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Adaptational Angst Upgrade / Fan Works

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  • Blackbird (Arrow):
    • On top of what she went through in canon (Oliver and Sara's infidelity and "deaths", her mother abandoning her, and her father's shoddy treatment of her), being handed over to the League by her own mother has left Laurel in a much worse state than her show counterpart.
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    • Sara as well, who is still traumatized by the Amazo and has been eaten alive by guilt for years.
  • Vigilantes' Dawn: Not to say Laurel had it all that easy in canon, but here she has canon Sara's backstory, due to Oliver inviting her instead of Sara like in canon. That means she has all of Sara's hangups, including being gaslighted and suffering Stockholm Syndrome under Ivo's care, the guilt over her time in the League of Assassins — everything. In exchange, this is inverted for Sara, who only suffered grieving for the "deaths" of her older sister and another close friend.


  • Protector: This happens across the board. Multiple characters get Dark and Troubled Past backstories when there was none.
    • In canon, there's no sign Pina has a particularly hard life, and even after being kidnapped by Riz, he's still pretty much fine. In this fic, aside from having a troubled home life due to a strained relationship with his father and finding the body of his mentally unstable mother after she killed herself when he was a child, he seems to have gotten PTSD from being kidnapped by Riz to a degree where he has a panic attack when kissing a female bear and running through the campus in shock until he could find Bill.
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    • Bill in the manga is generally a guy whose biggest worry is the desire to be taken seriously and to perform his duties as club leader when Louis leaves that position to him, in this story, he has a lot of emotional baggage. His home life is a mess as he has a religious fundamentalist father that is physically and emotionally abusive towards him, a brother than ran away from home when Bill let it escape to their father that he was in love with his male, herbivore roommate, a promise to said brother on the night that he ran away that he'd never fall for a man, leading to internalized homophobia when he realized he was attracted to a man. Furthermore, a lot of actions he got over in canon are now deeply haunting to him, specifically the fact he almost ate a baby chick if Pina hadn't stopped him and that he ate an old man's finger at the start of the story.
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    • Agata's backstory is relatively simple, he had too much pressure in his life from being a lion and ended up having a rebellious face that led him to become a member of the Shishigumi. In this story, we learn that through his interactions with his younger brother Hikaru that his mother was extremely abusive and that he ran away to get away from her.
    • Els, who didn't have any dark secret revealed in the manga, is revealed to have serious anger management issues to the point of having medication for it. When they visit Pina, she admits to Bill that she was transferred to Cherryton after she attacked a bully of hers with a baseball bat.


  • The Butcher Bird: Admiral Akainu, of all people, gets one via one of the Decks of the World intervals. It reveals that he used to be a noble Marine and genuinely good person until his crew landed on an island whose people had been brainwashed by an Artifact of Doom. After said people took advantage of his kindness and killed his entire crew, he became the merciless Knight Templar he is today.

