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Deconstructed Character Archetype

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"I think if there's a truly seductive quality about Clementine, it's that her personality promises to take you out of the mundane. It's like, you secure yourself with this amazing, burning meteorite to carry you to another world, a world where things are exciting. But, what you quickly learn is that it's really an elaborate ruse."
Joel from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, commenting on the illusory Manic Pixie Dream Girl quality of his ex-girlfriend

Deconstructing a trope involves taking an existing trope, playing it straight and examining the likely/realistic consequences or implications of that trope that tend to be ignored by straight examples of it. This trope does the same thing, but for fictional character archetypes.

One way to do this is to take a familiar character type and place the character in a realistic setting, and then explore what happens as a result of the character being Wrong Genre Savvy. Another is to explore likely facets of the character's personality or background that straight examples of the trope tend to overlook. This can also be done as part of a Genre Deconstruction, if certain character archetypes are closely associated with a particular genre (what would Westerns be without the archetypical Cowboy?). A particularly interesting (and decidedly meta) way to do this is by taking an actor known only for playing certain kinds of roles and casting them in a role which deconstructs that character type. Note, however, that an actor deconstructing their established persona or character type is not automatically an example of this trope, unless their persona is a recognizable character archetype in its own right.


As a rule of thumb, examples of this trope should be deconstructions of character archetypes which already have their own trope pages (The Hero, The Lancer, Anti-Villain etc.), unless the character archetype is no longer in current use (Discredited Trope, Forgotten Trope etc.).

A subtrope of both Deconstruction and Deconstructed Trope (insofar as character archetypes are tropes in their own right). Compare Wrong Genre Savvy and Playing with Character Type.


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Films — Animation 
  • Brave deconstructs the Rebellious Princess. Merida is one such princess who has no time for her mother's lessons and only wishes to spend her days doing riding and archery. She also decides to Screw Destiny and reject an Arranged Marriage...only to nearly start a war with the families of the princes she rejected. And the war is prevented by Merida using the lessons her mother taught her in the first place.
  • Frozen (2013):
    • Elsa is a deconstruction of the Emotionless Girl. Her whole life she's been taught to suppress her emotions and "conceal, don't feel" in order to prevent her ice powers from getting the best of her. Eventually she boils over, losing her temper and running away, which leads to her not realizing her Power Incontinence is nearly destroying the kingdom. Only when she embraces her emotions does she truly learn to control her powers - and she's much happier for it.
    • The movie also deconstructs Thinks Like a Romance Novel with Anna. Anna was locked away at a young age and didn't get much socialization, to the point that she ended up turning to paintings for conversation, so her idea of love ends up rather storylike. She believes in Fourth Date Marriage if it's "true love," which she thinks describes her relationship with Hans after one day. He turns out to be a Gold Digger manipulating her so he can get closer to the throne, and Anna moves on to the more sincere Kristoff, who's proven himself true - and they take things more slowly.
    • Anna and Elsa's parents also deconstruct Overprotective Dad and My Beloved Smother. Agdar and Iduna desire to protect their children, so they isolate them from anything that could hurt them, including each other. Because of this, the girls are denied the life experiences and skills that real people need to develop, and their separation cause the sisters' bond to rust up, especially since Anna is kept Locked Out of the Loop about Elsa's powers. The choices the King and Queen make also result in the above-stated issues for their daughters. As a result, it's easy to find An Aesop in the movie saying that it's justifiable to worry about your kids, but teaching them to be timid and fearful is not a good way to protect them.
  • Mulan's father is a Handicapped Badass and Retired Badass who remains skilled with the sword but old age, his injured leg and implied heart problems make him incapable of fighting like he used to for more than a minute. This influences Mulan's decision to disguise herself as a soldier and take his place in fighting the Huns.
  • In Coco:
    • Almighty Mom manifests itself in Imelda as stubbornness, pride and inability to let go of past grudges and wind up being her Fatal Flaw where this trope causes problems for her and her family. Her efforts to Unperson her husband and ban music cause endless trouble generations later for Miguel and unintentionally nearly cause Héctor to undergo the final death. And once it's revealed that Héctor didn't willingly abandon her and their daughter, she's horrified by her actions.
    • While it's common in many films for a Mysterious Parent to not be present in the protagonist's life with little consequence, in Coco however the missing parent is a crucial point as it devastated the Rivera family and caused a ban on music that lasted for generations. The film explores the death of the parent, the consequences of their disappearance and how the family coped with it, for better or for worse.
  • Aladdin deconstructs Benevolent Genie once the Genie ends up in the hands of Jafar. Though Genie clearly does not want to help Jafar take over Agrabah, he's simply too nice of a person to try and be a Literal Genie to Jafar, not to mention the rules he has to follow being a Genie. As a result, when Aladdin tries to convince him not to help Jafar, Genie can only apologize as he completes Jafar's orders.
  • ParaNorman: This is a repeated theme with much of the main cast.
    • Norman's openness about his abilities leaves him ostracized from the rest of the town, who think he's either lying for attention or genuinely crazy for talking to ghosts that no one else can see.
    • Alvin is a pretty stereotypical example of The Bully. Unlike other examples where the bully is still popular regardless, everyone sees Alvin as a complete loser who's not much higher on the social ladder than Norman because of how rude he is to everyone. Even his victims think he's pathetic.
