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Early Installment Character-Design Difference

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Princess Zelda, then and now.

Early in the series, any character is bound to have a characteristic look. It can go from Clothes Make the Legend, a Nice Hat, a particular hairstyle, etc.

While this is filed under Early Installment Weirdness, the specific part of Early Installment Character Design Difference is that this can be something that varies with Art Evolution, and some Character Development (such as the Important Haircut, amongst others).

Some webcomics use this as a Plot Point such as the characters changing classes (in a gaming webcomic), or the author, by some form of Art Evolution, removing the Limited Wardrobe trope from her/his arsenal.

Daughter of Early Installment Weirdness, Sister Trope to Costume Evolution. Compare Art Evolution and Suddenly Blonde.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Wandering Son:
    • Several characters had different hair colors early on. Takatsuki is the most noticeable, as they had brown for the first two volumes but it changed to black from thereon. Nitori's hair color darkened over time from a light brown to a dark brown, and that's handwaved in-series as her hair darkening as she ages.
    • Makoto originally had Opaque Nerd Glasses but after a few chapters her eyes became shown consistently.
  • Naruto:
    • Naruto wore goggles in the first few chapters of the original manga (including the pilot) before switching to the ninja headband. The ninja headband was created because Naruto's goggles were too difficult to draw. The goggles are an artifact from the pilot being an Urban Fantasy where Naruto rode a scooter.
    • Gaara is described as a brunet (like his father and brother) in early chapters instead of a redhead.
    • When Obito and Rin first appeared in a photograph in the anime adaptation, their designs weren't 100% concrete, though the basics were there, if younger-looking. Obito had slightly different hair, wore gray goggles, had no orange on his clothes, and had a stick in his mouth. Rin's clothing was completely purple and her hair was a lighter shade of brown. By Kakashi Gaiden their designs were finalized.
    • Naruto frequently had his Eyes Always Shut to make him look more fox-like. This was never completely dropped but became rarer as the series progressed.
    • Kiba's jacket was originally red in the manga before adopting the anime's grey.
    • Tenten's pink qipao was initially blue in the manga.
    • In The Last: Naruto the Movie, Boruto is depicted with purple eyes, which he inherited from his mother Hinata. The manga's Distant Finale changed it so that he has light blue eyes. The anime followed suit in Boruto: Naruto the Movie, with a plot point even being his eye color.
    • In the Distant Finale chapter of the first manga, several of the next generation are depicted as academy students. Some of their clothes, such as Sarada's, were never used in the anime (which didn't adapt the chapter). Boruto's anime had Sarada wear a different uniform as a student, one based on her design from the Boruto manga. Others like Inojin and Shikadai also wear different clothing.
    • Hinata has three instances of this: Her Part 1 outfit is her only main outfit not to be mainly purple. Ever since Shippuden, purple has been her main colour. As a result, her cream-coloured hoodie sticks out like a sore thumb when you compare her pre-series flashbacks, her outfits in Part 2, and her outfits in Boruto. Her jacket was also noticeably thicker, which led some to believe she was chubby. The anime gave her a smaller jacket, which the manga adopted afterwords. The Distant Finale takes place when Boruto is an academy student, however Hinata has long hair. Boruto starts with Boruto becoming a student but Hinata has a bob haircut.
    • Kurenai's Adaptational Early Appearance in the anime features her looking Off-Model. Her actual first appearance fixes her.
  • Several characters from K-On!:
    • Yui wore Zettai Ryouiki early on in the manga before the author switched her over to Proper Tights with a Skirt.
    • Ritsu's bangs, which spill out from the side of her hair-band, weren't drawn as prominently in first chapters of the manga.
    • Mugi's distinctive eyebrows were drawn noticeably thinner in the earliest manga chapters.
  • The first chapters of Yu-Gi-Oh! had some differences in character design:
    • Jonouchi's hairstyle was different, with normal bangs rather than the outrageous pompadour we all know.
    • Anzu wore loose socks with her school uniform, while in later chapters her socks are normal.
    • The Pharaoh wore ankhs on his wrists.
  • Pikachu from Pocket Monsters originally had green eyes. By the Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire adaptation he had the standard Pikachu's black eyes.
  • The main characters in The Electric Tale of Pikachu retrieved redesigns in order to make them look more like their anime versions. Misty had a redesign at the end of volume 2 when she joined up with the group, to be (slightly) less Stripperific, and was given red hair instead of brown. She received another one for the Orange Islands arc.
  • It's hard to tell as the manga is in monotone colors, however early official art from Pokémon Adventures shows Crystal with brown hair. Eventually she was changed to have blue hair like her game counterpart. Several years later, the remakes of Gold and Silver have a brunette female protagonist, though Kris keeps her blue hair.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Ho-Oh's Early-Bird Cameo at the end of the first episode, it was entirely gold instead of having red wings with green tips and a gold crest and tail.
    • When Gary Oak first had his eye color revealed (in episode 31, "Dig Those Diglett!"), it was shown that he has blue eyes. Afterwards, his canon eye color became green.
    • It's possibly due to being traditionally animated instead of computer animated, however in the early episodes Ash had light skin. His skin tone darkened to its current tone by Hoenn. In Unova he was redesigned to have larger, brown eyes to fit the Art Evolution of the games. Ash always had brown eyes, but they looked like Black Bead Eyes unless he had a close-up or particularly dramatic moment.
    • Pikachu's design has changed a lot over the episodes, as he was shorter and chubbier in Kanto but grew slimmer by Hoenn. Meowth has also become slightly less cat proportioned and more slim.
  • Berserk had one with the short called "Berserk Prototype". Guts notably had an eyepatch over his missing eye.
  • Black Lagoon: Revy didn't settle on her haircut until later in the series. This is one of few things the anime changed, there she has her haircut from the start.
  • Death Note:
    • Back in early chapters when L was The Faceless, he stood up straight and seemed to have curly hair. After he properly appeared, he was always slouching and had a messy spiked hairstyle.
    • Mello originally had white hair because his character wasn't finalized and he was meant to resemble Near. Later he was given blond hair. Mello originally appeared with white pants instead of black and his midriff covered.
  • Himouto! Umaru-chan: In the original one-shot, "Indoor Umaru" was drawn resembling a child (as opposed to going Super-Deformed) and was much meaner, including Groin Attacking her brother Taihei at one pointnote  and lying about him being an abusive, hot-headed jerk while talking with her friends at school. This gets referenced in the DVD-exclusive Umaru-chanS shorts, where the one-shot version of Umaru shows up alongside the finalized version, with Taihei outright discussing the differences.
  • Usagi originally wore a Domino Mask in the Sailor Moon manga, much like Minako in Codename: Sailor V. She stopped wearing it within a few chapters (It was still seen, but she typically took it off immediately after transforming and it eventually stopped appearing altogether after the Dark Kingdom arc). Adaptations don't even bother to include it.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Generally speaking, the earlier designs of JoJo characters were less distinctive, with the first two protagonists not sporting outfits and hairstyles that are as recognizable or iconic as their descendants, and Jonathan and Joseph actually wear different clothes at different points. The likes of Jotaro and Josuke are rarely, if ever, shown outside of their school uniforms (at least in the installments where they are teenagers).
    • From Stardust Crusaders:
      • Very early on, Jotaro's hat was not smoothly fused with his hair in its usual iconic appearance - instead, a bit of hair comes out of a hole at the top of his hat. He's also shown wearing a button-up shirt, which was quickly dropped.
      • Polnareff's flattop was much lower and he had Hair Antennae on the front of it.
      • Iggy looked a lot uglier in his initial appearance, closer resembling a real dog before later shifting to a more cartoony and anthropomorphized appearance. Despite this, various video games and even the anime adaptation keep the early design before similarly changing Iggy's appearance.
    • Several characters in Diamond is Unbreakable look different at the start compared to the end, thanks to Araki's major Art Evolution midway through. The anime adaptation largely used the newer designs for a more consistent visual style.
      • Josuke essentially looked just like Jotaro with a giant pompadour in his debut. By the end of the story, he has a much more distinctive, youthful appearance, with larger eyes, a slimmer build and softer facial features. Josuke was also depicted wearing a pair of white gloves on the first chapter cover of Diamond is Unbreakable and some of the early official art.
      • Okuyasu's hairstyle looked more like a pompadour, but after Art Evolution kicked in, it became more of a flattop.
      • Both Kobayashi and Hazamada were taller in their introductory arcs. After their defeats, they were shrunk down to barely taller than Koichi.
    • From Vento Aureo:
      • Giorno's forehead was bigger in its debut.
      • When the Big Bad Diavolo first appeared as a silhouette, he had shorter hair and wore a business suit. This is a stark contrast from his final design, where he has long hair and his outfit looks more like something from a death metal band.
  • The early colour pages of Brave10 have several characters with different hair and eye colour than what the creator eventually settled on. Isanami goes from green to pale blue to white hair, Saizo's eyes shift from brown to blue, Rokuro seems to wear purple lipstick and gets an eye-dye job in the anime to purple while they become increasingly blood red in the artwork.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia:
    • Many characters had different eye or hair colors in the earliest colored illustrations than they would have later on. For instance, Russia and Iceland originally had blue eyes, rather than the Purple Eyes that they have now.
    • North Italy's trademark wild curl was originally drawn much smaller, in comparison to now, where it's become a very distinctive aspect of his design. This difference was lampshaded by the author himself at one point.
    • Latvia was originally drawn as being only slightly shorter than Estonia and Lithuania. In the present, he's become much smaller than both of them, and one of the smallest characters of the series.
    • America lacked his trademark Idiot Hair (representative of Nantucket) early on, and had his hair parted in a different way.
    • In his first appearance in both the manga and anime, Bulgaria was drawn as having his Eyes Always Shut. In all of his subsequent appearances, he's had fully open eyes.
    • Prussia now has Technicolor Eyes (red on top and blue on the bottom), rather than the solid red eyes that he was given in the earlier series. And in the very earliest colored illustrations, he had blue eyes.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Goku didn't wear his iconic orange gi until the 21st Tenkaichi Budokai arc — before then, he wore a blue one.
    • In Piccolo's first appearance, his turban has tendrils trailing off behind it. These are never seen again for the rest of the 23rd Budokai arc, or the series in general.
    • Thanks to colored illustrations of the two not existing yet in the manga, Dragon Ball Z had to create its own colour schemes for Vegeta and Nappa, with Vegeta having garish blue and orange armor as well as bright orange hair. By the time the pair arrive on Earth, their proper colors are used (Dragon Ball Kai changed the animation to use these colors before the pair go to Earth).
    • Similarly to the Saiyans, Dragon Ball Z gave Super Buu white eyes at first, as opposed to the red he had in the manga.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: The Utena manga began publishing shortly before the anime went into production. When the anime overtook the manga in terms of popularity, the designs in the manga were retroactively changed to match those in the anime:
    • Utena's original design depicts her as a blonde with either brown or blue eyes. Her uniform at the beginning retained the same basic design as in the anime, but was pink with blue/white trim. Early art also depicts her in a white duelist uniform with red platform boots, and even with braids at one point.
    • Anthy's original design depicted her with black hair. Her rose bride dress was originally white with pink/blue trim - similar to Utena's early uniform.
    • Touga was originally depicted as having black hair, though the long pieces of hair framing his face remained red. This concept was carried over by the anime - though Touga was a full redhead, those long pieces of hair were purposely colored lighter. His old uniform was similarly accented with both red and black - which was later carried for his design in the movie.
    • Juri's original design retained her distinctive hairstyle, but gave her blonde hair and brown eyes, similar to early Utena designs.
    • Miki's original design gave him brown hair, and his uniform was white with green accents, similar to Saionji's uniform design.
    • Akio, similar to Anthy, was originally drawn with black hair. His red button-up, similar to Anthy's rose bride dress, was also originally white with blue accents.
  • In the 2008 pilot of A Silent Voice Shouya has a mullet. In the 2011 version and the manga proper, his hair is cropped shorter.
  • Gintama: Gintoki wore a pair of riding goggles on his head in the first chapter that were never seen again. Par for the course of the series, the characters spoof this fact in the anime. When Gintoki gets called out on it, he justifies it by explaining that the author decided that they were too much of a pain in the ass to draw every time he appeared, which is why they were left out altogether in the first episode.
    Gintoki: You should be grateful you even get any screen time in the opening sequences, you worthless goggles!

