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Creator's Oddball

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Creator's Oddball is a work which clashes with the rest of a creator's output. It can be much Lighter and Softer or Darker and Edgier, or even a different genre.

This might be related to Early Installment Weirdness, where the writer has just started their career, and hasn't settled on a genre yet.

If this occurs in an actor's filmography, that actor is Playing Against Type. If this occurs in an actor's filmography when it really shouldn't have, this is WTH, Casting Agency?.

In music, this might become a New Sound Album if the change in direction doesn't take and the artist goes back to their signature style. If it's a specific song, and it becomes successful, it's a Black Sheep Hit.

For Franchises instead of writers, this is Oddball in the Series. Sometimes results in Magnum Opus Dissonance in either direction.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Junji Ito is a manga artist who is famous for his horror mangas such as The Enigma of Amigara Fault, Gyo and Uzumaki. He also created Junji Ito's Cat Diary Yon and Mu, a comedy about his daily life with his fiancee's cats.
  • Yoshiyuki Tomino is an odd case. Fans who love his darker and more serious works like Zeta Gundam and Space Runaway Ideon (which earned him the nickname "Kill 'em All Tomino") are often shocked or put off by his lighter fare like Gundam ZZ and Xabungle. In this case, Tomino tends to let his current mood affect his writing, and his darker works were done during periods of Creator Breakdown while his lighter shows come during periods where he's doing better. Ever since 1999's ∀ Gundam he seems to have gotten completely over his darker side and acknowledges his flaws, culminating in an Alternate Continuity movie version of Zeta with a happier ending.
  • Miyabi Fujieda is best known for his Yuri Genre mangas, but his Twinkle Saber Nova is a Shounen Fighting Series with a mainly female cast but no romantic subplots.
  • Eiki Eiki and Zaou Taishi are very prolific Yaoi Genre authors but they've also written the hallmark yuri mangas Haru Natsu Aki Fuyu and Love Gene XX.
  • Similarly, Swap Swap is the only yuri manga by Tomekichi, who mainly writes in the yaoi genre.
  • Fujio Akatsuka is known for pioneering in surreal gag manga such as Osomatsu-kun. He also created Himitsu no Akko-chan, a Magical Girl series (in fact, it's considered to be the first in the genre).
  • Kyoto Animation is famous for their adaptations of Slice of Life Light Novels starring high school students. Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, while in the Slice of Life genre, has absolutely nothing to do with high school and was adapted from a manga.
  • Makoto Shinkai is best known for serious, melancholy realistic or Mundane Fantastic dramas, perhaps with sci-fi elements, about the distance between the romantic leads. Then you have Children Who Chase Lost Voices, which is much more overtly fantastic, and Your Name, which has a lot more comedic elements and a more upbeat narrative and musical pace.
  • Akira Toriyama made an one-shot story in 1987 named Lady Red whose humour is much more cynical and mean-spirited than his usual brand of silliness. It features a clueless wannabe heroine who gets raped twice and decides to become a prostitute in the end. Also it mimicks Western comics, being written from left to right and featuring typical comic book sound effects. It can be found here (warning: potentially disturbing content).
  • Studio Ghibli has two:
    • Ocean Waves is the only made-for-TV movie they've done, also it wasn't directed by either Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, but rather by a younger staff member. It was considered unsuccesful.
    • Only Yesterday had the animators draw the cheek muscles and laugh lines way more realistically than usual, with the result that most adult characters look bizarrely old and wrinkled when they smile. Unsurprisingly they didn't attempt to do this again.
  • Bkub, known for his offbeat gag comics and wonky art style, almost ran into this trope with Hoshiiro Girl Drop, a slightly more orthodox harem comedy starring idols that were unusually proportional for his work. "Almost" in this case meaning it was revealed to be a Something Completely Different interlude for Pop Team Epic's second season of strips.
  • Crimson Spell is the result of prominent BL manga artist Ayano Yamane dabbling in the Heroic Fantasy genre. It's still a yaoi, but her other works and most of her one-shots take place in a relatively "realistic" setting, and are more action/crime based.

