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Character Perception Evolution

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Fandom is a funny thing. Sometimes, a work that was initially widely panned can end up being beloved years later, with fans agreeing they were too hard on it before — this is Vindicated by History. Conversely, a work or creator that was widely popular can be looked at with a more critical eye, with its flaws becoming much more apparent — this is Condemned by History. On certain occasions, both may happen to the same thing at different times, creating a Popularity Polynomial.

And works are not the only things to undergo this process — characters can, as well.

On the positive side, maybe this character was once considered annoying, useless, or otherwise unlikeable, but fans began to see the better points of the character. On the negative side, the character was once seen as cool, sympathetic, and otherwise loveable, only for fans to analyze them and realize a lot of inconsistencies, lack of depth, or similar crippling flaws. Or what was once a character with a more-or-less unanimous perception becomes a Base-Breaking Character.

As to what prompts this change, that can vary as well. Perhaps a later work in the series was released that gave fans a new perspective on the character. Perhaps a Fandom VIP with an unpopular opinion released a video or blog post explaining their feelings on the character, and it ended up being persuasive enough to sway significant numbers of fans. Or maybe the work was intended for children, and as the kids grew up, they gained a more adult perspective that caused them to re-evaluate their feelings on the character. Other reasons include overexposure, newfound resonance, writing and characterization choices, comparisons to later equivalents, and Values Dissonance.

Compare Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, where the creator re-tools a character in later installments to improve their standing in the audience's eyes. This can overlap if it it causes or contributes to audiences reevaluating their pre-Rescued portrayal more favorably.

Note: as with Vindicated by History and Condemned by History, examples must be at least five years old to ensure enough time has passed between the release of a work and the change.


Other Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • Mr. Kimura had been a Base-Breaking Character outside of Japan from the get-go as a result of his characterization as an over-the-top ephebophile who openly creeps on the female student body (both figuratively and literally). However, during the anime's heyday in the west, his reception skewed mostly in the direction of "he's a creep, but an entertaining creep," being played up as a Memetic Molester and being the source of the term "waifu," one of the most enduring pieces of fandom jargon to this day. However, once the series' popularity dwindled into cult status, his reputation became much more divisive as a result of changing times that brought greater awareness to real-world sexual misconduct in school settings (most notably, the Brock Turner case and the #MeToo movement), making characters like him seem overly flippant and insensitive. Nowadays, while some still hold onto his Memetic Molester image, a significant chunk of readers/viewers see Mr. Kimura as an off-putting relic of the early 2000s' emphasis on bawdy comedy at best.
    • While she was never outright disliked, Kaorin was frequently overshadowed by the rest of the cast in the anime adaptation's heyday in the early 2000s, in large part due to her being Demoted to Extra as the series progressed. However, in The New '20s, she would garner a much bigger following once the series' LGBT Fanbase rose to the forefront of the fandom, owed to her being seen as a positively-portrayed queer character who's never mocked or demeaned for her crush on Sakaki.
  • Code Geass: In R1, Cornelia li Britannia was for the most part well-liked by fans for being an antagonist who embodied some of the worst aspects of Britannia's brutality, but was also intelligent, competent, beautiful and made for an imposing foe for Lelouch Lamperouge. Come R2 however, where she's presented sympathetically and gets off scot-free for her war crimes even though she never even shows an ounce of remorse for the horrific massacres she committed, she's now one of the most controversial Karma Houdinis in the show.
  • Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School:
    • Kazuo Tengan was initially one of the most popular of the new characters introduced in Side: Future, for being both a Reasonable Authority Figure and a Cool Old Guy able to hold his own against a crazed katana-wielding Kyosuke Munakata. Then he ended up a vital component of an infamous Fan-Disliked Explanation: namely, that he was the mastermind of the Final Killing Game, and his plan was a needlessly complicated way of getting Ryota Mitarai to subject the entire world to Heel–Face Brainwashing. Needless to say, his popularity took a nosedive to the point that even creator of the franchise Kazutaka Kodaka expressed disdain over his eventual role.
    • Ryota Mitarai was also met with initial approval despite his introduction as a thus-unmentioned member of Class 77-B for both his backstory and theories surrounding his involvement in the events of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair. However, he then ended up heavily involved in the above-mentioned Tengan's end goal, was key to the brainwashing anime plot point that many decried as a lazy cop-out for several franchise-wide questions, and ultimately ended up Easily Forgiven for essentially attempting to wipe out free will. Nowadays, he is met with indifference at best, and outright scorn at worst.
    • Juzo Sakakura was at first vehemently hated for his needlessly violent behavior to the point that an entire offshoot of the Danganronpa subreddit was created solely to bash him. In particular, the fandom despised him for his role as an Unwitting Instigator of Doom given the incident when he contemptuously insulted Hajime Hinata over his lack of talent helped lead to the latter's Start of Darkness by pushing him towards the program that would turn him into Izuru Kamakura. However, as viewers saw his capacity for kindness, struggles as a gay man in the heteronormative Japanese society, and his ultimate Heroic Sacrifice to end the Final Killing Game, many apologized for hating him in the first place. Sakakura is now seen as one of the more stronger characters of Side: Future, and it is not unlikely for someone to state that they wished that he had survived.
    • Ruruka Andou was similarly despised by the fandom for her frequent displays of selfish behavior, including bullying Seiko Kimura for not eating her sweets despite knowing about Seiko's allergy, and for getting both her boyfriend Sonosuke Izayoi and Koichi Kizakura killed due to her actions, to the extent that many cheered at her self-inflicted Cruel and Unusual Death. After the anime ended, though, a few began to point towards Ruruka's positive traits, such as her appealing character design, the hints of a potential redemption arc that were abruptly closed by her death, and the fact that her demise was treated by both the characters and narrative as an afterthought. Although she remains a heavily Base-Breaking Character, she is not as hated as she used to be.
  • Digimon Tamers: Ryo was and still is a Base-Breaking Character. When Tamers aired outside of Japan in the Turn of the Millennium, people were quite hostile towards Ryo since his introduction episode and role in the series basically read like a checklist of Common Mary Sue Traits, with no deconstruction. It turned out, however, he was actually included in Tamers for the benefit of the Japanese fanbase, and as a result, nobody outside knew his backstory. During The New '10s and The New '20s, people became more open to Ryo as knowledge of his backstory became more well known. He still is somewhat of a base breaker though, with some thinking negatively of him while others think the problem is more that his backstory relied off of supplementary material.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Suit Gundam:
      • The Principality of Zeon were originally intended by Yoshiyuki Tomino as an allegory for Imperial Japan and a faction which uses the veil of fighting oppression to commit horrible atrocities, but the high number of Punch Clock Villains and other sympathetic characters among Zeon's ranks initially led a lot of fans in both Japan and elsewhere to see them as less "Space Nazis" and more a morally gray faction with some degree of legitimate grievance against the corrupt and ineffectual Earth Federation. Ironically, the opposite is true among western fans, who first believed Zeon to be Well Intentioned Extremists fighting for freedom until the perception of them as outright villains who only put up the pretense of a heroic cause became more widespread. Nowadays, westerners like Zeon just fine but tend to prefer them as outright baddies more in-line with Tomino's original vision and dislike works which depict them as sympathetic or try to grey the One Year War.
      • Char Aznable has also had his reputation vary among western audiences, who initially believed him to be a badass Anti-Villain (or even Anti-Hero) who fought for Zeon but wanted revenge on the Zabis for killing his father, and to bring Zeon closer to the ideals of Zeon Deikun, a view that was further bolstered by his role as Kamille Bidan's mentor in Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam. Many of his fans cried foul when he made a Face–Heel Turn in Char's Counterattack, believing it to be a character assassination. However, when one re-watches the original Gundam show and Zeta it's easier to pick up on Char's more negative qualities, including his selfishness, self-righteousness and even megalomania, and suddenly his character arc culminating in Char's Counterattack makes a lot more sense. As this perception became more popularized, Char's reputation shifted from that of a misguided hero to a Love to Hate villain.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: Protagionist Judau Ashta was initially seen as a step down from Kamille Bidan, the protagionist of Zeta Gundam. This is due to the more polarizing reception of Gundam ZZ compared with the more acclaimed Zeta Gundam along with the perception that Judau was excessively overpowered and not as developed of a character as Kamille. However, with the positive reevaluation of Gundam ZZ as time passed, combined with greater exposure of fans to Judau through various spin-off games like the Super Robot Wars crossover series, Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, and spin-off manga like the Crossbone Gundam side stories, the character has been positively reevaluated and is now seen as a worthy protagonist in his own right.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Rudol von Stroheim from Battle Tendency was originally an Ensemble Dark Horse for his depiction as a Large Ham cyborg Nazi, which was cited as adding onto the part's over-the-top nature and led to him quickly becoming a Fountain of Memes. However, as multiple countries, most notably America, saw a rise in far-right and fascist activity during The New '10s, he became much more divisive, especially in America itself. While the aforementioned traits still give him plenty of fans who chalk up his Nazism to Deliberate Values Dissonance, a large contingency of readers/viewers find it difficult to stomach the idea of him being an ally to the main heroes (albeit a temporary one) thanks to him being an actual Nazi who's not only wholly unrepentant in his actions, but is also seen performing actual Nazi practices and is directly responsible for making things worse even when he does try to help.
    • Golden Wind:
      • Giorno Giovanna was initially considered the franchise's worst protagonist outside of Japan thanks to a perception of him as overly generic. However, much of this was blamed on the poor quality of early scanslations even from the outset, and once better translations became available, Giorno gained an increasing number of supporters who saw his calculating personality as a good fit for the Darker and Edgier tone of the part. Other fans, though, continued to hold him in low regard, and the later anime adaptation of Golden Wind amplified both camps by introducing the character to new audiences. Nowadays, Giorno remains a major Base-Breaking Character among JoJo fans, with many debating whether or not his early reputation as "the worst Joestar" was warranted.
      • For a while, Diavolo was considered the series' worst villain due to constantly being shrouded in mystery, which left little screen time to flesh his character out, and due to his Stand, King Crimson, being difficult to comprehend thanks to its unusual power of erasing time, which led to a number of memes mocking the power that eventually got acknowledged by the actual King Crimson. It didn't help that he lacked the traits that made DIO and Kira so popular. This began to change, however, when better translations and the anime were released and allowed fans to better understand King Crimson's abilities, appreciate the mystery surrounding his character, and see how vicious and ruthless of a villain he really is. However, how he compares to other antagonists is still a subject of debate.
  • Most of the girls in Love Hina were beloved by critics and fans alike when the series first came out for their comedic antics and attractive designs, in part because the Harem Genre was in its infancy. Female lead Naru Narusegawa in particular is one of the popularizers of the Tsundere archetype. But as perceptions of abuse changed and female-on-male abuse stated being taken more seriously, the girls beating up Keitaro stopped being funny, especially since so many Tsunderes who did exactly that appeared in many such series. Naru and Motoko assaulting Keitaro for being an Accidental Pervert now gets on people's nerves and is generally seen as Domestic Abuse, to the point of it becoming a Fandom-Specific Plot for a fic to be a Deconstruction Fic that takes the girls to task for their awful treatment of Keitaro. The only exceptions are Shinobu and Mutsumi, who never mistreat Keitaro and are thus far more liked over his canonical choice Naru. And since the series stars these girls, the series as a whole is no longer as well-regarded as it used to be.
  • The My Hero Academia Arc Villain Stain was once the most popular villain in the series, to the point that one would be forgiven for thinking that he was the Big Bad. However, after his origins were explored in Vigilantes, he became a Base-Breaking Character due to some fans taking a more critical look at his ideology and labeling him a hypocrite.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion's protagonist Shinji Ikari was extremely divisive when the anime first released, with his detractors vocally decrying him as overly wangsty. However, his reputation would improve over the decades due to a number of factors: the Rebuild of Evangelion movies made him a stronger character in response to audience criticism, The New '10s saw increased awareness of issues related to mental health and the harmful effects of emotional abuse, and fans would increasingly point out how the image of him as unwilling to take action was much rarer, more justified, and closer to other mecha protagonists than was often believed. Consequently, Shinji is now seen as an effective deconstruction of standard Shōnen and mecha protagonists, and while some still see him as overly maudlin, most modern audiences are considerably more sympathetic towards him than they were in the '90s and 2000s.