    • Mitch is your standard popular Dumb Jock, but his popularity seems to come in part from being actually a nice person. And rarely for the trope, he expresses fear and distrust of socially outcast groups, despite being a member of one such group himself, showing that even members of socially discriminated groups can still be fearful and prejudiced against other groups.
    • Judge Hopkins is a deconstruction of the Hanging Judge, as he legitimately did what he thought was best and his decision wasn't motivated by sadism or cruelty, but by a values system that all the people of Blithe Hollow agreed with. He's also a deconstruction of the stereotypical zombie characters, as he and his fellow zombies have come to regret their actions over the hundreds of years they've been dead, and in the climax, it's the zombies who flee in terror from the hordes of bloodthirsty townspeople.
    • The Witch is not an evil old crone practicing black magic, but a scared little girl with abilities neither she nor the townsfolk understood who was executed by the townspeople for something she had no control over, which is much closer to what the Salem Witch Trials actually were in real life. Moreover, while her Freudian Excuse is sympathetic, it's still only an excuseshe's a scared, angry child lashing out in the only way she knows how, and Norman forces her to understand that her violent cursing of the town and its people is understandable, but still not justified or the right thing to do.
    • The townspeople of Blithe Hollow are shown to be Not So Different from the zombies, reacting to their appearance with extreme violence and aggression, and with shots of their attacks deliberately paralleling iconic zombie attack scenes. Thanks to modern technology and a massive numbers advantage, the townspeople pose far more of a threat to the slow-moving, shambling zombies than the zombies do to them. Their lynch-mob mentality gets so bad that they actively try to kill Norman, who's only a child, just for being different — exactly like the zombies when they were alive.
  • Kung Fu Panda: Whether or not it was intentional, Tai Lung is one for the traditional Kung-Fu Hero that is exiled or imprisoned by his enemies and returns to claim what is his. The movie also deconstructs in Tai Lung's character the idea of The Chosen One, Master of All, and Roaring Rampage of Revenge. While Tai Lung was imprisoned by his father figure, it was for a good reason as Tai Lung would do anything to get the Dragon Scroll and attacked his mentor/father figure without mercy and showed he would go to extreme lengths to get what he wants. Tai Lung believed he was the chosen one due to his father figure raising him into becoming the best student from the temple. While in most Kung-Fu stories, he would be the chosen one, the nature of the Dragon Scroll renders that belief meaningless and indeed, anathema to the purpose of Kung-Fu. Being raised to crave outside validation for accomplishments was detrimental to Tai Lung's personal growth, who instead needed to look to himself rather than others. While Tai Lung was very much The Ace and a prodigy, learning 1,000 scrolls worth of techniques, he only looked to the physical and technical aspects of Kung-Fu and never focused on spiritual enlightenment or peace within himself. Lastly, while Tai Lung was let down by Shifu by not supporting Tai Lung in the ways that mattered most, and for leaving him to rot in prison for 20 years without trying to reach out to his son or helping him in a way that could have given Tai Lung a chance at redemption, Tai Lung had become so bitter and selfish that even when Shifu admits his own faults and apologizes, Tai Lung still ignores him and not only attacks Shifu but is also harming innocent people. While Shifu was at fault for some of the wrong that resulted, Tai Lung became a cold and brutal beast willing to destroy anyone and anything to get what he wanted.

  • Poets of the Fall's video for Obsession Song "Carnival of Rust" has its singer Zoltar, a fortunetelling automaton with tatty clothes, peeling paint and tell-tale black-accented white makeup, as a deconstructed Pierrot. While genuinely tragic, pining after the woman in the gas mask who visits the Carnival, he's rendered foreboding and sinister because the lyrics make clear his idea of love is deeply dysfunctional and self-interested, since he thinks it will fix his life/free him from the Carnival. Though his desperation is sincere, there's a reason his demanding chorus is signaled by a Scare Chord.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • The stand-up routines of Bo Burnham revolve around deconstructing the "weird kid in high school" type that's really shy and a total loner. While it's played for Black Comedy, Bo frequently points out how dark some of his thoughts can get, how utterly bizarre human nature can be, how introversion can really mess someone up, and the weird things people do to try and become popular.
  • Steve Harvey was an early adopter of the White Dude, Black Dude trope, though in his case it's an instance of Unbuilt Trope. He always made sure to show that the black guy was just as screwed up and idiotic as the white guy, being so focused on doing things the "black way" that he screwed himself over.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • The Space Marines' Primarchs deconstruct Magnetic Hero. They are the mightiest and most charismatic men in history, natural leaders and born conquerors who come to dominate the worlds they were scattered to before taking their place leading the Emperor's armies. But they also have some serious issues resulting from this unusual upbringing and the Emperor's Parental Abandonment, and the same Undying Loyalty they inspire in their legions means that when half of the Primarchs turn traitor, they are able to take the majority of their forces with them.
    • The Grey Knights deconstruct The Paladin. Their sole role is fighting daemon corruption so that usually means killing an entire population for being too close to said corruption. It is also said not one Grey Knight had fallen to Chaos. It's because they are brainwashed so they can't make that choice.
