Follow TV Tropes


Inverted Trope
aka: Inverted

Go To
"Check the closet! I think I saw a little girl with pigtails!"
"To say, for instance, that education is beneficial, it's a commonplace; but to say that education is harmful, it's a contrary commonplace. It's ostensibly more foppish, but in essence, it's one and the same."
Bazarov, Fathers and Sons

For almost any trope, there is a flip side.

A particular form of creatively reusing an existing trope: The trope is turned exactly on its head, or shown the other way around. For example, a trope that typically applies to heroes is applied to a villain, or a trope that typically applies to males is applied to a female character, or the other way around (Gender-Inverted Trope). Some good examples are also in Genre Blindness, where rather than being blind to the conventions of the story-type they are in, the characters are presented as being hyper-aware of the conventions. A trope can often be inverted in more than one way. Indicative of Postmodernism.

Oftentimes it's Played for Laughs. Sometimes, however, it's not intended at all. For example, maybe a writer wanted to use brightness of hair to symbolize brightness of mind, not realizing that Dumb Blonde and Brainy Brunette are much more common tropes.

See Playing with a Trope for a comparison with many other ways that a trope can be used.

Oddly enough, this page is still pretty tiny, despite inversions of tropes constantly being mentioned on other pages. Let's add in as many as we can, shall we? See also Russian Reversal.

Super-Trope to Opposite Tropes which specifically focus on taking completely contrasting takes on the same idea. Another common device is to pair two opposite character types to throw their differences into contrast; that's what we call a Foil.

Not to be confused with Subverted Trope, Averted Trope, or Defied Trope. Compare Swapped Roles.

For the 2012 video game, see Inversion.


    open/close all folders 


  • In an inversion of Portmanteau, the show Nussa names its main characters as the split parts of one word: "Nusantara", the term for the Indonesian "outer islands" or archipelago. The titular boy is Nussa, his pet cat's name is Anta, and his sister's name is Rarra.

    Anime & Manga 
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You:
    • Nadeshiko inverts the Occidental Otaku trope. As a child, she was raised to be a Yamato Nadeshiko, but hated being forced into such a restrictive lifestyle. Then she discovered an American movie, and became so enamored with the freedoms American children were allowed compared to her own upbringing that she developed an obsession with America, to the point of dying her hair blonde and calling herself "Naddy".
    • Yamame inverts the One Head Taller trope. Her exact height is 200 centimetres (6' 7"), which is taller than most men. She seems aware of the unusual nature of this trope being inverted, as she was insecure about bending down to kiss Rentarou until he stood all his other girlfriends on dirt piles to make them seem as tall as her to prove that he's willing to love girls of any height.
  • Akame ga Kill! inverts Heroic Canines, Villainous Felines with the hero's and villain's Imperial Arms. Leone (one of the heroes) has an Imperial Arms that gives her cat-based powers, while Seryu (one of the villains) has one that looks like a dog.
  • Aldnoah.Zero inverts The War of Earthly Aggression: the colonists of Mars, using vastly superior Lost Technology and egged on by a Master Race doctrine, invade and attempt to conquer Earth.
  • Case Closed inverts The Butler Did It during a case... when the butler of a rich family becomes the murder victim.
  • Death Note: Light Yagami is very deliberately a complete Inversion of the Stock Shōnen Hero. He's a Villain Protagonist; he's a TV Genius, instead of being Book Dumb; he doesn't have to go through Training from Hell to unlock his true potential, he just finds a magic notebook randomly, his strong sense of justice leads to him turning into a villain; he's cool and calculated instead of being Hot-Blooded; where most Shonen protagonists are proponents of The Power of Friendship, Light is almost completely sociopathic and rather than having a To Be a Master plotline he instead has a quest to get himself worshipped as a god via a prolonged spree of mass murder.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The franchise inverts Absurdly Huge Population. According to Dragon Ball Minus, the Saiyan population was only a few thousand on their home planet before Frieza destroyed them. It implied because there was a warrior race constantly at war with other races and each other, it was difficult for them to increase their numbers.
    • Akira Toriyama also likes to invert Large and in Charge, as often when there is a pair or group of new characters (usually villains), the smaller, less intimidating-looking one is the leader (and often the most powerful). Examples include Commander Red compared to the rest of the Red Ribbon Army, Vegeta compared to Nappa, Freeza compared to most of his underlings like the Ginyu Force, Babidi compared to Yamu, Spopovich, and Dabura, Beerus compared to Whis, and Zeno compared to all of his attendants and angels.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Colonel Roy Mustang is a Hero Killer killer, wiping the floor with Homunculi.
  • Hellsing: The animated adaptation reverses the "male predator = vampire" expectation in an early episode when a fat, lecherous man hires a prostitute and feels her up while leering at her. The viewer is cringing for the inevitable Disposable Sex Worker scene when Alucard reveals himself and calls out the vampire... who is the prostitute. (Though dangerously sexy women are also a trope, so...)
  • Higurashi: When They Cry inverts See No Evil, Hear No Evil. In the 21st episode, Mion desperately yells "gomen-nasai" while fading out as the camera view switches to Shion. And Shion isn't even paying attention anymore.
  • Interstella 5555 reverses the Alien Abduction trope by having the humans abduct the aliens.
  • Kimba the White Lion: The 2009 TV Special inverts the Adaptational Badass trope; the title character went from being the poster-cub of Killer Rabbits to a wimpy coward.
  • Ōkami-san inverts the Guys Smash, Girls Shoot trope. Eponymous Action Girl Ōkami relies on Good Old Fisticuffs, whereas Ryoshi Morino uses a slingshot initially.

