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Adaptational Skill

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"Okay, now I'm a little conflicted. This version of me is a total whiner, but I've gotta respect a kid who's mastered the drums, the flute, and sleep-karate."

For a long time now, works have been given adaptations. These may be movie versions of books, video game versions of any type of work, fanfiction, or any other type of adaptation. Ever since there have been adaptations, there has been Adaptation Deviation — changing something up in an adaptation. This occurs when a character is given a (non-supernatural) ability that they lacked in the source material, such as knowing a language or being able to rock climb.

There are several reasons characters might have an Adaptational Skill. Maybe the writers are going for an adaptation of a different genre, such as the Alternate Universe Fic or Big Damn Movie, so they gave the character an ability to better serve the plot, such as the ability to use a gun. Maybe they want the character to be more interesting. Maybe the character is older in the adaptation, so it makes sense that they'd know some more things. Maybe the character learns something during the work.

Can be combined with Adaptational Job Change (if their new job requires a skill they lacked in the source material), Adaptational Badass (if the ability makes them more competent), Abled in the Adaptation (if the reason they couldn't do something in the source material was a disability), Adaptational Intelligence (if their new ability is a sign of their new smarts), Character Exaggeration (if the skill is the result of an exaggerated personality trait) or Adaptation Personality Change (if their new skills fit a different personality better). Contrast Adaptational Wimp, when a character is less talented in an adaptation, and Forgot Flanders Could Do That, when a character exhibits skills that they rarely show. This does not include supernatural talents — that's Adaptational Superpower Change. Compare Adaptation Expansion and Pragmatic Adaptation. In fanfic examples, this may lead to Out of Character if having the skill goes against their personality.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In the Ocean dub of Dragon Ball Z, Bardock gets established as being an average fighter but a brilliant scientist who invented the Power Ball technique, which allows Saiyans to make their own moonlight and turn into their ape forms. This is not the case in any other material, with Bardock being shown not to be a scientist at all and is in fact a skilled fighter.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist (2003): Envy is portrayed as being highly intelligent with good leadership and tactical skills, being The Dragon to Dante. In the manga, for strategy they employ little more than guilt-tripping and have barely any ability to lead.
  • Inverted with Shirogane in Kaguya-sama: Love Is War. In the manga, he starts learning how to speak French after the embarassment of being the only one at the exchange party who couldn't. The anime skipped over the chapter showing this, so he presumably never did so.
  • Kirby: Right Back at Ya!: Inverted. In the games, King Dedede trained himself to be capable of mimicking Kirby's inhale and flight skill. In the anime, he has neither skill and relies exclusively on his hammer.
  • Inverted in the manga adaptation of The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap. In the game, the villain Vaati was implied to be a Master Swordsman who won the annual tournament fairly. In the manga, he cheats with his magic.
  • Nanoha from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha INNOCENT is the first (and thus far only) version of the character to have swordsmanship training like her older siblings.
  • Zig-zagged with Chloe in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. In the Kanna's Daily Life spin-off, she's shown to have been learning Japanese since meeting Kanna, though she isn't completely fluent. In the anime, she hasn't had any time to learn Japanese (since her visit occurs only a few weeks after she and Kanna first met), but Tohru used a spell to put her on par with a native speaker.
  • Pokémon: Throughout the anime, there have been Pokemon shown performing moves that they otherwise can't learn at all in the games, such as Bulbasaur knowing Dig or Parasect knowing Sleep Powder. Some of these Pokemon, such as the aforementioned Parasect, would eventually become capable of learning their anime exclusive skills in later games long after they have performed the move in the anime.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Ace Savvy Extended Universe: All of the Loud children, plus Clyde, are highly trained in martial arts and wrestling.
  • Corrin in Peril: Hana, who is a Samurai (i.e. sword-wielding infantry) in most of her official appearances, demonstrates the ability to use Silence staves in this fic, possibly by using a Friendship Seal with her best friend and liege lady Sakura, who usually appears as a Shrine Maiden(i.e. staff user).
  • A somewhat popular trend in Danganronpa fanfics is the "Talentswap AU" in which the students' Ultimate Talents are all switched out amongst each other (eg. Makoto is now the Ultimate Swimmer, Kaede is now the Ultimate Inventor, etc.)
  • Earth-27: Roy Harper is an Ace Pilot in this fanfic but has no such skill in the comics.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail:
    • Chloe Cerise is shown to be an exceptional writer of the macabre and is good with art from making Lexi's human form, to making a prop scabbard out of sheet foam and ice cream tubs. Later chapters show that she has a good singing voice for an alto and she's skilled in softball. This is justified since Chloe never shows any signs of hobbies or likes at all in the anime.
    • Alex Shepherd's only skills involve combat but he's known to be a really good cook which Chloe herself lampshades.
  • Inverted in Inside Loud, where Lily Loud (who is one year old in both the story and the first four seasons of the show) can't walk on her own, even though she can in the show.