    Comic Books 
  • Captain America had a bare neck in his first appearance, and used a triangular shield rather than his more recognizable circular one. This design has been used in subsequent stories to show his beginnings.
    • In Captain America Comics #1, Cap's costume does not have a star on his back, and the red and white stripes on his lower chest extend around his back. From issue #2 onward through his 1950s appearances, he does have a star on his back, but the stripes only appear on the front of his costume. When he returned in The Avengers #4, he had both the star and stripes on his back, which became the standard. The stripeless back was later Retconned into being his earliest design (at first paired with the bare-necked mask), and was the version of the costume that was duplicated by William Burnsidenote , while the Silver Age version has been used in all subsequent stories set in World War II save for Steve's earliest adventures as Cap.
  • The Falcon's costume was originally green rather than red, and didn't have wings, just a grappling hook.
  • Superman: In the early stories, the art had Superman occasionally having an additional S on his cape, his main S symbol being smaller than it eventually became, and there being more of a yellow background behind his main S.
  • Lex Luthor originally had a full head of red hair, and was sometimes drawn with a pudgy physique.
  • Fantastic Four:
    • The Thing had a very lumpy, uneven orange hide for his first few appearances. Jack Kirby gradually evolved the character's design over the ensuing issues, until he finally settled on the iconic, rock-like look the character is best known for. This evolution has been acknowledged in-universe, particularly when Sharon Ventura, the second Ms. Marvel, became the She-Thing, and had the same lumpy definition at first.
    • The Golden Age Human Torch was originally drawn as a human-shaped blob of flames, before his design was refined so that his physical body was clearly outlined, with largely vertical black lines to define his musculature. When Johnny Storm became the new Human Torch, Kirby initially drew him with an even more vaguely human-shaped blob of flames than the original Torch in his earliest appearances. Kirby soon updated Johnny's appearance to the "classic" Torch desigh, but made Johnny's facial features visible to distinguish him from the earlier Torch.
    • Doctor Doom didn't have a flowing cape when he first appeared, and his green robes looked more like a jumpsuit worn over his armor.
    • Uatu the Watcher originally had visible pupils instead of Monochromatic Eyes.
    • In his very first appearance on the final page of Fantastic Four #48, Galactus wore a bizarre red and green costume with exposed arms and hands, rather than his more familiar purple armor. The purple color scheme was implemented in the very next issue, but the outfit still had exposed hands and bare legs for some reason. He wouldn't get his iconic design until Fantastic Four #74.
  • Batman originally wore short, purple gloves without the iconic three blades on the sides. His original concept art design by Bob Kane was even more drastically different. Batman wore a domino mask instead of a cowl, red tights instead of gray ones, no gloves at all and had two stiff bat wings instead of his jagged cape. Luckily Bill Finger convinced Kane to add all the familiar elements that we've all come to know and love over the years.
  • Kid Flash's costume was initially just a smaller copy of the outfit worn by The Flash. His more unique yellow outfit with the exposed hair was only introduced two years later.
  • Fire from the Justice League International first debuted with a very conservative design that showed almost no skin and even included a mask, a far cry from the more sexy and sensual looks she would later be known for. She was also called "Green Fury" and "Green Flame" in her early appearances, and was only renamed Fire after joining the Justice League.
  • During Steve Ditko's run on Spider-Man, the wall-crawler had noticeable, dramatic webs under his armpits. These mostly disappeared over time as other artists took over, to the point most people don't know they were ever part of the costume.
  • Famously, Daredevil wore a bright yellow bodysuit with a red tunic for the first six issues of his original series.
  • Thanos was much skinnier in his first appearance, and wore a sleeveless, bare-legged costume that looked similar to the one worn by Darkseid.
  • When Tiberius Stone was first introduced in Iron Man, he was handsome, athletic, fashionable, and blond. When he joined the cast of Amazing Spider-Man during Dan Slott's run, he was redesigned to have darker hair, a scrawny build, and a nerdy fashion sense.
  • Speaking of Iron Man, the original armor was very bulky and gray, and lacked the sleek build and bright colors of the later suits. The classic red-and-gold suit also went through a couple different facemask designs (the "horned" mask and the riveted mask) before settling on its classic design (the short-lived nose came much later).
  • The Hulk was gray in his first appearance, and wasn't nearly as large as he would later become. He also had a flat head and sometimes wore trunks instead of torn up pants, and how many toes he had varied from issue to issue.
  • Fin Fang Foom was colored orange in his first appearance, which was odd, since he was green on the cover.
  • Doctor Strange didn't have his trademark Cloak of Levitation in his first appearance. When he did finally get the cloak, it was actually colored blue instead of red for about the first year of its existence.
  • X-Men:
    • The horns on Magneto's mask were much more prominent in his early appearances.
    • Likewise, the ears on Wolverine's mask were originally far smaller when he first showed up in The Incredible Hulk, and Logan himself was less hairy.
    • When Rogue first debuted in the pages of The Avengers, she had a more homely appearance and was visibly older than her actual age. She was only redesigned to look younger and prettier once she became a member of the X-Men.
  • Black Panther had a cape in his first appearance, which was quickly dropped in later issues. The cape does still show up from time to time, but usually as a ceremonial piece more than anything. When he first joined The Avengers, he also sported a half-mask that exposed his mouth and lower jaw, which was done away with after a few issues.
  • Lockjaw of The Inhumans had completely different (and noticeably longer) antennae in his very first appearance.
  • Black Widow originally had black hair, and wore a much more flamboyant costume that included a mask, fishnets and a cape. Natasha would bring the costume back years later just to tease Tony Stark at the end of a mission in Russia in an issue of Iron Man.
  • In the pilot to Sabrina the Teenage Witch Salem was a stereotypical black cat. In the series proper he was orange for several decades until a retcon occurred due to the popularity of Sabrina the Teenage Witch live action adaptation, where he was changed to black again.
  • In The '70s, Blade was drawn in a positively groovy green outfit with oversized sunglasses and a funky afro. His badass leather ensemble only began to take shape in The '90s, before being solidified by the 1998 movie.
  • Green Arrow was originally clean shaven and sported a simpler, far less detailed costume. His iconic design and goatee were not introduced until The '70s, when he adopted a radically new look in the pages of Justice League of America.
  • In Green Lantern, Guy Gardner and John Stewart originally just wore the same standard GL uniform sported by Hal Jordan. It wasn't until The '80s that John and Guy were redesigned and given more unique costumes. John's best known costume didn't even originate in the pages of Green Lantern, as it was actually designed for the 2001 Justice League animated series before making its way to the comics.
  • Archie Comics:
    • Betty didn't begin wearing her signature Tomboyish Ponytail until several years after the series began. Her hair was usually down and she wore bangs.
    • Archie originally had buckteeth. By The '70s they were gone.
    • Moose had an overly cartoony design in his early appearances.
    • In his first appearance Kevin had Black Bead Eyes like most characters. Afterwards he was given baby blue eyes.
  • Josie and the Pussycats:
    • The comic started out as a Distaff Counterpart to the main Archie comics named She's Josie. Melody and Josie wore normal clothes for several years before they first put on their famous cat costumes.
    • Josie originally wore her hair in a bouffant instead of a bob.
    • Alexandra didn't have her signature Skunk Stripe early on.
  • The Smurfs when they first appeared on Johan and Peewit had five fingered hands instead of their traditional Four-Fingered Hands. Their hats were also a bit pointier.
  • When Lian Harper was introduced she took after her father, Roy Harper (Speedy/Red Arrow/Arsenal). By the time she was a toddler she had been redesigned to take after her mother Cheshire. Her red hair changed to black and she gained more Asian facial features.
  • Sonic the Comic:
    • At first, Knuckles had a white crest on his fur like in the games. Future appearances give him a metal ring that he wears around his neck instead.
    • Early on Amy wore her classic outfit from the games. After being retooled as a more Action Girl character she changed clothes. Though she has dozens of clothes, she mainly wears a grey sweatshirt (with a varying amount of designs) with jeans.
    • Sonic originally was drawn in his westernized design with the mohawk-shaped quills and potbelly. After a few arcs this shifted to his Japanese design.
    • Porker Lewis and Johnny Lightfoot underwent Anthropomorphic Shifts early on, going from the normal animals they are in the games to Petting Zoo People rather quickly.
    • In a plot related change, Dr. Robotnik shifted from his game design to his SatAM design a few issues in.
  • Tintin didn't have his iconic quiff in the first few pages of Tintin In The Land Of The Soviets.
  • Eclipso looked just like Bruce Gordon at first, but soon gained pointed ears and a more demonic face.
  • When Beast Boy's origin was first shown in Doom Patrol, he was originally a brunette. When his origin was regiven a few issues later he was shown to be blond. He's been depicted as blond ever since, barring the Young Justice cartoon where he was a redhead and Teen Titans: Year One where he was brunette.
  • Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In early issues Sally was pink furred with black hair instead of brown furred with red hair, and in the miniseries she had red fur and blonde hair.
    • Tails' fur started out as brown or burnt red instead of yellow-orange.
    • For a large sum of the 90s, Sonic had his westernized design from Sonic Sat AM instead of his SegaSonic one.
  • The original Black Canary wore a Domino Mask early on but it was quickly discarded. Post-Crisis, the mask was mainly used as a way to distinguish between the original Black Canary Dinah Drake and her Legacy Character daughter Dinah Lance.
  • Spider-Man's villain the Vulture had tail feathers on his costume in his first appearance, which were dropped for his subsequent outings.
  • In her Early-Bird Cameo in Captain Marvel #14, Kamala Khan looked older and had a different hairstyle and fashion sense, complete with lipstick on her mouth. According to G. Willow Wilson, this is because the Captain Marvel artists were working off of a generic description of the character, and didn't yet know what her finalized design would look like.
  • In his debut appearance, Venom lacked his razor-sharp fangs and long, bestial tongue. Instead, Venom donned a prominent Slasher Smile with regular human teeth and looked less monstrous overall.
  • In the first issue of The Transformers, a number of the Autobots were drawn based off the toy designs rather than the animation models that humanized many of their appearances. This is most notable with Ratchet and Ironhide (placing their "heads" behind their windshields), and Bumblebee (having a fully-covered face). Megatron was also drawn based on concept art for a prototype of his Micro Change predecessor's toy, which featured a black helmet with a distinctly different design than the final toy's silver helmet. While the helmet design was corrected by issue 3, the coloration remained black for the remainder of the series. The old helmet design also appeared in his Transformers Universe profile picture.
    • The early UK stories borrowed even more heavily from the toy designs, as well as the box art (resulting in an oddly gold-chested Megatron in some appearances due to the warm lighting on the upper half of his box art).