    • Night Haunter deconstructs Terror Hero. He believes fear is the greatest tool that would bring peace to his world and so carries out killing sprees in a global scale hoping it will Scare 'Em Straight. Years later, he comes back to see his planet has reverted back to its evil ways since he and his legion aren't there to terrify anyone, while the things he did to instill that fear slowly twisted him into a worse monster than the ones he fought. Rather than admit his methods were wrong, he blows his planet up. Additionally, his Legion has spent so long relying on fear that they're subpar in a straight-up fight; anyone who's not terrified, such as their Arch-Enemy faction with a literal rule called And They Shall Know No Fear, is going to have an edge against the Night Lords.
    • The Emperor deconstructs the Pro-Human Transhuman and God-Emperor all at once. While he's on humanity's side, his inhuman level of power and ridiculously long lifespan mean that he doesn't have much ability to actually relate to individual humans (or even human-derived demigods like the Primarchs) or understand what motivates them, while causing his ego to inflate spectacularly. This means that his all-important campaign largely ends up in the hands of people whose goals had little or nothing to do with conquering the galaxy for another's benefit, contending against forces they were generally not permitted to know even existed, with all information that might actually help fight them suppressed. This, in turn, led to the corruption of half of the Primarchs to Chaos, the largest civil war to ever strike the Imperium, and the end of not only the Emperor's grand dream but also his ability to move on his own and directly run his empire.


    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa:
    • In particular, the theme of the games deconstruct Broken Ace, Bunny-Ears Lawyer, and Dysfunction Junction. Every non-protagonist student is the best there is at their specific Ultimate Talent, and all of them are eccentric and colorful... because they all have some personal tragedy or mental health issue, some of which made their talent possible in the first place. Some characters feel restricted by their talent, but at the same time, they're incapable of functioning without it. The reason they find the protagonists so approachable is because they're the closest thing to a therapist in all of Hope's Peak Academy.
    • Of the Wholesome Crossdresser with Chihiro Fujisaki. He disguises himself as a girl in order to avoid being called girly or being a target of bullying due to his pliant, shy and sweet personality, as well as his lack of physical strength. He does not identify himself as female, but the amount of persecution he suffered for being not a manly guy made him seek to end this by denying his own gender, even though this is not something he likes or is comfortable with.
    • Mondo Owada is a deconstruction of the Delinquents archetype, since despite being the leader of the largest motorcycle gang in all of Japan, he's painfully aware that because of his lifestyle, he doesn't have much of a future once he graduates. He also deconstructs Jerk with a Heart of Gold since, even though he has a good heart, he is still a delinquent with violent tendencies, as seen when his first reaction to being jealous of Chihiro, whom he had bonded with, is to impulsively murder the kid- something which he immediately regrets.
    • The second game's Player Character Hajime Hinata deconstructs I Just Want to Be Special and Took a Level in Badass. He was originally an Ordinary High-School Student who admired Hope's Peak Academy more than anyone and was willing to do anything to attend, even if it meant being part of the subpar Reserve Course. Even then, he was so insecure about his lack of a talent that he underwent a surgical procedure designed to grant him every talent. However, this required excising all of his senses, thoughts, emotions, hobbies, and memories that interfered with acquiring these talents. This transformed Hajime into the utterly apathetic and sociopathic genius Izuru Kamukura.
    • Nagito Komaeda deconstructs Born Lucky and Born Unlucky. He's been plagued by a cycle of good and bad luck ever since he was born, with good event followed by bad event followed by good event. While this allowed him to win several lotteries and earned him a place in the academy, it also came with heavy costs, such as the deaths of his parents and two terminal illnesses. He's become a Death Seeker who's absolutely obsessed with hope, going so far as to incite conflict believing that the hope that arises from it will be even stronger.
    • Mikan Tsumiki is both a parody and deconstruction of the Reluctant Fanservice Girl, as well as Hates Being Alone. Many of the compromising positions she ends up in are comically exaggerated, with many characters pointing out how odd it is. With a long history of bullying and abuse, Mikan has come to believe that publicly degrading and humiliating herself, as uncomfortable and damaging to her already low self-esteem it is, and murdering people and committing atrocities at the behest of a charismatic yet crazed Straw Nihilist dictator whom she “loves”, is the only way she can get attention. The one thing she fears more than being abused is being ignored.
    • The third game has Maki Harukawa, who deconstructs both the Violently Protective Girlfriend and Defrosting Ice Queen trope, as all her attempts to protect Kaito make the situation worse, are futile because Kaito has been Secretly Dying the entire time and then in the Wham Episode final trial, it's revealed that Maki was brainwashed into falling in love with Kaito in order to boost the show's ratings, and that the Kaito she "fell" for didn't really exist, as his audition tapes show the he wanted to be in the Killing Game to be rich and famous and couldn't wait to kill someone. Not to mention, Maki is given a Dark and Troubled Past where she was trained to be an assassin from a young age, forced to look after other children in the orphanage and was separated from her best friend, all as part of her "character arc" where she loosens up after befriending Kaito and Shuichi. She does not take this revelation well.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • Hanako Ikezawa deconstructs the Shrinking Violet trope. The reason she's so anxious around people is because of the many scars she received from a house fire that also killed her parents when she was only eight. The bullying and isolation she endured at her old school only made things worse. She's painfully aware of how she is and hates when other people coddle her and treat like a child, thinking they only do it to make themselves feel better. Doing this too much leads to her Downer Ending, where she completely explodes and tells Hisao she hates him.