  • Justified in More Than Enemies. Several developments steer Sakura to gain a different skillset from canon and much earlier. This includes:
    • Sakura's combat approach exploits the element of surprise and weapons (kunai, senbon, and shuriken) due to her precise aiming.
    • Her taijutsu is a mish-mash of katas from both the Academy Basic and Itachi's style, with the latter revolving around flexibility, viciousness, and turning the enemy's strength against them. After all, Itachi created it when he had a child's under-developed musculature. This veers far from her canonical "punch your opponent to hell and back".
    • She also learned how to pick locks.
  • In My Immortal, Hagrid can ride a broomstick, whereas the canonical Hagrid is too heavy.
  • New Vegas Showtime: Canonically, whenever Phantom Thieves needed something translated to their native Japanese, it was left to Ann. In this story, most of them speak decent enough English to communicate with the people of the Mojave.
  • Sometimes shows up in The Loud House fanfics MSTed in Peeking Through the Fourth Wall:
    • In Bunking In (covered in Episode 1), Lincoln can do karate (in his sleep, no less!) and play the flute and drums.
    • In Whipped (covered in Episode 10), Lily can use a tape recorder, which also counts as Character Exaggeration since, in the show, she's only minorly a Brainy Baby.
    • In Stuffed Anger (covered in Episode 11), Luan can sew.
    • In Class Night (covered in Episode 26), Liam can do science experiments. So can Rusty in Model Brother (Episode 16).
  • In Rugrats and the Gray Plague, Chuckie Finster from Rugrats learns to speak to adults, since he's a year older.
  • In A Saga of Parallel Worlds, Jennifer Morrison can read Japanese, which results in her having to review terrible Famicom-exclusive games such as Hoshi wo Miru Hito with the AVGN.
  • The Sponge House sometimes gives The Loud House characters talents of Spongebob Squarepants characters. For instance, in "Karate Choppers", Lincoln can do karate.
  • This Bites!:
    • Chopper, thanks to his increased intelligence, learns how to create explosives and throw scalpel so he has more combat abilities in canon.
    • Vivi and Conis are learning to read the Poneglyphs (the ancient and forbidden language from the void century) from Robin.
  • Three's A Crowd (Naruto) has Sakura devote herself to her studies during her last year and a half at the Academy, with a secretive focus on things she thinks might help Naruto deal with his condition. Perhaps the most notable of these is that she teaches herself puppetry, despite that being a Sunan art. Shikaku certainly thinks so, as he warns her and the others aware of this talent that they need to keep it secret for as long as possible.
  • In Tommy Pickles: The Terrible Twos, several of the babies from Rugrats can do more things now that they're a year older:
    • Tommy can speak to adults and is now potty trained (he learns both skills during the course of the story).
    • Dil can now speak Baby Language and walk — he even walks backwards.
  • In the Winx Club fanfic You Were My Best Friend:
    • Queen Morgana is proficient enough at dancing to not only be a dancing instructor but also own her own studio: Madame Morgana's.
    • In the same vein, Bloom takes dance classes for three years because Mitzi, her friend at the time, started attending ballet classes. It's only ballet first, then jazz, and finally, whatever little she gathered about hip hop moves. The positive feelings born from this activity grant her an Adaptational Superpower — to travel across dimensions (at a younger age).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Annihilation (2018): The biologist is given a military background that she did not have in the books, so she now knows her way around weapons.
  • In the Fletch book series, the titular character is plenty happy to give fake aliases and lie about his identity as part of his investigations, although he shows no skills in disguising himself - this actually comes to bite him in the ass at the end of Fletch and the Widow Bradley. In the movie adaptation, however, Fletch is depicted as a Master of Disguise, being able to come up with all manners of accents and elaborate disguises to coax more out of his targets.
  • Jurassic Park: Lex is given Tim's hacking skills due to their ages being swapped, which come in handy during the climax.
  • The Old Guard: Andy knows her way around a smartphone in the film, unlike the comic where she has little skill with personal technology.
  • In an inversion, The X-Men Film Series version of Wolverine lacks his comic counterpart's Cunning Linguist skills.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow:
    • Oliver Queen displays some skill in computer hacking, something his comic counterpart lacks. He is also much better at hand-to-hand combat and displays knowledge of firearms in one episode.
    • The comic book version of Felicity Smoak was a business manager. In the show she is an Omnidisciplinary Scientist skilled in computer hacking, engineering, biochemistry and forensics. She also displays some knowledge of dentistry in the episode "Resolution".
    • The show's version of Damien Darhk is skilled in magic and martial arts. His comic counterpart never displayed such abilities.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Cisco Ramon is a Gadgeteer Genius. His comic counterpart was at best average in intelligence.
    • Wally West is a drag racer in the show, something his comic counterpart is not.
  • Luke Cage (2016): In the live-action series, Luke is a trained military veteran and ex-cop, and is further trained in rudimentary combat while fighting in an underground prison ring. By the time he actually receives any superpowers, he is already a competent fighter capable of beating ordinary humans one-on-one. This contrasts with his comic book version, who learned how to fight in the streets and only received formal training much later on.