  • Robotech: Minmay was widely hated, partly due to her whiny voice provided by Rebecca Forstadt (who, to say it politely, was not the most suited actress for the role), the bad quality of her dubbed songs, and her overall ditziness. But over the years, people who once hated her have now warmed up to her and see her more as a goofy but good-hearted girl who was unable to cope with the insane situation she found herself in. It helps that ADV Films was given the go-ahead to make an uncut dub of the original Super Dimension Fortress Macross and cast Minmay with an actress who actually knew how to make her likeable (Mari Iijima, her original Japanese VA).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Upon their introduction, Yubel was a major Base-Breaking Character at best (especially in America); between the highly inconsistent 4Kids dub, mixed reviews of the third season in general, and some fans claiming that Yubel "got in the way" of more popular ships, there were a lot of complaints. But the years have been kind to them, and today, Yubel's usually considered one of the best villains in the entire franchise, with their competence, well-developed personality, creepiness, and interesting relationship with Judai/Jaden often being cited. The potential inherent in their Heel–Face Turn and their canon intersex gender don't hurt either, especially due to gender and sexuality conventions being a hot topic in The New '10s.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: Z-one was hyped up as Yusei's evil future self, only to eventually be Retconed into just a random scientist from a dystopian future timeline who used technology to seamlessly imitate Yusei's appearance and personality. As a result, Z-one was perceived as a disappointing Big Bad by fans. In the following years, while the retcon remains divisive to this day, fan reception towards Z-one himself has become much more positive, often ranking high in villain polls. This is mainly because the following two Big Bads are Don Thousand and Z-ARC, while his predecessor, Darkness/Nightshroud, is widely regarded as an Anti-Climax Boss.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • For much of his time in the franchise, rogues gallery member Mr. Freeze was known as a forgettable, one-note relic of The Silver Age of Comic Books who subsided entirely on the gimmick of being An Ice Person. Then came the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Heart of Ice", which radically rewrote Mr. Freeze as a Tragic Villain who turned to evil out of vengeance and grief after his superiors sabotaged his attempts at saving his terminally ill wife. The episode was widely praised by fans and critics and did much to redefine how audiences viewed Mr. Freeze, to the point where the show's backstory was incorporated into all later takes on the character across media, even his infamously campy portrayal in Batman & Robin. Nowadays, the Tragic Villain version of Mr. Freeze is so commonplace that hardly anyone recalls his prior, more black-and-white portrayal.
    • Jason Todd has been a contentious character ever since he replaced Dick Grayson as Robin and his return as the Red Hood has only made him more divisive among fans. However, some fans have also come to revaluate Jason's tenure as Robin and argued that he was far from the obnoxious, edgy Jerkass that he was remembered as, with many finding that much of his abrasive aspects were added in retroactively by writers after his death or even made up by fans. At the very least, many have pointed out that he did not deserve to die like he did.
  • When she was first added to Doom Patrol, Coagula was seen as a Replacement Scrappy who replaced the beloved Crazy Jane and as a case of Positive Discrimination, being a trans lesbian who was easily the most competent and least dysfunctional member of the '90s team. After she was Stuffed in the Fridge during a reboot in the 2000s, however, fans have come to appreciate her as one of the most positive portrayals of a trans woman in mainstream comics.

    Fan Works 
  • Hearts of Iron Game Mod Kaiserreich: Legacy of the Weltkrieg:
    • The Entente Faction was viewed as a either a morally grey faction with legitimate goals of reclaiming their homelands from the Syndicalists or even the most morally good democratic faction in the game during the mod's Darkest Hour era and the early half of its' Hearts of Iron IV era. In the later half of the Hearts of Iron IV era, this viewpoint fell under more scrutiny due to the large amount of National Populist regimes that were associated with the Entente, along with the fact that even the least authoritarian endings for National France included colonial subjugation of French Africa. These more critical interpretations were also influenced by greater awareness towards the end of The New '10s of the legacy of British Imperialism, the prevalence of rampant apologia for said Imperialism along with rampant transphobia in British society, as well as Canada's horrific mistreatment of its' Native American population. While there are still many players who view the Entente as capable of being a positive force in the setting, this view has come under increasing scrutiny.
    • John Nance Garner was originally seen as the worst democratic path for the United States because of his efforts to defend a political establishment seen to be corrupt and unwilling to work towards solving the problems in American society that would make the Civil War inevitable, especially when the other democratic alternative, Charles Curtis, could make reforms that prevent the Second American Civil War from happening. However, following a reevaluation of his character, he is seen as a uncompromising figure that will seek will preserve American democracy with no compromise, not even allowing a military dictatorship to form just to suppress radicals on the left and the right. The removal of both Curtis and the path to avert the Second American Civil War, which in turn removes a lot of the incentives to placate either of the radical factions outside of mitagating the scope of the civil war, has also helped in this more positive reassessment of Garner as an uncompromising figure.

    Films — Animated 
  • Cinderella: The title character was frequently dismissed as 'anti-feminist' for spending the majority of her film in a passive, servile role that she's only saved from when she marries a prince she doesn't know. In the 2010s however, there was a strong pushback to these statements, with people pointing out that Cinderella is an abuse victim trying to maintain a positive attitude in a difficult time and in a period where women didn't have many options. And she does rebel against her stepfamily by trying to go to the ball... and they respond by torturing and humiliating her because of it. It's now more common to see Cinderella highlighted as a brave survivor of abuse, with a Silk Hiding Steel persona.
  • When Despicable Me came out, the Minions were praised for being legitimately funny Plucky Comic Relief characters whose adorableness added a lot of charm to the movie. But when their presence in advertising and pop culture grew so big to the point one could find them anywhere, many started to get tired of them, not helped by their appearances in Despicable Me 2 and Despicable Me 3 being seen as less funny and more annoying than in the original. By the time their own movie came out (which virtually doubled their presence in advertising and pop culture), many already had more than enough of them.
  • Dingo Pictures' Rascally Raccoon character Wabuu was originally seen as a Creator's Pet due to having his own poorly-sung theme song, being given prominent roles in multiple seemingly-unrelated movies, and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold characterization that failed to deliver on the "Heart of Gold" part of the trope. Thanks to Phelous' reviews, however, opinions of the character have warmed up thanks to the videos giving him a humorous Memetic Badass and Memetic Psychopath portrayal, which make his antics easier to enjoy if you imagine that version of the character doing them.
  • Frozen (2013):
    • Prior to the release of the film, many people had a great deal of animosity towards the character of Olaf the snowman, due to how he seemed to be omnipresent in the film's marketing (the first trailer is a short skit featuring just him and the reindeer Sven, the poster puts him front-and-center, etc), which many found to be symptomatic of Disneyfication that an ostensible adaptation of The Snow Queen would be so focused on a classic "marketable comic relief" character invented for the film. However, when the film actually came out, it turned out that Olaf was nowhere near as prominent in the film as the advertisements made him seem, and appraisal of him shifted towards him being a surprisingly funny character and a well-done example of comic relief that made sense in the film's universe and didn't overshadow the actual story or tone the way some prior characters had. However, after Frozen became a Cash-Cow Franchise, Olaf ended up being treated as a major wing of the film's marketing, with the likely tipping point being Olaf's Frozen Adventure—a twenty-minute short focused on him and shown before a different movie entirely. Consequently, and when combined with Frozen itself having lost some of its critical luster after its initial craze, Olaf is now regarded as significantly more of a Base-Breaking Character, due to those initial fears being apparently vindicated.
    • At the time of release, Prince Hans was viewed as one of the more memorable Disney villains to date due to how he took many by surprise with the reveal that he was a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Prince Charmless who sought to usurp the throne of Arendelle and was willing to manipulate and kill Anna and Elsa to achieve his goal, and critics praised the novelty of how he was essentially a corrupt noble straight out of Game of Thrones placed in a Disney movie. As The New '10s went by and audience fatigue from Disney putting more and more Twist Villains (of which he was one of the first major examples during this time) into their animated films piled up, fans began to put the twist surrounding his character under increased scrutiny, with many now viewing that The Reveal surrounding him could have been executed much better and that a lot of his actions seemed fairly self-contradictory even when it came to achieving his goals. Many view his sudden turn in personality to be overly exaggerated compared to other villains of his nature frequently seen in Pixar films, and his most shocking action of coldly leaving Anna to freeze to death being needlessly sadistic and unnecessary even for a villain like him. Some even view his role in the narrative as superfluous given how the story already had a conflict with Anna trying to stop the blizzard Elsa created and that he merely Stumbled Into the Plot (the fact that Elsa was originally intended to be the villain but was changed later on to be more sympathetic has led some to view him as a poor substitute for her original role). In addition, some fans have argued that he had much better romantic chemistry with Anna than Kristoff given how her interactions with the latter are mostly Belligerent Sexual Tension until the song "Fixer Upper". While he's not viewed as one of the worst Twist Villains Disney has put out, he's still not a perfect Twist Villain.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989):
    • While initially beloved for ushering in the Disney Renaissance of the '90s, Ariel became increasingly scrutinized in the 2000s as being too similar to the early Disney Princesses, owed to her motivation being romantic involvement with a man and her Damsel in Distress status in the climax. In The New '10s, however, these critiques faced backlash as being in bad faith. Other analysts pointed out how Ariel saved Eric's life twice before he saved hers, increased awareness of abuse dynamics made people reanalyze her as seeking to escape a draconian father, and the film's LGBT Fanbase noted how her character arc works well as a trans allegory, altogether changing Ariel's image from "giving up her whole life for a man" to "finally getting to be who she wants."
    • Prince Eric was disliked by those same people who considered him a bland and boring character and wondered why Ariel would give up her life for him, but as many of those same defenders point out, the film does show him as a kind and caring person who was even willing to heroically sacrifice himself to stop Ursula, or even earlier to rescue his dog from a burning ship, so it's not like Ariel settled.
  • Tangled: While she was obviously viewed as a villain by a large number of audiences, Mother Gothel nevertheless got a fair amount of Draco in Leather Pants when the film was first released, with many fans considering her an ultimately well-meaning My Beloved Smother who just wanted to keep her adoptive daughter safe. As time went on, awareness of emotional abuse and Gaslighting increased, and Gothel began to be seen as not only one of Disney's most heinous villains, but also one of its darkest and most disturbingly realistic.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Mr. Humberfloob from The Cat in the Hat was originally seen as an overbearing Neat Freak and Mean Boss for his obsessive hygiene based rules. In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, however, his actions (having employees constantly wash hands, firing someone for shaking his hand) are ironically a lot more justified, if still a bit extreme. As such, fans have come around and now say Humberfloob was ahead of his time.
  • Deep Blue Sea's Susan was originally viewed as The Scrappy for genetically modifying the sharks, which results in several people being killed. Even test audiences hated her so much that the ending was reshot to have her killed by the sharks. These days, however, viewers look on her more sympathetically for her motivation for modifying the sharks being based on trying to find a cure for Alzheimer's after watching her father succumb to it and she suffers massive Break the Haughty throughout the film. The result is that she's seen more as a tragically flawed Anti-Villain rather than an insufferable sociopath.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom: Initially, Short Round had a more polarizing perception from viewers, as there were a number of people who disliked his highly exaggerated Chinese accent and lack of an indoor voice, with some even finding him just as annoying as Willie Scott. As the years passed though, many people began to realize that Short Round had other positive traits outside of his Ethnic Scrappy Tagalong Kid status, such as his surprising level of competence in dangerous situations, and steadfast loyalty to Indy throughout the entire adventure. With Ke Huy Quan's return to acting in Everything Everywhere All at Once shining a light on his previous child acting roles, it lead to an increasingly large portion of the audience wanting him to return to the Indiana Jones franchise. When Quan received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, he thanked Steven Spielberg for helping him start his journey to winning the award and supporting him after appearing in this movie.
  • James Bond:
    • Timothy Dalton's portrayal of Bond in The Living Daylights and Licence to Kill had divided fans for a long time. At the time, Dalton was stepping in as Bond after 12 years of Roger Moore, and his Darker and Edgier portrayal, which was more in line with how Ian Fleming depicted Bond in the original novels, was shocking to audiences who'd grown accustomed to Moore's Lighter and Softer portrayal. It didn't help that LTK was almost a Franchise Killer that helped send the series into 6 years of Development Hell (to date, the longest gap between Bond films), ensuring that Dalton didn't play Bond again. However, thanks to Daniel Craig's similarly dark portrayal of Bond, audiences have started seeing that Dalton's portrayal was ahead of its time, and a 2020 survey about who was the best Bond had Dalton finishing second behind Sean Connery.
    • Elliot Carver from Tomorrow Never Dies was originally seen as just a veiled parody of Rupert Murdoch, with his plot lacking the more forward thinking of other Bond villains and making him seen at best mid-tier. As social media rose up with both regular citizens and network news channels going to great lengths to get bigger and bigger viewer numbers and increasing scrutiny from the public, Carver's plan to watch the world burn while he gets wealthy off being the first to cover it became much more relevant satire.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Given its long-running status, many characters have had different perceptions from viewers over the course of the MCU's tenure.
    • Iron Man: Jeff Bridges' turn as Obadiah Stane didn't get a lot of press at the time when the film came out, with most people focused on the action of Robert Downey Jr.'s performance. Fast forward through two phases of mediocre villains (barring Loki and maybe the Red Skull), and people started to notice just how good Bridges was as Stane, who was subsequently reevaluated as an excellent villain and a terrific Evil Counterpart.
    • The Incredible Hulk (2008): When the film premiered, the Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Betty Ross was mostly written off as a mostly forgettable and uncompelling love interest, especially in comparison to Pepper Potts from Iron Man. However, in the years since the film's release, she has developed a not-so-small fanbase, mainly due to Liv Tyler's compelling performance and many fans feeling that while not perfect, her relationship with Bruce is arguably better developed than a lot of later MCU romances, including Bruce's own later one with Black Widow. Nowadays, it's not hard to find a lot of fans on Tumblr wishing that Betty would return.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: When his titular film was first released, Ultron was originally seen as a worthy follow-up antagonist for the Avengers, as his chilling performance from James Spader intrigued audiences, and his lengthy monologues gave him some very interesting characterization and perspective that other Marvel villains lacked. As time passed however, many fans began to notice flaws with Ultron that were overlooked before, particularly his unnecessary personal conflict with Tony Stark and incessant Deadpan Snarker tendencies that made him feel less distinct from other villains and also severely dampened his threatening Enemy to All Living Things persona. Nowadays, many people consider the MCU's take on Ultron to be one of the weaker and more generic adaptations of the character.