  • The Fallen Angel: Alexandre Cabanel's painting inverts some tropes:
    • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Lucifer has just been kicked out of the Christian Heaven. In other words, he has descended from a higher plane of existence and is now sulking at the top of an Earthly mountain.
    • Climbing Climax: While it's true that Lucifer is lying on top of a mountain, the painting details the aftermath of his rebellion against God, not the actual fight. Furthermore, a mountain might usually be regarded as a high place, but it's a considerable downgrade if compared to Heaven.
    • Nudity Equals Honesty: Lucifer is tensely lying naked in the foreground, while the loyal-to-God angels appear fully robed in the background. Here, nudity equals shameful behavior —in this case, rejecting and questioning the Christian God— as well as betrayal.
    • Rays from Heaven: The yet to rise sun casts crepuscular rays over Lucifer, but they do so from behind. This serves to pool the shadows on Lucifer's face and to signify that he has turned his back on God, therefore God's influence and divinity cannot reach him anymore.
  • The Fighting Temeraire: Riding into the Sunset is partially inverted. the vessels are coming out of the sunset, but the significance — the sunset is beautiful and represents finality — stands.
  • The Problem We All Live With: Inversion of Scenery Censor. One of the federal marshals' arms in the foreground partially obscures the racist graffiti that's scrawled on the wall in the background. Not enough that there's any doubt about what it says, but at least the slur is a bit less visible.
  • The Sin: The devil's temptation is what causes Adam and Even to be cast from an immortal life of prosperity. So, it's the opposite of a Serpent of Immortality.

    Comic Books 
  • Birds of Prey: Black Canary deliberately tries to reform Lady Shiva by giving her honest friendship and human contact. Shiva, however, is perfectly aware of Dinah's intentions, and lets Dinah get a good look at her real personality and history for one reason: she wants to make her stop.
  • Darryl Cunningham's comic book Psychiatric Tales is an attempt to demystify mental illnesses and change their perception in media and in society. The trope Insane Equals Violent is played straight only in chapter "Antisocial Personality Disorder" (also known as "Mad Or Bad" on Darryl's blog). Other stories are actually an inversion, stating that people suffering from mental illnesses are more likely to be a victim of crime or harm themselves rather than anyone else.
  • Spider-Man: The series inverts Stood Up. In a recent issue of Spider-Man, where Peter Parker is (unintentionally) stood up by Mary Jane Watson after spending the day trying to remember where he agreed to meet her. Of course, Peter has had to ditch a fair number of dates while trying to save the day.
  • An issue of Ultimate Spider-Man reverses the usual formula of the main character's superhero duties getting in the way of their civilian obligations by having the civilian obligations get in the way of their superhero duties. In it, Peter tries to go stop the Rhino's rampage, but finds himself constantly waylaid for various reasons (attending a Parent-Teacher conference with Aunt May, comforting a crying Gwen Stacy, having a run-in with Flash Thompson) and by the time he's finally able to suit up, the Rhino had already been defeated by Iron Man.
  • Immortal Hulk: The series inverts A Form You Are Comfortable With. The One Below All uses avatars to avoid breaking mortal minds because it wants them to suffer instead. It most often is shown using David Banner, specifically because it unnerves the Devil Hulk. For others it uses a Nightmare Face.

