Sometimes writers who make adaptations change aspects of plots and characters to the point where they remove most of the characters' qualities
, or even to the point where you don't recognize them and say they DESTROYED them
. To many fans, every aspect of a character's personality, ability, etc. should be preserved. Sometimes writers do this for the fans....with a catch.
Usually in newer versions of older media (say an NES game or horror film) a character's design is changed to the point where they can only be recognized by incredibly minor details (or a name being posted on the picture). This is done to modernize characters for a new generation, much like any remake or adaptation. Sometimes this change doesn't sit well with the fans, but in some rare cases people will accept the newer design, saying it is a great change overall. Changes to old designs usually end with people getting used to them until the next change is made where a vicious cycle is restarted until the product comes out and people are settled.
Compare Not as You Know Them
where the appearance is the same but the personality isn't, Adaptational Attractiveness
, and Progressively Prettier
for when their looks improve, The Nth Doctor
when the appearance changes suddenly and completely, and The Other Darrin
for an unexplained change of actor. See also They Changed It, Now It Sucks
. Can lead to Your Costume Needs Work
. When it happens to locations, see Chaos Architecture
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Anime & Manga
- The Gundams from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing got a redesign for Mobile Suit Gundam Wing Endless Waltz, making them overall sleeker and removing a few weapons in order to streamline things (except Heavyarms, which got More Dakka). To this day, there are STILL groups of fans who insist that the movie versions are vastly inferior to their TV counterparts for those very reasons, despite Word of God saying that they're the exact same machines with the exact same performances, and were infact Retconned into replacing the TV versions. This is made more explicit in the 2010 manga Glory of the Losers, which retells the events of the television series but uses the movie-styled versions of the Gundams.
- In the original Fist of the North Star manga, Zengyo, the assistant of Ryuken's old rival Koryu, originally resembled an ordinary middle-aged man with no real qualities that made him stand out. When the character was adapted to the anime series, he became an elderly ninja master for some reason.
- Virtually every character in the Tokyo Majin anime does not resemble their original character designs. Some characters such as Marie and Kozunu have it worse than others in that they not only do not look like their original designs but their personalities were also drastically altered.
- At the start of the Pocket Monsters manga, very few Pokémon resembled their official designs. Rumor has it the designs were based off what the mangaka thought the sprites looked like, which looked incredibly off◊. As the series went on the Pokémon started looking more like their game counterparts, even resembling the official art better then other adaptations in some examples.
- Big Mom from One Piece went from looking like a typical Gonk in her appearance as a silouette to horrific when she actually appeared. However, it's possible that Oda wanted to tweak her character design to make her more intimidating for when we first see her.
- Justified as Oda is constantly going through Art Evolution so an improved design would not be surprising, as her design was made during the end of the Water 7 Arc, which is a LONG way away from the end of the Fishman Island Arc. So it is very likely Kaido might go through the same development.
- During Coby's first appearance at the beginning of the manga, he was a somewhat chubby and short kid with a round chin, but when he reappears nearly 420 chapters later during the Post-Enies Lobby Arc, he is thinner, taller, and has a more defined chin. Even his nose is shaped differently. Please note that a year hadn't even pass within the story when he reunites with Luffy. Oda states that during Coby's bus ride, he went through a growth spurt and tightened his muscles due to Garp's training. He still has his signature pink hair and round glasses, but he looks more like his past self's older brother now.
- The Comic Bon Bon childrens' manga adaptation of Armored Trooper VOTOMS took quite the liberties with characters' designs, between the black-and-white interior pages and the colored artwork. Fyana's hair became somewhat shorter and colored black, with her eyes being green (instead of her having brown hair and brown eyes). Several characters in the Kummen arc were also drawn radically different compared to how they appeared in the anime, with Ru Shako receiving a black bowlcut and Kanjelman's gray hair also changing to black. Ypsilon received long hair, while the Schmitel brothers suddenly lost their eyebrows and received bulging, insect-like eyes.
- Marvel Comics characters sometimes gain new costumes which may or may not be kept depending on fan reaction.
