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Creator's Oddball

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Creator's Oddball is a work that 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. When it's a show on a TV network, this is Network Red-Headed Stepchild. Sometimes results in Magnum Opus Dissonance in either direction.

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Examples:

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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 & Mu, a comedy about his daily life with his fiancee's cats. It still has his signature disturbing art style that makes use of all of his horrific trademarks, but here it's Played for Laughs since they're applied to completely innocent and funny moments.
    • Dissolving Classroom has also several elements that are at odds with his usual output. While it's bleak and has an implied Downer Ending, the bad guys are punished in the end. Also, their powers are clearly depicted as coming from Satan/the devil instead of the usual unexplained supernatural evil force (not to mention that Christianity is largely irrelevant in Japan). And the fourth-wall-breaking ending that shows the evil siblings as Animated Actors is uncommon for Ito as well.
    • The Souichi stories in Junji Ito Kyoufu Manga Collection are also rather unusual, since while it uses Junji Ito's trademark horrifying art style and definitely deals with the supernatural, it's primarily a horror-themed comedy about a boy causing mischief where for the most part, no one suffers any lasting harm. One story in ''Museum of Terror' is genuinely horrific and seems to imply that Souichi will grow up to be a genuine threat, but a later Souichi story has it be All Just a Dream.
  • 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 Tensai Bakabon and Osomatsu-kun. He also created Himitsu no Akko-chan, a semi-serious Magical Girl series considered to be the first of its kind. Most of his early work may very well qualify as this, as he used to be an author of shoujo manga before he branched out to shonen and general audiences.
  • Starting around The New '10s, Kyoto Animation became famous for their adaptations of in-house Light Novels, Slice of Life works, or stories 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 third-party manga. Their other oddballs, the otaku-centric Lucky Star and screwball Gag Series Nichijou, still has high school students as the leads.
  • Makoto Shinkai is best known for serious, melancholy realistic, or Mundane Fantastic dramas, perhaps with sci-fi elements, about the distance - spatial, social, or otherwise - between the youthful 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. Weathering With You breaks new ground for him once more with an extended subplot focused on a middle-aged character.
  • Akira Toriyama made a 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 mimics Western comics, being written from left to right and featuring typical comic book sound effects.
  • Studio Ghibli has a few:
    • Ocean Waves is the first 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 unsuccessful.
    • 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.
    • My Neighbors the Yamadas is a comedic and episodic slice of life movie with it notably ditching Ghibli's traditional aesthetics in favor of a much more simpler and comedic aesthetic that is very faithful to the 4koma manga strips the film was based on. It's also the only Ghibli film not released in Japan by Toho (their usual partner) or Toei Company (which distributed some of their early output), instead being released by Shochiku.
    • For Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises is noticeably very different from his usual work. While the film isn't without its fantastical elements, the film is much more grounded and realistic than his usual input, which while grounded, are usually very fantastical in nature and unlike previous films, which usually center around entirely fictional characters, the film is instead a fictional biography film about the real-life airplane designer Jiro Horikoshi.
    • The Red Turtle is a co-production between them and the European studio (and Ghibli's worldwide distributor) Wild Bunch and it's extremely different from pretty much every film they've made. Not only is there no Dialogue at all and has a drastically different art style than their usual fare, but it's also the only feature film of theirs to not be directed by the studio's employees, but rather by Dutch-British animator, Michaël Dudok de Wit.
    • Earwig and the Witch is the studio's first CGI movie (directed by Miyazaki's son Goro) and also their second made-for-TV movie. It was not well received, both for the graphics' quality and a story considered flat and unengaging.
    • The prequel short film to Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Giant God Warrior Appears in Tokyo is the studio’s first (and so far, only) live-action production. It’s also undeniably the bleakest out of the studio’s output and in contrast to the rest of their works, ends on an outright Downer Ending with the events that would set the stage for Nausicaä.
  • Bkub, known for his offbeat gag comics and wonky art style, looked to going here with Hoshiiro Girl Drop, an idol-themed romantic comedy with a cutesy orthodox style. Then it was revealed to be an 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.
  • Studio TRIGGER is well known for working on Widget Series that are heavy in comedy and action, particularly in love with giant robots. Their second TV anime, Kiznaiver, a story about seven students forced into an experiment where the pain one feels is shared between them, is still a sci-fi with some comedy, but it is an intensely dramatic and romantic series, with a lot more focus on character rather than an overarching plotline.