  • In Matilda, the eponymous girl is bilingual, speaking both Russian and English, whereas in the book, she could only speak English.

    Video Games 
  • Advance Wars By Web gives a couple of small buffs to some COs and units as compared to the series it's based on, while otherwise generally following Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising rules:
    • Drake is given a modest buff to his air units, going from -30% to -20% damage. While they're still weak, they're at least a somewhat viable strategy for him now.
    • Sturm was given a second CO Power, a regular-level Meteor Strike that only deals 4HP damage to all the units it hits. Notably, this power is present in Black Hole Rising as well but was Dummied Out.
    • Sonja, albeit due to a limitation rather than deliberate design, has stronger Confusion Fu. In both games she hides her units' HP on the map, but in the game proper any of her unit's HP is visible during the attack animations. Advance Wars By Web has no attack animations so it's never possible to see her exact HP values.
    • Transport units can unload their cargo after being trapped during Fog of War, while in the game proper being trapped was an instant end-of-turn. Initially this was due to a bug, but the devs decided to Throw It In as they felt it had become enough of a part of the Meta Game that people are now used to it and prefer it this way.
  • In Super Smash Bros., characters that can't swim in their games of origin such as Sonic, Charizard, and Inkling are just as capable of swimming as any other character. This becomes downplayed in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate where these characters now receive constant damage whenever they are swimming.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge, April is a skilled martial artist who can use her own studio equipment as weapons, unlike the '87 cartoon where she's completely defenseless.

  • Revolver Ocelot's marksmanship was already implausibly good in the games, but in The Last Days of Foxhound, it's exaggerated to such a degree that he might as well be some kind of gun wizard whose shots can pass through solid objects. That's not even an exaggeration, at one point he fires a gun into his own mouth and the bullet avoids him and hits another target.

    Western Animation