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts:
    • In early strips, Snoopy walked on all fours and was much more doglike in appearance and personality than he was in later strips.
    • Schulz's drawing style changed considerably over the first ten years of the strip. Originally, the characters' heads were ellipsoidal, the faces were smaller compared to the rest of the head, their noses were pointier and their eyes were very far apart, but over time their heads became rounder, their faces became much bigger, their eyes got closer together and their noses became round. In Schulz's mature drawing style, the characters' eyes and noses form almost a single unit.
    • Many of the characters, including Schroeder, Lucy, Linus, Sally and Rerun, start off as babies or very young toddlers before aging to approximately the same age as the other characters. Charlie Brown and several other characters were originally 4-year-olds but were aged up into 8-year-olds.
    • When she entered the strip in 1951, Violet wore her hair in a braid. Her more familiar ponytail came a few years later.
  • The titular protagonist of Garfield was much fatter originally. He also looked looked more cat-like and was always depicted on all-fours.

    Fan Works 
  • Something that isn't exclusive to Citadel of the Heart by MF 217, rather all of his works in the past up until then as well, is the fact a recurring original works character of his, named Mirror M, was first uploaded publicly as a Bomberman OC as seen here in August 18th, 2010. Over the course of 4 years, the author decides to slowly begin the steps to making Mirror M transition from a Bomberman OC into a proper original works character, by starting with renaming him from his original name of Marty into the Mirror M namesake he's known as today, with Mirror M meaning that he's only a reflection of his former self. About 4 years later would this only see its ultimate resolution starting with an upload on July 28th, 2018 as seen here, in which every single element of his original design that connected him to Bomberman in the first place was completely and absolutely purged from his overall design. The last time Mirror M was ever drawn as a Bomberman OC was in January 24th, 2017, almost exactly a year and a half before the finalized design of Mirror M would come into being, in which the author drew Mirror M and two others in Super Bomberman R's art style as a Swan Song to the fact Mirror M and the other two shown would be no longer be depicted as Bomberman OC characters.