    Comic Strips 
  • This Yaffle strip features a fully dressed man "flashing" people at a nudist colony.
    • And this one depicts horses playing "horseshoes" with human shoes.
    • This one depicts nude artists painting a fully dressed man.

    Fan Works 
  • Hunting the Unicorn plays a lot with its many, many tropes. But as a Deconstruction Fic of Blaine and Kurt's canonical But Not Too Gay status, it turns out that Blaine lost his virginity at sixteen because he wanted to invoke Sex Equals Love(!!!). Being real life as opposed to a fairy tale, it didn't work at all and left him with deep emotional scars—leading to a very painful inversion of You Need to Get Laid. This is one of the biggest Cerebus Retcons for Blaine's Relationship Sue status in canon, and reviewers frequently want to give Blaine a hug.
  • The Games of the Gods: In Book One, chapter 54, Kari invokes Duck Season, Rabbit Season. Rachel, who is smarter than Daffy Duck, inverts this trope. Kari says "No" and Rachel says "Yes". When Kari switches to "Yes", Rachel wins by not switching to "No". An identical example appears in Vortex, chapter 8, when Anne says "No" and Revdur says "Yes". Again, Anne switches to "Yes" and Revdur wins.
  • Shatterheart: In a reversal of Clone Angst the real Syaoran is initially seen as an shallow imitation of his clone and Kurogane has to learn that he's a separate person from the boy he first knew.
  • Wander over Foster's AU One-Shot: Inverts Mistaken for Aliens. Wander is an alien, though no one but Bloo believes him. Everyone else just thinks he's an abandoned imaginary friend who thinks he's an alien.
  • The Transformers fanfic Cross-Cultural Contamination inverts Accidental Proposal — Mirage eats a box of electric blue candy given to him by Trailbreaker, but has no idea that Trailbreaker was proposing to him using Gygax tradition (which involves making electric blue candy as a proposal gift) and that by eating the candy, he was accepting said proposal. In other words, Mirage made an Accidental Acceptance.
  • The Legend of Total Drama Island Inverts Character Exaggeration in-universe. The Storyteller tends to depict the contestants more realistically and multidimensionally than the canon does, due to her insider perspective. She also makes references suggesting that the finished episodes mentioned in the reimagining don't depict the contestants any more multidimensionally than the canon episodes do.
  • Oni Ga Shiku Series hilariously inverts Scare 'Em Straight. Instead of the adult lecturing the kid about littering, it's the child you gives the adult the riot act for littering. He proceeds to make such a passionate speech about the destruction of the environment that the adult not only is convinced that it's the coming of The End of the World as We Know It, but thirty years later he's still abiding by his vow to not tolerate littering.
  • Twinning With a Twist Inverts Adaptational Angst Upgrade. In this story, Dave was voted off first by his teammates for being a jerk. It is later revealed that he was a jerk because he had a bad day prior to the start of the show, which did not improve during the two days he spent on the island. Despite that, it is implied that things did improve for him after he arrived at the Playa des Losers, and he enjoys the rest of his stay there. It is also shown that Dave is on good terms with the other castmates that were voted off. Compared to what happened in canon, with Dave suffering painful humiliation, being rejected by his love interest, and finally losing his sanity and being abandoned on the island, being voted off first was probably the best for him.
  • Unbreakable Red Silken Thread inverts Xanatos Speed Chess. When it comes to Heather, she is quick to take advantage of anything that comes her way, though often times the results backfire in her face, sometimes quite literally.
  • Vow of Nudity comically inverts Dramatic Unmask thanks to the series' focus on nudity. Kay'la is a nudist paladin who goes around claiming to be "the world's first naked knight," until the day a mysterious adversary challenges her to a duel in the local gladiatorial arena. Mid-fight, he reveals his true intentions by casting dispel glamour on her to reveal she's secretly been wearing full plate mail the whole time!
  • Where the Sunlight Ends inverts Mistaken for Gay. Peter Three assumes that Bobby is straight, based on Bobby's Instagram pictures depicting him drinking out with girls at a bar, but Bobby reveals he has a boyfriend, and the women are just his friends.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the beginning of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the Jedi are trying to get into the control room where the Neimodians are. Lucas explained that this is an inversion of typical scene where a monster tries to get into the room where the protagonists are. And just like the monster may be scared away at the beginning of the film, so are the Jedi.
  • Star Trek: First Contact inverts the Artificial Limbs trope with the android Data by having living flesh grafted onto his body by the Borg queen. It doesn't last.
  • A Kid in King Arthur's Court, while having a lot of Chickification, manages to invert a lot of tropes surrounding the two Princesses. Princess Katie is established as a capable swordswoman and horse rider — the tomboy of the pair. She is then abruptly kidnapped and must be saved by the heroes. We are led to believe that Katie was the toughest of the two sisters while her older sister Princess Sarah was a typical medieval lady. The end reveals that Sarah was the one who had been dressing as The Black Knight and stealing from the rich to give to the poor..
  • Sweet Pea in Sucker Punch goes through most of the story being the stereotypical Sour Supporter, reluctantly joining the team, reminding everyone of how dangerous and stupid the plan is, and eventually calling it quits when things get too dangerous. When it is revealed that the Sour Supporter — which is usually a left of center character at most — is actually the plot central character and the Heroic Sacrifice is made for her instead of by her, the trope inverts.
  • The Cavemans Valentine inverts the generally parent-to-child So Proud of You by having Lulu say this to her crazy father.
  • Whereas in Hollywood armies which relied heavily on formation seem to often forget all their training at the drop of a hat, in Gladiator an assortment of random fighters manage to form a very tight and cohesive formation, and even adapt it at a second's notice with no prior drilling!
  • In ...And Justice for All, the trope of a guilty person getting Off on a Technicality gets cruelly inverted with Jeff, who's innocent but can't get out of prison because of a technicality.
  • Edge of Tomorrow inverts the Guys Smash, Girls Shoot trope. Action Girl Rita Vrataski uses a Cool Sword as her preferred weapon, whereas Cage uses machine guns for most of the film.
  • Planet of the Apes inverts Escaped Animal Rampage: instead of an animal breaking loose from captivity and causing panic among humans, it's a human (Taylor the astronaut) who escapes from the apes' science facility and causes panic among the civilized apes.