    Comic Books 


  • Ian Fleming, writer of James Bond, also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a children's novel about a magical car.
    • His tenth Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me, is told from the First Person perspective of the woman in the story, rather than his usual third-person perspective focusing on Bond. (He didn't like the result, though fans of the books generally find it an interesting experiment.)
  • Steven Erikson is known for his gritty, serious work, most prominently the sprawling, complex fantasy epic Malazan Book of the Fallen. He also wrote Willful Child, an affectionate, over-the-top Star Trek parody.
  • The first novel V. C. Andrews ever wrote was a sci-fi/fantasy book called Gods of Green Mountain. It being so different from other works her fans are used to seeing is probably the reason why it took almost twenty years after her death to get published, and only in ebook format.
  • Robert Munsch often makes kids books with hilarious, over-the-top situations and cartoony characters and colours. But then along came Love You Forever, the biggest tearjerker of all kid's books...
  • David Ritz spends a lot of time writing (and ghostwriting) biographies about musicians, comedians, and atheletes. He writes the occasional romance novel, but his one true oddball is the 1981 Speculative Fiction sports/fantasy/romance novel The Man Who Brought the Dodgers Back to Brooklyn.
  • Roald Dahl's book Esio Trot, while still aimed at kids, featured neither a Kid Hero nor any kind of antagonist at all.
  • Mikhail Bulgakov is mostly famous for The Master and Margarita, a largery lighthearted and satiric novel with religious overtones, yet majority of his works are dark and realistic stories on par with works of Kurt Vonnegut and Charles Bukowski in terms of cynicism and desperation.
  • Dav Pilkey is best known for his humor books, especially Captain Underpants, or otherwise for his books for little kids like Dragon and the Dumb Bunnies. In 1996, he wrote and illustrated God Bless The Gargoyles.
  • Erin Hunter is actually a Pen Name for a series of writers. Warriors and Seekers share writers, however Survivors and Bravelands do not. Survivors is noticeably different from the other titles. For starters, the protagonists are not Kid Heroes. Pups do appear but Lucky and the others are mainly adults. The series is also much heavier on Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" than the others and their Animal Religion is different (instead of just an afterlife, they also anthropomorphise the sun, moon, rivers, and other natural phenomenon).
  • Most of Kim Newman's work is fantasy or horror. His first novel, The Night Mayor, is Post-Cyberpunk SF with no supernatural elements, although it does have some mild horror overtones.

    Live-Action TV 

  • Kanye West is normally known for rap music, but 808s & Heartbreak is a electropop album.
  • Almost every opera by Giuseppe Verdi is a tragedy or a strong drama. However, he also wrote two comedies, Un giorno di regno and Falstaff.
  • George Gershwin co-composed Song of the Flame, a 1925 operetta set in Glorious Mother Russia, writing tunes far removed from his usual jazzy style. This also represents his sole collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II. (Three years later, George Gershwin was hired to compose another exotic operetta, East is West, this time to Ira's lyrics; this show was canceled in the early stages of production.)
  • Teen star Lesley Gore performed catchy pop songs in the Girl Group vein in The '60s, such as her Signature Song "It's My Party", balanced with more sophisticated ballads like "You Don't Own Me". Her sporadic adult recording career, in which she emerged in full as a singer-songwriter, largely consisted of downtempo or mid-tempo, stripped-down, jazzy ballads in the vein of Carole King's Tapestry. In 1975, however, she reunited with her Sixties-era producer Quincy Jones to produce...a very disco/funk/soul-styled album called Love Me By Name.
  • Filipino comedian, rapper, and singer Michael V is best-known for his novelty songs and literal English-to-Tagalog or Tagalog-to-English translations of popular songs. But in 2016, he went completely serious in the upbeat, yet relevant song "Dapat Tama", his parent TV network GMA's official song for the 2016 Philippine presidential elections.
  • Neil Young was best known for guitar-heavy folk rock until he released his 1982 album Trans, featuring extensive use of synthesisers, vocoder-distorted vocals, and Science Fiction influenced lyrics and artwork, quite unlike anything he released before or since.
  • Nickelback has always been associated with, depending on who you ask, the hard rock community since their debut in 1995. So it was a serious shock for many when their eighth studio album, No Fixed Address, was discovered to heavily feature, of all genres, Disco and Electronica... yes... you read that right. Though their signature sound is not entirely absent from the album. On their debut album Curb on the other hand they are virtually unrecognizable, as the music has a much heavier and less commercial Grunge/Alternative sound and Chad's vocal style is quite different.
  • Garth Brooks was the face of Country Music in The '90s. So how did he finish the decade? With an album, In the Life of Chris Gaines, which featured him singing under the guise of a fictitious alternative-rock singer named Chris Gaines. Bizarrely, it also produced his only Top 40 hit on the Hot 100.
  • Alan Jackson did this twice in 2006 when, in the span of a few months, he departed from his twangy fiddle-and-steel brand of country to release Precious Memories, an album of gospel standards and hymns with minimalist production. It was followed by Like Red on a Rose, a smooth, slick, adult contemporary-leaning album full of mellow, lush romantic songs. The latter also featured only one song written by him (a redo of his 1998 song "A Woman's Love"), and was his only album to date not produced by Keith Stegall (Alison Krauss produced it instead). He did it again in 2013 when he released a followup to Precious Memories composed of similar material to the first, followed months later by his first bluegrass album.
  • For most of her career, Kathy Mattea had a very sparse, folksy style of country with hints of bluegrass and Celtic music. But her 1994 album Walking Away a Winner had a heavier country-pop and country-rock influence, with many critics comparing the album to Bonnie Raitt or Mary Chapin Carpenter.
  • Avril Lavigne's Hello Kitty, an electro-dance song with dubstep elements and Gratuitous Japanese quite unlike her usual Pop Punk or rock output. To say nothing of the J Pop-inspired video.
  • Lil Wayne, one of the most popular rappers of the 2000s released a rock-album in 2010-Rebirth
  • Thrash Metal group Celtic Frost released the Hair Metal album Cold Lake in 1988 much to the shock of fans.