- DC Comics' New 52 version of Amanda Waller, who is much slimmer and more attractive in appearance than the pre-New 52 version of her. Despite her looks, Waller's personality is still the same.
Films — Animated
- Tanya Mousekewitz looks and acts different in every single An American Tail movie. Most prefer her design in Fievel Goes West.
- Kiara at the start of the second The Lion King film. The many differences between her and the infant at the end of the first film, who fans tend to call "Kopa" after Simba's son in official books, has caused a lot of Epileptic Trees.
Films — Live-Action
- The Transformers film changed most of the characters' looks so that they could be more realistic—not that most of them had previously had consistent looks anyway, but Starscream had usually been fairly recognizable before. This was met with criticism of being unable to recognize and/or distinguish them.
- But this is really nothing new in the series; characters named "Optimus Prime" generally look more or less the same (with the movie design mostly within the typical parameters), but every Megatron is completely different when it comes to physical appearance (the exception being in Transformers Animated, where he is a combination of his Generation 1 and movie designs).
- Played straight with the Fallen however. In the G1 continuity, he's squarish and is on fire, but in the Movie continuity, he's scrawny and red-hot! And yes, Wordof God confirmed that those two are actually the same character.
- As with the original toy and cartoon versions of some G1 characters (particularly the shape of their heads), which was eventually corrected by later toys so that they look more like their cartoon incarnations. The worst offenders of these are Ratchet and Ironhide, whose toys neither had heads nor feet!
- The 'Bots and 'Cons from the ''Transformers: Aligned'' continuity actually couldn't decide whether they should look more like the Transformers from Transformers Generation 1, The live-action ''Transformers'' films, or Transformers Animated, or perhaps all three.
- Galactus from Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer was a huge cloud. He still ate planets, though. However, the cloud was lit up by periodic flashes from within, revealing shadows that looked like Galactus' angular helmet. Word of God states that the big purple guy is inside the cloud, to be unveiled when the Silver Surfer movie comes out. Which it won't.
- A common fanboy criticism of Spider-Man was that the Green Goblin looked nothing like his comic design. He wore green armor and had a mask more like a helmet and didn't wear his trademark hat. Some photos have the long part of his head tinted purple to evoke the hat, but in the film itself, it's pretty green, making it look like Gobby just has a huge head.
- Most characters in the 1982 short "Spinal Tap: The Final Tour" were played by the same actors later to appear in This Is Spinal Tap (even Paul Benedict as the 'twisted old fruit,' this time without his bizarre glasses), except for keyboardist Viv Savage. Rather than the curly-haired, slightly large version played by David Kaff in the final film, the original Viv is a much more energetic, thin, blond actor who remained uncredited.
- The prototype Spinal Tap seen on Rob Reiner's 1978 ABC special look dramatically different from their 1984 counterparts, particularly Nigel, who has much longer hair and glam-ish makeup. However, it can be argued that this was simply a different era of their career than what was seen in TIST, and their looks matched their preferred style at the time.
- In nearly all media featuring the Rutles, rhythm guitarist Stig O'Hara is portrayed by South African musican Rikki Fataar. However, when the characters made their debut (on Saturday Night Live in America, and Rutland Weekend Television in England), Stig was David Battley, better known as Charlie Bucket's science teacher in "Willy Wonka."
- In the X-Menfilms, the actors often fairly resemble the characters, but the costumes are often completely different. Gone are the colorful superhero costumes of the comics, and in their place are black leather jump-suits which are understood to be utilitarian, though their use is never specified. Furthermore, characters such as Toad and Mistique are often redesigned to look markedly different, while Ian Mckellen (Magneto), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde) and Anna Paquin (Rogue) don't resemble their characters in terms of age and build. What may or may not be significant to some is that Wolverine is explicitly short in the comics (except in the Ultimate Marvel universe or where artists err) but in the movies, he's played by 6'2" Hugh Jackman who has the build one might expect from a superhero type.
- Both James Bond and Batman have been played by different actors with very different looks, even when the films suggest they take place in the same continuity as earlier installments (e.g. Goldeneye, Batman Forever).