  • A Brother's Price inverts pretty much every gender-related trope, except the one about polygamy — they do have the many women, one man model. Because men are rare, women do all the fighting and stuff, while their husband sits well-protected in a comfy home and cares for the children. Then there is the protagonist Jerin, who inverts everything again by being a spirited young gentleman.. Notable inversions include the one of A Man Is Always Eager — Jerin is not very happy about the prospect of marrying thirty women, and comments that he would feel like a prostitute. He is fine with ten wives, however.
  • The Hunt for Red October inverts Weapon Running Time. The Red October survives a torpedo hit because the torpedo doesn't run long enough. Its safety systems require a run of at least 400 meters before the warhead would arm, and it hits Red October just 350 meters after it's launched.
  • Shadow of the Conqueror inverts Captain Colorbeard by giving the most infamous and feared pirate in its setting the name "Blackheart."
  • Terry Jones' Starship Titanic inverts the Aliens Speaking English trope. When one of the protagonists, aboard a Blerontinian spaceship, asks how can aliens speak English, he's told that actually, thanks to Applied Phlebotinum, he's currently speaking and understanding Blerontinian.
  • Marc in Chronicles of the Kencyrath is a classic Big Guy, but he fakes berserker rages so he doesn't have to fight.
  • The Silmarillion inverts Crystal Dragon Jesus. In the straight trope, the religion resembles Christianity, but the deity is not the Christian God. In The Silmarillion, Eru Ilúvatar is much like the Christian God, but the way to worship Eru is very different from Christianity.
  • Wet Goddess inverts Dirty Mind-Reading: Ruby the bottlenose dolphin reads Zack's mind and is terrified when he shows her the full range of humans' sexual taboos and inhibitions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the pilot, an apparently high-school-age couple is in the school at night; the girl is nervous about being out at night while the boy reassures her. Since it's clear from the title that this is a vampire show, the expectation is the boy will suddenly reveal himself as a vampire and bite the girl; instead the opposite happens, and the girl is the vampire.
    • Buffy herself is an inverted trope. Blonde teen girl who hunts down monsters, when normally they would hunt her. Word of God states that this was the entire point of the story.
  • Invoked by Gregory House: "It's not what you think! I know it looks like we're cleaning dishes, but actually we're having sex."
  • Babylon 5:
    • In the episode "There all the honor lies," a gift shop opens in the space station that sells human masks for space aliens to wear.
    • Similarly, Londo takes issue with the state of the genitalia present on the dolls made in his likeness; when it's assumed he's upset about a breach of decency, he clarifies that he's upset because there are none shown. It turns out that ALL Centauri depictions of a nude form are anatomically correct, and he feels he's being literally portrayed as dickless. And due to Londo's Bizarre Alien Biology, being "dickless" means the doll is missing six tentacles sticking out of its sides!
  • Quite a lot of instances on Friends. An example would be Phoebe's husband, in season 2, quoting stereotypical lines like "experimenting in college" to excuse himself for going out with women, a trope used the other way around for straight men or women realizing that they are gay. Here it's the other way around.
  • Normally, complaints about TV programs concern inappropriate content. With the British broadcast of Monty Python's final show, the complaints concerned the lack thereof.
  • The Doctor Who story "Tomb of the Cybermen" inverts Black Dude Dies First by having the only black character in the story be the last to die.
  • Victoria:
    • Hollywood Old: Diana Rigg plays a character, who in real life was much younger than the actress.
    • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: It is the brooding and more serious young man (Prince Albert), who changes the life of the lively and more spirited young woman (Queen Victoria).
  • Spartacus in the end inverts the Bury Your Gays trope ( Agron and Nasir, major characters and a gay couple, are the only male characters on the good side to survive the show. In fact, the only other named characters to get out alive are two non-combatant women who were only introduced in the last season.). This was partly due to realism (most of the other male characters were real historical people whose deaths during the rebellion were documented), but also likely meant as an apology to LGBT+ fans, who had complained that the first couple of gay characters to be introduced died early and violently in the middle of the first season.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power inverts both the mechanics and the theme of the fading of the Elves. In this version, Elves are only immortal due to the Immortality Inducer of the Light of Valinor derived from the now-deceased Two Trees without which they will ultimately die, thus making their quest to create the Rings akin to Immortality Seekers striving for the Elixir of Life. Tolkien himself, in complete contrast, described immortality as just as inherent to Elves as mortality is to Men, and the Elves' fading as the ever-increasing weariness and sorrow inherent in their misguided and futile attempts to stop the changes wrought by time and embalm the living earth to preserve its beauty and thus assuage their own angst about existing forever, with the Rings as their most erroneous attempt to "fix" the mortal world by coercing it into a sterile facsimile of the bliss and beauty they knew in Valinor.