  • Dragon Blade: Toushiro is psychologically scarred and has PTSD due to the events of the Winter and Thousand Year Blood Wars. When Aizawa tries to get him to open up, Toushiro has a breakdown and cries. In Bleach, he keeps it together and has no severe psychological issues.
  • Harbinger (Finmonster) : Downplayed and Inverted with Norman Babcock and Mr. Prenderghast.
    • Like in canon, Norman is an outcast because of his ability to see the dead but in this story, it appears that he has a much closer relationship with his family than at the beginning of the movie. His sister Courtney, in particular, is much kinder and closer to him in this story, where in the movie's beginning she was almost as dismissive of him as the rest of the town. Also his new friendship with other characters helped alleviate some of his angst.
    • Like in canon, Mr. Prenderghast is an outcast in the community and estranged from his family, however his friendship with Stan Pines implies that he is not completely alone like he was in the movie.
    • Gideon plays this straight. In Gravity Falls, he was well off and loved by the town before his villainous nature was revealed. Here, he's practically an outcast and is seen as a weirdo on the same level as Norman.
    • Played straight with Dipper and Mabel. In Gravity Falls, the Pines Twins were just staying with Stan for the summer. Here, their parents died in some kind of accident, and Stan was the only relative available to take them in.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: In the Pokemon Journeys anime, Chloe's major problem is being pressured by her fellow classmates about getting a job involving Pokémon, particularly following in her father's foosteps. In this story, she has all of her insecurities out in public: being the Black Sheep in the family because she's not interested in Pokémon, feeling hurt that Goh is obsessed with capturing Pokémon (especially Mew), jealousy that Ash has essentially taken over being Goh's BFF and her father not even noticing her problems and only about her being interested in Pokémon.
  • J-WITCH Season 1: Will's unwillingness to have a birthday party isn't explained in the cartoon, but here the reason is that her old "friends" threw her a surprise party where they told everyone about her secret crush, making her a laughing stock even to said crush.
  • My Huntsman Academia: The RWBY characters' individual issues are explored in greater depth.
    • Pyrrha is constantly annoyed and troubled by her fame. Her old manager to tries to harass her into returning to the tournament circuit, she's constantly stopped by fans asking her for her autographs and laments that she was a Slave to PR and couldn't do things she wanted to do like wolf down greasy hamburgers or just hang out with people her age.
    • Blake is implied to have committed actual murder, direct or indirect, during her time in the White Fang. Her self-esteem is even worse than in-canon because of this and she constantly pushes people away when they try to help her.
    • Nora is terrified of pushing Ren away and Cannot Spit It Out because she doesn't want to change the dynamic between them.
    • Yang's Parental Abandonment issues are more pronounced and she struggled with the pressure of keeping her remaining family together after losing both Raven and Summer. She also feels betrayed by her father and uncle Qrow for not revealing that Raven was excited to have her and letting Yang feel as though she was the reason why Raven vanished for years.
  • Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!: Izuku is a borderline invincible teenage Kryptonian. But when his powers first manifested at the age of four, he got into a fight with his pugnacious best friend, Katsuki Bakugou, which ended with Izuku accidentally throwing Katsuki through a concrete wall. If that was't enough trauma to fuel a guilt complex, his Super-Hearing ends up forcing his parents to tell him that he is in fact an alien on an Earth that hates aliens. He immediately brands himself a monster and swears off his dream of becoming a Hero out of fear of hurting others.
  • Scoob and Shag: In addition to being a lot smarter than in the cartoon, Dee-Dee is much more aware of her lack of useful skills, and a flashback shows her crying as other people, including Dexter, point this out at various turns. The events of Part 1 also leave her with PTSD after she nearly dies and loses her right eye, which leaves her frozen in fear the first time she enters combat again.
  • A Triangle in the Stars:
    • Bill Cipher gets this treatment, especially when he starts regrowing his empathy.
    • As if Pearl didn't have enough to suffer over, she has to deal with wanting to know exactly what happened in the Zodiac Temple, starting in Chapter Thirty-Eight, but no one, particularly Garnet and Keyhole, will tell her and keeps her Locked Out of the Loop, adding to her frustration. And it also involves Rose.
  • Universe Falls doesn't hesitate to play up the fact that the Mystery Kids (Dipper, Mabel, Steven, and Connie) are children, facing all sorts of physical and mental trauma in investigating the mysteries surrounding either the town of Gravity Falls or the Crystal Gems. And among other things, the Odd Friendship between Lapis Lazuli and Dipper makes the former's sacrifice in "Jailbreak" and the latter's desperate bargain with Bill Cipher in "Sock Opera" all the more hard-hitting.


  • Wolf in the Streets, Sardine in the Sheets readjusts the Canonical traumas many of its cast members endured, tailoring them to fit the new setting:
    • Kurtis goes from an adult who lost his wife and child in a tragedy to a teenager who's lost his parents, baby sister, and loving grandfather, followed by being framed for a crime he didn't commit by his foster father Carter.
    • Fuka and Desco were nearly killed by a lab accident that did claim the lives of their mother and Desco's twin sister, and got their father tossed into jail for involuntary manslaughter. Both are suffering from PTSD as a result, with Fuka insisting the accident was all just a dream and that their father is just absorbed in another one of his projects.
    • Emizel's father used to be the Mayor, but was busted for corruption. He threw his son under the bus while bargaining for a lighter sentence, though Emizel insists that he still had his best interests in mind.
    • Laharl and Etna ended up on the streets after his father died, struggling to scrape together enough to get by and to stay connected with Sicily.