    Film - Animation 

    Film - Live Action 

    Literature 
  • Arthur:
    • Arthur didn't even wear pants in the first book, he had a long nose for several books before receiving an Anthropomorphic Shift, and he did not wear his iconic cardigan at first.
    • Francine didn't wear her signature red sweatshirt or blue jeans in the early books either, instead she wore dresses (which is something the current tomboy Francine almost never does.)
    • The Tibble twins were originally Token Human characters but were later redesigned as bears.
  • In the first 30 Geronimo Stilton books, Trap wore a white shirt and red suspenders. His now-iconic yellow Hawaiian shirt, ponytail and earring appeared first in the 31st book. Also, in the earlier books he was called Trap Blockhead rather than Trap Stilton.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Raumschiff Game Star, the eponymous starship crew's iconic "garbageman" uniforms didn't make an appearance until the second season. Ditto the bad guys' black hooded cloaks.
  • This happened on Bonanza as the clothing choices of the Cartwrights got changed to Limited Wardrobe so more Stock Footage could be used.
  • The uniforms in both pilot episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series were different, both from each other, and from those in the regular episodes. The original version cropped up in a couple of instances in the first season, notably in "Charlie X" and "The Menagerie" (though the latter was due to incorporating nearly the entirety of the first pilot, "The Cage", through visual records).
  • For their first appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Trill had noticeably more forehead prosthetics and lacked facial spots. After Terry Farrell was cast on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the producers decided they didn't want her under heavy makeup, and altered the makeup to spots down her forehead.
    • TNG also had several major changes across seasons 1 and 2, a lot of it coming about during the filming of the pilot as the production staff decided to refine their visions of the cast upon seeing some concepts translate poorly from paper to actor. Most famously, Picard was supposed to have a hairpiece, since Patrick Stewart was naturally bald and the vision for his character was one with blonde hair. One use of the hairpiece proved it was a completely ridiculous-looking implement and Picard looked far more epic as a chrome dome.
    • The one-piece spandex outfits the Enterprise crew wore in the first two seasons were replaced because the actors complained they were uncomfortable and a chiropractor warned that the cast members risked permanent skeletal injury because they were that tight-fitting. The cast switched to a two-piece wool uniform redesign used for the remainder of the series, save "All Good Things...", which reverted back to the spandex outfits for continuity preservation when it featured scenes set in the time period of the pilot episode. The original design also appeared in a few other episodes when continuity called for its usenote .
    • The first season also attempted to update the female miniskirt uniform of the Original Series by having a short-sleeved unisex "skant" variant of the uniform. (Both the Original Series and season 1 TNG costumes were designed by William Ware Theiss.) None of the main cast ever wore the skant after the pilot, and none of the male main cast ever wore it at all, so it was gradually phased out at the end of season 1 (only appearing again in season 2 via Stock Footage).
    • Riker originally went clean-shaven, until concerns were raised that he came off as a flat clone of Kirk by being a dashing young-looking action-oriented guy. He grew a beard the following season, and his character became more divergent and subdued. (Jonathan Frakes had previously sported a beard in the first two North and South miniseries.)
    • Geordi was going to have a mullet, but the consensus was it looked really goofy and perhaps a little flamboyant paired with his visor (think Prince meets Cyclops) , so he got a snazzy flat-top haircut.
    • When Worf took over Tasha's duties as security chief, his uniform changed from red to yellow, and the non-standard Klingon sash he wore with his uniform was changed from gold to silver to keep it from blending in with the new color scheme.
    • Leonard McCoy's cameo in the pilot was going to feature him in an active role, a little older than his appearances in the original series, before the setting was changed to feature the new Enterprise crew far into the future since his time and he appeared as a crusty centenarian with his identity left ambiguous to the new crew.
    • Troi wore a feminine version of the Starfleet uniform to distinguish her as ship counselor and had an unusually gravity-defying hairdo to obliquely emphasize her alien qualities as a half-Betazed and her gentler-natured role as The Empath. She also had a European accent that apparently is among one of the burrs of the Betazed homeworld. When the uniform redesigns occurred, Troi began to wear unique bodysuitsnote  and let her hair down in a free-flowing style, and lost all touches of the accent, indicating how she had become more human-like rather than alien and fully integrated with the crew.
      • In the Pilot Movie "Encounter at Farpoint", Troi wore the first-season skant and had her hair down in a very Eighties perm. Many, including Marina Sirtis herself, felt that Troi looked like a "space cheerleader", which led to her first-season "severe" look. The original look returned in "All Good Things..." for the past scenes for continuity purposes. Sirtis also came to prefer the standard duty uniform after Troi was made to wear it by Captain Jellico in the season 6 two-parter "Chain of Command", and her casual outfits were relegated to informal off-duty use for the remainder of the series.
  • The first two seasons of Red Dwarf have Rimmer in a khaki Space Corps uniform and Lister in a stained, shabby version of the same uniform, as opposed to Lister's leathers and Rimmer's shiny outfits in later seasons. The Space Corps uniform itself is changed retroactively in flashbacks, though the original uniforms appear as Mythology Gags in Series XII.
  • Sesame Street:
    • Throughout the first season there was a noticeable variation in Ernie's sweater. Rather than being strictly red and blue striped, it also had orange, yellow, and pink stripes in it as well.
    • Many Muppets had different designs early on and even throughout the years their designs have evolved. The Muppet Wiki has several pages dedicated to explaining the various designs. For example, Kermit originally wasn't a frog, he was a Cartoon Creature until 1969, when Sesame Street first aired. Big Bird originally had fewer feathers on his head, and the character that would become Cookie Monster had teeth prior to appearing on Sesame Street. Rosita was originally a fruit bat but became a generic "monster" later. Zoot's skin kept switching from blue to green and back until the creators ultimately settled on blue.
  • In Sherlock, the titular character did not start wearing his famous deerstalker until the second series. Perhaps the creators thought it would not fit with the character's modernisation, but were forced to backtrack on the decision due to the hat's iconic nature. It's not like the character ever wore it in the original novels. And it only exists in the show as a Lampshade Hanging, never worn by Sherlock in a serious context — he gets downright cranky when a sheer coincidence associates the hat with him in the eyes of the public.
  • Hogan's Heroes. In the first two color episodes, LeBeau wears a navy blue sweater over his fatigues, rather than his usual red one. He may or may not have also worn it in the black-and-white pilot episode, as it is hard to determine, though it does appear to be a rather dark sweater.
  • Dinosaurs had a different look for Fran's head crest in the first couple of episodes.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Phases" featured a werewolf with a fully lupine head, as opposed to the Wolf Man appearance that all later appearances of werewolves in the show and its Spin-Off Angel would adopt.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the Cybermen's first appearance, "The Tenth Planet", they had a mixed human/robot appearance with tinges of Body Horror, compared to their much more purely robotic external appearance in all later stories. Even when this variant was reintroduced in "World Enough and Time"/"The Doctor Falls", they had much smaller headlamps/weapons, handlebars, and chest units, as well as skin-colored surgical gloves as opposed to bare hands.
    • The Daleks took three stories to achieve their classic appearance. The Dalek props in the first story, "The Daleks", lack the vertical panels attached to the "shoulder" section of their casings. In "The Dalek Invasion of Earth", they have clunky looking satellite-style disc aerials on the backs of their casings, conceived by the designers as a wireless power supply (the original Daleks had been unable to leave their city as they drew electrical life-support power from the floors). "The Chase" added the final vertical panels, conceived as solar panels for power collection. The later Origins Episode "Genesis of the Daleks" indulged in some Retcanon by depicting the in-universe earliest Daleks with the later established prop design.

    Music 
  • In The Beatles earliest performances they dressed in leather jackets and presented themselves as Greaser Delinquents. Once Brian Epstein became their manager he made them switch to the collarless suits everyone thinks of when they think "early Beatles."
  • Murdoc from Gorillaz originally had tan skin and one red eye. Later on, his eye turned grey and his skin turned green. The latter is handwaved as being the result of tanning.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Most wrestlers will have simpler, more generic looks in the early stages of their career (as they have neither the money nor status within the industry to be afforded such elaborate attires) compared to their prime years. Some noteworthy examples:
    • Hulk Hogan made his WWF debut in 1979 as a heel who wore blue trunks, kneepads and boots and colorful robes instead of his tearaway shirts. And he had a full head of hair.
    • Randy Savage debuted in 1973 as "The Spider", a gangly masked wrestler (he was still playing minor league baseball at the time and wrestled during the off-seasons, so he needed the slender physique for baseball and wore the mask to hide his identity from his coaches). Even during his more familiar "Macho Man" gimmick, people outside the wrestling fandom might be surprised to see that he wore simple trunks and boots, sequinned ponchos and headbands to the ring in the eighties instead of his Iconic Outfit template of the cowboy hats, tassel-covered jackets and long pants/bodysuit. (As the 80s were the peak of his career, but his 90s look is more iconic).
    • Even though the look lasted ten years, anyone younger than 30 would likely be shocked to see that the long-dark haired, monochromatic, Crow-like Sting started his wrestling career as a bleach-blond California surfer dude-type with neon colored outfits, as he had spent the later two-thirds of his career with the Crow look, or some variation thereof.
    • The bald, goateed, tough-as-nails Texan "Stone Cold" Steve Austin got his start in wrestling as "Stunning" Steve Austin: a blond-haired, clean shaven pretty-boy wannabe from Hollywood, California.
    • Arn Anderson wore fedoras in his early career.
    • Scott Steiner started off with a long, dark brown mullet and clean shaven, wearing a singlet and sporting a more natural-looking physique, then became "Big Poppa Pump, sporting short-blond hair and beard, going shirtless and bulking up to unnatural levels. Like Sting above, it's not really "early" though as the look lasted for about a decade, but most fans think of the "Big Poppa Pump" look.
    • Ric Flair had brunette hair, a mustache, and about sixty or so extra pounds on him in the seventies.
    • Scott Hall's run in the American Wrestling Association, years before achieving fame in the WWF. He sported a curly mullet, a large mustache, and bulked up to 300 pounds (which he attributed to steroids).
    • Kurt Angle had a full head of hair when he debuted in 1999, but he then started quickly losing it, so his head was shaved bald in 2002 as part of a storyline and he has kept it shaved ever since.
    • CM Punk was a blond in his early days, but is better known as a brunette.
    • Sasha Banks is best known for dying her Rapunzel Hair various shades of red, purple and pink, but started off with her natural medium-length dark blond hair. The same can be said for Becky Lynch, though her preferred shade is orange.
    • Take a look at Samoa Joe in the early 2000s and he is damn-near unrecognizable, being much thinner and having dyed-blond hair.
    • The Undertaker looked far scarier in his early days as a pale redhead. By the mid 90s he had started tanning and dying his hair black.
    • Rey Mysterio's mask originally had a crown design on it but was changed to a cross when he remasked for his WWE career. Also, he wore tights (of various different designs) prior to his unmasking. After unmasking, he first wore dungarees, and then switched to baggy pants due to a knee injury - and they were redesigned to the familiar ones with logos during a brief spell in the indies prior to his WWE signing. His early name, as is well known, was Rey Misterio Jr, corresponding with his uncle, Rey Misterio Sr, who himself remodelled his attire after Rey Jr. after the latter hit it big.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has many changes in between editions and codexes. Compare, for example, the dreaded Carnifex to its second edition incarnation.
    • In the first edition of the game, the Space Marines had helmets with a pointed face, resembling a beak or a knight's bascinet. Starting with the second edition, they had the iconic grill-faced helmet they've kept since. The beaked helmets still pop up from time to time, with the explanation that they come from an earlier model of power armour that some Marines still use.