    • They also made When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace, which was an oddball for multiple reasons: it was the studio's first light novel adaptation, adapted wholesale (TRIGGER usually makes its own plot if it adapts a property), and has a very orthodox plot and art style with very few of TRIGGER's usual animation quirks. It's also the first series to feature supernatural elements but focus entirely on a Slice of Life angle instead.
    • TRIGGER's second web animation was Turning Girls, a Slice of Life sitcom featuring no supernatural elements at all. It's also the first and only series to both have an all-female team and be created by the non-animator side of the studio.
  • Studio Gainax is well known for their thought-provoking, Aesop-filled stories mixed in with over-the-top action and some Fanservice for good measure. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt throws away any semblance of lesson-telling and is a full-on Animated Shock Comedy.
  • Nippon Animation is known for their World Masterpiece Theater franchise, as well as for other adaptations of Japanese and Western literature and their Cash Cow Franchise Chibi Maruko-chan. Hunter × Hunter (1999), however, is a Shonen Jump adaptation that's slightly Darker and Edgier than their usual fare, and uses Manga Effects uncommon in most other Nippon works.
  • Japanese merchandise company Sanrio (of Hello Kitty fame) is well-known for creating Ridiculously Cute Critters and always focusing on the positive sides of life. During the company's infancy in the 70s, they briefly entered the animation industry by forming their own animation studio called Sanrio Animation/Sanrio Film which lasted from 1977 all the way to 1985. Sanrio Animation was known for focusing on much darker and cynical subject matter, with a dose of frightening imagery and heartbreaking resolutions. Their film adaptation of Takashi Yanase's children's book Ringing Bell (Chirin no Suzu) is considered the studio's darkest work next to their film adaptations of Osamu Tezuka's Unico series (Unico: Black Cloud and White Feather, The Fantastic Adventures of Unico, and Unico in the Island of Magic). The 1977 animated shorts The Rose Flower and Joe and Little Jumbo (both based on Takashi Yanase's works) is considered to be the closest to Sanrio's well-known image as cute and upbeat. While The Rose Flower And Joe isn't as cynical and dark as Ringing Bell, it suddenly becomes very melancholy but manages to have a much happier (and bittersweet) ending with the short's main characters.
    • Sanrio's only non-animated work was co-producing the 1982 American live-action film Don't Cry, It's Only Thunder. To date, this is the furthest the company has gotten from their signature cute and wholesome fare since it's set during The Vietnam War.
  • Hiromu Arakawa usually works on fantasy series with high stakes involved (like Fullmetal Alchemist and the manga adaptation of The Heroic Legend of Arslan), but Silver Spoon is a Slice of Life series that takes place in contemporary Hokkaido and has no fantastic elements at all. According to Arakawa, this was intentional since she wanted to challenge herself by making a more realistic series.
  • Ryou Minemani usually has an output of dramatic manga, as seen through her works Himegoto - Juukyuusai no Seifuku and Boy's Abyss. However, the manga in between them, Hatsukoi Zombie, is the awkward stand-out since it's a played straight romantic comedy.
  • Syundei is a Boys' Love mangaka who usually approaches darker or gorier topics with their works. Go For It, Nakamura! is very much none of those things, as a gag-based Slice of Life story.

    Comic Books 
  • Mark Millar is well known for his Darker and Edgier or Deconstructive versions of superheroes, whether they're alternate versions of existing characters (Superman: Red Son, The Ultimates) or his own graphic novels (Kick-Ass, Nemesis). However, he also wrote Superior, which is a Reconstruction of the superhero genre, starring a sickly boy who comes to term with his illness. He also wrote Trouble (Marvel Comics), a Fanservicey romantic drama meant as a prequel to Spider-Man and Reborn serves as his first foray into the fantasy genre.
  • Jack Kirby and Joe Simon are most well-known for co-creating Captain America. Kirby went on to become one of the greatest superhero comic artists, creating and co-creating many popular superheroes. Simon is also mostly known for his work on superhero comics. But in The '40s Kirby and Simon also co-created... the romance comics genre.
