apartment rent-free as they wait for inspiration to come to them.
  • My Fair Lady: When it was first made, Professor Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle were each meant to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold (i.e. Not So Different from one another), but nowadays, it's common to view him as a snobbish, misogynistic villain unfairly putting down Eliza, because current values don't look well on characters like Higgins.

    Video Games 
  • Carlos, Sarah's father, from The Walking Dead falls under this. While he has his daughter's safety in mind, his coddling dooms her. It never occurs to him that she needs training with weapons, cooking skills, and anything else that would help her survive if he were to die. He does.
    • Arvo. Clementine and Jane first meet him when they're looking for a place for Rebecca to give birth to her baby. Here, you have a choice: you either rob him of his bag of medicine or you let him leave with it. If you steal it from him, he, justifiably, gathers his possee to attack you and your group. If you let him leave with it, he gathers his possee to rob you, anyway. On the latter side, this makes it hard to sympathize with him as he gets the shit kicked out of him by Kenny.
    • Jane, at least in the final episode. Here, she makes her most bone-headed moves, which is strange for someone who survived this long. While Kenny becomes more dangerous over the course of the Season, Jane crosses the line by a) repeatedly bringing up his dead family during their fight in the truck, b) instead of making amends, she FAKES AJ'S DEATH to "show Clementine his true nature", and then c) during her fight with Kenny, she expects to be saved (depending on the player's viewpoint, she might). On the other hand, one of the endings is for Clementine to save her, realize she was antagonizing Kenny intentionally to "prove he was unstable", and abandon her for it.
  • Master Xehanort in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep is intended by both the narrative and his Reports to be a well-intentioned Fallen Hero who's ultimately gone Jumping Off the Slippery Slope. But in-game, he is an Obviously Evil Jerkass whose massive Hypocrisy regarding Light and Darkness as well as his many Kick the Dog moments make him act virtually nothing like his Affably Evil-Anti-Villain conveyance in said Reports — and just makes Eraqus lot more Properly Paranoid against Darkness. note 
  • Mass Effect 3
    • The Catalyst is probably one of the most extreme examples. Both his presentation and creator commentary pretty much indicate that he is intended to come across as some sort of Anti-Villain who had to resort to extreme measures in order to accomplish its task (i.e., he created the Reapers in order to end organic-synthetic conflicts), and that the choices he gives you at the end are meant to be similarly extremely morally ambiguous acts for the greater good. However, to many a fan, his reasoning is extremely nonsensical at best, and at worst exemplifying utter hypocrisy. Furthermore, the choices he gives pretty much throw the whole theme of the franchise down the toilet. The Extended Cut fixes this slightly by allowing you to question the Catalyst's logic (though only in somewhat vague therms), and it becomes clear that it's more a case of A.I. Is a Crapshoot. The Leviathan DLC expounds on this further when you meet the Catalyst's creators and realize it really was just following its protocol; they just forgot to program it to not turn on them, too. It leaves a less sour taste in player's mouths than the original scene, but caused debate as to whether this was intended from the start or if this was an retcon to placate the angry fanbase.
    • Tevos, the asari councilor, becomes another example in the third game. While she's initially presented as the "good" councilor when compared to the Jerkass Sparatus and the more neutral Valern, her actions in the third game make her look like a colossal hypocrite. While refusing to send help to Earth to fight the Reapers could be seen as cold pragmatism to defend her own people, the fact that she denied Shepard's warnings about the Reaper threat throughout the two previous games, even after Shepard saved her life from one at the end of the first game, is the reason why all life in the galaxy is unprepared for the current Reaper attack to begin with. And while equal blame could be laid at the feet of all councilors, save Anderson, for refusing to listen to Shepard's warnings, the third game reveals there's another prothean beacon on Thessia with information on the Reapers and that the asari have kept it hidden in order to insure their superiority over other races, in violation of their own laws. The fact that the vast majority of the asari were just as ignorant of this as the rest of the galaxy is the only thing keeping the entire species from falling under this. This means that unlike the other two councilors, Tevos actually had the means to find out about the Reaper invasion and prepare, yet she did nothing. Yet, no matter what, Shepard is forced to feel sorry for her when the Reapers cause the fall of Thessia, even though that, as well as the all the deaths caused by the Reapers in this cycle, was only possible through her inaction.
  • Dragon Age II has the Mage-Templar conflict at the center of its plot. While the narrative tries really hard to portray the two factions as being morally grey, a common criticism of the game is that both sides come off as deaf-to-reason Jerkasses. The one person they both are willing to listen to, Grand Cleric Elthina, gets this too; she's clearly supposed to be a Reasonable Authority Figure desperately trying to keep things together and failing despite valiant efforts, but her refusing to do anything but talk about compromise (while refusing to come up with any picture of what a compromise might be) while both sides (and elements of her own church) pile up the atrocities comes off as Head-in-the-Sand Management bordering on Stupid Neutral.
  • The dwarves in Chrono Cross are supposed to come across as a race who has been victimized by the excesses and the greed of humanity as a whole, and call humans out on not being able to live in harmony with nature. The intent is to make the player feel bad for killing them, but the fact that the dwarves were conducting an operation of ethnic cleansing on the fairies, while at the same time doing the same things they accuse humans of doing prevents them from getting sympathy. The fact that the game itself fails to see the hypocrisy of it all, in favor of putting all the blame on humans, (even the fairies blame the humans, rather than the dwarves who are actively killing them) is a sore spot for many players.
    • There's also the matter of the demihumans. They constantly try to push the Green Aesop the game has going, and often bash humans for not living "in harmony with nature" the way they (the demihumans) want. The aesop falls flat because humanity is kind to nature, having only one city, which is remarkably very clean and produces no visible pollution. But what really makes them this is an alternate ending where they take the now-unoccupied areas humans used to live in and proceed to live there without changing anything, making them just as bad as the humans they hated so much.
  • Delilah Kaldwin the witch from Dishonored 2 is a textbook example. She is the bastard sister of the late empress. When she was only a child, her sister broke an irreplaceable heirloom and pinned the blame on her. As a result, she was whipped and her mother was fired from the palace kitchen. Delilah and her mother ended up in debtor's prison where her mother died of infection after a fat guard broke her jaw. Delilah was thrown out and used the last of her cash to buy a child's coffin to fold her mother in. In response to this, Delilah pays a visit to her innocent niece Emily. She leads a violent attack on the girl's throne, needlessly murdering every maid and bystander in the building, petrifies Emily's father and only family, and leaves the girl homeless, unwittingly doing the exact thing to Emily that she had suffered from as a herself. Despite this, the supporting cast of the game desperately tries to rationalize Delilah's actions. The Outsider even claims that Delilah is the smartest person alive despite her being so bad at her new duties that the empire is thrown into anarchy, the palace becomes flooded, runs out of power, and fills with rat swarms and that she's suffered more than anybody on earth not only has Emily been through all of the same, but when she was 10, was kidnapped twice, held prisoner in a whorehouse, saw her mother stabbed in front of her, and her caretaker executed by firing squad. Anton Sokolov even claims that Delilah doesn't deserve to die for what she has done, and that she simply has a talent for "imagining the world as a better place".