    • Emi Ibarazaki deconstructs the Plucky Girl. Even after losing both her legs, she remains a perpetually cheerful, energetic girl. However, the one thing she hasn't managed to recover from was the loss of her father. She knows it's normal to lose relationships with people, and it's best to be strong and move on. However, at the same time, the same stubbornness that enables her to deal with her issues prevents Emi from growing close to anyone because she is afraid that the pain of loss will prevent her from moving onto the future. This prevents anyone from helping her when she actually needs it.
    • Rin Tezuka deconstructs the Cloudcuckoolander. Her eccentric behavior isn't portrayed as funny or cute, but instead it makes it difficult for anyone to communicate with her, much less relate with her. She really just wants to be understood like any other person but can't express herself properly.
    • Shizune Hakamachi deconstucts the Spirited Competitor. She's stern, assertive, takes her position as Student Council President very seriously, and likes to turn everything into a competition...but it's that very mentality that drove the other members of the council away (including her cousin Lilly), leaving Misha as her Only Friend.
    • Lilly Satou deconstructs the Mary Sue Classic and Yamato Nadeshiko. Because she appears to be so perfect, Hisao is perfectly content to just lie back and let her handle everything. So when she’s eventually pressured into doing something she really doesn’t want to do (emigrate to Scotland to live with her estranged parents) no one, Hisao included, is willing to question her on it.
  • In Hakuouki, second-in-command Hijikata is a Hypercompetent Sidekick to Kondou, doing most of the work of disciplining, leading and strategizing for the Shinsengumi, all to elevate Kondou's warm and friendly nature with the troops. But this backfired as Hijikata's efforts to protect Kondou leave Kondou completely unprepared to deal with the harsh realities of leadership, where Kondou is unable to cope with the Boshin War and is unable to retain the respect of his men when things go wrong.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club!:
    • Natsuki acts like your average Tsundere - abrasive, sarcastic and arrogant at times. However this is a facade as she is so quick to go on the defensive because she is constantly being judged by her other classmates and by her (possibly) neglectful father and her brash personality is a coping mechanism for her low self-esteem since others look down on her because of her small stature, her manga preference or cutesy writing style. This worsens her friendship with Yuri, whom Natsuki genuinely does want to befriend, but her Hair-Trigger Temper only alienates Yuri further.
    • Sayori is revealed to be an Insecure Love Interest. It isn't that she feels that she isn't good enough for the player character. It's that she thinks she's not good enough for anyone to care about. Even when people express concern for her or try to be her friend, she feels that they are "wasting" their time and energy on her. She also deconstructs the Cute Clumsy Girl archetype, as the protagonist character notes that Sayori is always forgetting to bring lunch money, constantly runs late and criticizes her for her spaciness... all of which are classic symptoms of Depression. The protagonist immersion drops the snark after finding out.
    • The game's antagonist, Monika, is a Deconstruction of the common wish-fulfilment trope of a Dating Sim character who is Yandere for the player. What do you get when a character with Medium Awareness is in love with not the in-universe protagonist, but the player? The answer: a Cosmic Horror Story.
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair has Momoko Mori, a deconstruction of the Clingy Jealous Girl. Not only does her clinginess cause friction between her and her boyfriend Hiro, as well as her and others (for example, she gets angry with Runa for trying to talk to Hiro), but it's also the product of deep-seated trust issues. Because Momoko was often taken advantage of in the past, she gradually stopped trusting people until she befriended Kamen. Unfortunately, her friendship with Kamen and her relationship with Hiro don't help her issues- it's thought that if either one of them betrays her, she will likely be broken. When Kamen reveals that Hiro asked her out and planned on dumping her, Momoko refuses to believe it and even threatens to end her friendship with Kamen if she continues trying to convince her of that. Momoko soon discovers messages from Hiro on Kamen's cell phone, then plots to murder him and kill herself, in order to frame Kamen for their deaths.
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Saber is this for The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask and Failure Knight. She is a gender-bent King Arthur, having been born female and taking the mantle of king when she pulled Caliburn from the sword in the stone. As a king, she felt it was better to become emotionless and focus on putting the people above her own feeling while ignoring her own feelings or wants. Eventually many of her knights lost faith in her and her people felt she was a poor ruler because she seemed inhuman and no longer able to connect to her, resulting in it fracturing the kingdom and leading to the fall of Camelot once Lancelot's affair with the queen was revealed and Mordred took advantage of it to lead a rebellion. This resulted in her feeling she was a failure, and so she becomes a Heroic Spirit to obtain the Holy Grail to undo her rule by wishing someone else would take her spot, but its pointed out in the Fate route that her belief someone could do better then her is routed in her own feelings of failure and not fact, and its pointed out by Shirou that her wish is selfish because she's essentially thrusting the responsibility she took onto someone else, with no certainty that they could do a better job, and it takes a while for her to ultimately agree.