  • When the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films were originally released, it was a common opinion to view Will and Elizabeth as boring Audience Surrogates who just took screen time away from the more interesting characters, particularly Jack Sparrow. Well, after that, we did get two Pirates movies without Will and Elizabeth. Both of them create Suspiciously Similar Substitutes to fill that same Straight Man role, but these replacements are widely seen as inferior. All in all, eliminating Will and Elizabeth from the series gave some fans a new appreciation for how essential their role was and how well they filled it.
  • Revenge of the Nerds: When the film was released, the titular nerds were highly praised as atypical heroes who inverted the traditional Slobs Versus Snobs dynamic, fighting back against and defeating the jocks and cliques that bullied them. However, as the decades went by, not only did their "nerd" elements look increasingly antiquated in the wake of other geek-centric works that helped normalize nerdiness in the public consciousness (Booger and Lamar would not be considered "nerds" nowadays), but the film's portrayal of their revenge also aged horrendously, consisting of repeated instances of sexual misconduct, up to and including a Bed Trick (which is legally considered rape by deception). As the film became Condemned by History as a result of its severe Values Dissonance, so too did the nerds' reputations decline, with them coming off to modern audiences as uncomfortably creepy relics of how sex and sexuality were depicted in the '80s.
  • Spider-Man 3 has a variation of this trope. When this film first released, people hated "Emo Peter" due to how awkwardly cringe-y Peter was while under the symbiote suit despite his attempts to act cool, and many people labeled him as a Memetic Loser. Years later, thanks to the Bully Maguire meme and Spider-Man 3 being Vindicated by History, people started to like "Emo Peter" a lot more as he basically went from being a Memetic Loser to a Memetic Badass. Additionally, fans increasingly gravitated towards a theory that suggested that his silly attempts at looking cool were an intentional move on the part of the filmmakers to highlight his self-centeredness, further boosting the popularity of "Emo Peter."
  • Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy's portrayal of Anakin Skywalker by Hayden Christensen was widely derided on release as a whiny and selfish brat who failed to mesh with the Original Trilogy's heroic portrayal of him. His Protagonist Journey to Villain was seen as an unsatisfying explanation overly reliant on his poorly done romance, and he was widely seen as ruining the image of Darth Vader. However, after being Rescued from the Scrappy Heap in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, many fans positively reevaluated his portrayal in the Prequels, noting how Hayden still gave a phenomenal performance and that much of his faults lied more in external restrictions than any issues with the character. This more favorable opinion strengthened when his Sequel Trilogy Expy, Kylo Ren, became similarly contentious (again, save for his acting) due to the the lack of consistent script direction highlighting how better planned and written Anakin's story was in retrospect. When Hayden returned to the role in Obi-Wan Kenobi, his performance was widely anticipated and praised.

  • The Flame and the Flower: Back in the early 1970s, Brandon Birmingham was regarded as a complex and swoon-worthy love interest, going from an arrogant (though attractive) rogue to a devoted husband willing to protect and be vulnerable around Heather. Their love story was popular enough to make The Flame and the Flower a bestseller and revolutionized the romance genre. However, by the 21st Century most readers find Brandon to be representative of almost everything wrong with romance novels of yesteryear, due to him being a possessive, controlling rapist who treats Heather extremely poorly; abusive behavior being presented as romantic and/or downplayed is now far more heavily criticized than it was in the 70s. The fact Brandon is a sympathetically-portrayed slave owner in the American South (which the book itself glosses over) also makes him come off unfavorably to 21st-century readers.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Severus Snape went through this twice. Initially seen as an unlikable Jerkass with an arbitrary hatred of Harry (albeit one with a very large Draco in Leather Pants following), later books revealed that he was bullied by Harry's father and fell in love with Harry's mother, which recontextualized his treatment of Harry. Together with his role as The Mole for Dumbledore, this shifted fan perception of Snape into a Tragic Hero and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, aided by his Adaptational Sympathy in the films. However, with the passage of time and changing social mores, his Sadist Teacher behavior saw renewed criticism and his treatment of Lily was increasingly seen as unhealthily obsessive in light of incel culture and its rampant misogyny becoming more prominent in the 2010s. These observations have shifted fan opinion of Snape to a Dogged Nice Guy and a Stalker with a Crush that the narrative fails to make sympathetic.
    • Prior to the fifth book, fans bought Ginny Weasley's apparent characterization as a Shrinking Violet and generally thought of her as nothing more than Ron's baby sister. While the early books do hint that she is more assertive when not affected by her tongue-tying crush on Harry, this was not really picked up on at the time. After she Took a Level in Badass in the fifth book and especially after she was paired with Harry in the sixth book, Ginny began her current status as a Base-Breaking Character, with her proponents seeing her as an awesome Fiery Redhead and her detractors seeing her as an aggressive bully.
    • When the fifth book first came out, there was a widespread perception that it made Harry much too angsty and annoying. In the years since then, there's been a growing feeling that his attitude in the fifth book is perfectly understandable considering what he's put through and the fact that he is, after all, a teenager. It probably didn't help that there was a three-year gap between the releases of the fourth and fifth books, meaning the fourth book's traumatic climax was not as fresh in the fans' minds as it was for Harry in-universe.
  • When The House of Night began publication in the late 2000s, Zoey was initially viewed as a flawed yet admirable protagonist: a smart-mouthed, strong-willed teenager who stood up to corrupt authority figures and tried to do the right thing as she struggled through adolescence. By the late 2010s, opinions of Zoey have largely become more negative, especially due to the cultural backlash towards Not Like Other Girls. Readers are critical of her judgmental, holier-than-thou attitude - especially towards other girls - particularly when her own behavior is either no better or worse. Zoey's witticisms come off as mean-spirited or even bigoted to readers, and her hypocrisy and self-centeredness results in a rather warped moral code. It's also noted that Zoey just tends to be handed new abilities or solutions, as opposed to working towards them herself. Overall, many readers now see Zoey as being an insufferable jerk with a side helping of internalized misogyny; she's even drawn unflattering comparisons to Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Way.
  • Pollyanna's title heroine was beloved when she came out, with her 'glad game' even spawning a home board game and several 'glad clubs' in which people wore badges of smiling girls. The 20th century however endured two World Wars, the Great Depression, multiple high-profile assassinations and the constant fear of nuclear war, leading to the character being dismissed as the poster girl for toxic positivity. The trope she named is even in reference to a character being blindingly optimistic. But in the 21st century, people have re-evaluated Pollyanna, and seen her in a different light. It's pointed out that she doesn't ignore negativity completely (she cries her first night with Aunt Polly, saddened by her aunt's indifference to her) and her glad game is an exercise in trying to make the best of a bad situation. Part of this is helped by the enduring popularity of the 1960 Disney adaptation, which focused on how the glad game was for her.
  • The Twilight Saga: When the series first came out, a lot of audience members viewed Jacob as being a better romantic option for Bella due to him being her plucky childhood friend with a crush who refused to give up on her, while criticizing Edward as being domineering and paternalistic. Some people disapproved of Jacob's behavior in Eclipse but it tended to be chalked up as him just suffering from Love Hurts; after all, Jacob was popular enough as a love interest to cause the great Team Edward vs Team Jacob debate. However, due to increasing awareness and criticism of sexual harassment/abuse and the rise of "incel culture" in the decade since Twilight's release, many readers have become a lot more critical of Jacob, pointing out that he can come across as feeling entitled to Bella's affection and overly-aggressive in his pursuit of her (including kissing her against her will; the narrative plays it off as Jacob just being passionate but most people nowadays call it out as sexual assault). His refusal to respect Bella's rejections and anger at her for not choosing him arguably makes him just as bad or even worse than Edward;note  it's not uncommon to hear detractors refer to Jacob as being a "nice guy" in the pejorative sense. Not helping matters is the whole imprinting on Renesmee (Edward and Bella's infant daughter) thing.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Ferncloud and Daisy were initially hated by the fandom for being stay-at-home moms in a cast filled with tough warriors, which fans thought made them useless. The hate got to the point where Ferncloud was killed off defending kits in a battle by the authors to show fans she could in fact, be tough. In more recent years fans have come to realize that taking care of children isn't inherently useless or worse than being a fighter, and many have expressed regret for the past hatred towards these characters.
    • Ashfur, a notorious Base-Breaking Character, has since landed here as well. The reasons behind this are increased awareness of what he actually did (as many fans simply saw an ambiguous cinematic that didn't give enough context, or heard about him from others), as well as growing awareness of incels and how much that term fits his actions. While he does still have some fans, either due to them being leftover from his prior status or him being a surprisingly scary villain when he tries, he's much deeper in the dislike realm than like.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad: Skyler White was a major Base-Breaking Character for a good while thanks to her opposition towards Walter's participation in the meth trade and her role in his eventual downfall. "Fuck Skyler" was a popular fan catchphrase during the show's run, and the sentiment stuck around for nearly a decade after its conclusion. However, when the publicity towards El Camino and the final season of the prequel series Better Call Saul brought renewed attention to Breaking Bad, people started criticizing Walter's fanbase as running off a very generous Draco in Leather Pants interpretation of him, and in turn, Skyler was widely reevaluated as being a victim of Walter's actions. Consequently, while she still remains divisive, she has a much bigger number of supporters compared to in 2013.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Xander Harris. While the show was broadcast, a lot of viewers sympathized with him as The Heart of the Scoobies, but Values Dissonance has led to a new generation of viewers (especially female ones) absolutely loathing him for his interference in Buffy's love life (in particular his hostility to Angel and Spike, and his support of her human love interest Riley, who is also unpopular with fans) and for his treatment of his own female romantic partners Cordelia and Anya, which has been accused of including strong elements of Dogged Nice Guy, Entitled to Have You, and other types of unpleasantness. The fact that he is an acknowledged Author Avatar for Joss Whedon made things even worse following the allegations against Whedon of abusive behavior towards female cast members and writers after the Troubled Production and Box Office Bomb of Justice League (2017).
    • Warran Mears, Big Bad of the polarizing sixth season, was initially seen as a step down compared to prior villains due to him just being an ordinary (albeit very intelligent) nerd with severe entitlement issues and deeply unhealthy attitudes toward the female gender. As time's gone on, however, he's now considered one of the show's most disturbing villains for the exact same reasons he was once derided as pathetic; he's horrifying because of how plausible and realistic he is, since people like him do exist in real life.
    • Buffy, during the divisive season 6, was also seen as overly angsty, annoying and unsympathetic upon being unwillingly resurrected with many complaining that it took the entire season for her to recover when she went back to being herself quicker after facing traumatic events in the earlier season. Many modern fans strongly sympathize with her struggles with mental health and, if anything, are more critical of her friends for how little they support her.
  • Doctor Who, being a Long Runner that's been in production almost nonstop since the '60s (apart from a lengthy hiatus in the '90s and 2000s), inevitably has a number of characters whose reputation shifted with time:
    • The First Doctor, by virtue of being the only Doctor for the show's first three years, was a popular figure among viewers. Initially devised as an Anti-Hero to contrast main protagonists Ian, Barbara, and Susan, he quickly became the show's Breakout Character and became a more beloved hero through Character Development; after William Hartnell's departure in 1966, reactions ranged from scepticism to outrage at the idea of anyone else playing the Doctor. Nowadays, while he's still well-regarded, the First Doctor is seen as more of a historical curiosity thanks to him being very different from later incarnations.
    • The Second Doctor was initially a huge Base-Breaking Character with viewers thanks to Patrick Troughton bearing the burden of being the very first actor to take on the role from the previous (and at the time, only) incumbent. The First Doctor was quite beloved, and Hartnell's exit and unconventional means of replacement initially came as a big shock to audiences (something Troughton himself anticipated), with Troughton's performance in his first story receiving plenty of negative audience feedback. While Troughton soon won over audiences and brought an increase in ratings from their low ebb at the end of the Hartnell era, they never recovered to the heights of the earlier Hartnell era, and by the end of Troughton's final season ratings had begun to slide again to the point where the show faced cancellation at the end of the '60s. Decades later, he's now considered one of the best and most influential incarnations of the Doctor, with his "secretly-scheming mad hobo" characterization laying the groundwork for all later versions of the character.
    • The Fourth Doctor was initially a Base-Breaking Character. His actor, Tom Baker, was much younger than prior incarnations, he came right after the highly popular Third Doctor, and he was initially seen as a bit too out-there compared to his comparatively grounded predecessors. Within a few years, however, he quickly became the single most popular incarnation of the Doctor, thanks in part to his mammoth seven-year run, his broad-reaching appeal (having been deliberately written to resonate with both children and countercultural adults alike), and his arrival coinciding with what is widely considered the show's golden age. Today, the Fourth Doctor remains the most iconic version of the Doctor in the Classic Series, with his overall popularity only being rivaled by the Tenth Doctor.
    • For years, the Sixth Doctor was widely regarded by fandom as the worst incarnation. His characterization as a haughty Anti-Hero was derided as a poor attempt at emulating earlier Doctors, while his greater willingness to use violence was seen as straying far from the show's ethos of "brains over brawn." However, several factors over the years would contribute to a belated reappraisal: the Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays gave him Character Development that stripped away his most abrasive elements, the Revival Series would feature multiple morally gray Doctors to great success, and more information about the behind-the-scenes chaos of Colin Baker's tenure would become publicly available. All of this resulted in a major reevaluation of Six's portrayal in the mainline TV series, with him now being seen as an ahead-of-his-time incarnation who simply got stuck with bad scripts and never got to use his full potential until the audio plays.