    Toys 
  • Cheerilee from My Little Pony G3 was originally a unicorn with a slightly different coloring and a different Cutie Mark. For the "Core 7" soft reboot she was combined with another pony named "Cherry Blossom". She now uses Cheerilee's name but Cherry Blossom's design.
  • Elizabeth from American Girls Collection was originally a brunette with brown eyes. After she was portrayed by a blue-eyed blonde in a film, her doll was given similar looks.
  • Thanks to the toys coming from existing toylines, many Transformers: Generation 1 characters had toys that were drastically different from the redesigns accompanying media would create (and subsequent iterations would use):
    • Ratchet and Ironhide's toys had no head, instead having a face sticker on their seats.
    • Megatron's gun barrel rests at hs side, rather than pointing up behind his back.
    • Many 1984 Autobots such as Bumblebee, Gears, and Huffer had robotic masks and visors for faces, while the Marvel comic and Sunbow cartoon would give them more humanlike faces.
    • Jetfire was a repainted VF-1S Super Valkyrie, and (likely for legal reasons) he was heavily redesigned in most media to have a blockier form with a humanoid face, with the cartoon even renaming him "Skyfire".
  • Barbie:
    • Barbie had Tsurime Eyes ("cat eyes" as many fans call them) until sometime in the early 1970s.
    • Barbie's first sister Skipper was originally a titan hair coloured preteen. In 1979 the "Super Teen Skipper" doll ended with her changed to a teenage. 1985's "Hot Stuff Skipper" gave her dimples and a longer face while 1988's "Teen Fun Skipper" made her taller. In 1997, Skipper made her an even older teen and she has stayed that way since. She's almost as tall as Barbie and has a new design. In 2009 she was briefly decreased in size but has since gone back to being in her mid-to-late teens. In 2010 Skipper was redesigned from a blonde to a brunette (presumably dyed) with purple Skunk Stripes in her hair.

