Follow TV Tropes


Adaptational Jerkass

Go To

Regardless of the medium, characters are introduced and established as having certain traits and, as such, the fans of those works expect those characters to adhere to them. If they're The Hero's trusted friend in the novel, the film adaptation should convey that as well.

But wait — why is the hero's trusted friend from the novel, suddenly giving him the cold shoulder in the motion picture? Why is the faithful Love Interest from the manga two-timing him in the anime? And the Lovable Rogue, who gives to the poor in the television series, only cares about lining his own pockets in the Made-for-TV Movie. They weren't like that before, so what happened?

The answer is: the character has suffered from Adaptational Jerkassery, the narrative equivalent of Taking a Level in Jerkass.

Whatever the reasons, the writer(s) has seen fit to change the character's original postive portrayal, to make them more of a jerk. Perhaps the character was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in the original work, but the adaptation failed to convey the "heart of gold" aspect. Thus, turning them into a total jerk. Or it could be due the adaptation being Darker and Edgier than the original, and the character's portrayal was changed accordingly.

However, while there may be some overlap with Adaptational Villainy, the key difference here is, the character isn't necessarily villainous. In many cases, they're still on the good side and can range from being a Comedic Sociopath, to an Anti-Hero, or just The Friend Nobody Likes.

Because of the nature of the trope, it's obviously related to Took a Level in Jerkass and by extension contrasts with Took a Level in Kindness.

A subtrope of Adaptation Personality Change.

