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Dynamic Character

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Joel: We need some character development... in the... hizzy.
Phil: You never say "hizzy".
Joel: I do now! I'm a dynamic character!

People change; it's a fact of life if not nature. However, change can be gradual, and people may keep the core of their character intact for much if not all of their life, just as a traumatic experience may well abruptly change someone completely. Characters reflect that. When a character finishes a story with a different outlook or personality from when they started, they are called a Dynamic Character. It doesn't matter whether they had a Deep and Nuanced personality or started life as a cardboard cutout, the character changes in either a subtle or overt way. We call this Character Development.


Mind you, this isn't always the case, nor is its absence bad. Contrast the Static Character who begins and ends much the same as they began a story. Maybe they've learned something, but it doesn't change how they act.

The change a dynamic character experiences can be born of just about anything. It might 'evolve' them from a flat to a round character, but it might as easily simply change them into another kind of flat or rounded character. Then again, it could well flatten a rounded character if they suffer some kind of Heroic BSoD or related trauma.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ai Haibara aka Shiho Miyano from Detective Conan starts off extremely terrified by the Black Organization and would often choose to commit suicide then face them. Thanks to the titular character and others' influence, she has decided to not run away from the organization, instead finding ways to bring them to justice.
  • Most of the characters in the Fruits Basket manga. The Character Development in this series is staggering, and towards the end, nearly every character has undergone major growth. Best examples are Yuki, Kyo, and even Akito.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Edward Elric begins the series dependent on alchemy and doing everything himself. By the end of the series he has learned to depend more on his friends and share his burdens.
    • The other version of Edward Elric also undergoes major changes over the course of his series, learning that there is a world outside of his own goals, and that he does not in fact have the answers to everything.
  • Many Gundam shows are noted for the Character Development of its Protaganist, starting with Amuro in Mobile Suit Gundam. He began the series as an anti-social and often self-centered teenager, but by the end of the series he became a dependable soldier, comrade, and Ace Pilot, not to mention his developing powerful newtype powers.
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Gon starts out very upbeat and friendly for the most part, but anger and pride turn into consistent character flaws, and it becomes clear just how alien a naive Idiot Hero's mindset can be.
    • Killua goes through a transformation of his own, from a ruthless child assassin to someone more merciful and level-headed, and also goes from being cowardly yet brave, to just plain brave. Interestingly enough, his development is the opposite of Gon's; Killua becomes more heroic as Gon becomes more anti-heroic.
  • Haruka from Kotoura-san went from Cheerful Child to Broken Bird, and back to an even more Cheerful Child in just twelve episodes. Her profile picture in the series' character sheet makes a stark comparison between the first and last scenes of the anime.
  • Naruto:
    • The titular character, Naruto Uzumaki, starts off as a Bratty Half-Pint who constantly overestimates himself against his opponents and rivals. After going on numerous missions, fighting enemies, and suffering heartache, Naruto learns and accepts he's not as powerful as he thinks he is and learns how screwed-up the world is.
    • Sasuke Uchiha starts off as an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who only cares about revenge. Come the end, he has been humbled and accepted what happened to his clan.
    • Sakura Haruno went from Faux Action Girl to an Action Girl and became more humble (bordering on self-deprecating) at times. On a relationship level, she began to treat Naruto with more respect.
    • Team 7's leader, Kakashi Hatake, got some development before the series started. As a young ninja, Kakashi was an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy who believed that fulfilling the mission took priority over anything, including saving a comrade's life. After losing one of his teammates, he adopted the motto that "while those who break the rules are scum, those who abandon their friends are worse than scum".
    • The newest Team 7 member, Sai, starts off with horrible social skills and having no understanding of emotions. However, after his first mission with Naruto and Sakura, he wanted to understand more about emotions and bonds.
    • Hinata Hyuga went from a Shrinking Violet with severe confidence issues to a bonafide badass who, while still humble, has become more assertive.
    • Gaara goes from an Ax-Crazy murderer with no apparent empathy to a well-intentioned but still unsure of himself young Kazekage, to a Wise Beyond His Years Reasonable Authority Figure who truly cares about others.
  • One of the reasons Sailor Moon is cited as a good role model for girls is that she is like her target audience at first, having tendencies to be lazy, flaky, klutzy, and a crybaby, but then over five arcs becomes a Messianic Archetype and saves the galaxy.
  • Almost everybody from Team Medical Dragon. Character development and character depth is this manga's main strength and drive. Almost nobody stays the same as they are in the beginning of their appearance. Best example includes Noboru and Gunji.
  • Tokyo Ghoul sees several members of the core cast evolve considerably over the course of the story, growing with their experiences and struggling to find balance in their personal conflicts or issues. The majority are very different from when they began the story, in particular the characters of Kaneki, Juuzou, Nishiki, and Tsukiyama.
  • Yona of the Dawn does this with nearly everyone, the most apparent example being Yona herself. But even seemingly unimportant characters like Tae-Jun get their time to shine.

    Comic Books 
  • Third Robin Timothy Drake starts out as an optimistic fan of Batman and both previous Robins. He's capable of occasionally following them around and snapping pictures without being noticed and develops into an accomplished if jaded crime fighter in his own right who has led teams of superheroes, is running his own information network and is expected to surpass Bruce as the world’s greatest detective and has lost not just two but three parents.
  • Supergirl:
    • Supergirl was one of the first DC characters to avert the Static Character format going from a naive teenager to a smart, self-reliant young woman looking to make her mark on the world, gaining a family and friends of her own. Notably Superman (who was a constant presence in her earlier stories) slowly faded away from her narrative as Supergirl grew into her own character.