- Lana Lang in Smallville is heavily altered to the point she is not really recognizable any more. From a Caucasian redhead to part-Asian with black hair. In terms of character, from having a crush on Clark, slightly flirty, bold, friendly and cute to awkward, whiny, having Clark chase after her.
- Data, from Star Trek: The Next Generation, had a pet cat (named Spot) whose appearance (and later even gender) changed a few times over the course of the show. Fridge Logic might suggest that the android was simply a terrible pet owner with little imagination for naming a succession of unlucky felines, but Word of God has it that its the same cat throughout.
- Virgil Reality, the quirky artificial intelligence from Crash Zone, had his virtual form redesigned in the second season—in the first one he looks like a blurry splotch with a face, in the second one he's a complete floating head.
- Happened all the time in BIONICLE, due to all the various transformations the characters had to go through in order to still be purchasable. This has of course lead to fan complaints, especially when the original Toa characters got redesigned into flying "Phantoka" and "Mistika" forms — the Mistika had it worst, having become utterly unrecognizable and lacking all of their former defining physical traits. This redesign was actually exploited by the writers, who explained prior to their release that the characters would be wearing Adaptive Armor but looked like their old selves underneath — except for Pohatu, whose color had to be changed from tan and brown to orange and gray because brown sets sold bad. In a later wave, they released a new Tahu figure that was, in-story, supposed to be exactly the same as the original toy, but, well, compare◊ them◊.
- C.A. Cupid from Monster High has skeletal wings and out-there hair and makeup, but when the gods reassigned her to the eponymous school of Ever After High, she got feathery wings and looked normal.
- Zero's transition from Mega Man X to Mega Man Zero could be considered a drastic change.
- Justified in Zero 3, when it's revealed that Zero is actually Zero in a copy body. Played straight during the final minute of the game, when The Dragon Omega crosses the Bishounen Line by... transferring himself to Zero's original body, which now looks exactly the same as his new one with a slightly darker color scheme.
- The reason for this change is due to the change of the character design artist. For the sake of convenience storyline-wise, Zero has always looked like this.
- The Bloody Roar characters after Primal Fury.
- Ralf and Clark from Ikari Warriors were radically redesigned when they were reintroduced in The King of Fighters series, which worked for the better since the original designs were just generic Rambo-clones anyway. Maxima from KOF '99 was also a transplant from an earlier Neo Geo beat-em-up titled Robo Army, but the KOF version looks nothing like the original character.
- A majority of the alternate costumes in the Maximum Impact spinoff series radically alters the appearance of their characters as well.
- It was then done again within KOF itself due to a massive Art Shift in the twelfth and thirteenth installment, with alterations ranging from slight details to changes in whole body structure. The most obvious cases are (again) Ralf and Clark, who both gained several pounds of muscle, more deeply tanned skin and are now headswaps of each other again (thereby undoing 15 years of evolution). Other design changes include Athena and Yuri, respectively 18 and 20, whose appearances were both changed to the point of looking actually younger than Little Miss Badass Kula. Kula is fourteen.
- The Castlevania series is slightly guilty of this, though mostly due to the Art Shift between games and the fact that the original games were for the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System and the only way to know how a character was supposed to look like was through the games' covers and manual art. Still, compare the anime-style character designs of Richter and Maria from Rondo of Blood to Ayami Kojima's more gothic designs in Symphony of the Night and Dracula X Chronicles.
- Most notably, Dracula, who is featured in every game in the series, has almost as many different appearances within the game series, as he does in every other unrelated movie and comic, etc. This is justified by how he possesses a different body every time he reanimates.
- Castlevania Judgment has even more changes.
- Samus Aran of Metroid fame has gone through some changes herself. Only starting with Metroid: Fusion has she started to develop a consistent appearance.
- Most of the character's in the Soul Calibur series go through various changes, sometimes to the point that their default costumes are completely different than in the previous game.
- The main character of Dig Dug has this in the game Namco × Capcom.