Its inverse is Adaptational Nice Guy.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Corpse Party, whiler most incarnations of Yoshiki Kishinuma range between being a loner (in the PC-98 game) to a Jerk with a Heart of Gold in the Blood Covered continuity,he never did anything despicable. But in the manga Corpse Party Musume, he's on another level, as he himself admits, he only cares about Ayumi (and even then he isn't exactly nice to her either as he tries to grope her), and for him, the rest of the survivors can get by themselves.
  • Amy Rose from the Sonic the Hedgehog games could be bratty and over obsessed with Sonic, but otherwise a Nice Girl, while in Sonic X, she was gradually Flanderized to be short-tempered, aggressive, violent, and downright nasty to others, most especially by the third season. This personality in the anime bordered to the games later on, but was still toned down from her worst in the anime and eventually was abandoned.
  • Downplayed in Blazblue Alter Memory: in the original games, Jin is already quite a Jerkass, but he still has a soft spot for his Childhood Friend Tsubaki. Here, that soft spot is gone.
  • DD Fist of the North Star has Toki, who does have jerkass tendencies in comparison to his original counterpart who is Kung-Fu Jesus and a Nice Guy. DD has Toki attempting get a job as a part-timer in Ryuken's store, and will use any means to get the job, such as having Raoh arrested for murdering Jyuza.
  • In Kirby, King Dedede, while he's a lazy and rather greedy king whose "royalty" is questionable, he can be a pretty good guy every now and then who helps Kirby saving the day. In the Kirby of the Stars anime, Dedede is more of a jerk who wants to "clobbah dat dere Kurbeh" almost every episode and treats other people like crap, with more spaced out Pet the Dog moments.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • Rei is an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl in the manga, but in the first anime adaptation, she is Hot-Blooded and often picks fights with Usagi. Rei is very prone to insulting Usagi, much more than the other way round and in many cases without provocation or reason other than teasing Usagi. Despite their bickering, they're still the closest of the senshi (in the manga Rei is closer with Minako than Usagi). The Dic dub takes this a step further. Rei is made even meaner to Usagi, losing almost every little hint of strong companionship they have in the original version.
    • This ended up happening to Sailors Uranus and Neptune in the classic anime. Aloof allies to the max, they treated the Inner Senshi as kids who were too idealistic for their own good and couldn't handle a war that decided the fate of the world, never mind the fact that they had already dealt with two threatening villains before they appeared. They even went as far as stealing Usagi's (who is supposed to be their LEADER by the way) Transformation Trinket just to get her out of the way and threaten to hurt her if she showed up again. This thankful gets fixed in Sailor Moon Crystal.
  • Pokémon:
    • This is utilized with several Gym Leaders. Many, most notably Lt. Surge, Erika, and Skyla, are egotistical Jerkasses with a condescending demeanor towards their challengers (or, in Erika's case, towards those who don't appreciate the perfume her gym makes). Pryce is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is cold towards Pokemon due to a misunderstanding with his Piloswine long ago, although he does get better when the Piloswine is found and the situation explained. In particular in the games, Pryce is a perfectly pleasant and decent man, Erika is a laidback Ojou, Skyla is a Nice Girl, and Lt. Surge, while cocky in the games, isn't nearly as mean about it as he is in the anime (being a Type 2 Eaglelander instead of a Type 1). All of them make friends with the heroes in the end.
    • Misty downplays this more than the others, as her anime counterpart is a tsundere with a temper (though she calms down once Togepi enters the picture) while her game counterpart doesn't seem to be that way (though later games made the odd nod to this characterisation). The English dub also toned down her narcissism compared to the Japanese version.
    • Iris in the games is very peppy and nice; however in the anime, while heroic, her Catch-Phrase is telling Ash that he is "just a kid" due to his immaturity (despite being the same age as him). Iris in the anime is much more brattier than in the games, although she does improve by the end of the show, and since she is not a Gym Leader of Opelucid City yet in the anime, it's arguable that her anime characterization is meant to take place before her game characterization, allowing for Character Development. Her final scene with her adoptive grandfather and mentor Drayden says that she will one day take his place at the Opelucid Gym as leader.
    • Spearow and Raichu are generally presented as far more aggressive than they are in the games, though good-natured Raichu have appeared.
    • In Pokémon: I Choose You!, Ash has a moment where he abandons Pikachu after losing a battle. He says that he wishes he had a Squirtle starter instead of a Pikachu starter and runs off. Even though Ash in the Kanto arc could be stubborn and a little bratty, he would never say such things about his Pokémon. A downplayed example, as the rest of the film doesn't show him like this; and he does apologize for it in a later scene.
  • Pokémon Adventures:
    • Norman, the protagonist's father in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire. In the games, Norman is a kind, gentle person who respects his child's wishes and would most likely not use physical violence. In the manga, Norman is a lot meaner and beats up his son for disobeying him. Despite his harshness, he is on the side of good — he is genuinely supportive of Ruby.
    • Gladion is more ruthless than his game counterpart and isn't against having his Pokémon attack humans. He's also shown having a thing against women in power, thanks to his abusive mother.
    • More emphasis is put on Lusamine being an emotionally Abusive Parent in the manga than in the original games. Lillie has a Heroic B.S.O.D. just thinking about her mother forcing her into a dress and calling her "ugly".
  • Killua is an Anti-Hero in all versions of Hunter × Hunter; however, in the 1999 anime adaptation, there are more allusions to his dangerous Creepy Child nature from the get go.
  • Girls und Panzer has a few examples from the manga adaptation:
    • An odd example comes with Anchovy, since the manga was released before the anime showed her match with Oarai. In the anime, Anchovy's competitive but fairly good-spirited, and after losing, invites the Oarai crew to eat with her and the people who set up the match. In the manga, she starts off by accusing Miho of having a "weak" way of tankery, and at the end, accuses Miho of costing her old school the championship by abandoning the flag tank.
    • Erika is a Jerkass in the anime, but mainly to the extent of being snide and condescending toward Miho (for example, in the finals, saying that Oarai must be weak if she became its commander). In the manga, between the semifinals and the finals, Erika flies over to Oarai, confronts Miho, and angrily accuses her of not just costing them the victory, but abandoning them in their time of crisis, and vaguely insinuates that Miho traded her vice-captaincy of her old school for captaincy of her of her new school. She's significantly more vicious and angry in that scene from the manga, and leaves Miho in tears at the end of it.
  • Leon MacNicol in the Bubblegum Crisis OVA was supportive of the Knight Sabers. Leon in the Tokyo 2040 remake considers the team vigilantes and a blight on the AD Police.
  • Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog: The Movie is ruder, more obnoxious, and less willing to help people than his video game counterpart.
  • In the Advanced Variable Geo series, Yuuki is shown to be a Good Samaritan who protects other women from muggers and rapists, but the OVA adaptation nearly makes Yuuki out to be a rapist, herself, by having her sexually harass Satomi during their fight.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, Goku invites Gohan to participate in the tournament against Universe 6, but Gohan has to decline because of an academic conference scheduled on the same day. In the anime, we see the conversation happen (Gohan was excited at the prospect, but then remembered the conference) and Goku is disappointed but understands how important Gohan's job is to him; in the manga adaptation Goku tells us this after the fact while dismissively calling Gohan a bookworm.
  • In the anime of Rosario + Vampire, Kokoa never goes through her character development and continues to treat everyone around her like dirt, especially Outer Moka. Her attitude ends up causing problems for the rest of the cast on two seperate occasions.
  • In the manga adaption of School Days, where Makoto was given a far more likable personality, the reverse was done for Sekai, being very manipulative of everyone around her, including Makoto himself.
  • Ryo Asuka is subjected to this in DEVILMAN crybaby. Even before he's revealed to the Big Bad, he wasn't exactly a pleasant guy in the manga, but he was nowhere near as psychopathic and sociopathic as he was depicted in the anime adaptation.