    • Kirei Kotomine is this for the Card-Carrying Villain. In two of the three routes he is revealed to be the games villain and more or less just does evil things because he wants to. Heavens Feel though reveals that in reality, Kotomine was someone suffering from a two conflicting parts of his being: the fact he only feels joy when causing pain and misery, but also the fact he was raised with morals and a sense of humanity. This made him cross the Despair Event Horizon years ago when his wife killed herself in the hopes of proving he could feel love; instead it made him despair at the realization he didn't get to kill her. As a result, he desires to bring the corrupted holy grail to fruition just so he can ask Angra Mainyu a simple question: why was a man like himself born this way? All his actions are simply to find meaning and answers for his paradoxical nature, and to do so, he presents himself as this trope because nobody understands him, except on Heavens Feel where Shirou finds out how Not So Different they are. He looks and act the part of an evil villain because its the only thing that can bring him joy.

    Web Animation 
  • Hazbin Hotel: Charlie is a deconstruction of the Princess Classic. She fits almost every trope of the average Disney Princess, being an All-Loving Hero who's a Friend to All Living Things that often breaks into saccharine music numbers. In your standard Disney setting, this attitude would net her 100% Adoration Rating and a lot of respect. However, her domain is Hell, which is a hedonistic, ultra-violent Crapsack World. As a result, her royal status doesn't mean much when none of the citizens are willing to so much as give her the time of day, and the sheer horribleness of the environment means that most of the denizens see her determined altruism as hopelessly naive at best and dangerous at worst.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • True Companions/Badass Crew is deconstructed through the Freelancers. On paper, they were meant to be an invincible group of badasses that were initially friendly and close-knit with each other. But due to the competitive nature of the Project and the ranking system constantly shoved at the agents, they were prone to jealousy, grudges and bitterness. The scoreboard only served to make the Freelancers complete missions on their own rather than work together. All of this would lead to the team turning on one another (such as a sister trying to kill her brother, a few agents going rogue, friends attacking each other) and the project cannibalizing itself.
    • invoked Allison/Agent Texas is a deconstruction of the Mary Sue. She is everything that the Director wanted her to be, as she is the memory of someone he once loved. But her absurdly powerful and ultra-competent abilities don't endear her towards others. The Reds and Blues only think of her as the "scary chick", except for Church who is unhealthily obsessed with her (which he eventually calls himself out on through a representative of Tucker). She is isolated from the other Freelancers who are either fearful or resentful towards her - especially Agent Carolina, the daughter of the person Tex is based on. Since Allison's death is a crucial part of the Director's memory of her, Tex is trapped in an endless cycle of failure at critical moments. A Mary Sue is supposed to be loved by everyone, but Tex only fosters fear, bitterness and paranoia from others. Furthermore, a Mary Sue is meant to always have things work out for them in the end. Instead, Tex's curse to always fail at the last possible second whenever she puts her mind to something has made her into a bitter self-loathing cynic who eventually "just wants to rest."
    • On that note, Allison is the Director's Lost Lenore where he becomes obsessed with the idea to find some way to bring her back... even if it meant destroying his relationship with his daughter, torturing his own A.I. (Alpha) past the brink of insanity, manipulating countless people to complete his goals, indirectly being the cause for most of the Freelancers' deaths and committing numerous horrific acts.
    • Frank "Doc" DuFresne deconstructs the Butt-Monkey trope that so many comedies rely on. He's gone through so much trauma at the hands of the Blood Gulch Crew that he starts to develop mental issues. In Season 13, he eventually develops a Ax-Crazy Split Personality in the form of O'Malley, which is based on the A.I. he was possessed by for most of The Blood Gulch Chronicles. In Season 15, he engages in a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal because of all the bullshit the Blood Gulch Crew's put him through, though it doesn't last long when he realizes how the Blues and Reds have gone completely off the deep end.
    • Felix serves as a deconstruction of the classic "generally attractive and charismatic Deadpan Snarker Jerk with a Heart of Gold White Male Lead" archetype seen in countless Hollywood films. His "charismatic and lovable dick" persona is just a facade he puts on to manipulate people, and he's actually a high-functioning sociopath who has been hired to goad the planet he's on into a bloody civil war that leaves no one alive. His dismissive attitude towards death and ability to crack jokes during the Chorus Civil War just shows how psychotic he is and how he's a Psychopathic Manchild that gets off on making others suffer for his own amusement. Even his (admittedly implied up until Season 14) attractive physique is revealed to just be a facet of his vanity and need to make himself come across as appealing to other people so they can do what he wants them to do.
    • Locus goes out of his way to present himself as an unfeeling and emotionally detached Consummate Professional - doing whatever his mission requires, no matter how terrible or morally questionable, with the justification that he is Just Following Orders. In truth, he is just as human as anyone else, and was deeply traumatized by what happened to him during the Human-Covenant War. Assuming this role of an unquestioning soldier is just a way for Locus to cope with his trauma. Unfortunately, this leaves him easy prey for Felix's manipulation and control. This facade gradually falls apart as he fights against Wash during The Chorus Trilogy, with the latter repeatedly calling him out on his hypocrisy. This forces Locus to question what he is doing, eventually culminating in a Heel–Face Turn.
    • The Blues and Reds take apart both the Cannon Fodder and the Redshirt Army. When they found out that they were nothing but test subjects to be used by Project Freelancer, meaning what they went through and the losses they suffered meant nothing to their superiors, they went off the deep end and became ruthless anarchic terrorists dedicated to striking back at the people who hurt them no matter how many innocent souls get in the way.