Dragon Age

  • In the Dragon Age: Origins series, the Sisimka Chronicles:
    • Aedan is still haunted by the death of his family as well as the decisions and actions he’s made over the course of his journey. Those include murdering Rendon Howe in cold blood, conceiving a child with Morrigan, and watching Delilah Howe (his first love) die during her joining ritual.
    • Alistair is also subject to this, as the countless battles he's fought weigh heavy on his conscious.

The Familiar of Zero

  • In story Enslaved the usually cheerful Derflinger is often more melancholic than in canon because he forced himself to remember his entire history, knowing it'd be important in the future. This also means he remembers being used by Brimir's familiar Sasha to kill the man who then killed herself with Derflinger as well. Even worse, so far as Derf is concerned the two were his parents, making him a parricide.

Fate Series

How to Train Your Dragon

  • In How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup usually responded to his village's scorn with a clever quip and went on with his day. In What Lies Beneath, continued psychological abuse from the villagers and his father turned him into the quiet, cynical and anti-social young man he is today.

Land of Oz

  • Ozma Sees Herself is about Ozma, who previously liked being a boy, trying to adapt to her new role as queen. In the original Oz canon, Ozma takes to the change just fine. In the story, Ozma tries her best to avoid her queenly duties, acts as a Tomboy Princess, and doesn't even recognize her own reflection anymore. Ozma runs away and it takes the Cowardly Lion and the Hungry Tiger's persuasion (along with Ozma gaining a near-narcissistic appreciation for her own beauty) to make her go back home.

The Loud House

  • Syngenesophobia: Granted, anyone would fear and resent their family if the said family has beaten them badly within an inch of their lives. But even before Lincoln's beating, his relationship with his sisters was already strained from their bullying and using him. While in the show, Lincoln shows only exasperations and annoyance.
  • What is a Person Worth?: While in the show, Lincoln was more annoyed than showing general outrage. Here Lincoln explodes in rage towards his family and questions if his family ever loved him in the first place. Forcing him in the suit for several days didn't help either.

Marvel Cinematic Universe

My Hero Academia

  • #14 (MHA): After causing Izuku to commit suicide, Bakugou is rendered mute from the guilt, and begins writting him letters as part of therapy.
  • Crimson and Emerald: Hawks is shown to be psychologically scarred by his treatment by the Heroics Commission especially when it comes to his lack of choice with his career.
  • King (MHA): While Shouto already had a Dark and Troubled Past, it gets expanded upon courtesy of Fujimori Hiroji, who was hired by U.A. to ensure that Endeavor's treatment of his family wasn't exposed after the incident that gave Shouto his scar. To this end, Fujimori isolated the five-year-old Shouto, grilling him about the incident for hours on end and Gaslighting him until he gave a version of events that satisfied him. This led to Shouto's twisted-around testimony being used to ensure his mother was blamed for everything while Endeavor got away clean, with full custody of his children.
  • Live a Hero:
    • Izuku was abandoned by his parents and raised by the League of Villains to be a murderous Hero Killer. He was beaten, malnourished, and forced to watch his sister get gruesomely murdered right in front of him and having a Quirk forced on him immediately after. He wouldn't have any brightness in his life until he was saved by Ingenium and adopted by Inko. Even then, all the torture he went through has reduced him to an emotionally stunted wreck who's completely unable to smile.
    • Kirishima suffers from neurosis, has to deal with the circumstances of his adoption, as well as the pressures of being All Might's successor.
  • Izuku receives a major one in Viridian: The Green Guide - whilst he had confidence issues in canon, here he blatantly thinks of himself as complete garbage both as a person and a son, with the only thing keeping him from committing suicide being that it would negatively affect Bakugou's chances of becoming a Hero.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic


  • Team 8 is a For Want of a Nail fic with an altered history that makes Naruto and Hinata's life struggles significantly worse. The villagers are even more antagonistic to Naruto and there is even hinted to be a conspiracy against him, and Hinata's parental abuse is far worse. Consequently, both of them start out much more cynical and insecure than in canon. At separate points, they both even have suicidal thoughts.

