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Contrasting Sequel Main Character

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Q: You hit me! Picard never hit me!
Benjamin Sisko: I'm not Picard.

Making a sequel is hard. One needs to find the perfect balance of new stuff to contrast with the original. One way to get some difference is to take your old protagonist and make his mirror image, but with contrasting traits. Was the previous hero a Hot-Blooded Action Hero? Make the new one a Action Survivor who relies on brains over brawn. Was he a young Wide-Eyed Idealist? Make the other an older Knight in Sour Armor. Was he a man? Have the new one be a woman.

The new protagonist will sometimes have an Establishing Character Moment just to drive the point home that they’re nothing like the previous one.

The trope can also potentially lead to some interesting moments should the two ever meet. That is unless they already knew each other from the beginning. But even then, they’ll have moments of establishing each other as Foils to one another. Such characters may share some more basic traits, like heroism, allowing someone to note how they aren't so different. Beware, however, as they can easily end up becoming a Replacement Scrappy.

Subtrope of Breaking Old Trends. May overlap with Anti-Hero Substitute.

For contrasting villains go to Contrasting Sequel Antagonist. For contrasting settings, go to Contrasting Sequel Setting.

Contrast Suspiciously Similar Substitute.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Arachnid:
    • Imomushi in Caterpillar is pretty nonchalant about her traumatic past and is a Punch-Clock Villain as a killer-for hire, unlike how Alice Fujii, a supposedly natural-born maniac, grew more and more traumatized and frustrated over everything that she went through in the Arachnid Hunt. Imomushi is also sexually aggressive towards her partner Hanakamakiri like Megumi is to Alice. Megumi exploiting Alice's trust to have Sex for Solace with her but getting ditched because of Alice's own personal issues is juxtaposed with Hanakamakiri leaving and breaking his promise to have Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex with Imomushi due to betraying her trust on a way she doesn't even give a damn about.
    • Whereas Alice was the protagonist in Arachnid and had Megumi Oki the roach-girl as her companion, Chiyuri Haijima the roach-girl is the protagonist of Blattodea and has Setsuna Dinoponera, Alice's Shadow Archetype foil, as her companion. Chiyuri is a lot more optimistic and sociable than gloomy and miserable Alice due to having a more stable life despite being homeless, and is an all-around nice girl unlike either Megumi or Setsuna. Also ironic is that Setsuna, despite all her flaws, desperately wanted friends and rises to being a supporting protagonist by protecting Chiyuri with all she's got, unlike how Alice was repeatedly betrayed in Arachnid and ended up ditching Megumi (who was something of a False Friend anyway) to face a Zombie Apocalypse on her own due to embracing her murderous urges.
  • In the 2020 special chapter of Death Note, this is the case for Minoru Tanaka, who contrasts Light Yagami in just about every way. Light is a TV Genius and one of the top-ranked students in Japan, while Minoru is fairly realistically intelligent and doesn't do well on tests. Light is showy and extremely prideful, making an effort to have his killings be noticed, while Minoru has bad self-esteem and leaves his actions as untraceable as conceivably possible. Light hides his incredibly selfish motivations under a veneer of altruism and a Knight Templar code, while Minoru is honest about the fact that he just wants to use the Death Note to support himself and his family, but his plan results in far greater prosperity for millions. Light comes up with complicated Gambit Roulettes with a thousand moving parts, while Minoru's plan is fairly simple and straightforward. Light sees no problem with killing thousands of people to accomplish his goal, while Minoru, despite being given the power to kill anyone, kills nobody. Near had no respect whatsoever for Light and saw him as nothing more than a vile murderer with delusions of grandeur, but he actually expressed interest in Minoru and saw him as a Worthy Opponent. And while Light was ultimately undone by the flaws in his plan as well as his massive ego, Minoru fell to a Diabolus ex Machina where the closest thing to a God in the setting specifically created a new rule just to kill him.
  • Digimon has a history of this:
    • C'mon Digimon has a supporting protagonist in Abe Makoto, while Yagami Taichi and Zermaru of Digimon V-Tamer 01 are clearly the front and center stars. The functional leads of "C Mon" are Kentaro Kamon, an aloof stoic, when the few triggers of his righteous temper are not hit, who wants nothing to do with animals or Digimon, and Bun, a weak glitch "Damemon" or "Badmon" whose behavior is identical to a dog's. Lacking a troubled past like Kentaro, Taichi is a sociable goof absolutely in love with his Digimon Zero, a powerful evolutionary throwback "glitch" monster who fancies himself a noble lord. Following this is Hikaru Ryuugi of Digimon D-Cyber, who is an Idiot Hero where Taichi was The Strategist and his Dorumon partner is initially antagonistic towards him and doesn't have a given name like Bun or Zero. Tsurugi Tatsuno of Digimon Next is much better at raising and battling Digimon than Hikaru, who was the worst tamer of his group. Hikaru's partner also becomes a Royal Knight, an upholder of Yggdrasil's law, while Tsurugi's is an illegal monster because it has the ability to defy and kill Yggdrasil. Taiki Kudo of the Xros Wars manga is the first protagonist who isn't Hot-Blooded and also the first one who hasn't raised any of the monsters he works with.
    • The first protagonist, Taichi Yagami was hot-headed, but grew out of it, and had an aptitude for lateral thinking; the next protagonist, Daisuke Motomiya was hot-blooded and stupid to a fault, but he didn't get distracted from his goals; the third, Takato Matsuda, was sweet, kind and a little timid; the fourth, Takuya Kanbara, was an extroverted people-pleaser; the fifth, Masaru Daimon, was hot-blooded and confrontational; the sixth, Taiki Kudou, was a thinker and tactician; the seventh, Tagiru Akashi, was an excitable reckless idiot, the exact opposite of Taiki; the eighth, Haru Shinkai, was an insecure, introverted book-worm; the ninth, Hiro Amanokawa, was a more cautious logical thinker.
  • Dragon Ball, while ultimately retaining the same actual protagonist throughout its long run, was intended to switch focus protagonists. Goku is the classic Idiot Hero who loves nothing more than to fight, while his first son Gohan is a more passive Martial Pacifist and a huge nerd. Pan, who is arguably the 'hero' of GT, is also completely unlike her father Gohan, headstrong and outspoken.
  • FLCL: The most obvious contrast is between the first season protagonist, Naoto Nandaba, and the protagonist of FLCL Alternative, Kana Koumoto. Naota is a 12-year old boy who's trying to grow up too fast and generally acts very closed and standoffish; he also greatly admires his absent big brother. Kana is a 17-year-old girl who's afraid of her coming adulthood and is extremely devoted to her group of friends; she has a younger brother who annoys her. Naota's arc is largely centered around warming up to Haruko and realizing that he has feelings for her; Kana is a casual friend of hers from the first episode, and part of her arc is realizing that she's not ready for a Love Interest yet.
    • The second season protagonist, Hidomi Hibajiri, is not as direct a contrast, but she's still distinct: she's fourteen, putting her between the two, and is an Emotionless Girl, so her arc is less about examining/changing what she wants than admitting that she wants anything. The season also stands out by making her Love Interest, Ko Ide, a full-blown Deuteragonist and having the pair get a real Relationship Upgrade by the end.
  • Fushigi Yuugi:
    • Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden, despite actually being a prequel, has a big contrast in Takiko as its protagonist compared to Miaka. There's a 70 year difference between their respective adventures in the Universe of the Four Gods, Takiko entering it in 1923 and Miaka in The '90s, so their appearance is already different with Takiko wearing a hakama and Miaka a blazer-type school uniform, which had become the norm by then. Miaka was lazy in studying, did not have great grades and was extremely hotheaded at times. On the other hand, Takiko was good in school and was very active, keeping her cool during certain situations and being very self-sacrificing in order to understand other people.
    • What little has been shown of Suzuno in her few appearances, she's a contrast to the other priestesses in that she is described as being a very shy and quiet person, contrary to Takiko's appealing and Miaka's headstrong nature.
  • In Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin the main character starts out as a puppy, who trains to avenge his father. He joins a pack of warrior dogs, and since he is smallest and youngest he has to fight hard to earn the respect of others. Eventually, he is chosen to be the leader because of his deeds and he reaches the peak of his powers at the last battle of the manga. In the sequel Ginga Densetsu Weed his son somehow knows how to do his father's ultimate move only by knowing that his father is a hero (he hasn't even met his father at this point) and everyone he meets treats him like an alpha male of the pack or something. The kid even lectures his father about how it is not right to kill your enemy after the said enemy has tortured Gin and killed one of his closest friends in an extremely brutal way.
  • Hiroto Kuga from Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE is basically this in contrast to Riku Mikami of Gundam Build Divers. While Riku started out as an idealistic newcomer to GBN and pilots the Gundam 00 Sky which relies on overwhelming power and speed complete with a Super Mode, Hiroto is a stoic and experienced GBN player who has been playing GBN since it launched, with his Core Gundam focuses more on pure versatility and capabilities to operate in any battle situation with the use of various PLANETS System armor that he built.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Whether coincidental or an intentional design choice, each protagonist of each part tends to have an opposing temperament to their predecessor.
    • To put it simply, Jonathan is a Nice Guy Determinator bound by the honor of a gentleman and never giving up. His grandson, Joseph is a Guile Hero Jerk with a Heart of Gold who uses his wits to win against an enemy and is almost constantly joking or bragging, even when his back is against the wall. Jotaro is an unforgiving Perpetual Frowner who varies from pummeling to cunning depending on his opponent. Josuke is honorable and doesn't kill his enemies, but is also a gambling addict who's got a Berserk Button with his hair. Giorno has a Just Like Robin Hood streak and isn't afraid to fight ruthlessly with his enemies, and unlike Josuke who dresses like a delinquent but is otherwise law-abiding, Giorno actually is a mafioso. Jolyne is a flighty, irresponsible hedonist looking for a thrill. Johnny is a stubborn and strong-willed cripple with a major Inferiority Superiority Complex. Josuke of Part 8 is dorky with some brooding moments. Finally, Jodio is ambitious, arrogant, and when necessary, ruthless.
    • The two Josukes also heavily contrast each other as well. Josuke Higashikata of Diamond is Unbreakable is one of the most "normal" protagonists in the series to date, with his only real quirks being a gambling addiction, his extreme sensitivity towards his hair, and the circumstances of his birth; other than that, he's just a good-hearted schoolboy. "Josuke Higashikata" of JoJolion, on the other hand, is easily one of the weirdest protagonists in the series, being a physically abnormal and eccentric amnesiac who happens to be a fusion of two different people. And one of the two people who fused to form him was Yoshikage Kira, the alternate universe counterpart of the original Josuke's greatest enemy.
    • Jodio Joestar contrasts every previous Jojo, being the only Jojo so far who can be described as a "bad person", but especially his original universe counterpart Giorno Giovanna. Jodio is a drug dealer and a thief who wants to be rich to support his family, contrasting Giorno's more lofty reasons for being a criminal of wanting to overthrow the ruthless mafia boss terrorizing the population of Italy. He's also a lot more ruthless with his stand than Giorno was. While Giorno generally tries to avoid harming people who don't actively pose a threat to himself or his friends, Jodio has zero qualms about using his November Rain to violently beat a pair of crooked cops who lacked stands of their own in the first chapter. His stand November Rain is also the most combat-oriented out of all the main Jojo's, having little utility outside of raw destructive power, which contrasts Giorno's Gold Experience which is one of the most versatile stands in the entire series. Jodio is also a massive idiot who's constantly cracking jokes and gets duped by someone who is very obviously a narc, while Giorno was very stoic and is the second smartest Jojo after Joseph.
  • Kichikujima Has it's Main Characters different than the last.
    • In Part 1 Takahisa was a normal College Student who had unrequited love for his classmate Yuka Uehara.He would get the same powers of the family where he went crazy until towards the end of part 1 starts to fall in love with Mari.
    • Alice from the prequel series Zoumotsujima Was a lower ranked Idol who wanted to get more love and fame. She ended up being confused by Kaoru for his mother and becomes a half squid human hybrid who comes to view Kaoru as her surrogate Son.
    • Part 2 of Kichikujima set five years after part 1, has a young woman named Chinatsu who arrived on the island with her siblings being the survivors in a plane crash and she would also be confused for Mari due to their similarities.She would later gain the powers similar to the family and is later revealed to have come to the island before having a boyfriend in the past and having made a deal with the devil before but lost her memory of this somehow.