    • Martha Jones was initially a Base-Breaking Character, coming after the similarly polarizing companion Rose Tyler and being unflatteringly compared to her in-universe by the Doctor himself. Years later, however, she's now considered one of the best Revival Series companions next to her successor, Donna Noble, for being far more intelligent than many of her predecessors and for being able to hold her own without any New Powers as the Plot Demands (which was a criticism of both Rose and Donna). Furthermore, her exit, leaving the TARDIS entirely on her own terms, is considered one of the best for how against the grain it was compared to other Revival Series companions, who were more often than not forced away from the Doctor.
    • The Daleks immediately became the show's most iconic and beloved villainous race when they debuted in its second serial, ushering in a wave of "Dalekmania" that culminated in film adaptations of their first two stories. However, as the decades dragged on, Villain Decay gradually soured their reputation, leading them to become emblematic of the show's limitations in the eyes of audiences. Their final appearance in the Classic Series restored their menace among hardcore fans, but it would be the Revival Series story "Dalek" that reignited their popularity with casual viewers as well. Nowadays perception of the Daleks remains fairly positive, if not returning to Dalekmania levels.
    • Upon their introduction in 1966, the Cybermen were considered genuinely terrifying, leading them to become the Second Doctor's equivalent of the Daleks when the pepperpots were seemingly Killed Off for Real. However, the Cybermen would sit out most of the '70s after the Daleks' "final end" was undone, and once they became mainstays again in the '80s, their reputation sharply declined due to severe Villain Decay (most notably a scene in "The Five Doctors" where a bunch of Cybermen get the crap beat out of them by a monster specifically made to trash them, as they were the writer's least favorite monster) that undercut the Cybernetics Eat Your Soul elements that made them appealing in the first place. The Revival Series would briefly turn this around when they introduced an alternate universe version of the Cybermen that emphasized how each one Was Once a Man, but Villain Decay would quickly affect them too: nowadays, what people think of the Cybermen is entirely dependent on how a given story uses them.
    • The Celestial Toymaker, a one-off villain from a First Doctor story of the same name, was considered one of the show's best antagonists for decades thanks to reviews that praised the lost serial as a forgotten classic; there were even plans to bring him back for Season 23 before a BBC-imposed 18-month hiatus led to the season being completely rewritten. However, after a reconstruction of "The Celestial Toymaker" released and sank the story's reputation (with many now knowing it for its copious padding and racist elements), the titular villain would decline into curiosity status at most, with people praising Michael Gough's performance but considering his character an Orientalist relic of the show's Early Instalment Weirdness in the '60s.
  • Friends: When the show first premiered, Ross was usually perceived as a Lovable Nerd in a Give Geeks a Chance type relationship with Rachel. He is thought of by younger generations as far too much of a Crazy Jealous Guy and Manchild to actually be likable, and many find his On-Again, Off-Again Relationship with Rachel more toxic than romantic.
  • Kamen Rider: Shocker, a terrorist organization formed by transhumanist Nazis, were originally intended as terrifying and despicable villains to make it easy to root for the wholly heroic Kamen Rider as he was fighting them. But because they became so iconic to the franchise, they were continuously brought back to be the villains of more light-hearted anniversary shows and special events, resulting in the perception of them shifting from sinister terrorists to a Goldfish Poop Gang of Laughably Evil baddies. Newer appearances by Shocker now often omit their Nazi ties and make their combatmen into lovable Butt Monkeys. You can even buy merchandise like clocks in the shape of the Shocker symbol.
  • Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation: When the show first aired, Venus de Milo was often singled out as one of its worst aspects. Many fans were put off by her supernatural powers standing in contrast to the martial arts of the other turtles, and her role as a potential love-interest for the group led to the controversial decision to erase their relationship as brothers. TMNT co-creator Peter Laird even banned her from showing up in future instalments in the franchise due to his own dislike for the character. However, fans who have revisited the show since its cancellation have been a lot kinder to Venus, acknowledging how she was one of the few characters who bothered taking things seriously and was often treated rather unfairly by the other turtles when she was trying to help out. Nowadays, most fans agree that while Venus had her flaws, her character was one of the more tolerable ones to watch and was far from the biggest issue with the show. This also led to fans wanting to see her show up in the franchise again in another entry, which eventually happened in the IDW adaptation (albeit significantly overhauled).
  • The Office (US): When the show was first running, Jim Halpert was one of the most popular characters and beloved by most of the fanbase. Over the years, however, due in large part to Values Dissonance, an increasing number of people have begun to look at him with a much more critical lens. Nowadays, Jim is one of the biggest Base Breaking Characters of The Office fandom, with people split between those who consider him a funny and sweet moral center of the show and those who consider him a Designated Hero and The Bully.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • When the show's version of Robin Hood was first introduced, he was quite popular, with many fans finding him likeable and charming, especially in regards to his romance with Regina. However, in the years since Robin was killed off, while he still has his fans, a lot of fans have grown to dislike the character, due to him being mostly defined by his relationship with Regina and a lot of them feeling that his actions during the time when Marion was seemingly brought back (such as sleeping with Regina not far from his wife's frozen body) makes him come off as manipulative rather than charming. Robin Hood was also considered a bit of a badass when he first appeared due to managing to get away with stealing from Rumplestiltskin, but nowadays he's a bit of a Memetic Loser due to how he often does very little to help out in battles.
    • Rumplestilskin was a unanimous fan-favorite at the start of the show thanks to Robert Carlyle's outstanding performance, his genius level of plotting, his tragic backstory and his Affably Evil personality. As the show went on, he became much more divisive. Fans increasingly grew weary of him repeatedly switching sides and subverting many redemption arcs. It also does not help that his relationship with Belle became more toxic despite them still being portrayed as soulmates. With that said, the relatively few viewers who watched the final season generally considered him to be one of the better parts of it, since ironically with Belle taken out of the picture he finally underwent a consistent redemption arc all the way through to its logical conclusion via a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Smallville: Lana Lang, Clark Kent's high school sweetheart, is regarded as The Scrappy due to her Romantic Plot Tumor with Clark which had been going on for 8 seasons even though Clark's canon love interest, Lois Lane, shows up in Season 4. This is coupled with how fans perceived her as the Creator's Pet leading to her increased presence in the show. However after many years had passed since the show ended, Lana is regarded as a Base-Breaking Character after some fans and new viewers saw that she wasn't exactly the worst character in the entire show. While she still has detractors, many find the hatred against her to be overblown.
  • The Sopranos: A.J. Soprano was widely considered The Scrappy during the show's original run, as most viewers saw him as a whiny Spoiled Brat who continually wastes the opportunities his upper-middle class upbringing has provided him with by being a Lazy Bum. However, as mental health awareness has increased in The New '10s and The New '20s, more and more viewers have come to recognize just how serious the psychological issues and depression he suffers from are and how they cause him to act the way he does. These days, while he's still a Base-Breaking Character overall, he's nowhere near the universally hated character he was in the 2000s.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: For years, Wesley Crusher was infamous for being one of the worst Marty Stu and Creator's Pet (the former Trope Namer, in fact) characters on television. While he's still divisive, there's a significant amount of fans who find those criticisms overblown, arguing that most instances of him being truly obnoxious occurred in the early seasons and that there are more episodes where he's being dismissed and called out by the cast. Not to mention that in later years, Wesley's actor, Wil Wheaton, has been more upfront about the vitriol he had experienced from fans during his time on the show, making people more inclined to cut his character some slack nowadays. To whit, Wheaton's appearance as Wesley (now a Traveler) in the season 2 finale of Star Trek: Picard was widely praised by fans.
  • Victorious: While it wasn't universal, there were some pretty vocal anti-Tori sentiments during the show's run, mainly for being the Sitcom Arch-Nemesis of fan-favorite Jade as well as her tendancy to kiss other girl's boyfriends, but also general Character Shilling and constantly being at the center of every plot as those who wish one of her more mercurial co-stars got time to shine as a main character for once. And even some of the hate was felt to be more about rumors of backstage fighting, thought that was purely speculative. In retrospect, though, more have come around to enjoying her character, feeling that some of the more selfish and jealous traits even as she generally tried to make everyone happy and do the right thing in most given situations made her feel like a more believably flawed heroine than some of Schneider's past main girls (notably Zoey and Carly), as well as certainly being aided by her character's growth as a beloved LGBT icon after Jade and Tori's Playdate (even with the character's canonically ambiguous sexuality) and liking her subversion of the more boy-and-image-obsessed characterization of most Zitcom heroines of the time.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Bret Hart: There was once a time when Bret Hart was really considered one of the true "good guys" in wrestling, with both casual and "smark" fans alike, being perceived as a man of integrity who was unjustly wronged by the backstage schemes of Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, and Triple H. The death of his brother Owen and his career-ending tragedy in WCW only won him further fan sympathy. Over time, however, Bret became a major Base-Breaking Character, particularly since the time gone by since those past hardships are over two decades behind him. While Bret has made amends fully with Shawn Michaels and even got to have his "redemption" storyline in WWE by defeating Vince in a street fight, his seeming unwillingness to move on from everything else has made fans sour on him more and more. Despite no longer taking shots at Michaels, Bret's continued bitterness and grievances over Goldberg, Triple H, and several other topics have earned him less and less sympathy over time and even now, the fans who once supported him have reached the point where they believe Bret Hart's pro-wrestling martyrdom has reached its expiry date and that it's high time for Bret to move on.
  • Triple H: Before his dreaded "Reign of Terror" pre-2002, he was regarded as an excellent talent in the ring. After his injury and the formation of Evolution, he became seen as a sign of everything that was wrong with WWE's product in the 2000s (although he took far more of the blame than others). Upon stepping away from the main event and full time ring competition in the 2010s, as well as real-life respect for his work behind the scenes at NXT, he came to be viewed as a legitimately great villain and the sort of dreaded Final Boss who could really make a feud memorable - able to make newer talent look good by beating him, and remain a credible threat.
  • New Jack was wildly popular in the 90s and early 2000s, but in the following years, Jack's bad attitude, reputation for shooting on performers in the ring, substance problems and the self-destruction of his body from years of balcony dives left him largely marginalized in the wrestling industry. Since New Jack never wrestled for WWE, very few casual wrestling fans have ever heard of him and most hardcore fans only mention him in order to criticize his violent behavior.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • While they were never viewed nor presented as outright good, a good chunk of fans in the 2000s and the first half of The New '10s saw the Imperium of Man as justified in their brutality thanks to the Crapsack World setting, aided by supplemental material featuring sympathetic branches of the Imperium. However, in the second half of The New '10s, the US and multiple European countries saw a rise in far-right and outright neofascist activity, which in combination with the Imperium's neofascist Misaimed Fandom led to progressive or otherwise left-leaning fans criticizing the earlier interpretation as problematic and potentially legitimizing fascism. Consequently, many fans latched onto an alternate interpretation that depicted the Imperium's decline and the threats facing them as entirely their own fault, aligning with how Games Workshop intended them to be seen before later material leaned into sympathetic portrayals.
    • When the Tau were introduced as a faction, fans decried the excess optimism placed on the faction and felt they were too "good" and "anime-esque" for the franchise, or potentially legitimatizing communist ideas. As a result, Games Workshop darkened the Tau significantly by heavily implying that despite being the least evil of all the factions, they were really fond of mind control and sterilizing disobedient populations. These implications were later confirmed to be valid. However, with the growing perception that centering the narrative around the Imperium is seen to be legitimating fascistic ideas in the real world, along with the resurgence of left-wing ideas in the US and Western Europe, there are a growing number of fans clamoring for a return of a "heroic" or genuinely good-by-our-standards Tau empire and the retconning of most of the negative aspects of the Tau Empire as purely Imperium propaganda.
    • When the Necrons were reworked in their 5th Edition codex, many fans bemoaned how they had been reimagined from a race of soulless Robotic Undead Terminator Impersonators to being essentially Space Egyptians with a wide range of personalities. Some of its most controversial changes included the removal of Pariahs (one of the darkest elements of the old lore), the downplaying of the C'tan into being little more than Sealed Evils in Cans to be used by their former Necron underlings as Pokemon, and their willingness to ally with the Blood Angels which was viewed by the fandom as sacrilegious and lore-breaking. The fact that it was written by Matt Ward, a Promoted Fanboy notorious for his shilling of the Ultramarines and Grey Knights at the expense of every other race as well as writing Purposefully Overpowered High-Tier Scrappy codexes that were known for breaking the lore, did not help fan perceptions and helped contribute to the initial animosity. Over time, fans have gradually come to accept that most of the changes to the Necron lore have actually given their faction much more depth and personality as well as made them much more memorable compared to their previous lore which would not have held up as well in the current lore. In particular, Trazyn the Infinite, a character introduced in said codex, has become an Ensemble Dark Horse due to his personality as a Troll and Collector of the Strange and his fully voiced appearance in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 2, a sign of how the new lore established in this codex has been accepted by the community. The lore introduced in said codex has also been Vindicated by History as one of the better works Matt Ward has put out in spite of his history of writing and releasing codexes that have earned the ire of the fandom.

  • The titular character of Hamlet has always been a very beloved figure, but the reasons why have shifted with time. For a decently long period, Hamlet was beloved mainly for his status as an Escapist Character, given his great intelligence and education, his skill in combat despite disliking war, his devotion to his father and his kingdom, and his wit and charisma. However, as time went on, it became the common perspective that Hamlet is the opposite; a deeply flawed character who ultimately creates most of the problems in the story and harms many innocent people by way of his unnecessary cruelty, chronic indecisiveness, and reckless arrogance and paranoia.