    Video Games 
  • Reimu and Marisa from Touhou, especially in the PC-98 era. Reimu started out wearing a much more plain and basic miko outfit, without the ribbons and her memetic armpits. She also had purple hair. Marisa, famous for her black-white witch dress, started out wearing purple. She also had red hair instead of blonde, although only in her first appearance.
  • Pokémon:
    • Red in Pokémon Red, Green, and Blue is depicted with bone straight hair in his sprites but has Anime Hair in his official design. This is likely because the prototypical version of him from Capsule Monsters had this hairstyle, and the sprites didn't change when his design did. His hat also has a large Poké Ball on it, which isn't from his finalized design but also appears in Capsule Monsters concept art.
    • Blue's champion sprite in R/G/B has a hairstyle not even seen in any artwork. It's possibly either from the Capsule Monsters stage or is an early design that wasn't changed when he gained his finalized design. Blue also changed costumes throughout the R/G/B but this was removed from FR/LG. Instead, his champion jacket reappeared in HG/SS.
    • Many Pokémon looked different in the sprites for the first two generations. For example, Charmander had spikes according to most adaptations (excluding the anime), the original sprites, and early official art but they were removed by Gold and Silver. Pikachu were infamously very chubby looking at first but as early as Yellow began slimming down and by the third gen were in their current, thinner design. Arbok originally had two jagged black stripes on the back of its hood which were removed in later games. Mew looks more like an embryo in the original Japanese Red and Green before being given a more feline appearance in the Japanese Blue and international Red and Blue. Many pieces of early artwork also depict Pokémon in pre-release designs, such as an overly large Pikachu with a white patch on its stomach.
    • Several Trainer Classes in Gen I used whips. Ace Trainers and even Gym Leaders like Sabrina used them. These whips were phased out in future generations. As a result the Tamer class was only used in Generation I and its remakes, being the only characters in those remakes to still use the whips.
    • Lenora was originally depicted wearing an apron, however western fans were upset that she looked like a mammy stereotype with it on. Ever since then, she's almost never been depicted wearing her apron. She holds it over her shoulder like a cape. This extended to most adaptations like the anime editing Lenora's appearances to include the new look (the only time she wore her apron in the anime was in her original Japanese appearance).
    • Mewtwo's original design was farly stocky, with a grey-white coloring and a giant head. The Gen I remakes gave it new art with a smaller head, a more humanoid shape, and a deep purple color, but the in-game sprites still reflected the original design until Pokémon Diamond and Pearl.
    • When Professor Burnet first appeared she had a lighter skin tone. It's unspecified if this is a retcon or if living in Alola has given her a sun-tan.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario had a blue shirt and red overalls in Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., and Wrecking Crew. His colors were swapped around in the arcade version of Mario Bros., resulting in a blue cap and overalls and a red shirt; the NES version would change the cap back to red but keep the blue overalls, marking the first in-game appearance of his iconic clothing color arrangement. Shigeru Miyamoto's artwork for Super Mario Bros., The Lost Levels (the Japanese SMB2), and the game the rest of the world knows as Super Mario Bros. 2, all kept Mario in his original Donkey Kong colors, though the in-game sprites would differ (SMB1 and The Lost Levels had red overalls and a brown shirt, while SMB2 had blue overalls and a red shirt and cap like NES Mario Bros.). Super Mario Bros. 3 was the first game where Miyamoto's artwork consistently had him in blue overalls (the in-game sprites on the NES version had the blue portions rendered in black in most levels, though the larger sprites for the Toad minigames, as well as the Mario Bros.-style battle game, had him in blue overalls). The blue shirt and red overalls would eventually return in Super Mario Odyssey as an alternate outfit. Also, promotional artwork for Donkey Kong depicted Mario as a middle-aged balding man (which is also how he looked in the 1993 live-action film), but Nintendo has since retconned Mario into a twenty-something and shown him to possess a full head of hair underneath his plumber's cap. Mario's limbs were also much stubbier in early artwork, making him appear rather stocky, however modern art gives him longer limbs which gives the impression that he's actually lost weight in the intervening decades.
    • Likewise, Luigi had a brown shirt-green overall combo in his first appearance, and a green shirt and white overalls (resembling his Fire Flower form) in Super Mario Bros. Both of the remakes gave him back said brown shirt-green overall combo (or, in the case of the Super Mario All-Stars version, the blue shirt-green overalls), and made the green shirt-white overalls look his Fire Flower form instead.
    • In Super Mario Bros., Toad wore a red vest. Super Mario Bros. 2 changed it to dark blue in-game, while in the artworks it was more purple. Super Mario Bros. 3 brought back the red vest, but the blue/purple one came back for a decade. Super Mario Sunshine then introduced, along with various Toads with differently colored vests and mushroom spots, a yellow trim around the vest, which was kept since then.
    • Daisy wore a pink crown in her older appearances, but somewhere around Mario Kart: Double Dash!! it was replaced with a golden one like Peach's crown. Her hair was also long like Peach until it was cropped shorter in Mario Party 4. Daisy was Ambiguously Brown during the Nintendo 64 era but returned to her original tone for Mario Party 4.
    • Shigeru Miyamoto first drew Bowser in artwork used on the Japanese box where he has blue/grey skin and black eyebrows. His sprite in the original game is green but lacks the red hair.
    • Starting from Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, Birdo wears a ring with a giant diamond on her right middle finger.
    • Wario originally wore a long-sleeved shirt, but since Wario Land II he's often been seen wearing a short-sleeved one. He's consistently portrayed with short sleeves in Wario's own games, but alternated between them and the long sleeves in the Mario spin-offs before permanently settling on the short ones.
    • Pauline was originally depicted as a blonde in illustrations for the arcade and Famicom versions of Donkey Kong, but became a brunette in Donkey Kong '94, presumably to distinguish her from Peach (who at that point had already appeared in more games than Pauline and was a more recognizable character as a result). Her sprite always had her as a brunette anyway.
    • With the original Mario Golf and Mario Tennis, Peach and Daisy both wore shorter versions of their main dresses (though the dresses date back to NES Open Tournament Golf). Starting with Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour both princesses instead began wearing sports-geared outfits. Peach also began putting her hair in a ponytail for sports games. Rosalina didn't get her own sporty dress until Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. Before that she wore her normal dress in all games besides her Mario Kart appearances.
    • Yoshi was less-anthropomorphized in Super Mario World compared to how he would look later on. Certain spin-offs, such as Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, also stayed closer to Yoshi's original depiction.
    • The Swoop(er) enemy from Super Mario World was green in its initial game but blue in subsequent games. According to the games files, in development for World it was blue but they changed it to green later on.
    • Princess Peach's dress was first white with a red trim in Super Mario Bros., but later appearances would have her in the classic pink dress. The white dress was used as her Fire Flower costume in Super Mario 3D World and it was also used (along with her sprite) as her power up form in Super Paper Mario.
  • Street Fighter:
  • Mega Man (Classic):
    • Dr. Wily's artwork from Mega Man is closer to his in-game sprite and much closer resembles Albert Einstein than his artwork from Mega Man 2 onwards, which exaggerated his features (wilder hair, longer chin etc) and made him more cartoony.
    • In fact, everyone in Mega Man's artwork looked shorter and chubbier, closer resembling the proportions of their 8-bit sprites. Art Evolution would later give them more realistic proportions.
    • Cut Man was originally colored red, while later appearances instead color him orange.
  • Mega Man X: In his first appearance, Zero has circular shoulders and lacks his Z-Saber. In the second game, where he was rebuilt after his Heroic Sacrifice in the previous installment, he gets new square shoulders with his signature Z on it, and his Z-Saber, which is retained throughout the rest of the series. Notably, the old design isn't later retconned like many other examples here, with both Mega Man: Maverick Hunter X and a flashback in Mega Man X4 keeping the old design intact.
  • In the Rayman series, the titular character started out with separated eyes and a red handkerchief on his neck, but starting with Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc, Rayman gained Conjoined Eyes and a red hoodie in place of the handkerchief.
  • In the Soul series, Siegfried started out with short blonde hair in Soul Edge. All following releases have him with long, flowing blonde hair aside from his 2P outfit in Soulcalibur III: it brings back the medium-length blonde hair, possibly as a reference to his debut.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • There are multiple incarnations of Link, which explains his design differences from game to game (though they basically follow a basic design overall). While the original Link from The Legend of Zelda and Zelda II: The Adventure of Link had dark brown hair, starting with A Link to the Past, Link's hair is always a varying shade of blondnote . Link also originally had a long nose; however, after internal complaints that it made him look unattractive, Link's nose size was decreased in Ocarina of Time. Ocarina of Time is also the first game in which Link wears white tights or leggings beneath his tunic.
    • Princess Zelda is similarly multiple people, though again her incarnations overall share certain traits. The Zelda from the first game and the Sleeping Zelda from the second game (pictured above) are a brunette and redhead respectively. A Link to the Past was the first game to have Zelda as a blonde and every game has kept that, though in Twilight Princess (also pictured above) Zelda's hair is so dark it's mistakable for brown. The first two Zeldas were drawn with simplistic, puffy pink dresses resembling Princess Peach and '80s Hair, but ALttP gave us the beginning of what's been her standard dress design since: white with gold trimmings and either pink or purple accents.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002) is the only Insomniac Games Ratchet game — Secret Agent Clank and Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters both have the same Ratchet design but are made by High Impact Games — to have Ratchet with no shirt and no shoes (unless you equip the Magneboots or Grindboots from the items menu for a cosmetic effect). Every other game, he has some sort of armor or clothing that covers those bits.
  • Marth in Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light did not wear pants and wore a tunic. His clothes in Super Smash Bros. are styled after his design in the third game, Mystery of the Emblem, though all his appearances starting with the fourth Smash Bros. and Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. opt to use Marth's updated design from New Mystery of the Emblem.
  • In the original 16-color release of The Secret of Monkey Island, Elaine had black hair. In the upgraded 256-color re-release, this became red hair.
  • Harvest Moon:
  • Kingdom Hearts:
  • On the U.S. cover artwork of Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby was white instead of pink. This was due to the fact that the artist didn't have access to any of the original Japanese art for reference and assumed that Kirby was supposed to be white. This would be referenced later on in the Super Smash Bros series where Kirby's black and white color scheme is one of his alternate colors. The artwork of Kirby in the first few games had him with a much smaller mouth and small eyes, which made his body look more puffy and round than intended. Later games would have Kirby with a larger face.
  • In the original God of War, the gods with the exceptions of Ares and Athena underwent drastic changes in the sequels. Most jarringly is Hades having a demonic face in the original but is a big guy with a black horned helmet.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, Qunari were very tall black men with white hair and purple eyes. From Dragon Age II onwards they have grey skin, horns, and war paint.
  • Star Fox has a particularly infamous example. In promotional artwork for Star Fox, Fox team's legs look as if they're made of metal. This created a popular fan theory that the characters legs were amputated and replaced with prosthestics to handle flying in space without passing out. Future games clearly give them boots.
  • Metal Gear:
    • The early Metal Gear games prior to Metal Gear Solid did not have the involvement of the later series art director Yoji Shinkawa, resulting in an inconsistent art style between them. The protagonist Solid Snake was depicted as a youthful, Michael Biehn-type hero on the cover artwork of the original Metal Gear, only to look more middle aged in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (modelled after Mel Gibson), despite the two games being set and released only three years apart.
    • In the MSX2 version of Metal Gear 2 in particular, Gray Fox and Master Miller do not even resemble their incarnations from later MGS games, with Fox originally being drawn as a tanned brown-haired man, as opposed to the pale white-haired man seen in later games, while Miller was originally a black-haired Asian-looking man instead of the sunglasses-wearing blond-haired man seen in the later games (consequently, his origin story was also changed in Peace Walker).
    • Snake had shortish hair in his first three appearances - in 2, he appears with a mullet, which initially was a Escape from New York joke but got made into a character trademark. He also lacks the flowing bandanna until 2, because PS1 tech limitations made it impossible. In his first two appearances, he is depicted wearing realistic military gear; in his third, he's put into a more fantastical "Sneaking Suit". On top of this, certain aspects of his physical appearance were altered between his appearances in 1, 2 and 4 even beyond what his ageing would account for - in 2 his features get broader and manlier, and in 4 he suddenly gains rather prominent nasolabial folds which weren't there in his earlier appearances, and his hair texture goes from wavy to straight. Snake is even depicted with blond hair in the Briefing segment of Metal Gear Solid, and Campbell claims the only difference between him and Liquid is "skin tone", forcing Snake to change his appearance; a plot point in 2 was going to have Snake return to blond, in an idea that got as far as playtesting, but was scrapped for making the character look too unlike his earlier look, and the idea of him being blond was quietly retconned. (The blond hair was itself a retcon, since Snake had been depicted with dark hair in the two previous games.)
    • Eye colour has generally been inconsistent. Snake's eyes go from dark green to pale blue. Otacon goes from having grey hair and blue eyes, to brown hair and brown eyes, to dark brown hair and dark blue eyes.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic Adventure 2 Super Shadow's main fur color was a silvery white. Afterwards it shifted between being as gold as Super Sonic and varying lighter shades gold before settling into a lemon cream color.
    • Super Sonic himself has shifted between having completely upturned quills similar to the Super Saiyan transformation it was based on and having only partially upturned quills in a star pattern, similar to Shadow's hairstyle. For a long while it would shift back and forth depending on the game, but they've finally settled upon the original completely upturned style.
    • In a case of American Kirby Is Hardcore, in early western media Sonic was portrayed with fauxhawk-like quills. The game sprites weren't edited but official art and adaptations used that design. Eventually it was phased out in place of the cuter canon design. Sonic CD also depicted Sonic with an angular design not used anywhere else, except for Sonic Mania as a retraux Call-Back.
    • Tails' fur was commonly depicted as burnt red or even brown early on before becoming it's more common orange, sometimes yellowish-orange, colour.
  • Metroid:
    • In the original game, the Varia Suit (or just "Varia" as it was then known) tinted Samus's armor a slightly dull shade of pink, making no physical appearance changes. The iconic shoulder pieces weren't introduced until Metroid II: Return of Samus, where the Game Boy's black and white palette made a more physical distinction necessary. Metroid: Zero Mission splits the difference by making the Varia Suit just an orange-tinted version of her regular Power Suit, but adds the shoulder components when she unlocks the Fully Powered Suit late in the game.
    • Kraid was originally a yellow creature with two eyes, green hair across his back, two belly spikes, and spikes coming from his back. Most glaringly of all, he was the same size as Samus! Super Metroid beefed up Kraid's size while changing his hair to reptillian scales, as well as adding a third belly spike and altering the back spikes to claws from his arms.
    • Ridley's appearance in the original game's artwork was... very different to what he is now, looking more like a blue mutant Birdo. It seems his design was changed after the art was done, as his in-game sprite is a lot more draconic, though still fairly humanoid. Super Metroid made Ridley's proportions more reptilian, but the art colored him red as opposed to his in-game sprite's purple.
    • Mother Brain's Metroid 1 sprite had a small eye (the size and placement of which suggested she had two) and tusks. Super Metroid changed this to a single large eye while adding in a mouth, the latter of which Metroid: Zero Mission (which has become the de facto pre-Super design) omitted.
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: Jim Fitzgerald in The Lost and the Damned looks radically different from what he appears in the base game: originally a fat, bald, Caucasian generic biker, he is made mixed-race with a distinctive uniform and appearance in the expansion pack. You'd be forgiven for thinking that they were not even supposed to be the same character, since they don't share the same voice or even personality.
  • Alucard from Castlevania is easily recognized by his Bishōnen appearance which first appeared in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, but his first appearance in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse gives him a stock design of vampires.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the original sprites for Higurashi: When They Cry Shion wore a red necktie and a grey blazer over her school uniform shirt. The remakes, anime, manga, and Steam release all change it to exclude the blazer and change the tie to a blue bowtie. The original uniform is instead her old boarding school uniform.