  • Every Macross installment has a protagonist who differs from the previous ones in one respect or another. To put it simply, Hikaru Ichijyou is a former stunt pilot turned military pilot, Isamu Dyson is an older Military Maverick who is already in the military at the start of the story rather than Falling into the Cockpit, Nekki Basara is arguably the odd one out among the franchise's protagonists in that he is a Badass Pacifist rock star rather than a soldier (to the point that he was The One Guy in the Uta Macross mobile game amidst the myriad Idol Singers of the franchise), Alto Saotome is a brooding former kabuki actor who views the sky as his stage and gets frequently called out for his effeminate looks, and Hayate Immelman is a Teen Genius looking for a purpose in life and who - while also viewing flying as a performance like Alto - views it from the perspective of a dancer rather than an actor.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi stars a young, cute, anxious Child Prodigy Negi Springfield. Its sequel series, UQ Holder!, stars a much more classic Hot-Blooded Idiot Hero, Touta Konoe. This gets lampshaded by one of Negi's former students.
    Ayaka: My, my, my. You look nothing like Negi-sensei. Your hair, your skin... You seem like a mischief-maker, without a care in the world. His opposite in every way.
  • Shinn Asuka of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny was probably meant to be this to Kira Yamato, being confrontational and arrogant where Kira was angsty and polite. Kira is also a usually-calm Martial Pacifist who seeks to end the war without killing anyone while Shinn is a Combat Pragmatist with a Hair-Trigger Temper who seeks to end the war by killing his enemies as quickly as possible.
  • Kousuke from Sakura Discord was an abrasive, grumpy, always serious and (initially) slightly cynical protagonist. Asahi from My Monster Secret is (too) honest, a bit shy, clumsy, a notable Butt-Monkey, and kind to a fault − as well as a bit of a Covert Pervert. note 
  • The titular character of Naruto is an orphan without any known extended family while his son, the eponymous protagonist of Boruto, has a very loving family. They are both troublemakers; however, while Naruto acted out as a means for attention in general, Boruto acts out as a means to get attention from his father who is always busy. Naruto's lifelong dream was to become Hokage while Boruto has no interest in the career. Naruto was considered a very weak shinobi at first and had to work hard to be strong, while Boruto is a Brilliant, but Lazy Child Prodigy whose skills far surpass what his father's was at the same age. And while Naruto's Heroic Lineage was unknown to most of the village (and especially to Naruto himself), leaving him presumed to be an ordinary peasant, Boruto's status as both the son of the Hokage and a member of the prestigious Hyuuga family is well-known to everyone and makes him as the closest thing Konoha has to royalty.
  • The anime adaptations of Persona, in chronological order, have contrasting personalities for the lead character. Makoto Yuki in Persona 3: The Movie is moody and rarely speaks until his Character Development kicks in and he starts to form emotional bonds with his friends. Yu Narukami of Persona 4: The Animation is instantly Not So Stoic and openly talks while leading his friends, being a main source of comedy with his Deadpan Snarker and The Comically Serious personality. Ren of Persona 5: The Animation meanwhile goes back to being mostly silent, but isn't as moody as Yuki and becomes flashier than the previous protagonists when he's fighting as Joker.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • The female leads of each series tend to contrast significantly from their immediate predecessor.
      • May was a naive, inexperienced Nice Girl with a Big Brother Mentor relationship to Ash, in contrast to Misty's hotheaded Tsundere and role as Ash's coach.
      • Dawn was overconfident and immediately sure of her goal before starting her journey, in contrast to May's initial underconfidence and lack of ambition.
      • Iris was a tomboyish and sometimes bratty Wild Child, in contrast to Dawn's Nice Girl fashionista.
      • Serena was another sweet-natured fashionista, had an obvious crush on Ash, and rarely battled, in contrast to Iris's outdoorsiness, frequent bickering with Ash, and regular engagement in battle.
    • Some Pokemon caught by the main characters differ greatly from each other:
      • May's Eevee was a playful but powerful Badass Adorable until it evolved, Serena's Eevee was a Shrinking Violet until it evolved, Sandy (Lana's Eevee) was extremely excitable and a bit oblivious, and Chloe's had a forced case of Not Allowed to Grow Up.
      • Iris's Dragonite is a complete 180 from its friendly species as a whole, while Ash's literally embraces it.
      • While Ash's Charizard is young, hot-headed, and stubborn, Kiawe's is old (as it was previously owned by his late grandfather), rarely sees action (though it's still as powerful as any 'Zard), and is happy to take a relaxing spa day.
      • Ash's Bulbasaur and Squirtle were non-evolved seasoned combatants skilled as an ambassador and firefighter respectively, while May's Bulbasaur and Squirtle were both relatively young until they both grew more powerful and evolved into Venasaur and Wartortle respectively.
      • In a human to Pokemon example, Brocks' Croagunk was this to Misty and Max being the chaperone to Brock's Casanova Wannabe tendencies, except Misty and Max dragged him by the ear while mocking him, while Croagunk poison jabbed him in his gut, back, or ass and dragged him away while laughing. He was also willing to back off if the girl in question was willing to reciprocate Brock's feelings, while May and Max rarely gave Brock a chance to see if she was interested.
      • Ash's Cyndaquil was shy, timid, and initially had a hard time warming up, while Dawn's Cyndaquil was an eager and playful little fire starter before both later evolved into Quilava.
  • Pokémon Adventures has protagonists ranging from the basic To Be a Master Idiot Hero like Red or Gold to the Speaks Fluent Animal Yellow, the Gotta Catch 'Em All Crystal, Camp Straight Ruby, Manzai duo Diamond and Pearl, etc...
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
    • Madoka Kaname in the original series was an Ordinary High-School Student with an attitude of Incorruptible Pure Pureness, a strong moral code, a happy home life, and a largely passive role in the series until the end. Oriko Mikuni in Puella Magi Oriko Magica is abnormally talented and intelligent, serves as a Villain Protagonist, has few-if-any moral compunctions, has a largely miserable home life, and is the main driver of the story's events. Additionally, while Madoka's story is defined by trying to find her life's purpose, Oriko is given her life's purpose immediately and the rest of the story is about her trying to act on it. This goes in line with their closest allies: both of them are black-haired girls with time-based powers, but Homura is stoic, withdrawn, and mature, keeping her feelings close to her chest, while Kirika is goofy, extroverted, and childish, and downright proud of the fact that she loves Oriko.
    • Tart in Puella Magi Tart Magica is far more similar to Madoka at first glance—both are optimistic heroic types with great magical potential—but stands out due to the fact that, while Madoka treated the magical girl system as a horrifying thing that needed to be changed (to the point that revelations about its workings serve to Break the Cutie), Tart is an avid believer in the system and never loses faith in it, even to the end, interpreting the same revelations that shocked Madoka as miraculous occurrences. Similarly, her counterpart to Homura is Riz: while Homura was cold and openly cared about Madoka only, Riz is rather altruistic and honorable.
  • Renai Daikou:
    • Mari is set up from the beginning as the opposite of Kaguya from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War despite sharing her basic mold as an affluent, popular girl unable to confess to the boy she likes. Appearance-wise, Kaguya was a traditional Japanese beauty, while Mari is admired by her classmates for her more Western features. Socially, Kaguya tended to only hang out with a small group of friends despite her popularity, and Mari is shown to be a social butterfly that regularly interacts with every girl in her class. And when it comes to love, Kaguya had no trouble regularly interacting with Shirogane but couldn't even admit to herself that she liked him until almost halfway through the series, while Mari Cannot Talk To Men but is fully open about her crush on Masaya even with a complete stranger. Even their methods are opposites, with Kaguya constructing elaborate plans to force a confession, while Mari is literally paying someone else to help her confess.
    • Similarly, Seki pretends to be an unassuming guy so as not to overwhelm Mari and wears glasses despite not needing them as part of his persona. Shirogane on the other hand pretended to be a confident intellectual so Kaguya wouldn't ignore him and avoided wearing glasses out of fear of looking nerdy despite really needing them. Seki's attraction to Mari is presented as being physical in nature, while Shirogane was attracted to Kaguya because of her personality. It's also mentioned in Chapter 4 that he was raised well by his mother, a stark contrast to Shirogane given that most of his issues could be traced back to his mom.
  • Steel Angel Kurumi has a different human protagonist in the first and second series, the one in the second being either the great-granddaughter or great-grandniece of the one in the first. They're reasonably similar in personality ("shy naive character dealing with a robotic Stalker with a Crush" being a crucial plot element in both), but they are of different sexes.
  • A Town Where You Live, which takes place after Suzuka, contrasts Haruto with previous protagonist Yamato. Though Haruto is prone to reckless actions, he generally comes off as more responsible and thoughtful than most of his friends.
  • Duke Fleed from UFO Robo Grendizer. Compared to all male leads of the Mazinger Trilogy (Koji of Mazinger Z and Testuya of Great Mazinger), he was the most mature and the less prone to put his foot in his mouth.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • Judai Yuki (or Jaden in the dub) is considerably more outgoing and laid-back than both the timid, yet empathetic Yugi Muto and the proud and stoic Dark Yugi/Atem. Even their decks contrast, with Yugi/Dark Yugi's core strategy is based around Dark Magician and summoning the Egyptian God Cards, while Judai's deck being based around the Elemental HERO archetype and its focus on Fusion Summoning.
    • Yusei Fudo contrasts both Yugi and Judai by being much calmer more serious than either of them. His deck, comprised of Synchron monsters is based around swarming his field with lower-level monsters to Synchro Summon more powerful cards like Stardust Dragon.
    • Yuma Tsukumo keeps to the trend by being even less serious than Judai was and he lacks the skills of the previous protagonists at the beginning of the story until his time with Astral, and he's very Hot-Blooded and hard-headed. His Onomat deck, while being a swarm deck like Yusei's, revolves around Xyz Summoning and the 100 Number Monsters, particularly Number 39: Utopia.
    • Yuya Sakaki is a bit more like Judai but with more serious issues and acts more comically whenever he is doing his finisher combos to entertain the audience. He also isn't as laid-back as Judai and Yuma, and he's rather the quiet type when he's not dueling and his character is relatively well balanced. His Performapal/Magician/Odd-Eyes deck is built around manipulation of ATK & DEF and Pendulum Summoning, though later incorporates Xyz, Synchro and Fusion monsters as the series goes on.
    • Yusaku Fujiki, on the other hand, is different than the previous five, since he started out as a cold-hearted Jerkass and has a great distaste for standing out. And unlike the previous five, Yusaku doesn't enjoy Dueling at all and just sees his deck as mere weapons to eliminate any enemy, since everything is about Dueling. Said cards, the Cyberse monsters are a beatdown deck focused on Link Summoning and later Ritual, Fusion, Synchro and Xyz Summoning.
    • Shoma Yusa is a cunning but socially inept, introverted, and dense Country Mouse who is a big fan of Dueling, can see and communicate with Duel Monsters, and doesn't experience a serious traumatic event. He's also the only "Yu" character to constantly switch decks (all of them are heavily customized) after a few chapters.
      • His Cool Big Sis, Ageha Yusa, is a direct contrast to the previous female leads in the entire franchise, mainly due to being the first adult main female lead instead of a teenager (or a young girl, in Luca's case), as well as the first fully legitimate female "Yu" character.
    • Yuga Ohdo goes back to being cheerful and energetic, and loves Dueling so much he invented Rush Dueling. Though what breaks things is that unlike previous protagonists being teenagers (or young adult, in Yusei's case), Yuga is an elementary school Kid Hero. He runs the Sevens Road deck, which focuses on attack manipulation, though it also contains Maximum and Fusion monsters.
    • Yudias Velgear is an alien from the Velgear Star Cluster, who fled to Earth following a war in his home system, and is the first "Yu" character to have never played the game before the start of their respective series. He is also the first "Yu" character to have his name spelled with katakana instead of kanji. His deck is comprised of Galaxy-type monsters.
      • Likewise, Yuuhi Ohdo and Yuamu Ohdo are a Sibling Team of "Yu" characters who have a familial connection with Yuga (through their surname). Yuamu is even more so, since she's the first under 20's main female "Yu" character.
  • Fuka Reventon of ViVid Strike! is a stark contrast to her predecessor Vivio Takamachi of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid. While Vivio is a martial arts-loving Genki Girl who easily makes friends and was adopted into a well-to-do family, Fuuka is a martial arts-hating cynical orphan who easily gets into fights with other people and needs to work various odd jobs just to feed herself. While Vivio ends up becoming friends with Einhart as a result of fighting against her, Fuuka had a falling out with her old friend Rinne.
  • The producers of The iDOLM@STER and THE iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls are quite different from each other — 765's producer is lax and just starting his career, while 346's is serious and has been at the job for some time.
  • Much like its live-action versions, the animated series for GARO also feature this. Leon was a hotblooded, somewhat cynical newcomer, while Raikou was a calmly devoted samurai. Sword is a goofy musclehead who's been on the job longer than either of them.
  • Makoto Shinkai's second and third major films, The Place Promised in Our Early Days and 5 Centimeters per Second, contrast vividly in how protagonists their protagonists react to their circumstances, including both of them having to move to and from Tokyo and being tormented by their pasts. While Hiroki Fujisawa starts out passive, he eventually gets his act together in the final act, even braving hostile airspace to save Sayuri. For Takaki Tohno, however, while he in the first act makes his own way to Tochigi to see Akari, he subsequently succumbs to inability or unwillingness to actively maintain his Long-Distance Relationship with Akari, and in the end not only Did Not Get the Girl but didn't even bother calling out to her when they crossed paths in the last scene.
  • The vast majority of Pretty Cure leads are extroverted, passionate Genki Girls, but there are occasionally exceptions to the rule:
    • Tsubomi Hanasaki/Cure Blossom from Heart Catch Pretty Cure is a Shrinking Violet, though she resolves to become more confident. While she does eventually become more strong-willed, her shyness never quite goes away.
    • Nodoka Hanadera/Cure Grace from Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure does have her moments of being cheerful, but she tends to be calmer than previous lead Cures, and she's also not very energetic since she deals with respiratory problems and low stamina.
  • Goro Shigeno in Major was a baseball prodigy since his elementary school days, with a great throwing arm that quickly made him a star pitcher, and a Determinator to a point he pushed through injuries and hurdles no matter how hard things could get. His son Daigo in Major 2nd is an average player at most, and his weak shoulder means he's nowhere near his father's level for pitching. He actually stopped playing because he was disappointed in himself for lacking his father's talent and needed a push from someone else to get back to play.
  • In Jujutsu Kaisen Yuji and Yuta contrast each other in many ways, Yuta was the protagonist of the prequel Volume 0 and was originally intended to be the series's protagonist before Yuji replaced him as the protagonist of the main series. Yuji is outgoing while Yuta is reserved. Yuta's development in Volume 0 focuses on him becoming more confident and learning to accept the death of a loved one, while Yuji's development has his resolve to save others and give people a meaningful death repeatedly broken and rebuilt, turning him more pessimistic. Their fighting styles are also completely opposite — Yuta reinforces his frail body with his massive cursed energy to fight with swordsmanship and copied cursed techniques; Yuji has natural superhuman strength to fight barehanded but no proper cursed technique.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • During the period in Batman (Grant Morrison) when Batman and Robin briefly replaced the flagship Batman title, Morrison intentionally subverted the classic dynamic between Batman and Robin by putting Dick Grayson in the cape and cowl and making Damian Wayne his Robin. In contrast to the setup that we all grew up with, Dick was a cheerful, outgoing, blue-collar Batman trying to cope with his relative lack of experience, whereas Damian was an angry, brooding, blue-blooded Robin who was raised to be a stone-cold killer.
    • While the previous Robins' solo tales were generally told in anthology comics like Star Spangled Comics rather than in their own book Tim was a huge contrast to Dick and Jason, who had both been much more playful and volatile during their tenures as Robin, while Tim was much more serious and deliberate while in costume even if he did enjoy the occasional bit of snark. He also focused more on his life and friends outside of Robin and most importantly had to hide his id from his still-living father, unlike the orphans that preceded him.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Done by Peter David for Spider-Man 2099; Miguel O'Hara was created by taking Peter Parker's traits and reversing them.
      "Pretty much every place where Stan (Lee) zigged, I zagged... whereas Peter Parker is a high school student, Miguel is a fully-realized adult working in a laboratory. Whereas Peter was shy and reticent and didn’t know how to talk to girls but talky and outgoing as Spider-Man, Miguel O’Hara was a fully-confident wiseacre with a fiancée…and as Spider-Man, relatively mute."
    • The original Spider-Girl (Peter's teenage daughter "Mayday" in the Marvel Comics 2 universe) is similar. While Peter was a socially awkward loser in high school, she's both brainy but also athletic and popular, taking after both her parents (Peter and Mary Jane). Her origin also includes her saving Peter's life, which co-creator Ron Frenz notes is an Inversion of what happened to Peter's father figure.
      "Pete learned through the death of Uncle Ben that if he doesn't act, people die; Mayday learned in her first couple of issues that when she does act, people live. That subtle, but significant difference put her in a much more positive and proactive headspace, which was pretty much the whole vibe of the MC2 Universe."
    • In Ultimate Marvel and later 616, Miles Morales ultimately became Peter's most important Legacy Character, the first to operate in the main universe as "Spider-Man". He's unique in that his background provides a Setting Update to Peter's archetype. Brian Michael Bendis stated that if you had to imagine a Working-Class Hero underdog scrapper starting out young and teenage in New York in the 21st Century, it's a good chance that character would not be white, and so Miles is part black and part Latino. He gets to a magnet school based on lottery based on gentrification issues and how competitive and hard these schools have become for low-income families (whereas Peter in the classic era went to Midtown High and then to ESU on scholarship). Unlike Peter who is an orphan with Aunt May as his only family, Miles has both his parents (at least after he returned to 616) and an extended family so that makes him a little more well-adjusted and less neurotic. Miles also grows up in an environment and generation where his nerdy passions are encouraged and validated as opposed to Peter who was raised in a classic "jocks versus nerds" era which gives him self-esteem issues even years later.
  • The original Green Arrow, Ollie Queen, was a loud-mouthed and showy figure who had a sort of pig-headed stubbornness and cocky air about him but was still devoted to doing the right thing and helping the poor. When he died in the Nineties, Ollie was replaced with his son Connor Hawke, who had been raised in an ashram and been studying to become a monk. As a result, Connor was much more humble and reserved than Ollie, and had difficulty coping with the stardom and larger-than-life aspects of being a superhero. One particular contrast was their reaction to the ladies; Ollie was a notorious womanizer whose libido was fairly infamous among super-heroes. Connor, on the other hand, was deeply uncomfortable around women due to his upbringing and was visibly uneasy when being hit on.
  • The various Blue Beetles show this. Dan Garrett is a far more blue collar (He started as a police officer, later retconned into an archaeologist) and has magical powers at the end of his run. Ted Kord meanwhile is a billionaire CEO, Badass Normal Gadgeteer Genius. Jaime Reyes is a Hispanic teenager, who gets his powers via an Empathic Weapon super powered outfit.
  • When one is chosen to become Captain Britain, they are offered two items: the Sword of Might or the Amulet of Right. The original protagonist, Brian Braddock, chose the latter; his successor Kelsey Leigh, being more practically-minded and not understanding the significance of the items, chose the former.
  • The Flash had Wally West (The Flash III) to Barry Allen (The Flash II). Whereas Barry was an awkward nerd and a straight-laced Nice Guy who kept his secret identity, Wally was an everyman in almost all regards, but was a hothead and acted publicly as a superhero. Whereas Barry's stories mostly focused on his bumbling amazement at the events around him, Wally's tended to use the stranger side of the Flash mythos as a vehicle for character development.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): The main protagonists of this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction are Vivienne Graham and San. Compared to Godzilla from canon, who was a semi-aquatic Destructive Saviour and ancient primeval Last of His Kind well-versed in combat, with blue-themed Power Glows; the Vivienne-San Two Beings, One Body is a ground-based newborn Artificial Hybrid which is new to their abilities and goes out of their way to avoid harming humans, with a crimson-themed Power Glows. Compared to the human protagonists of the first three MonsterVerse movies; Viv and San's character arc is about forming brand new familial relationships instead of salvaging old ones, they're sociable with other characters through all their pain instead of being unhealthy loners, Vivienne is mourning the recent death of a parent figure instead of the long-ago death of a child or spouse, and San is a self-kicking Manchild who was abused in his backstory instead of being a Mangster or wallowing in Excessive Mourning.
  • In Necessary to Win, Miho Nishizumi is the main character; as you might expect, she's kindhearted, meek, open to reaching out to others, and does not see victory as the be-all and end-all. In the prequel, Paths Toward Victory, her mother, Shiho Nishizumi, takes her place as the main character, and is cold, arrogant, detached from others, and ruthlessly determined.
  • Made apparent in A Different Kind of Truth. Yu Narukami was a stoic yet all around nice guy with the talent of being perfect in everything he tried and the ability to easily make friends. Jonathan Joestar was a kind, idealistic, unselfish, and musclebound man. Johnny contrasts both by being a snarky, fundamentally selfish, cynical, self-centered, and scrawny kid who cannot move anything below the waist while also not intentionally looking forward to making friends or being with other people.
  • Lulu's Bizarre Rebellion has the Fenette family fulfill the Joestar role of Part 3. However, unlike the badass, hammy, and eccentric Joestars before her like her uncle Joseph, Shirley is a scared teenage girl. In particular, she is very different from Jotaro, who'd normally be in her role.
  • Goldstein: Anthony/Yehudah is in many ways the opposite of Harry, as he has a large, pleasant family and would rather be at home than learning to be a wizard at Hogwarts. Their Sortings are a good example of this: Harry is almost put in Slytherin and is noted to have a "thirst to prove himself," while the Hat quickly rejects the idea of putting Yehudah there, commenting that he prefers a quiet life over one of ambition. (To which Yehudah thinks, "Of course, who wouldn't?")
  • In Where Talent Goes on Vacation Akira Azuki is this to Kaori Miura. While Miura was a mild-mannered Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak who only swears once in the entire fic, Azuki is a tomboyish Jerk with a Heart of Gold with a foul mouth. Miura had a "talent" she wasn't particularly proud of, while Azuki has the highly desirable title of the Ultimate Actress. Miura, who discovered that she was a lesbian, looked up to Edogawa, eventually falling in love with her (a feeling Edogawa reciprocated). Azuki, however, is not only heterosexual, but has the highly desirable Ultimate Actress talent, and has two admirers- Nagato, whose feelings for her are platonic, and Kojima, who has an unrequited and unwanted crush on her. While Miura was unwilling to sacrifice the blackened, and gradually came to accept it, Azuki was eager to make the first culprit pay, an attitude she came to regret after seeing the first execution's brutality. In addition, while Miura serves as an Expy of Makoto Naegi, the hero and main character of the Danganronpa series, Azuki serves more of one to Kaede Akamatsu, being a Decoy Protagonist who gets executed as a blackened while providing Character Development for the true protagonist (Shuichi for Kaede, Nagato for Azuki).
  • Communication:
  • In Of Blood and Steel, which serves as a sequel to Girls und Panzer, Riko "Erwin" Matsumoto, the protagonist of the fic, is this compared to Miho in canon. In canon, Miho chose to transfer to Oarai Academy from Kuromorimine, specifically to seek out a school that does not have tankery, wanting to give it up after the backlash she faced (including from her mother) due to sacrificing victory to save the lives of one of her team's tank crews. In the fic, Riko is forced to transfer to Raven's Peak because Oarai's tuition has become too high for her mother to afford, even though Riko does not want to leave. Once at their new schools, Miho is initially reluctant to command her tank, much less the entire team, only accepting after Anzu (Student Council President and until then de facto team leader) encourages her to do so, while Riko is willing to lead the team, and ends up clashing with Jackie over leadership of the team. Miho is kind and understanding of the team, even when they make mistakes at first, whereas Riko emulates her idol, Erwin Rommel, and proposes a zero-tolerance policy toward cowards and deserters, as well as anyone who might drag the team down.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail stars Chloe Cerise, while its Prequel Infinity Train: Knight of the Orange Lily centers around Gladion Montblanc. The two contrast sharply in several ways:
    • Chloe wants absolutely nothing to do with Pokémon, resenting how her father and Goh neglect her in favor of the creatures. Gladion, meanwhile, wants nothing more than to become a powerful trainer. He enters the Train with his team while Chloe boarded alone, without Yamper or anyone else for protection.
    • Chloe leaves Vermillion City in hopes of figuring out what she wants to do with her life, creating an identity outside of being 'the Professor's daughter'. Gladion already has a firm view of himself: he's the noble knight who protected his sister through hard work and self-sacrifice. Except...
    • While Chloe is very close to her younger brother, with Parker serving as her confidant who knew her better than anyone else, Gladion's relationship with Lillie is strained by how he left her behind for years and chose to withhold vital information because he decided she was too weak to handle it.
    • Chloe dresses in white and blue, while Gladion's outfit is black and red.
  • In The Legend of Ban, a sequel fanfic to the popular Avatar: The Last Airbender series, introduces us to Ban Beifong, continuing the trend started in The Legend of Korra. Whereas Korra was brash, somewhat arrogant, and learned three of the four elements when she was four (in addition to learning she was the Avatar) Ban is laid-back, relaxed, calm and composed. He takes no offense to being bullied, and doesn't even realize he's an earthbender until his Avatar State awakens at age sixteen. Invoked by Word of God as a deliberate means to make a very Anti-Korra and Anti-Aang sort of Avatar, with an emphasis on Neutral Jing.