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: The way that Vamp's death scene is set up, with Naomi cradling him in tears as he slowly passes away from his various wounds after having his immortality-inducing nanomachines suppressed, is also clearly meant to make the players feel sympathetic for him and his tortured existence. The problem is that Vamp is never depicted as anything but a complete bloodthirsty monster; murdering dozens of innocent people and inflicting immeasurable suffering to the main cast (including murdering Otacon's sister purely out of spite), and is completely unrepentant for his crimes. Vamp had a horrible past, and the nanomachines arguably made it even worse, but he's still such an awful human being that it's nearly impossible to actually feel sympathetic towards him (his Draco in Leather Pants-ing fangirls notwithstanding).
    • Solid Snake even offers a counterpoint to the idea that a tragic past makes you sympathetic (in the same game, no less). When talking about the B&B Corps, Drebin retells the horrible lives of each of the members, but Snake shoots it all down by saying that, at some point, a terrible life stops being an excuse for your actions. Yet, MGS4 expects that same line of logic to work on a character with more reason for the player to hate.
      • And speaking of which, Snake himself can consequently come across as this via Broken Aesop: While he has a point about people like Vamp, people like the B&B Corps are contrarily too insane and non-lucid to be in any sort of control over their actions (not to mention, you know, being hooked up to all sorts of technology that definitely doesn't do their minds any favors). No Sympathy much, Snake?
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Persona:
    • Ken in Persona 3. Granted, he did lose his mother, but his planning to kill Shinjiro and then himself isn't something that anyone, except maybe Takaya, wants. While Shinjiro is guilty of manslaughter, his popularity and the fact that he's willing to accept being killed for what he's done, save for the fact that Ken will then have to live with the guilt Shinjiro bore for years (a lesson Ken ignores) makes him somewhat more sympathetic by comparison. The official English localization doesn't help, as it's implied that rather than feel guilty over Shinjiro's death, Ken's angry that he didn't get to kill Shinjiro himself.
    • Mostly features in the Playable Epilogue (The Answer) of Persona 3; while it can be attributed to SEES falling apart due to their leader's (the main character) death, a lot of them become abrasive or take on idiotic actions that contradict their behavior from the main story. Yukari in particular acts hostile the entire time, and when the opportunity to possibly revive the MC is presented to them, she immediately decides to take that chance, despite the risks involved. Mitsuru is even worse - she supports Yukari because she comforted her after her father's death, and she wants to support her. Mitsuru is the granddaughter of the man who spurred most of the game's events, and she spent most of the game trying to clean up after him and atone for it. In a way, her actions are the most nonsensical out of everyone. The rest of the cast either acts rather passive about the entire affair, or acts like a boneheaded jerk, like Akihiko. It's very much a relief for many people when Aigis makes sure that nothing is reversed in the end, and even Yukari apologizes for her erratic behavior.
    • Persona 4: Ryotaro Dojima comes off as this. Throughout the game, he often suspected the Protagonist of getting involved with the murder mystery. Okay, a bit understandable since the murders started around the same time he came to town, and it's his job as a detective to find the pieces. During his Social Link, he and the Protagonist start to bond, but all of his Character Development immediately gets derailed when the killer sends a threatening letter to the Dojima residence. Dojima's first instinct is to completely distrust the Protagonist, regardless of whether you completed his Social Link or not. Then, in the biggest What an Idiot moment in the game, he takes the Protagonist to the police station to interrogate him, and leaves Nanako, his seven-year-old daughter with no self-defense experience, home alone. This leads to Nanako getting kidnapped and put into a life-threatening coma, and not once is he ever called out on his negligence. He was originally going to have been the killer, and with how he was written, it makes you wonder just how late in game's development the change was made.
    • Persona 4: Arena Ultimax:
      • Sho Minazuki, the main antagonist. It has been displayed that he has had a horrid upbringing, which was actually similar to the upbringing of the orphans who would become Strega in Persona 3, and it's mentioned that his adoptive father, Shuji Ikutusuki, tried to kill him at one point. He's reprimanded through and through as he deserves, and is ultimately left to his own devices in the end. Seems all well and good, except for the fact that Yu and Labrys, more or less the protagonists of their respective routes, continually forgive him and insist that because of his upbringing, and because Sho feels he cannot form bonds without fighting, Sho cannot be held at fault. Sure, he's under the thumb of the Malevolent Entity the entire time, but Sho's been shown to be psychotic, unforgiving, gleeful in harming others, and extremely immature. It gets worse when you find out that Igor is even trying to give him the power of the Wild Card, despite Sho being the last person one would expect to be able to use it, what with his entire motivation for all the harm he causes boiling down to "friendship is stupid and I'll prove it".
      • Akihiko, at the end of Arena, seems to find value in protecting others and chooses to live out that desire by becoming a police officer. In Ultimax's ending, he plans to establish some connections with Officer Kurosawa for his job with the Shadow Operatives, despite the fact that he wants to leave that group someday. He regularly slacks off of college, desires to aimlessly train like he did at the start of Arena (which he dropped out of college to do), and is extremely rude towards Aigis, who's more or less been forced to babysit him for the classes that Mitsuru is paying for. Even with his connections, chances are high that he'd need said college education to become an officer (most police-related occupations in Japan do). If Mitsuru didn't value him so much, Akihiko would basically be an incredibly ungrateful moocher with no life goals.
    • Persona 5:
      • Corrupt Corporate Executive Kunikazu Okumura, the fifth Arc Villain. He's portrayed as ultimately the "least bad" major antagonist, and the Phantom Thieves targeting him simply because he's the most-requested name on their fansite is played as a sign that they're going drunk with their newfound fame and corrupted by the whims of their increasingly bloodthirsty fanbase. Indeed, it's soon revealed that the really bad guys hacked the website to ensure his name would be at the top of the polls, so they could murder him and frame the Thieves for his death. Only problem is, he's legitimately a very evil guy. He works his employees until they drop, is implied to have had several people murdered, plans on unwillingly marrying off his daughter Haru to the Spoiled Brat son of a prominent politician who is all but expressly stated to be chomping at the bit to exercise the Marital Rape License, and is a member is a criminal conspiracy (the aforementioned "really bad guys") who plan to rig Japan's next election and install a murderous fascist in the Prime Minister's chair. He's no different from any of the other Hate Sinks of Tokyo whose hearts you change, except that he happens to be related to a main character.
      • Morgana comes across as this during the time he abandons the party. After Futaba joins, he starts to feel useless by comparison, and the breaking point comes after Ryuji makes fun of him. What makes Morgana a case of this is that he is always mocking Ryuji, calling him names like ape and moron, and comes off as hypocritical when he can't take what he dishes out. While Ryuji is portrayed in the wrong for mocking Morgana, Morgana never gets called out for constantly berating Ryuji, and goes back to mocking him after they've made amends.