  • Frank Miller is known for his grim and gritty comics. He also created a more lighthearted comic called The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, which was later adapted into a cartoon on Fox Kids.
  • Trina Robbins is mostly known for her feminist underground comix and activism supporting women in comics. She also designed Vampirella's iconic costume.
  • Stjepan Sejic is most well-known for working as an artist on Witchblade and also his erotic BDSM webcomic Sunstone. He's now working on a Lighter and Softer all-ages Witchblade spin-off called Switch (2015).
  • Artist Christian Zanier's main output is highly erotic adult works and Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics. He also illustrated a couple of LEGO BIONICLE graphic novel stories, featuring bio-mechanical warriors based on children's toys and no women.
  • In Emily Carroll's collection of stories in Through the Woods, almost all of the stories share certain tropes and themes; they're set in a vaguely defined past (generally somewhere in the late 1700s-1800s judging by the clothes), most of the stories are Nameless Narratives or have the absolute minimum number of named character, there supernatural elements but often the greatest threats are more mundane, etc. One story, "The Nesting Place" seems to intentionally go for the opposite on all these point. Judging by the fashions, the story could only be set in the 1920s or 30s, every character who appears on screen gets a name and lines to speak, and the only danger to the main character is a fantastical creature... although she uses the threat of mundane dangers that people would pose to the creature, along with a dose of They Would Cut You Up, to get it to back down.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney:
    • The Emperor's New Groove feels more like a hybrid between a Warner Bros. cartoon and a Muppet production than anything you'd expect to see out of Disney's theatrical animation department. It's a slapstick comedy with copious Breaking the Fourth Wall gags from beginning to end, with even the few somber moments being played for laughs. In a rare move for a Disney movie at the time, there was no Love Interest or romance for the protagonist. The villains are also lovable nutjobs who don't die in the end, and the standard cute animal sidekick is rejected by almost everyone and becomes a jerk as a result. They even subverted the then-typical Disney "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.
    • Chicken Little can be considered another example of Disney imitating the output of a competitor, specifically the DreamWorks Animation films of the early 2000s. A CG cartoon with funny animals, a contemporary setting, snarky and sarcastic humor, lots of movie and pop culture references (including a clip of an Indiana Jones movie for no real reason) does sound like something that Dreamworks would've made at the time. Even the promotional materials were a rare example of Disney spoofing other properties, with parodies of their own The Lion King (1994), Men in Black and even The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie that came out at around the same time.
    • Wreck-It Ralph and Brave came out the same year and they felt like Disney and Pixar swapped places for once. "Ralph" is a film about the secret life of non-sentient things like Pixar often did (as exemplified by the famous meme "What if toys/cars/robots/emotions had feelings?") with lots of jokes linked to a specific demographic (gamers in the 1980s and 90s) that goes over the head of the younger audiences. Whereas "Brave" feels to many like a clichéd Disney character-driven fairy tale featuring a rebellious princess forced in an arranged marriage and having to deal with an overbearing mother.
  • 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 & 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).
  • Noah Baumbach, the director-writer of quirky indie dramas like The Squid and the Whale, Frances Ha, and Marriage Story, also co-wrote Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. However, he has implied that he took the job to pay off his divorce lawyer's fees.
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    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • 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.
  • Mikhail Bulgakov is mostly famous for The Master and Margarita, a largely lighthearted and satiric novel with religious overtones, yet the 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.
  • 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.
  • H. P. Lovecraft, famous for his Cosmic Horror Stories about alien beings whose very existence threatens humanity and our fragile minds, also wrote Sweet Ermengarde, a comedic parody of romantic melodramas featuring zero Eldritch Abominations of any sort.
  • 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.)
  • Erin Hunter is actually a Pen Name for a series of writers. Warriors and Seekers share writers, however Survivors and Bravelands do not. As a result, the various series can differ in style:
  • Diana Wynne Jones primarily wrote lighthearted fantasy works, that were often at least slightly parodic and usually didn't play everything straight. And then there's The Dalemark Quartet, which, while being most definitely fantasy and young adult literature, is much more serious in tone, and a straight fantasy work without a hint of parody. It has a noticeably different feel than anything else she wrote.
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • David Ritz spends a lot of time writing (and ghostwriting) biographies about musicians, comedians, and athletes. 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.