  • The Merchant of Venice: Shylock was seen as a grotesque, greed-motivated villain due to the rampant antisemitism of William Shakespeare's time, with his forced conversion being seen as a happy ending because, in accordance with Christian teachings of the era, he'll be "saved" to go to heaven. However, after the publicizing of The Holocaust, which did much to end the mainstream acceptability of antisemitism, audiences came to view him as a tragic victim of discrimination at the hand of lazy and shiftless deadbeats and oppression by the state, who deny him what he is owed and force him to convert, making him even more of an outcast. Consequently, modern productions of the play approach Shylock as a sympathetic Tragic Villain and reorient the story into a tragedy of intolerance.
  • Desdemona of Othello historically had her role downplayed to better serve the interplay between Othello and Iago, and many scholars at the time viewing her as a poor role model for marrying someone not only of a different race but against her father's wishes. The mid-20th century and the rise of second-wave feminism saw many productions restoring her back to her status as the play's female lead, highlighting her Silk Hiding Steel persona and putting more fire and sexuality into her.
  • The Taming of the Shrew: Back in the days it was written, it was a broad farce where the haughty, unpleasant Kate is "tamed" into a proper wife. In the centuries since then, the roles of women in western society changed considerably, which brought with it a reexamination of Kate's portrayal as deeply misogynist. As a result, modern productions of the play either deconstruct it by emphasizing the abusive nature of her treatment, have her learn how to manipulate her oaf of a husband instead, see the two reach a mutual understanding, or imply the whole thing was some kind of consensual sexual game between the two.

    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
  • Advance Wars:
    • Olaf, Drake and Hawke in a gameplay sense. All three were formerly considered Low-Tier Letdowns for having CO Powers that deal 2 HP of damage to all enemy units (that can't kill) instead of raising their own firepower. As the competitive metagame evolved in the years after the original games, expert players found global damage a Game-Breaker, viewing it as essentially wiping out 20% of the enemy army in one strike. All three are now high-tier characters, even Drake in spite of his focus on naval combat.
    • Colin underwent a different evolution: he was always seen as a Game-Breaker, the difference was why. Early on, fans focused on his Power of Money Super Power and the hilarious firepower bonuses it could grant. Later in the game's life, Power of Money was found to be Awesome, but Impractical, as if you had enough money to make full use of it you've probably already won the game multiple times over. It was his normal power that was found to be broken. What does it do? It multiplies his current funds by 1.5. At only 2 stars, it's just as spammable as the CO who's whole gimmick is spamming his Normal Power (Adder), and the extra money allows Colin to pump out expensive units long before his opponents can, or just Zerg Rush the opponent.
    • Jake in Dual Strike was formerly loved, with his Totally Radical and Jive Turkey dialogue considered hilarious and a great example of a Woolseyism. With growing distaste towards the earlier games' War Has Never Been So Much Fun tone, Jake is now widely hated for the exact same reasons, and the Big Bad mocking him is considered a case of Villain Has a Point.
  • Animal Crossing: For years, Tom Nook held a reputation as a Memetic Psychopath thanks to him appearing to single-handedly control the town's economy and due to much of his behavior towards the player (e.g. forcing them to work for him and pay off a large debt, only to force them into an even bigger one by upgrading their house automatically) coming off as creepy and coercive. However, the series' popularity grew concurrently with the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, which did much to expose how idealistic Nook's portrayal is compared to the actual job and housing markets (among other things, he never sets deadlines for mortgages or charges interest). Furthermore, Animal Crossing: New Leaf would ramp up his kinder traits while doing away with his more coercive habits, removing the work-based tutorial and making housing upgrades optional. As a result, Nook is nowadays seen as a fatherly Benevolent Boss, a far cry from his initial "mafia don" image among fans.
  • Catherine: When the game first released in 2011, Erica was be considered a rare positive portrayal of a transgender woman in a video game, especially given the rigid heteronormativity of Japanese society. However, in the intervening eight years between the game's original release and that of the Full Body edition, the trans rights movement saw a major spike in mainstream visibility in the west, leading to a rise in trans representation in media. In the wake of this, Erica came under increasing amounts of fire for how much her depiction revolved around Unsettling Gender-Reveal jokes. In addition, a new ending in Full Body sparked controversy by depicting Erica pre-transition, enraging fans with the implication that a Cosmic Retcon erased her trans identity. Consequently, she's now viewed as barely even Fair for Its Day.
  • Danganronpa:
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Nero's debut in Devil May Cry 4 as that game's main protagonist saw him facing an uphill battle with fans who preferred the original protagonist Dantewho filled the role of Deuteragonist. While Nero's gameplay gained him some fans, it was the controversial reboot DmC: Devil May Cry that caused most fans to feel the hatred towards Nero was ill-placed, accepting that he was at least an original character rather than Dante in the reboot, whose appearance and personality were very different — and considered much less likable — from the original Dante. The thing that completely pulled fan approval into his corner was Devil May Cry 5, which differentiated him from Dante even further and gave him a lot of development, as well as an excellent theme.
    • Lucia debuted in the much-maligned Devil May Cry 2, which very much colored fans' reaction to her back then and still does to an extent. In addition to feeling she took Trish's place as Dante's partnernote , many disliked her for her inscrutable accent and subpar voice acting. As time passed opinion towards Lucia began to soften, with many praising her story arc, her design, fighting style and even her gameplay. A lot of fans have come to see Lucia as having a personality that would work quite well as a Foil to the more boisterous and extroverted characters of the Devil May Cry series and see her as a decent character who had the bad luck of being in a poorly made game. It's not unheard for fans to express hope for her to return in a future game or even a Devil May Cry 2 remake that fixes the flaws of the original.
  • EarthBound (1994): For years after the game's release, Tony was mainly remembered as a decent, but mostly unremarkable one-off character whose purpose was mainly just to act as a vehicle for getting Jeff to join the main party. However, after fans uncovered a 2003 interview where director Shigesato Itoi stated that he wrote Tony as gay, the kid rapidly gained a major following among the game's LGBT Fanbase, thanks to his status as not only one of Nintendo's few explicitly queer characters, but also a positively-portrayed queer character from an era when that was hard to come by (among other things, his affinity for Jeff — re-contextualized as a crush by Itoi's comments — is never mocked or demeaned). Nowadays, he's one of the game's premier Ensemble Darkhorses, with fans commonly expanding his role in fanworks and shipping him with Jeff.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • When Final Fantasy V was first released and for a decade or two after, the Big Bad Exdeath was derided by the fandom as a cartoonishly one-dimensional villain, being considered one of the worst villains in Final Fantasy as a result. However, his reappearances in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series and the new script of the Game Boy Advance port more overtly put his hamminess on display, making it easier to see that he was meant to be a parody of cartoonishly one-dimensional villains. Nowadays, he's considered one of the series' best antagonists, with fans praising him for adeptly balancing self-aware camp and genuine menace.
    • Final Fantasy VII's Aerith had the perception of her role in the Love Triangle between her, Cloud and Tifa, as well as the perception of her relationship with Zack and Cloud shift among the western audience over the years. Upon the original game's release, it was easy to interpret Aerith as wanting to move on from Zack and to both know and love the real Cloud, but wasn't able to with her tragic death. Many players, particuarly those that shipped her with Cloud, supported this interpretation. This view fell out of favor among the western audiencenote  with the Compilation. Advent Children implied that Zack and Aerith ended up Together in Death. Crisis Core further expanded on Zack's relationship with Aerith. Both works contradicted earlier side materialnote  throwing more ambiguity towards Zack and Aerith's relationship and won western fans over to the "Zerith" ship. As such, most western fans latched on to an interpretation of the love triangle that saw the real Cloud as always in love with Tifa and only returning Aerith's affections because of his amnesia leading him to act like Zack, while Aerith was only attracted to Cloud because of his amnesiac behavior.
    • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance's Marche was seen as a Villain Protagonist and Unintentionally Unsympathetic in the Turn of the Millennium, due to insisting that his friends and little brother go home despite the fact that their lives are seemingly better in the dream world of Ivalice. However, in The New '10s and The New '20s, he's seen much more sympathetically since an older crowd can more relate to his issues- for example, he suffers from an absent father and a mother who pays more attention to his younger brother, neither of which will get better if he goes home- and look past the game's story themes at face value.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: Upon his introduction in Five Nights at Freddy's 2, William Afton (then known only as Purple Guy) was widely praised as an effective, intimidating, and enigmatic antagonist for his role as the games' Greater-Scope Villain, being a ruthless Serial Killer whose murders of several children set the series' events in motion, and the mystery surrounding him only made him that much scarier. However, his reputation would grow increasingly divisive as the franchise trucked on, with later installments both expanding upon his previously enigmatic character and granting him Joker Immunity by having his ghost repeatedly return to torment the protagonists. Nowadays, Afton maintains a position as the franchise's biggest Base-Breaking Character, with fans being split on whether or not his numerous reappearances undermined his initial appeal as a villain.
  • Fire Emblem
    • In general:
      • This affected the majority of Crutch Character units, like Jagen, Marcus, and Titania, and Magikarp Power units, like Est, Nino, and Amelia. For a rather long time, fans tended to judge units based on their endgame stats, which favored characters with high growths, and disdained "Jagen" units and prepromotes in general as "EXP thieves" or outright beginner's traps where using them was a fallback option that only made things harder later on. This was perhaps aided by Sacred Stones, one of the first games released internationally, having an unusually extensive postgame for the series, meaning initial judging criteria based itself largely on character performance there. The only exceptions were units like Seth, who had actual good growths, but even then, most fans recommended holding them back as much as possible until other units had promoted. However, as time went on, the pendulum shifted towards more practical play throughout the game, methods of rapidly level grinding became far more frowned upon when judging units (as any unit can become good when lots of effort is thrown into them), and it became far more widely viewed that a unit that starts good is better than a unit that becomes good, and a unit's stats in relation to others matters far less than their stats in relation to enemies. Due to this, many started saying the opposite; that "Jagen" units were some of the best units in their games due to starting great with no effort in the middle of Early Game Hell and then staying at least usable for most of the game (if not outright maintaining their great performance). Meanwhile, "Est" units took a major tumble due to usually showing up late in the game, requiring a lot of grinding to be effective, and frequently being overkill (or worse, not much better than their allies, making the work All for Nothing) upon finally getting trained, causing them to be seen as making the game more tedious for yourself for little practical gain.
      • The Camus archetype were originally seen as well-executed examples of the Tragic Villain trope: good men who happen to be on the wrong side of a war. As later examples became more divisive, fans began to see those of the archetype as Lawful Stupid idiots whose continued loyalty to their country (and typically its Tin Tyrant ruler) despite its atrocities is no better than complicity. This in turn led to earlier examples of the archetype being viewed more positively for feeling like deconstructions in retrospect: the original Camus survived and had a proper Heel–Face Turn in Fire Emblem: Mystery of the Emblem, Eldigan's blind loyalty to an Obviously Evil king gets him killed, and Reinhardt's actions are treated with ambiguous degrees of sympathy in-universe.
    • Leif in Fire Emblem: Thracia 776 was once seen as a prime Memetic Loser, since he seems almost designed to be underwhelming. His stats and growths are some of the worst of any Lord in the franchise's history, and even his promotion doesn't give him much, whuch stung particularly hard when his Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War incarnation was a defining example of Magikarp Power. However, as people started to increasingly master Thracia, they found that low growths don't particularly matter, due to both low stat caps and items that increase growth rates, and began placing more value on a unit's personal utilities. As it turned out, Leif offered surprisingly more than he seemed, due to him starting out with a magic sword that gives him constant ranged access and consistent damage, him granting support bonuses to more characters than anyone else in the game, his immunity to the game's fatigue system making him the only unit with perfect availability, and his promotion's hidden increased XP gain giving his combat a major kick in the late game, all of which aided him in the role of a supporting attacker and party-buffer. People also evaluated Leif's somewhat mediocre stats as an expression in gameplay of his main character traits, that being his insecurity and youthful impetuousness. Nowadays, Leif holds a fairly good position on most Character Tiers, and he's often cited as an example of how to design a Lord well.
    • Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade:
      • Roy was formerly one of the biggest Memetic Losers of the series' Lords, with his poor stats, lack of character, and extremely late promotion making him the butt of jokes, especially in contrast to his prevalence in Super Smash Bros.. As the game became Vindicated by History so did Roy: a better fan translation and more awareness of his supports showed him to have a surprisingly deep and unique personality for a Fire Emblem protagonist (for one, him leading an army at only 15 is treated fairly realistically, causing him to struggle with self-doubt), and his weakness in combat being viewed as working to the game's benefit (The Lord isn't a super-unit who can solo the game, escorting him to the seize point of each chapter becomes a genuine strategic challenge).
      • Gwendolyn was a fan-favorite unit among early adopters of the game, due to being a Magikarp Power Armor Knight who had a decent Speed growth, letting her double often for a Mighty Glacier class. These days her horrible starting stats, joining right before an axe-heavy midgame, and the poor movement of her class make her one of the single biggest Memetic Loser units in the entire franchise. Her reputation arguably only got worse in Heroes as her lackluster stats, being a year 1 unit that got hit pretty hard by the Power Creep, being part of the 3-4 star pool, and having one of the most disliked art in-game has not helped her case.