  • In Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises, we get an example. In the original, Marinette was a well-liked, outgoing, optimistic, yet awkward lead fitting of the show. Morgan is certainly not this, being a despised, reserved and cynical Anti-Hero.
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.: All of the members of Team L.A.S.H. are stark contrasts from the previous protagonists, the four main members of the Simpson family.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ariel from The Little Mermaid (1989) and her daughter Melody in the sequel. Ariel is a mermaid who's obsessed with the land and wants to become human, while her daughter, the main character of the sequel, is a human but is drawn to the ocean and wants to be a mermaid. They're not strikingly different in temperament, but their goals are complete opposites.
  • Wendy and Jane from Peter Pan and its sequel Return To Neverland respectively. Wendy's character arc was about learning that no matter how much she might want to stay a child, she needs to grow up eventually. Her daughter, Jane, on the other hand, grew up too fast due to World War II and needed to be reminded that she is still a child.
  • Done in Finding Nemo and its sequel, Finding Dory, where the protagonist's companion from the first movie returns as the new protagonist. The first film has Marlin, an uptight, anxiety-ridden widower and single father looking for his missing son. The second film has Dory, a carefree, scatterbrained amnesiac woman looking for her missing parents.
  • Much like Finding Nemo and Finding Dory above, Cars and Cars 2 does this with the first movie companion returning as the main character for the sequel. In Cars, the main character is Lightning McQueen, a Hot-Blooded racer who tries to get over his selfishness by spending time in a remote town called Radiator Springs. In Cars 2, the main character is McQueen's friend Mater, a ditzy tow truck who is far more sensitive then Lightning and gets involved in a spy mission. Amusingly, all four films were made by the same people.
  • Both Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University follow the duo of Mike Wazowski and James "Sulley" Sullivan, but each film puts more focus on one over the other. In Inc the focus was on Sulley, a professional scarer who realizes that frightening children was wrong while Mike was the sidekick who just wanted to get their lives back on track. In University it's flipped with Mike as the main character, a college student who dreamed being a scarer and had the brains despite lacking anything remotely scary while Sulley was The Rival who obsessed over outdoing Mike before becoming friends.
  • Emmet, Batman and Lloyd from The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie and The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Emmet, the main character of the first movie, is an optimistic and sociable Nice Guy who is so generic that even his so-called friends cannot remember anything about him and his arc focuses on him learning that sometimes you have to break the rules and stop following the crowd. Batman, the main character of the second movie, starts out as a cynical and brooding Jerkass, who, being a superhero, is treated like a well-loved celebrity and his arc focuses on him learning to work with others. Lloyd, the main character of the third movie, is the teenage son of an Evil Overlord who doesn't support his father yet is still treated as an outcast for their relation, while he moonlights as one of the city's beloved ninja heroes combating his father, and ultimately learns more of his father than the villain he presents himself as.
  • Lady from Lady and the Tramp and her son Scamp in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure. While Lady loved her life as a pet, Scamp feels restrained by it.
    • Scamp's love interest, Angel can also qualify as this to Tramp. While Tramp was initially skeptical of being part of a family and tried to convince Lady to have the same mindset, Angel desperately wants to be part of a family and urges Scamp to realize that being part of a family is the best.
  • Simba in The Lion King was excited by the prospect of becoming king and sang about how he couldn't wait to ascend to the throne. In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, his daughter Kiara says she doesn't want to be queen as it would be no fun.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The DC Extended Universe version of Batman, compared to the Christian Bale interpretation of the character. He's presented as an older, experienced Batman, whereas Bale's version had an entire film devoted to his origin. He also operates in a more fantastical world, and does not appear to have a Thou Shall Not Kill principle, unlike Bale.
    • Both modern versions of Batman differ from the version introduced in the original 1989 Batman film and its three sequels. The Michael Keaton Batman was a little more awkward and eccentric as Bruce Wayne, in contrast to the Bale and Affleck versions who were both charming, one-percenter yuppie types. A crucial difference is that, while the other two make sure to devote equal time to both Batman and Bruce Wayne, it's implied for the Keaton version that "Bruce Wayne" is little more than a mask to protect his identity as Batman, rather than the other way around. Unlike Bale, Keaton's version is fully willing to outright kill his enemies if necessary, and unlike Affleck, he's occasionally even smiled while doing it. Keaton’s Batman is himself this as well to the Adam West version of Batman from the 1960s.
  • Several characters in Jurassic World seem deliberately written to contrast similar characters from the original Jurassic Park, as Jurassic World is the first film in the series that doesn't reuse any of the principal characters from the first movie. note 
    • Claire Dearing, an emotionally distant thirty-something workaholic who meticulously obsesses over the park's profits, contrasts John Hammond, an eccentric elderly showman who starts the park to realize a personal dream. Where Hammond is a loving grandfather, Dearing is introduced as the child protagonists' aunt, and she's too devoted to her job to consider having children. Notably, Claire shares Hammond's all-white wardrobe, and she's also asked to watch two children while their parents are going through a divorce. Lampshaded by Simon Masrani in one scene, when he gets sick of Claire spewing financial figures at him.
      Masrani: When John Hammond entrusted his park to me, never once did he talk of profit. "Spare no expense!", he always said.
    • Owen Grady, a cheerful, idealistic Fluffy Tamer, contrasts Robert Muldoon, a grim, cynical Great White Hunter. Notably, both of them have special relationships with the velociraptors, but where Owen tries to train them by forming bonds based on mutual respect, Muldoon merely sees them as worthy adversaries and wants to see them all exterminated. Owen likes kids and is a former Navy man, unlike scientist Alan Grant.
    • Muldoon was trim, blunt and direct, and he wanted to kill the raptors, but Hoskins is big, superficially chummy, and wants to exploit them. Visually, Muldoon wears loose, worn, practical outdoor clothes in earth tones, while Hoskins wears an spotless, too-small earth-tone shirt, with less practical black slacks and a fussy little goatee; he's not really someone who gets his hands dirty.
    • Lowery Cruthers, a slovenly computer geek with an authority problem, is written to evoke Dennis Nedry. But while Dennis betrays his superiors for personal profit ultimately dies trying to escape the park, Lowery stays loyal to his boss and ultimately risks his life to stay behind and save Owen and Claire. Notably, Claire chews him out for having a cluttered workspace, just like Ray Arnold did to Dennis in the original.
    • Masrani is a lot more of a hands-on owner than Hammond was. While Hammond acted like the grandfather he was, Masrani is a confident - arguably a bit childish - and wants to make the park fun and profitable. When the I.Rex escapes, Masrani personally pilots the helicopter that tries to take it down. Also, Hammond actually survived his debut movie to die, presumably, of old age. Masrani not so much. In a sense, he combines Peter Ludlow's cold-blooded business pragmatism with Hammond's idealism.
  • In the prequel film to Orphan, Orphan: First Kill, there are many contradictions between the families Esther ends up with in the films, Colemans and the Albrights.
    • Tricia to Kate: The matriarch protagonists that clash with Esther. While Kate is low-functioning and more prone to distress, making her easier to manipulate by Esther, Tricia is more composed and is able to see through Esther's disguise, forcing Esther to reveal her true self and work together with her.
    • Allen to John: The oblivious patriarches and the targets of Esther's affections. While John was the only one of the Colemans to die and was an Asshole Victim, Allen was the last of the Albrights to die and was Too Good for This Sinful Earth.
    • Gunnar to Daniel: The Big Brother Bullies of the adopted Esther. While Daniel is horrified at Esther's true nature and tries to protect his sister from her, Gunnar refuses to take responsibility for his sister's murder and blackmails Esther into keeping quiet.
    • The real Esther to Max: The cute innocent girls who end up suffering by the Dark Secrets of a family member. Max looked up to Esther as a Cool Big Sis, only for Esther to abuse her into complying with her crimes and eventually tries to kill her and her family. The real Esther Albright was very close specifically to her father, only for her brother to accidentally murder her in a sibling squabble and her mother to cover it up, apparently favoring Gunnar over her.
  • James Franco's Oscar "Oz" Diggs, the protagonist of Oz the Great and Powerful, bears this relationship to Judy Garland's Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy is a pure-hearted, relentlessly optimistic farm girl who's unshakably loyal to her friends, always tells the truth, and spends the whole story eager to get back home. Oscar is a cynical Guile Hero and a master showman who uses illusions to his advantage, he spends the first act of the movie as a stubborn loner, and he ultimately elects to stay in Oz permanently as its ruler.
  • For the Alien prequel Prometheus, Ridley Scott intentionally avoided making Noomi Rapace's character Elizabeth "Liz" Shaw too similar to Sigourney Weaver's iconic Ellen Ripley. While Ripley was a working-class engineer and single mother just looking to make an honest paycheck, Shaw is a bookish archaeologist driven by her thirst for scientific knowledge, and she's romantically involved with her crew-mate.
  • The first Predator 's main character, Dutch, is a burly, patriotic commando with strict ethics who starts off with a loyal team containing a Sixth Ranger Traitor who manipulated him into doing his dirty work. Predator 2's main character, Harrigan, is a middle-aged, anti-heroic black Cowboy Cop who doesn't play well with others but is ruthless in hunting down the Predators when they come into his territory and after his people. Predators's main character, Royce is a mercenary and Blood Knight, a thin loner, doesn't care about most of the others on his "team", and at one point betrays them to flush out the Predators.
  • Star Wars:
    • The prequel trilogy showed Anakin Skywalker to be this towards his son Luke. Both are raised on desert planets, but whereas Luke had a happy family life on a farm with loving parental figures, Anakin was born into slavery with just his loving mother. Luke didn't really angst over the death of his family (he was upset, but since they continually kept him from leaving, he embraced the freedom their death granted), while Anakin's grief over losing his loved ones set him on his Start of Darkness.
    • The Force Awakens' new Power Trio (Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron) are set up as counterparts to Luke, Leia, and Han from the original trilogy in varying ways:
      • Poe is a dashing, dark-haired ace pilot with a sardonic streak, like Han, but is already dedicated to La Résistance, like Leia. Like Leia, he is also the one who is captured by the First Order.
      • Finn is a heroic everyman like Luke, and puts up a valiant effort with a lightsaber (the same one that Luke used). However, he initially wants no part of the Resistance, like Han (albeit for different reasons: Han answers only to himself, while Finn is an ex-Stormtrooper who wants to get as far away from the First Order as possible).
      • Rey is a courageous Action Girl like Leia, but her origins are closer to that of Luke's; he was a farmhand living a humble life on a desert world, while she was a mechanic eking out a living on a harsh Scavenger World, and both are interested but hesitant in taking up the Call to Adventure before getting swept into it by the end. She's also a fledgeling Jedi with a strong connection to the Force, and is much more adept with a lightsaber than Finn. She also differs from the previous female leads, Leia and Padmé, by not being royalty or from a privileged background.
      • BB-8 is a droid who serves the rebellion, like R2-D2, but as opposed to R2's tall and cylindrical "trash can" design with blue highlights, BB-8 is short and spherical with orange highlights. He's also much smaller, faster, and more agile than R2, and while R2 is primarily part of Those Two Guys with C-3PO, BB-8 works alone without another droid partner. In addition, while R2-D2 is The Gadfly who loves messing with and pranking his comrades and has little obvious affection for anyone, BB-8 is more of the Consummate Professional who spends less time joking around and shows a great deal of respect both to those around him and to R2, whom he seems to idolize. There's also the fact that R2 was mostly a Non-Action Guy while BB-8 is more of an active combatant, even hijacking an AT-ST at one point in The Last Jedi.
    • Jyn Erso continues this trend in Rogue One. Unlike the Skywalkers or Rey, she has no questions as to her origin and believes in the Force from the beginning, yet is a cynic who initially doesn't want to get involved. Ironically, despite being given a lightsaber crystal, she has no Force abilities herself and is the first protagonist in a Star Wars film to not be on the path to become a Jedi. She is also the first main hero of a film to die in the movie she first appeared in.
    • K-2SO is this for C-3PO. Threepio is a shiny golden, human-sized Non-Action Guy and Cowardly Lion, while K-2SO is a black-armored droid much taller than a human and with non-humanoid proportions who is The Big Guy of the team who seems to relish combat. Whereas Threepio is more of a polite, if stuffy presence to his allies who has a tendency to freak out in combat situations, K-2SO is a totally blunt enforcer who is distrustful of his comrades and remains unfailingly sarcastic even in the midst of battle.
    • DJ in The Last Jedi is deliberately set up in contrast to Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back. While Lando is a clean, elegantly dressed black man in bright clothing with a mustache, DJ is a shabbily dressed hobo in dull rags with scraggly Perma-Stubble played by Latino actor Benicio del Toro. Lando is a smooth-talking politician who cares deeply for the people of his city enough to reluctantly strike a deal with the Empire, whereas DJ is a total loner on the bottom rung of society's ladder, who believes that the First Order and the Resistance are essentially the same. Most crucially, while Lando comes to regret working with Vader and eventually joins the Rebel Alliance, DJ is on the heroes' side from the very beginning but betrays them without a second thought to save his own skin.
  • Similarly to the Batman example, every cinematic version of Spider-Man has made sure to make its version of Peter Parker subtly different. Tobey Maguire's version was a rather pathetic awkward nerd who developed the Spider-Man persona to win the heart of the girl he loves, and differed from his successors by using organic web-shooters. Andrew Garfield's incarnation was more of a handsome, charismatic Cool Loser and geek who had a slightly darker personality than Maguire, and started as a vigilante hunting down the man who killed Uncle Ben. His Parker was unique in that his powers had a direct connection to Oscorp. And finally, Tom Holland's performance is a young, Wide-Eyed Idealist who's inspired by the other superheroes around him to do good in the world, and shares his secret with others. Holland is also both the first Spider-Man actor who's even remotely close to Peter's actual age and the first to play him in a world where other superheroes exist. All of them have had different love interests thus far (Mary Jane Watson, Gwen Stacey, and Liz Allen (and later Michelle Jones), respectively.) All three of them even get to meet in Spider-Man: No Way Home, where the differences are made the most obvious.
  • Every cinematic version of Superman has had different interpretations over the decades, each of them having different ways to portray the Superman/Clark Kent dichotomy. Christopher Reeve's Superman was a light-hearted, old-fashioned kind of hero reminiscent of the Silver Age who merely used the Clark persona as a facade. Brandon Routh's version was mostly similar to Reeve's, albeit a bit quieter and more introspective, what with him returning to Earth after a five-year-long journey to Krypton, questioning his relevance in the 21st century and having a son out of wedlock with Lois Lane. Henry Cavill's portrayal is the most flawed and morally conflicted version of Superman, constantly mindful of the effects his actions have on humanity and questioning his place in the world. Another difference from Reeve and Routh is that Cavill portrays both Superman and Clark as the "real person", with the issue of a Secret Identity not addressed until the end of Man of Steel. In the sequel, the difference between Clark and Superman becomes a bit more obvious, with Cavill playing Superman in a stoic and patient, sometimes stern, manner, and Clark becoming more dynamic and assertive.
  • When making the 2011 prequel to The Thing (1982), the director understandably didn't want to make his protagonist too similar to Kurt Russell's memorable character. The solution was to contrast Russell's performance as an experienced, scruffy, alcoholic anti-social helicopter pilot with a young, less experienced but professional-minded female student of paleontology.
  • The Transformers Film Series seems to be headed this way with Transformers: Age of Extinction, which replaced Shia LaBeouf's long-time protagonist Sam Witwicky with the new character Cade Yeager, played by Mark Wahlberg. Where Witwicky was a middle-class suburban Kid Hero, Yeager is a middle-aged working-class single father who works as a mechanic in rural Texas. Bumblebee seems to be upholding the tradition with Charlie Watson, in addition to being the first female protagonist of the series, she's a Working-Class Hero like Cade but is only slightly older than Sam was in the first movie.
  • Ghostbusters (2016) subtly frames the members of its all-female Ghostbusters team as Foils of the team from the original 1984 Ghostbusters, resulting in them being recognizable stand-ins with their own distinct personalities.
    • Erin Gilbert to Peter Venkman. Like Venkman, she's initially the least enthused about busting ghosts, and joins the team after losing her university teaching gig. But where Venkman was a self-centered, slovenly, Brilliant, but Lazy Anti-Hero who started the Ghostbusters to turn a profit, Gilbert is idealistic, ambitious, and highly professional, and she gets into busting ghosts to help people. While Venkman was The Charmer who often used his charisma to get his way, Gilbert is the most shy and socially awkward of the group in spite of her determination and leadership skills.
    • Abby Yates to Ray Stantz. Like Stantz, she's The Heart of the group who's initially the most enthused about busting ghosts, she brings the most knowledge of the paranormal to the table, and she's known for her enthusiasm and energy. But while Stantz was somewhat reserved and shy, and had to be convinced by his friend Venkman to use his paranormal knowledge to start a business, Abby is the most confident and outgoing of the group, and she's the one who convinces Gilbert to start a paranormal investigation business.
    • Jillian Holtzmann to Egon Spengler. Like Spengler, she's The Brains of the group who brings the scientific know-how that makes busting ghosts possible, and knows much more about "hard" science and engineering than her companions. But while Egon was a stoic and somewhat emotionally stilted genius who felt more comfortable around science experiments than around people, Holtzmann is a quirky, fun-loving Bunny-Ears Lawyer who's the most laid-back of the crew, and regularly makes jokes in dangerous situations. She's also something of a Blood Knight, and tends to charge into danger faster than any of her friends.
    • Patty Tolan to Winston Zeddemore. Like Zeddemore, she's the street-smart, working-class Token Minority of the group who joins the Ghostbusters to assist on missions, despite lacking the others' specialized scientific skills. But while Winston was openly apathetic about the paranormal, and only joined the Ghostbusters because they offered him a steady paycheck, Tolan volunteers to join the team because she believes that they need her skills, and she's initially their first client after she witnesses a haunting in the New York Subway. Lampshaded, when it turns out that her uncle is played by Ernie Hudson.
  • The Godzilla franchise has this and Contrasting Sequel Antagonist with its title character: the original Godzilla was a Tragic Monster, the Showa incarnation was a villain who eventually let go of his anger and became a hero, the Heisei incarnation was an indifferent No-Nonsense Nemesis, the MonsterVerse version doesn't even seem to hate or even bear a grudge against humanity (even going out his way to avoid hurting people deliberately — unless you're arrogant enough to try to make a weapon using the skull of one of his enemies), the Godzilla of Shin Godzilla's mere existence as an radiated creature is a tragedy onto itself and the Godzilla of the anime trilogy can and will actively destroy anything in his way — and that's without getting into the Godzillas of the reboot-happy Millennium series.
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): The movie is set the same year as Assassin's Creed II: Discovery, which means Aguilar and Ezio Auditore are contemporaries. Aguilar, like Ezio, is an Assassin, wears a hood, has hidden blades and parkours his way through his city. Both Ezio and Aguilar are Multi Melee Masters and confront the Templars-led Spanish Inquisition at the time of the Granada War (Ezio does in Discovery). However, Aguilar's origins are very much a Mysterious Past while Ezio's are well established, Ezio's lavish white and red outfit reflects his Florentine nobleman origins while Aguilar's darker and more humble outfit has Moorish influences (since he comes from the Emirate of Granada). Also, Ezio didn't have one of his fingers severed during his induction in the Brotherhood, and Aguilar doesn't wear a Badass Cape.
  • Prince Akeem from Coming to America is this to both protagonists of Trading Places:
  • In A Fistful of Dollars, Joe is a laid-back, bearded man with slightly unkempt clothes who doesn't express his feelings much. In For a Few Dollars More, Colonel Mortimer is polished, well-dressed, and even more level-headed by contrast. As a Contrasting Prequel Main Character, Tuco from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is hot-tempered, impulsive, and even more unkempt than Joe. Joe himself seems to change throughout the trilogy; he's more impetuous around Mortimer and more level-headed around Tuco.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has a Contrasting Prequel Main Character in Newt Scamander to Harry Potter:
    • Harry is given insanely high expectations as The Chosen One and is forced to live up to them. Harry's son Albus is an Inept Mage who loathes the fame and prestige his family's legacy has brought him. By contrast, Newt Scamander is born to a normal wizarding family and is forced to work his way through a crappy job at the Ministry before a stroke of luck allows him to jump at the call and pursue his dream job. Additionally, Newt has a genuine love for magizoology, while Harry (along with Ron) only ever took Care of Magical Creatures as a favour for Hagrid. Also, like Harry, Newt never finished his education at Hogwarts. However, while Harry chose not to return in order to pursue Voldemort's Horcruxes, Newt was expelled after either causing or taking the blame for a life-threatening incident involving a magical creature. Furthermore, Harry began the series as a child while Newt is already an adult when we first meet him.
    • Harry also never realized / questioned Dumbledore's manipulations until the final book; the only thing Harry ever questioned him about was his continuing vouching for Snape. Newt knows Dumbledore is manipulating him, calls him out on it and demands answers (which he does get in the extended cut of "Crimes of Grindelwald").
    • Harry is an outgoing, adventure-loving Gryffindor whereas Newt is an introverted, level-headed Hufflepuff.
    • It takes Harry six years to see his Love Interest, Ginny, as more than his best buddy’s little sister. Newt takes a liking to his eventual wife, Tina, instantly.
    • Harry is an [only child (not by choice of course as he was only fifteen months old when his parents died) and Newt has a brother named Theseus.
    • Newt and Harry, however, do share some similarities. They both stick by what they believe in no matter what, don’t give in to the Fantastic Racism in the series, and are particularly close to Dumbledore.
    • Tina, oddly enough, is the most similar to Harry of the Fantastic Beasts cast. She's got a similar Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! outlook on life to him. She's an Auror who veers into being a Cowboy Cop like him. They're both dark haired half-bloods and she was in her school's equivalent to Gryffindor.
  • The Planet of the Apes series:
    • Taylor, of Planet of the Apes (1968) is a cynical, bitter Jerkass misanthrope put in the awkward position of having to argue in favour of humans.
    • Beneath the Planet of the Apes's protagonist, Brent, may seem like a Suspiciously Similar Substitute but he is consistently a lot more idealistic than Taylor - especially since Taylor has gotten a lot worse since the end of the first film. Brent is also the last human to be a protagonist in a film of the original series.
    • Escape from the Planet of the Apes focuses on the chimpanzees Doctors Zira and Cornelius, supporting characters in the previous films. Zira is hot-tempered but intelligent, assertive but loving, while Cornelius, though of comparable intelligence, is a lot more laid-back and easygoing, though as we see, both are perfectly capable of going to extreme lengths to protect those they love.
    • Conquest of the Planet of the Apes focuses on their son, Caesar, who takes almost as dim a view of humanity as Taylor did. In a franchise whose protagonists so far have been astronauts and scientists, Caesar is relatively uneducated, with a background at the circus. While his parents prided themselves on chimpanzee pacifism, Caesar ends the film by leading a violent ape revolution against human oppression. Given that he is played by Roddy McDowall, the same actor who played Cornelius in the earlier films (except for Beneath), this kind of contrast was definitely called for to prevent the characters from becoming indistinguishable.
    • Battle for the Planet of the Apes shows an older, calmer Caesar, trying to build an ideal society rather than simply tear down a bad one. This forces him to be a much more cerebral character than he was in Conquest, and he starts to increasingly resemble Cornelius by the end of it as he tries to find non-violent solutions to the problems around him, including trying to see the best in humans - something he has a lot of trouble with.
  • Sequel-remake Halloween (2018) has a counterpart for almost every character in the original film, but most of them go in entirely different directions.
    • Laurie is contrasted to her granddaughter Allyson. Laurie was shy, bookish, and spends Halloween babysitting, while Allyson spends the night at a party with friends. Laurie is mostly an Action Survivor, while Allyson actually manages to one-up all previous franchise leads by setting traps for Michael Myers.
    • Laurie's friend Vicky is set up to contrast with Annie by being a genuinely caring babysitter towards her charge. This does not save her.
    • Dr. Loomis gets split between podcaster Aaron Korey and psychologist Dr. Sartain. Korey is a Decoy Protagonist who dies in his second scene while Sartain is actually a Contrasting Sequel Antagonist for Terrance Wynn in 5 and 6, a deranged lunatic obsessed with Michael who enables his killing spree.
  • The first two Halloween films focused on Laurie, a shy teenage girl, but Halloween III: Season of the Witch's main character is a grouchy, divorced male doctor with a drinking problem.
  • James and Mary Sandin from The Purge are a suburban couple with little combat experience who initially try to stay out of The Purge rather then getting involved in it. The Purge: Anarchy, on the other hand, has Leo Barnes, a One-Man Army Anti-Hero who willingly participates in The Purge.
    • Eva and Cali also serve this to the Sandins. While both of them are Action Survivors who get involved in the Purge despite their attempts not to, James and Mary are a white middle-class husband and wife, while Eva and Cali are a Latina mother and daughter pair with a working-class background.

