Protagonists and antagonists are always fighting each other. It's generally accepted that there could be a few deaths, injuries, psychological trauma, and physical destruction over the course of their struggles in a story. However, sometimes motives can run deeper than simply the other person having opposing goals, and "struggles" can hit far closer to home and heart than is comfortable.
Family members (or even entire races, countries, and cultures) may have been decimated, either as part of a character's backstory or during the story itself. Homes may have been burned down, and lifelong dreams may have been crushed. However you put it, though, somebody's embarrassed, saddened, angry, or let down, and they believe somebody (most times they know who they want to exact retribution from, by the way) has to pay for it.
In short, this is where a character (or characters) has a very close, emotional investment in the story's conflict.
Usually eventually leads to Not So Different. For a more specific form of this, see You Killed My Father. Often enough, This Means War!. If this is the impetus for the hero going on the journey to begin with, it's because The Call Knows Where You Live. When done to their home or base, the hero will usually take a moment to Watch Troy Burn. If the one for whom It's Personal finally gets to stare down the one who made it personal, expect an And This Is for... beatdown.
One common variant is to order/trick allies aside to set up a one-on-one duel without interference. This can be risky, but the avenger wouldn't risk anyone else getting hurt—or someone stealing his precious right to do that particular kill himself!
If a character has this as his primary motivation rather than as part of another quest, then he's Not in This for Your Revolution.
The invocation of this trope in Real Life on the internet is almost the moment when any given Flame War or bout of Ship-to-Ship Combat becomes Serious Business, leading to behaviors such as cyberbullying and real-life harassment, because belief/feeling that an issue is a personal affront to someone or their "in-group" is often "justification" for engaging in such behavior.
- Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry; as if her beloved older brother killing her whole school didn't already give Sara Werec this complex, he goes and offs Carris too, just after exposing her true identity. True, he did have a bit of a suicide wish...
- The final arc of Rurouni Kenshin has Kenshin fighting Enishi Yukishiro, his brother-in-law because Kenshin accidentally killed Tomoe Yukishiro, Enishi's sister, and Kenshin's first wife. Enishi makes it clear that this is personal, by sending Kenshin into a "living hell" by defeating him and killing Kenshin's lover Kaoru, though he actually only kidnaps her.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Amuro Ray and Char Aznable become mortal enemies after the tragic death of Lalah, who has been so dear to both of them.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam has Domon Kasshu, who is really pissed at his brother Kyoji for getting their mother killed and father imprisoned. Which turns out to be a frame-up by the Japanese government; when he learns the truth, Domon switches targets accordingly. He's also out to get Master Asia after learning he's in cahoots with the Devil Gundam. On a smaller scale, there's Andrew Graham of Neo-Canada who is totally uninterested in fighting anyone but Argo Gulskii, as he blames Argo for his wife's death.
- In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Shinn Asuka wants Kira Yamato dead after Kira kills Shinn's love, Stella, only to save the mass from further tragedies she is causing.
- Kira himself meanwhile opposes Zaft after they supposedly send assassins after Lacus (and further attempts on their life prove him correct) despite them looking like the good guys in the war at first. At the end of the series he personally goes to confront the chairman at gunpoint over this and his attempts to destroy Orb. He also starts viewing Shinn as a serious threat after his first defeat of him, although he doesn't hold a grudge when the war is over.
- This seems to run a lot in Mobile Suit Gundam 00. Dark Action Girl in training Louise Halevy wants a piece of the Celestial Being for what she thought to be massacring her whole family and crippling her. Meanwhile, many people want a piece of Ali Al-Saachez for several reasons:
- Setsuna F. Seiei wants him dead for manipulating him to kill his own parents and becoming a purposeless child soldier.
- Lockon Stratos wants him dead for being responsible for the death of his entire family save his twin brother. He fails, unfortunatley, which sets the motivation for the next guy.
- Tieria Erde wants him dead for killing Lockon, his partner and first love.