      • Similar to Gwendolyn, Raigh used to have a bigger backing from fans, as his backstory, utility in battle, and relationship with Lugh and Chad made him a standout character. His mother Nino becoming popular in her own right after Blazing Blade was released only increased his own popularity. However, his overall mediocrity as a unit along with many sympathizing with Nino after they learned of her tragic fate made him come across as a whiny brat who didn't know how much his mother suffered. His reputation similarly took a huge hit in Heroes, as while initially a good unit due to how powerful cavalier units can be and his ability to counter them, when the powercreep kicked in he got shafted hard in terms of usability. Combined with off-putting art and a smug attitude along with being a common summon in the 3-4* pool, he's become many's symbol for how bad the common pool can be, and quite possibly has the closest thing to X-Pac Heat due to how much people just don't want to see him in general.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • Lyn was formerly only mildly popular, but as fans who started with her game grew older she became the face of Nostalgia Filter and even received a sizable "waifu" fandom. This in turn led to growing Hype Backlash, especially after her Wolverine Publicity in Heroes as a response to these trends. This was also around the time more "hardcore" players began to re-evaluate her as nearly worthless in combat (a Fragile Speedster is overkill in a game where enemies are very weak and slow), further contributing to the backlash. In short, she went from a benign character to a highly base-breaking one.
      • Eliwood was previously disliked for having a generic heroic personality and being a Jack of All Stats. He's now one of the more popular Lords in gameplay simply because his promotion gives him a horse, as well as being seen by a few as a Memetic Badass for surviving the events of The Binding Blade, defying the stereotype of the Lord's parent being killed off.
      • Hector was previously viewed as a Rated M for Manly badass. While he's still a popular character, it's for different reasons: fans have re-evaluated his personality to be far deeper than his original reputation, and more of a Deconstruction of toxic masculinity than anything. (Hector suppresses his emotions to appear "strong" and suffers badly as a result, with many of his support partners encouraging him to be more open with his feelings)
      • Ninian used to be one of the biggest Die for Our Ship targets in the franchise and received heavy Real Women Never Wear Dresses backlash. A combination of the shippers largely moving on to later games, a re-evaluation of her supports, and Fire Emblem Heroes letting her fight as a dragon, has led to her becoming better-received, and while Hector and Lyn's choice of romantic partners is still hotly debated, it's now very rare to see Eliwood and Ninian shipped with anyone but each-other.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
      • Gheb, a one-off chapter boss with a unique Gonk, Fat Bastard design and I Have You Now, My Pretty implications towards Tana and Amelia, was originally the face of Memetic Mutation in the Fire Emblem fandom, and got an entire romhack dedicated to him being a Memetic Molester. All the rape jokes are very widely regarded to have aged horribly, and he's now a Discredited Meme at best.
      • Knoll was a rare example of a character hated by both the "endgame stats" and "starting stats" sides of the fanbase for his poor base stats (including a Luck Stat of 0) and mediocre growth rates. Much later on, the Summoner class was discovered to be an incredible A.I. Breaker (it creates controllable phantoms that the AI preferentially targets as they're a One-Hit-Point Wonder) and Knoll was re-evaluated as a valuable Support Party Member whose stats don't matter when he can become a staff-using Summoner immediately.
    • Ike in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance has always been seen as one of the best-written Lords in the series, but gameplay-wise, he's seen some major changes. For some time, Ike was seen as a Game-Breaker; the best unit in the game by a wide margin, thanks to his above-average growth rates, useful support affinity, and access to the mighty blade Ragnell and Aether skill, which allowed him to clear entire trial maps solo. Then people began pointing out that Ike only has access to Ragnell extremely late in the game and Aether not long before that, and while he may have good growths, his base stats are mediocre at best and his growths aren't so high as to guarantee safety, leaving a large part of the game where his combat prowess is decidedly unimpressive. Additionally, more flaws in Ike's kit became apparent—he uses the weakest weapon type in a game where raw hitting power is valued, he has no ranged access outside of Ragnell and the rare Sonic Sword, which makes him a sitting duck against the common ranged enemies, and he is never mounted in a game where mounts are at one of their highest points. These flaws became particularly glaring when fans focused on the Japan-exclusive Maniac Mode, and found that the mode, boasting swarms of bulky enemies with ranged weapons, did not play to Ike's strengths. While Ike isn't considered terrible by any means, calling him a Game Breaker these days is a good way to get laughed at.
    • Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: Micaiah was originally seen a Replacement Scrappy for Ike, and many disliked her for being what they saw as a Hypocrite who stole the spotlight from other characters, with some going so far as to compare her to a fanfiction character. After the releases of Fire Emblem: Awakening and Fire Emblem Fates and the inclusion of the Avatar feature, Micaiah became much more positively received by many people who played Radiant Dawn, as many found her to be one of the most unique protagonists in the series, and enjoyed the difference in views she brought to the story. Opinions began to reverse and many saw Micaiah as relatively wasted in the story thanks to Ike, who had since become more of a divisive character. Fire Emblem Heroes helped, as she was added relatively early in its lifespan and became one of the best units in the game, helping her go from one of the least liked Lords, to one of the most popular. In Choose Your Legends 1, Micaiah, who was not even in the game yet, was in the top ten, then went up a rank for the second year, and jumped all the way to number one for the third year, beating popular characters like Azura, Tharja, Camilla, and Female Robin.
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening: Grima, the Big Bad, was initially disliked due to being a Generic Doomsday Villain. However, fans warmed up to him after his cameo as a superboss of Shadows of Valentia revealed his backstory, and subsequent appearances in Heroes helped flesh out his character.
  • When Halo 2 was released, the Arbiter was a contentious part of the game. Many saw his storyline as an unwanted distraction from beloved protagonist Master Chief and the epic war on Earth the marketing had built up (not helped by his presence being kept completely under wraps), and his levels were perceived as boring slogs. Likely as a response to the controversy, the character's role was heavily downplayed in Halo 3. However, as the controversy faded, fans and outlet writing on Halo 2's legacy have had a warmer response to the character, praising his complex and dramatic plotline and that his portion added some much-welcomed depth to the setting by giving players a look at Covenant society. Indeed, his return in Halo 5: Guardians was one of the few things from that game to receive unanimous approval from the fanbase.
  • The King of Fighters:
  • When The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel first came out, Angelica Rogner was seen as a rare positive example of a lesbian character in an Eastern RPG, having some decent character moments in the first game involving an overbearing noble family and being a strong ally in battle. However, as time went on, she saw increased scrutiny for her habit of Skinship Groping other female characters without their consent, which was seen as playing into the stereotype of LGBT people being sexually predatory. The fact that this trait of hers was only exaggerated in later games further solidified her decline in popularity. She has since become a Base-Breaking Character, heavily leaning towards negative to near Scrappydom.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: For more than a decade after the game's release, Link's Fairy Companion Navi was seen as an annoying interference to the gameplay thanks to her periodic "Hey!" notifications that pop up rather than allowing the player to press a button to hear advice at any time. But over time, many newer players found that Navi was nowhere near as bad as the consensus stated, as her actual interruptions to the gameplay were minimal (mostly just limited to rooms with Wallmasters, whose telegraphs would be hard to spot otherwise), and many player also appreciated that she gave names and information on each enemy while later companions like the King of Red Lions or Midna did not. This particularly set in after the release of Skyward Sword which among other things was divisive for having its own Exposition Fairy, Fi, have even more notifications and alarms than Navi ever did alongside frequently interrupting the gameplay.note  Navi is still fairly divisive for her aforementioned flaws, but the vitriol towards her has greatly cooled down now.
  • Life Is Strange: While Chloe Price had her detractors upon release, they were a minority in the fandom. Fans initially liked her for her tragic background, her snarky attitude, and for her chemistry with Max. However, over time, she became more of a Base-Breaking Character as many players got older and started to notice Chloe's more toxic traits. These include her tendency to use Max's powers for personal gain, her clinginess towards her, often acting like an Entitled Bastard to her whenever the player chooses to disagree with her, and the fact that the player is expected to enable her if they want Max and her to get togetherExplanation(Ending Spoilers) .
  • When Mass Effect was first released, Kaidan was widely written off as a Low-Tier Letdown due to having fewer biotic talents than Liara and fewer tech talents than Tali. The fact he was voiced by the same actor as the equally base-breaking Carth did not help. As the game aged and 3 gave players reason to like him, the playerbase realized that his array of support powers was more potent than it first seemed, and he is now considered a top-tier character due to the overall power of biotics.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: For years, the game was panned for not living up to the massive hype created by both its demo and its status as a sequel to its highly successful predecessor, and much of that ire was directed at the game's protagonist, Raiden, who surprised players by becoming the playable character after spending the prologue as Solid Snake. Raiden was the complete opposite of what players expected from Snake: instead of being a gruff and manly veteran, Raiden was a naïve and emotional pretty boy who frequently argued with his girlfriend, which clashed harshly with western expectations of masculinity. The backlash against Raiden got bad enough for Hideo Kojima to include some Self-Deprecation about him in Metal Gear Solid 3 before revamping his characterization in later games to much acclaim. However, as MGS2's reputation improved, so too did Raiden's portrayal in it, with fans coming to both recognize his more sympathetic traits as a traumatized Child Soldier and appreciate his role in deconstructing the series' relationship with its fans.
  • Metroid: Adam Malkovich. The inclusion of his AI form in Metroid Fusion was contentious at the time, with some feeling like the inclusion of a second character who regularly talks with Samus ruins the lonely atmosphere of the series. Then Metroid: Other M, a prequel to Fusion featuring the original Adam, came along, and the original Adam became so universally loathed not only for his incompetence, but for his mere presence completely derailing Samus' entire character by making her submissively obedient to him to a fault, that nearly everyone agreed that AI Adam isn't that bad after all. There's even a line from AI Adam ("Did this Adam care for you? Would he sit in a safe Command Room and order you to die?") that, had the order of release for the two games been reversed, could easily be taken as a Take That! to the infamous moment from Other M where Adam forced Samus to go through a lava filled area and take ambient heat damage without authorizing the use of her Varia Suit. The AI Adam returned in Metroid Dread to near-unanimous fan praise, lacking any of his negative traits from Other M in what little time he spends not being impersonated by Raven Beak.
  • Mortal Kombat: Sindel was never particularly popular (though her Mama Bear portrayal in Deception was generally well-liked), whether in Midway's original continuity or Netherrealm Studios' Continuity Reboot. However, Netherrealm's portrayal of her was even less liked: when she appeared in 9 and initiated a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle against the heroes while under Shao Kahn's control, fans derided her as a dull plot device Invincible Villain. Mortal Kombat 11 then Retconned her as a power-hungry Gold Digger whose original tragic story had been a lie to hide that she was Evil All Along, which got a very negative reception. Fans then started to regard the original continuity's version of Sindel far more fondly for her Dark Is Not Evil qualities and fairly complex story for a game that otherwise ran rather light on character lore.
  • Neptunia:
  • Yukari and Ken from Persona 3 were easily the most divisive party members in the game's original releases. However, modern fans, with a better understanding of emotional issues and trauma, have a better understanding of what drives their divisive actions. Besides that, the lack of tension between party members in future games (besides Morgana's conflict with Ryuji, which has been viewed as extremely petty and his least sympathetic trait), the more justified tension in this game's been more appreciated. In the case of Ken though, he's more of a Base-Breaking Character as he still falls under Ron the Death Eater treatment since his actions were against the extremely popular Shinjiro, who regrets accidentally killing Ken's mother, tries to talk him out of taking revenge out of the belief that Ken will come to regret it and gives his life to save Ken.
  • Pokémon:
    • For the first fifteen-odd years of its existence, Charizard was well-liked for being a fire-breathing dragon, in spite of being underwhelming in battle due to its typing and overly average stats limiting its usefulness. Then Pokémon X and Y gave Charizard two Mega Evolutions, both of which are much stronger than the base version in addition to being downright cool-looking. Charizard's popularity consequently skyrocketed, eventually leading to said popularity getting acknowledged within the video games via cameos. However, people began noticing that the games of the time were making an excessive amount of references to the original games and several Charizard cameos left it looking out of place. This culminated in Pokémon Sword and Shield, where the champion's signature Charizard is routinely shilled as being undefeatable and has a Gigantamax form that changes little from its regular appearance. Meanwhile, the other Kanto starters were completely absent at launch and they and the game's own starter Pokemon didn't receive Gigantamax forms of their own for half a year. Consequently, Charizard has gained a reputation as a Base-Breaking Character due to sheer overexposure. While the Flame Pokemon still has fans, many within the fanbase see it as emblematic of Game Freak supposedly pandering to nostalgia at the cost of innovation.
    • Bidoof was initially one of the most hated Pokemon out there, due to having the misfortune of being one of the newest Com Mons right when the franchise was entering its Popularity Polynomial phase. This meant that a lot of older longtime fans getting back into the series were first greeted by Bidoof and despised it, due to its goofy appearance, it being a very frequent encounter in the early game, and having mediocre stats even after evolving. The fact that it turned out to be an excellent HM slave in one of the most HM-heavy generations gave it some appeal, but also underlined the idea of its apparent ineffectiveness, since this suggested the optimal way to use it was to have it never see battle. For a while, Bidoof was essentially the go-to joke about a forgettable and useless Pokemon that nobody liked. However, over time, the genuine hatred for it subsided, brought on in part by similarly disliked early-game Com Mons like Patrat, Yungoos, and Skwovet, that were seen as lacking even Bidoof's goofy charm or utility. This left its uses in jokes, which, removed from the context of actual venom, turned it into a kind of loveable underdog, which would go on to be played to the hilt in official media like Bidoof's Big Stand. In a 2020 popularity poll, Bidoof actually placed 20th in Sinnoh overall, outclassing traditional "cool" favorites of the generation like Weavile, and ended up being the only one out of any of the early-game Normal-types to place in the top 30 for their generation.
