This is when a character has an overwhelming fear of something that someone of their kind just shouldn't be afraid of. For example, a bird who's afraid of heights or a mermaid who's afraid of water.
Often, they get an episode or subplot dedicated to resolving this fear. Almost always Played for Laughs, although there will often be a dramatic moment where they are forced to confront said fear.
These can often be considered Absurd Phobias. May be part of a "What Do They Fear?" Episode. Compare Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?, in which the thing that the character fears pops up at an unexpected and inconvenient moment, rather than being something that constantly confronts them. If a character is afraid of something they are, they're a Boomerang Bigot. If they become the thing that they fear, it's a Karmic Transformation.
- Tokyo Mew Mew features the hydrophobic character with water (and swimming) related powers variant.
- Brook in One Piece is an undead skeleton who is afraid of ghosts and zombies.
- Tsunade from Naruto, a legendary ninja who is said to be the world's most talented healer, is afraid of blood. In this case, her experiences a medic are what gave her that fear.
- Sound Stage M4 of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise reveals that Shamal, the Knight of the Lake, is afraid of swimming (though her powers don't actually have anything to do with water).
- In one of the Johto episodes, Misty is excited to meet the Nurse Joy who comes from a line of Joys who specialize in treating Water Pokémon... only to discover that this Joy is afraid to even touch Water Pokémon because she hates them so much. Needless to say, as Misty is a Water type specialist, she is not happy in the least.
- Misty herself used to be afraid of Gyarados until she retook her Gym Leader position — normally justified, but given she tends to love all Water Types (notably Tentacruel)...
- In A Certain Magical Index, Touma saved the clones of the Sisters Network from being brutally killed in an experiment. Later, a new type of clone was created: WORST, who runs on the negative emotions of the Network. Apparently, none of the nearly ten thousand clones have any negative feelings for Touma at all, so WORST is genuinely freaked out by him. The real irony is that this is probably one of the only emotions she can truly call her own.
- ˝ Prince has Doll, a little girl necromancer, who gets scared of the undead she herself summons.
- Water-elemental user Yako of Yurara is afraid of water. Specifically, bodies of water large enough to swim (and drown) in.
- Chika from Neko Musume Michikusa Nikki is terrified of ghosts and spirits. Not only is one of her friends a cat yokai, but a kitsune is in love with her, and she winds up being pestered by the town's yokai who want help.
- One segment of Yo-kai Watch involves Nate getting a cavity and having to see a dentist. The dentist inexplicably is afraid of teeth and simply complains about how he's too afraid to do anything. Naturally though a youkai is to blame. Nate luckily is able to summon a youkai who makes people Hot-Blooded.
- Played for drama and justified in +Anima. Husky and Nana both have phobias that seem to go against their +Anima abilities—Husky is a fish +Anima and afraid of drowning, Nana's a bat +Anima and afraid of the dark. This is because they gained their +Anima powers when their lives were being threatened in those exact positions (Husky was being drowned by a spiteful relative and Nana was being chased by her murderously abusive father through a dark forest).
- Kotori of Sweetness & Lightning is afraid of knives. Considering her love of food, it's significant given that this fear prevents her from cooking.
- Curie from Daily Life with Monster Girl is a vampire with a crippling fear of dark, cramped places (like coffins), heights (despite having wings), bats and, of course, blood. Is it any wonder why her father considered her an utter failure?
- Ouran High School Host Club: As explained by the president of the Dark Magic Club, Umehito Nekozawa, their whole family has always worshipped cats. The guy even carries a hand puppet of a cat (named Beelzenef) everywhere. Despite this, his little sister Kirimi is afraid of actual, living cats.
- In the The Dark Eye fanfic Fünfzig Schattierungen ... ("Fifty Shades ..."), one of the characters is a necromancer who is afraid of the dead. Talk about irony. He's scared in the dark, to the point that he can't go outside alone at night. And yes, it's a parody on Fifty Shades of Grey, and makes about as much sense.
- Penny Polendina in The RWBY Loops has a Trauma Button in the form of Pyrrha Nikos, the warrior who (accidentally) killed her in baseline. Given that she herself was designed to replace front-line warriors, this has quite the effect on her psyche and identity, and is Played for Drama.
GLaDOS: "A war machine with PTSD? What will they think of next?"
- The Movie of The A-Team explains B.A Baracus's fear of flying using this. After his first experience with Murdock's piloting skills, he was so scared he could not stand flying anymore, despite being in a occupation where jumping from a plane is an occasional must. He is not happy about it.
- In The Dark Knight Trilogy, Bruce Wayne is afraid of bats. Which is actually the whole reason he decided to pick Batman as his superhero identity in the first place: he wanted to look scary to bad guys, so he went with the scariest thing he could think of.
Alfred: Why bats, Master Wayne?
Bruce: Bats frighten me. It's time my enemies shared my dread.