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, Kara starts off full of grief, depression and anger due to months of losses and conflict. Thanks to her new teammates she grows out of her angst, learns how to handle her rage in constructive ways, and becomes more thoughtful and happier.
  • Wally West, the third incarnation of The Flash, is probably one of the reigning champs of this, and it's a large part of why he's such a Breakout Character. Though commonly referred to as "the funny one" of the Flash, he completely defied the Static Character nature of many superheroes by growing significantly over his existence, in a fairly realistic manner. In detai:
    • Starting first as Kid Flash in the Silver Age, he was initially just Barry Allen's Ascended Fanboy nephew-turned-sidekick who acted like a mini-Barry, though got further developed in New Teen Titans where he was characterised as hot-headed and more conservative.
    • When he took over the Flash mantle, he was initially a Jerk with a Heart of Gold Deadpan Snarker with deep insecurities, but his conservativism was challenged by his growing friendship with the socialist former supervillain Pied Piper, which lead to Wally developing into a homless-protecting, charity-funding, liberal himself. He also took a different approach than Barry to his crime-fighting, approaching the Rogues with kindness, which resulted in them deciding not to continue the Cycle of Revenge that kept them fighting Barry, as well as helping anti-villains like Lady Flash and Chunk get a second chance, or help Speed Demon (who's drug addiction-fuelled rage was what made him a villain) get control of himself.
    • Shortly after, his insecurities were challenged and as a result, his place in the 'Flash power hierarchy' changed; after originally being depicted as much weaker than his uncle in terms of speed, overcoming mental blocks lead to him surpassing his mentor's top speed and truly became the Fastest Man Alive. He then discovered the Speed Force, the source of their super speed, and developed a unique understanding of it previously only seen by Max Mercury, leading to him developing his powers to a level previously unseen, and weaponising the Required Secondary Powers into abilities all on their own.
    • Lastly, his approach to relationships and relationship with women changed drastically. At first depicted as wanting to settle down quickly as a kid, he became a skirt-chaser in his early 20s after a few disastrous relationships, which showed him to not exactly be the best respect for women. Developing a friendship with Linda Park, a reporter he initially butted heads with, lead to a more healthy view of womennote  when they finally started dating, and learning from his past relationships, he made a greater effort to be a good boyfriend. This lead to a very strong Power Couple dynamic with such dedication he was able to overcome the Speed Force's pull into the afterlife via The Power of Love, which then lead to them settling down and getting married, and later having children, with him absolutely loving being a dad.

    Fan Works 
  • Codex Equus: Changeling Empress Blackrose's entry to the story via the Broken Masquerade sees her as a, while benevolent, extremely flawed person with a lot of hidden baggage, multiple grudges that cause her to hurt those around her, as well as possessing Fantastic Racism towards dragons. Being forced to interact with the wider world and Changelingkind's status quo being irreversibly changed, however, results in her having to slowly reexamine herself and her flaws. The end result is her finally facing her sorrow, wrath, and hatred she's been ignoring for aeons and finally going back to her original name, Rosedust, while doing everything she can to make it right.
  • In Fuzzboy Total Pokemon Series, Axel Droog undergoes the most Character Development of any character across the entire series. Beginning Total Xtreme Action as a Jerkass intentionally acting cruel and ruthless in order to attract women, Droog went on to actually form a crush on and begin a relationship with Alia, who he slowly revealed a softer and slightly kinder side to. He eventually evolved twice over the season, and began to show signs of being a good person underneath that hard exterior of his through his interactions with Alia, forming a close enough bond with her that he begins to sabotage his own game by acting intentionally like an asshole towards the others so they'd take him out over her. When she leaves anyway, he is absolutely furious. Swearing revenge against them, Droog becomes the Token Evil Teammate of the Great Grovyles and of the cast as a whole and acts like a complete asshole towards the others. This continues until he learns that Alia had only began dating him in order to piss off her parents. He goes through a mental breakdown that puts him into a depression. Continuing to act like an unlikable asshole, he ultimately insults Kanaya who breaks down, which finally makes him realize his actions. Droog doesn't want to be a bad person and attempts to crawl out of what he believes to be his inescapable fate several times. He finally realizes (with some help from Indigo) that he doesn't want to be bad.
  • In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Defenders of Warmth there is Max, who begins the story a coward, but by the end is brave and confident.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Book of Life:
    • Manolo learns to have the courage to be himself.
    • Joaquin realizes the errors of his selfish attitude and drops it entirely by the end.
  • Gru from the Despicable Me franchise goes from a straight up jerkass with a few Pet the Dog moments to someone with more open Heart of Gold moments with only a few jerky tendencies after adopting three orphaned girls.
  • Many characters from Disney get this.
    • The Beast (thanks to Belle's influence) transforms from a haughty, ill-tempered Spoiled Brat to a mature, agreeable, and gentle being.
    • Mulan becomes a more assertive and confident young woman.
    • Hiro becomes wise, and mature, and inspirational — a sharp contrast to the mischievous and lazy person he was in the beginning.
    • Zootopia:
  • Characters from Dreamworks Animation undergo character growth throughout their movie(s).
    • Moses goes from an arrogant prince who holds an indifferent attitude towards the suffering Hebrews to the noble messenger of God who won't stop until his people are free from slavery.
    • The titular character of Kung Fu Panda, Po, gets a helping amount of growth in each of his movies.