  • A.N. Wilson is known for his non-fiction works, including books about religion and biographies. He's also released two xenofiction books about cats called Stray and its Lighter and Softer Spin-Offspring sequel Tabitha.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin is best known for her adult-geared speculative fiction and science fiction. However, one of her best-known series Catwings is a children's series about cats with wings.
  • Rebus author Ian Rankin has two, both examples of Early Installment Weirdness: The Flood, a coming-of-age novel with Gothic overtones, and Westwind, a techno-thriller. The former is just about on the periphery of the same 'Verse as his later novels, but the latter is definitely not.
  • The Bad Guys series by Aaron Blabey is a graphic novel chapter book series. While still meant for a younger audience, they are very different than his standard rhyming children's picture books.
  • Mikhail Lermontov’s main male characters are not the best guys to have a romance with. They are selfish, or Yandere, or at best Loved I Not Honor More, or some combination thereof (and if they are actually nice, they generally get killed off). However, he also wrote A Wanderer’s Prayer, a beautifully touching short poem where the narrator is of I Want My Beloved to Be Happy mindset, praying to the Blessed Virgin to help and protect an unnamed “innocent maiden”, including giving her "companions full of care”.
  • Nanako Tsujimura actually mostly writes science fiction and fantasy. The major outlier is the one series of hers that got turned into an anime and translated into English: the contemporary mystery series The Case Files of Jeweler Richard.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Quinn Martin, the mastermind behind such Crime Dramas as The Untouchables and The Fugitive, also served as executive producer for the sci-fi series The Invaders (1967).
  • Mark Goodson Productions was known as one of the biggest Game Show producers, but the company also made a dramatic anthology called The Web, along with the westerns Jefferson Drum and Branded, and another anthology called The Richard Boone Show.
  • The Orville is a relatively serious science fiction drama series done in the style of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Critics wondered if the dick and fart jokes were added at the insistence of executives so people wouldn't be caught off guard that it was a Seth MacFarlane creation.
  • Rick Siggelkow mostly produces shows aimed at preschoolers, mainly based on pre-existing British properties. However, two works of his are aimed at older children: Ace Lightning and Dinosapien.
  • When you think of true crime documentaries, do you think Napoleon Dynamite? Because Murder Among the Mormons is definitely a departure for comedy director Jared Hess as it focuses on the case surrounding psychopathic fraudster Mark Hofmann.
  • Once Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios branched the Marvel Cinematic Universe onto Disney+, it was right away a departure from the usual action-oriented approach of the preceding superhero movies, with WandaVision being half sitcom homage, half mystery with psychological and supernatural horror elements.
  • The 1980 television play Blade on the Feather is an ironic pastiche of John le Carré, lacking the musical breaks and weirdly fantastic elements associated with writer Dennis Potter.
  • Before 2019, Craig Mazin was primarily known for writing comedy films such as Scary Movie 3, Superhero Movie and the sequels to The Hangover. Then he helmed the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries Chernobyl, an utterly haunting depiction of arguably the worst manmade disaster in history, that often felt less like a historical drama and more like a Cosmic Horror Story come to life.
  • Vin Di Bona is known for family-friendly fare such as America's Funniest Home Videos and its many spinoffs. Then there's the short-lived Showtime mockumentary sitcom Sherman Oaks, which featured offensive humor and gratuitous nudity.

    Music 
  • Kanye West is normally known for rap music, but 808s & Heartbreak is an 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.
    • Lesley herself would appear to be one in Quincy Jones' pop production career; even the Allmusic website's biography of Lesley would mention that "retrospectives of Jones' career usually downplay or omit his work with Gore, although it was among his most commercially successful; he's known now for recordings that are, well, funkier. But his success with Gore did a lot to build his already impressive résumé within the industry."
  • 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 Rock sound and Chad's vocal style is quite different.
  • Singer and illustrator Toromi is mostly known for Denpa songs, but she also wrote the lyrics to the Gensou Airly song "Welcome to Club Airly!"
  • 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 follow-up 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 Rebirth, a rock album, in the 2010s.
  • Thrash Metal group Celtic Frost released the Hair Metal album Cold Lake in 1988 much to the shock of fans.