      • Goro Akechi has gotten this treatment from a lot of fans. A lot of fans believe that his Dark and Troubled Past does not excuse how he killed multiple people including Futaba's mother, Haru's father, and Joker in the bad endings. In addition, a lot of people felt that his Alas, Poor Villain moment felt a bit forced and as a result, he became a massive Base-Breaking Character.
  • Helena Harper from Resident Evil 6. She's been blackmailed by villains who kidnapped her sister and turned her into a monster while they were at it. Unfortunately, her actions trying to save her sister led to an entire college campus turning into zombies. Even if you do feel bad for her at first, watching Liz die from the infection and her lovable father fall apart into heart-breakingly narmy tears will make quick work of that pity. It also doesn't help that she whines about her sister for the entire game.
  • Eveline from Resident Evil 7: biohazard was engineered to be a Walking Wasteland bioweapon and programmed to desire a family as a means of spreading her infection. Pretty sad setup, but when a character is lashing out at injustice and wants to keep the audience on their side, it's really important to set the amount of sadistic cruelty, arrogant taunting, and evil laughter they display as close to zero as possible. Eveline uses all three of those things to an excess, making it clear that she's well aware of the pain and suffering she causes, and that she enjoys it. When Eveline whiningly asks why everyone hates her near the end, many players had no trouble giving an answer.
  • Within the Neptunia series, the games generally did a good job portraying the heroes as heroes and the villains as villains. The third game, Neptunia Victory, had a lot of problems with this matter.
    • The eponymous main character Neptune has become even lazier than she was in Mk 2, spending YEARS without doing anything and being an ass to anyone who calls her out on her laziness. Even worse, she treats her beloved sister VERY badly, especially in the Good Ending (Spoiler: No, this ending isn't much of an ending at all...)
    • We have Plutia, with one side of the fandom loving her endearing laziness and her HDD mode as sadistic Iris Heart, and the other side thinking that her normal form is a lazy idiot and her HDD form an overpowered and bitchy jackass whose only reason for existing is to rape everybody.
    • This has the side effect of making the villains Unintentionally Sympathetic, as not only are THEY the ones going up against insurmountable odds (seven random people who aren't the most united working together against Physical Gods), their motivations of overthrowing the CPUs (who can be lazy, arrogant, sore losers and pretty illogical) can be pretty sound.
    • However, ONE villain has this problem. Rei, normally, is sympathetic. However, like Iris Heart, her HDD mode kills her character, making her an intolerable hypocrite unwilling to acknowledge her mistakes and actually DESERVING her ten thousand years of loneliness.
    • The remake, Hyperdimension Neptunia RE;Birth 3, is a big Author's Saving Throw that addressed many of these concerns. Neptune is much more eager to get things done, implies she's been on off-screen adventures during the timeskips, and has a much better relationship with her sister. Plutia was made less of a toxic influence, Iris' sadism was made much less sexual, and both forms are more emotionally intelligent than she's letting on. The villains make more satisfying antagonists by sheer dint of the heroes being more heroic. And where plot points demand the party do jerkass things, the characters themselves heavily imply they know it's a recycled script and transparently try to get the scenes over with painlessly. For the most part, it seems to have worked.
  • Metroid: Other M:
    • Adam Malkovich is supposed to be a stern but fair leader who genuinely cares about the protagonist Samus Aran and a competent commander. However, his actions on screen show him treating Samus with a mixture of condescending rudeness and cold indifference. Despite the fact that at this point she has a successful career as a bounty hunter and as a mercenary for the Federation who destroyed the entire base of the pirates, he still doesn't consider her as his equal and allows her to join his crew on the Bottle Ship only if she strictly follows his orders. Which leads to the infamous Authorization System. Samus cannot use any of her equipment, even her defensive gear, until Adam says she can. At one point of the game, Adam asks you to go to a lava-filled area without the Varia Suit (a suit that protects you from deadly heat and convection). Eventually Adam does something heroic when he saves Samus from a Metroid... by shooting her in the back! For those reasons, many players were apathetic during his death scene and horrified by the implications of him coming back as a computer in Metroid: Fusion.

      Something repeated about Adam, over and over, is that he's willing to sacrifice things that he cares about for the greater good. The game certainly shows a lot of him sacrificing things... not so much on the "cares about" front. There is never a point in the game where Adam exhibits any affection or care for those around him or under him (including his own family), nor is there a point where he grapples with the difficulty of sacrificing something important to him. Even in his "Heroic Sacrifice," he states that the only reason he is sacrificing himself and not Samus is that Samus is more able to finish the mission. Because of this, Adam comes off less like a man willing to make hard decisions and more like a sociopath who views everything as disposable assets.
    • Melissa Bergman/MB is regarded by Samus as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, who was unfairly used by the Galactic Federation as a means for a telepathic army. While there's some truth to this, the story treats her as though all her megalomania came from their treatment from her, and not from being a clone of Mother Brain, the archetypal power-hungry AI of the Metroid series. Samus then claims MB killing all the staff aboard the Bottle Ship as her vengeance, wanting to merely "punish the foolish and conceited", but that's an overly excusing reading of a someone who murdered hundreds for the actions of a few and then planned galactic genocide.
  • Tales of the Abyss:
    • Arietta. Despite being one of the villains, she's portrayed as a poor girl who lost her parents in the events of Hod years prior to the story, was raised by ligers and can talk to them, before being intergrated into human society. She's supposed to be seen as pitiful, because she used to be a Fon Master Guardian, but was removed from that position two years ago, making her feel thrown away from Ion, whom she loved. The reason she was removed was because Ion died and was replaced with a replica, who had no memories, so it would have been easily discovered, had the new Ion not remembered the years he had spent with Arietta. Even the heroes feel sorry for Arietta. But she spends the game whining about how she lost her position, whining at Ion when she sees him and getting into petty fights with Anise, all while blaming Luke, Tear and Jade for having killed her adoptive liger mother and refusing to listen to any explanations. Arietta even killed people and paid a major part in the overtaking of the Tartarus, early in the game, so she's got blood on her hands. It's very difficult to like her even when she dies later on.
    • A big reason for the Broken Base surrounding Anise herself can be attributed to this trope as well. She was blackmailed by Mohs to spy on the player's party with her gullible parents held hostage. This act of spying would eventually lead into Ion's death. Anise felt absolutely guilty over this, and rightfully so. However, her way to deal with Arietta was to spare her from the Awful Truth about Ion, which Anise says would devastate Arietta's mind. The fans still hated Anise for this, and the hatred wasn't quite unfounded. After witnessing her party members growing so strong, she should have confessed to them without harming anyone. On top of that, Anise was on board in blaming Luke and giving snarky death suggestions on him after Akzeriuth, which was believed to be not quite Luke's fault (He pulled the trigger, but it was due to Vaan's manipulations), thus she's pegged as Easily Forgiven for causing Ion to die.