  • MAD used to feature a recurring "scenes we'd like to see", which often featured subverted or inverted tropes (for example, the (in)famous "car races train" film ends up with train hitting car, car survives, train gets smashed to smithereens).

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Baldur's Gate inverts White Magician Girl with the Drow Cleric Viconia. She is an excellent healer, but is evil-aligned and a bit of a bitch.
  • Bomberman 64 inverts Early-Bird Boss. Initially, Sirius will give the player remote bombs for each of the large bosses, but not for the very last one in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. By this point, Sirius had revealed himself as Evil All Along, and isn't willing to help Bomberman any longer. Thus, Bomberman will be forced to fight the penultimate boss, Spellmaker, with the default bomb.
  • Brütal Legend inverts the trope Terminator Twosome, both in terms of where the twosome goes and what happens when they get there. Succoria, Emperor of the Tainted Coil, goes to the future to retrieve its technology; Riggnarok, humanity's champion, uses the opportunity to assassinate her by masquerading as one of her slaves. However, Succoria has a Villainous BSoD upon realizing that the future belongs to humankind, and Riggnarok takes pity on her. Love Redeems, but in this case, Redemption Equals Death by Childbirth, and Riggnarok ended up raising protagonist Eddie Riggs in the modern world on his own.
  • Class of '09 is an inversion of a Dating Sim, and has been advertized as a Rejection Sim. It's basically playing as an anime girl and causing chaos and destruction for her potential suitors in a World of Jerkass school.
  • Custom Robo ties Humongous Mecha into knots by having a tournament-arc style Fighting Series with knee-high customizable bots that one psychically controls.
  • Default Dan inverts your average 2D Super Mario Bros. game.
  • Final Fantasy V inverts Hopeless Boss Fight: Galuf's Heroic Sacrifice against Exdeath is an automatic success, since Galuf won't die at zero hit points.
    • Likewise, Final Fantasy X has a Final Boss battle where your entire party automatically has auto-life cast on them, meaning you can't lose. note 
  • Easy-Mode Mockery is inverted in Mega Man 9 and 10. You cannot earn Achievements in the harder difficulty modes, or when playing as Proto Man in 9.
  • Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean inverts the Shop Fodder trope. A certain item from a random drawer in someone's house (called the Small Debt) actually removes money from your wallet if you sell it. Holding on to it will cause it to evolve into Large Debt, which removes more money from your inventory if sold, and finally into the Snowballing Debt, which removes a tremendous amount of money. Fortunately, you don't have to sell it, and the game shows the price of selling it clearly.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords your morally ambiguous mentor Kreia routinely gives you ANTI-friendship speeches, and your relationship values go down for answering like a Love Freak.
  • In Daikatana, those who played this game consider Superfly's and Mikiko's deaths to be the best part of the game, inverting the Alas, Poor Scrappy trope. Mind you, this isn't really an example, since this was unintentional; players just hate the game so much they take cynical glee in the suffering of its characters.
  • In Planescape: Torment, Fall-From-Grace is a Succubus. You'd expect a tragic backstory about how her Succubus nature caused her to commit some wrong that justified her current tragic state of being cast off from her more judgmental deva peers who rejected her for being so disgraceful which led to her suppressing her darker Succubus side or some such, but no. She's very polite and graceful the entire time.
  • Gameplaywise Redemption Demotion appears in Warcraft III in the Scourge campaign. Arthas, the main character in the human campaign, by the end will have likely maxed out, acquired a number of really strong items, and as part of his Start of Darkness, Frostmourn, giving him a massive boost to melee damage Chaos-type damage for his attacks that allows him to deal full damage to all armor types. By the start of the Scourge campaign, he's just an ordinary Death Knight, and will never be as strong as he was before.