  • In the first Red Dead Redemption, the protagonist John Marston's son Jack was initially considered The Scrappy –- or at least Unintentionally Unsympathetic –- due to a combination of being absent for 90% of the story, his dumbass decisions and constant whining once he's met, and for suddenly replacing John as the playable character in the Playable Epilogue. This hatred towards him has since severely died down with people feeling that the problem lies less with Jack himself, and more in the writing; he simply lacks the screentime to make his character work like intended, and the time spent on him isn't exactly spent well -– his depression is only implied, his issues with Parental Neglect stem from past events the player hasn't witnessed, and even when he does get the spotlight, he not only lacks a lot of his dad's charisma, but his dialogue in sidequests (save for "Remember My Family") is usually the exact same as his dad's, only now delivered with the voice of a 16-year old coming from a 19-year old who looks he's about to hit 30. In essence, nowadays it's not uncommon to find people who feel They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character with a bit of Critical Dissonance, instead of the outright negative reception from early 2010's. And oh yeah, the prequel retroactively fixed some issues with Jack, by making his mental issues (and their causes) more obvious.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: When he first appeared in Sonic Adventure 2, Shadow the Hedgehog quickly became a fan-favorite for being a darker Anti-Hero with a tragic backstory and was seen as one of the most complex and well-written characters in the series. However, future games tried to double down on him, including being revived from the dead in Sonic Heroes, getting his own spinoff game in Shadow the Hedgehog, and overshadowing Sonic completely in the plot of Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). This caused much of the fanbase to turn on him, seeing him as a Creator's Pet whose stories and plots seemed to embody the franchise's mid-2000s obsession with childish angst and who featured in some of the franchise's most disliked outings. This caused Sega to backpedal significantly, pushing him firmly into the background in future titles (along with the rest of Sonic's supporting cast) and not giving him a full playable appearance in a mainline game until Sonic Forces (where he was little more than a reskin of Sonic). However, as time went on, fan approval increasingly shifted against the Lighter and Softer post-06 entries in how they told their stories, and began to uphold Shadow as a symbol of when the franchise actually took itself and its characters seriously, even if not always successfully. Though he still takes some mockery for his Badbutt edginess, it tends to be written far more in good fun than as actual disdain.
  • Carth Onasi in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was seen as quite a dork when the game was released, because he talked about his emotions and even acted upon them in a time when people preferred the more Rated M for Manly characters like Canderous Ordo. The fact that Carth was somewhat overshadowed by the other characters also didn't help things at all. However, he was seen more positively in The New '10s, when people started to respect that Carth actually talks about his emotions, challenging the stereotype that negatively affected men at the time (and still does to this day). He also ends up coming off as rather well adjusted, whereas Canderous comes off more as a Blood Knight who was justifiably dark-sided, but isn't at least irredeemable.
  • Most of the newcomers in Street Fighter III have this reputation. When the game first came out, they were very much hated, both for being the replacements for the iconic cast of II and for their much less conventional designs and attitudes. As III became increasingly Vindicated by History, though, more and more of the cast became increasingly popular, including Alex, Q, Dudley, Hugo, Makoto, Ibuki, Elena, Yun, Yang, and Oro, aided further by their appearances in other games. The more experimental designs became seen as a positive, aided in part by the game's wonderfully-aged sprite work. (That said, a few members still haven't really broken out.)
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The Koopalings were seen for a long time as a forgotten highlight of the franchise's early days, with their presence adding more to the games' lore and their boss fights in Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World being considered fun and memorable. Their one-off return in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga was widely praised, as was their role as the main villains in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. However, as the Koopalings continued to appear as recurring characters, their perception became increasingly tepid, being associated more with Nintendo's divisive attempts at concretely branding the Mario franchise in the 2010s and 2020s, which many fans saw as stagnant and un-innovative. Them taking 7 slots in the roster of Mario Kart 8 didn't help. Nowadays, the Koopalings are Base-Breaking Characters among fans, with their absence from Super Mario Odyssey being regarded as helping the game stand out for the better.
    • Partially overlapping with Rescued from the Scrappy Heap is the fandom's shift of opinion towards Bowser Jr. When he first appeared in Super Mario Sunshine he was disliked for being a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for the Koopalings with a design identical to Baby Bowser. As time went on, he gained fans after later games fleshed out his character and made him more distinct from the Koopalings. With the Koopalings' return and their subsequent increase in divisiveness, Bowser Jr's initial appearances were re-evaluted in a more positive light, given how he filled the Overlord Jr. role to Bowser (which was a major part of the Koopalings' initial rise to fame) in the games without completely dominating the boss roster on account of being an individual as opposed to a group of seven. While Bowser Jr. is by no means universally beloved, it's still a far cry from the initial disdain towards him.
    • Bowser's role in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, where he hijacks the role of Big Bad from original villain Antasma was originally very popular for reversing his years of Villain Decay in the Mario RPGs and letting him be a menacing Final Boss for the first time since Paper Mario 64. As time passed, Bowser would be the Big Bad for most future Mario media, RPG or not, and fans looked back on this moment as the first step in moving the series towards executive mandates against original characters and the end of the Original Generation RPG villains that had been popular until then. Conversely, Antasma is retroactively viewed as wasted potential instead of a lackluster villain who fans were glad wasn't the real Big Bad.
    • Birdo didn't have much of a reputation to speak of, being a character from Doki Doki Panic who got carried over to Super Mario Bros. 2 and scarcely appeared outside of the occasional spinoff spot or cameo. However, as the internet made it easier for fans to congregate and access information about the Mario games, people rediscovered a portion of the Super Mario Bros. 2 manual that stated that "he thinks he is a girl [and would] prefer to be called Birdetta." As the LGBT fanbases surrounding Nintendo grew in prominence, Birdo became increasingly adopted as a trans icon, with many reclaiming and repurposing her transphobic manual description by spinning it in a more positive direction (if only because of people wanting to find LGBT representation in Nintendo games, which have been criticized as overly averse to including queer characters).
    • Waluigi was originally seen as The Scrappy of the spin-off games for a long time, having been introduced in the first Mario Tennis game solely to give Wario a doubles partner. His lack of any prior established presence in the franchise and his gimmick of simply being a Wario-themed equivalent of Luigi led fans to see him as unnecessary and present at the expense of other preexisting Wario characters. However, the fan webcomic Brawl in the Family did much to change Waluigi's public image, depicting him as a manic cloudcuckoolander aware of his own lack of relevance compared to other Nintendo figures. This in turn led to fans having a greater appreciation for Waluigi's bizarre and mischievous characterization in the Mario spin-offs and embracing him as the unofficial "face" of the spin-offs on account of originating and being exclusive to them. Nowadays, many clamor for him to get A Day in the Limelight through a proper game and/or a playable appearance in Super Smash Bros..
    • Initially debuting in Super Mario Land and appearing in various spinoffs as a counterpart for Princess Peach, Princess Daisy's reputation was unremarkable for a long time. However, her image would crater during the 2000s thanks to a mix of her appearance in Mario Kart: Double Dash!! (where her voice acting was considered grating and annoying) and her overshadowing by other fan-favorites. However, in the late 2010s, she would gain an increasingly strong cult following thanks to her characterization as a more assertive and tomboyish foil to Peach (who herself was caught up in larger discourse over female representation in gaming), her Memetic Loser image endearing her to fans as an underdog, and her playable spots in Super Mario Run and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Nowadays, while Daisy's reputation is still divisive, even her detractors express a desire for her to get fleshed out more in a mainline Mario title.
    • Madame Flurrie from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door was widely hated at first. Not only was her design very unusual for the Mario series, being a humanlike cloud spirit with giant boobs and Gag Lips, but she was also derided as weak compared to the game's other partners. Her two attack skills, Body Slam and Lip Lock, were both single-target, and Gale Force was seen as a Useless Useful Spell that many players assumed would instantly KO enemies at the cost of not receiving experience, since that's how One-Hit KO skills worked in the first game. However, as the years went on, it became better known that not only does Gale Force award experience for each enemy KO'd with it, making it more worth using, it has a high success rate against aerial enemies—including some of the most challenging foes in the Bonus Dungeon. In addition, her defense-piercing, self-healing Lip Lock skill is more recognized for its ability to help her tank powerful blows. Now she's more of a Base-Breaking Character: some fans still hate her design or find her moves too gimmicky for their taste, but her ability to easily defeat difficult foes in a single attack and stand on her own against tough bosses is more recognized.
  • In Tales of Vesperia, Alexei was seen as somewhat of a weak villain because the game's disjointed writing makes it seem as if he suddenly turns evil for no apparent reason with little to no foreshadowing. The fact he was a "Commandant" even caused some people to call him a poor-man's Van. He's more forgiven in recent years, since it turns out a lot of his motivations and backstory were detailed in outside material that never left Japan.
  • Undertale:
    • Sans quickly became the game's main Ensemble Dark Horse as a result of his Hidden Depths in the Genocide Route as someone whose mostly-ambiguous Dark and Troubled Past results in him being deeply apathetic behind his goofy exterior, and for being an insanely strong Superboss who breaks the rules of the game in creative ways. He became a popular subject for fanworks, especially alternate universe fics that emphasized his depression. However, his popularity grew so rapidly that it led to a widespread backlash both in and out of the Undertale fandom, causing his and the game's presence in pop culture to collapse in on itself in 2017. By the time he became a Mii Fighter costume in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate two years later, Sans became better-known as a subject for ironic memes that played off his past overexposure, with his fandom being seen as a cautionary tale about what happens when an Ensemble Dark Horse gets too popular too quickly. In fact, a good portion of jokes about fellow Superboss Spamton in Deltarune, who garnered a similar reputation, revolve around being next in line to effectively be the next Sans.
    • For a good while after the game's release, fans near-unanimously saw Chara Dreemur as the game's Greater-Scope Villain, setting the plot in motion by manipulating their adoptive family and acting as the overarching malevolent force in the Genocide Route. However, as time went on, a large subset of fans started pointing out in-game material that seemed to refute this interpretation, leading to a number of other theories gaining substantial traction, ranging from Chara simply being benevolent but misguided to Chara being the narrator or even the player themself. Nowadays, their role is hotly debated among fans as a result of the large amount of ambiguity surrounding them.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • Garrosh Hellscream, upon his introduction in The Burning Crusade, subsequent rise to prominance in Wrath of the Lich King, and rise to power as Horde Warchief in Cataclysm, was hated by players for his Jerkass attitude, warmongering stances, and extreme anti-human and anti-Alliance attitudes that escalated to outright racism. Many players cheered at the opportunity to take him down when it was revealed that he would become the Big Bad in Mists of Pandaria. Over time however, Garrosh would be much less hated. This is in part due to the perception that he tried his best to overcome the responsibilities Thrall left him when he was appointed as Warchief, which was something he himself claimed (not without reason) to be doing in his final moments, along with the fact perception that his actions in Cataclysm were a justifiable reaction to the moves of the Night Elves against the Horde. The positive reevaluation of Mists as an expansion pack and Blizzard doing another faction war storyline for Batle for Azeroth that is a word-for-word repeat of how the faction war went in 'MOP except seen as even more convuluted and nonsensical by the playerbase, both ended up making many nostalgic for the time of Garrosh as Warchief. As a result, many players have expressed the idea that "Garrosh did nothing wrong", or even believed Blizzard should have developed on Garrosh's more sympathetic traits in Cataclysm alluded to in a few quest linesnote  rather than throwing them away.
    • The Big Bad of Cataclysm, Deathwing, was at the time criticized for being a one-dimensional villain who didn't accomplish much after his devastating emergence from Deepholm and had a somewhat disappointing final battle. However, some people have come to view him more favorably compared to N'Zoth, the Greater-Scope Villain from Cataclysm who served as the Final Boss of Battle For Azeroth, since despite being a major threat in the lore as the last remaining Old God (albeit supposedly the weakest), he's dealt with in a cutscene. Compare Deathwing, who'd defeated his fellow Aspect Alexstraza in Twilight Highlands, and who could only be vanquished by the rest of the Aspects combining and sacrificing their powers, thereby resulting in a Pyrrhic Victory.
    • While Arthas Menethil/The Lich King was always regarded as the franchise's best villain, at the time of Wrath of the Lich King, many disliked how the entire plot of the expansion, in which Arthas lets the heroes live in hopes of killing them to make them his new champions, was a contrived Xanatos Gambit. However, in the years that followed, this storyline was viewed much more positively in comparison to plans of Zovaal, The Jailer, from Shadowlands. Unlike Zovaal, whose motivations were seen to be extremely contrived, Arthas received praise for a consistent portrayal as a a hero who gradually became evil and remained evil after his fall, but had a memorable and tragic death scene. Motivations wise, at the time of Wrath of the Lich King, the fanbase was divided between those that saw him as a Tragic Villain vs. those that viewed him as driven purely by pride and selfishness over a genuine desire to avenge his people. Since then, opinions have shifted towards the former due the plague remaining incurable, which in turn made his actions in Stratholme appear more understandable. This shift was also in part due to the shift in perception in the fanbase of Sylvanas from a tragic victim of Arthas to a even worse villain that the narrative fails to humanize in light of increasingly evil actions on her part. When Arthas' ultimate fate was revealed in the Shadowlands, many players, particuarly those that hoped that he would receive a redemption arc or even reestablish himself as a major villain, were extremely outraged.