      On that note, many players felt like the party members blaming Luke is hypocritical as the major reason that Luke ended up trusting Vaan was because showing he's extremely sheltered and has no idea how the world works (including having to be taught the concept of bartering), they regularly ignored him and tell him to shut up and refused to explain why he shouldn't do the thing that lead to Akzeriuth or not trust Vaan.
  • The Big Bad of Tales of Vesperia is supposed to be a Fallen Hero / Well-Intentioned Extremist wanting to create a utopia at any cost. In theory, it's a great idea that fits in with the game's overall Order Versus Chaos theme. The problem? He claims to be behind everything that we see in the story. This not only doesn't make much sense (considering that so many of the villains seem to be working against one another) but it also means that he is directly responsible for all of the corruption that he claims he is trying to stop. The fact that the full extent of his plan is not explained in the main story (instead being relegated to many sidequests with obnoxious requirements) and the fact that his English voice, of all people, is D.C. Douglas - a man who excels at playing Obviously Evil Large Hams, and who plays Alexei's Laughing Mad Despair Event Horizon moment as a straight-up Evil Laugh - means that he comes across more as a cheesetastic over-the-top pantomime villain when he should be a tragic Anti-Villain. While this is not necessarily bad per se, since Alexei's Laughably Evil antics have become rather memetic within the series' fandom, it's clear that the character really didn't come across as the writers intended him to.
  • Tales of Xillia 2:
    • Strangely enough, Alt!Milla is considered this In-Universe. She comes from an alternate dimension, where she managed to get rid of Exodus at a young age and, hence, did not need to be the Lord of the Spirits any longer and is living a rather human life with her sister Muzét. Said sister has been blinded by an attack while protecting Milla and denied re-entry to the Spirit Realm, which has resulted in her abusing Milla for the past fourteen years. When Alt!Milla gets accidentally transported into the prime dimension, she needs to deal with the reality that her world was not real, is now destroyed and that her appearance has caused Prime!Milla to disappear into the abyss between dimensions, as well as that she actually has no real place in the prime dimension. Unfortunately, Alt!Milla decides to be repeatedly abrasive with others, whines about how her world is destroyed and in general does nothing but wallow in her misery. It gets to the point that Gaius calls her out on her behavior.
    • Elle. She's a young girl, separated from her father and on a journey to the Land of Canaan. She's taken under Ludger's wing and tries to act adult, but is still a child in a situation that she isn't ready for and understandably lashes out, as a kid is wont to do. She's also revealed to be part of a fractured dimension, meaning that she'll disappear if they wish for all fractured dimensions to disappear, leaving her to consider herself a fake, similar to Alt!Milla above. Exactly how sympathetic she is to people can vary, though some of her lashings out leave her looking beyond selfish for a child's standards.
  • League of Legends: The developers have stated that all of the factions are mostly neutral, including Demacia and Noxus. However, with how Noxus is portrayed as being filled with various SocialDarwinists and sadists who are very brutal and sinister in doing their jobs, not to mention often taking the 'bad guy' role during cinematics... Well, we have a reason Noxus is often considered the Always Chaotic Evil faction.
  • There is a version of this trope that led to a bit of a Broken Base in BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma. Litchi Faye-Ling has taken swing into Anti-Villain against her will and her arcade shows that she has a big remorse in fighting her friends and is not pleased with her superiors. All in all, it led to her being 'sympathetic'. However, in story mode, after having her attempts to be 'good' again was undone via time reset, she's later shown to still continue aiding Relius to 'recreate the world' under the goal of 'creating a world where Lotte Carmine exists', to dissuade her grief of losing him now that he couldn't be saved. At that point, the base broke: some still considers her sympathetic and tragic like what was intended in the Arcade Mode because among other things, she's pushed beyond her limits and sees no other 'option' to save Lotte, and she still shows dislike and remorse to what she must do, proven with how she tried to stop Carl from joining her, others follow this trope and lost any sympathy for her, thought she crossed the Moral Event Horizon because... is saving one person and alleviating your own grief and guilt when no one else could worth aiding an equivalent to a genocide that involves herself and other characters that cared about her?
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Michalis of Fire Emblem Akaneia is supposed to be a Tragic Villain, with the wise sage Gotoh expressing pity for the burden that his crimes have put on his soul. Trouble is, those crimes are killing his father so that he can seize the throne and ally Medon with the Big Bad after too long chatting with Gharnef. Then he dupes his little sister Maria and makes her a hostage in Doluna, with orders that she be killed if his other sister Minerva tries to pull a Heel–Face Turn. While it's understandable that Maria (who's a healer) would save her brother, it's hard for players to find his story all that sympathetic or his redemption arc in the sequel very satisfying. And to make matters worse, in the remake, once he's miraclously brought Back from the Dead, rather than having an epiphany (which could have made his redemption having a meaning), he instead reverts to his tyrannical personality like nothing happened in the course of both games and got a happy end on top of it. Anyone wonders why they usually opt to leave him dead afterwards?
    • Travant from Fire Emblem Jugdral is in a similar boat. He's intended to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist, a good man at heart who's driven to extreme actions for the good of his country, which is suffering from extreme poverty. Unfortunately, we're introduced to him by seeing him ambush Quan and Ethlyn, massacring their armies, murdering Ethlyn in cold blood and talking their newborn child hostage to force Quan to disarm himself just so he can kill him more easily, and taking the baby to raise as his own afterwards. And when we meet him in the second generation, he doesn't seem to show any hint of remorse for what he did. Most players cheer at having Quan's son Leif cut him down, rather than feel bad for him. The midquel Thracia 776 seems to have realised this and tried to correct it. Unfortunately, the only way for them to do so was to reveal, out of nowhere, that Eviler Than Thou villains manipulated him into killing Quan and Ethlyn.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones has a villain example, Carlyle. The head of the Jehannan military, he nursed a Bodyguard Crush on his country's beautiful Queen Ismaire, but eventually sells his country out to the Grado Empire when it becomes apparent she'll never reciprocate. He seems to be intended as a Tragic Villain driven to evil by unrequited love, but in practice comes off more as an Entitled Bastard who uses I'm a Man; I Can't Help It as a justification for treason.
    • To a lesser extent, there's Dragon King Dheginsea in the tenth game. To avoid a prophecy that states The End of the World as We Know It would come if all of Tellius went to war, he ordered his nation of Goldoa into a state of total isolationism, with Goldoans being forbidden from providing military aid to, conducting diplomacy with, or even trading with any other country, just so, in the event of a war, there would be one country that technically isn't involved. He does turn out to be sort of right, but he could've been less of a knob about it. What really seals this though is that when the prophecy comes true and Ashera reawakens to destroy the world, he decides to side with her, despite having absolutely nothing to gain from this and contradicting his entire motivation before. It almost feels as if this was only done to give the player a dramatic boss fight. That last part is lampshaded and discussed: the other Laguz rulers promptly lose sympathy for him upon this confrontation, and grief for Dheginsea is very thinly spread outside the dragon tribe. One in particular just barely chooses not to Speak Ill of the Dead, but still assigns the deceased exactly as much blame as he deserves.