- Jason Voorhees in Freddy vs. Jason is revealed to be deathly terrified of water, due to him drowning as a child. A fair enough reason in-and-of itself, if not for the fact that his murders often involves him having to wade through/being thrown in large bodies of water.
- The Kamen Rider movie Kamen Rider × Kamen Rider Fourze & OOO: Movie War Mega Max introduces Michal Minato, who was supposed to become the water-themed and -powered Kamen Rider Aqua 40 years in the future but was held back by his crippling hydrophobia. The cast of Kamen Rider OOO helps him get over his fears — as well as the more pressing matter of his Superpowered Evil Side, the fish-themed Kamen Rider Poseidon.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street: Although Freddy Krueger enjoys his living in Hell and often sets fire to various victims, it's often shown that fire is something he's truly afraid of following his physical death, and is one of few things that can truly harm him, even in the dream world.
- Dr Leonard McCoy in Star Trek (2009) initially suffers from aviophoba, what he calls a "fear of dying in something that flies". When Jim Kirk calls him out for signing on to Starfleet, he comments that his ex-wife took everything in their divorce and he had nothing left because of it.
McCoy: All I've got left is my bones.
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Thalia Grace has a deathly fear of heights. Her father also happens to be Zeus, lord of the sky. She got lightning powers from him, and by the looks of the sequel series, she actually does also have air/wind powers and flight too, but her mental block is so strong the idea she might have them does not even occur to her.
- In its sequel series, The Heroes of Olympus, Percy himself develops a fear of drowning in spite of being a son of Poseidon with the ability to breathe underwater. It's brought on by nearly suffocating in muskeg and 'drowning' metaphorically in expectations and responsibilities.
- In Island of the Aunts one of the titular aunts can't swim, and is afraid of water. She also lives on a tiny island. Somewhere in the middle of the book, another character points out the irony of this, and tries to teach her how to swim.
- Toklo from Seeker Bears has a fear of swimming in rivers despite being a grizzly bear. As it turns out, he's not actually afraid of the water itself. Grizzlies believe that spirits go into the rivers and get washed away downstream when they're forgotten. Toklo was afraid of swimming with the spirits, and especially that his deceased mother and brother might try to drown him as revenge.
- In Fun at the Funeral Parlour, undertaker Ivor Thomas has a crippling fear of dead bodies, which is why most of the time he leaves the handling of them to his three sons.
- The resident Drill Sergeant Nasty in Get Some In!, Corporal Marsh, is almost paralytically afraid of flying - which is unfortunate for an NCO in the Royal Air Force.note When he is forced to accompany the National Servicemen on a flight, he remains rigid with panic throughout, and begins babbling to one of the recruits that the pilot, a World War II veteran, has shrapnel in his head and is planning to fly straight into the Sun.
- The title character of Horatio Hornblower is prone to sea-sickness and he is really afraid of heights. Excellent material for an officer in the Navy, isn't it? His fear of heights is referenced quite often, and he has to climb in the riggings or onto the fighting top several times when he has to deal with shortening sails and similar things. He's also shown trying to fight and overcome his fear voluntarily.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus has a barber who hates hair, which explains why he only pretends to do his job. He never wanted to be a barber, anyway; he wanted to be a lumberjack!
- In Smallville, Clark Kent is afraid of heights.
- Supernatural, Lifelong professional monster hunters, Sam and Dean Winchesters, have surprisingly mundane phobias including: flying, snakes, rats, spiders, claustrophobia, and clowns.
- Youmu from Touhou is a half-ghost who is afraid of, you guessed it, ghosts. Even more ironic in that her mistress is a ghost, and Youmu has never reacted to that. Youmu is not so much scared of real ghosts as much as she is afraid of ghost stories. Youmu isn't scared of much, but has trouble dealing with scary things. Imaginary horrors are her weakness: in one of the canon manga she fails a test of courage when she keeps fleeing hysterically from people in cheap halloween costumes, even though she was perfectly aware they were false.
- Romeo, the sniper of the squad of Halo 3: ODST is implied to be afraid of heights.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Gangrel mocking Emmeryn's Heroic Sacrifice of jumping off a cliff becomes this when his profile reveals he's afraid of heights.
- Mini-Histoire/Histy in Hyperdimension Neptunia V is a fairy who can fly. She's also afraid of heights.
- In the various Pokémon games, you occasionally encounter trainers in the Hiker class who are afraid of heights... on mountains.
- In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, random Captain generation can sometimes produce a Caragor Tamer with a fear of Caragors.
- In the Sonic Rush Series, it's shown that Blaze the Cat is afraid of heights. In gameplay, she has an acrobatic playstyle that lets her get lots of air time and Sonic Generations reveals she can outright fly. There is no explanation behind her fear of heights nor her ability to fly.
- In Ittle Dew, the titan de Graphiques is a golem with tiny wings who is afraid of heights, but can't stop flying.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies has two cases of this trope being Played for Drama.