    • Another case of this with Illidian going into Frozen Throne. When the player controls him in the original campaign, he'll be able to go into a permanent demon form, which he loses in Frozen Throne, where the player is fighting him more often then using him, though he's still a level 10 demon hunter.
    • Yet another case, this time with the gameplay itself in the Scourge campaign from the Frozen Throne expansion. Arthas starts as a level 10 Death Knight, but he loses levels from one stage to the next, going from level 10 to level 2 as his power source (The Lich King, before Arthas merged with him) grows weaker. He gets all his levels back in time for the last stage of the game.
  • Kingdom Hearts Saix inverts "X" Marks the Hero.
  • The Last of Us inverts Censored Child Death once, in the prologue, when Joel's daughter, Sarah, is fatally shot and dies in his armsnote . The entire scene is shown on screen.
  • LittleBigPlanet 3 inverts the Grind Boots trope by allowing Sackboy to use a helmet to ride the rails.
  • Mass Effect inverts Maligned Mixed Marriage by having the asari ostracize asari who have romantic relationships with other asari.
  • Outcore has everyone's favorite Technicolor Ninja Self-Insert, Doctor Shinobi, withhold their name and past without anyone asking, only to reveal his name and past anyways. He goes through another 16 tropes in his eight dialogue lines, too, but that's a topic for another page.
    Lumi: I didn't ask about them.
    Doctor Shinobi: My name is Doctor Shinobi. Ever since I was born, I was trained to assassinate people...
  • Krystal from Star Fox inverts Digital Bikini. When she first appeared, her pubic area (which her impressively short loincloth fails to cover) was rendered as a completely featureless white patch that somewhat resembles panties. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate replaced the simple white texture with detailed labia.
  • Stellaris hands out an achievement for infiltrating the homeworld of a pre-FTL Reptilian species while playing as a Humanoid species, which would mean pulling off the exact opposite of a Reptilian Conspiracy.
  • Spec Ops: The Line inverts the intended usage of the trope Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated by revealing that Konrad had been Dead All Along. The ghost of Konrad amused by Walker's reaction to this revelation says, "Looks like reports of my survival were greatly exaggerated."
  • VVVVVV has 3 auto scrolling levels; the autoscrolling is justified by an Advancing Wall of Doom, and an inversion (Retreating Wall of Doom).
  • Tactical Shooter games often invert Insurmountable Waist-High Fence by having fences be the only obstacle you can hop over. This is done not so much for the purpose of trope play but rather for purposes of realism.
  • The Flash game Don't Escape is an inversion of the Room Escape Game—the protagonist is a werewolf whose goal is to lock himself in as best he can before he transforms and becomes a danger.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Lilly's good ending inverts Your Princess Is in Another Castle!. The good and bad endings play out exactly the same, except the former has a few additional scenes.
  • Invisible, Inc. inverts Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Guards and drones will never miss a shot.
  • Papers, Please has you playing as a border inspector and making sure everyone's papers are in order before letting them through. One ending inverts Run for the Border where you (and your family if you can afford to bring them along) flee your increasingly totalitarian country and cross into another country for safety. This time, you are the one trying to cross the border with fake documents while dealing with an inspector that does not care about your reason for crossing the border. He lets you pass.
  • Miitopia's Switch version has an inversion of Secret A.I. Moves with the assist Horse Whispering/Horseplay, which can only be used by the player when Autobattle is turned off- AI-controlled characters cannot use it.
  • Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 1: Homestar Ruiner inverts Justified Tutorial as Strong Bad (under the guise of Homestar Runner) asks for instructions before a big race, which only confuses Coach Z as "Homestar" was training for the event for weeks, leading the player (and by extension Strong Bad) to make an embarassing attempt at it and lose terribly. (As Strong Bad intended.)