  • HoneyWorks has a lot of songs talking about heterosexual romance, and even their Love Triangle songs are based on this. "Nonfantasy", "Gimme Gimme Call", and "Minikui Ikimono", however, deal with decidedly non-heterosexual romance; the former ends in a MMF threesome marriage while the grooms kiss each other; the second ends with the two boys in the Love Triangle dating each other instead while the girl ends the PV dejected but comforted by her friends; and the last is the only one taken semi-seriously, as it deals with the Gayngst of a girl in love with her straight best friend.
  • Bloodhound Gang are generally known for their comedic rap-rock-punk songs full of samples, clever puns, and Toilet Humour. Their 2005 album Hefty Fine includes the slow-paced, serious "Something Diabolical", which features HIM's singer Ville Valo and sounds like HIM's usual goth rock output.
  • Another Country Music example: Singer-songwriter Paul Overstreet is a devout Christian, but his faith didn't show up explicitly in his work outside of his generally avoiding singing or writing songs glamorizing alcohol or adultery. However, in 1995 he co-wrote a single praise and worship song titled "God is Good All the Time" alongside veteran worship leader Don Moen, even providing guest vocals on a recording of that song for an album recorded by Moen.
  • Chris Cornell's solo career either rocked hard like his band Soundgarden or went for a pared-down, mostly acoustic sound. Aside from the Timbaland-produced Scream, which is reviled exactly for how dance-pop beats and Cornell's rock crooning don't gel at all.
  • All of Eminem's albums are Angst-ridden, borderline parodic Hardcore Hip Hop with silly horror elements, at least traces of a Subverted Kids' Show tone, and confessional, imflammatory lyrics about his personal life - except Infinite, an optimistic, lyrical boom-bap album he made early in his career. In addition to having a totally different production style and flow to his later work, with a level of technical lyricism that he wouldn't approach again until The Marshall Mathers LP 2 nearly two decades later, it contains plenty of Hilarious in Hindsight elements. These include an unironic love song to his wife Kim in which he promises to be a good husband to her (he murders her on one song each of his next three albums), and a song which opens with him doing the signature nose-pinch vocal he later uses on "The Real Slim Shady" as he warns about a crazy Serial Killer escaping a mental hospital... who does not turn out to be Eminem's Ax-Crazy Slim Shady alter-ego, but a rival rapper who Eminem heroically fights. The negative reaction to Infinite led to Eminem creating his Slim Shady character and drastically altering his style into the offensive shock-comedy that has remained his Signature Style for the rest of his career.
  • Iggy Pop typically specializes in art punk, with his work with The Stooges being Proto Punk. The Idiot and Blah-Blah-Blah meanwhile diverge from this, respectively being a doomy industrial album and an effect-heavy dance-pop album. Both albums share a common thread in that they were co-produced and co-written by David Bowie, who used the records to explore styles that he would further dive into on Low and Never Let Me Down, respectively; Pop even dismissed Blah-Blah-Blah as a Bowie album that he just happened to sing on. Meanwhile, the other Pop/Bowie collaboration, Lust for Life, would be more in-line with Pop's typical output.
  • Mike Patton is an insanely prolific singer whose lyrics for about half of his discography are screaming and he can adapt to any genre, but his most accessible work is, of all things, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) theme song remix for Shredder's Revenge.

    Theatre 
  • Alexander Ostrovsky's bread and butter was gritty, realistic social satire, his plots usually taking place in Present Day Russia (meaning the 19th century) and only occasionally in historical settings. Then suddenly he wrote The Snow Maiden, which is Magical Realism laden with symbolism and philosophy and set in (vaguely) pre-Christian Rus (basically, an Unbuilt Trope for the Slavic fantasy subgenre which has flourished in Russia since the 1990s, more than a century after Ostrovsky's time). The audience was more confused than impressed, and it took Rimsky-Korsakov turning the play into an opera to boost its popularity.
  • Jean Racine was primarily known as a tragedian. However, he wrote Les Plaideurs, his only comedy.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • John P. McCann, who is known for writing episodes of family friendly cartoons such as Freakazoid! wrote every episode of Lobo (Webseries), an adult oriented cartoon.
