Complaining: Adaptational Wimp

Deadlock Clock: 18th Oct 2014 11:59:00 PM
Total posts: [28]
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It should be obvious from the start of the page it is about complaining that character X isn't as strong in an adaptation as you want them to be, as it opens with "This character used to be so cool." From the name and original YKTTW it obviously wants to be the inverse of Adaptational Badass, but there is a few fundamental problems with that.

First off, the name immediately calls to mind that this is a bad thing. The description tries to bring up that this can be used properly, but it comes at the tail end of a lot of complaining in the description and is followed by a lot of complaining in the examples. The name itself encourages complaining up front.

Second, I was actually the frontman for Adaptational Badass and one major thing I worked on with that trope is that it is not about comparing exact power levels of a character between adaptations, as that tends to dilute the examples with discussions on small changes in competence. It should be that the character's strength and skill set is drastically altered so that they serve a wildly different role in the story, ie they are practically a Physical God in the source material and a Non-Action Guy in the adaptation. Different mediums and continuities have different goals in mind, and just because a newer version of Superman isn't able to alter the orbit of the moon doesn't mean he's been turned into a wimp.

Ultimately it should be about how the character is portrayed in their own continuity and not that the individual troper wanted something to match what was shown in the source material. In many ways this becomes just Adaptation Decay or They Changed It, Now It Sucks.

Before I list individual examples, just because I'm arguing against their inclusion doesn't mean I am advocating the quality of the product. Again, this trope tends to attract complaining directed towards movies of dubious quality.

Bad Examples:
  • Dragonball Evolution
    • Complaints about changes to the source material, how it takes Goku more time to learn how to use the Kamehameha and is not a One-Man Army taking down legions of enemies. But within the movie itself Goku is presented as a more than competent fighter who does get stronger as the story continues (which also happens to be based on a time period of the original before the battles became Earth shattering).
  • The Last Airbender
    • Again, complaints about changes to source material, complaining about how visually impressive the bending was in the cartoon versus the more mundane depiction in live action. It spends a lot of time nitpicking the change to firebending, even though it was still shown as being equal to the other bending arts. And complains that Katara was not as strong and active as in the original, even though the movie version didn't become as strong as the cartoon version, she was shown as improving over the course of the story (much like the cartoon).
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Loki is not as crafty as in the comics. But he is still Asgardian and can put up a decent fight against Thor. It's only nitpicking power levels.

Good Examples:
  • The Jungle Book
    • Kaa is a very dangerous python with hypnotic powers that makes him exceptionally feared. While he retains his hypnotic powers it seems that is his only threat and is easily outwitted once they break the trance and is later easily overpowered by Shere Khan.
  • Sherlock Holmes
    • Dr. Watson is often downgraded from his considerable intellect and army training in order to highlight Sherlock's own talents. This was Lost In Adaptation for many years before more modern portrayals restore those skills to him.

Non Examples (Iffy as being close to this trope in the first place):
  • Harry Potter
    • Literally it is a complaint that Ron didn't get a moment to inspire Hermoine on how to save them, letting Hermoine figure it out on her own. One problem is that even the most gifted child characters in the story are no match for the truly experienced wizards. The other problem is that it only lists a single example about saying something important at the right time, not about actual skill.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • The big twist on the Mandarin in Iron Man 3 means that the actual character of the Mandarin isn't even there. Even still, the individual who pronounces themselves as "the true Mandarin" ends up as one of Tony's most dangerous enemies in the trilogy.

My proposal:
  • Change the name to something less complain-y, like Adaptational Depower.
  • Rewrite the description to focus on major changes to the character and not just discussing mild changes in power and strength.
2 KarjamP7th Jun 2014 01:48:46 AM from South Africa , Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
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4 SeptimusHeap7th Jun 2014 02:47:48 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I agree witha rename, but I am sceptical on a redefinition - it strikes to me like it's trying to make a The Same, but More distinction.
5 VeryMelon7th Jun 2014 08:35:34 AM from United States , Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
I'll vote in favor of the rename to Adaptational Depower.

edited 7th Jun '14 8:36:01 AM by VeryMelon

6 AnotherDuck7th Jun 2014 09:16:06 AM from Stockholm , Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
The suggested name is better than the current.