- Nena Trinity wants him dead for killing her brothers. Ironically, she's the one who actually killed Louise's family.
- And Ali's eventual killer? Lyle Dylandy, the twin brother of the original Lockon Stratos who now took his name. In an aversion of this trope, he didn't exactly kill Ali because he killed his brother. In fact, he offered him one last chance at redemption, which Ali promptly refused.
- In Gundam AGE, one of Grodek Ainoa's reasons for hijacking the battleship Diva is to avenge the death of his wife and daughter, who have been murdered by the Ax-Crazy Unknown Enemies.
- Flit has it in for Decil thanks to Yurin's death at the end of the first generation, and Decil towards Flit for beating him. Interestingly, Flit is rather a Combat Pragmatist who's perfectly willing to gang up on Decil or fight him with the Diva itself rather than insisting on a duel... which makes Decil flip out even worse.
- There's also Asemu and Zeheart, but in Asemu's case it's less about vengeance or anger and more about proving he can fight him equally despite not having psychic powers. He also starts hating on Desil (everyone hates this guy). When he kills Woolf. But unlike Flit who clashed with Desil for years, Asemu promptly killed him almost immediately, meaning it was personal for about 5 minutes.
- In Iron Blooded Orphans, after Biscuit's death, Mikazuki Augus declared whoever blocks his way is his enemy and he will crush every last one of them. When he finally get to meet Carta Issue, the one who killed Biscuit, he prompted to go for a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and immediately shredded every last one of them within a minute without even bothering to speak. Unlike most examples, it remained ambiguous whether Mika took Biscuit's death very personally, or he just doesn't want to waste any time on his enemies and simply kill them in his everyday "whatever" mood.
- Gaelio is a much more stricter and tamer example compared to Mika, he has a legitimate grudge against Tekkadan for them being responsible to his friends' maim and deaths, especially Mika brutally killing Carta in the most undignified way as possible.
- Ein Dalton makes the other two look tame in comparison, ever since the death of Lieutenant Crank, one of the only two Gjallarhorn officers who even cared about him in his entire life, he has been plotting to exact his revenge to the "sinful children" who killed Crank. When he got the chance to exact his revenge, he blamed everyone in Tekkadan for Crank's death, brutalized both Azee and Lafter, and even going after Kudelia, a politician who has nothing to do with Crank's death.
- Dragon Ball Z
- Vegeta's deep hatred for Frieza is almost unparalleled in a series full of personal conflicts. And that's BEFORE he finds out Frieza was the one who blew up Planet Vegeta and wiped out most of the Saiyan race.
- Goku had a lot of friends die throughout the series, but it was Frieza's cold-blooded murder of his best friend Krillin that triggers his ascension to Super Saiyan.
- Before then, it was King Piccolo who killed Krillin and Master Roshi. By the final fight Goku isn't interested in the state of the world so much as making Piccolo pay for taking those dear to him.
- The entire Android/Cell Saga could be seen as a big 'It's Personal' towards Goku since Dr. Gero built the androids specifically to kill Goku as vengeance for destroying the Red Ribbon Army. Yes, at least two futures were completely ruined and another almost blown apart because of one man's personal vendetta.
- In Dragonball Super, Goku Black ends up generating personal vendettas against him from Future Trunks, Vegeta, and eventually, Goku himself. Future Trunks despises him for completely devastating his world which had already experienced so much destruction from the Androids, with his mom being one of the recent victims. Going off that Vegeta also hates him for killing Future Bulma and making Future Trunks's life miserable. And Goku explodes with absolute rage when he learns that Black stole his body in another timeline, murdered him with it in front of Chi-Chi and Goten, and then went after them too. Having three major characters out for his blood to this extent is probably a record for Dragonball villains and really says something about how horrible he is.
- In Mazinger Z, Dr. Hell got Kouji's grandfather assassinated. After his grandfather died, Kouji swore he WOULD find those responsible and WOULD make them pay. That is one of his motivations to piloting Mazinger-Z and fighting Hell. Moreover he has stated he does not want nobody else loses his/her families cause the ambition of Hell.