- Athena Cykes, a lawyer, has a phobia of courtrooms. This stems from a childhood incident where at Simon Blackquill's trial for the murder of her mother, Athena tried to speak out in Simon's defence but no-one understood her. As a result, courtrooms remind her of both that moment and her mother's murder, triggering PTSD in her. She gets over it by the end of the game.
- Solomon Starbuck is an astronaut with a phobia of space. This turns out to be because he nearly died in a sabotaged space flight.
- Tamaru from BIONICLE. He lives in a Tree Top Town and wants to be a pilot, but is afraid of heights.
- Teslo, being an Electroid, makes his home in the high mountains to gather electricity from the highest storms. He's also afraid of heights, while also being completely unaware that the other Electroids know this.
- Skrubz is a Medix Mixel with defibrillator-holding arms. He is also made incredibly squeamish and scared by medical procedures.
- Cinko from Uglydolls is afraid of water. This wouldn't be as much as an issue...if he wasn't a cephalopod. And it's not just standard water, either. It's drinking it, watermelons, pool floaties, Ice-Bat on a hot day...anything.
- Monstrous Maggot from Flush Force, despite being a garbage-living maggot, is Terrified of Germs.
- Something Awful: Dungeons & Dragons: Minerelle, who will invade the minds of anyone around her at the drop of a hat, is terrified of having her own mind read.
- In RWBY, Neptune Vasilias of team SSSN is named after someone water-based, carries a trident weapon that uses electricity, but is deathly afraid of water. Played for Laughs over in RWBY Chibi
- American Dragon: Jake Long features a hydrophobic mermaid.
- Creature Comforts features, amongst other things, a Walrus afraid of the sea, a Dolphin who used to be afraid of the sea but has since gotten over it, and a few birds afraid of heights (although there is another bird who scoffs at heights and instead, quite sensibly, professes to be afraid of falling from a great height.)
- Billy Joe Cobra, the titular ghost in Dude Thats My Ghost is afraid of ghosts, and spooky stuff in general.
- Extreme Ghostbusters had a "What Do They Fear?" Episode with a ghost who could make phobias come to life. Eduardo's fear was of death: ironic both because he was taunting Kylie earlier claiming she was afraid of death, and because he interacts with ghosts on a daily basis, so he knows there's an afterlife.
- One episode of Franklin has the title character being afraid of sleeping in his shell (which, in this show, it can be taken off) because he's claustrophobic. In the same episode he dreams about a hydrophobic duck, a lion which is afraid of loud sounds, a bird which is afraid of heights and a polar bear which is afraid of the cold.
- Stumpy from Kaeloo is afraid of heights despite being a squirrel.
- An episode of King of the Hill centers on Hank developing a serious crippling fear of propane, the thing he sells for a living, because he had survived a gas leak explosion in the previous episode.
- Fluttershy in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is afraid of... a lot of things, but the one that fits here is her fear of heights. She's a Pegasus. Justified example, as her wings are much weaker than those of most pegasi, and she spent her childhood on a city in the sky.
- Ruby Gloom: Scaredy Bat is afraid of heights and the dark.
- In the Thomas the Tank Engine special, "Tale of the Brave", despite his overall bravery and the fact that he is an engine designed to work on high, mountainous regions, Gator is afraid of heights. In his backstory, he had to cross a high bridge on a mountainous region to deliver urgent supplies to a village, despite his fear. This backstory also encourages Percy to face his own fears.
- Transformers: Generation 1
- Silverbolt is afraid of heights, despite being a giant robot capable of transforming into a jet and being the leader of the Autobot's main air squadron, the Aerialbots. Despite this, he proves to be a level-headed, extremely qualified leader who always does his duty. It's specifically why Prime puts him in charge of the team. He says that the demands of the position will give him something to think about instead of his phobia. The fact that he has a sense of caution is also probably a plus, since the other four at that point were all extremely reckless.
- Broadside of the same series gets it twice as bad. He's a triple changer with the vehicle modes of a jet and an aircraft carrier (yeah, yeah, we know), but he's both afraid of heights and gets the robotic equivalent of motion sickness at sea. Mocking his much unenviable lot in life is an infrequent joke among the fandom.
- Blades, from Transformers: Rescue Bots, is likewise afraid of heights despite turning into a helicopter. However, thanks to some Character Development over the course of the first season, he becomes better at dealing with it.
- Early in Season 2, Stella of Winx Club was shown to be afraid of heights, despite being a fairy. Later, she seemed to overcome it.
- Many people in the health care field have stories of treating big, tough bikers with multiple tattoos and piercings who are worried that getting a shot or having a blood sample taken will hurt. Granted, tattoo needles don't go in nearly as deep as medical needles, though the same can't always be said for piercings.
- Ulysses S. Grant, a Civil War General, was so terrified of blood that he couldn't eat undercooked meat.
- Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, who wrote such songs as "Surfin’ Safari" and "Surfin' USA," suffered from a lifelong fear of water.
- Bela Lugosi, AKA the original Dracula, is rumored to have often fainted at the sight of real blood.