I think the difference in power should be obvious without analysing every single aspect of it. Comparing single scenes doesn't really say much about the adaptation as a whole. It should also be a relative thing, so if everyone is a little weaker, it doesn't really change much.
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I don't mind the name Adaptational Depower, but I do think it might make unwarranted comparisons to Brought Down to Normal. While there is a plausible connection, it restricts the trope by thinking it is more closely related than it actually is.

And yes, it should be pretty obvious when a character is changed from being a Badass to The Load. If any example starts doing a play-by-play of a fight scene to prove its point ("He should have gone for the head rather than a kidney shot!") then it's stretching it.

@ Septimus- The redefinition isn't so much The Same, but More but it is eliminating the fluff of arbitrary comparisons. This often includes very generic examples like The Lone Ranger where all it actually says is "somewhat less of a badass." The trope as currently written and defined is simply that the character somehow seems less cool, which is not really a trope.

On a related note, I do think there is some value to examples like both Harry Potter and The Last Airbender, where in an adaptation a character defining moment is taken away from the character, leaving them less relevant to the story or less interesting of a character (but not necessarily useless). But that would be a completely separate trope.
I agree with a lot of what you've said, at least in terms of making the trope seem less complainy. It seems there was an attempt to do that with the "Tropes Are Not Bad" disclaimer, but yeah, that doesn't really work.

What I don't really agree with are the three "bad examples" you listed. Let me just tell you why I think they're okay and we can discuss it.

  • Dragonball Evolution - This is a downplayed example, but that doesn't mean it isn't an example. Goku is still a complete Bad Ass, yeah, but he's much less powerful than he is in the source material. What I'm getting here, and correct me if I'm wrong, is essentially that you want to do away with all downplayed examples. Okay, my question is... why? I mean, we're not doing that for any other tropes. We're not going through Adaptational Heroism and axing examples where a Card-Carrying Villain becomes an Anti-Villain, so why would we axe all downplayed examples from this trope? If a villain becoming an antivillain can count as Adaptational Heroism, than why can't a god becoming a superhero count as Adaptational Wimp? Why do you believe that they HAVE to become powerless for it to count?

  • Avatar The Last Airbender: Okay, the argument about the girls appearing weaker is definitely pretty bad, I always kinda thought so myself, but what about bending? This isn't just "oh, it looks less impressive," this is us being explicitly told that bending is weaker in the movie.
    • In the source material firebenders can create fire from their own bodies, either through body heat or qi or whatever, and in the movie they can't. That's a group of characters having their power reduced, period. Whether you think it was a good change or a bad change is irrelevant because Tropes Are Not Bad.
    • Similarly, the way bending works was changed - instead of being done with simple martial arts moves it requires a dance, which results in it taking much, much longer to pull off powerful moves. Again, that is a concept being reduced in power and again the question of whether or not you think it was a good change is irrelevant.

  • Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Again, this seems like a downplayed example and... again, I'm not sure what's wrong with that.

I can definitely support trying to make the trope less complaint-heavy. Changing the title is a good move in that direction - "wimp" is an insult and basically invite people to write examples that are also insults. I doubt that was the intention, but it is the result.

However, I think your proposed solution of removing every example that isn't "Bad Ass becomes Non-Action Guy" is way too extreme. You keep saying things like "Well, it wasn't as strong or even close but it was still pretty okay." You seem to be missing that "thing isn't as strong as it used to be" is the entire point of the trope.

EDIT: Also, you keep complaining about "comparisons to the source material" and I'm not sure why. The trope is Adaptational Wimp. It's a Media Adaptation Trope. It is literally 100% impossible for the trope to function without comparisons to the source material.

EDIT 2: The Harry Potter examples and others along those lines strike me as sort of being a lesser version of Adapted Out, where instead of a character being removed they're instead simply made less important. Seems like a YKTTW in the making, though I'm not particularly interested in taking it on myself.

EDIT 3: I also think that we need to simply accept that there are some tropes that are mostly negative, and this is one of them. The trope could stand some work, yes, but I think we need to get over this phobia about complaining - just let people have their opinions instead of trying to whitewash everything.

edited 20th Jun '14 2:39:59 AM by wrm5

The fundamental issue I am trying to weed out is complaints that something is not as visually impressive in the adaptation, which has some bearing on whether or not a character is a badass but is really rather irrelevant to the primary topic. The question should be "Are they no longer badass?" and NOT "Are they weaker?" or "Do they have a different Power Level?" or "Does it look not quite as cool?"