      • In the first movie, he saw himself as everybody else did; a fat useless failure with a psychological need to stuff himself with food who was chosen as the Dragon Warrior by accident. Thanks to Master Oogway being the only one who believed in him from the beginning, Po decides that his calling can change him for the better and stays on no matter what. By the end of the film, Po earns the respect of Master Shifu, the Furious Five, and the village, learns to turn his weaknesses into his strengths, and breaks his habit to eat when he's upset.
      • In the second movie, Po is constantly troubled by the repressed memories of the night he was orphaned slowly resurfacing due to Lord Shen ( the guy who led the genocide against Po's birth village) and his army having returned after twenty years and spends a good majority of the film obsessed with it. When Po comes across the ruins of his village and fully remembers his mother dying to save his life, the Soothsayer helps him remember how much fortune he has had despite this and of his adoptive father, Mr. Ping. At this, Po comes to terms with his tragic beginning and achieves Inner Peace.
      • In the third movie, Master Shifu decides to retire and passes the duty of Kung Fu Teacher onto Po. After one disastrous session, Po loses confidence and decides he can never do it. But when Kai steals the chi of all the Kung Fu masters except for Master Tigress and Po, the latter has an "Eureka!" Moment about how he can teach and trains the secret panda village into an army to defeat Kai. At the end, Po accepts his new role as head of the Jade Palace.
    • Hiccup learns to accept all of his faults, while recognizing his strengths. Basically, he learns to be himself.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Next Three Days, John Brennan starts the movie as a community college lit. professor and a caring family man. But his wife is arrested and he decides to break her out of jail. In preparation for the attempt he becomes a strategist, planning multiple escape routes, developing illegal skills, "collecting" money, and forming underworld ties. He also changes mentally, becoming capable of quick tactical thinking and rapid violence.
  • In A Stranger Among Us a hard-boiled cynical cop goes undercover with a Hasidic neighborhood. While she is there, she temporarily falls in love with a Rebbe's son but is parted because of an arranged marriage. During this the cop learns to become more vulnerable and sensitive. The Rebbe's son also changes a little; at least he develops a sense of assertiveness that allows him to protect his sister. However the Rebbe's son is mostly a Flat Character and changes little. At the least he remains completely loyal to his heritage and goes through with the marriage in a context where other movies might have had him running off with the cop.
  • Private Eye Eddie Valiant from Who Framed Roger Rabbit starts off as an alcoholic with a deep hatred for toons (with respect for some) due to his brother being murdered by one. His adventures with the titular character has him let go of said hatred and even regain some of his lost humor.
  • Loki in the Marvel Cinematic Universe subtly changes in each appearance. In Thor, he starts as a The Quiet One who Goes Mad From The Revelation that he was adopted from the Jötunn race, enemies to Asgard and monsters of children's stories. He then acts as an Anti-Villain and a Foil to his heroic brother. In The Avengers, he goes fully psychotic and becomes the Big Bad of the film. Shaken by his capture and the death of his mother, he turns into a reluctant Anti-Hero in Thor: The Dark World and temporarily sides with Thor. By Thor: Ragnarok, he is a Lovable Rogue who comes to save the day. In Avengers: Infinity War, he ends up almost a martyr and dies a gruesome death for his brother.
  • In The Fly (1986), Seth Brundle is an Endearingly Dorky subversion of the Mad Scientist who lives alone and isolated by choice to work on a teleportation project, and has social skills that are passable at best. He is also lonely, however, and as the film begins is trying to woo a beautiful journalist at a press event by offering to show her his work. She takes an interest in it, and from there in him, and they begin a romantic relationship that makes her his muse...which opens him up to misguided jealousy when her ex-lover/editor attempts to interfere with it. The result is that he drunkenly teleports himself and unknowingly genetically splices himself with a fly. In the days that follow he's amazed and excited by his new strength and stamina — believing teleportation purified him — and becomes Drunk with Power and quick to anger. As his Slow Transformation becomes Body Horror he realizes what's actually happening to him, loses the ego, and becomes snarky, melancholy, desperate, and scared as he faces the prospect of losing his body to a hideous new form and his mind to the selfish impulses of an insect, even as he develops fascination with the actual process. He tries to send his faithful lover away so he won't hurt her, but when he learns she's pregnant with his child and does not intend to keep it, his rage and heartache leads him to kidnap her and attempt Romantic Fusion with her and the fetus; he fails hard, leading to a Downer Ending.

  • In Anansi Boys, by the end of the book, the two main characters have switched many main personality traits, and the endings you would assume from the beginning.
  • Don Quixote: Sancho Panza and Don Quixote are dynamic characters that influence each other and end closer to each other in personality at the end of Don Quixote's adventures.
  • Galaxy of Fear started off as a Follow the Leader to Goosebumps, but Recycled IN STAR WARS - a twelve and thirteen-year old thrust repeatedly into a wide variety of disturbing circumstances. The main difference is that the series stuck with those two characters, and their aloof uncle, for the entire twelve-book run. Each of the three change significantly during that time while remaining recognizable. Tash and Zak stop being so attached-at-the-hip and develop separately while remaining close, they come to trust their uncle who comes to like and trust them.
  • Compare all the main characters in GONE from their first appearance to their last appearance. They will almost definitely- for better or worse- be completely different people. The cases of Orc, Astrid and Quinn), then there's Diana, Caine, Hunter, etc).