- Cless, Mint, and Klarth from the original Tales of Phantasia for the Super Famicom looked drastically different from their original character designs, if their face portraits were any indication, making this a possible case of this happening within a single work. All the remakes and other games featuring or cameoing the characters have used sprites that fit the original design.
- This was because the character designs were originally done by Yoshiaki Inagaki, which were used for the game sprites. However, due to Executive Meddling by Namco, the character designs were replaced by the ones done by Kosuke Fujishima, but it was too late to change the sprites at that point. The sprites were changed in the remakes to reflect Fujishima's designs.
- Also from the Tales Series, Summon Spirits Efreet, Gnome, Undine, and Sylph have almost never looked the same from game to game, though they hold on to certain themes (Efreet is a demonic burning beast, Sylph is a fairy, etc.). Gnome notably changed from a legion of lumps of dirt (Phantasia) into a big-nosed hamster creature (Eternia) between his first two appearances in the series. A more direct example of this trope would be Efreet himself turning from a vague fire monster in the original Tales of Phantasia into a clear red humanoid with a fiery head and arms in the remake for the PSX.
- Gigan in Godzilla Final Wars Took a Level in Badass, as evident by the extra spinning blades.
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise, Robotnik has gone through many of these—Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Sat AM, Sonic the Comic, Sonic Underground, Sonic Adventure, and Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) each apparently felt that none of his existing designs was quite good enough.
- The Sonic Adventure version has stuck, becoming the basis for his subsequent appearances. An even more thorough redesign of Amy Rose was introduced at the same time, and has similarly completely displaced the earlier "short, crossdressing Sonic" depiction.
- Note that this was because of an edict from Sega ordering all media of Sonic to be consistent with the game's designs, with various in-story reasons being offered for the changes.
- This is taken Up to Eleven in the Sonic The Comic Online story "Many Happy Returns" there is ten differents designs of Doctor Robotnik (well nine differents designs of Doctor Robotnik and one of Doctor Kintobor).
- Ladd Spencer (or Rad, depending on the version) from the NES Bionic Commando has been redesigned at least thrice already: the first time for the Game Boy version, followed by the Rearmed remake, and then the 2009 console sequel for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Only the Rearmed version looks anything like the original NES character.
- While Ladd from the NES game looks nothing like the protagonist in the arcade version, he doesn't count as a redesign, since the player character in the arcade game was just a nameless soldier (except in the American localization, which claimed he was Super Joe).
- Double Dragon gradually changed the designs of its twin protagonists as the series progressed. In the original arcade game, Player 1 had blond hair and a blue outfit, whereas Player 2 had brown hair and a red outfit. In the NES version, Billy Lee wore a blue outfit and had reddish brown hair, whereas Jimmy wore a red outfit and had blond hair. Technos would try to depict Billy and Jimmy as distinct from each other as possible in promotional art, a practice which eventually made its way into the actual games in the NES version of Double Dragon III (at least in its cutscenes and character portraits) and later in Super Double Dragon (in the actual in-game sprites), which depicted Billy and Jimmy with different hair styles as well. Later games in the series made by other developers after Technos went out of business were inconsistent as to which style to use. For example, Double Dragon Advance and the iOS version used the distinct versions of Billy and Jimmy Lee, whereas Double Dragon Neon and Wanders of the Dragons went with the identical palette swapped designs and original hair colors.
- The Neo-Geo fighting game based on the movie featured radically redesigned versions of not just Billy and Jimmy, but other characters from the previous games, namely Marian, Abobo, Burnov and Duke. Billy and Jimmy in particular wore torn t-shirts and sweatpants as their normal outfits and their super mode outfits only vaguely resemble their original ones (they look more like fancier karate gis instead of The Warriors/Fist of the North Star-esque ensemble they actually wore in the old arcade/NES games).
- The GameCube version of Fight Night Round 2 features the player character from Super Punch-Out!!!!, who is erroneously identified as "Little Mac" (in reality, he's just a generic boxer named by the player). Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii, being a proper Nintendo-produced game, used the actual Little Mac from the NES game.
- The black-haired Ray Poward from the Appaloosa-developed Contra games (Contra: Legacy of War and C: The Contra Adventure) looks nothing like the original blond-haired character from Contra: Hard Corps.