To be an example there should be a major reference point that proves they are less powerful. While I still think Adaptational Depower might be a little too restrictive, I think it is much more accurate to the trope than the current name. Look up the TV show Arrow and its Adaptational Wimp entries to see genuinely good examples of how the trope should be used. Those who were mildly superpowered (Deathstroke, Canary) are downplayed to Badass Normal, and all of it done without sounding like complaining about the person becoming "less cool."

For comparison I took out an example in Adaptational Badass that listed most of the crew of the new Star Trek films. The new films are more visually impressive, but plenty of people think Shatner's Kirk is still more badass than Pine's Kirk.

With Dragonball, the problem is that people associate Dragonball Z as being the epitome of the Dragonball saga, while Dragonball Evolution was adapting a period where the fights were not nearly as Earth shattering. It was more in the Wuxia genre of Supernatural Martial Arts (which the movie evoked in a semi-competent manner) instead of the godlike planet-destroying fireballs.

With Loki, his actual power level is constantly in flux in the source material to begin with and, regardless, in the movies he is able to at least go toe to toe with Thor. It's simply NOT an example, just someone wanting to talk about those movies.

With Avatar: The Last Airbender, I will somewhat concede the change to firebending in principle (regular people can't generate their own fire), but it's still surrounded by a lot of bad examples. Everything else I said about the examples in the show stands because all of the bending arts are not as impressive in general.

I can definitely agree that something like "bending looks less impressive" is kind of irrelevant to the trope, especially when the change is from animation to live-action where impressive special effects are more difficult to pull off. That said, "firebenders used to be able to make fire from nothing, now they can't" is just as valid an example as the Arrow examples.

As for Dragonball... I've watched Dragonball and I can tell you Goku isn't nearly as powerful in the movie. For one thing, his understanding of ki in the movie is pathetic. In the series Goku was able to just do things like becoming an Instant Expert in the Kamehameha because that's just what Goku does. It takes him most of the movie to figure out a move his cartoon counterpart mastered instantly. Again, you might think that's a good change, as it's certainly a bit more realistic, but whether it's a good change or a bad change is irrelevant to the trope.

...but then, I guess that would be why it was listed under "bad examples" rather than "not an example." It's a valid example, but needs to be rewritten.

Also, I guess I'm not knowledgeable enough about Marvel comics to say whether or not Loki is an example, so I'll just leave that one to other peoples' judgment.

Also, I cross-wicked the Arrow example to the AW page.
11 IndirectActiveTransport20th Jun 2014 01:42:23 PM from Chicago , Relationship Status: Coming soon to theaters
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Well, since badass carries the same vague connotations as "wimp", actually vaguer, shouldn't that page be renamed too? I mean, wimp isn't really a competence thing, though it could be. Wimp is not really about strength, though it could be. It is about action, do you take it or do you let fear stop you?

Badass, basically means "good" or "cool", there isn't any real strict definition to it, never has been. The "badass" can be hard as nails or break like a grape but still be good enough in someway to be considered as such. I mean, if we are going to make a page an inverse from the other, shouldn't the terminology match up?
That's why he wants you to have the money. Not so you can buy 14 Cadillacs but so you can help build up the wastes
And it appears someone removed the Tropes Are Tools disclaimer without consent. Should something be done about that?
14 IndirectActiveTransport20th Jun 2014 07:26:17 PM from Chicago , Relationship Status: Coming soon to theaters
You Give Me Fever
Add it back? PM the person and ask why? Talk about it on the discussion page? I still say the other trope needs name changing too if you're not broadening this one.
That's why he wants you to have the money. Not so you can buy 14 Cadillacs but so you can help build up the wastes
Also, I think this entry which I removed earlier is a perfect example of the sort that needs to be removed.

The trope is supposed to be about when a character is actually reduced in ability, not just when they lose a fight you think they should have won.

edited 21st Jun '14 2:26:23 AM by wrm5

16 SeptimusHeap21st Jun 2014 06:46:35 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
It's ~Very Melon who removed the line so I'll call him here.
17 VeryMelon21st Jun 2014 06:59:11 AM from United States , Relationship Status: In Spades with myself
Alright, I only deleted the line because I didn't think it was actually helping to curb any Complaining About Shows You Don't Like, considering there's now a Repair thread for the trope in question. I'll just leave it and the rest of you alone.

edited 21st Jun '14 2:30:18 PM by VeryMelon

Well let's go back to the origin of Adaptational Badass, that trope was created to curb bad examples of Took a Level in Badass where the character was changed dramatically across adaptations from a narrative standpoint. Where once they were a Non-Action Guy they are now a Genius Bruiser or whatever.