  • Black Jewels: Jaenelle in the main trilogy, and Cassidy in the sequel novels The Shadow Queen and Shalador's Lady.
    • Jaenelle is a Superpower Lottery winner and a mythic figure - Witch, Dreams Made Flesh, the Living Myth. This has had its downsides - in her youth, she had difficulty with basic Mundane Utility magic because her overwhelming magical strength interfered with fine control, and her parents didn't understand her powers and experiences and doubted her mental stability. She first appears in the books as a preteen child. Jaenelle becomes estranged from her biological family and her adopted father is the king of the underworld.
    • Cassidy is fairly low-powered - rank four out of thirteen according to the setting's power ranking system - and possesses no unique special powers. Her lack of overt specialness has caused her trouble in the past - she lost her first position as a Queen because her followers deserted her for someone more glamorous. Cassidy first appears in the books as a grown woman in her early thirties. Cassidy gets along well with her birth parents and her father is a carpenter.
  • Ikhsior, the protagonist of Cantata in Coral and Ivory is a former sea captain, strong and good at wrestling, that's from a well off territory and is way out of place at the Coral Palace. The protagonist of Pavane In Pearl And Emerald, Kide, is The Social Expert and is dependent on his knowledge of court manners and art to survive, with no athletic skills worth mentioning.
  • The Cosmere: Vin of Mistborn: The Original Trilogy and Waxillium (aka Wax) of The Alloy of Law. Vin started out as a mistrustful and abused Street Urchin while Wax came from a noble family and ran off to the untamed wilds to become The Sheriff. Vin is somewhat Book Dumb, but thinks quickly on her feet; Wax is more intellectual, relying more on science and plans things out. Also Marasi the female lead of Alloy contrasts Vin in that Vin is a badass Action Girl but also has some more feminine interests like dancing and dresses, while Marasi is more of a girly girl but is a member of her school's gun club and studies criminology, both of which are quite stereotypically masculine interests.
  • The title character in the Discworld novel Mort (first in the Death subseries) is a vaguely well-meaning young man who "thinks too much" about useless things (like why the sun comes out during the day, when the light would be more useful at night) and is prone to going along with things because it's easier than arguing. His daughter Susan, in Soul Music and subsequent Death books, is a highly determined and practically-minded young woman who has very strong opinions on everything.
  • Dora Wilk, of her eponymous series, is a Fiery Redhead who sees the best in everyone and is quick to make friends; by contrast, Nikita of the spin-off The Girl from the Miracles District is quiet, aloof, and distrustful.
  • In The Hobbit, Bilbo is a respectable gentle hobbit who wants nothing to do with adventures, but is prodded into it and comes back happier, having traded his reputation at home for many friends throughout Middle-earth and mostly good memories. In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo, Bilbo's cousin and adopted son, is seen as odd (even before he starts idolizing Bilbo) and very much wants to go on an adventure like his cousin; when he does, it takes a heavy physical and emotional toll on him and leaves him unable to live in peace in Middle-earth.
  • Jumanji ends with the game falling into the hands of two boys, Walter and Danny, with a tendency to start games without reading the instructions, unlike Jumanji protagonists Judy and Peter. When Walter and Danny received their own book, Zathura, said book also revealed them as more prone to arguing.
  • In Provenance, by Ann Leckie, which is a standalone spin-off from Leckie's Ancillary Justice novels, the heroine, Ingray, is deliberately the opposite in many respects of Breq, the protagonist of the Ancillary books. Whereas Breq began her series as an Experienced Protagonist and is consistently a Consummate Professional, Ingray basically starts out as The Ingenue with vivaciousness. Notably, both books start out with their main characters rescuing someone who was in storage, but whereas one of Breq's first scenes involves her effortless curb stomping attackers outside of a bar, Ingray starts out with A Simple Plan immediately unraveling, as her transporter refuses to carry her person in a box off-planet unless he gets the cargo's consent once defrosted, and shortly after that, Ingray finds out she's apparently had the wrong person broken out of jail. Further, whereas Breq is from The Empire that's an absolute monarchy essentially ruled by a God-Emperor, and her society has no gender roles but a default female pronoun, Ingray is from an oligarchic republic with multiple genders and pronouns.
  • Redwall: In Mariel of Redwall, the fourth in the series, Brian Jacques intentionally made Mariel very distinct from Matthias, Martin, and Mattimeo, the protagonists of the first three books. Most obviously he made her female, but her revenge motive and a relative dose of combat pragmatism serve to distinguish her personality. Her weapon, the Gullwhacker, is even designed to be as unlike the Sword of Martin as possible, being a disposable object (it is revealed in The Bellmaker that she keeps replacing the original) instead of an ancestral heirloom weapon. She is also very Hot-Blooded, unlike her more calmer male counterparts.
  • The works of Rick Riordan:
    • The three initial protagonists of The Heroes of Olympus are counterparts to Percy, Annabeth and Grover from Percy Jackson and the Olympians, but there are some differences. Jason is more serious and heroic compared to Percy, Leo is far more reckless and dangerous compared to mild and cautious Grover, and Piper is timider and (initially) uncomfortable in battle compared to Annabeth. Those two have an especially obvious contrast in their divine parentage, being daughters of Aphrodite and Athena, respectively.
    • In Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Magnus is more obviously this to Percy. Percy is an adept fighter who becomes a great warrior and embraces his demigod lifestyle, while Magnus is a Non-Action Guy with healing powers who accepts his new situation very reluctantly. Percy hates reading due to his dyslexia, while Magnus loves books. He's more likely to think or talk through a problem than fight, is less physically affectionate, and is generally less emotionally open and friendly. Percy spent his whole life wondering who his father was, but feels very awkward when he actually meets Poseidon; Magnus never really cared, but still went in for a hug when he first met his father. In a particularly silly example, Magnus also hates the color blue, which is Percy's favorite color.
  • Aya Tachibana, the protagonist of Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note, is constantly worrying, mildly introverted, and meticulous; while her sister Nako who stars in the Genie Team G Jiken Note spinoff is outgoing, carefree, and ditzy.
  • Tortall Universe: Each sub-series has a quite different main character from the previous.
    • Daine of The Immortals isn't as different from Alanna as the rest, but she's a Nature Hero and foreigner to Tortall who is almost exclusively a mage rather than a knight and combatant.
    • Keladry of Protector of the Small is a spiritual successor to Alanna of Song of the Lioness as a knight-in-training, but they're quite different to each other. Alanna is short, quick-tempered, quick to fight, and has a very powerful magic Gift. Kel is very tall and keeps growing (5'8" last time we see it mentioned) and quite The Stoic — while not averse to a fight, she doesn't like to if it's not needful. She's also a Badass Normal without even a sniff of magic and has Good Parents who remain quite alive throughout her books.
    • Aly of the Trickster's Duet is a Consummate Liar and The Spymaster, while the previous three ladies are quite straightforward and honorable. Her story also takes place outside of Tortall, a first in the series.
    • Beka Cooper is a commoner living in Corus' slums, and as such her life and morality is a lot messier than any of the previous protagonists, and she meets most nobles at a distance.note  She's also a Shrinking Violet who keeps a journal.
  • The Vampire Hunter D prequel series Another Vampire Hunter has the Noble Greylancer in contrast to D. While D is a half-vampire that works as a lone hunter, Greylancer is a vampire lord that rules over his own territory with armies at his disposal. Whereas D is distant, stoic and doesn't let people get too close, Greylancer is more sociable and approachable in addition to relying on his family for counsel and advice.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • In the second series, the three main protagonists are very different from Firestar: Brambleclaw, the closest comparison to Firestar, is bolder and more assertive, but he also doubts himself much more, fearing that he's destined to be like his evil father. Squirrelflight is feisty and disobedient just for the sake of it, unlike her much more serious father, despite their similar physical appearance. Leafpool is a medicine cat apprentice, rather than a warrior apprentice, following an entirely different path in life.
    • Jayfeather in the third series particularly stands out from the earlier main characters in that he's blind and that his path in life is one he actively didn't want at first.
    • Alderheart in the sixth series is, compared to other protagonists, far more sensitive, anxious, and uncertain of himself; he blames himself for everything that goes wrong.
  • In L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the protagonist Dorothy Gale was famously written as a Fish out of Water Audience Surrogate, an ordinary Kansas farm girl who finds herself whisked away to the Land of Oz by a tornado and spends the whole novel desperately trying to get home. For the first sequel, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Baum replaced Dorothy with the new protagonist Tip, a young boy who's a native of Oz, and turns out to be Ozma, the long-lost Queen of Oz, magically de-aged and gender-flipped and unaware of her true identity.
  • Star Trek: New Frontier gives us Captain Calhoun, who is far more pragmatic, almost ruthless, compared to the other Starfleet captain protagonists. In particular, he is the only person besides Kirk to pass the Kobiyashimaru test, but they used polar opposite methods: Kirk simply cheated by tampering with the testing computer, while Calhoun made the unprecedented decision to Shoot the Dog.
  • Douluo Dalu has one with each installment.
    • The first protagonist is Tang San, an extremely gifted prodigy who is living his second life after committing suicide in his first. He was born with dual spirits, an extreme rarity, and specialized in binding his opponents with his Blue Silver Grass and debilitating them with poison. He was also born into the Clear Sky Clan, one of the most powerful families in the world, which he didn't learn about until he's in his late teens as he grew up as the son of a blacksmith in a tiny village.
    • The second series' protagonist is Huo Yuhao. He's a Heroic Bastard born into the Mubai clan but was ostracized and thrown out along with his mother, who died of illness from neglect, making Yuhao swear revenge. He wasn't a natural born genius but instead stumbled upon Daydream, a 1 million-year-old Spirit Beast who wanted to help Yuhao become a god so they can both achieve immortality. In combat, Yuhao is coldly calculating and pragmatic like Tang San, but his tactics differ in that he focuses on mental attacks and the use of illusions to bewilder and crush the minds of his foes while using Absolute Ice for attack and defense.
    • The third series' protagonist is Tang Wulin. Raised by a working-class family, he's down-to-earth, cheerful, and something of a Genius Ditz, being a prodigious blacksmith. He's known for his Big Eater tendencies, being referred to as "Rice Bucket" both affectionately and derisively for being able to consume bowl after bowl of rice and toppings and his friends frequently use food as a bribe to get him to do stuff for them. He relies far more on the brute force provided by the Golden Dragon King resting within his body, creating scales along his arms for Instant Armor, but also has access to the same Blue Silver Grass used by Tang San.
  • Amaranthine Saga:
    • Tsumiko, the heroine of the first book, is an extremely powerful Beacon, who can bring the most powerful Amaranthine to their knees with the sheer brillance of her soul. However, she was raised in a highly sheltered religious school, and did not know she was a Reaver or of the existence of the Amaranthine, even post-Emergence until she was uncovered as the Hajime heir. She is an orphan with a younger brother, with whom she has an uncomplicated, loving relationship, as her sole family,allowing her to be easily folded into the world of her love interest, and she generally takes a passive role.
    • Kimiko, the heroine of the second book, has so little power she's barely a Reaver. Even her love interest describes her soul as a "tiny star," and her presence barely registers when other Reavers are in the room. She was raised as a Reaver, however, and has a highly specialized skill set that shows intimate knowledge of Amaranthine culture. Her family is large and interferring, and Kimiko has no intention of leaving them. The story is deliberately framed so Kimiko must take the active role in her courtship, and she continues to be the "public figure" in her relationship.
    • The third book's heroine, Tamiko, attempts to take a sort of medium path between Tsumiko and Kimiko, making her a middle-of-the-road Reaver, who didn't know she had any powers, but also has strong and unbreakable ties to her family, and is a take-charge kind of person forced to play a more passive role. Considering all three characters originated as Expies of Kagome, there's a surprising amount of contrast.
  • The Heartstrikers: The main character of Heartstrikers is Julius Heartstriker, a dragon who acts too much like a human. In the sequel series DFZ, the main character is Opal Yong-ae, a human who acts like a dragon (despite how much she denies it).
  • The Supervillainy Saga: Specifically, Tales Of Supervillainy: Cindy's Seven. As the first book not starring Gary Karkofsky AKA Merciless: The Supervillain without MercyTM, we see how she differs. Cindy Wakowski AKA Red Riding Hood is much more driven by whimsy, ruthless, and uncaring about collateral damage. Also, where Gary is a Papa Wolf, Cindy is a ambivalent parent at best.
  • In The Locked Tomb the main protagonist in each book is wildly different from each other. Gideon is poorly educated, vulgar, and straightforward with great physical prowess. Harrow is a feeble but studious and brilliant necromancer with No Social Skills. Nona is kindhearted and optimistic but ignorant and childlike, with a supernatural ability to read body language and understand all of them, and the only one who likes the person she is. Meanwhile from first impressions, Alecto is inhuman and wrathful.
  • Jane Austen wrote Mansfield Park to be "less light, bright, and sparkling" than Pride and Prejudice. Rather than a Spirited Young Lady like Elizabeth Bennet, Fanny Price is a Shrinking Violet who only gains a sense of true self-worth after long struggle. Mary Crawford, her rival, is like Elizabeth on the surface but without Elizabeth's willingness to undertake self-reflection and personal growth. Henry Crawford, the "wrong" suitor, does Fanny a favor out of love but it's an easy task done with the express purpose of gaining her gratitude (as opposed to Darcy making a genuine sacrifice and trying to keep it secret to avoid Elizabeth feeling obliged). Overall, the protagonists in Pride and Prejudice deal largely with faults of behavior, while Mansfield Park looks at faults of character.