- Wipeout HD: Fury is an expansion pack to Wipeout HD that replaces all of the vehicles with freaky, vaguely shattered-looking redesigns. They're almost completely unrecognizable.
- Ditto with Wipeout XL, which replaced the pseudo-realistic homologized ships of the first Wipeout with extremely differentiated counterparts.
- Robo-Manus from Battletoads changed in terms of appearance in every single game. In fact, he started off the size of the 'Toads, but in the last game in the series, he was suddenly 70 ft. tall! Granted, this is Battletoads we're talking about; it could very well be because the staff of each new game couldn't make it far enough in the last to see what Robo-Manus looked like
- The Arwing from Star Fox has a different design in every game it's featured in. Only in Command was it given a genuine canonical upgrade in the form of the Arwing 2.
- To a lesser degree, Fox McCloud's design. The shape of his head in Command gives him a significantly more stylized and cartoonish look than his GameCube appearances.
- And all the characters look (and act) a bit differently to how they did in the original Star Fox. And the manual, where they were represented by actual puppet-like things.
- Calypso in the Twisted Metal series has barely ever bothered keeping his design consistent.
- Bowser and Princess Toadstool in The Super Mario Bros. Super Show.
- The FMV opening in remakes of Final Fantasy II depicts, in rough order of appearance, the Big Bad Emperor Palamecia◊ The Hero Firion◊, The Big Guy erm...Guy◊, Black Magician Girl Maria◊ (image mildly NSFW), and Black Knight Leon◊. And some mooks, but no one cares about them. See the opening here, and marvel at the differences. Leon doesn't get it too bad, Guy is badly altered but still basically "Guy," Firion and Maria resemble the actual character only vaguely, and if you hadn't been told beforehand that that was the Emperor, you would not recognize him.
- The entire original Alone in the Dark trilogy is the only time Edward Carnby ever kept his appearance consistent. Carnby himself has his appearance changed about three times, and that's not counting the Uwe Boll movie but rather counting his ingame appearance after the boxart of the 2008 reboot!
- Quake II's Strogg race have received a total makeover in Quake IV.
- In the same vein, the Demons of Doom 3 only somewhat resemble their counterparts from the earlier games in the series (though 3 was a reboot, so...)
- Dante's redesign in Dm C Devil May Cry, which was the cause of much controversy among the Devil May Cry fanbase.
- Guybrush Threepwood from the Monkey Island series was originally supposed to be red haired as can be seen on the original cover art for The Secret of Monkey Island. However, the game portrays him with blondish hair due to the limited color palette. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge has him with a brown ponytail and a beard. The third game, The Curse Of Monkey Island gives him a bright blond messy ponytail and this is how he's stayed for the rest of the series. The Special Edition remake of Monkey Island 2 has him with blond hair, which led to fan backlash.
- Kid Kool's design in the box art for Kid Kool And The Quest For The Seven Wonder Herbs for the NES has him look like a tough character, with black hair, muscles, sunglasses, a white shirt, a sleeveless leather jacket, sneakers and ripped jeans. The Kid Kool character in the actual game itself looks completely different; he is chubby, has brown hair and wears a brown shirt and white overalls. Are we talking about the same character here?
- You can blame American Kirby Is Hardcore for this. The original version of the game starred Kakefu-kun (a TV star from the mid-80s), but since nobody outside of Japan had heard of him, they changed the cover of the localized version to look...like that. Yeah.
- In a bizarre inversion, the Fallout franchise mentions the Desert Rangers multiple times across the continuity. One is first encountered in the first game, where he is described as wearing a trench coat and gas mask, but uses the standard model for a character wearing combat armor. An actual suit of Desert Ranger Armor can be acquired over the course of Fallout: New Vegas, which looks exactly like Tycho's getup is described—but nothing like how Tycho actually looked in the first game.