  • The changes in Neville Longbottom, of the Harry Potter series, are subtle, but major, and can sneak up on you if you weren’t paying attention. He goes from The Ditz in the first book (whose only distinguishing characteristics are being timid, nervous, and forgetful) to the badass leader of La Résistance at Death Eater-Occupied Hogwarts in the seventh book. The change becomes most apparent in book five, when Neville, who flounders in nearly all his classes and “can barely stand a cauldron right way up”, becomes the fastest-learning member of the DA and attempts to fight in the battle at the Ministry.
    • Hermione also undergoes some pretty big changes. She starts off as a bossy, insecure, neurotic, rule-abiding little girl, best exemplified by equating being expelled from school with being killed. Ultimately ends up with a number of To Be Lawful or Good decisions, and chooses to be good — beginning with her lying to Professor McGonagall about going after a troll in order to keep Harry and Ron out of trouble.
    • Harry changes a lot. At the start he was an inexperienced newcomer to the wizarding world who had a naive view on how the world works (i.e.Gryffindor = good, Slytherin = bad). With the harrowing adventures he is forced to endure, Harry not only transforms into a powerful and hardened wizard, but also learns that not everyone is as good or bad as they first appear.
    • Ron's growth happens in the seventh book. Being forced away from the comforts of home has him not only grow out of his immature tendencies to facing his deepest and greatest fears.
  • Daniel in The Leonard Regime. In the beginning, Daniel is young and rather immature. But as the story moves on, his outlook on things becomes darker and more mature.
  • Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe goes from being the obnoxious, spiteful sibling to being King Edmund the Just, kind, helpful and loving after he betrays his brother and sisters.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, you can generally tell how long a character will survive by how willing they are to change:
    • Sacrificial Lion Ned Stark is the character most unwilling to compromise his beliefs, and dies by the end of the book; Jorah Mormont stays by Daenerys' side for three books after his objectives change, but his unwillingness to admit he was wrong gets him banished from her presence; Tyrion Lannister's character changes subtly as he survives impossible odds; Sansa Stark has gone from Too Dumb to Live Scrappy to one of the characters most likely to survive to the end, because she slowly - yet frequently - learns from her mistakes.
  • Karsa Orlong from the Malazan Book of the Fallen is introduced as a deconstruction of the Barbarian Hero with a helping of Deliberate Values Dissonance, what with his culturally prescribed casual attitude towards rape, murder and theft and his disdain towards anything he perceives as a weakness. He ends the series holding a dying beggar and mourning society's lack of compassion. He still plans to bring down civilization, but his reasons have gone from seeking glory to wanting to create a world that functions like a village in which everyone knows and helps everyone else.
  • Malta Vestrit from the Liveship Traders trilogy changes from a bratty, spoiled and self-centered teenaged daughter of a trader family to a thrifty and patient young woman capable of choosing her words and takes a central role in saving her family and her home city. She does this by way of plunging headlong into a marriage just for the money and watching her family lose all their fortune due to her father's mismanagement.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel also has quite a few:
    • Wesley is probably the most triumphant example - he goes from a prissy comic relief Watcher on Buffy the Vampire Slayer to a ruthless and badass Anti-Hero.
    • Cordelia starts out as a typical Alpha Bitch Defrosting Ice Queen and ends up as The Heart and the group's moral center. By season 3 of Angel, she's practically unrecognizable.
    • Angel himself, in the beginning of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is content to watch her kill baddies with an occasional cryptic message. Then he gets his own show, becomes a brooding Hurting Hero, almost falls to the dark side several times and prevents a few apocalypses.
    • Not to mention minor recurring character Anne Steel, who over five episodes (two on Buffy, three on Angel) goes from Broken Bird without a name of her own to self-confident founder of a refugee centre. Faith's core change also occurred partially on this show. As did Spike, in the last season. Simply put, those who played a prominent role in the spin-off ended up with even more change and growth than when they were on the mother-show (which, as stated, also had development). Joss Whedon is evidently not very fond of the Static Character trope...
  • Basically everyone in Buffy the Vampire Slayer has so much trauma inflicted on them that by the end of the show they've all become much, much darker. The only one who barely changes is Joyce, and she dies in Season 5.
    • Buffy: Starts the series cheery, sometimes depressed but generally upbeat. Ends it basically broken, having lost her mother, died, gotten dragged out of heaven, gets thrust into a war she never asked for and then epically fails when expected to lead people.
    • Xander: Starts out goofy and non-serious. Ends it much less cheery, much more serious and one eye short.
    • Willow: Starts out shy, kinda upbeat but afraid of interaction. Ends it having lost the person she loved, went evil and had the guilt of murdering someone and has lost most of the self-confidence she built up throughout the show.
    • Dawn: Loses her mom, loses her sister, her sister comes back and basically ignores her and is commonly ignored by the Scoobies. Oddly enough, she comes out of it actually better than when she went in (she tazed Xander WHILE he was driving, that's both crazy and brave). Still, what she went through through a lot of her existence could be called one prolonged moment of Break the Cutie.
    • Giles: Admittedly, he actually pretty much improves through the series, but he loses his girlfriend and then Season 7 (and 8) shatters his father/daughter relationship with Buffy into tiny little pieces.
    • Spike: Starts off as an evil soulless vampire who fights and kills Slayers for sport, and ends off a souled Anti-Hero who sacrificed his life to save the world. Twice. By the end of the comics, he has an apartment full of cats he cares for and works as a Supernatural consultant for the police.
    • Faith: Starts out acting happy and cheerful to hide pain, ends up mostly showing it on the outside by the end (but actually being more happy and cheerful). She went through a Face–Heel Turn in Season 3 before being put into a coma by the end of the season. She got better from both of these and eventually turned herself into the police. In the last season, she broke out of jail to help save the world. Come season nine she is considered by some In-Universe as more of The Hero than Buffy.