    Live-Action TV 
  • American Horror Story: In keeping with the show's premise as an anthology series, every new season-long story tends to go with a main cast of core characters who are as different from the previous season's core cast as possible—often giving the actors a chance to show off their range by playing characters that deliberately contrast their previous roles in the previous seasons.
    • Murder House, a family drama set in suburban California, is told mainly from the perspective of the Harmons, a solidly middle-class nuclear family—the adulterous psychiatrist Ben, the tormented former musician Vivien, and the sardonic teenage rebel Violet.
    • Asylum, a psychological drama set in a New England mental institution, is told mainly from the perspective of the head nun Sister Jude and the wrongly incarcerated mental patients Lana Winters and Kit Walker—a closeted lesbian newspaper reporter and a working-class widower formerly in a secret interracial relationship, respectively.
    • Coven, a boarding school drama set in Louisiana, is told from the perspective of the staff and students of a boarding school for witches—most prominently the ambitious aging socialite Fiona, her estranged adult daughter Cordelia, and the teenage Girl Next Door Zoe.
    • Freak Show, a showbiz drama set in Florida, is told from the perspective of a traveling troupe of carnival performers—most prominently the eccentric singer and carnival manager Elsa, the angry young rebel Jimmy, and the sheltered conjoined siblings Bette and Dot.
    • Hotel, a mystery/crime drama set in a California hotel, is primarily told from the perspective of detective John Lowe and his family as he investigates a series of murders that turn out to be the work of a serial killer. Other primary characters include the mysterious Countess, the literal Vamp owner of the hotel and her string of eerily similar lovers, hotel staff such as manager Iris and bartender Liz, longterm residents (not all of whom are alive) and a revolving door of guests (including several real-life serial killers).
    • Roanoke really switches up the format. It presents itself as a mockumentary about the paranormal experiences of a young couple who move into a haunted house, featuring both Talking Heads style interviews with the "real life" characters and dramatizations by In-Universe actors playing them. Halfway through the season, this premise comes to an end and the story picks up in its "sequel," which brings both the "real life" people and their reenactors together in a reunion series. By the end of the season, it also features talk show segments, YouTube footage, and more, to create a Found Footage amalgamation.
  • Although Angel was a spinoff of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Until season 5) and not a sequel, Angel fits this trope well in contrast to Buffy. Serious and brooding where the original was cheerful and social, a vampire where Buffy was a human, an anti-hero where Buffy was more of a straight hero (occasional "what the hell, hero" moments excluded), solitary where Buffy was social, and generally facing adult problems like parenthood, unemployment, and legal issues, where Buffy started out in high school and only started facing adult problems in her later seasons.
  • Arrowverse: The main characters of Arrow and The Flash (2014):
    • Oliver of Arrow started out a carefree playboy, with 5 years of perpetual trauma turning him into the stoic shadowy figure he is today. As a hero, he operates mainly as a Terror Hero, preferring espionage, intimidation, and then punching his way out.
    • Barry of The Flash is The Pollyanna, rarely letting the crap in his life get him down. Barry tends to rely on his powers, usually running first and planning second. While Oliver tends to stick to the shadows and let his status as The Dreaded do the job for him, Barry actively strives to be a symbol of hope.
  • The titular protagonist of Better Call Saul is very different personality-wise to that of Breaking Bad, being a funny, colorful fast-talking con man compared to the quiet, serious science teacher Walt was. But the contrast goes further: while Breaking Bad starts with a seemingly good man tempted by evil, who eventually turns out to have been driven by pride from the very beginning, Better Call Saul is the inverse - Jimmy already screwed up and got in trouble with the law before the show begins and is now seen as a criminal by most around him. Here, the show charts his journey as he tries desperately to go good, only to be trodden on by the world and its expectations on him over and over until he slips into the drug dealer-protecting greedy lawyer he was in Breaking Bad.
  • As part of the Retool that Blackadder as a whole went through, Lord Edmund Blackadder of Blackadder II is quite different from his great-grandfather Prince Edmund from The Black Adder, and he represents the shift from broad comedy with a large scale to having sharper humor with a tighter focus. While Prince Edmund was slimy and had his moments of being a Magnificent Bastard, he was too spineless and incompetent to get anything much done; meanwhile, Lord Blackadder is much wittier and more charismatic, and is able to get out of situations with his wit more often. The following Blackadders would follow Lord Blackadder's suit with the intelligence and trademark insults, but they would contrast from each other in their own subtle ways.
    • Mister Blackadder from Blackadder the Third is much more cold and ruthless than either Edmund before him, going to much greater lengths to get what he wants or get out of trouble. Lord Blackadder would certainly act abrasive to his not-friends, Baldrick and Percy, and would screw a few people over if they tried screwing him over, but generally he was content to stay in his lane and brown-nose his social superiors to protect his social standing. Mister Blackadder, however, is much more prone to Kicking The Dog and many of the people around him wind up dead at his own hands. Much of this can be attributed to outrage over the declining fortunes of his family, who have gone from royalty to nobility to domestic servitude.
    • Captain Blackadder of Blackadder Goes Forth is the least morally-bankrupt out of all of them, especially compared to Mister Blackadder, though that's not saying much. Rather than trying to climb the social ladder like the others did, he simply wants to get out of the trenches of WWI and not die. His acts of coldness come more from weariness and genuine fear rather than being an outright bastard.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Most incarnations of the Doctor are the opposite of their previous incarnation in some large, glaring way (while other parts of the characterization shift more subtly).
      • The haughty and moody First Doctor was followed up by the Hoboish and easy-going Second.
      • Two was succeeded by the grumpy, elegant and noble Third.
      • Three was followed by the childish, scruffy and carefree Fourth.
      • Four was followed by the responsible and kindly Fifth.
      • Five regenerated into the bombastic and haughty Sixth.
      • Six became the playful and Machiavellian Seventh.
      • The Eighth Doctor was honest and romantic, in contrast to Seven's solitary scheming.
      • Unlike Eight, Nine was less trusting and more conflicted.
      • Ten was more chipper than Nine ever got but at the same time down-to-Earth and relatable to humanity more than any other Doctor...
      • ...whereas Eleven was completely alien and out of touch with conventions of any kind.
      • In-between Eight and Nine we have the War Doctor, who very deliberately refuses to call himself "Doctor", spending his life fighting the Daleks in the Time War and making some questionable choices. "The Day of the Doctor" contrasts his grizzled, mature attitude to Ten's regretfulness and Eleven's playful forgetfulness.
      • The transition from Eleven to Twelve is fairly explicitly this — where the light-hearted and confident Eleven effectively was an old professor in a young man's body, the brooding and self-doubting Twelve is best described as an edgy and cheeky teenager who happens to look like an old man.
      • Thirteen, besides being the first female incarnation, is much more cheerful than the grouchy, irascible Twelve, showing the marked childlike glee of someone who Jumped at the Call, with a mixture of Four's childish attitude and Ten's scruffy good cheer, and with a personality that seems much goofier, more enthusiastic, and more awkward than any in a long time. Her first official outfit is markedly more colorful and casual than any NuWho Doctor yet (complete with rainbow-strap suspenders), and she ends the trailer with a megawatt smile and "Right then, this is gonna be fun!"
        Thirteen: So if I asked, really, really, nicely, would you be my new best friends?
    • Done peculiarly in the Fourth Doctor's first season — half of the creative team wanted to differentiate the new Doctor by making him lighten up and be wackier after such a serious previous Doctor, and the other half wanted to differentiate him by making him darker and more brutal after such a noble previous Doctor. It is a real testament to the ability of Tom Baker and Robert Holmes that they managed to pull off both, at the same time.
    • Certain companions were replaced with their complete opposites:
      • The First Doctor's "granddaughters": first a dark-haired, cautious, weird, ethereal girl, then a blonde-haired, outgoing, perky Nightmare Fetishist. Both were Impossible Genius girls from utopian future civilizations, so the replacement was a not-too-bright 1960s woman who implicitly came from a broken home.
      • Liz Shaw, an intelligent, astute and ambitious scientist, was replaced with the ditzy, undereducated and scream-prone Jo (who nevertheless would clobber bad guys with heavy objects). This was done because it was felt Liz was too strong a Doctor substitute. Then the writers realized how anti-feminist this looked and replaced the gentle and compliant Jo with a bright and hot-tempered journalist who would shout back at the Doctor.
      • The Fourth Doctor's companions: Sarah Jane Smith, a clued-in but physically delicate Muggle Best Friend, was substituted with Leela, an intelligent but undereducated Nubile Savage who the Doctor tended to pick on as an inferior and who specialized in intuition and violence. Then she was replaced with Romana, the Doctor's superior in intelligence but with less life experience. Then Romana, so competent that she often took charge and had the Doctor learning from her, got subbed out for Adric, also a genius alien but a young boy instead of an adult woman, and who the Doctor was raising as a protégé.
      • The concept for Ace was basically "the exact opposite of Mel". Mel was a girly, garishly-dressed Damsel Scrappy who nagged the Doctor into improving his health, whereas Ace was a punky tomboy who lived on a council estate and blew things up with homemade explosives.
      • Rose, a blonde working-class shopgirl in a life slump, is replaced by Martha, a black middle-class medical student with an ambitious personality. Both of them fall in love with the Doctor, so the next one, Donna, repeatedly states that she finds the Doctor unattractive. She's also snarkier and more assertive than both of the other two combined.
      • Clara Oswald is a Caucasian nanny/teacher who's addicted to travel and adventure and recklessly brave; in short, she's the Doctor's Distaff Counterpart. An outside force arranges for them to be brought together because of the trouble their similarities can cause and possibly to fulfill an apocalyptic prophecy, and Clara ends up directly affecting his lives more than any previous companion — to the point that he first seeks her out based on what she has already done from his perspective — evolving into one of his few canonical love interests, albeit a platonic one. Eventually, the Twelfth Doctor is forced to let her go for good, and goes on to fulfill another romantic relationship with not-quite-companion River Song, whose whole existence emerged from his (as she is the child of two of his companions, conceived in the TARDIS, and kidnapped and raised to kill him).
      • After these relationships moved by cosmic forces, Twelve meets Bill Potts, a black cafeteria worker who just gets swept up in his adventures, and is first and foremost a curious soul who needs easing into his world. Bill is also the first overtly LGBT companion in the show's history (unless you count Jack Harkness), and as such she and the Doctor obviously have no interest in each other, instead of having a strictly platonic Professor-Student relationship.
  • Ryuga Dougai, the bearer of the GARO title from GARO: The One Who Shines in the Darkness, is hotheaded, emotional and socially outgoing, but inexperienced in battle. Whereas Kouga Saejima, the main character from the original GARO series is stoic, almost always ahead of his enemies, but socially detached. Happens again with GARO: Makai no Hana. Raiga Saejima, the son of Kouga and Kaoru, combines both Kouga and Ryuga's aspects: he is a very caring and warm person who is generally good with people, but at the same time he also dedicated his duty and responsibility as a Makai Knight.
  • In most Kamen Rider shows, each year's show will have a notably different protagonist.
  • Kung Fu (1972) takes place in the Wild West, where Caine is alone Walking the Earth. Kung Fu: The Legend Continues takes place in contemporary Vancouver. The job of Protagonist is split between Kwai Chang Caine II (the Identical Grandson of Kung Fu's Caine) and his son Peter, a police detective. "I'm not my father. I don't do kung fu. I'm a cop, that's who I am, that's what I do."
  • Detective Inspector Sam Tyler of the original BBC series Life On Mars was the calmer By-the-Book Cop to Gene's Cowboy Cop. Detective Inspector Alexandra Drake of the spinoff Ashes to Ashes (2008) is less by the book and more Tsundere Lady Drunk.
  • Nick Amaro of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit was initially set up as this for Stabler after Stabler left the show, being more of a Guile Hero in contrast to Stabler's more violent approach. However, within a few seasons, Amaro's character ended up getting the same treatment as Stabler (who, though many forget it, wasn't short-tempered and aggressive at first either).
  • Victor from Love, Victor deliberately is one to Simon from Love, Simon not so much in personality, but in how their home lives and external circumstances affect their coming outs. Whereas Simon came from a well-off white family who were completely accepting of him being gay, Victor comes from a working class Latino family with more "traditional" cultural values.
  • Mako Mermaids: An H₂O Adventure writes several characters to be Foils to their counterparts in H₂O: Just Add Water.
    • The mermaid trio of H₂O are human girls who accidentally become mermaids. The mermaid trio of Mako Mermaids were natural-born mermaids who deliberately turn themselves into humans.
    • In the case of the male leads, Lewis is a bumbling science nerd and a Muggle Best Friend to the mermaid trio who never bothered trying to gain powers, despite knowing how. Zac is a skilled athlete who accidentally becomes a merman, and does his best to swallow up all the power he suddenly has.
    • Evie is written as an anti-Charlotte of sorts, being a rival girl to one of the mermaid trio who ends up becoming a mermaid. Unlike Charlotte, Evie wins her Love Triangle, becomes a mermaid unintentionally, and becomes friends with the mermaids.
    • In a similar vein, Erik is the anti-Will. The two of the are Secret Chasers who become the boyfriend of one of the mermaid trio, and have a very pushy way of getting what they want. The difference is that Will is a human boy who didn't intend to cause trouble, while Erik is a merman willing to trample over the other characters to achieve his goals.
  • Due to the "Fresh cast" approach Power Rangers has, this is usually a given for the ranger who's generally the main focus of the season. (I.E. the red ranger)
    • Power Rangers in Space: Andros is a stark contrast to the previous four Red Rangers Jason, Rocky, Tommy and T.J. While the previous four were humans from Earth, Andros is a Human Alien who takes some time to adjust to Earth customs. Andros is also less friendly and sociable with his team than the other four were. And while T.J, Andros's direct predecessor, was a black man with a Bald of Authority, Andros is a Long-Haired Pretty Boy.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy: Leo is a Rookie Red Ranger as opposed to Andros who is more experienced. While Andros was an alien living on Earth, Leo is a human traversing into space. Finally, Leo's main zord is a lion while Andros's zord was modeled after an astronaut.
    • Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue: Unlike Leo, Carter already has a job as a public servant even before he becomes a Red Ranger. While Leo's main weapon is a sword, Carter tends to go for his gun in battle more often. Leo's zord was a lion while Carter's is based on a fire truck.
    • Power Rangers Time Force: Wes is an Idle Rich compared to Carter who as a firefighter was more of a Working-Class Hero. While Carter's zord was based on a modern vehicle of the present, Wes's zord was a futuristic jet. Also, Wes is not the leader of the team unlike Carter.
    • Power Rangers Wild Force: Unlike previous Red Rangers, Cole has no familiarity with modern civilization. He's a Rookie Red Ranger like Wes but Cole becomes The Leader a role Wes never took.
    • Power Rangers Ninja Storm: Shane is raised in modern civilization unlike Cole. Where Cole was associated with the element of fire, Shane possesses the power of air. Cole's zord was a lion while Shane's zord is a hawk. While Cole's parents where killed prior to the events of the series, Shane's family is still alive and his fear of disappointing them is focused on in one episode.
    • Power Rangers: Dino Thunder: While Shane, Tori and Dustin where already friends before becoming Rangers, Connor, Kira and Ethan were from completely different social circles. While the Ninja Storm Rangers were Ninja students trained in martial arts and elemental magic, the Dino Thunder Rangers are ordinary high school students who receive their martial arts and civilian powers from their Dino Gems.
      • The Dino Thunder team are also a contrast to the original MMPR team. While the MMPR team where friends from the beginning the Dino Thunder team never interacted with each other until becoming Rangers. While the Mighty Morphin team were idealistic and heroic to a rather unrealistic degree, the Dino Thunder Rangers are more believably flawed. This is best displayed in "The Passion of Conner" in which Conner pretends to be into environmentalism to impress a girl he's attracted to. The original MMPR team where genuinely interested in environmentalism and other activities that benefited their community when they weren't being Rangers.
    • Power Rangers S.P.D.: Like in the previous season, the Rangers are a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. But this time the Rangers are a mixing of two groups of friends; Sky, Syd and Bridge were SPD graduates while Jack and Z were former thieves who were recruited into being Rangers. While the Dino Thunder team were mostly teenagers, the SPD team are mostly young adults. Finally, the SPD team's civilian powers are a result of being born from parents who were involved in a science accident.
    • Power Rangers Mystic Force: Like Jack, Nick is an orphan but Nick got adopted. While Jack is an empowered human, Nick is a Human Alien from the Magic World. Jack's powers and season have a sci-fi bent while Nick's powers and season are steeped in magic and fantasy tropes. Nick is also less of a Determinator than Jack.
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive: While Nick is a Reluctant Hero, Mack is an Ascended Fanboy who has dreamed of a life adventure and jumps at the chance to be a Power Ranger. While Nick is a human, Mack is revealed to be a robot making him the first Ranger in history to be an inorganic life form.
    • Power Rangers Jungle Fury: Casey is a human unlike Mack who started out as a robot. While Mack mostly embraced being a Red Ranger with enthusiasm, Casey has doubts about his place as a Ranger and his arc is about him growing as a hero.
    • Power Rangers RPM: The Red and Black Rangers both contrast Casey. Scott the Red Ranger is a Standardized Leader compared to Casey. Dillon is The Lancer and is something of a cynical Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Dillon also has some similarities to Andros from In Space in that both of them are loners who have to learn to work with the team and have missing siblings. But Dillon is a cyborg while Andros is a human alien.
    • Power Rangers Samurai: Jayden is a modern day Samurai in contrast to Scott who is an air force pilot. Jayden is also much more aloof than Scott and their differences are played up in the episode where Scott teams up with the Samurai Rangers. Both have a sibling but while Scott's brother died at the beginning of the series, Jayden's is alive and her existence is kept a secret.
    • Power Rangers Megaforce: Jayden and Troy are a downplayed example as they have the same personality. The main difference is that Jayden was born into being a Ranger while Troy was selected by the Big Good.
    • Power Rangers Dino Charge: Tyler is more emotive than Jayden and Troy both of whom were The Stoic. Tyler is also a Rookie Red Ranger unlike the previous two, Jayden being the inversion.
    • Power Rangers Ninja Steel: Brody and Tyler both had fathers who vanished but while Tyler lived on Earth, Brody was abducted by aliens.
    • Power Rangers: Beast Morphers: Devon fell into being a Power Ranger by accident while seeking out another goal like Leo, contrasting him with Brody, who basically had to be a Ranger to survive due to the circumstances he was stuck with. Both have Daddy Issues, but Brody's concern was a missing father, while Devon's is present, but unimpressed with him.
    • Power Rangers Dino Fury: While Devon was a normal human from Earth who stumbled into being a Ranger, Zayto is an alien who was a Ranger prior to the events of the series. This makes Zayto similar to Andros just as Devon is similar to Leo.
  • Resurrection: Ertuğrul: Although Ertugrul Bey serves as the central protagonist for the series in general, he can be easily contrasted with Tugtekin Bey from season 2. Whereas Ertugrul is stoic and clever, Tugtekin constantly lashes out at others and displays zilch patience in most situations, even prompting the resident Big Bad to give him the moniker of “Fiery Boy.”
    • Aliyar to Tugtekin. While the latter is known to constantly butt heads with Ertugrul, the former is the polar opposite; a prudent-minded individual who isn’t one to take the initiative first, preferring to think carefully about the situation at hand and never once does he think about displaying aggression toward Ertugrul, even after his brother Ural convinces Candar and Aslihan (Father and sister) to believe that Ertugrul is a menace to the Cavdars.
    • In terms of Elder Tribal Heads, there are many details that contrast the brother duo of Suleyman Shah and Korkut Bey. Whereas Suleyman shows nothing but praise for his son Ertugrul, Korkut attempts to execute his nephew after believing he murdered his son Tugtekin, only stopping after Tugtekin is brought to him alive.
  • Schmigadoon!: With most of the season 1 cast returning for season 2 to play new characters in the new setting of Schmicago, some of their new roles are wildly different from those they played on Schmigadoon. The change that stands out the most is that of Alan Cumming, who goes from playing the gentle and poised mayor Aloysius Menlove, to the deranged and vengeful butcher Dooley Blight.
  • Star Trek:
    • Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation compared to Kirk of Star Trek: The Original Series. Kirk is more adventurous and action prone, Boldly Coming and more likely to dive and be at the forefront of any situation. Picard, on the other hand, is more diplomatic, older, more reserved and philosophical. He's also more prone to delegate to his subordinate, almost never going on away missions - unlike Kirk.note  Also unlike Kirk, Picard does not generally mingle in his free time with his bridge crew. That's why the final scene of the series, where he finally joins their weekly poker game, feels so meaningful. Kirk, however, would regularly play chess with Spock or spend time with Bones, going on shore leave with Scotty. Curiously, they also have inverted backstories; Kirk was studious and straight-laced when in the academy, though once he graduated he cut loose and became a casual and easygoing, playing fast and loose with the rules. Picard is a Former Teen Rebel who was an infamous skirt-chaser until a near-fatal injury got him to shape up and become the fastidious and intellectual Gentleman Adventurer we all know and love.
    • Data and Spock have a conversation in Unification II showing how they also are an example of the trope, as each's nature is what the other seeks to achieve.
      Spock: Remarkably analytical and dispassionate, for a human. I understand why my father chose to mind-meld with him. There's almost a Vulcan quality to the man.
      Data: Interesting. I have not considered that. And Captain Picard has been a role model in my quest to be more human.
      Spock: More human?
      Data: Yes, Ambassador.
      Spock: Fascinating. You have an efficient intellect, superior physical skills and no emotional impediments. There are Vulcans who aspire all their lives to achieve what you've been given by design.
      Data: You are half human.
      Spock: Yes.
      Data: Yet you have chosen a Vulcan way of life.
      Spock: I have.
      Data: In effect, you have abandoned what I have sought all my life.
    • Sisko of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine compared to Picard. Picard is the quintessential Officer and a Gentleman, being content to look at the big picture in a given situation, while Sisko is much more of a front-line officer, and is more willing to get his hands dirty and deal with problems directly. Notably, Sisko is also the first Star Trek protagonist with a family (he's a widower and a single father), meaning that he's also far less stoic and objective than Picard, and is more likely to get emotionally involved in situations since he knows that he has a son to protect and because he had to endure losing his wife in a previous battle. And while Kirk and Picard were idealists who took the high road whenever possible, even when it cost them, Sisko will always Shoot the Dog if it gets the job done or saves lives. It's not that Sisko is unprincipled or doesn't believe in the Federation's ideals, but rather that he's more acutely aware the price those ideals may exact from his subordinates and those around him. Also, as shown by the above page quote, he has much less patience for mind games; while Picard would verbally engage Q with Shakespearian quotes, Sisko just punched him when Q dared him to.
    • The same pattern holds true when comparing Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager to Sisko. While both had inclinations in both command and technical directions, Sisko was a full-time command officer who would occasionally do engineering work, while Janeway had spent long enough at the science officer's desk that she was doing double duty for about half of Voyager. Sisko, as discussed above, was focused on doing what he had to do, while Janeway cared about Starfleet ideals to an almost unhealthy degree. Sisko had a very low tolerance for many groups of adversaries, while Janeway was more diplomatic most of the time, even negotiating with the Borg.
    • Archer of Star Trek: Enterprise appears to borrow some traits from all his predecessors (from our viewpoint, he actually predates them all if going by the setting's timeline). Being the captain of the only friendly ship in unexplored space, he's more of a pathfinder like Kirk or Janeway and is frequently forced to make do with whatever resources he had on hand rather than relying on any other Federation/Earth ship/station. His diplomatic skills skirt between reasonable (he is responsible for kick-starting what will become the Federation) and explosive (especially when concerning Vulcans, with whom he has a personal score to settle). Being an explorer also means that he has probably the worst luck among any of the Captains. He also makes some ethically questionable decisions, such as withholding a cure from a dying species and resorting to piracy in order to complete his objective. He's also not bound by any Federation rules since the Federation doesn't exist yet, so he makes up rules as he goes.
    • Star Trek: Discovery:
      • Michael Burnham is the first Star Trek main protagonist who's not in command of a ship or a station ( until the end of Season 3). Having been raised as Spock's adoptive sister, she's the first Trek main character not to grow up on Earth. As a human raised on Vulcan, in some ways she has more in common with other Trek series' "outsider" characters (Spock, Data, Odo, the Doctor, etc.) than their captains.
      • This is later presented with the show's version of Captain Christopher Pike, Kirk's immediate predecessor on the Enterprise. Unlike Discovery's previous captain, Gabriel Lorca, Pike is much more open and friendly with his crew, willing to hear them out, and goes to great lengths to keep them safe. In stark contrast, Lorca was aloof with his crew at best, showed little regard for their personal safety, and was more or less using them for his own ends. Oh, and there's the little detail that Lorca was really his fascist Mirror-Universe counterpart, trying to get the Discovery crew to his own universe so he can stage a coup against the Emperor for not being evil enough, while Pike is the epitome of Starfleet's ideals and is a genuine Nice Guy (but Good Is Not Dumb, and he's certainly not happy about Starfleet using Section 31 to do dirty work across the galaxy).
    • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds in many way bucks the trend and averts the trope. Pike shares many traits with Kirk (his chronological successor). He's affable, he's close to his crew, he's a moral man but also a bit of a womanizer who never settled down. He's not big on protocol. He's absolutely not above getting into a brawl. It's easy to see how Spock, who got along well with Pike, would get equally well with Kirk. This of course makes even more sense on a meta level: Pike being the captain from the original pilot episode of Star Trek is essentially the original draft of the character that would become Kirk - and Kirk is his Suspiciously Similar Substitute. Pike is also shown to share many traits with previous series protagonists. He's a fan of old objects, owning a 20th century TV, which recalls Picard's passion for archeology. He's a great cook who loves to make food for others, like Sisko. He watches black and white 60s science fiction, which parallels Tom Paris who enjoys the same. He rides horses like Kirk and Picard do. He even lives in a wooden home that would not look out of place next to Riker's home in Star Trek: Picard. All this serves to make Pike not a contrast to previous show, but more of a callback to all these characters, setting him up as almost a distillation of what is a Star Trek Captain. Which of course fits in with Strange New Worlds being intended as a series that goes back to the roots of original Trek.
  • Super Sentai display this every so often, with crossover movies highlighting the differences:
  • HBO's Watchmen TV series features a cast of legally sanctioned superheroes employed by a city police department, while the superheroes in the original graphic novel were vigilantes who operated outside the law; most of the superheroes in the original were also depicted as quixotic dreamers or deranged psychopaths who became superheroes for purely personal reasons, while the superheroes in the TV series are explicitly just police officers who wear masks to protect their identities. This is most obvious with the protagonist Angela Abar ("Sister Night"), who contrasts Dan Dreiberg ("Nite Owl"), arguably the closest thing that the original had to a protagonist; while Dan was a pudgy, lonely, bookish nerd from a wealthy family, Angela is a tough, streetwise detective, as well as a Happily Married working-class immigrant with two children.