    Web Animation 
  • In a 2001 Ramyun Boy (a South Korean flash animation series for children that was popular in the early 2000s) episode, the titular main character and his love interest look different from their final appearances. Examples are Ramyun Boy looking more chubbier and Ramyun Girl having visible hair.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Certain Neopets characters have evolved greatly over time. For example Bruce were named "Bruce Forsyth" and were literally just the celebrity Bruce Forsyth (and thus were human) while Kyrii were fuzzy, ball-shaped creatures named "Fuzio."
  • In te 2001 Mata Nui Online Game, the Matoran look like their toy prototypes instead of the final designs (having flat and thin arms, no "rim" on their heels and a different head), and the appearance of the Pakari and Ruru masks are almost always wrong. These were due to the rushed development and to the game sprites being based on bad photographs and primitive 3D assets from other games. Some confusion also stemmed from the Tarakava beast, which had a Pakari mask on its snout but the prototype had a Ruru. The game artists created various combinations of the two masks before getting them right and multiple characters who wore a Pakari were drawn with a Ruru and vice versa. The 2002 web animations redid most masks to be accurate to the toys but certain characters still had the wrong types and the Matoran still retained their prototype bodies. In the 2003 sequel game, the bodies were redesigned and the masks were finally fixed.

    Western Animation 
  • Rugrats:
    • Tommy wore a red shirt in both the unaired pilot and the actual pilot for the show. After that his signature color became blue, and his main outfit became a blue shirt (though he occasionally wore overalls in early episodes).
    • In the "All Growed Up" Special, the ten-years-older versions of the Rugrats had clothes that had similar color schemes to the clothes they wore as infants. When All Grown Up! was spun off into its own series, the characters had outfits that were very different to the ones in the special, especially in the later seasons of the show. Susie had an afro in "All Growed Up" but in the series she has braids to more resemble the hairstyle she had as a toddler (though promotional material still heavily uses the afro design).
  • The titular character from Caillou wore a grey shirt in the early episodes but once he turned four he began wearing a yellow version.
  • Betty Boop: Betty Boop was originally a dog; however, later her species was changed to a human. She also originally had red hair according to her only colored classic cartoon (Cinderella) but all later appearances give her black hair.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the first shorts appearing on The Tracey Ullman Show Bart wore a blue shirt, but as of the switch to their own show he wears orange. Despite the change happening so early, a lot of merchandise in The '90s had Bart wearing a blue shirt.
    • Mr. Smithers was depicted as black with blue hair in his first appearance. Word of God is that that was a coloring issue.
    • Nelson's parents both had different designs at first. His father was designed as a soccer coach whose character model has been used frequently in crowd shots, only to be later redesigned to resemble a much older Nelson. Mrs Muntz originally resembled an older Nelson in drag and was later changed to the design she has today.
  • Arthur:
    • Muffy had buck teeth in early seasons.
    • Without his glasses, Arthur originally had normal eyes in season 1. Afterwards he has Skintone Sclerae.
    • Francine's pet cat Nemo is depicted as being skinny and having small eyes with rounded pupils during his debut episode, but later appearances of him instead depict him as being fat and having large eyes with slit-shaped pupils.
    • In the first few seasons, DW's friend Emily wore a pink dress and had very short hair. She was eventually redesigned to wear a blue dress and have medium length hair.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius:
    • In Jimmy Neutron Cindy had Girlish Pigtails instead of a ponytail, and a pink shirt instead of a green one.
    • In the film Jimmy had shorts instead of jeans and wore different shoes.
    • In the series proper, Libby originally wore a green dress and had straight hair with Peek-a-Bangs. Starting with episode 21 she switched to cornrows and starting with episode 25 she began wearing jeans and a pink shirt.
    • The 1998 pilot to Jimmy Neutron, Runaway Rocketboy, featured different designs from the finalized product. Jimmy wore a red-and-white striped shirt and shorts. Carl's basic design was the same but he was drawn differently.
    • The 1995 The Adventures Of Johnny Quasar short features even older designs for the characters. For example, Johnny's design has a completely different shaped head, his skin is darker, and he has dark brown hair in a different hairstyle. There's concept art of early versions of the main cast that feature prototypical designs, but they didn't appear in the short. For example, Johnny's parents had different designs such as his mom being a blonde with a pixie cut, but they still had a housewife and Standard '50s Father look to them.
  • Transformers:
    • In the first episode of The Transformers, Shockwave was shown with both hands. Later he got his signature laser gun replacing his left hand.
    • The first episode of Transformers Animated have some design differences: Sentinel Prime is shown with a white face rather than grey, a longer head with a smaller chin and smokestacks on his shoulders, while Blackarachnia had the spider abdomen on her back splitted in two coattails, lacked two of the spider eyes on her chest and also had an extra pair of spider legs on her shoulders (the last bit is accurate to her toy though).
  • In My Little Pony: Rescue from Midnight Castle Megan is depicted with cowboy boots, an orange shirt, a brown vest, and jeans. In the sequel she receives a Girliness Upgrade in terms of colors (they're now pastel) but keeps the general design.note  Come My Little Pony: The Movie and her design is given a total rehaul. She now wears her "country jamboree" outfit, which consists of somewhat frilly overalls with a heart in the middle.note 
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • Donald Duck's iconic sailor suit changed considerably over the years. In his first appearance in Wise Little Hen, the hat had a stiff brim, rather than the floppy hat he now has. Also, the hat was white until the early forties, and the bow on his collar changed from black to red. And for a brief period in the 1950s, the buttons on his shirt disappeared, also in his few several cartoons he had a slimmer body, long neck, and long bill.
    • For his first appearance in Mickey's Revue, Goofy (then known as Dippy Dawg) wore only a vest, glasses and no pants; only the hat is recognizable. This look (sans glasses) was revived for the Mickey Mouse (2013) shorts.
    • Mickey Mouse's and Minnie Mouse's original designs had them with larger eyes and didn't wear gloves or shoes. The gloves were added later to make sure that you still see their hands even if they held them across their stomachs. Shortly after, they had shoes and gloves, and their eyes became simple black dots. In 1939, their eyes became more "human" eyes to give them more expression. Originally they had white skin however later they were changed to a more natural peach tone.
    • Minnie also had a hat with a flower in it, but it was changed to a large bow by 1939. Traditionally she wore a skirt with no shirt however nowadays it's more common for her to wear a dress, though the skirt sometimes still appears.
    • Pete was more obviously a cat in his earliest appearances - The Gallopin Gaucho and Steamboat Willie - possessing a long tail and a white-furred muzzle. In his later appearances, his tail is absent and his muzzle is (more-or-less) clean-shaven.
  • Jem:
    • Clash originally had red hair with blue highlights. After a few appearances she was given completely purple hair, and a later episode shows her natural hair is purple. The Jem and the Holograms comic book reboot uses her first hair color.
    • Zipper was blond at first before becoming black haired. He was also given blue eyes.
    • Lin-Z originally had straight hair in a different style instead of curly hair.
    • The "Starbright" pilot episodes feature different designs from the actual series. Jem's pink belt became white. Jerrica had a different haircut, wore pink and blue striped dress with a red belt, a hat and pink shoes, became white and blue striped with a white belt, without hat and blue shoes. Pizzazz received an bracelet, she lost a legband, and switched her sock to ther other leg. Roxy's top became purple instead of black, her tights became multicolored instead of pink and green, she lost her necklace, received a bracelet, her belt changed shape, and received new shoes.
  • In season 1 of The Amazing World of Gumball, Penny was oval-shaped. In season 2, she became peanut-shaped.
  • The second season of The Dreamstone made some changes to character designs following a switch with animation studios:
    • The Dream Maker in particular, originally wearing a more humble patchwork robe, now wears a far more dignified attire. His hair now pointed upward instead of downward and his nose gained a more pronounced hook.
    • Rufus and Amberley had more differentiating proportions (Rufus gained a bulkier upper body while Amberley became lankier) and had their clothing streamlined. The swords on both Rufus and the Urpneys' belts (that they never used) are now gone too.
    • Urpgor had larger, more hunched over abdomen in Season One, making him look more like The Igor. He also had a near perpetual squint and lacked purple bags under his eyes (in the pilot episode he had neither, instead possessing a purple sclera). Amusingly some freeze frames of his Super-Deformed Freak Outs have him deform into his later design, implying the animators eventually preferred drawing him that way.
    • To a lesser degree Zordrak's robe changed from purple to blue, and Frizz lost his glasses with the exception of the blue lens tint, making it seem like he had blue eyes.
    • Spildit had a longer snout and no irises in her earliest appearances. Oddly enough, Season Four animators kept zigzagging between her first and second designs.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Sandy's underwater suit was changed to have a hole for her tail season 2 onwards. She also didn't have an acorn on her suit originally, instead it was three lines that looked similar to an electrical socket.
    • Patrick's eyebrows were extremely thin, narrow and rather crooked the first season, but his eyebrows soon became thick, straight and blocky from Season 2 onwards. He was also a bit fatter than what he would be later on.
  • The Powerpuff Girls:
    • Professor Utonium in the prototypical pilot episode, for some reason, actually looked more like Dexter from Dexter's Laboratory.
    • When the Rowdyruff Boys were introduced they had combed hair, Butch had an Idiot Hair, and Brick had short hair. When they were revived they were given spikey Anime Hair and Brick's hair grew to similar length to his Distaff Counterpart Blossom. Butch's design in Demashita! Powerpuff Girls Z is based on his original design more than his revised design.