Now let's take Dragonball as an example, from a technical standpoint, yes, Dragonball Evolution took Goku some time before he was able to master the Kamehameha. BUT, in the original Goku did not master the Kamehameha his first try but it was a much weaker form. It took time for him to eventually master it. The movie did the exact same thing, except saving the actual Kamehameha in any form as a big climactic thing. In return, Goku already had knowledge of some... wait for it... less powerful ki attacks. Not to mention, Goku always went through a period of "defeated by someone stronger, trains to become better, reaches a new power level to overcome them" which is what happened in the movie.

Back to the Avatar example, Katara in the show was trying to protect Aang from Zuko and she puts up a fight after having some genuine training to hone her waterbending skills. In the show she briefly overpowers Zuko, but he eventually turns the tables and knocks her down, taking Aang away. In the movie she puts up a decent fight, but is overpowered much more quickly... and Zuko takes Aang away.

Do you see what I am saying? From a narrative standpoint their role in the story regarding their fighting skills is virtually identical, maybe not as visually impressive, the order of events are changed, their personality is changed and certainly the movies are not that good to begin with, but it follows the same basic story and character arc.

And that is the problem with the trope, it becomes a different way of listing Adaptation Decay rather than actually being what the trope should be. I don't think it has to be the utmost extreme of Badass->Non-Action Guy but there should be a narrative change to the character's importance in the story. The fact that they could have done better if they went for a headshot rather than a kidney shot is rather unimportant.
I can agree with that. So then, let's get together a basic list of the things we want to change...

  • Give the trope a new name, because putting an insult like "Wimp" in the title encourages Complaining About Shows You Don't Like.
  • Make the trope specifically about characters having their actual power level reduced, rather than simply being less important to the story or losing fights. This would seem to have been the intent for the trope from the beginning judging by the description's second paragraph, but clearly this ruling needs to be enforced by removing or repairing bad examples.
  • Possibly rewrite the description, removing phrases like "This is specifically for those characters who went from actually useful to... decidedly less so." which encourage complaints and insults.
  • Possibly rename Adaptational Badass as well.
I agree on all points except for the need to do anything to Adaptational Badass. It's a much more solid trope from the ground up and it's not having anything close to the problems Adaptational Wimp has.

The primary things to consider:
  • Does the character change dramatically in competence? (ie originally equal in strength against a rival, but is no longer in the same weight class)
  • Does the character have a different role in the narrative? (ie a skilled assassin being made into a non-action oriented tech guy)
  • Is there a change in overall strength and abilities in the new adaptation universe? (they can no longer bend steel, but neither can anyone else)
  • Is the source material consistent in and of itself? (Depending on the Writer and Power Creep, Power Seep, nuff said)
  • Does the narrative provide opportunity to align itself better with the adaptation? (the heroes starts off weaker but goes through training/character development that brings them up to their canon strength)
21 Willbyr25th Jul 2014 06:55:52 AM from North Little Rock, AR , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Clock is set.
Well I think we have some consensus to fix it, and I'm willing to do some work but I could use some help to prune examples I'm not familiar with, plus the small amount of wicks around the wiki.
I think it would be best if the examples are removed. Or lay some ground rules by telling people to actually put more thought in the examples by making the examples be valid instead of it being complaining about how a person's favorite character isn't handled well.
24 AnoBakaDesu15th Sep 2014 08:29:55 AM , Relationship Status: What is this thing you call love?
In case you are wondering, Irsis got suspended for blanking the entire page. Never, ever make an unilateral deletion without prior discussion, of which I see here has not been decided yet.
"They played us like a DAMN FIDDLE!"
Could we just... not have Death anymore?
Cleaning can definitely be done, I'm not sure we technically have consensus to make any other changes. I suggest drafting a new definition offline/sandbox/here to see if it may be improved, and that can be voted on. Without redefinition, it just needs 'yep, that looks good.'

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