  • Rooster Teeth is an entertainment company that bills itself as a "Comedy Gaming Community", which got its start with the military Work Com based on the Halo series Red vs. Blue, and is still primarily known for material related to gaming. However, their biggest hit is RWBY: a completely original Animesque action/adventure webseries that spawned a multimedia franchise that includes video games, comics/manga, literature, and even an anime adaptation.
  • supermarioglitchy4 is best known for his wacky and meme-filled videos like his main self-titled show, Guards N' Retards and Sonic the Derphog. He has also made Meta Runner, an action/adventure series with a darker and more mature tone than his other works, although it still has some comedic moments.

    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.
  • 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, the The Powerpuff Girls Movie was almost this, as it was initially being produced as a PG-13 feature until a shift in direction at the network concerning how to approach adult animation (which resulted in Adult Swim) led to them changing targets to a PG rating more in line with the show.
    • They were also trying to avoid a "G" rating, which was usually a death knell for any animated feature that wasn't Disney.
  • 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 boosting their own egos. "Misfits in Hawaii" is self-deprecating 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.
  • Stop-motion animator Art Clokey made a name for himself creating children's shows like Davey and Goliath and Gumby. He tried his hands in live-action with the mid-'60s short The Plucky Plumber, and later explored the spirituality of human consciousness in his 1977 avant-garde cartoon Mandala.
  • Olive, the Other Reindeer is this for Matt Groening. It's his only family-friendly work as opposed to his adult cartoons he's primarily known for. It's also the only one to not use his art style, instead being based on the illustrations of the original book.
  • Fresh TV is known for its PG-rated 22-minute animated series like Total Drama, 6teen, and Stōked, all of which star and satirize 16-year-old teenagers and the lives they lead; feature a blend of comedy and drama, heavy focus on relationships, significant amounts of PG-rated humor and content (such as mild swearing and pixellated nudity); and are generally known for having a relatively realistic cast and tonenote . And then there's Grojband, a G-rated Two Shorts show that stars a group of 13-year-old middle schoolers making songs for their band; features No Fourth Wall, large amounts of Better Than a Bare Bulb jokes and Surreal Humor, extremely out-there plots; and has a very quirky tone that heavily emphasizes its offbeat sense of humor and musical elements.
  • Most of Doug Langdale's shows are Gag Series filled to the brim with slapstick and off-the-wall humor (Earthworm Jim, Project G.e.e.K.e.R., and Dave the Barbarian). However, his most successful project was The Weekenders, a fairly grounded Slice of Life show. He would go more against type with his later action-packed works in the form of The Adventures of Puss in Boots and Cleopatra in Space. While still having plenty of humor, they also tell overarching stories rather than being largely episodic.
  • Invader Zim is this to Nickelodeon, due to its unusual art-style, heavy amounts of Black Comedy and horror, and having an older target audience than most of the channel's shows. While Nickelodeon did intend for it to be this - the reason they hired Jhonen Vasquez in the first place was that they wanted edgier material in the vein of The Ren & Stimpy Show - the fact that it contrasted so much with their other shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and The Fairly OddParents, in addition to the show's very high budget, ultimately led to an early cancellation and being destined to be a Cult Classic.
  • Muppet Babies (2018) stands from Mr. Warburton's other shows , being made for preschool audiences rather than older kids. note 
  • It might be surprising for some to learn that the mafia-themed adult-oriented animated sitcom Fugget About It is produced by Canada's 9 Story Media Group, a company whose animated productions otherwise consist only of children's cartoons, including many PBS Kids series.
  • Wild C.A.T.s (1994) was produced by Nelvana, and is one of their few, if not only, straight action series (all of their other shows with action have typically been action-adventure or mystery); furthermore, the visual style is straight out of the comic, standing in stark contrast to the varied visual styles of Nelvana's other productions.
  • In contrast with C.H. Greenblatt's wacky comedy shows like Chowder and Jellystone!, Harvey Beaks is an atmospheric Slice of Life. It's also the series he's proudest of the most.

    Other 
  • Lyrick Studios, the producers of Barney & Friends and the original mass market distributor of VeggieTales, also distributed some other series on VHS in their early days... as well as the far-right religious video Vatican 2: The Faithful Revolution. The Closing Logo Group, in its Lyrick Studios article, calls that video "a surprisingly non-children's release".
  • Eurovision Song Contest:
    • Latvia, best-known for crazy novelty acts, sending the quiet, intimate "That Night" by Carousel in 2019.