- All three Spyro the Dragon continuities completely redesign the purple dragon. In the Classic series he is a tiny, cute purple dragon with really small wings, in The Legend of Spyro trilogy he is more armor plated with a different personality and another redesign to make him larger after a Plot-Relevant Age-Up, and in the Skylanders series he is smaller again with his original personality, but now looks much less cute and has larger purple wings and a much bigger tail spike. The fandom is divided about these changes, to say the least...
- The official art of Pit from Kid Icarus in the first two titles. Super Smash Bros. Brawl combines the two looks while making him look older, which also serves as an Early-Bird Cameo for Kid Icarus: Uprising look.
- A similar case could be made for the Super Smash Bros interpretation of Marth - while he retains the basic design tenets, he looks fairly different from his appearances in earlier games and subsequent games. In the case of subsequent games, this was accidental - the Shadow Dragon redesign of Marth was finalised just as they'd finalised his appearance in Brawl, with neither development team having any idea of the other redesign effort until the SSB group came to show the Fire Emblem group their finalised Marth.
- StarCraft II gives Jim Raynor almost a complete redesign. This◊ is him in the original Starcraft, while this◊ is him in the sequel. Justified by greater graphical fidelity and several years of in-universe time.
- In The Elder Scrolls, Emperor Uriel Septim VII has the dubious honour of looking completely different in every game he's in. In Arena, he looks like a stereotypical king, with short hair and a full beard. In Daggerfall, he's bald and clean-shaven, and in Oblivion, he's hairy again, but he now has shoulder-length hair and no beard. His chancellor Ocato experiences a similar phenomenon - in Daggerfall, he's bald and has a goatee, while in Oblivion, he's clean-shaven and has a full head of hair.
- Kid Niki from Kid Niki Radical Ninja looked more "radical" than his Japanese counterpart, Yanchamaru, but the Japan-only sequels for the Famicom made more drastic changes to his appearance.
- Before the Marvel vs. Capcom series leapt into 3D with Marvel vs. Capcom 3, there were 10 Secret Characters that were Palette Swaps of other characters. 2 of them (both of which appear in Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter) don't look like the characters they're based on, despite their names.
- The MSX2 version of Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake featured photo-realistic character portraits (most of them being obvious traceovers of popular celebrities at the time) in lieu of the more iconic character designs by Yoji Shinkawa featured in the later Metal Gear Solid and its sequels. While the game's renditions of Solid Snake, Roy Campbell and Big Boss vaguely resembled their future MGS incarnations (with Snake looking a bit older than he did in the original MGS), the original designs for Master Miller and Gray Fox are bit more jarring in contrast: Master Miller has a distinctively Asian appearances in the MSX version instead of being the blond-haired Caucasoid he was in MGS and Peace Walker, whereas Gray Fox is a Tom Berenger lookalike with bronze skin and brown hair instead of being white haired like he was from MGS and onward.
- Later ports of Metal Gear 2 replaced the original portraits with new ones drawn by Shinkawa, but this change was most likely done to avoid likeness infringement than any attempt at maintain consistency.
- The video game version of The World Is Not Enough had several characters that looked nothing like their actors from the movie. For example, Robinson had a full head of hair and beard, Moneypenny had very short hair and a face that didn't remotely resemble Samantha Bond's, Sir Robert King was balding and had a mustache, but the most egregious has to be Q, who instead of looking like Desmond Llewelyn, looks like an overweight, younger man with brown hair and glasses.
- The Updated Re-release of Persona 4 features a new extended epilogue, set 1 year after the events of the game. Most of the characters have new outfits, but are otherwise still clearly regognizable... and then there's Kanji, who looks so different it's hard to believe it's the same guy.◊ Seriously, show anyone who hasn't seen the epilogue this◊ photo, and they'd most likely tell you Kanji wasn't in it at all.
- Red from Pokémon Red and Blue is a scrawny looking kid with black Anime Hair. His current design, which has been used since the remakes (Firered and Leafgreen), is more Bishōnen and mature looking (along with being a Perpetual Frowner in all his official art). He has brown hair in a somewhat different style and his clothing has the same color scheme but a different style.
- Many other characters have seen even more drastic redesigns for the remakes. Two notable examples are Morty and Sabrina, whose Generation IV onward designs bear little resemblance to their designs in previous generations.
