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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?.

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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.


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 and Mu, a comedy about his daily life with his fiancee's cats.
    • 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.
  • 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-riffic Lucky Star and screwball cartoon Nichijou, still had 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 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 five:
    • 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 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.
    • 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 off of.
    • For Hayao Miyazaki, The Wind Rises is noticeably very different from his usual work. While the film isn't without it's 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 an 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 an drastically different artstyle 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 over arching plotline.
  • Studio Gainax is well known for their thought-provoking, Aesop-filled stories mixed in with over-the-top action. Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt throws away any semblance of lesson-telling and is a full-on Widget Series turned Up to Eleven.
  • 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 his works Himegoto 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.

    Comic Books 
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    Film 

    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.
  • Roald Dahl's book Esio Trot, while still aimed at kids, featured neither a Kid Hero nor any kind of antagonist at all.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Quinn Martin, the mastermind behind such shows as The Untouchables and The Fugitive, also served as executive producer for the sci-fi series The Invaders.
  • 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 iimed at older children: Ace Lightning and Dinosapien.

    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 All Music 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 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's Rebirth.
  • 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" and "Gimme Gimme Call", however, end with decidedly non-het couples; the former ends in a mmf threesome marriage while the grooms kiss each other, while the latter 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.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
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    Web Original 
  • Rooster Teeth is an entertainment company that bills itself as a "Comedy Gaming Community", which got their 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 since Red vs. Blue is RWBY: a completely original Animesque action/adventure webseries that is a huge phenomenon in its own right and completely different from anything they've made before or since.
  • SMG4 is best known for his wacky and meme-filled SMG4's Mario Bloopers videos, but has also made and worked on Meta Runner, an action/adventure series more in line with RWBY, 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.
  • 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, 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.
  • The Emperor's New Groove feels more like a Warner Bros. cartoon 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, 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 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, Men In Black and even the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy movie that came out at around the same time.
  • Waking Life is a drastic departure from the rest of 20th Century Fox's adult animated productions, as the film completely lacks the lowbrow humor and Dysfunctional Family writing found in their other works, instead being a philosophical Le Film Artistique drama centering on the themes of freewill, the nature of reality, and the meaning of life. It's likely because of these reasons that Fox decided not to credit their 20th Century Animation branch in the film's production.
  • Jeff Swampy Marsh, co-creator of Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy's Law, both of which have plenty of adult humor, created a preschool show, Pete the Cat .
  • Stop motion animator Art Clokey made a name for himself creating children 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.

    Other 
  • Lyrick Studios, the producers of Barney & Friends and the original 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".

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