  • All the characters on Community. Troy goes from Jerk Jock to a geek with a strong sense of responsibility. Britta goes from Comic Foil to a broken husk of a woman. Jeff is probably the most dramatic example - in the first episode, he's a lazy sociopath who works as hard as possible to avoid doing any work whatsoever and only cares about the group as a way to have sex with Britta. In the last episode of season 3, he's caught between wanting to help Shirley with her case and wanting to study for his final exam. The transition between the two is incredible.
  • Carlos from Desperate Housewives starts out as a neglectful husband, but eventually turns into a basically decent guy with a few flaws.
  • Topher from Dollhouse is a very morally ambiguous Hollywood Nerd at first... who performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world in the finale.
    • Adele Dewitt begins as very cool and collected. Though by the end she still maintains her class, she's become much more warm, loving but also insecure.
    • And of course, we need to have a moment for all the Dolls, who basically managed to invent new personalities from scratch. Especially Echo.
  • Rachel Berry from Glee. She can't seem to get rid of her basest flaws of being abrasive and attention seeking though, but even those stem from her rather heartbreaking loneliness and lack of self esteem.
    • Quinn, who starts out an Alpha Bitch/The Cheerleader/ stereotype but eventually grows to caring about her baby and learns through her mistakes and her new friends in Glee club. After her pregnancy though she seems to have gone into denial and is trying to rebuild her old life and is a cheerleader again.
  • Boyd Crowder of Justified. In the span of a season, he goes from Evil Counterpart to Worthy Opponent to what seems to be a genuine (if possibly temporary) Heel–Face Turn in the season finale.Even though in season two he goes back to being a criminal, he is no longer as reckless and carefree as he was at the beginning of the series
  • Everybody on Mad Men. Especially Pete and Peggy.
  • Probably one of the most subtle and realistic depictions of this is in Malcolm in the Middle, with Francis. Over the course of six years, Francis goes from a dangerously reckless teenage maniac setting cars on fire, sleeping around all over the school, and piercing every available inch of his face, to a loving and faithful husband with a steady job, who is willing to risk his health and reputation to do the right thing. It was never a huge leap or a contrived epiphany - every episode, he grew up just a little bit, and suddenly, he's the kind of man you would trust to watch your daughter and your money. It's implied a few times that he's just like his father Hal: Hal was a wild and careless delinquent in his youth before he met Lois who helped straighten him out.
  • In the first two seasons of My Name Is Earl, Earl goes from a greedy criminal Jerkass motivated by a misinterpretation of the concept of karma to a genuinely selfless person.
  • Bulk and Skull from the Zordon-era Power Rangers shows. Over the course of six seasons, they start off as low-competence comic relief guys with no positive qualities who regularly bully the main characters and wind up leading mankind's I Am Spartacus rebellion against their alien conquerors at the end of Power Rangers in Space.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard was somewhat dynamic at least by that show's standards starting out as overly stern and grouchy hating children but softening in later seasons and eventually bonding with children on the shipnote  and having a family in a simulated reality. The Expanded Universe takes this trend to his logical conclusion and sees him actually settle down and start a family of his own.
    • Spock grew a little throughout his run, first trying to purge his humanity and become wholly Vulcan but later moving beyond logic leading to his line "Logic is the beginning of wisdom, not the end."
  • Vala from Stargate SG-1. From cool one-off character to The Scrappy to a very pregnant plot point to a funny and interesting character that a large group of fans wanted to end up with their favourite woobie Daniel.
  • Albert from Twin Peaks undergoes a drastic change in personality after some sort of enlightenment experience.
  • Both Mulder and Scully from The X-Files are dynamic characters. They are very different characters at the beginning of the series than they are at the end, especially Mulder. In the Pilot, he is introduced as a brilliant but troubled loner. He prefers the company of his files to actual people, and spends more time in his office than his own apartment. He is deeply traumatized by the abduction of his sister decades before, plagued by nightmares and guilt. His quest to find her and uncover the Truth consume him to the point of near insanity. He believes in pretty much everything supernatural, so long as it's not religion. He is reactionary, reckless, and hostile to anyone who dares invade his space. He's also pretty self-loathing and arrogant. By the end of the series, he is a very different character. He's let Scully into his life in a big way; she functions as his Living Emotional Crutch and that actually helps him get over a lot of his issues. He realizes her life is more important than his quest, and begins to see that there's more for him as well besides the X-Files. He still wants to find the Truth, but at that point, it's more for the good of mankind than his own desire. In season 8, he's fired from the FBI and forced to hand the X-Files over to Agent Doggett. And he's fine with it.
    • This change in character is showcased in season 7's finale, "Requiem" which was written as the series finale before being renewed for an 8th season. The episode is based on the case from the "Pilot," and it takes place in the same location. In the Pilot, Mulder emphatically tells Scully "nothing else matters to me" than his quest to find the Truth. Seven years later, he admits that the personal costs are too high, that there has to be an end sometime.
    • Scully has a lot of development as well, especially in the way she handles the paranormal. Early on she consistently shuts down Mulder's theories as crazy and scientifically impossible, but by season eight she's become the Agent Mulder to Doggett's Agent Scully.
      • Scully also began to let down her guard around Mulder and let herself be a bit more emotionally vulnerable. The change is evident in the season 3 episode 'Irresistible', where Scully sobs into Mulder's chest after being rescued from a necrophiliac.