- Almost all the Crash Bandicoot characters got vastly redesigned for Crash of the Titans. Prior to that they had redesigns but they were far more subtle. Crash is shorter and with different body proportions. He no longer has gloves but has tattoos on his fur. Coco had slowly been aging since Nitro Kart but it's in COTT where she began looking really pubescent. For the sequel, Mind Over Mutant, she looks even older and dresses in a more tomboyish style.
- Thanks to a much higher budget in the later episodes of South Park, this happened when Mecha Streisand◊ made her reappearance. It's even lampshaded by one of the people activating her, who remarks that she somehow looks even more terrifying than last time.
- Pictured: On the top, Simon Belmont as he appears in the packaging illustration for Castlevania (specifically the X68000 version). On bottom, Simon Belmont as he appears in Captain N: The Game Master.
- Though not to quite the same extent, Mega Man is colored green on the same show, while King Hippo is teal.
- In fact, almost all of the video game characters in Captain N bear little to no resemblance to the genuine articles: Mother Brain in the games was a giant, one-eyed cybernetic brain in a pickle jar. In Captain N, she was still a giant brain in a jar... but with a trampoline-like stretch of face that had huge lips and the voice of Levi Stubbs.
- When Cleveland Jr. first appeared in Family Guy, he was a thin hyperactive boy with a short attention span. When he was transplanted into The Cleveland Show, he was turned into a slow-talking dimwitted fat kid. In other words, he became the black version of Chris Griffin, except opposite on the intelligence scale.
- Lampshaded in the B-Plot for one episode where the new Cleveland Jr. explains that he is actually a secret agent who killed the original Jr. in order to assume his identity as a cover (that Cleveland Sr. didn't notice is relatively consistent with his parenting skills). Not exactly canon since nobody has yet mentioned this outside of that particular episode.
- In their first appearance on "Space Ghost Coastto Coast", where they spun off from the Aqua Teens from "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" look different.
- In the cartoon version of Alvin and the Chipmunks, the chipmunks are Funny Animal played straight. The films, on the other hand, make them look more like real-world chipmunks.
- Also true from series to series. The Alvin Show chipmunks look different than the 80's series Chipmunks (lampshaded in the episode "Back To Our Future") who look somewhat different from the "A Chipmunk Christmas" version.
- Professor Utonium in the pilot episode of The Powerpuff Girls for some reason actually looked more like Dexter than what we see him in the later episodes.
- Nemo (Francine's pet cat) from Arthur is depicted as being skinny and having small eyes with rounded pupils during his debut episode, but later appearances of him instead depict him as being fat and having large eyes with slit-shaped pupils.
- The narrow gauge engines in Season 5 of Thomas the Tank Engine don't look like how they did in the season prior. Many details were changed, and some engines had completely remodeled faces. It is said they made new larger models to capture more detail. The worst offender being Rusty, with a large drawn out face going all over his front, as opposed to the earlier model, which had a smaller face.
- The Broadway musical version of The Lion King for some reason actually portrayed Ed the hyena's costume with Pluto's face!
- Every few years, Toonami would undergo a retool, usually resulting in TOM and The GPSS Absolution getting new designs. Each redesign gave the impression of the ship and crew getting stronger. Then along came the fourth redesign, and well, see for yourself◊.
- With the revival, TOM is back to his third incarnation, with TOM 4.0 being retconned into an entirely different robot.
- Parodied in ''Limozeen: But they're IN SPACE!'' where Mary Palorocini is actually drawn with red hair and a pot belly "because he's the comic relief!"
- Pete Jr. looked nothing like how he is drawn now in his debut short, Bellboy Donald, where he is actually drawn like Mickey Mouse, but with cat ears. His currently accepted design looks like a younger and friendlier version of his father, Pete.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in his cameo appearance in Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, his appearance in Frosty and Rudolph's Christmas in July and his appearance in Rudolph's Shiny New Year. Rather than reuse his models from Red-Nosed Reindeer, they simply created new ones for those films, none of which resemble each other or the original Rudolph.