  • The Adventure Zone: Amnesty plays this straight with Duck, a Comically Serious straight man who just wants to be normal and fights through survival knowledge and brute strength, about as different from the Camp TV celebrity wizard Taako as it's possible to be. Justin even notes explicitly in one episode that he deliberately made Duck a Bad Liar to contrast Taako, whose main solution to problems (other than running away) was to lie his way out of it. However, Ned still has a lot of similarities with Merle (while he's notably less scatterbrained, they still both have a fondness for barely plausible bullshitting), and Aubrey's differences to Magnus mainly run skin deep, both being impulsive, big-hearted friendly folk who love animals. Naturally, some of this is due to actor bleed — Travis has ADD, which naturally affects how he plays his characters, and Clint is always going to be at least a little forgetful. Justin however deliberately tries to make characters unlike himself - in one The The Adventure Zone Zone, he says this is a lifelong habit, and guesses that it comes from his difficulty finding fictional characters who are fat like he is.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Subverted with Ring of Honor and its sister promotion Full Impact Pro. The wild and party happy Homicide was a very different champion than the stern technicians that were Low Ki, Xavier and Samoa Joe, more concerned with maiming people than proving anything or earning respect, but Homicide lost the FIP title to Bryan Danielson, who was closer to the mold of the previous ROH title holders and then Danielson lost the ROH belt to Homicide. In the Tag Team divisions, the split lasted a little longer with ROH's teams being comparatively less comical and more focused on technique and respect(or lack there of in the case of Special K) but they were brought in line with the fifth team to become champions both in ROH and FIP, The Briscoes.
  • SHIMMER's first five singles champions were all unrelenting nigh invulnerable wrestlers who bent and pulverized their opponents in very direct manners and required similarly dreaded wrestlers or particularly skewed odds to defeat. By contrast, the first five singles champions of sister promotion SHINE were all unlikely ones that relied on shameless cheating or subtle ingenuity to stay undefeated. There was not as clear of a contrast between the tag team champions though.
  • Compare the first ROH Top Prospect Mike Bennett, a CM Punk wannabe in the ring who was famously dedicated to his significant other with 2013 ROH Top Prospect Matt Taven, a wannabe pretty boy, Casanova Wannabe and Dirty Coward with the 2014 Top Prospect Hanson, a somewhat stocky, hotheaded, No-Nonsense Nemesis. Taven relied on trickery and connections on his path to success, Hanson took runner-up Raymon Rowe with him and pummeled his way to the top of the tag team division, rolling over Taven in the process. The 2015 ROH Top Prospect Donovan Dijak, a towering man who wrestles like a scaled up super junior with the 2016 Top Prospect Lio Rush, a man too small to technically qualify as a junior heavyweight yet strives to wrestle like one anyway. Dijak would turn down his promised television spot for a failed run in the tag team division while Rush would be denied his and instead go straight after the world champion after which Prince Nana's manipulations would lead to him and Dijak switching places.
  • WWE does this in regards to their top guys every era:
    • Bob Backlund was a small guy who emphasized technical wrestling, as opposed to the strongman stylings of Bruno Sammartino.
    • Hulk Hogan returned to the powerhouse-oriented wrestling of Sammartino, but Hogan would be portrayed as a cartoonish superhero rather than the more realistic presentation of Sammartino and Backlund.
    • Bret Hart was a technical wrestler who was often portrayed as an underdog, unlike the seemingly invincible Hogan. His matches were generally considered more attractive to wrestling purists than Hogan's were.
    • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was a trash-talking rule-breaking brawler who was hardly meant to be a role model for children, but instead an avatar of the angst of the Attitude Era.
    • John Cena marked a return to the tradition of clean-cut top faces. He roughly played a similar role to Hogan, but showed signs of vulnerability and weakness much more frequently.
    • CM Punk and Daniel Bryan were stars who made their names on the indie circut and fought their way to the top, ofthen against the McMahons' wishes, in contrast to Cena who's always been the "golden boy" of the company.
    • Roman Reigns is a return to stars who directly got Vince McMahon's stamp of approval. He has usually been booed similarly to Cena, but while Cena was noble and rule-abiding, Reigns was more of a snarky jerk.
    • Becky Lynch was a heel who was widely popular with fans and almost always cheered, forcing WWE to turn her face, unlike Reigns who as a babyface was very unpopular and heavily booed.
    • Drew McIntyre and Cody Rhodes were two midcarders who got mismanaged during their first WWE run and found redemption when they were released, competing in the independent circuit and other main companies before making a stellar return to WWE as the top Faces. Both McIntyre and Rhodes serve as the contrast to Reigns and Lynch, who are now the top Heels.