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • As Told by Ginger inverted Beta Bitch. The most popular girl at Lucky Junior High, Courtney, is quite nice. It's her Number Two, Miranda, who's the mean one, particularly because Miranda is jealous of Courtney's friendship with Ginger.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender inverted Actor Allusion. Ozai, who's voiced by Mark Hamill, is both the Archnemesis Dad of one of the heroes who maims his son and an Evil Overlord who can shoot lightning from his fingertips. That's right, Luke Skywalker is voicing a composite of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.
  • Dan Vs. inverted Kafka Komedy. The title character thinks that everything that happens to him is the fault of some obscure thing, when in reality he's just a Jerkass (most of the time). Oddly enough, 90% of the time, he's right. The first episode alone has him chasing down a real live werewolf, after roughly half the episode his friend understandably tries to convince him that a werewolf didn't scratch his car.
  • The Deep (2015) inverts the Secret-Keeper trope with Nereus. He often keeps many details about certain things secret from the Nekton family, which often causes them to distrust him.
  • Spider-Man: The New Animated Series inverted Adaptational Comic Relief. Peter Parker in this series is one of the least jokey incarnations of Spider-Man, though he's still pretty quippy and snarky (it is Spider-Man, after all).
  • Superman: The Animated Series played straight the Hide Your Lesbians trope throughout the series, giving only the tiniest of hints that Maggie Sawyer was gay, despite her status as an out-lesbian in the comics since 1988. However, the series not only subverted, but inverted the Bury Your Gays trope when it came to Maggie. The opening scene of Apokolips...Now! contained a perfect set up for her death, she is blown out of her car during an attack by Intergang and the next shot has her badly burned and motionless beneath a crushing pile of rubble, without moving her eyes or her fingers, but she ultimately survives the encounter. That is a straight subversion of the Bury Your Gays trope. However, the show then went on to invert the trope as well, as the same scene that revealed that Maggie had survived (Subverting the trope) was also the first scene to hint at her sexuality, when she was visited in the hospital by a woman the DVD commentary and credits reveal to be Toby Raines, her partner from the comics. Bury Your Gays is often used as a way of getting rid of homosexual characters, of obscuring their nature before it could be brought into the story, but here it is used as a way to reveal a homosexual character. Also Inverted when her straight beat partner Dan Turpin is Killed Off for Real.
  • As is partially expected given the circumstances of his creation as a diametric opposite to a classic Disney villain, (in his current form at least), PJ from Goof Troop inverts multiple tropes:
    • Overlord Jr.: He is completely opposite from his father in all but the shallowest sense, fearful and resentful of him, and an entirely sympathetic character... speaking of which...
    • Cats Are Mean: Cats Are Harmless Victims.
    • Both Fat Bastard and Big Fun: He's kind and friendly... while also being a withdrawn Straight Man and the series' biggest downer. If his Character Development in the second movie is taken into account, he qualifies as an inversion of a subversion of the latter.
    • Evil Sounds Deep: Actually inverts both parts of it by being very kind and having a very high voice, even as an adult.
    • No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Not only does he need to be chased, but his girlfriend doesn't want to be chased by his friend.
  • Pelswick inverts Obfuscating Disability. The main character is disabled (paraplegic for nebulous reasons), but is afraid that a girl he met online won't like him if she finds out, especially since she loves to dance, so he gets robotic legs in order to pretend to be able to walk. Hilarity Ensues. She never discovers the ruse, but dumps him anyway for not being "laid-back" enough.