- In the original pilot for Recess, almost none of the main five characters (since Gus wasn't included) looked the same as they did in the series proper. Mikey was the only member of the main cast who looked the same For example:
- T.J. was tall and skinny in the pilot, as oppossed to being short and chubby in the series proper. He also wore a much different outfit, had darker, messier hair, and had green eyes. He didn't even wear his trademark hat!
- Vince looked more like his voice actor (even moreso than he does in the series proper), Ricky D'Shon Colins, and also wore a different outift
- Spinelli was much younger looking, with her hair in roughly five pigtails, and wore a different outfit
- Gretchen originally had black hair, wore a dress somewhat similar to her usual outfit, but white with green dots instead of blue, and was also a bit more girly, as she also wore bracelets and lipstick.
- Madelyn Spaulding from Static Shock, a character who appeared in 2 episodes (the 2nd season's "Attack of the Living Brain Puppets" and the 4th season's "She-Back!"). Her redesigned appearance for the "She-Back!" episode makes her look like a whole different character. In "Brain Puppets", she had green eyes, a round face, and was slightly curvy, but now, she has black eyes, a leaner face, and a skinnier body. It's as if she lost some weight during her absence and was wearing green contact lenses all along. At least Kimberly Brooks voiced her for both appearances.
- It's made even stranger when newly animated flashback scenes of the "Brain Puppets" episode are shown in "She-Back!" and Madelyn is sporting her 2nd design (with a different hairstyle and clothing), all while Static was correctly wearing his 1st costume.
- Every character in the Batman: The Animated Series got one when it became The New Adventures of Batman. Most of which looked a lot more toony.
- Similar with Batman, Captain Planet and the Planeteers got some when it went into Season 6. Not much is noticed aside from some cleaner animation but Gi now has shoulder length hair.
- Also similarly American Dragon Jake Long went through a radical Art Evolution between seasons. While some of the characters were still recognizable, some such as Silver the mermaid don't even come close to resembling their original design.
- All Ben 10 sequels brought some change to the characters' designs and personalities, which was usually justified through a Time Skip. Ben 10: Omniverse, on the other hand, takes place less than a year after the events of previous sequel Ultimate Alien and involves a large amount of flashback on the original series. Yet, in both the flashback and present episodes, aliens and characters are all redesigned to the point some of them bear few similarities to their model.
- In The Real Ghostbusters, the more famous the actor in the movie Ghostbusters, the less his character resembled him. Winston Zeddemore's only major deviation was that he didn't have a mustache (which Ernie Hudson would ditch in the second film anyway), while Egon Spengler was blond and had a much different hairstyle, he didn't differ that much from Harold Ramos either. However, Ray Stantz looked nothing like Dan Aykroyd but was, instead, a stout redhead with a pot belly (before Aykroyd was known for being chubby) and Peter Venkman looked absolutely, positively nothing like Bill Murray but instead, a tall, thin "leading-man" type, although his voice remained similar.
- Okay, funny story: originally, Venkman's voice was provided by Lorenzo Music, best known as the voice of Garfield. In recent big-screen Garfield movies—all produced after Music's death—Murray did the voice of the character. Also, after Music's departure from the show, he was replaced by Dave Coulier of Full House fame, who was known to do Bill Murray impressions.
- Charlie Chaplin once entered a lookalike contest. He lost because nobody thought he looked like Charlie Chaplin.
- When Groucho Marx didn't have his trademark fake mustache, most people didn't recognize him. When he went on to host You Bet Your Life he grew a real one so people would recognize him.
- Michael Jackson went through numerous nose jobs starting in 1979, as well as a chin operation circa 1985, massive weight loss in 1981, and a proven bout with vitiligo: a skin disease which created white splotches on his skin. His use of makeup and, later, bleaching creams would make his skin appear gradually lighter. That, in addition to different wigs and tattooed "eye-liner" made Michael look completely different by the end of the '80s, and more so as time went on. The Michael Jackson of 1978 would look completely unrecognizable to people mainly familiar with his appearance starting in the '90s.