    • Throughout her time in Warcraft 3 and World of Warcraft up till Wrath of the Lich King, Sylvanas Windrunner was viewed as a badass and attractive female leader and a tragic Anti-Hero that suffered abuse at the hands of Arthas and wants to do all it takes to ensure the Foresaken are accepted in Azeroth. Since Cataclysm however, her increasingly villainous actions such as the Blighting of Gilenas and the supposed refusal of the narrative to hold her to account to these actions drew growing ire from the fanbase, especially among both Alliance players and Horde players wanting both factions to settle into everlasting unity against greater threats. While she had a fair share of defenders that argued that her actions were driven less by honor and a desire for preserving her race at all costs, she would gradually lose them until Battle for Azeroth, where her genocide of a large chunk of the Night Elf population, followed up by her blighting of the Undercity, turned the vast majority of the playerbase-even former sympathizers-against her. Blizzard's efforts to expand on her motivations in BFA and Shadowlands were increasingly seen to have done little to humanize her in the minds of players and failing to make her sympathetic. Nowadays, while she does still have diehard fans, she is seen to be an extremely polarizing character whenever discussions about her emerge.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles: While not quite The Scrappy, Riki was initially viewed as a Ridiculously Cute Critter whose inherent silliness occasionally undermined the tone of the game without contributing much to the overall plot. However, after Nopon characters in later Xenoblade games proved to be either The Scrappy (Tatsu from Xenoblade Chronicles X) or a Base-Breaking Character (Tora from Xenoblade Chronicles 2), Riki's character underwent a fandom reappraisal. Many fans now note that while he has occasional moments of silliness, he's still a very competant and respectable character overall, and he offers a unique character dynamic to the party by being the oldest party member and the only one who's raising a family. Ultimately, most of the fandom views him as the standard to which other Nopon characters must measure up.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Mythra was initially considered a lesser character than her sister Pyra due to her Tsundere characterisation compared to Pyra's Nice Girl, not helped by her first scenes involving her berating Rex for making her unseal herself, making her abrasive personality unappealing to the fanbase. With the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country, fans warmed up to her significantly by showing her development from a cold and bratty young woman into someone that was harsh but kind, as well as justifying her anger at being unsealed by showing first hand just how traumatizing the Aegis war was for her, making her more sympathetic in the eyes of the fans and allowing them to see her softer redeeming qualities in the main game.
  • Yandere Simulator:

  • Homestuck:
    • Bro Strider, Dave Strider's guardian, was beloved by the fandom for a long time due to his overall badassery, and his more unnerving qualities, such as his highly irresponsible treatment of Dave, were overlooked on account of it being Played for Laughs in-universe. Later, however, these flaws were brought to the forefront of the comic through Dave directly addressing them and the trauma it put him through, even outright calling Bro's treatment of him abusive. With the fandom no longer able to ignore his negative traits or brush them off as funny quirks, fan perception of Bro shifted and he went from one of the comic's most popular characters to one of its most despised.
    • Vriska Serket, professional problem-causer and tragically twisted attention-seeker, slowly evolved from being almost universally loathed to being the catalyst of colorful debate, as the fanbase came to reconcile (over a long stretch of time) her destructive and manipulative tendencies with her brutally warped good intentions and the overall context of her horrific upbringing and the cruelty of the society in which she was raised. Ultimately, fans came to a vague, shaky consensus: that Vriska's actions in the story are terrible, but her larger-than-life presence and immense complexity balance those things out to at least make a very interesting character.

    Web Original 
  • Battle for Dream Island: Rocky used to be one of the most beloved characters on the show for his ditzy attitude and constant vomiting, so much so that he received the most votes out of every single character up to then to join the second season. Then as the years passed, fans began to regard his schtick as both Squick-inducing and overdone, and additionally began to frown upon his lack of any other traits — especially considering that he was flanderized from an oblivious, yet endearingly childlike character. Not helping matters was the well-regarded plot twist of his Alternate Company Equivalent Taco; that she had been faking her idiocy in a deliberate attempt to curry favor with and appeal to her fellow contestants and the audience, making Rocky come across as even more one-note in comparison. Nowadays, Rocky is far less popular than he used to be, if his frequent low placement in TPOT predictions is any indication.
  • Vinesauce: Vlinny started life in 2014 as a joke Mii in Vinesauce Tomodachi Life that duplicated Vinny's Mii but included a V-shaped mouth as a nod to the Nintendo 3DS' notoriously imperfect photo-to-Mii feature. The character quickly became an Ensemble Dark Horse in spite of his intentionally forgettable design; however, Vlinny's following also attracted people who started using him as a proxy for Vinny in fan content, usually for shipping purposes, with some going so far as kinning him. This led to vocal Creator Backlash from Vinny which led to him tightening the rules on Vinesauce's Image Booru. Vlinny consequently remains a huge Base-Breaking Character among Vinesauce fans to this day, with most people choosing to ignore the character's existence to prevent the risk of flame wars.
  • RWBY: Cinder Fall was initially a very popular villain thanks to her cool appearance, her mysterious past, and her status as a genuine threat. By the start of Volume 5, however, she became very divisive and a common target for detractors who found her boring, one-dimensional and way past her welcome. The fact that it took 8 volumes to finally get a glimpse at her backstory didn't help.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: Skeet, from the memetic episode "Men at Work", was intended to be seen as something of an idiot and a disrespectful manager to Jimmy, with kids watching the episode and taking Jimmy's side. The discourse changed once the original fandom grew up, many of these kids taking minimum wage jobs for themselves, and beginning to realize that not only was Jimmy being a bit of a brat, but everything Skeet said was entirely correct; for example, Jimmy taking customers' orders without using the cash register was actually illegal. In this light, Skeet has become an Ensemble Dark Horse often depicted as an Only Sane Man.
  • Blue's Clues: When Steve left the series and his younger brother Joe became the new host, Joe was initially seen as an inferior replacement to him. As the years went on, people became more accepting of Joe when they decided that he had his own charm, though he remains somewhat divisive.
  • Bob's Burgers: While Tina Belcher was initially the show's Breakout Character, as the show continued she became increasingly divisive. Her creepy, stalker-ish tendencies regarding boys became either seen as harmless, since she is a 13-year-old girl who isn't quite aware of social norms or the consequences of her actions, or as gross and off-putting behavior that would be completely unacceptable if she were male.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Cheese was an Ensemble Dark Horse back in his debut episode "Mac Daddy" for his comical Cloudcuckoolander antics and his subsequent Fountain of Memes status, but he became a Base-Breaking Character after he was flanderized into being The Load. Some fans still find his memetic lines amusing, others find him useless and irritating and a Values Dissonance-laded caricature of the mentally handicapped.
  • Gravity Falls: Mabel Pines was initially well liked when the show first started, due to her Adorkable personality, being a hilarious foil to Dipper, and for being a Fountain of Memes. However, starting late season 1, she became more and more of a Base-Breaking Character due to her tendency to tease Dipper for his crush on Wendy when she can barely go five episodes without getting a new crush, how Dipper is often expected to make sacrifices for her when she rarely returns the favor, and for inadvertently helping Bill break free and causing Weirdmageddon. What doesn't help matters is that she never faces any negative consequences for her mistakes or Jerkass Balls.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: When Fred Fredburger first appeared, he was widely popular for his cloudcuckoolander attitude and funny lines, and he was even briefly a Breakout Character. After he started to appear in more episodes and Cartoon Network promos, fans became more divided on him and were annoyed by his poop jokes, though many people still find him hilarious.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: While Adrien/Cat Noir's base-breaking status developed fairly early in the show's run, Marinette/Ladybug used to be near universally beloved by fans. This started changing at some point during season 3, thanks to a combination of her shortcomings as a character becoming more numerous and blatant (as was happening with a number of other characters at the time), Adrien fans getting tired of what they perceived as other fans bashing their favorite character and deciding to give her the same treatment in turn, and a glut of "salt fic" writers constantly ignoring her flaws and turning her into a perfect angel who deserves everything on a silver platter while her loved ones suffer, much to the annoyance of less salty fans. Nowadays, while she still has a loyal fanbase, she's just as much of a base-breaker to the general fandom as her partner.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): When the show first came out, Bubbles was the fan favorite for her adorableness and kindness. Nowadays she's more of a Base-Breaking Character since several people find her tendency to cry a lot annoying and they don't like that she's gotten away with some things her sisters have suffered the consequences for, but just as many fans still love her for being a sweetheart.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Mindy was a very popular character (especially among the younger audience) early on for her sarcastic side and for being a relatable Audience Surrogate. As the show went on, she became more divisive when she began to have many episodes focusing on her despite her limited character traits, but she still has her share of supporters who chalk her ruder moments to not knowing any better since she's a younger kid and all.
  • Rugrats:
  • While Scrappy-Doo from Scooby-Doo may be the Trope Namer of The Scrappy, when introduced in Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo his popularity saved the show from being pulled off airwaves due to its waning ratings, being the Kid-Appeal Character in a cast filled by teenagers and an adult dog. However the attempt to cash in on this popularity by turning Scrappy into a Spotlight-Stealing Squad in The Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo Show backfired horribly and would forever taint fan reception of the character due to Velma, Daphne, and Fred being removed from the cast, along with the series shifting from a half-hour mystery series investigating fake monsters to a Three Shorts format where Scrappy, Scooby and Shaggy face real monsters. By the time of the series revival in the Scooby-Doo Direct-to-Video Film Series, the fandom hate of Scrappy-Doo bled into the franchise and any later mention of the character tends to be a Take That, Scrappy! moment. Recent fans, however, turned him into more of a Base-Breaking Character as a number of them pointed out his nobler traits of bravery and loyalty to his uncle Scooby and him being Mis-blamed for ruining a franchise that he actually saved.
  • The Simpsons: Throughout the '90s and much of the 2000s, Apu Nahasapeemapetilon was generally praised as a positive and nuanced portrayal of a South Asian character, especially among first-generation immigrants from the region, thanks to him being a benevolent character who supports himself through a successful business. However, his reputation would grow increasingly divisive in the 2010s due to those same immigrants' descendants pointing out how his portrayal both created new stereotypes for South Asians while reinforcing old ones, not helped by the fact that he was voiced by a white man. Consequently, viewers today are split on whether Apu's portrayal is no different than the show's caricatured white cast or if his stereotypical traits, placed in the context of comparatively low minority representation in media, make him an Ethnic Scrappy.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: Squidward Tentacles was conceived as an "entertaining jerk" character with his snotty personality and one-sided friendship with SpongeBob and Patrick (with Squidward being the non-reciprocating party), with this defining his perception during the show's first three seasons. However, several factors over the years would lead to his reputation growing more positive: later seasons featured a number of episodes that downplayed his jerkass qualities while increasing his sympathetic haplessness, other characters would be flanderized in the opposite direction, and most significantly, the show's initial child audience would grow up and enter the workforce, resulting in them sympathizing more with Squidward's characterization as a beleaguered food service worker. Consequently, Squidward is seen nowadays as more relatable than the show's own title character by a significant number of fans, being regarded as an accurate depiction of modern adult ennui.
  • Total Drama:
    • Cody went from a fan-favourite in Island (courtesy of his dorkiness and his decision to let Gwen be with Trent) to a Base-Breaking Character after World Tour due to being carried by Sierra most of the season, hence why many fans, even those that initially enjoyed his performance in this season believe he didn't deserve to make it all the way to the final three. In addition, many people think Cody comes across as a Hypocrite for being crept out by Sierra and trying to vote her off many times despite being a stalker himself towards Gwen. His obsession with Gwen also contributes to the fans' changed attitude towards him.
    • While Gwen was initally one of most beloved female characters on the show, she's also a more Base-Breaking Character now. Her problems were initally taken as sympathethic, however now that Gwen (and Duncan) have gotten more detractors and Courtney gaining more defenders over the years, this is no longer the case. Many have stated that (until All-Stars) Gwen was more sad about the fact she got caught than actually hurting Courtney, and her tactics to get Courtney eliminated were too out of character to properly root for her. Even her once praised Island characterization has become base-breaking, with her snark and attitude towards the nicer characters no longer being as tolerated and if anything makes her complaining about being on the villians team in All-Stars Unintentionally Unsympathetic at best and Wangst-y at worst. There's also the fact she ditched Courtney in the infamously hated 'Sundae Muddy Sundae' after spending the whole season wanting to make amends.
  • The Transformers: After the release of the theatrical film, Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime was widely loathed as a Replacement Scrappy, with his lack of prior setup making it difficult for fans to accept him succeeding Optimus Prime after the latter's death. Fans blamed Rodimus for causing Optimus' death, and his more cynical characterization was criticized as making him seem more ineffectual than his All-Loving Hero predecessor. However, Optimus' reintroduction and the post-movie G1 output being Vindicated by History resulted in Rodimus' reputation improving, with newer fans coming to like him precisely because of his more conflicted Classical Anti-Hero nature.
  • Uncle Grandpa: When the show first came out, Pizza Steve was the fan favorite because people found his overinflated ego hilarious. As the series went on, however, he became more of a Base-Breaking Character because some fans started to be annoyed with his constant bragging. There are still several fans who still like him, though, especially since he's been shown to have his share of insecurities.