  • In many ways, Albus Potter is the inverse of his father in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Harry grows up unaware of the wizarding world, is sorted into Gryffindor, and becomes a popular and talented wizard with great skill on a broom. Albus, by contrast, grows up in the wizarding world with two famous parents, gets sorted into Slytherin, and ends up a bullied Inept Mage who's rubbish on a broom.
  • Though by no means sequels, it's easy to draw comparisons between In the Heights's Usnavi and Hamilton's Alexander Hamilton. Usnavi is a tongue-tied, awkward shopkeep with no big ambitions in life besides returning to his home island in the Caribbean. Compare that to Hamilton, charming ladies' soldier-cum-Secretary-of-Treasury who wants to make a name of himself with no desire to visit his Caribbean birthplace. Of course, there are similarities: both were played by Lin-Manuel Miranda, both have Motor Mouth tendencies, and both are concerned with legacy and who will tell their story (which naturally are important themes in both shows).

  • Toa Tahu, leader of the heroes in BIONICLE's first saga, was a fiery, impulsive hothead, always wanting to prove himself and compete with his fellow Toa. Toa Vakama from the second saga (actually a prequel) was insecure, perpetually angsty, but more controlled and calculating, although still ruled by his emotions. Toa Jaller from the third saga deliberately invoked this trope, having learned from Tahu's and Vakama's mistakes, so he was more level-headed and confident in his approach, but willing to listen to others. Also, Tahu and Vakama both struggled to keep their team together and act as a leader, whereas Jaller was already a respected Captain and friends with his team members prior to becoming a Toa.

    Visual Novels 
  • Not a sequel, but a prequel: The protagonist of Fate/stay night, Shirou Emiya, is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is dragged into the 5th Holy Grail War. In Fate/Zero, his adoptive father Kitsurugi Emiya is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who willingly enters the 4th Holy Grail War.
  • The protagonist of Akai Ito, Hatou Kei, is a timid, unassertive girl who constantly needs to be protected by her girlfriend(s). Her cooking is also honest-to-the-gods awful. Cue the sort-of sequel Aoi Shiro, where the protagonist, Osanai Syouko, is a clear-headed captain of an all-girl kendo team with a very good sense of culinaire— good enough to exceed the girl that she must constantly protect.
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: Protagonist Makoto Naegi is idealistic, non-confrontational, and a little naive, and in awe of his fellow classmates' talents that helped them get into Hope's Peak Academy since his own talent is rather mundane in comparison (Super High School-Level Good Luck, due to being picked from a lottery to be able to attend the school).
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Hajime Hinata is more cynical, outspoken, and sarcastic, and despite being unable to remember what his talent is he treats his classmates more or less as equals, while at the same time being more wary of them.
    • Komaru Naegi, Makoto Naegi's little sister and protagonist of the series' Gaiden Game Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls, sets herself apart from her brother and Hinata by being very emotionally fragile, requiring constant moral support to keep her from giving up (which she very nearly does a few times).
    • The tradition continues in Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, with Kaede Akamatsu, the main series' first female protagonist. Kaede openly seeks the role of leadership in her group, something her predecessors never did. She also seems to be more of a Genki Girl, in contrast to Makoto and Hajime who often play Only Sane Man to their classmate's antics. She also serves as an internal contrast to Shuichi Saihara, the game's second main character, who in many ways is a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Makoto and Hajime. Kaede is executed at the end of Chapter 1, and Shuichi takes the main role for most of the game.
  • The Science Adventure series tends to have fairly distinct protagonists. Chaos;Head has Classical Anti-Hero Takumi Nishijou who is pretty much a cowardly otaku who takes awhile to gain motivation. Steins;Gate's Okabe retains some loser traits due to his Chuunibyou antics but is portrayed as much more confident in his ambitions, at least until the plot rears its head.
  • The first two main characters in the Ace Attorney games, Phoenix Wright and Apollo Justice, are young men who are hilarious in their attempts to be serious, are able to bluff their way through nervous moments pretty well, and who have pretty unremarkable backstories (until Apollo's backstory was elaborated upon in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice). Athena Cykes is a young woman who is more of an obvious Cloudcuckoolander Butt-Monkey who occasionally locks up in terror and who has a very Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Yashiki, the protagonist of Spirit Hunter: Death Mark, is a gaunt, middle-aged man with amnesia and a proclivity towards the supernatural. Akira, the protagonist of the sequel Spirit Hunter: NG, is instead a high-school brawler who's practically-minded and unfamiliar with the supernatural. This is shown most clearly with their respective spiritual files; Yashiki's notes are detailed and written like journal entries, whilst Akira's are crude, laconic scrawls.
  • Genba No Kizuna, a prequel to Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair has its main character, Keiichi Genba, contrast with the latter's protagonist Raiko Shinpuku. Raiko was a middle schooler who finds herself in a murder mystery by chance(and helped save a wrongly accused shoplifter in the past), while Genba is an adult and a police officer whose job it is to solve crimes. Raiko was The Stoic and one of the more mature members of the cast, albeit with some Not So Above It All moments, while Genba is more emotional, often comedically so, and is sometimes irresponsible. Raiko was, at minimum, acquainted with her fellow guests at the Halloween party she attends, whereas all of the witnesses and most of the other police officers are strangers to Genba.
  • In the beginning, the protagonists of Key/Visual Arts visual novels didn't vary much - Yuuichi, Yukito and Tomoya were each reserved, snarky cool guys who eventually warm up to their sweet love interests. Tomoya takes the archetype further, being more openly brooding and an outright Gadfly at times. Then they released Little Busters!, whose protagonist Riki is shy and ill and starts off with a group of friends he's extremely close to, and whose arc is less about opening up and more about gaining strength and independence (though he remains a First Person Snarker). Then they made Rewrite, which escalates Kotarou's Gadfly-ness to far above Tomoya's levels, and who unlike any who came before is an extremely outgoing and energetic character who can be a bit of a Butt-Monkey.
  • Heaven Will Be Mine is the Non-Linear Sequel to We Know the Devil, and its trio of main characters all can be considered contrasting characters to its predecessor's main trio:
    • The cocky, flirty Saturn contrasts Jupiter from We Know The Devil.Jupiter was a Broken Ace who was almost effortlessly good at things, but she was also riddled with insecurities and self doubt, and tried to be the good girl even though she didn't really believe she was one. Saturn, by contrast, is a reject who knows she's awful at things, but keeps trying to win by cheating, and openly embraces being bad. In the Golden Ending of We Know the Devil, Jupiter is the most reluctant of the three to embrace the Devil, only doing it when the others assure her that it's permanent and there's no way back. By contrast, Saturn is the one advocating for eversion, and convinces the other two when they get reluctant.
    • The sweet, seemingly-flawless Pluto contrasts Neptune from We Know The Devil. Neptune was a person who viewed the world with suspicion, and could be abrasive and angry to people, while kind and compassionate to those close to her, but ultimately viewed herself as a rotten person. Pluto has the same insecurities, but decided to assume the best of everyone. Unfortunately, by being perfect and kind all the time, when she genuinely does try to confide in people, it gets immediately brushed off since she's supposed to be effortlessly perfect.
    • The aloof, distant Luna-Terra contrasts Venus from We Know The Devil. Venus was a very timid and naive person who had a tendency to go along with whatever everyone else was doing, eager to please, and was looked down on by others for it. Venus was also more awkward when it came to romance than Neptune or Jupiter, and she didn't even realize she was transgender until the Devil brought it out. Luna-Terra is a celebrated ace, but holds herself at a distance, drifting from faction to faction as the gravity pulls her, never really being trusted or seen by people, all while leaving a trail of broken hearts all across the solar system.

    Web Animation 
  • Played with in Red vs. Blue with Agent Washington. Wash is introduced in Season 6 as a more serious, disciplined soldier to contrast with the more cynical Reds and Blues. Unlike other examples of this trope, Wash didn't replace the Reds and Blues, but became the Only Sane Man among their ragtag band of idiots.
  • Hazbin Hotel and Helluva Boss:
    • Charlie, the protagonist of the former, is an upbeat, loving and sweet demon that looks the most human-looking among every other character; she's the Princess of Hell and has enough resources to get an entire hotel for her project; she believes in the goodness of others and that sinners can be redeemed, but she's also not stupid, nor a pushover, and can stand her ground when needed. Blitzo, the protagonist of the latter, is a low ranking imp that looks like a mix between a devil and a jester that opened his own business with the intent to murder people in the living world that demons dislike or want gone for revenge; he is extremely needy and lonely, and tries to make a family out of his work colleagues; he couldn't care less about the general state of Hell, or the people that don't directly concern him.
    • Stolas is this to Alastor. Both take the role of mysterious and maligned benefactor of the main character's business ventures in the story, but are very different characters. Alastor is a young demon lord, that raised through the ranks using his massive natural power, he a very outgoing and cheery man that gets quiet when he wants to be taken serious, he is asexual and laughs off the idea of getting a blowjob, he also gets roped in Charlie's plan because he wants to see her fail miserably. Stolas is an ancient noble demon that plays politics, he is quiet and stoic until he sees something he wants, then he is loud and very graphic, and he ropes himself into Blitzo's plans because he is romantically interested in Blitzo, being a Depraved Homosexual to the point of creeping out the target of his affections (at least in the pilot).

  • Black of Black Adventures is a straight teen who had a crush on his female next-door neighbor (whom he could never be with) and traveled around with an older guy. Xavier of XY Adventures is a gay teen who travels around with his female next-door neighbor and has a crush on an older guy (whom he could never be with).
  • Paradox Space an example between two of its anthology comics. The titular dog of "A Fun Day For Bec" uses his teleportation to fly around the world grabbing baseballs, playing with frisbees, and enjoying himself; meanwhile, "A Fun Day For GCat" features a cat appearing throughout the world eating birds and killing mice before dumping the rotting remains in some poor person's room.
  • "Anarchy Dreamers" From the prequel series "Koji Takahashi Stops the World", the titular character is a reserved artistic nerd that lived a dysfunctional but normal life that gets upended by supernatural phenomena. Tabbi O'Malley is an outgoing, spirited cheerleader and currently lives in a world where supernatural phenomena is now an everyday occurrence. Anarchy Dreamers is a continuation of KTSTW. Their roles as "main protagonist" and "love interest" respectively switch in Anarchy Dreamers with Tabbi being the "default" main character and Koji being her primary love interest. Although much of the main cast gets their own spotlight moments. Despite their contrasting personalities, they are still really good Childhood Friends, with a mutual attraction to each other.