- In the sequel, Great Mazinger, fighting the Mykene became personal to Tetsuya after Professor Kabuto, his adoptive father died to save him.. And in the Gosaku Ota manga version, he wanted Marquiss Yanus dead after she tore Misato in half to his face.
- And in the OTHER sequel, UFO Robo Grendizer, the version manga of Duke Fleed hated Commander Barendos after he dropped his little siblings from a height from three kilometers in front of him. The sole sight or mention of him press HARD Duke's Berserk Button.
- Orochimaru seems to make it his life's work to earn the hatred of a significant portion of the cast, from Anko Mitarashi and Hiruzen Sarutobi, to Jiraiya and Tsunade, and is probably this to the Leaf as a whole given his goal is to wipe it from the face of the Earth and that he topped its Most Wanted List. Naruto probably feels this way about him too, since even though Oro hasn't done that much to him personally, he doesn't forgive him for murdering the Third or corrupting Sasuke.
- Naruto hates Kabuto Yakushi for betraying the Hidden Leaf Village and defecting to Orochimaru.
- Despite already hunting him for the nine-tailed fox, Pain happened to make things very personal for Naruto when he killed Jiraiya, forced Kakashi into a Heroic Sacrifice, and destroyed the Leaf Village. After injuring and potentially killing Naruto's toad allies, his stabbing Hinata after she told Naruto she loved him is enough to force Naruto into his six-tailed, and then his eight-tailed, states.
- Earlier on, there's also Naruto's fight against Neji in the Chunin Exams finals. Neji tries to talk Naruto into giving up by telling him that he has Nothing Personal against him, to which Naruto answers that he does have a lot against Neji, particularly for how he nearly killed Hinata in the preliminaries.
- The reason Sasuke Jumped Off The Slippery Slope. Itachi killed the Uchiha clan and traumatized him with Tsukuyomi. Then after killing Itachi he turned his attention to Konoha because they ordered Itachi to massacre the clan and that led to his Revenge Before Reason mindset.
- Averted by Tobi/Obito Uchiha. While Rin's death was Obito's Start of Darkness, and Obito (knowing Kakashi feels guilty about being unable to protect her) plays with Kakashi's feelings for a bit ("Because you let Rin die"), he is well-aware that Kakashi was forced into that situation and admits that it's not Kakashi's fault that he became what he did, but rather the world's fault.
- Obito is the mastermind of the Nine-Tails attack, the murderer of Naruto Uzumaki's parents, and is the reason Naruto became a jinchūriki shunned by most of Konoha (save for a very few number of people who were always nice to him). Obito and his Akatsuki subordinates, including the aforementioned Pain, have relentlessly hunted for Naruto and killed many of his allies. Naruto and Hinata consider it very personal when Obito kills Neji, who died protecting the two of them.
- Madara never forgot about how Tobirama killed his brother and when they're both revived in the Fourth Shinobi War, he gets to act on his grudge.
- Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: Unlike his teammates, Joe "The Condor" Asakura has a very personal reason to fight the Galactor organization, since they took his parents' lives and almost took his.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Toguro capitalizes on this trope in order to get Yusuke to fight him at his full strength. He does this by first killing Genkai before the finals, and then during his fight with Yusuke, seemingly kills Kuwabara, but he had only pretended to. Ironically, 50 years ago, a demon named Kairen had killed all his students and forced him to come to the Dark Tournament, which precipitated his Start of Darkness.
- In Monster, Eva is only linked to Johan by her connection to Tenma. But when Martin dies, Eva decides she's going to go after him herself.
- Sonic X: Seeing his friends attacked, injured and imprisoned by the Metarex in the episode Testing Time gives us the first appearance of Dark Sonic in animated Sonic continuity. And also show us a side of Sonic that we've really never seen in full swing before - namely the part of him that you do not, under any circumstances, piss off.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Do NOT mess with Yugi (or Tea, for that matter). Yami WILL kill you. For that matter, don't screw with Mokuba. it's a great way to get Kaiba pissed off.