  • Primal (2019) inverts Bonding over Missing Parents. The thing that bonded Spear (a caveman) and Fang (a tyrannosaur) was that they both lost their families. One day while hunting for food for his family, Spear hears screaming and runs to see his wife and children being eaten alive by a pack of Horned Tyrannosaurs. Then after some time has past, he sees the same Horned Tyrannosaurs attacking Fang and her babies. Spear steps in and teams up with Fang to fight them. When it appears that they have slain all the Horned Tyrannosaurs, Fang's babies come and gently play with Spear's hair. Then the Horned Tyrannosaurus alpha appears and before Spear or Fang can do anything, it eat Fang's babies alive, to their shock and horror. Spear and Fang fight together and kill the alpha. Nether of them are satisfied, having both failed to protect their families. Fang just lays down while Spear sadly walks alway. Later, while walking on a beach, Spear sees Fang following him, and after a moment of consideration, Spear accepts Fang, and the two head off into the night as a new family.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • Jackie Chan Adventures inverts Tiger Versus Dragon. Among the 12 talismans based upon the Chinese Zodiac, the tiger talisman possesses the power of balance and the dragon talisman possesses the power of combustion. The episodes in which the two talismans were found, "The Tiger And The Pussycat" and "Bullies", respectively deal with this. In "The Tiger", the last episode in the "Talismans" arc, Jackie accidentally gets split into Yin and Yang, the latter of which sides while the Dark Hand tries to forcibly take the talismans in Section 13's possession. In "Bullies", after Captain Black is injured by Valmont wielding the dragon talisman, Jackie struggles to control his anger whenever someone mentions Black's injuries and/or Valmont.
  • Danny Phantom inverts Unbalanced By Rival's Kid. Vlad actually likes Danny, in a twisted, Faux Affably Evil way. His big dream is basically to steal Maddie back from Jack and make Danny (and Jazz, to a lesser extent) his own adopted children, something which they understandably find unsettling.
  • Ugly Americans inverts Wife Husbandry in the episode "Callie's Sister". The titular character, Lilith Maggotbone, is given in arranged marriage to Dwayne Boneraper when she becomes of age and in the meanwhile, Mark Lily is more than happy to raise her as his daughter (made easier because she ages one year per day). However, during the wedding ceremony, she reveals she wants to marry her adopted father, so first she tries to kill both Callie and Dwayne.
  • Francine of American Dad! is an inversion of the typical 'Chinese baby raised by white people' scenario - she's a white woman who was raised by Chinese people.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil inverts Manic Pixie Dream Girl. While Star does seem to make Marco's life more interesting, the show is more about her growing as a character by toning down her chaotic overenthusiasm by being with the safety-minded, level-headed Marco.
  • Tangled: The Series inverts Blue Is Heroic. After Cassandra becomes corrupted by the Moonstone Opal, her attire become an indestructible set of black and dark blue armor.
  • Villainous inverts Hate Sink. There is literally nothing remotely good in Black Hat, as far as we've seen. He's nailed down kicking dogs and generally being unpleasant to an art form. However, how he carries himself due to how powerful and impressive he is, along with being a Villain Protagonist, means the audience can't help but like how inexplicably awesome he is.
  • The 2003 Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoon "The Whizzard of Ow" inverts Binomium ridiculus. Unlike other cartoons in the series which give the protagonists fake scientific names in faux Latin, this one uses the actual scientific names:
    ROAD RUNNER (Geococcyx californianus)
    COYOTE (Canis latrans)
  • Winx Club: The episode "Date with Disaster" inverts Confound Them with Kindness. After kidnapping Stella, Darcy disguises herself as her. She then infiltrates Alfea (the fairy school Stella attends) and looks for Solaria's ring scepter. When she doesn't find it, Darcy angrily and forcefully demands it from Stella's friends. Although puzzled over their friend's previous behavior, this is what ticks them off something's not quite right.

    Real Life 
  • The real-life phenomenon of streaking was beautifully inverted in June 2009 when a fully-clothed person ran across the field at an annual naked rugby game in New Zealand.
  • While Cartoon Network US is trying to bury the existence of The Powerpuff Girls (2016), their European feeds once seemed to believe it's the only' version ever made of the Powerpuff Girls!note 

Alternative Title(s): Inverted, Inversion


Sweet Skunk

A inversion of the trope appears in front of Amber.

How well does it match the trope?

2.75 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SmellySkunk

Media sources: