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Anime and Manga
- Happens in Dance till Tomorrow, with the Yakuza leader. He hides with Suekichi's acting troupe and turns out to be a quite decent performer...
- Nathaniel Ayers from The Soloist
- Akeelah Anderson from Akeelah and the Bee
- Will Hunting from Good Will Hunting
- Chris Gardner from The Pursuit of Happyness
- Real Genius. Lazlo Hollyfeld is a brilliant former student at Pacific Tech who had a mental breakdown when he learned that his research was being used to design weapons. He ends up helping the protagonist Mitch.
- Tora Ziyal from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Subverted. Due to a harsh life, she was late to art and characters and the audience don't learn for even longer that she was being mentored until after she'd earned a prestigious university place by merit (she didn't want her father pulling strings for her). Experts considered her art to be a callback to both a great Bajoran artist and a great Cardassian artist. Her dream was to use her mixed heritage and the fact people could see both Cardassian techniques and Bajoran techniques in her work as a way of trying to bring the two enemy worlds together. The university professors even thought she had the talent to pursue that dream. And then she's murdered.
- Liara T'soni from Mass Effect, starts out as a simple archeologist with the same amount of biotic training as every other member of her species. After being influenced by Shepard, she winds up as a powerful and deadly information broker.
- In Die Anstalt, Lilo appears at first to be a dimwitted autistic, having difficulty solving a jigsaw puzzle with only two pieces. But as you treat him, you'll find that he's capable of solving advanced algebra problems. Only his psychological trauma prevents him from doing so.
- Former American Football kicker Martin Gramatica grew up playing soccer, and didn't try out as a kicker until his senior year in high school. He ended up being a decent NFL kicker, and was selected to a Pro Bowl and won a Super Bowl ring.