    • The Professor smoked a pipe in early episodes. Eventually it was phased out.
    • The titular characters were drawn with larger bodies and smaller heads until the movie and the seasons of the show thereafter.
    • In the post-movie episodes, Ms. Keane's design was slightly tweaked to go along with the change in art style.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In her debut near the end of the two-part pilot, Princess Luna looks radically different from her later appearances. She was much smaller and had a normal mane rather than her magical flowing mane. Fans dubbed this version "Woona". The fandom originally thought that this was her form when she transformed into Nightmare Moon and her post-pilot design was essentially a Plot-Relevant Age-Up, however flashbacks clearly show that Luna looked the same as she does now 1000 years ago. Lauren Faust justified this by saying that she was reborn with very low magic levels after Nightmare Moon's defeat. This was also referenced in the second story arc of the comicbook, which features a basically powerless Luna drawn in her pilot design for most of the arc, changing in her regular design after getting her self-esteem back.
    • Either due to this or being Off-Model, Celestia was depicted with a pink mane in Twilight's storybook during the pilot episode. It is later established that she had her current multicoloured mane even before Nightmare Moon came to be. The pink mane has never canonically been referenced, leading fans to believe it was the result of trying to simplify Celestia's mane.
  • In season 2 of The Boondocks Sarah's design was edited. She received wavier, longer hair compared to her season 1 design.
  • In the first episode of Sonic Sat AM Sally had pink fur and black hair while NICOLE was a desktop computer.
  • Kim Possible:
    • In season 1, Monique was one of the few characters to have Black Bead Eyes. Starting with season 2 she was redesigned to have eyes like everyone else.
    • In "Tick, Tick, Boom" Steve Barkin's hair was blond instead of brown.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long had a huge Art Shift between season 1 and season 2. Several characters received drastic redesigns however others received minor changes, alongside the new art style:
    • Rose lost her headband, gained a belt, and changed pants slightly.
    • Spud's t-shirt changed designs from being striped to having an alien on it. His hair also shows more out of his hat in season 2.
    • Trixie began wearing a hoodie over her shirt, she lost the pink in her design, and changed shoes.
    • Jake's dragon form changed from a muscular, western style dragon with wings to a more slender, Asian style dragon. In human form he gained Pointy Ears.
    • Haley lost her Hair Decorations and her Girlish Pigtails became longer. Her dragon form went from purple to pink.
  • Concept art for Steven Universe shows the characters went through several redesigns, especially Pearl. The original pilot features a vastly different, less stylized art style and the characters have different designs than in the final product:
    • Pearl had the heaviest redesign. Her skin was blueish, her hair was shorter and longer on the top, her clothes were different, she wore earrings, and she had an overall more androgynous design. Pearl also had a less mature and neurotic personality, acting like a Big Sister Bully towards Steven instead of an overprotective parent. According to her transformation in one episode, it seems at one point in her life she did use her pilot design.
    • Garnet's hair was originally straight and she had bangs. In the final series she has a square afro.
    • Amethyst wore nail polish, had a hair accessory, and wore a fanny pack.
    • Steven's skin was more pink and his proportions were more realistic.
    • Lars was a dark skinned brunette instead of a lighter skinned redhead.
  • In the earliest Tom and Jerry shorts Tom was a quadrupedal cat named "Jasper". Jasper had a full white mask on his face, instead of his muzzle being white like Tom's.
  • Several Looney Tunes characters have prototypical incarnations, while others changed designs as the decades went by.
    • "Happy Bunny" was the prototypical version of Bugs Bunny that first appeared in "Porkys Hare Hunt". He originally was one tone before becoming a near-white shade of grey with apricot tones, and eventually Bugs' color of grey. Eventually Happy Bunny had switched from apricot to white and looked like Bugs except for his proportions and some design elements. By 1947 Bugs as we know him was born (though he received his name in 1941).
    • In several early shorts an unnamed black (or dark grey) cat with a white muzzle appeared. He is closest to Sylvester in the short The Cagey Canary, where a prototypical Granny and an unnamed canary (proto-Tweety) also appeared.
    • The prototypical Elmer Fudd was a man who appeared in "Hare Um Scare Um" with purple bags under his eyes and medium length black hair, though some believe the character known as "Egghead" was the earliest version of Elmer. Elmer as we know him was much fatter in several early shorts as well.
    • In I Haven't Got a Hat, Porky Pig was presented as a juvenile pig in a green sweater. He looked more pig-like than he eventually came to become.
    • Tweety started out as a featherless hatchling however due to objections about him being "naked" he was given feathers. He also gained eyelashes for the redesign, possibly to help distinguish him better as a child character or to make him even cuter.
  • Defenders of the Earth: In the first seventeen episodes (with the exception of "Root of Evil", in which the designs for most of the regular characters are markedly different from those used in the rest of the series) Jedda has brown hair. From "The Panther Peril" onwards, her hair is black.
  • Most of the character designs in the As Told by Ginger pilot are completely different from in the series. Most glaringly, Miranda and Darren were white before being given Race Lifts to match their voice actors.
  • Most characters of The Fairly OddParents! look the same throughout the series and only Art Evolution explains their minor differences. Tootie is an exception. In her appearance in an Oh Yeah! Cartoons short she wore a blue dress with pink leggings instead of a schoolgirl uniform, her glasses were pink instead of purple, and her pigtails were stylized differently.
  • Hank Anchorman from Johnny Test looked completely different in season 2 and beyond from when he was introduced in the season 1 episode "Johnny's Pink Plague". His appearance in the later seasons is actually an edited version of a robot anchorman that appears on TV for one scene in "Sonic Johnny".
  • The Loud House
    • The first episode, "Left in the Dark", had some small differences in character designs: mostly it's about how the characters' clothes are colored (Lola's dress is in a brighter shade of pink, Leni's dress is in a duller shade of teal and Lisa's sweater is a darker shade of green), but then there's Lucy's hairline, that is a bit higher and shows a bit of skin above her nose. This promotional picture shows the designs used in that episode.
    • Also, in "Left in the Dark" and in a bunch of other early episodes the Great Mazinger-esque robot in Lincoln's room has its eyes colored in yellow.
    • In the original promotional poster for the show Lola is the only one of the sisters with three eyelashes per eye, with everyone else having only two. In the final show, Lily, Lananote  and Leni have three eyelashes too. Other small design differences can be found in the posternote 
    • In Season 1, Mr. and Mrs. Loud were The Faceless, with only a few teasers here and there (such as the shadow of dad's face at the end of "It's a Loud, Loud, Loud, Loud House"). The Season 2 premiere revealed their faces towards the end, and since then they were costantly shown (except for three episodes that come before in production order but are aired later)
  • In Batman: The Animated Series Harley Quinn originally wore a Tomboyish Ponytail when not wearing her supervillain costume. Later seasons changed her hairstyle to Girlish Pigtails in order to emphasis her Woman Child traits and resemble her harlequin hat.
  • Bob's Burgers: Tammy had brown hair in her debut episode, but was depicted with blond hair in all of her subsequent appearances. It was finally established in Season 8 that Tammy has natural brown hair that she dyes blond.
  • Jake and the Never Land Pirates: The portrait of Beatrice Le Beak seen in "Captain Hook's Parrot" depicts her as being a redhead with Caucasian skin, long, claw-like hands and wearing a red captain's attire. For her first "official" appearance in "Jake and Sneaky Le Beak", she has black hair, light brown skin, normal-looking hands and a blue outfit.
  • In The Batman, Joker started out wearing a straitjacket with tie-dyed purple and mauve sleeves instead of his trademark purple suit. He also lacked the black rings around his eyes, his teeth were less detailed and his lips were a brighter shade of red.
  • All of the characters in Hey Arnold! had different color palletes in the original 1994 pilot than they did in the actual series. Helga was also just plain ugly instead of Ugly Cute. Her sister Olga had an Early-Bird Cameo in "Spelling Bee". Let's just say there's a drastic difference.
  • In the Life With Loopy pilot "Goldfish Heaven", Larry wore a long-sleeved orange shirt with a red jersey over it and olive green pants. For the rest of the series, he wears tan striped pants and alternated between wearing a long-sleeved red shirt with blue and yellow stripes and a white t-shirt with a red flannel shirt. Loopy's hair beads were also constructed as part of her head in "Goldfish Heaven" rather than separate like in all other episodes. Her eyes were also a brighter shade of blue in the pilot. All the characters also had Four-Fingered Hands in the pilot; they have five in the rest of the show.
  • Some characters from My Life as a Teenage Robot have noticeable differences in appearance in the original pilot short from Oh Yeah! Cartoons:
    • XJ9/Jenny's hands were the same color as her hair and "clothes", she had lips, and her skirt had rivets on the bottom.
    • Dr. Wakeman had a different hairstyle and a slightly less cartoonish design in addition to her clothes being completely white.
  • In earlier episodes of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, Toad's hat was red with white spots. After a while, it was changed to a videogame-accurate white hat with red spots.
  • In the pilot for Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Ickis wore glasses. He was even included in a Nickelodeon trivia question about which characters wore glasses. He doesn't have them in the serious proper (although in at least one episode a close up on his face implies he wears contacts.)
  • In season 1 of School For Vampires, Sunshine wears white tights. Her legs are bare in the other seasons.
  • The pilot episode of Sheep in the Big City gave Lady Richington a burlier appearance and a differently-shaped wig.

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