  • Castiel in Supernatural is a very different at the beginning of the angel arc in Season 4 compared to seasons later. Some of his development can be summed up by what Claire tells him in Season 10 "You’ve changed. The Castiel I met? He was crappy. Like super stuck-up and a —— and you just wanted to punch him in his stupid angel face […] You’ve changed… Now you’re just… I don’t know. Nicer. And kind of a doof. No offense."
  • Yes, Minister: The PM is originally a Bad Boss who rides Jim Hacker on a large number of issues, but becomes a more Benevolent Boss the more competent Hacker becomes at actually pushing policy through the wall of Civil Service stalling tactics. In his final appearance, the PM is retired and has written seriously Compromising Memoirs that Hacker is trying to get scotched.

    Video Games 
  • Ezio Auditore of Assassin's Creed II starts off as a cocky, young Florentine noble without a care in the world. This suddenly changes when his father and two brothers are wrongly executed by a corrupt government. He is then forced to take up his father's assassin mantle and go on a brash, rage-induced Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Over the course of the game and it's first sequel, he matures into a calm, wise tactician. Taken further in the second sequel, where he seems to have a plan for nearly any person or situation he may come across. In addition, Ezio's saga covers nearly fifty years of his life, starting with him at seventeen years old and ending with him finally passing away at sixty-five.
    • Altair of the first game also gets this by Revelations, despite his limited screen time. He starts off as a normal assassin that is committed to his order, grows arrogant upon making Master and spends the rest of his own game learning where he went wrong and growing calmer, more insightful and wiser. Revelations takes this a step further where his whole life is shown, drawing him in clearer colors and showing his growth from an arrogant young man into a wise and strong leader in more depth.
  • Athena Asamiya. Although her personality didn't received such a big overhaul as her wardrobe, naturally. EVERY single new King of Fighters tournament features her either with a new stance or new outfit... save for XIII which gave her only a new color scheme and nothing else.
  • Resident Evil has several:
    • Leon S. Kennedy starts out as a rookie cop. He's naive and brash, with a strong sense of justice. He assumes the best of people he's just met. He then joins SOCOM. He's still trusting, somewhat, but he starts to become a bit jaded. He didn't want Manuela to kill herself from blood loss during the fight with Javier, despite the fact that she's infected. But he expressed shock that she didn't mutate. He ends up in the Secret Service. He's much more jaded and sounds more bitter than before. He still cares about others, to the point of yelling in woe over the deaths of two people he's known for roughly a few hours and ten minutes respectively.
  • Sagat of Street Fighter fame fits this, which is highly unusual for the "stuck in time" nature of the SF-verse. He starts out as the feared and proud Emperor of Muay Thai and World Champion. By the second game, he's an obsessed, broken man, desperate for revenge against Ryu. He joins Shadowloo for the mere promise of his vengeance. By the end of the Alpha series, Sagat witnesses just how far revenge has driven him, and realizes the emptiness of it. He rejects Shadowloo, helps Ryu, and even willingly loses to Dan Hibiki just to cure him of his thirst for revenge. By SF III, Sagat is a mature, noble fighter once again, considering Ryu an "old friend", and how he fights for the joy of it.
  • Neku Sakuraba from The World Ends with You is a very good example of this, starting off as a very closed minded and cynical individual who saw no value in connecting with others and the world around him before learning to ultimately to accept other people and the values of connections thanks to his experiences in the Reaper’s Game and even saves Shibuya thanks to his growing idealism and willingness to change for the better.
  • Midna from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess starts out very cruel and sadistic, viewing Link as nothing more than a pawn she can use to reclaim the leadership of the Twilight Realm and not caring about Hyrule. By the end of the game, she Took a Level in Kindness, is implied to have a crush on Link, and is determined to save both worlds, even being willing to sacrifice her life for Link and Zelda.

    Web Comics 
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Annie has already changed rather dramatically—transforming from a friendless Emotionless Girl to an outgoing goofball—and the story isn't even over yet. She's basically a Defrosting Ice Queen boosted Up to Eleven.
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! has some interesting examples of Character Development, in that at least four of the characters are artificial beings born as near-blank slates, and we get to see them evolve. The most dynamic has been Galatea, born a complete innocent, turned hyper-paranoid by an awful childhood, then calming down and settling into a rather sophisticated lifestyle in France (funded by theft), and now she has unwittingly become a minion to the comic's Big Bad.
  • While the main cast of The Order of the Stick never lose their core character traits, they have all evolved over the course of the story:
    • Roy, as the leader, originally saw himself as the Only Sane Man (with good reason) and regarded the rest of the party as a bunch of madmen he had to keep in line. He has since become a lot more empathetic, seeing the rest of the Order as his True Companions and taking their feelings and opinions into account more regularly.
    • Haley went from a greedy, opportunistic swindler who played things close to the chest, to a capable leader and team player thanks to her relationship with Elan and the truth behind her greed coming out.
    • Elan, while still lapsing into Cloud Cuckoolander territory every other page, has become far more competent after literally taking a level in badass and properly examining his relationship with his father figures.
    • Vaarsuvius has always been logical and calculating, but their aloof and antisocial nature has toned down a lot after their brush with "ultimate power" and the separation of their family. While still believing in the superiority of magic, V has become more inclined to take the role of support caster as much as artillery, and properly coordinate tactics with the party.
    • Durkon, being a dwarf, has always been rather set in his ways, following the strict code of his people, and deferring to authority whenever possible. More recently, he has started to think for himself a little more, taking initiative to further the Order's quest without waiting for permission first.