- The Demon Arc in Mahou Sensei Negima! turned out to be very personal indeed for Negi when Wilhelm revealed to him that he was the demon that petrified his hometown. Cue Negi blindly charging, and having to be pulled out of the line of fire by Kotaro.
- Also, Fate Averruncus. Initially, to Negi, it was just a really powerful evil guy that had to go down, but it was personal for Fate because Negi managed to hit him. Subsequent encounters made it personal for Negi as well.
- Happened again with Negi to Governor General Kurt Godell after learning Godell was one of many responsible for the destruction of his hometown. It gets pretty intense after Negi literally turns into a demon. Even got to the point that Shrinking Violet Nodoka couldn't use her mind reading book to tell what was going on inside Negi's head save for three sentences "Make them atone. Don't Forgive. Kill them all."
- In chapter 301, Dynamis breaks out of his Stoic facade. In a Funny Moment, he laments the fall of the organization's power from boasting an army of thousands to relying on a few relatively weak little girls and that they were forced to play dead to survive. Dynamis blames this Villain Decay on Takamichi and Godel, and really really really wants to make them pay.
- Terrorist group in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers that threatens the safety of The Multiverse? Pretty bad, but saving worlds and stopping such threats are part of Nanoha's job description. Terrorist group that kidnapped and tortured the Mysterious Waif that Nanoha had taken in as her daughter? Okay, now it's personal.
- Though outclassed in depravity by villains such as Szayel-Aporro and Aizen, the Grand Fisher happens to be one of Ichigo's most personal roles for killing his mother and of course for attacking his two sisters so that he could consume their souls as well. Ultimately, it is Isshin Kurosaki who cuts him down.
- Zommari Rureaux, on the verge of defeat against Byakuya, rants about Soul Reapers persecuting Hollows and declaring that they have no right to judge them merely for eating humans. Byakuya then cuts him down, replying that his actions had nothing to do with Soul Reaper duties, but for Zommari's trying to kill his sister Rukia.
- Aizen made it very personal for Hitsugaya after brutally stabbing Momo Hinamori, Aizen's previous lieutenant and Hitsugaya's friend, when the former defected from the Soul Society. Then Aizen tricked Hitsugaya into impaling Hinamori in chapter 392 and suddenly this trope was cranked Up to Eleven.
- Aizen thinks Ichigo needs this trope to win a fight. He's wrong.
- The Visoreds had a personal grudge against Aizen for forcing hollowfication on them. Then Gin sliced Hiyori in half, and cranked this trope up for Shinji, who directed his ire at Aizen, not Gin: Gin was just the subordinate doing Aizen's dirty work, so Aizen was the real threat.
- Ishida's battle with Mayuri is one of the most epic cases of this trope in the series, second only to...
- ...Yamamoto's truly incredible explosion of rage in Chapters 503-505.
- In Full Metal Panic!, it's revealed that Gauron and Sousuke initially had nothing against each other. And then Gauron decided to attack the Guerilla village Sousuke had been living in, mass slaughtering all the citizens while Sousuke and Kalinin were out. Not to mention how, after that, he decided to accept a job from the KGB to go after Sousuke and Kalinin and kill them. After all that... it became personal.
- In Knights, Mist is especially driven to stop the Corrupt Church and their witch-hunts after seeing his own mother burned at the stake, and at his father's hands.
- Anti-Villain example: In Eureka Seven, Ray and Charles Beams fight against Gekkostate not merely because the military pays them to (though that is a factor), but also because of a grudge against Eureka, whom they believe is to blame for Ray's infertility.
- Fang of the Sun Dougram has a minor plotline about two Humongous Mecha pilots going AWOL to avenge the deaths of their comrades. When command orders them to retreat, the older one cuts off the radio saying that this is personal.