    • Chrovos is a deconstruction of The Older Immortal. On the one hand, they are far more powerful than the rest of the Cosmic Powers, and are also mentioned to even be older than the current universe. On the other hand, they're the only immortal in the entire series to suffer from The Fog of Ages. Additionally, they're prone to Bond Villain Stupidity since they've gone utterly insane from being locked up alone in a prison cell for several eons, and are just profoundly relieved to be able to talk to someone for a change.
  • RWBY:
    • Yang deconstructs the Anti-Hero Archetype: Blood Knight, by exploring the consequences of being a thrill-seeker who has a Hair-Trigger Temper. Yang's Semblance gives her a Critical Status Buff the more damage she takes, and often gets her literally Burning with Anger. This makes her great in brawls and come-from-behind victories, but the downside of this fighting style is displayed when she can't land any hits and her temper becomes a liability. Most critically, the fact that Yang repeatedly fights this way makes it easy for the villains to predict her moves and behaviour. They are therefore able to set her up to be disqualified from the tournament by appearing to severely injured an apparently helpless tournament opponent in a violent, aggressive beat-down. When she sees Blake being stabbed through the stomach, she loses it and charges right at Blake's attacker despite it being an obvious trap. This ends up costing her an arm and she spends the whole of Volume 4 learning how to readjust to the world in the aftermath of her loss. Her father acts as her advisor by lampshading how much of a trope deconstruction she is and teaching her to fight smarter instead of harder. When she and Blake have their rematch against Adam in Volume 6, the fight is full of call-backs to Volume 3 to show how much Yang has learned from her deconstruction experience.
    • Jaune deconstructs the Loser Archetype: Butt-Monkey. He's introduced in the pilot as the boy who's throwing up because he's travel sick. He can't remember which locker his stuff is in, he embarrasses himself trying to chat up Weiss and Pyrrha, he has to be rescued during his first class because he doesn't have a landing strategy, and Weiss falls on his back when he attempts to rescue her. It's all played for comedy until Cardin's bullying leads to a confrontation between Jaune and Pyrrha about Jaune's desire to become a Huntsman. Refusing to be labelled forever as the "loveable idiot", he wants to honour his famous war-hero ancestor by becoming someone who can protect others. However, he has no idea how to do that by himself, and admits that even his parents didn't believe in him. His journey shows that being the "comic relief" can be destructive to the confidence, hopes and dreams of a person, leaving them frustrated with a life they can't escape. Only after he starts accepting help from others does he begin to turn his life around — and he gains that help by being determined to never give in to his lot in life and to better himself no matter what obstacles are thrown his way.
    • Pyrrha, Jaune's partner and Foil, is a deconstruction of The Ace. Because she is pretty, sweet and talented, she is constantly put on a pedestal, idolized and treated like a celebrity. She finds it hard to develop a meaningful relationship with anyone because everyone sees her as "too good for them" and doesn't treat her like an actual person. It isn't until she meets Jaune, who is the first person she's met who had no idea who she was and therefore treated her like a normal person, that she begins to build a life where she can make genuine and lasting friends. Just as she's developing the normal life she's always yearned for, she gets selected by Professor Ozpin to become the next Fall Maiden, which will forever trap her into the special life she longs so much to escape.
    • Professor Ozpin deconstructs the 'cool, mysterious fantasy teacher' character type who is always bending the rules for the teenage heroes. He's secretive and enigmatic, even to his closest allies. He brings Ruby into his school two years early, and grants her team a mission that's closed to first-years just because he knows they'll try and go to that region anyway. Not only do they barely cope with the threat level they encounter, but they accelerate the villain's evil plans in the process. Unable to support Ozpin's dubious decisions, one of his closest allies calls in the kingdom's Council to partially strip Ozpin's authority. They all play into the Big Bad's plans, which Ozpin refuses to fully explain for reasons of safety. This culminates in the invasion of Vale, destruction of Beacon Academy, and the deaths of many people, including himself. After the heroes, including a fourteen-year-old boy who is dragged into the conflict by virtue of being Ozpin's new host, are brought into the loop about Ozpin and Salem's Secret War, Yang makes it clear that her continued support is contingent on Ozpin ending his habit of hiding facts. Once they realise that Ozpin's still hiding information and lying, the truth he's been hiding from them is forced to come out. In response, they turn on him completely and he loses the support of all of them; however, it's the normally-loyal Qrow's rejection of him that sends him retreating into the back of Oscar's mind, to a place where even Oscar cannot reach.
  • Epithet Erased deconstructs the Wacky Parent, Serious Child dynamic through Martin and Molly, respectively; Martin's childish personality makes him a very irresponsible parent (and is implied to be a result of being in denial over his wife's death) and an even worse businessman. As a result, Molly, who's thirteen, is the only one willing to try and keep the family toy store afloat, which is taking a toll on her grades and sleep schedule.