  • Valkyria Chronicles players sometimes end up taking a dim view of Alicia because of her melodramatic whining about her superpowers. Her life doesn't change at all after she becomes a Valkyria, the only difference is that she has the option of killing enemy soldiers with a lance instead of a rifle (and she's deadlier with the rifle), and that since she's an orphan, she now has some idea of who her birth mother must have been. She ignores all of this and instead goes on to have a screaming temper-tantrum that very nearly burns her entire squad alive because she just wants to be normal... even though her powers are completely under her control and she can use them, or not use them, at her discretion, and she doesn't realize it until her boyfriend tells her it's all gonna be okay. Which is exactly what she does, she just never uses her powers again.
  • Mr Sohta from the horror RPG, Misao. In the end, the game tries really hard to make you feel sorry for, or at least forgive him due to his backstory, but by that point he has killed at least two girls and committed various other awful acts and it's generally considered too late. During his playthrough of the game, Markiplier puts it best:
    Markplier: (reading game text) "You're really a nice person Mr. Sohta... just a little awkward sometimes. And I like you for who you are." Even though you're a murdering psychopath!
  • Mermaid Swamp gives us the old man. He reveals that he felt sorry for the 'mermaids' his family had kept for years and wanted to return them, but due to the strange fascination that they have on the men of the Tsuchida family, he was incapable of actually doing anything to them, so he used the protagonist and her friends to do it for him. While this could make the guy very sympathetic to some players, the fact that it's only revealed in the Golden Ending makes it difficult to actually feel it, because one is more likely to get any of the other endings, which are all bad, first. And the fact that said old man is anything but helpful in those endings makes him less sympathetic. In the other endings, he's more inclined to abuse Rin's insane state than actually help her and kills some of the characters.
  • The Kobali are put under the light in Star Trek Online. They weren't particularly liked for their Grave Robber ways when they showed up in Star Trek: Voyager, but the Kobali Battlezone missions as well as "Dust to Dust" make them even more unlikable as we come to find out that they've been resurrecting dead Vaadwaur and the Vaadwaur want them back. It gets worse when it is revealed that they have the body of the original Harry Kim. So much so that Harry Kim takes the Kobali to task for their actions, despite the fact that it goes against the Prime Directive and that they're supposed to be our allies.
  • Sonic Lost World: So a major conflict in the game is how Tails starts feeling like Sonic is beginning to lose faith in him in favor of Eggman, and just wants to be of use to his hero. However, this ignores the fact that 1) Eggman is the only one capable of disabling the machine since he was the one who made it. and 2) Tails makes no objections to even allowing him to help in the first place. In fact, this has the side effect of making Sonic Unintentionally Sympathetic, as he's treated negatively for his earlier actions that kicked off the plot despite his genuine remorse and trying to make amends. The plot is firmly on Tails` side of the conflict and in the end, Sonic apologizes for "not trusting him enough". And the whole conflict ends up being moot anyway when Tails just randomly disables Eggman's machine to begin with.
  • Bravely Default: Easily this trope falls onto the Arcanist Victoria. So, she has had a terrible life as she had an incurable disease and that the local corrupt church would just abandon her to die. Her life was spared thanks to an experimental chemical treatment, but it comes with the side-effect of trapping her in a young girl's body despite being in her late teen's as well as periodic seizures. While that's sad and everything, these circumstances have turned her into a psychotic sadist willing to kill anyone even tangentially related to the corrupt church in the first place, even if it's simple pious innocents living far away from the church's center, or even just outright killing people for mistaking her for a little girl, which she does.
  • Nilin of Remember Me traces everything back to her mother losing her leg in a car accident when she was a kid. The story definitely portrays Nilin as being an undeserving victim, but her character development over the rest of the game tends to undermine it. Her self-centered behavior in the game implies that her behavior as a child, and her willingness to use her remix ability to just make Scylla out to be a bad driver and herself a perfect angel and dodge all the hard work and consequences, are not simple childishness or immaturity as much as they are inherent character flaws.
    • Nilin's mother is, interestingly, also this. She's unable to let go of the fact that Nilin's misbehaving in what led up of the car accident isn't what directly caused it. By the time the accident happened, Nilin was behaving properly for a short amount of time...yet Scylla takes her eyes off the road to lecture her when she sees a red light at an intersection, which caused the accident. Quite possibly the entire story could've been much different if she didn't take that very moment to throw common sense out the window and decide to take it out on her daughter.
  • While Undertale tries very hard to make you feel sorry for Dr. Alphys, she came across more as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing to a few fans. Not only does she run a Monster Protection Racket with Mettaton so she can insert herself into the player's adventure as a hero, but her experiments with determination and monster souls lead to the creation of both the Amalgamates and Flowey. Those still leave a bitter taste in a few fans' mouths, especially since she never apologies or even confesses to the former, despite it being entirely her fault. It's hard to blame her entirely for the latter, since it was an experiment ordered by King Asgore that had Gone Horribly Wrong, and she had no idea what would happen. Either way, she suffers no consequences for either of these behaviors in the game's Golden Ending, while one of the more sympathetic characters ends up suffering a terrible fate, making a Bittersweet Ending.
    • To some extent, Undyne and the monsters who try to kill you, assuming you're not doing a Genocide or a very violent Neutral run. The story treats any killing of a monster as something horrible... But plenty of these monsters are also actively trying to kill a child. While the You Bastard comments are accurate when it comes to the player, and while the extent to which the lack of sympathy those monsters might elicit is unintentional at least partly depends on the player (there are comments in a Pacifist run that compliment the player for their willingness to Turn the Other Cheek), In-Universe those monsters don't know that the player exists and don't know that you can reset (except Flowey and Sans). Therefore, and even if Blue and Orange Morality is often at play, most of the monsters seem surprisingly okay when they have to murder a child. Also, Undyne's words about how you're an "evil" force standing in the way of everyone's "hopes and dreams" lose a lot of their impact, especially in a Pacifist run, when you remember that she's saying it to a child. (And contrary to other monsters, she has seen Human History / Anime, so she probably knows the difference between an adult human and a child.) For an anime fan, she doesn't seem to realize that hurting children is almost always a trait displayed by the villains. The fact that she remains hostile even after you spare her and even if you continue a Pacifist run (until you befriend her of course) may also make Undyne lose some sympathy.
  • The Final Fantasy VII prequel Crisis Core wants you to feel sorry for Genesis, who is suffering a genetically degrading disease and is so desperate for a cure he's allowing Hollander and Lazard to use him. Except he's an arrogant, long-winded jerk, the injury that triggered the disease is his own fault for showing off, and you could make a strong case that if he hadn't started his rebellion against Shinra, the events that set Sephiroth's Start of Darkness in motion might not have happened. Hell, Genesis seems to be amused when he reveals Sephiroth's origins to him and watches him begin to fall apart for it, yet we're supposed to feel sorry for him.
  • This trope is the reason why Nix from Infamous 2 is so disliked among the fandom. She's meant to be portrayed as a Jerkass Woobie with a tragic past involving the deaths of her parents at the hands of Bertrand, but this Freudian Excuse is flimsy at best and does little to justify her violent streak. The Evil choices she advocates for Cole are outlandishly, stupidly evil, and make her come off as a borderline sociopath. This is especially in contrast with Kuo and Zeke, who are far more sympathetic and have more character depth in general. note 
  • The Ace Attorney series, with its Loads and Loads of Characters, has a number of folks who fall into this.
    • Dee Vasquez in "Turnabout Samurai." We're supposed to feel sorry for her because it was only a Crime of Self-Defense and she'd lost her heavily implied Love Interest to the victim. However, Jack Hammer only tried to kill her because she'd been ruining his life via Blackmail for years, said Interest's death was heavily-implicitly only an accident, and she's still a ruthless Mafia Princess known to "silence" innocent people note . By contrast, the intended Asshole Victim even comes across as Unintentionally Sympathetic note  to quite a few players, as a result.
    • The That One Level case of "Turnabout Big Top" has the murderer, Acro. It's true the murder was accidental, but he was intending to kill someone else. Namely, a 16 year old girl who, due to her sheltered upbringing, didn't understand the seriousness of a prank she played that put Acro's brother into a vegetative state. He would have killed his benefactor's only child, and that made some fans think the Sympathetic Murderer angle trying to be played was forced.
    • Desiree Delite. She's helpful to Phoenix and is definitely a nice person. But she does, by the end of the game, advocate her husband's life of crime in order to satisfy her shopping habit, a habit she has no intention of stopping.
    • Godot. He even lampshades how his screw up of not going to Phoenix when he learned of Morgan's plan to kill Maya. This directly leads to the death of Misty Fey. Lots of fans believe Misty's death wouldn't have been necessary if he hadn't tried to get revenge for Mia's death and his own poisoning.
    • Ace Attorney Investigations has Justine Courtney in the second installment. She's supposed to come off as a merciless to lawbreakers and a servant to the law, coupled with being in a bad situation having to worry about her kidnapped son. But in the 4th case, she introduces fabricated evidence to convict Kay of a murder, and later, is discovered to have the opportunity to commit the crime, but she dismisses this out of hand, and no one else brings this up. To make things worse, she is a Karma Houdini note .
  • Luka in The Wonderful 101. His mom died and he blames the superhero team the game is named after for not being able to save her. That part's fine and sympathetic. What isn't is how he genuinely wants to ally with the GEATHJERK forces, who are trying to destroy Earth, and even aid them by leaking inside technology and weak points in the planet's defenses. Making matters worse is the timing of his Heel-Face Turn, which is after he finds out that his mom is technically alive through the defense robot Platinum Robo. Still wanting to side with GEATHJERK even after their Dragon reduced Blossom City to a pile of ruins floating in the sky speaks a lot about him. In spite of all of this, Wonder-Red and Wonder-Pink both bend over backwards to downplay his behavior and at worst he's supposed to be seen as misguided and driven too far with revenge (one of the game's main themes). He does make a full Heel–Face Turn and even joins the team as Wonder-Goggles, but it's hard to feel sorry for the kid who was absolutely willing to destroy his entire planet all because he thought his mom died, and only went back to the heroes after finding out she isn't dead.
  • Patroklos in SoulCalibur V is shown to be a self-righteous, sociopathic racist who remorselessly murders an innocent man in the opening cutscene of the game. He's also supposed to be the protagonist. You're supposed to feel sorry for him because his mother is dead and his sister was abducted since childhood. His relationship with Pyyhra is supposed to be his redeemable trait, but that even gets thrown out the window when he finds out she's the bearer of the Soul Edge. He runs away from their battle and vows to kill her if he ever saw her again.
  • Nina Williams of the Tekken franchise is always, always, always presented as a super-cool badass who we're supposed to root for in her rivalry against her twin sister Anna; the two animated films based on the series and the spinoff game Death by Degrees all depict Nina as the hero and Anna as a craven, pathetic villain. The main series, though, has shown Nina be extremely vicious, cruel and abusive towards her sister, even on occasions where Anna has sincerely tried in good faith to bury the hatchet between them, and has gone so far as to outright murder Anna —along with numerous other innocent people— in at least one [non-canon] ending. If Nina's Character Shilling weren't so obvious, it'd be easy to assume that we were meant to sympathize with Anna instead (who's no saint herself, but comes off as amoral at worst instead of, y'know, evil).
  • Jake Conway in Ride to Hell: Retribution. We are supposed to sympathize and root for him because his brother has just been murdered by the Devil's Hand and decides to go against them as revenge for his brother's death. But the lengths he is willing to go and the sheer amount of innocent people he murdered to accomplish this makes him as bad, if not worse than the very bikers that he hated. Case in point, when he encounters an electric fence his solution to the problem is to kill a bunch of innocent truckers, steals their fuel truck, then drives it to the power plant, killing any police that tries to get in his way and when he entered there, he kills all the workers that tried to defend the dam, afterwards he proceeds to shoot he fuel tank in order to blow up the power plant that somehow managed to shut down the electric fence. Disregarding how much potential damage it could do by shutting down the power source for at least four states, this plan is needlessly elaborate and cruel considering that he could have just find a tree to jump over a fence or even use the truck just to ram a fence with minimal innocent casualties.
  • The Legend of Dragoon has a few examples:
    • Miranda, the First Sacred Sister and final party member. Her backstory would normally garner a lot of sympathy: She was unwanted (and beaten) by her mother. Her father was a lush who also beat her. She would run away and spend all of her time wandering a glacier until she was adopted by Queen Theresa. During the story, Rose is also a unwarranted bitch to Miranda, telling her Miranda isn't as capable with the White Silver Dragoon Spirit that rejected Shana in favor of Miranda when Miranda is just as capable in the actual game. However, before we reach that part, we meet Miranda for a bit. She's shown to be hot-tempered, immature, and a poor leader.
    • Miranda's mother, was supposedly trapped in a loveless marriage to a drunk. That's pretty sympathetic. However, she also beat her own child (who was an infant, no less) in order to deal with her pain.
    • Rose can fall under this as well. She's hot-tempered and nasty to both Lavitz and Miranda, fairly arrogant, and begins to fall under Tier-Induced Scrappy after Disc 1. Some players found her backstory not to justify her whining, and were grateful when Miranda slapped her in Disc 4.
  • Chloe of Life Is Strange, to the point of being a Base-Breaking Character. The entire game revolves around Max's reconnection with her, in the form of Chloe dying and Max using her rewind powers to save her life. While she is supposed to be seen as flawed, her tragic backstory and Broken Bird tendencies aren't necessarily enough to redeem her selfish, arrogant attitude, or her tendency to do stupid things that get her killed. One infamous example was when David caught her with her weed, and if Max didn't hide, she'd immediately throw Max under the bus, but if the player denied it, the game will basically guilt trip you for letting Chloe get in trouble. Another moment was when she asked Max if she could steal money from a fundraiser that was supposed to help disabled students so she could pay off her debts that she got herself into. This also contributes to the player base reactions to the endings, since how much the player cares about Chloe, and Max's relationship with her, factors heavily in both of them.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles X has an example where sympathy is properly placed right up until going a step too far: Lao. Initially he's an implied Death Seeker because his wife and child were screwed out of their positions on the evacuation ship by rich and influential people who "bought" their way on board. This much is fine, as the characters are tactful and Lao doesn't Wangst in front of the player at all. No, his choice of action is to sell out humanity to a race openly bent on genocide. When this is revealed, Lin and the Player Character will automatically stand in front of Lao to stop Elma shooting him - despite the fact that Elma would be completely justified in a field execution, and this act of mercy directly enables the destruction of humanity's best hope for the future - an outcome that could have been easily predicted. Needless to say, many players consider the traitor's ultimate fate to be a total slap on the wrist.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has Zelda's father King Rhoam due to the way he puts down Zelda's interests and accuses her of not trying hard enough when the player knows she's working tirelessly. It's made clear in his journal entries he loves his daughter and was trying to be an impartial King, and when he appears 100 years later as the Old Man, he is clearly extremely regretful of his treatment toward his daughter. However, to some fans, the damage his actions caused make him too difficult to sympathize with.
  • Near the end of MOTHER 3, it's revealed that Fassad is actually the missing Magypsy, Locria. This is revealed by a mouse who says that Fassad was always nice to him, and innocently asks when he's coming back. However, this other side of Fassad does not hold any weight when you remember that not only did he willingly go along with the Big Bad's plan to corrupt the innocent citizens of Tazmily, he also tried to kill the main party repeatedly (which includes a thirteen-year-old boy) and gleefully tortured Salsa the monkey with a shock collar while also holding Salsa's girlfriend hostage. Compared to all the atrocities Fassad was willing to commit, the fact that he showed kindness to one little mouse seems extremely insignificant.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fuminori, the Villain Protagonist of Saya no Uta is intended to inspire distaste from the audience later in the game, when he loses himself completely to his "love" for Saya and starts to hurt people for her. From the beginning, though, many players find him repulsive. It's easy to understand why he wants to be close to Saya and even feels love for her, because she's the only thing he can see that doesn't look like a twisted mass of rotting flesh. Since she looks to him like a prepubescent child, though, and since he believes that's what she actually is, his decision to take her home and repeatedly have sex with her doesn't do much to set him up as a fundamentally decent victim of circumstance.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has Ushiromiya George, the eldest of the cousins. We're shown that he deeply loves and cares about his fiancée Shannon, and how despite being an servant/master relationship he's willing to go against his mother's will to marry her. He's crushed and traumatized each time Shannon is murdered, mourning their lost future and dreams together. However, in the flashbacks and even during the family conference we're shown that George is very manipulative of Shannon, taking delight in being able to make her feel however he pleases, bossing her around and going on and on in detail about the future he has planned for both of them while showing very little concern with Shannon's opinions or what actually Shannon could want. He's conscious of his manipulative tendencies, but sees nothing wrong with them.

    Later, we're also shown that he harbors a resentment towards Battler and Jessica for being outgoing and popular, while he was rather shy and reserved, to the point of being considered boring by other people, and that traces of this can still be shown when he looks down on Battler and Jessica for not getting good grades as him or acting childish to play with Maria. In the flashbacks he even looks delighted when Battler leaves the family, rubbing into Shannon's face how her childhood crush will never, ever come back. Given that most of his issues are rooted in Eva's overly controlling behavior towards him, going as far as to plan an arranged marriage for him and switching between guilt trips and praise to make him to do whatever she wants, you'd understand why he behaves like that, but for some fans that still doesn't quite balance the scales.
  • Long Live the Queen has Julianna, the Duchess of Ursul. As the only openly-acknowledged Lumen, she's subject to a degree of Fantastic Racism and, depending on whether Elodie bolsters the public acceptance of Lumens, may remain utterly hated by the masses; she even has a special segment in most of the epilogues and a number of special conversations suggesting that she's socially isolated because of her powers and feels guilty for not protecting Fidelia. To the player, her condescending, snobby attitude combined with her utter unwillingness to actually do anything unless she can't avoid it makes it hard to feel bad for her.
  • Clover from Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. In the true route, Junpei is able to help her get over the emotions of brother's death, gets an emotional reunion scene when it turns out her brother isn't actually dead and goes on in that route to remain as the bubbly character she started out out. However, in one of the other endings where Junpei isn't able to help her, she snaps and goes crazy with an ax, killing everyone. Some players who got this ending before the true ending find it impossible to think of Clover as anything but an ax-wielding psychopath.

    The developers themselves seemed to be aware of this problem. In the game's sequel, Virtue's Last Reward, during Luna's path during which it's revealed that Clover confronted Luna over Alice's death, threatening her with an injection gun, the game throws in a few lines explaining that Clover didn't seem like she actually wanted to kill Luna, and that the gun fired by mistake during a struggle. It doesn't help in VLR that Clover's model has has a bug where instead of defaulting to a neutral expression, she slips into a smile when she's not emoting (and combined with taking a noticeable drop in intelligence from 999 to VLR — from explaining the rather complex "The Ship of Theseus" thought experiment to Junpei to misreading "Pantry" as "Panties" in VLR, she ends up coming off as a Sociopathic Ditz
  • Dangan Ronpa has Sayaka Maizono, the super duper high school Idol. She reveals that she became an idol, because they fascinated her as a child and were loved by everyone, which she desperately wanted to have, having been left alone a lot as a child by her workaholic father and is terrified of losing her status as an idol and the friends she has made with it. Then it turns out that she began to form a plan to commit a murder and having Naegi set up to take the fall, so Sayaka can leave the school. This included manipulating him and his obvious crush on her, getting the two to swap rooms for the night and her plan to backfire horribly and resulting in her death, rather than Leon's. After those revelations, Kirigiri tries to calm Naegi (and the player) down by saying that Sayaka wasn't as bad as this may have made her look, but the damage has been done in the player's eyes and Sayaka lost any sympathy, no matter what her Freudian Excuse of a sad past had attempted to build up.

    Web Animation 
  • Go Animate "Grounded" videos: The parent characters who are punishing the trouble-making kids, particularly those of "baby show" characters such as Caillou and Dora the Explorer. The makers of these videos intend for the viewers to side against Caillou and Dora (who, truth to tell, aren't the wholesome lovable heroes that they are canonically, themselves) and with their parents. But in all honesty, the measures the parents take to teach Caillou and Dora their lessons often come off as overly cruel. Even so much as hitting a sibling can lead to getting grounded or even murdered (directly or indirectly) by their parents. Additionally, sometimes the parents even do stuff without Caillou and Dora just to be mean (sometimes even before the kid has even caused any trouble) and, in extreme cases, even tell them to their faces how much they and the world hates them. In the end, the parents frequently come off as incredibly abusive Jerkasses not worth rooting for over the Jerkass Woobies Caillou and Dora.
  • Turnabout Storm: Some felt this way about Trixie. She acts incredibly smug, arrogant, and condescending throughout the entire series, has no qualms about trying to get Rainbow Dash wrongly prosecuted simply for revenge on Twilight, and repeatedly prioritizes revenge over the truth. She's meant to get a Cry for the Devil in the form of black Psyche-locks, but these are never significantly explained or elaborated on. Phoenix at times says she's doing certain things for noble purposes, but virtually every one of these instances is actually explainable by Trixie just serving her own selfish ends. She even savors Rainbow Dash's guilty verdict, rubbing it in Twilight's face and declaring that she felt on top of the world afterwards. She never even apologizes or shows remorse for what she did, not even when Phoenix generously helps her out and saves her career. The only really noble thing she ever does, write a secret, reluctant thank-you note to Phoenix, came at no cost to herself whatsoever, and as far as she knew, would not be discovered by anypony.

    Web Comics 
  • Hazel from Girls with Slingshots: The author, Danielle Corsetto, has said that she deliberately writes her as a flawed character to make her more believable and relatable. However, many times this crosses into Hazel being downright unlikable. It came to the point were many readers cheered when Zach broke up with her, even though it was portrayed as a very sad thing in the webcomic.
  • A large chunk of the cast of Dominic Deegan come off as this, which is one of the main reasons for the series' rather large hatedom. Luna, Melna and Dominic himself are probably the biggest offenders, though Melna at least has a Freudian Excuse to explain her behaviour even if it doesn't justify it for many fans.
  • Therkla, of The Order of the Stick fame. She's only in the comic briefly, but she's more or less every negative stereotype of modern teenage girls in human form: she compromises her mission because she has a crush on a boy, she's overly dramatic about her home life (treating the fact that her parents are sickeningly in love on the same level of harsh and disgusting as being a Child by Rape), her primary complaint about the lack of reconciliation between her crush and her mentor (who are on opposite sides of a good-vs-evil conflict) is that it means she never gets her way, and she ends up committing a variation on suicide because a boy wouldn't dump his girlfriend for her. It's sad that she died young, but she spent most of her time acting like a brat with levels in Ninja. The Giant says that Therkla represents the neutral in the good vs. evil conflict, but her idea of compromise is basically asking the good guys to let the evil guys (including herself, since she's complicit in the actions of her evil mentor) get away with the murder of dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent people.

    Web Original 
  • A number of characters in Dino Attack RPG:
    • Rotor was introduced by Atton Rand in an attempt to undo his earlier Demonization of realists with a sympathetic realist character. At first, Rotor wasn't so bad. Even when he made it clear that he was willing to exploit Kate Bishop as a means to getting to Wallace Bishop, who seemed to be the most dangerous enemy on the island at the time, it was an understandably realist outlook on being willing to do what must be done. And then, he's scolding his T-1 Typhoon crew for not being willing to do what must be done; okay, fair enough, Greybeard's done it before... wait a second, is he ordering his own men to be executed by firing squad by means of Kangaroo Court? And now he's torturing prisoners, with a heavy dose of subtext that he doesn't even believe that they have the info he seeks; he might just be doing it For the Evulz? We're supposed to like this guy? He's no better than any of the previous realists Atton Rand introduced!
      • Fortunately, Rotor finally regained some sympathy when he started to clean up his act. That, and the fact that the two following Unintentionally Unsympathetic characters were introduced and made him look sympathetic in comparison...
    • Atton Rand had, to a certain extent, intended Trigger to be a sort of Spiritual Successor to Dust, inspired by his popularity to attempt to write an anti-hero of his own. Unfortunately he had the opposite reception which Atton had intended. He did attempt to salvage some dignity by at least giving Trigger a memorable death scene, but whether that succeeded is debatable.
    • Snake is a similar deal, as like his namesake he was intended to be likeable despite being an uncaring anti-hero. This backfired horrendously, especially when he was meant to look honorable in comparison to Plastic Serpent, who, to add insult to injury, became Unintentionally Sympathetic instead.
  • Super Mario Logan:
    • Rosalina falls into this territory whenever she values the needs of Jeffy, a highly unintelligent kid, over Mario's. Sure, she is more caring towards Jeffy than Mario is and is quick to call Mario out if he abuses Jeffy in any way, but because a lot of fans find Jeffy's behavior more annoying than funny, they would rather side with Mario. She also tends to take the side of other people besides Mario despite seeing what Mario was really doing. Such examples include "Jeffy's Cellphone!", wherein she believes that Mario called a prostitute and beat him up for allegedly cheating on her, despite the fact that he was watching Star Wars with her the entire time and Jeffy got a iPhone around that time, and "Jeffy's Bad Word!", wherein she witnesses Mario spank Jeffy for repeatedly saying the F-word (The other F-word) and tells Brooklyn T. Guy that Mario likes to hit Jeffy on the butt, very hard, multiple times. Also, in "Happy Merry Christmas!", when Mario shows her a montage of some of the bad things Jeffy did to him to prove he is a bad kid who deserves coalnote , she instead blames Mario for making bad video ideas.
      • Taken Up to Eleven in "Shrek's Coma", wherein the audience is supposed to feel bad for Rosalina when Mario kicks her out of the house for finding Shrek's new body attractive and think that Mario is overreacting. While something similar did happen in "Jeffy's Parents", that was more justified as Mario and Rosalina both knew what kind of monster Nancy was, so it made sense why she'd be pissed at him in that video. However, considering Rosalina has ALWAYS put both herself and Jeffy before Mario's needs, has gotten him into trouble many times, and in general been a gigantic Jerkass, this makes Mario's break up with her more satisfying than heartbreaking, and it also makes her look like a hypocrite (So Mario looking at porn in "Jeffy's New Toy" is cheating according to Rosalina, but admiring other guys right next to the guy your dating isn't?) But no, in the end, Mario has to apologize to a woman who has almost never done anything nice for him in return.
    • Mr. Goodman in the episode, "The Bet!". The audience is expected to feel sorry for Goodman since he lost to Chef Pee Pee in the Golden Spoon competition, and Bowser puts him through what he puts Chef Pee Pee through on a regular basis. However, the episode begins with him swearing like a sailor while demanding house payments from Mario and boasting about how rich he is, and he loses his entire fortune by betting on himself.note  Even when Mario gives him a job after Chef Pee Pee goes on vacation, Goodman blames Mario for not making his house payments and complains about how he should be making more money than what Chef Pee Pee is paying him. When Bowser sends him to Wal-Mart to get him Cheetos, Goodman takes advantage of a puddle with no Wet Floor sign near it and deliberately slips on it to obfuscate an injury and sue Wal-Mart to get his fortune back.

Alternative Title(s): Fat Monica

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UnintentionallyUnsympathetic?from=Main.FatMonica