    • In one of the most triumphant recent examples, Italy sending glam-rock band Måneskin with "Zitti e buoni" in 2021, which went against their usual grain and earned them their first victory in over thirty years.
      • Thirty years prior, they sent their only entry neither in Italian or English: Peppino di Capri's "Comme è ddoce 'o mare," which is in the Neapolitan language.
      • Earlier still, in 1957, Italy sent the longest song to ever compete in the contest. Nunzio Gallo's "Corde della mia chitarra" was a whopping 5:09, which led to the establishment of the rule that songs could be no longer than three minutes long the following year.
      • Al Bano and Romina Power's "We'll Live It All Again" (1976), Raphael Gualazzi's "Madness of Love" (2011), and Nina Zilli's "L'amore e femmina" (2012) are the only Italian entries to have as much, if not more, English in them as Italian. Francesca Michielin's "No Degree of Separation" (2016) was also partially translated into English for Eurovision, but the majority of it remained in Italian.
    • Most people would agree that the Mediterranean-sounding banger of 2019 was Luca Hänni's "She Got Me." Astonishingly, it came from Switzerland, and its fourth-place finish was their best in over twenty-five years.
      • An earlier example would be their host entry from 1989, Furbaz's "Viver senza tei" - their only entry in the Romansh language.
      • Not necessarily sonically (although it is somewhat unusual for them to send a rock song), but conceptually: their 2005 entry "Cool Vibes" was performed by Estonian girl group Vanilla Ninja. While other singers from outside of Switzerland have represented them in the past, most at least sang in one of their native languages (French, German, or Italian). Vanilla Ninja had no connection whatsoever, but they did score very well and finished eighth.
    • At the time, Gina G's "Ooh, Aah...Just a Little Bit" was considered this for both the United Kingdom and the contest as a whole, as it was much more electronically-driven and contemporary than most of what was sent to the competition in the mid-90s. While it only finished eighth, it was still a huge hit and scored a Grammy nomination.
    • Lithuania managed to zig-zag this: they got their best result to this day with LT United's "We Are the Winners" in 2006, a straightforward sports chant/novelty song. That in and of itself was a break from type for them, but even more so was their sending a low-key acoustic number (4Fun's "Love or Leave") the following year.
    • Starting in the '80s, Denmark's trademark at the contest was sending high-energy pop songs with brassy instrumentation and lots of dancing. 1991's "Lige der hvor hjertet slår" by Anders Frandsen was a simple piano ballad...and their first entry since 1985 to finish outside the top ten.
      • Back-to-back examples in 1995 (Aud Wilken's "Fra Mols til Skagen," a minimalistic, intimate song) and 1997 (Kølig Kaj's "Stemmen i mit liv," the only straight-up novelty song Denmark's ever sent).
    • At the time, Lordi's "Hard Rock Hallelujah" was this for Finland, but seeing as they've sent several rock songs since then, it's much more common nowadays.
    • "Irlande Douze Points" by Dustin the Turkey. Ireland, the country known for classy ballads and folk songs, sent an electro-pop novelty song performed by a puppet turkey. It wasn't an experiment that paid off particularly. The duo of entries by Jedward are also quite different from what Ireland's known for sending, but at least they got decent results.
      • Earlier, we have Sandie Jones' "Ceol an Ghrá" (1972), which remains Ireland's only Irish-language entry. Subverted in regards to Ireland's Junior Eurovision participation, which is organized by Irish-language TV station TG4, thereby ensuring that every entry Ireland sends there is in Irish.
    • Most people probably wouldn't have expected Germany, of all countries, to send a goofy, lighthearted song about brushing off the haters. Nevertheless, that sums up their 2021 entry, "I Don't Feel Hate" by Jendrik, pretty neatly. It comes complete with tap dancing and a woman dressed as a giant "deuces." The televote wasn't too keen.
    • Both Hovi Star's "Made of Stars" (2016) and Kobi Marimi's "Home" (2019) apply for Israel. They're mostly known for sending songs inspired by their diverse local cultures and immigrant populations, with a particular emphasis on sounds inspired by Eastern European and Mediterranean music. These two songs were both classically Eurovision-esque power ballads meant to sound more like what you'd hear from a Western European country. Neither did particularly well.