    Comic Books 
  • In All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, Batman is depicted as enjoying violence and inflicting pain, in contrast to his usual depiction.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog is a heroic, laid-back, if somewhat cocky character in the games, and at the time of Sonic the Comic was written in western canon as being a Totally Radical Mascot with Attitude. But in here, he's a bullying, immature Jerkass, especially with the way he treated Tails. Despite caring for his friends, he really has a hard time showing it.
  • Jem and the Holograms:
    • The Misfits are still the antagonists and still not nice girls (except Stormer), but it's slyly demonstrated that each of the band stands solely on their own. Pizzazz's temper is even worse, and feels she literally cannot trust anyone in her life. Roxy and Jetta aren't down each other's throats anymore, but they'd just as easily laugh if one was the butt of a joke. Pizzazz, Roxy, and Jetta still gang up on Stormer, but Stormer is actually more likely to snark back at them, insult them and even scream at them, unafraid to stand up to even Pizzazz. Clash in the cartoon also wouldn't have tried to seriously injure, or outright murder, Jem like that.
    • At the same time though, this is inverted as their softer sides and Hidden Depths are more present. Jetta went from the Token Evil Teammate to being calm and relatively nice (especially towards Roxy, who she's best friend with in the comics but is enemies with in the cartoon). A lot more emphasis goee into giving Pizzazz's Hidden Depths focus. She has a lot more moments of sincerity, happiness, and vulnerability. In one issue she actually listens to Stormer's wants to do a ballad and ends the issue on a middle ground. She'll allow a ballad on the next album, not the current one. In the cartoon scene that was inspired by Pizzazz outright just shredded the lyrics because she doesn't like "soft" songs.
  • In The Star Wars, Princess Leia is much ruder than her canon counterpart, and has a Slap-Slap-Kiss thing going on with Annikin.
  • Name one hero outside of Peter Parker and Miles Morales in the Ultimate Marvel universe and chances are they're either psychotic, a jackass, or (more often) a combination of both. That, or they have one aspect of their personality dialed Up to Eleven:
    • Captain America's entire personality becomes "he's from the 1940s", and thus he picks up the then-normal racism and bigotry, as opposed to regular Cap, who is an example of the best of humanity.
    • Iron Man gets his alcoholic aspect amplified to the point that he's always drinking, while mainstream Tony had his alcoholism dealt with incredibly seriously. That said, this is a mild example as he's still one of the nicer characters in the Ultimate Universe alongside the Spider-Men.
    • As opposed to the classic Betty Brant, Ultimate!Betty was a general jackass to people, including sleeping with Kraven, throwing around Ned Leeds's drinking problem to get a story she wanted and making bets about Ben Urich's disappearance. And during Miles Morales's time, she died before she could "out" Jefferson Morales as the second Spider-Man, not caring about Rio or Miles.
    • Professor Xavier used his powers for his own amusement, compared his love for his son to that of a pet owner and their pet and both he and Wolverine were Ephebophiles.
    • While he was blackmailed into it by the mafiya, Colossus was an arms dealer before joining the X-Men.
    • Because he was among Weapon X's victims, Nightcrawler had a brief psychotic break where he was a Stalker with a Crush to Dazzler and homophobic towards Colossus, though he later made amends.
    • Magneto was outright genocidal.
    • Dazzler is openly-rebellous and prone to swearing.
    • Pyro initially started off as a case of Adaptational Heroism, helping other people and joining the X-Men. Then came Ultimates 3, where he infamously did something that got his hands cut off and Mastermind beheaded and would appall even 616!Pyro — suggesting he and Mastermind rape Valkyrie.
  • A controversial aspect of IDW's Transformers comics is their tendency to do this to fan favorite characters.
    • Arcee is typically depicted as one of the more mature and sisterly Autobots. In the comics, she was originally a male Transformer who was subjected to inhumane experiments that turned her into a female. This resulted in her becoming morally detached and violently unstable.
    • Prowl is usually an honorable By-the-Book Cop. In the comics, he becomes a complete jackboot who regularly commits immoral crimes because he feels that they were necessary to maintain peace.
    • In the original cartoon, Spike and Sparkplug Witwicky were the Autobots' closest human allies. The comic versions of the characters are completely different characters, both being huge jerks who hate Transformers. Spike is a particularly extreme example, becoming a minor luddite who's such a smug jackass that no one except his parents like him.

     Fan Works 
  • In the Persona 4 fanfiction Into The Fog, Chie is far more hostile towards Rei than she ever was to the protagonist.
  • The Elfen Lied fic The Butterfly Effect pulls this off with the orphanage girl who sold Lucy's puppy out to the bullies. In the original manga and anime, she pretended to be remorseful over it, only to secretly smile behind her tears. Here, the girl, named Rika, doesn't even try to fake remorse and openly tells Kaede she finds her disgusting, following up with a minor Did You Actually Believe...? over how Kaede actually believed she would want to be friends with her.
  • While the Thanks Kyubey incarnation of Mami Tomoe is still fighting against the witches, she's also much more of a jerk than she was in canon.
  • Several of the characters in RWBY Abridged, but arguably the most noteworthy example is Ruby herself, who while still heroic, is very cynical, short tempered, snarky, and abrasive, unlike her very friend Wide-Eyed Idealist cannon counterpart.
  • Pinkie Tales: Pinkie in canon will, at worst, possibly reach Innocently Insensitive with some of her actions. Here though she is outright uncaring about what she does to the stories, refusing to stop her antics even when its clearly explained to her just what she's doing is rude and annoying to those around her.
  • Camaraderie is Sorcery:
    • This is downplayed with Celestia. She's still a genuinely good pony, but she's a great deal bitter and wrathful than her canon counterpart. This is best shown when Twilight and her friends beat Nightmare Moon, and Twilight is surprised when Celestia chooses to forgive her sister and is shown even better when she says Twilight is allowed to give twenty lashes to anyone who harasses her.
    • Also, Twilight herself. She's still more or less as nice as her canon counterpart, but it's comes pretty clear she's this when we see she's perfectly willing to have ponies who bother her whipped.
  • While most aren't villains, just about everyone is more cynical and mean in Friendship is Witchcraft than they are in the original cartoon.
  • Hefty, normally a friendly Smurf in the mainstream Smurfs media, is made into a jerkass in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story series, with most of his jerkassery aimed squarely at Empath as well as Duncan McSmurf (the Adaptation Name Change version of Gutsy from The Smurfs live-action film series).
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse) does this with Eddie Thawne. In The Flash (2014), Eddie is a Nice Guy behind his initial bluster, makes friends with Barry, and is an attentive boyfriend to Iris. Even when he briefly leads an anti-Flash task force, he remains level-headed. In To Hell and Back, he's openly resentful of Barry's connection to Iris and becomes so obsessed with and paranoid over the Flash that he temporarily drives Iris away.
  • Long Road to Friendship: In canon, Sunset Shimmer, after her redemption, is a much kinder, albeit timid person. In this fic, Sunset retains a lot of her nastier traits, and struggles much more with being a good person. Despite being proven wrong, she still holds a massive grudge against Princess Twilight.

     Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
    • Beauty and the Beast: In the original tale, the Beast was never a bad guy to begin with. He was transformed by an evil fairy through no fault of his own and is seen to be kind-hearted for the most part, and gentleman-like, with only an occasional tendency to be hot-tempered. In the Disney version, he starts out as an outright Jerkass who was transformed as punishment for his cruelty, is always angry (although not without remorse, as shown when he sees Belle crying in the tower and takes her to a nicer room), and only becomes good after Character Development.
    • The Sword in the Stone: Both Wart's foster-father, Ector, and his foster-brother, Kay, have a lot of their positive qualities scrubbed away (at least until the end). Ector goes from a Reasonable Authority Figure who wants Wart to be educated to a bossy disciplinarian who's against it, while Kay is reduced to a one-dimensional bully who hates Wart for no good reason, rather than having a legitimate inferiority complex. (He also gets an Age Lift, which exacerbates the problem—it's one thing to see a twelve-year-old being picked on by his fourteen-year-old brother, and another thing to see that same bullying from a guy who's at least eighteen, if not older.)
    • Tangled: In the original tale, "the prince" (who Flynn is based on) was the stereotypical heroic character. Here, he is a selfish anti-heroic thief, but becomes less selfish after spending time with Rapunzel and steps up to true blue heroism. Flynn started development as a Gentle Giant thief named "Bastion" who only robbed because he had no other choice growing up an orphan, making his more true to the original prince, however the team decided to revamp his character into something "sexier".
  • Son of Batman: In the comics, Nightwing is open to Damian becoming Robin (he actually replaced Tim Drake in order to bring Damian into the Batfamily) and gladly supports and guides him even before he got the mantle. Here he's a rather standoffish jerk who would prefer to avoid Damian if at all possible and is vehemently opposed to Damian becoming Robin. In this case, it's because he's a sort of Composite Character with Tim Drake, whose relationship with Damian was a lot tenser.
  • In the original Coraline book, Coraline is polite, well-mannered, and stoic, while her film counterpart is sarcastic, belligerent, and snarky (although she does soften out by the end).
  • In a case of this happening to the hero to a degree, Superman vs. the Elite actually sees Superman go through with lobotomizing Manchester Black and depowering the Elite. In the original comics, the Elite retained their powers and Supes merely gave Black a concussion.
  • Big Hero 6 is more "Adaptational Jerk with a Heart of Gold." In the comics, Hiro Takachiho is an Ordinary High-School Student. At the start of the animated movie, Hiro Hamada partakes in illegal bot-fights before his brother shows him around his school. There's also the issue of trying to kill Callaghan, though to be fair, that was an extreme circumstance.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • In Fantastic Four (2015):
    • Johnny comes across as a cocky, spiteful, and combative individual — and unlike his comic counterpart, he doesn't get to show his devotion to his friends and family. Even his quip toward Ben (calling him "the Thing nobody wanted") comes across as mean-spirited instead of playful teasing (which is made worse by the fact that Ben in this movie was scarred by bullying growing up). The only justification he has is that he suffers a bit from perceiving himself as a "Well Done, Son!" Guy, but even then, he doesn't make an effort to learn anything that his father tries to teach him.
    • While arrogant, the Doctor Doom of the comics is at the best of times a Well-Intentioned Extremist. In the film, he's an Omnicidal Maniac, intent on wiping out all life on Earth.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Dumbledore is a frequent offender of this trope. A particularly infamous example happens during Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Just after Harry is chosen to compete in a dangerous tournament he is too young to participate in, Dumbledore asks him wether or not he entered said contest voluntarily. The book explicitly mentions Dumbledore asking this calmly. In the movie, he physically shakes Harry while angrily yelling said question.

      In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, his overall demeanor seems to be more gruff and uncaring compared to his book counterpart. When divination professor Trelawney is sacked by Umbridge in front of a large number of students, Book Dumbledore takes charge of the situation, stays calm and gleefully acts like a Rules Lawyer, telling Umbridge she has no right to banish sacked teachers from the Hogwarts premises. In the movie, he states the rules with a raised voice and then vents his frustration on the onlooking students, angrily asking them if they don't have any studying to do, instead of looking at Trelawney being sacked.

      Movie Dumbledore also acts like a jerk towards Harry, just after Harry saw Ron's father Arthur being attacked by Voldemort's snake. In the book, he sends Harry, along with the Weasley children, to his godfather Sirius, in order to get them away from Umbridge. In the movie, immediately after receiving the vision, Dumbledore sends the emotionally shaken and confused Harry to Sadist Teacher Snape to teach him how to block his mind from Voldemort.
    • A minor case of this happens in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In both the book and the movie, the Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge thinks Dumbledore is planning to turn the Hogwarts students against him. To prevent this, he forbids them from learning practical defensive magic and sends Dolores Umbridge to Hogwarts to enforce this prohibition. Harry and his friends start an illegal study group named Dumbledore's Army, secretly teaching the students how to cast defensive spells without Umbridge knowing. In the book, Dumbledore's Army is willingly revealed by the best friend of Harry's love interest Cho, followed by Harry and Cho having a fight about this in which both sides actually have a point. When Umbridge discovers Dumbledore's Army in the movie, the group is unwillingly revealed by Cho, who has been obviously forced to show its location, as she was dragged along by Malfoy, yet Harry seems to treat it as if Cho willingly did so and alienates her like the rest of the school does, making him look like a bit of a jerk to her, only realizing his mistake when Snape later outright confirms what he should have figured out from the start.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Guardians of the Galaxy:
      • In the comics, Star-Lord was a seasoned cosmic superhero long before joining the Guardians. In the movies, he starts off as a self-serving outlaw and a bit of an asshole, although he eventually chooses to step up for true blue unselfish heroism - with a side of whatever (and whoever) he can get his hands on.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2:
      • Although he's a villain in the comics as well, the film's version of Ego plans to wipe out all life in the universe and replace it with himself, and commits very personal atrocities such as killing his own lover and Peter's mother Meredith with an artificial brain tumor.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming:
    • Thanos zigzags this, as while his comic counterpart put Gamora through Training from Hell, he does have some fondness for her and some Pet the Dog moments her, like saving her as her species was wiped out and seeking revenge against her attackers after she was raped. Film!Thanos abducted her just because he could, though he does say he considers her his "favorite daughter," and is angry with Ronan when he finds out that Gamora has defected and joined the good guys. However, the relationship with Nebula is better, given in the film, she's one of his "daughters" and in the comics, he turned her into a corpse-like vegetable just for claiming to be his granddaughter. Then the sequel plays it straight when Nebula reveals that Thanos made her and Gamora fight, and would forcibly replace part of the loser's body with cybernetics supposedly to make her stronger. Nebula always lost, hence her unquenchable hatred for Thanos in the films (and to a lesser extent her hatred for Gamora).
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017):
    • While in the animated film the villagers seemed amused by Belle's quirks, here they are much more hostile towards her and see her as a genuine threat to the status-quo, becoming outraged when Belle commits the crime of teaching a girl how to read.
    • In the animated movie the Bimbettes were just silly airheads without any real malice towards anyone, but in this version they act more snobbish, disdainful, and actively dislike Belle. When Gaston has Belle locked up alongside her father, they actually laugh at her expense.
    • In the animated movie, the Beast was troubled, angry, violent and hostile, but he wasn't completely without remorse, as mentioned in the animated movies example above. In the live action film, he's much more uncaring and has no second thoughts about imprisoning Belle in a tower.
  • The Jungle Book (2016): Baloo. While he keeps the animated version's laid-back personality in this film, he also gets a selfish, cunning side, such as tricking Mowgli into getting honey for him, unlike his animated counterpart who never takes advantage of Mowgli.
  • In the book A Dog's Purpose, Ethan's dad is a distant father who is implied to have a bad relationship with his wife which ends in divorce. Other than Bailey mentioning that Mom and Dad sometimes yell at each other, there aren't too many red flags about him. The film adaptation exaggerates him into a more noticeably abusive character.
  • Power Rangers (2017):
    • Almost all of the good characters are hit with this trope compared to their original versions in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. The original rangers were all idealized portrayals of teenagers, who could do no wrong, get top grades at school and do at least 5 volunteer jobs each. In this film, the rangers are a far cry from their goody two shoes counterparts, as they meet each other in detention, which they received for legitimately screwing things up. Their allies, Zordon and Alpha were the surrogate father figure and childlike Robot Buddy respectively. In the film, Alpha is a Deadpan Snarker, while Zordon openly admits he has no confidence in the rangers and it is even revealed he only bothered with them as a means to revive himself.
    • Rita Replusa is far more serious, as this version is depicted as a murderer and even engaging in torture.
  • In Batman Returns, the normally-classy Penguin is a foul-mouthed perverted psychopath intent on killing all of Gotham's first born sons and later on, destroying Gotham itself. The comic book Penguin is the Only Sane Man of Batman's villains and would be horrified by Returns!Penguin's actions.

  • In the novelization of The Boss Baby, the executives of Baby Corp get this. When Francis Francis talks about them firing him, there is no mention of him being lactose intolerant like in the film. Apparently they just fired him without any stated reason.

     Live-Action TV 
  • The ''Arrowverse has a tendency to depict many characters as far more ruthless than there comic counterparts even if they were already villains in the comics already:
    • Arrow:
      • Oliver Queen originally was more forgiving in the original comics.
    • The Flash (2014):
      • In contrast to the comics, Wally West is initially depicted as an angsty man who is reluctant to accept Joe, Barry and Iris and would act mean towards them at first. He outgrows this.
      • Tina McGee is still heroic but initially depicted as antagonistic, but is so just because Thawne stole the identity of her friend Harrison Wells and estranged their friendship. Later she warms up to Barry and his friends.
      • Dante Ramon was close to Cisco in the comics, while here they are not.
      • In the comics, Ralph Dibny is a slightly goofy Nice Guy and thoroughly devoted husband. The show version was made a misogynist pervert and a cowardly asshole because the creators wanted to try something funny and new.
      • Clifford DeVoe is still a megalomaniac criminal, but he puts his comic counterpart to shame by framing Barry for murder, drugging his own wife on a regular basis, and trying to destroy the entire world after his defeat just because it would go on without him otherwise.
  • L from Death Note is subject to this in the TV drama. Though not exactly a hero (with Word of God admitting that he's a bit evil), he usually comes across as A Lighter Shade of Grey when compared to Light, and a few spin-offs (namely the film L: Change the World and the light novel Another Note) portray him more sympathetically. The drama, by contrast, draws more attention to the amorality of his actions and he is generally far more smug and arrogant than most portrayals.
  • The Flash (1990):
    • In addition to being reimagined from a doctor to a retired beat cop, Henry Allen was also a jackass towards Barry for being a forensic scientist as opposed to following in his footsteps and becoming a beat cop like his other son Jay (a reimagined Jay Garrick) did.
    • In the comics, both Captain Cold and the Trickster are pretty sane bank robbers with gimmicks. Here, Cold is a hitman and the Trickster was pretty much a testing ground for Mark Hamill's version of The Joker.
  • Several characters in Game of Thrones are subjected to this in contrast from the books:
    • Ellaria Sand is a Nice Girl and an Only Sane Woman in the books who knows that getting revenge against the Lannisters will not bring back her dead lover and his relatives. In the show, she's antagonistic towards her lover's older brother who refuses to participate her revenge against the Lannisters and she even kills him personally.
    • Robett Glover is a loyal Stark bannerman who helped Wyman Manderly in his plot to overthrow the Boltons and bring House Stark back to Winterfell, and - so far as we know - isn't bigoted against the Wildlings. In the show, he refuses to help Jon Snow and Sansa Stark in retaking Winterfell not only because Jon's army had Wildings in them but because he lost his trust on his brother Robb after the Red Wedding and he rudely told Sansa that House Stark is dead. Fortunately, after Jon and Sansa successfully retook Winterfell, he realizes his mistake and apologizes to them.
    • Yara Greyjoy (the show's counterpart to Asha Greyjoy) is rather rude to her brother Theon as she comes off as a Karmic Trickster in terms of her baiting him.
  • Gotham:
    • Renee Montoya is much more antagonistic towards Gordon than in other incarnations, her thinking clouded by the fact that he is with her ex-girlfriend, Barbara Kean, and going after Gordon for imagined crimes like the Penguin's disappearance. While she does apologize once the Penguin reveals himself to be alive, again, she still sleeps with Barbara behind Jim's back.
    • In the comics, Alfred is usually proper and polite in dealing with others and Servile Snarker to counterbalance Bruce's darker moments as Batman. While not a complete jerk, in the series, he's more coarser, more prone to expressing Anger Born of Worry in dealing with Bruce and more flippant to Gordon, and promo materials even state this Alfred came from the East End, a rough neighborhood.
    • Tommy Elliot and his parents were friends with the Waynes until Tommy's half-successful attempt at being a Self-Made Orphan. Here, either he and Bruce like each other.
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight is an odd case in regards to Kamen Rider Femme, renamed Siren in the American adaptation. In the original series she was a con artist who toyed with wealthy men to swindle them out of their money, but had a sympathetic goal in wanting to avenge sister's death and even falls for the main protagonist. In Dragon Knight, she's introduced as one of the good guys but one of the first things she does is taunt and humiliate the main character, refusing to acknowledge him as a Kamen Rider. She thankfully gets better.
  • Power Rangers has several characters whose Japanese counterparts in Super Sentai seem to be much nicer:
    • Bandora from Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger has a rather motherly demeanor and compliments her minions when they succeeded in a battle against the Rangers. Rita Repulsa, her counterpart in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers is constantly angry, has No Indoor Voice and verbally and physically abuses her minions whenever one of her plans fail.
    • Guirail from Denji Sentai Megaranger already fits the definition of Jerkass, as he frequently employs underhanded tactics to get his preferred results, including turning on his allies. He treats this as a necessary evil to achive the ultimate victory. Darkonda from Power Rangers in Space has the same underhanded personality, but goes a step further by actually gloating about his underhandedness.
    • Dark Merchant Biznella from Seijuu Sentai Gingaman is nothing more than a polite arms merchant who is completely loyal to the other villains. Deviot, his counterpart in Power Rangers Lost Galaxy is a nasty piece of work with a severe case of Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.

    Video Games 
  • While Shadow is far from a nice guy in the Sonic the Hedgehog games, in Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, he is more of a Jerkass here. He is an abrasive, bullying Jerkass who calls Sonic weak for relying on his friends. His rivalry with Sonic is a lot more antagonistic than in the games as he's only there to fight him for no reason other than to antagonize him.
  • Mega Man Battle Network: Downplayed with ProtoMan.EXE. The original Proto Man in Mega Man (Classic), while aloof, is a supportive big brother figure for Mega Man. In the BN timeline, ProtoMan.EXE is considered a rival to MegaMan.EXE because their operators are also rivals, but ProtoMan doesn't take it personally; he's also more willing to scold and even fight MegaMan if it's necessary.
  • Harry Potter himself is a bit of a cartoonish jerk in the LEGO Harry Potter games. For example, during the Dueling Club scene in Chamber of Secrets, he deliberately commands the snake to go after Malfoy, looking smugly when Malfoy flees from it. In the original, he merely ordered the snake to stand down. He was also highly amused when he saw Snape being humiliated by his father during the flashback he saw in his Occlumency lessons, while the real Harry was actually disturbed seeing his father act like this.
  • In SNK vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos, Ryu went from a stoic warrior who trains to better himself every day to and out and out asshat who taunts everyone he meets and even makes fun of Mai for her choice of ninja garbs.
  • Batman: Arkham Series:
    • In Batman: The Animated Series, Ferris Boyle, the guy who turned Victor Fries into Mr. Freeze was a greedy jerk who didn't care if he ended a life just to save money, and him turning Victor into Freeze was a reaction to Victor pulling a gun on him. In "Cold, Cold, Heart" DLC, he asked Victor to build cold based weapons in exchange for helping his wife, only to renege on the deal. Later he was willing to kill Batman and Freeze so he could leave no witnesses, and was preparing to kill Nora in front of Freeze out of spite.
    • Calendar Man. In the comics, he was a petty criminal whose holiday-themed crimes rarely involved murder. In the Arkham series, he's portrayed as a sadistic Serial Killer who crimes revolve solely around murder.
    • The Scarecrow himself, while very much a villain, occasionally has sympathetic moments in the comics, generally relating to his backstory as a bully victim and severe abuse from his family (great-grandmother pre-Crisis, father in the New 52). In the game, he lacks any sympathetic qualities and is even more monstrous than his comics incarnation, easily one of the most vile characters in the series. Background material suggests that this version of Jonathan Crane isn't even mentally ill, just pure evil.
    • Much like in Batman Returns, the Penguin was shown to be quite psychotic, sadistic, and brutal. This version lacks the Affably Evil and Wicked Cultured traits of the comics' gentleman of crime, and has displayed racism, misogyny, homophobia, and abelism.
    • While most incarnations of the Riddler are fairly narcissistic, they are, at the least, humble enough to respect Batman as a Worthy Opponent and are on good terms with the rest of Gotham's villains. Arkham's Riddler, by contrast, is a smug, egotistic, patronizing, arrogant, and thoroughly obnoxious Jerkass who is either ignored or outright belittled by Batman and some of the other villains.
    • While Jack Ryder could be a jackass, it was usually as part of a feint for his actions as The Creeper. Here, he's a legitimately self-serving and egoistical asshole.
    • Batman: Arkham Origins' "Initiation" DLC saw Kirigi from as a mild example, making him a True Neutral Jerkass at worst, whereas his comics counterpart was one of the most pacifistic mentors Batman ever had (Denny O'Neil's Knightfall novelization mentions he stopped training Bruce because Bruce refused to forsake violence forever).
  • In Dragon Ball FighterZ, upon Goku winning when paired with Gohan, the former expresses genuine pride in his son. However, the localization version for some reason, added a "...finally" line and in a condescending tone too which gives the impression that Goku isn't really proud of his son at all and once again, gives the impression of another "Goku is a bad father" moment.

    Web Animation 

    Web Video 

     Western Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Series: Aladdin is a downplayed example, as a lot of episodes saw Aladdin act more smug than he did in the films, but his positive and noble attributes remained overall intact.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Anyone familiar with Link, the hero of The Legend of Zelda, knows that he's near consistently portrayed in adaptations as, and implied in the games to be, a brave, humble, all-around heroic person who saves the land of Hyrule and its princess without expecting anything in return. People familiar with Link's other portrayals will probably be surprised that in the cartoon that came after the NES games, he's the complete opposite. This Link was lazy, self-centered, whiny, and is only motivated by getting Zelda to kiss him.
    • Zelda herself isn't any better. Most incarnations of her are kind, regal, and wise. This version of Zelda is extremely arrogant, dismissive, snarky, and refuses to give Link the time of day no matter how many times he saves her and her kingdom. She is, after all, the whole reason why the Well, Excuse Me, Princess! trope exists.
  • Though Little Miss Somersault of Mr. Men fame is a Nice Girl in the books if not a bit of a showoff, the 90s cartoon turns her into a Jerk Jock who acts like a bitch about losing a race to Little Miss Wise (Who, mind you, didn't intentionally take part) and calls Little Miss Splendid, Little Miss Greedy and Mr. Lazy "hopeless" for not being able to somersault as well as she can.
  • In the Witch cartoon, Cornelia is presented as more of a straight Alpha Bitch than the Lovable Alpha Bitch she is in the Witch comics. She's ruder and generally more aggressive. In the comics she is a Bully Hunter but in the cartoon, prior to her Character Development she was The Bully herself.
  • Scooby-Doo franchise:
    • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated Scooby is more of a jerk, which adds to the attempt in developing the characters. He gets better, of course.
    • Velma in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is more cynical, self-centered, vain, and sarcastic, similar to the titular protagonist of Daria. Most of these changes however, are to do with her being written a lot more like an actual teenager would act.
    • Fred has become this in Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, rendering him into a dimwitted, control freak and an unmasking hog.
  • In Teen Titans, the Titans are straight-laced heroes. In Teen Titans Go!, they regularly display Jerkass behavior, are often Vitriolic Best Buds, and are Heroic Comedic Sociopaths. Here's the individual examples of the Titans:
    • Robin really distances from his usual heroic characterization and is portrayed as a selfish, narcissistic Glory Hound who beats up villains for the fun of it or to get hero-cred, while caring very little about the safety of others.
    • Raven has more anger management issues. She is prone to violent outbursts and has a habit of attacking the other Titans if annoyed, especially Beast Boy.
    • While Beast Boy was always depicted as a rebel, this Beast Boy is noticeably more of a jerk than his former incarnation, and is often devoid of remorse and regret over his actions. Instead of feeling guilty for his pranks, he will often laugh and fail to comprehend he has done anything wrong.
    • Like the other Titans, this version of Cyborg is much less mature and heroic and here he's just a selfish and immature jerkass. He's also not above sinking to lows to achieve a selfish goal.
    • While she's nicer than the rest of the Titans (and even nicer than the original), Starfire can engage in jerkass behavior like them from time to time. One example is in the "TTG vs PPG" special where she along with Robin and Raven endlessly mock the Powerpuff Girls for being babies.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine:
    • Gordon in The Adventure Begins comes off as far more antagonistic and rude to Thomas than he was in the original book and the first episode of the TV series "Thomas and Gordon". His trick dragging him along with the express is similarly revenge for Thomas heckling him earlier, however this itself was only in retaliation for Gordon belittling him a fair deal beforehand.
    • The Flying Scotsman seemed relatively humble and respectful in his few speaking roles in The Railway Series, but in his first appearance in the special The Great Race, he's much more pompous and arrogant, has a low opinion on Sodor's engines, and often makes remarks to rile up Gordon, his brother.
  • While Donald Duck has always been a bit irritable, Mickey Mouse (2013) portrays him as rather assholish and more prone to being inconsiderate and insensitive toward his friends.
  • In Avengers, Assemble!, Captain Marvel is written in a more arrogant, condescending and combative manner than she usually is in the comics. While her comic counterpart can be cocky at times, she's usually not this much of a jerk to her fellow heroes. Usually.
  • The Batman:
    • The Penguin is rude, boorish, and all-around unpleasant. While he's still a bad guy in the original comics, he's nowhere near as impolite. On the contrary, he's Affably Evil enough to be known as the "Gentleman of Crime".
    • Harley Quinn was already stuck-up and had a few screws loose, even before meeting the Joker, and the Joker doesn't need to do much to push her over the edge. She also is shown poisoning squirrels, something most Harleys wouldn't do.
    • Unlike in Batman: TAS where he is a sympathetic figure trying to cure his wife, Mr. Freeze is a thug who enjoy robbing banks.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Splinter is a minor example. Make no mistake, he does love his sons dearly. But, at the same time, he's not above messing with their heads for his own amusement, can be something of a hypocrite, overreacts to an extreme degree towards some of the mistakes they make when fighting above ground, and, at times, he can be borderline physically abusive. The reason the Turtles all fear disturbing him is because his default reaction to their fighting or being disruptive tends to be beating the shit out of them with a flurry of advanced ninjitsu techniques. It certainly keeps them in line, and is Played for Laughs as Tough Love, but at the same time, no Splinter before him would have ever lifted a hand to the Turtles in anger.
  • Mary Jane Watson's Aunt Anna in the comics was a sweet-natured woman who even showed gratitude for Spider-Man saving her life. In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, she's an ill-tempered crone who treats Peter Parker like dirt in spite of how nice he is to her.
  • In the Kid Paddle comics, the Gamer Chick Max get along well with Kid and often partner with him and his friends in wathever they're up too at the moment, being at worst in a Friendly Rivalry with him. In her early appearance in the cartoon, the friendship is gone and the rivalry between them is more vitriolic, Max will sometime act cocky and mocking toward Kid. This get rectified when she is made closer to how she is in the comic, complete with a different more-fitting voice.
  • Doofus Drake from Ducktales 1987 was an annoying but harmless Fat Comic Relief. Doofus Drake in the Ducktales 2017 episode "Day of the Only Child!" is a dangerously-temperamental Spoiled Brat who serves as a foil to Jerk with a Heart of Gold Louie.
  • Teen Titans: Despite her Adaptational Heroism, Terra still has shades of this. In the comics her being evil is largely an Informed Attribute as she's never shown doing anything particularly evil in The Judas Contract arc. In the cartoon, under Slade's orders Terra does a lot more damage. She wrecks a city and it's implied she killed people.