    Video Games 

    Web Original 
  • Rooster Teeth is an entertainment company that bills itself as a "Comedy Gaming Community", which got their big hit with the military Work Com based on the Halo series Red vs. Blue, and is primarily known for material related to gaming. However, their biggest hit since Red vs. Blue and an internet phenomena of its own, is RWBY. It's a completely original Animesque webseries that while not lacking in comedy has just as much drama, and is completely different from anything they've made before or since.

    Western Animation 
  • Stan Lee is one of the greatest superhero comic writers. He created and co-created a lot of the Silver Age superheroes. He also created the erotic animated series Stripperella which, while still a superhero show, is more adult and male-geared than his usual work, as are all the films and series produced by his production company-POW Entertainment.
  • Ralph Bakshi is known for street-based dramas and comedies with over the top violence, sex, and nudity (Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic, Coonskin, and Hey Good Lookin') and fantasy films (Wizards, The Lord of the Rings, and Fire and Ice). But he also directed the realistically grounded drama American Pop, which is more down to earth than his street films and fairly realistic in its portrayal of violence and mild in its sexuality.
    • There's also his kid-friendly works in the 1980s, like Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures and the adaptation of The Butter Battle Book, which have a subversive edge to them but are nevertheless apt for family viewing.
    • Then there's Cool World which had a rather bizarre plot (pretty much an older version of Who Framed Roger Rabbit), was made on a big-budget in contrast to Bakshi's previous low-budget films, and was (more or less) aimed towards a younger demographic. However, Bakshi actually has an excuse with Cool World, as the original idea for it (an erotic horror movie) was scrapped due to massive amounts of Executive Meddling from producer Frank Mancuso Jr. and actress Kim Basinger.
  • Titan A.E. is a sci-fi film with violence and a soundtrack that contrasts Don Bluth's previous works, all of which swayed more into Disneyesque fantasy (although on the other hand, the film's dark tone isn't completely out of place if you're aware of some of Bluth's earlier movies).
  • The Redwall cartoon was this, not for its studio, but for PBS, who aired it. It was—and remains to this day—one of the only non-educational children's shows ever to air on PBS. The reason it was aired was likely meant to encourage kids to read the books, though.
  • For Craig McCracken, his producing role for Regular Show's pilot is a drastic departure from his more child-friendly projects, considering how the show was somewhat more adult-oriented than other Cartoon Network shows of the time.
  • In-universe examples appear in Jem:
    • Most of Jem and the Holograms' songs are about romance, friendship, and love in general. Then there's "The Last Laugh" which is almost hateful and is very mocking towards The Misfits. It's surprisingly mean-spirited and shows that Jerrica is fed up with Pizzazz. "Glitter and Gold" is also less fluffy than their normal fare, being a boastful song where Jem talks about how confident and fashionable she is.
    • The Misfits are all about boasting their own egos. "Misfits in Hawaii" is self-deprecation and portrays them in a negative light. "Love Sick" is a straight up love song (fitting since Pizzazz does become seriously out of it when she falls for Riot), which is not something The Misfits care for.
  • Let's Go Luna!, a preschool cartoon on PBS Kids, was created by Joe Murray, who created two other cartoons beforehand, Rocko's Modern Life and Camp Lazlo, the former of which is considered one of the raunchiest Nicktoons of all time.
  • The Emperor's New Groove could seem a Looney Tunes cartoon disguised as a Disney film. It's pretty much comedy from beginning to end, the humour is of the slapstick and Breaking the Fourth Wall variety, there is no Love Interest or romance for the protagonist, only one song at the very beginning (not counting the one over the ending credits), the few somber moments seem intentionally narm-y, the villains are lovable nutjobs who don't die in the end, and the wannabe cute animal sidekick is rejected by almost everyone and so becomes kind of a jerk. They even subverted the typical Disney "human bad guy turns into a giant mindless monstrosity" climax by having main antagonist Yzma turn into a cute little kitten that keeps her intelligence, attitude and ability to speak.