    • Belkar has probably had the hardest time of it, heading down his path of Character Development kicking and screaming every inch of the way. Initially opposed to any kind of empathy or concern for anyone but himself, he only pretended to have character development so that everyone would get off his back. Over time, with the help of Mr. Scruffy and seeing Durkon's sacrifice to save him, Belkar has undergone a hefty case of Becoming the Mask.

    Web Original 
  • In Marble Hornets it is suspected that Alex, the missing film student, is changed from a basically reasonable, stable individual into a paranoid obsessive due to the influence of the Operator. Recent entries (as of July 2011) suggest that Alex is now working for, or somehow allied, with the Operator. The reasons behind this remain obscured at this time.
    • Meanwhile, Jay (another student searching for Alex) has at least moderated his characteristic Genre Blindness by beginning to trust the people around him a little less unconditionally. Or at least he is during the seven month Lost Time period.
  • The Nostalgia Chick has evolved from "Lindsay acting like the Critic" to a pathetic, nuanced, sympathetic failure of a human being. While it might not sound like a good thing, ask yourself, how many female characters do we have like that?
    • And speaking of, The Nostalgia Critic. He went from a stereotypically manly, whiny jackass who took things too seriously to a broken husk of a man who's still strong-willed, endearing and a major Papa Wolf.
    • Sticking to the Channel Awesome producers, Linkara went from an inexperienced comic geek with a magic gun to a commander of his own spaceship with government connections and a loyal group of friends willing to travel into space with him despite their less than stellar past experiences with space travel.

    Western Animation 
  • The titular character of Archer starts off as an egotistical Jerkass who regularly screws up on missions intentionally because he thinks they'll be easy for him. By season 6, while he's still a narcissistic jerk at time, he begins showing more Pet the Dog moments and began to take his missions seriously, mostly due to being a father.
    • Cyril starts off as the wimpy, perpetually whiny pushover accountant. By season 5 and onwards he is more aggressive, willing to stand up and (when necessary) assault Archer, and proven to be a badass at countless times.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Zuko has quite the character arc throughout the show. He began as a bitter and angry "Well Done, Son!" Guy. After a long period in the Heel–Face Revolving Door, he realized he could earn his own honor. He became more friendly, peaceful and wise.
    • A lot of characters did this. Aang went from a happy-go-lucky kid to a responsible hero.
    • Sokka developed from his original comic relief role, and overcame his insecurities to become a Bad Ass Normal and tactician.
    • Katara turned from an eternally optimistic and sweet girl into someone much much more pragmatic and hardened by the difficulties of war.
  • The Legend of Korra has this in a lot of characters, major and secondary.
    • The title character, Avatar Korra, starts off as Hot-Blooded, impulsive type who would always use brute force and violence to get her way. By the end of the series she has become a more level-headed young lady who will opt for reasoning with an antagonist instead of going with violence first.
    • Tenzin, Korra's airbending mentor and Aang's youngest son, learns not to compare himself to his father and to just be himself.
    • Bolin goes from an immature, Innocently Insensitive goof who was always following in his older brother's shadow to a mature, serious young man whose has become his own individual.
    • Although most of his growth is off-screen, Mako becomes an All-Loving Hero by Book 4, a sharp contrast to the cynical person who only cared for money and Bolin he was in Book 1.
    • Wan, the first Avatar, went from being a petty but well-meaning thief to the enduring Big Good of the whole world.
    • Zigzagged with Toph: While she didn't really change much during the first show, it's shown in flashbacks that she eventually became chief of police for Republic City... but when that came to an end, she ended up living in a swamp with a personality that was much more similar to her 12-year-old self.
  • Hank Pym of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! begins the series as the optimistic Ant-Man who truly believes that science can make the world a better place and that conflict can and should be resolved with words rather than violence. His experiences with the Avengers pushes his beliefs to their breaking point, ultimately he ends the series as the much more cynical and hot-headed Yellowjacket.
  • The main characters of Bojack Horseman each go through their own development: BoJack slowly, but steadily opens up about his problems, Todd tries to make something of himself, learns to take more risks as opposed to being a shut-in roommate, and comes to terms with his Asexuality, Princess Carolyn becomes more practical and savvy, while using her sharpened business skills to help give BoJack get his career going, Mr. Peanutbutter's underlying darker outlook becomes more apparent, and Diane starts to come out of her meeker shell.
  • Eric the Cavalier in the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon starts out being the most cowardly, selfish member of the group, and ultimately becomes the one most likely to charge into the enemy to protect his friends.
  • Utilized to a subtle but effective length in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic; all of the mane characters, while maintaining most of their defining flaws and characterizations to some extent, have matured slightly and become more flexible.
    • Twilight Sparkle in particular started off aloof and uninterested in socializing to a warm leader who cares deeply about her new friends and community. She also grew less anxious and uptight about perfection and hyper-organization, and became more rational and level-headed.
    • Rainbow Dash went from resenting her weaker comrades to nurturing and motivating them (particularly noticeable in her treatment of Fluttershy). She also shows some signs of humility later on, whereas initially she almost always had a big ego.
    • Applejack became less prideful and more willing to accept help from others.
    • Fluttershy has gone from not being to stand up to anyone to knowing how and when to put her foot down at critical moments. She also improves and gains confidence in her flight capabilities, and learns the occasional need for tough love and Brutal Honesty.