      • For a more successful example, 1998's "Diva" by Dana International was a hi-NRG dance number performed by an openly transgender singer. It wound up earning Israel their third victory.
    • Sonically, Portugal's 2021 entry "Love is on My Side" by the Black Mamba isn't too far afield from their usual entries. What sets it apart is that it's the only Portuguese entry (so far) to be performed entirely in English, as the majority of their entries are entirely or mostly in Portuguese.
      • Also applies to Spain's 2016 entry "Say Yay!" by Barei (also their only entry entirely in English) and France's 2008 entry "Divine" by Sebastien Tellier (mostly in English, save for a few lines in French to appease the broadcaster). Applicable at the time for two 2015 entries - Israel's "Golden Boy" by Nadav Guedj and Serbia's "Beauty Never Lies" by Bojana Stamenov - but both have since sent other entries in English. On the flip side, there are also several countries for whom the odd one out is a song entirely in their native language, which applies to Sevak Khanagyan's "Qami" (Armenia 2018)note , Naviband's "Story of My Life" (Belarus 2017)note , Kabat's "Mala dama" (Czech Republic 2007)note , Fomins and Kleins' "Dziesma par laimi" (Latvia 2004), and Go_A's "Shum" (Ukraine 2021)note .
    • The original oddball entry would be Sweden's 1965 contribution, "Absent Friend," performed by opera singer Ingvar Wixell. It was the first Eurovision entry performed entirely in a non-native language, in this case English (although Austria's 1963 entry was also partially in English), leading to the establishment of the native-language rule that would last from 1966-1972 and again from 1977-1998.
      • On that note, it made two entries from 1977 stand out: since both Germany and Belgium selected their entrants before the native-language rule was brought back, they were allowed to perform in English, thereby making their respective entries - "Telegram" by Silver Convention and "A Million in One, Two, Three" by Dream Express - the only two entries between 1977 and 1998 not performed in a country's native language.
    • The first example for France would be 1992's "Monté la rivie" by Kali, which was the first French entry to not be performed entirely in French (a lot of it was in Antillean Creole, as Kali hails from the French overseas territory of Martinique). They would go on to send entries in Corsican (Amaury Vassilly's "Sognu" from 2011, although - unsurprisingly - Patrick Fiori's "Mama Corsica" from 1993 also features a few lines in Corsican) and Breton (Dan Ar Braz et L'Heritage des Celtes' "Diwanit Bugale" from 1996).
    • For both the language and the contest as a whole, Morocco's 1980 entry "Bitaqat Hob" by Samira Said remains not only the sole Eurovision entry entirely in Arabic but also the only entry Morocco ever sent and the only appearance by an African country at the contest to date.
    • Several editions of the contest have unique quirks that never spread to subsequent editions:
      • The 1980 contest featured an ambassador from each competing country (mostly the countries' national final hosts or commentators) introducing their country's song.
      • Several from the 1996 contest, particularly its rebranding as "Eurosong," its unique relegation system (every country interested in competing could submit an entry, which were then judged by jurors from each country to determine which 22 countries would join hosts Norway - an idea that backfired when one of the relegated countries was frequent participant and major EBU financial contributor Germany), having politicians from each country wish their representatives luck, presenting the songs in a "letterboxed" format before the contest switched to widescreen in 2005, presenting the votes from a virtual "blue room," and the only instance to date of a country's spokesperson appearing onstage to deliver her country's votes (fittingly, Norway's). Most of these novelties would disappear the following year, and it's the only contest since the very first in 1956 to not feature a German entry.
      • Partially tested in 2001 and widely used in 2002, the EBU offered countries the choice of either determining their votes entirely through a televote, entirely through a jury (if they had no feasible way of conducting a televote) or through a 50-50 combination of jury and televotes. This backfired when it appeared the 50-50 countries and all-jury countries were trading votes, which led to the all-televote-unless-it's-impossible system being brought back the following year. The 50-50 system wouldn't return until 2009, and now every country was using it.
      • 2006 was the only year where a country voted that wasn't participating: the dubious circumstances surrounding their national final led to Serbia and Montenegro being forced to withdraw, but seeing as it was shortly before the contest and they still intended to broadcast it, the EBU allowed them to vote in both the semi and the final.

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