    Web Video 
  • Whenever one of the members of Critical Role makes a new character, they seem to intentionally make it so that their new character will contrast their previous one in some way.
    • Liam O'Brien's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Vax'ildan Vessar is contrasted by Campaign 2's Caleb Widogast. Whereas Vax is a mostly physical fighter, usually tries to make himself look presentable, spent his entire life besides his sister, and runs straight into danger and has no problem risking his life for others, Caleb is a purely magic user, is almost always filthy, his closest companion is someone he met only a few months prior to the beginning of the campaign, and he's a self-proclaimed coward and a Manipulative Bastard.
      • Both Vax and Caleb are contrasted by Campaign 3's Orym of the Air Ashari. Whereas Vax and Caleb are both Byronic Heroes with Dark and Troubled Pasts, Orym is The Generic Guy who has already learned to cope with the dark events of his past in a healthy manner. When it comes to Caleb specifically, while both serve as the group's Only Sane Man, Caleb is a Squishy Wizard who initially joins the Mighty Nein for selfish reasons, while Orym is a Pintsized Powerhouse with no magical capabilities who acts as a team player right off the bat. Liam himself has stated that this was one of the main intents of Orym as a character, having wanted to create a character who's "really centered in a good place" only to get swept up into grand adventures, contrasting his previous two characters.
    • Laura Bailey's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Vex'ahlia Vessar is contrasted by Campaign 2's Jester Lavorre. Whereas Vex is one of the smarter and more serious members of Vox Machina, has difficulty trusting others, is extremely stingy with money, and very protective of her bear companion Trinket, Jester is The Ditz and a prankster, believes in trusting others even when she obviously shouldn't, isn't particularly concerned with money, and is often extremely forgetful about her pet weasel Sprinkle.
      • Jester is contrasted by Campaign 3's Imogen Temult. Whereas Jester has the second-highest Strength stat of the Mighty Nein, but an average Charisma stat, as well as being outgoing and loves to show off her magical capabilities, Imogen has the second-lowest Strength stat of Bell's Hells, but a high Charisma stat, as well as being somewhat shy and suffering from Power Incontinence.
    • Ashley Johnson's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Pike Trickfoot is contrasted by Campaign 2's Yasha Nydoorin. Whereas Pike is a tiny gnome, extremely kind, and serves as Vox Machina's medic, Yasha is one of the tallest members of the Mighty Nein, very closed-off and blunt, and is a pure physical brawler.
      • Yasha is contrasted by Campaign 3's Fearne Calloway. Whereas Yasha is closed-off to others, but ultimately a Gentle Giant, Fearne is outgoing and friendly, but can be very brutal and even sadistic when she feels like it.
    • Travis Willingham's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Grog Strongjaw is contrasted by Campaign 2's Fjord. Whereas Grog is a Dumb Muscle, is a purely physical fighter with no magical capabilities, and regularly goes to brothels to get "lady favors", Fjord is The Face of the Mighty Nein, as well as the team strategist, uses quite a bit of magic on top of his physical abilities, and is extremely awkward when it comes to the prospect of sex.
      • Fjord is contrasted by Campaign 3's Bertrand Bell. While both have a tendency to impulsively rush into battle without thinking, Fjord is one of the more sensible members of the Mighty Nein and gets along well with the rest of the team, while Bertrand is a Miles Gloriosus and The Friend Nobody Likes.
      • After Bertrand gets killed off 3 episodes into the campaign, he's replaced by Chetney Pock O'Pea, who contrasts both him and Fjord. While Fjord and Bertrand are a tall half-orc Warlock/Paladin and human Fighter, respectively, and would willingly run into battles even when the odd are against them, Chetney is a tiny gnome Rogue (actually a Blood Hunter) who stays out of fights he knows he can't win. Also, while Bertrand has connections in the city the campaign takes place in, Chetney has only been in the city for about a month prior to joining Bell's Hells.
    • Taliesin Jaffe's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Percival de Rolo is contrasted by Campaign 2's Mollymauk Tealeaf. Whereas Percy is The Smart Guy of Vox Machina, dresses modestly for his noble status, fights entirely with ranged combat, and has an arc centered around wanting to get revenge for his past, Molly only has an above-average Intelligence stat and is implied to be a Phony Psychic, dresses very ostentatiously in-spite of his poor background, is a mostly melee fighter, and is an Amnesiac Hero who believes in living in the moment. Also, according to Taliesin himself, Percy is meant to be someone who comes off as good but has a dark side to him, while Molly is someone who comes off as untrustworthy while actually being a genuinely good person.
      • After Molly gets killed off, he's replaced by Caduceus Clay, who contrasts both him and Percy. Whereas Percy is often cynical, The Smart Guy of Vox Machina, can be extremely wrathful if pushed to far, and lost nearly his entire family, Caduceus is optimistic, not particularly bright, a Mellow Fellow and The Heart of the Mighty Nein, and his family is still alive. Additionally, Taliesin himself has stated that Caduceus is the kind of person Percy would have become had his life not gone so terribly wrong. Meanwhile, whereas Molly is The Hedonist, one of the Mighty Nein's main damage dealers, and once evaded death by crawling out of his own grave, Caduceus lived a sheltered life away from vice, serves as the Mighty Nein's healer, and runs a graveyard.
      • Molly (as well as Caduceus) is contrasted by Campaign 3's Ashton Greymoore. Whereas Molly is a charlatan who would regularly con people for money, but is overall a good person, Ashton is a gambler in perpetual debt and a Knight in Sour Armor. Meanwhile, whereas Caduceus is kind and generous to others, Ashton is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who messes with others for his own amusement.
    • Marisha Ray's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Keyleth of the Air Ashari is contrasted by Campaign 2's Beauregard Lionett. Whereas Keyleth is an All-Loving Hero who Jumped at the Call, is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who is conflicted by the prospect of doing anything morally-questionable, and has a loving relationship with her father, Beau is a self-admitted Jerkass who Refused the Call until she was literally beaten into accepting it, is The Cynic who has no qualms about hurting others, and is unwanted by her family. Also, while both have No Social Skills, it is for differing reasons: Keyleth is socially awkward due to her lack of worldly experience, while Beau simply doesn't care about getting along with others.
      • Beau is contrasted by Campaign 3's Laudna. While both had bad childhoods and don't like to talk about their past, Beau is a physical powerhouse, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and abrasive and antisocial towards others, while Laudna is a Weak, but Skilled magic user, a Creepy Good Nice Girl, and a team player who regularly participates in Combination Attacks.
    • Sam Riegel's characters:
      • Campaign 1's Scanlan Shorthalt is contrasted by Campaign 2's Nott the Brave/Veth Brenatto. Besides the obvious contrast of Scanlan being a man and Nott being a woman, Scanlan has a high Charisma stat, is a great singer, is extremely confident, and is The Casanova, while Nott has a low Charisma stat, is an awful singer, is constantly nervous, and has little interest in romance due to already being Happily Married. Also, while both have a hatred for goblins, it is for differing reasons: Scanlan's mother was killed by goblins, while Veth is a mother who was killed by goblins and then resurrected as one. Sam himself has stated that he designed Nott with the purpose of being Scanlan's opposite in every way.
      • Nott is contrasted by Campaign 3's Fresh Cut Grass. While both are Plucky Comic Relief characters who have arcs based around questioning their own existence, Nott has trouble trusting others and is a Kleptomaniac Hero, while FCG is an All-Loving Hero who is generous to a fault and fails to see how said generosity can come back to bite him.
    • Even the Team Pets of each campaign contrast each other:
      • Campaign 1's Trinket is contrasted by Campaign 2's Frumpkin. While both have the ability to be banished and summoned by their respective masters, Trinket is a large, lumbering grizzly bear who often ends up as little use to Vox Machina and usually ends up being forgotten by the team, while Frumpkin is a fey spirit who usually takes the form of a small cat, and regularly proves useful to the Mighty Nein and their plans. Also, while both have loving relationships with their masters, Vex is extremely protective of Trinket to the point of not letting him get involved with dangerous situations unless she has no other choice, while Frumpkin regularly gets put into dangerous situations by Caleb due to Caleb's ability to resurrect him in the event that he gets killed.
      • Frumpkin is contrasted by Campaign 3's Mister. Both are spirits, but Frumpkin is a fey spirit who takes the form of a dignified tabby cat, is well-liked by the party, and proves useful outside of combat but overall useless when in combat, while Mister is a wildfire spirit who takes the form of a monkey, proves to be extremely uncooperative with the party, and proves to be of little use outside of combat but extremely useful in combat.

    Western Animation 
  • Daria is a Spin-Off of Beavis and Butt-Head. You'll find many people shocked by this: the parent show is about two boys who are Lethally Stupid and pretty much had no apparent families, while Daria suffers through Intelligence Equals Isolation and a family whom she (initially) can't stand. The former relies on Toilet Humour, the latter on Genius Bonuses; Beavis and Butthead want people to see them as awesome, while Daria works hard to avoid others. It makes sense, since Daria was created specifically to be a smart, female Foil to the boys.
  • Infinity Train:
    • Book 1's passenger, Tulip, is a nerdy and somewhat rude teenage girl, while Book 2's passenger, Jesse, is a dumb but Lovable Jock. The former learns that she must learn to open up to others, while the latter learns that he needs to break free from bad friends. Their numbers also work differently: Tulip's starts high and goes up or down in large chunks that startle and confuse her, while Jesse's starts off very low and fluctuates in small degrees without him even noticing most of the time.
    • In Book 1, the human passenger is the protagonist, while Book 2's main protagonist is M.T., the companion denizen. M.T. also happens to be Tulip's now-freed reflection, meaning her whole goal is explicitly to be different than Tulip, with her also being more of an Anti-Hero.
    • Rounding out the main "human, denizen, animal" trio, Book 1's Atticus is a talking but otherwise fairly normal dog, while Book 2's Alan Dracula is a non-sapient deer with New Powers as the Plot Demands.
    • Book 3's protagonists, Grace and Simon, are this to all the previous protagonists. Whereas Tulip, Jesse, and M.T. have been on the train for months, Grace and Simon have been on the train for years. While all the previous protagonists wished to escape the train and return to Earth, Grace and Simon want to remain on the train permanently, even convincing other passengers to do so. And while the others are framed as heroic, or at least well-meaning in their actions, Grace and Simon are unmistakably Villain Protagonists.
    • Jesse and M.T. are initially contentious, awkward allies who become close friends over the course of Book 2, to the point that Jesse manages to return to the train after getting his exit, just so he and M.T. can leave together. Grace and Simon have been friends and partners for years, but the events of Book 3 strain their friendship, ending with Simon trying to murder Grace, before getting killed himself.
  • Kion from The Lion Guard is a Wise Prince who is mindful of the rules. In contrast, his father Simba from The Lion King (1994) was a playful Rebel Prince as a cub.
  • This pops up frequently in Batman Beyond, most notably in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, where this is pretty much how the second Batman beats The Joker. Even when Bruce gave him advice on how to win (by not listening to the Joker's taunting), Terry McGinnis realized his best chance to beat him was not by not listening, but by beating the Joker at his own game.
    Joker: [after getting kicked in the crotch] What are you doing?!
    Batman: Fighting dirty.
    Joker: The real Batman would never— [kicked again]
    • Amanda Waller in Justice League notes that while Terry's not as smart as Bruce, he's also not as cold and standoffish, though he shares Bruce's compassion.
  • Avatar Korra of The Legend of Korra compared to Avatar Aang of Avatar: The Last Airbender. They are of opposite genders and noticeably different ages (Aang is 12, while Korra starts off at 17 and ends at 21). Aang is pacifistic and spiritual, knows only airbending at the start of the series, and initially Refused The Call. Korra is hot-headed, far more pugnacious, has known how to waterbend, earthbend and firebend since she was a child, and Jumped at the Call. And by her own admission, she's not so good at the spiritual stuff. Visually speaking, Aang is a short, bald-headed, fair-skinned, slender young boy, while Korra is a tall, long-haired, brown-skinned muscular young woman. Aang only had eyes for Katara the entire series. Korra goes on a date with Bolin, has a failed relationship with Mako, and ends the series with Asami. Both however share a good sense of humor, lots of compassion for strangers, and a certain impulsiveness. They also learn different advanced bending forms. Aang learned tremorsense and lightning redirect, Korra learned metalbending, healing and spirit pacification.
  • In My Little Pony:
    • Rainbow Dash's third and fourth generation forms could not be any more different. In the third generation, Rainbow Dash was a fashionista (mainly known for a line in a song that said "Rainbow Dash always dresses in style"). In the fourth generation, she got the Decomposite Character treatment, with her fashionista tendencies being given to Rarity, and instead, the Rainbow Dash of this generation is a brash, proud athlete who hates anything uncool (though she does come to enjoy "uncool" habits over the course of the series). Played to its logical extreme by the episode "The End in Friend", where they have such vastly different outlooks and worldviews that it leads to them temporarily ending their friendship.
    • Sunny Starscout who debuted in My Little Pony: A New Generation, the pilot movie for the sequel series to Friendship is Magic is this to the previous show's main character, Twilight Sparkle. At the start of both of their stories they were friendless save for a single male friend; Hitch in Sunny's case and Spike in Twilight's case. But while Twilight had no interest in finding friends until essentially being forced to and only reluctantly went off on an adventure with the rest of the Mane 6, Sunny desires friends but had effectively alienated herself from everyone in town due to her pro-pony unification activism, and jumped at the chance to have an adventure with Izzy. And while Twilight was implied to be part of a high-class family, and was a magical prodigy taught by a princess, Sunny is a middle-class pony raised and told of the old ways of friendship by her father, with more-or-less average intelligence and not much knowledge of magic. What also sets them apart is that Twilight became an alicorn only after spending an exerted period of time in Ponyville with her friends while Sunny became an alicorn after spending a short amount of time with her friends.
  • Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy's Law, if one expands "sequel" to mean "Spiritual Successor made by the same guys and set in the same town." The former is about a pair of ridiculously chipper brothers who were Born Lucky and succeed at any ridiculous thing they try; the latter about a ridiculously chipper boy who was Born Unlucky (literally) and often has to struggle through the simplest tasks. By extension one could contrast Candace (an older sister always on her brothers' case until she learns to get along with them over and over again) and Sara (an older sister who's unquestioningly supportive), or Perry (a secret agent platypus who has a habit of disappearing from his owners' sight, causing people to say "Hey, where's Perry?") and Diogee (an ordinary dog who has a habit of appearing before Milo, causing him to say "Diogee, go home").
    • If one considers Hamster & Gretel as another sequel, then Gretel heavily contrasts both of them. While the protagonists of the previous shows are on the opposite extremes when it comes to luck, Gretel is in the middle, dealing with both failures and successes when it comes to defeating bad guys. Hamster, unlike Perry and Diogee, is mostly by Gretel's side due to being her partner in crime-fighting. And while the previous shows have one Big Bad, the show involves a Big Bad Shuffle with Gretel fighting one different villain each episode. By extension one could contrast Kevin with both Candace & Sara, who is the first one to wish to be like their younger sibling instead of actively opposing them or simply supporting them.
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch: The titular squad, a team of Badass Normals, stands out compared to Captain Rex before them. All four are Clones made from the same man, but they're Military Mavericks willing to bend the rules and are all highly insane in some way (barring maybe Hunter), whereas Rex, a highly skilled ARC-Trooper in his own right, was initially willing to follow orders until the events of the series made him question his place in the war he found himself fighting. They all fight against the Empire, but Rex did so because he was forced to carry out Order 66 until Ahsoka took out his chip, wound up retiring at some point, only to be forced back in during Rebels, while the Bad Batch were immediately made fugitives thanks to their refusal to fall in line...well, almost all of them, as Crosshair's chip's on just enough that he defects.
  • Star Wars Resistance: Unlike Ahsoka Tano and Ezra Bridger, Kazuda Xiono is a) a Badass Normal instead of a Force-user, and b) although young, older than fourteen, the age the other two were at the beginning of their shows. Also unlike most Star Wars protagonists, Kaz is from a well-off background, isn't an orphan, and is from an "influential world", being in contact with his family before he was recruited by the Resistance. Finally, unlike Anakin, Ahsoka, Ezra, Luke and Rey, Kaz has little to no mechanical skills.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers from G1 has Optimus Prime and Rodimus Prime contrasting each other, Optimus is an Ideal Hero who's always ready to fight and an experienced commander who's seen as A Father to His Men, while Rodimus is more youthful, more ready to doubt himself, and tends to treat his troops more like close friends (which they usually are).
    • Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal. Both noble and brave leaders who do battle against a Transformer who goes by "Megatron" for the fate of the Earth. While Prime was seasoned leader of the Autobots, Primal had no military background and was the leader of a small crew of Maximals who only responded to Megatron's theft of the Golden Disk because they were the closest. Prime was a respected and idealized warrior who carried the Matrix of Leadership that gave him the collected wisdom of past Primes, Primal is more down to Earth while having his team question his orders or undermine him, though when he carried Optimus Prime's spark during the season 3 premiere, he started to exhibit more of Prime's personality.
    • Transformers: Prime: Optimus is longtime leader of the Autobots who was stoic, wise, patient and respected by Autobot and Decepticon alike. Transformers: Robots in Disguise: Bumblebee, who served under him in Prime, is emotional, unsure, more used to being part of a team than leading one and frequently dealt with both disobedience and lack of respect early on. He attempted to emulate Optimus once, but it went nowhere and Optimus told him that he needs to lead his team his own way.
  • Sofia and Elena, the protagonists of Craig Gerber's shows, are similar in many ways, yet also different. They're both kind, altruistic, headstrong, and always willing to help others, but they're still different in many ways. Sofia is an 8-year-old girl who starts out naive and energetic before becoming more serious and experienced (though still remaining chipper); Elena is a 16-year-old girl who had more real-world experience and is more prone to taking things very seriously due to coping with the death of her parents. Sofia tends to reach others more through heart while Elena tends to be more proactive. Sofia started as a village girl before becoming a princess through her mother's marriage while Elena was born into royalty. Sofia, as a young girl, is less directly involved in royal politics, while Elena, being a teenager and the Crown Princess of Avalor, is more directly involved. Sofia is also shown to be more academically inclined than Elena. Finally, Sofia is much more adept to adapting to magic while Elena shows more struggle.
  • This dynamic is apparent in each installment of the Tales of Arcadia trilogy:


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Contrasting Sequel Protagonist


"I'm not Picard!"

Q decides to mess with Sisko the way he does Picard. Sisko aptly demonstrates how totally un-Picard-like he is.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / ContrastingSequelMainCharacter

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