    • On the other hand, Rarity hasn't changed much, aside from learning to treasure her friends, sister, and Spikey-Wikey, although she was arguably the most mature to start with. And Pinkie Pie is... well, still Pinkie Pie.
  • Phineas and Ferb is a show that thrives on the status quo. Incredible and drastic changes and events occur in many episodes, but they almost always revert back to normal at the end of each episode. It is no surprise, then, that the majority of the cast consists of Static Characters. But there are exceptions to this:
    • Vanessa is the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter to Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Initially, she was rather cynical, a bit rude, arguably even evil at times, and very embarrassed and ashamed of her dad. However, over time, as her father made desperate attempts to connect to her, she came to appreciate him more and became more sensitive and good-natured towards him. She grows more mature and level-headed as well; in "Minor Monogram" she ditches any signs of "evil" she had, breaking up with her old boyfriend, helping thwart a villain, and even showing interest in a Nice Guy. This culminates in the series finale, where she gets an internship at O.W.C.A. (the organization opposing evil scientists like Doofenshmirtz) and turns out to be the one to convince her dad to make a Heel–Face Turn.
    • Phineas started out a bit cynical and snarky due to Early Installment Weirdness. This quickly died out, and he is now the living personification of fun and optimism.
    • Buford started out as a plain bully, but over time he Took a Level in Kindness, and he comes to show much more care and concern for his friends. By then, he's usually a bully in name only, and he also often shows surpising Hidden Depths.
    • Incredibly enough, Perry the Platypus of all characters became this in Season 4. In most of the series, Perry preferred to do his job as a secret agent without any help. This is highlighted in "Elementary My Dear Stacy", where Perry just can't function with Agent Double 0-0. The rest of O.W.C.A. also tended to be incompetent by comparison (with a few exceptions). In "Sidetracked", a possible cause is given: Perry had a falling-out with an Agent Lyla months earlier, apparently causing his mission to fail. The same episode has Doofenshmirtz Lampshade how Perry is a loner. However, in the same episode Perry and Lyla are forced to team up, and despite initial difficulty, they eventually manage to work together and accomplish their mission! This continues in later episodes, where Perry successfully cooperates with Doofenshmirtz and Pinky the Chihuahua, respectively, to thwart Liam and Doofenshmirtz, respectively. This all culminates in "O.W.C.A. Files", where Perry manages to get a complete Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to collaborate together and save the day!
  • Most of the cast of Thomas the Tank Engine in the original books as well as the classic episodes. Thomas himself started off as a cocksure, immature young station pilot with the delusion that no engine worked harder than he. But he learned from advice and his experiences to be responsible, earning his own branch line and eventually becoming a wise engine in his own right. Gordon learned to be less condescending towards other engines, and he, Henry, and James all learned not to complain about shunting and dealing with goods trains.
    • The later episodes fluctuate with this, especially due to heavy use of the Sanity Ball. Thomas for example is still a lot more altruistic and humble than before, but also more careless and something of a Cloud Cuckoo Lander. James also goes from being more kind natured and helpful to other engines to an even bigger narcissist than before, Depending on the Writer. In contrast some of the more mature engines gained more defining flaws in later episodes (Toby for example went from a conventional Straight Man to more timid and insecure).
  • Both Ratchet and Prowl of Transformers Animated started out as a resigned veterans of the Great War who used grumpiness and aloofness to avoid getting attached to their crewmates and temporary home. By the end of the series, both have become much more invested in their teammates and their adopted home.
    • Bulkhead learns to be more graceful and eloquent, and unafraid to use his full strength in battle.
    • Optimus grows from an inexperienced young leader to being the Autobot who can fight on par with Megatron.
    • Bumblebee becomes more cautious and less likely to rush in.
  • Transformers Prime has several cases:
    • Jack initially walks out on the Autobots, saying it is too dangerous. He is brought back because Arcee isn't ready to say goodbye, and stays around for a while just to keep Miko and Raf safe. By the middle of season one, he has saved the team a few times, went one-on-one against one of their most dangerous enemies, and has proven his worth several times over. By early season two he is well established as the team's Badass Normal.
    • Ratchet goes from mild distaste for human company and complaining about babysitting duty ("If they get underfoot, they will go squish.") to being a bit of a father figure to the kids, especially Raf. In the finale he decides to stay on Earth instead of returning to Cybertron with the others.
    • Miko starts off as a naive borderline-Lethally Stupid Reckless Sidekick who doesn't realize she's a liability to the team. After some traumatizing experiences, she matures... somewhat.
    • Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus, together, sort of dynamic into each other. Wheeljack shows Ultra Magnus how effective his unconventional methods can be, while Ultra Magnus shows Wheeljack how important discipline can be. They go from Teeth-Clenched Teamwork to Bash Brothers over the course of season 3.
  • Seen very well in Young Justice:
    • Wally West/Kid Flash matured from a joking, flirtatious, very light-hearted character who refused to admit feelings for Artemis, to someone much more serious, responsible and a dedicated boyfriend.
    • Artemis, on her part, started off very much as a Broken Bird, with serious trust issues and way more insecure than she let on. By the end she'd come to trust her friends and was much more confident.
    • Superboy changed from basically a big ball of rage into someone much calmer and collected, even becoming something of The Heart to the team.
    • M'gann started off as The Cutie, though it later became revealed that she was more of a deconstruction of said trope. She grew more ruthless and pragmatic as time went on, and eventually had to be snapped off course by a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
    • Dick/Robin/Nightwing meanwhile changed from a playful trickster who was afraid of becoming like Batman to someone almost just like him.


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