One Piece


  • Happens quite a lot in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines.
    • Misty's backstory is considerably sadder than it was in the anime. She was the least favorite child, is confirmed to be an orphan, got kicked out by her sisters as soon as they were able to do so, and she has to deal with anti-bloodliner prejudice. Really, it's no wonder she's falling for Ash, he was the best thing to happen to her in years.
    • While Brock's not as badly off as Misty, both of his parents are dead.
    • Not much is known about Red yet, but if his dreams are any indication, his past is full of anguish, moreso than his counterpart in either the games or Pokémon Adventures.
    • As detailed in a side story to Reset, Johanna also had a rougher life than her canon counterpart.


Sonic the Hedgehog

  • In the Sonic Unleashed rewrite The Heart Of A Monster, Sonic is much more traumatized by his werehog form than in the original game. Being a werehog just feels wrong to him.
  • Tales of Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sticks the Badger, thanks to her actual backstory being explored here. She grew up under the thumb of her father Jebediah Badger, a Corrupt Corporate Executive who groomed her into taking over his empire. Having only seen the bad side of Mobius' citizens through him, eventually Sticks ran away, shedding her birth name and becoming the Wild Child she is.
    • Sonic’s adventures get to him in this story along with having the world on his shoulders and his failure to save Kat and her family on the Death Egg. This eventually leads him to start taking therapy.

Star Wars

  • From Precipice, Captain Rex is hit with this. In canon, he was able to get his inhibitor chip removed before he had the chance to kill any Jedi. In this fic, he led the attack on the Jedi Temple and killed dozens of Jedi and younglings. The weight of what he did hits him hard, as he spends the next few years moving from place to place and suffering from frequent PTSD induced nightmares about how he murdered the men and women he fought alongside as well as several innocent children.

Sword Art Online

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012)

  • The Chronicles of Karai Getting Her Shit Together:
    • Karai is a repeat victim of sexual abuse by the Shredder. While she says that he only does it to punish her for failure, it is implied that he does it in a twisted, misplaced affection for her and her mother Tang Shen. It is also explicitly stated that she was trained to kill at a very early age, has done so before she hit her teens and was forced to allow Shredder to rape an underaged prostitute as a "test of loyalty". While she usually hides all of this under snark and jokes, she is clearly not as maladjusted as she says.
    • In his comatose-state, his brothers discover that Leo engages in self-harm, using a knife he keeps hidden to cut his arms and then hides the wounds in his hand-wraps. Raphael even refers to them as battle-scars because "you would have to be battling something to do that." It is implied that his routine self-destructive behavior is rooted in feeling that he is inadequate in Splinter's expectations of him.
    • Raphael has taken up drinking while taking the initiative in taking care of his brothers.
    • While Mikey is the only turtle with no serious issues of his own, watching his brothers deal with various traumatic things has left him with recurring nightmares of horrible things happening to them.
    • In-canon, there is only mention of Casey having a dad and a little sister, both of whom he cares so much for that he takes of vigilantism to protect them. Here, Casey's dad was a cop that committed suicide and his mom routinely physically abuses him.
    • Cold-Blooded Torture by the Foot Clan had rendered Donatello functionally blind with a broken-tail and traumatized cloaca.

Total Drama

  • A TDA Love Triangle with Betty, Cody, and Gwenny: Bridgette. In canon, after Geoff realized he was becoming a jerk, he apologized to Bridgette and they got back together. In this story Geoff is even worse off-camera, and, while trying to be understanding, Bridgette was at wit end. When she tried to talk to him, Geoff got angry and, after hours of yelling at her calling her a harlot and whore, he broke up with her, leaving her heartbroken. And the producer heard about the fight and reminded Bridgette of the terms of her contract. If she acts any differently towards Geoff during the aftermaths, they can sue her mother. So she's pretty much trapped in an abusive relationship.
  • Monster Chronicles: Cody, Duncan, and Tyler all have dark backstories in this story. Cody was bullied heavily during middle school, but then he befriended Cedric and let him use his body, not knowing he was a Serial Killer and using his body to commit murders. Duncan went to juvie with Cedric and was nearly killed by him. Tyler's mother and unborn sister were murdered by Cedric when he was a child.
  • Predator and Prey: Bridgette's guilt over allowing herself to be seduced by Alejandro is worsened in this story by the fact that Alejandro raped her, horrifically traumatizing her and causing her to develop Stockholm Syndrome. This also leads to her and Geoff breaking up between her elimination and the first Aftermath, causing her to become extremely depressed to the point of briefly contemplating suicide.
  • Total Drama: Cody's Redemption: Cody's backstory is pretty horrific and rather intense. First we learn that Cody had been suffering from child neglect and bullying which drove him into depression. Second just nearly gave up on his life and almost committed suicide once by shooting himself in the head by his father's revolver, but dropped it at the last second. He later adopted his optimistic persona to combat the world.
  • Twinning With a Twist:
    • Ella, The Pollyanna in canon, is given a significantly more angsty backstory to the point of cutting herself and suffering a Friendless Background.
    • Inverted with Dave. In this story, Dave was voted off first by his teammates for being a jerk. It is later revealed that he was a jerk because he had a bad day prior to the start of the show, which did not improve during the two days he spent on the island. Despite that, it is implied that things did improve for him after he arrived at the Playa des Losers, and he enjoys the rest of his stay there. It is also shown that Dave is on good terms with the other castmates that were voted off. Compared to what happened in canon, with Dave suffering painful humiliation, being rejected by his love interest, and finally losing his sanity and being abandoned on the island, being voted off first was probably the best for him.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread: Cody, Heather, Gwen, and Samey.
    • In canon, Cody was a rich kid that grew up in the suburbs and went to private school. It was implied his parent neglected him when it was mentioned they forgot his birthday. But in this story, he went to private school and was a victim of bullying. More importantly, the implied neglect of his parents is outright stated.
    • In canon, it was implied Heather had a strained relationship with her parents, with them implying they disliked having her around, though Heather mentioned she the closest to her mother. In this story, Heather’s parents, in particular her mother, have cast a long shadow over their daughter that at least partially shows how she became the bratty Queen Bee from Total Drama’s first season.
    • Gwen's life went pretty much down the pooper after the events of Total Drama World Tour. Her relationship with Duncan caused a rift to develop between her and her family, which resulted in her mother kicking her out of her house when she turned 18. This was fueled in part by Gwen trying to avoid her mistake with Trent and ditching a great guy too soon because of a few rough edges. But as a result, she's entered an abusive relationship where she has little to no personal autonomy, at least partially by choice. The relationship has weakened Gwen's more noble features while adding to her preexisting negative ones.
    • In canon, Sammy had suffered implied years of abuse from her sister, but in the show, she was quick to stand up to Amy. In this story, all the abuse mostly destroyed her self-esteem. Though Jasmine seems to be helping her slowly recover from that.

Touhou Project

  • Compared to canon, Suikakasen puts Kasen through a lot more misery to the point where she could be considered a Broken Bird. She was abandoned by her mother as a child when official materials make no mention of her parents, she suffers from Loss of Identity resulting from the extra backstory given to her, and she is put through so much emotional pain over the course of the story that she cries onscreen, something she has yet to do in canon.

Transformers Animated

  • Quite a few characters in TFA Kaleidoscope are given this.
    • Wheeljack is exiled alongside Ratchet and the others on the Orion Crew whereas in the original, he was still living on Cybertron.
    • Sari was forced to live on the streets after her father died due to not having any legal documentation to confirm her existence.
    • Optimus is no longer the idealistic young bot he was in canon. Here, he's a much older Shell-Shocked Veteran, and the Great War has caused him quite a bit of trauma.
    • Besides living through the Great War, Ratchet also lived through Cybertron's totalitarian caste-system before the war began, and it's clear that he remembers every horrible moment of it.
    • Zig-zagged with Arcee. On one hand, she doesn't remember the war and isn't forced into serving as the Decepticons' access key to Omega Supreme. On the other hand, it's because she doesn't remember her past that she's part of the exiled Orion Crew and her inability to remember who she was causes her a lot of grief and frustration.


  • Being a Fix Fic, Warriors Redux fixes one issue with Into the Wild: Rusty runs off without second thought about his housefolk. Redux adds drama by showing that Rusty is attached to his new owners and is confused about leaving them. But, he craves adventure and new smells so it's easy for the kitten to run away to ThunderClan. Rusty guesses that his owners aren't too attached to him yet so they won't mind too much if he disappears one day.

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