  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl deconstructs the violent "Wolf-Girl" type of Tsundere, and rather viciously at that. Mike eventually gets sick of Lucy's volatile behavior of alternating between affection and abuse, and delivers a devastating "The Reason You Suck" Speech to her (wherein he tells her that he hates her, that she's a parasite, and that nobody loves her), which destroys their friendship. This in turn leads Lucy to attempt suicide and move away. When she returns to Roseville High, she coldly rejects his attempts to reconcile and distances herself from the rest of their friendship group. Turns out that directing verbal and physical abuse towards your hapless Love Interest, no matter how insecure you might be, is not a great approach to romance.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Belkar Bitterleaf deconstructs Token Evil Teammate. The rest of the team explicitly do not like him (minus Elan, though he likes everyone in general) and only keep him around for his ranger skills...many of which are not as good as they should be due to his focus on murder and mayhem over viability. His antics often bite them in the asses due to his main skill being Attack! Attack! Attack! and his short temper and lack of problem with killing get him saddled with a curse. He's finally forced to change or die, at which point he starts faking character development in order to remain relevant in the story and not get ditched by his teammates. Later still, his strained relationship with Roy means Roy won't believe him about the vamparized Durkon not being the same as their friend and people assume his trying to kill the vampire is just him being an asshole as always, instead of trying to stop a bad guy.
    • General Tarquin is a deconstruction of Genre Savvy. Someone so able to see "the way things go" and understand the narrative nature of a world is likely to get full of themselves for their understanding and get an inflated ego, which leads to the potential for diving into Wrong Genre Savvy if things don't go their way. Tellingly, he's not even the real leader of his team, but they let him think that since feeding his ego keeps him around to be useful for his Genre Savvy moments and his teammates treat him with much less respect than one would expect a Magnificent Bastard to receive. In addition he is an utter sociopath due to merely seeing other people as characters in a story, and disposable characters at that since he assumes the next person who fills a similar role is pretty much the same thing as their being there. And finally, since his savvy amounts to stories that have already happened (and quite often at that), the moment the story veers into novel territory he gets lost quickly; Elan realizes this and just dumps him behind as the Big Bad Wannabe he is as a form of defeat, which leaves him stranded in a story where he no longer has any idea what's going to happen next, a prospect he finds terrifying.
    • Minister Malack deconstructs Friendly Enemy. He does not see why he and Durkon cannot remain friends despite what he views to be perfectly fine compromises, which Durkon (a Lawful Good Cleric) sees as unacceptable terms due to Evil Cannot Comprehend Good. Eventually he relents that they are at an impasse, and attacks Durkon fully, though with some remorse, and kills and vamparizes him.
    • An arc of Haley's is a deconstruction of The Unintelligible. Haley's inability to communicate properly with her team is a genuine hindrance, and almost leads to a situation where a bad guy frames her and she can't defend herself since no one understands what she's saying. The disability is easily taken advantage of in general.
    • Varsuuvius gets hit with a deconstruction of Aloof Ally and Insufferable Genius when hir pride keeps them from asking for help from the rest of the Order of the Stick (while hir guilt over Azure City and Haley's absence makes things worse), leads to V making a very bad Deal with the Devil in an effort to go it alone. V's usually reticent nature means that V's team don't even know something's wrong after V returns until V owns up to it, despite the readers clearly seeing V crippled with guilt for most of an arc. In addition, it gives Varsuuvius a very strained relationship with V's familiar, Blackwing the raven (though it does lead to them repairing said relation.) Furthermore, V's action hinders the Order even more when their Familicide on the dragon that threatend hir family has led to of the Draketooth clan who was guarding Giard's gate and the death of hundreds of innocents (due to them being related to the Draketooth clan.) It leads to V being out of commission for a while. Lastly, the Deal with the Devil ends up being the last straw for V's mate and files for divorce because of V placing hir studies and pursuit of arcane power over hir family. V lets the divorce happen despite wanting to beg for forgiveness to spare them from further danger and even now, V is shown longing for hir ex-mate and no doubt lamenting hir actions.
    • Tsukiko deconstructs Thinks Like a Romance Novel. While initially her power is enough to get by on Team Evil, her fundamental misunderstanding of what the Undead really are in their universe means she is defeated by a simple clerical spell taking control of her wights from her which she protests to her death as she honestly thinks they have enough free will to resist their new commands thanks to The Power of Love which they do not. She also sees herself as Xykon's Love Interest and thus more important than Redcloak, which also leads to her downfall (though Redcloak does also play up the role of subservient lackey for his own purposes.)
  • Sonic the Comic – Online! deconstructs the Designated Hero and Jerk Sue tropes with Sonic. In the original Sonic the Comic, Sonic was a nasty prankster who frequently put down everyone for his own amusement while still being the best hope for Mobius to defeat Dr. Robotnik. From the start of this comic, Sonic's friends have clearly reached their threshold for this behavior, and all it took was Grimer leaking Sonic's more morally ambiguous decisions to get all of Mobius to turn against him.
  • Sticky Dilly Buns: When she first appears, Ruby could be classed as The Ingenue; she's younger than most of the rest of the main cast, woefully naive (and at least one older figure has taken advantage of this in the past), virginal, and if not immune to sexual innuendo, certainly very bad at handling it. However, she's also petulant, arrogant, and insecure, and her "purity" is treated as both a symptom and a cause of emotional damage. She's also determined to succeed on her own terms, and would probably be angry if anyone tried to play Prince Charming for her. Character Development eventually abrades away most of her naivety and some of her petulance, and she takes charge of disposing of her virginity for herself.
  • xkcd deconstructs the "friendzoned" Dogged Nice Guy character in the strip "Friends," portraying the "nice guy" in question as an emotionally manipulative creep hoping to ingratiate himself into a relationship with the object of his affection by undermining her self-confidence and exploiting her loneliness. And in the end, the character doesn't get the girl precisely because the woman in question realizes how unpleasant he is.
  • Total Trauma: Seeing as the original show was an All-Stereotype Cast, this comic takes a more realistic approach to their characters and how those archetypes being played up on TV would affect their personal lives.
    • For Lindsay, it's the Dumb Blonde. While the trope was played straight on the show, it's shown to harm her as an adult seeking out employment opportunities, as they fear her past as a promiscuous ditzy teenage girl would look bad for their company. She is only seen as more mature after changing her look and renaming herself to escape her old identity.
    • Heather's reputation as Alpha Bitch is shown to cause her damage. Rather than being idolized for her rude nature and great looks as a teenager, she got tons of hate from both her audience and her peers, which resulted in her developing some serious self-image issues. She's also grown out of this attitude once she's in her twenties and has a better understanding of psychology.
  • Twisted Kaiju Theater deconstructs the Arch-Enemy through Tyrant. Tyrant's villainous relationship with Shin-Goji is practically a mental disorder and incredibly one-sided as Shin ignores him most of the time. His repeated battles with the Toxic Pirates result in him losing his job, his mooks abandoning him, and getting the crap kicked out of him time and time again. A part of the "Final Invasion" revolves around explaining why Tyrant keeps up with the self-destructive behavior and why he hates Shin so much.
  • Bastard!!: Jin is an unsettling deconstruction of the Chaste Hero. Episode 15 reveals that he doesn't know what sex is, how it's done, or what its purpose is, despite being in high school. When he innocently asks Kyun to explain porn to him, she asks him why he didn't learn about it in sex ed (he missed a class), on the Internet (he didn't know it could be viewed online), from his friends (he doesn't have any), and finally, from his parents, which triggers in him a panic attack when he recalls an instance in which he listened in on his father murdering a woman. Despite knowing all about a woman's "inner workings," Jin is completely naive in regards to sexuality, emphasizing how exposed he is to the evils of the world and how sheltered he is from the pleasures.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation is full of examples of this. The particular character type that seems to get deconstructed the most is the Mary Sue and other closely related tropes.
    • SCP-239 had to be put permanently into a coma because of problems her unconscious alteration of reality caused (though she can't fully be blamed since she's a child and Dr. Clef's suspicion of her ended up sparking the trouble in the first place.) SCP-76-2, an over powered Blood Knight was sealed away because the Foundation could not provide him with enough enemies to kill to keep him satisfied. SCP-056, a shape shifter who turns into a better version of anything that looks at him is an Insufferable Genius that everybody hates. 532-D an extremely destructive Reality Warper who could only keep his powers under control while happy ended up abusing this fact to force women to have sex with him, and was killed by Dr Clef. Several other Mary Sues were also killed because they were too dangerous to keep around and not interesting enough to justify keeping them alive For Science!. One of the few Mary Sues who didn't get officially deconstructed is SCP-343 who refuses to do anything helpful but is otherwise cooperative enough to be classified as Safe. The Author Avatars responsible for killing the Mary Sues have also been deconstructed in several tales, partly because they started to become too Mary Sue like themselves. All other characters with Mary Sue traits that are not deconstructions are either Parody Sues, or have some other trait that cancels out their Mary Sue Traits, or otherwise are well written well enough to not be accused of being one.
    • There is also a collection of tales called the lolfoundation canon. It is an alternate reality where several staff of the Foundation gained reality warping powers but now see the world Through the Eyes of Madness. From their own perspective, they are all Mary Sues and everything is awesome and funny and nothing really bad ever happens, but in reality they are unable to perceive any consequences of their actions and those people who can properly perceive reality see them as Mad Gods. When Dr Clef realized what was really going on, but was unable to do anything about it, being a Mary Sue became And I Must Scream for him.
  • Cracked deconstructs Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The Dark Secret Behind Quirky Romantic Comedies shows the implications of the trope if taken to a logical conclusion.
  • The Entity from Atop the Fourth Wall deconstructs the lovecraftion Eldritch Abomination. If, as H. P. Lovecraft posits, the universe is infinite and all beings are insignificant, then the supposedly godlike beings would be the same as the Puny Humans in how little they ultimately matter. When the Entity realizes this, it takes it very poorly. If anything, it actually has it worse than humanity... its alien and all-consuming nature means that it cannot take any comfort in experiencing new things or in belonging to a community. In the end, all it can do to explore a new possibility for itself is die.
  • Hellsing Ultimate Abridged uses its take on Alucard to deconstruct the Jerk Sue. This version of Alucard lacks any sense of true loyalty to Integra and, as a result, can quite literally get away with anything he wants in-universe. While people will complain, they won't actually do anything to stop him because nobody can. Integra shows just how infuriating and hate-inspiring such a character would be on several occasions. On the plus side, she does find ways to use his power/capriciousness to her advantage
  • Tifa in Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged seems to be this for the Adaptational Jerkass common in most Abridged Series. In contrast to canon, Tifa is rude on a good day and needlessly cruel on a bad one. It is then later revealed that her Adaptation Personality Change was a coping mechanism for witnessing her father's death, which makes sense even in the context of canon.
  • The Nostalgia Critic deconstructs the Hate Sink through D-Bag. He's so easy to hate, and actually begs people to hate him, but Critic finds it so pointless to hate him because it takes more effort to be kind and find ways to relate to someone else.


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