- The very first episode of A Certain Scientific Railgun has Saten trying to be Badass Normal by stopping an escaping bank robber. Unfortunately for her, she's just a teenage girl while her target is an adult man. Mikoto witnesses the bad guy kicking into Saten. Cue Mikoto showing why is her nickname "the Railgun" despite the fact that as a Badass Bystander, she has no real reason to join the fray.
- "Stiyl, I'm gonna go punch Fiamma. While I'm gone, you take care of Index."
- A lot of major characters in Inuyasha have it in for Big Bad Naraku, who has a huge list of wrongdoings including, but not limited to: tricking Inuyasha and Kikyo into thinking they had betrayed one another after he kills Kikyo; cursing Miroku's family; murdering Sango's family and destroying her village (and framing Inuyasha for it) and brainwashing her younger brother; using Sesshomaru several times to kill Inuyasha before trying to absorb him and kidnapping Rin (but it's Kagura's death that was the last straw and he starts going after Naraku in order to avenge her); and killing Koga's pack (which he once again frames Inuyasha for).
- In one episode of Detective Conan, the murder takes place at a reunion of Kogoro's old high school Judo club, with both the victim and killer being members (and therefore longtime friends). Kogoro's anger over the situation and resolve to see it through to the end convinces Conan to let him have this one, though he does help out by subtly nudging Kogoro in the right direction.
- Also, did the killer of the week target Ran? Conan will take that very, very personally.
- Really, as a general rule, if you have any plans at all of getting away with your murder/other crime, you should definitely not run afoul of this trope with Kogoro. The bumbling drunk routine will go out the window, he will find you and he will make sure you face justice, probably with some expert-level Judo moves thrown in.
- This was Tubby's attitude in Episode 6 of the Little Lulu anime, after Lulu had gotten him into trouble, leading to him to invoke this line in the English version;
Tubby: Lulu's played her last dirty trick on me! This time, I'm just really fed up! This time, the worm is gonna turn!
- One Piece
- This is Crocodile's main motivation throughout the Whitebeard War.
- This is usually the main reason the Straw Hats choose to get involved conflicts. They typically don't care about the politics of the islands they visit and don't go out of their way to try to be heroes, but if you mess with a member of the crew (or someone they've befriended), it's ON. Arlong Park? Nami was crying. Alabasta war? Princess Vivi befriended them. Declaring war on the World Government? Robin tried to pull a Heroic Sacrifice for them. Breaking into The Alcatraz and then the Marines' HQ? They were trying to kill his brother.
- Let's just say that Smoker didn't take Vergo's betrayal of the Marines very well and leave it at that. Then Vergo went and attacked his subordinates. Ultimately, Smoker realizes that he can't beat Vergo, so he steals the handicap that was preventing the nearby Trafalgar Law, who had an even bigger instance of this trope towards him, from winning. The end result is Vergo being chopped to pieces and blown up. That's right: a One Piece villain, in canon, was Killed Off for Real.
- In One Piece Film: Z, this was the Straw Hats' main motivation for going after Z. He attacked them after they went out of their way to heal him, had one of his subordinates rejuvenate Nami, Robin, Chopper and Brook and finally, taking Luffy's hat.
- Law's plan and alliance with the Straw Hats was not to go after Kaido, as he initially claimed. In truth, it was to screw over Donquixote Doflamingo for murdering his father figure Corozan thirteen years ago. Law himself is prepared to fight Doflamingo one-on-one and, even if he dies in the ensuing battle, the destruction of the SMILEs factory on Punk Hazard he orchestrated will ensure that Doflamingo will die anyway at the hands of Kaido. Since Law intentionally pissed off Doflamingo with the entire plan and the killing of two loyal subordinates, the conflict is personal on both ends.
- By the end of the Whole Cake Island arc, Luffy has gained the personal ire of two of the Four Emperors, Big Mom and Kaido. Kaido's grudge comes from Luffy's role in the destruction of the SMILE factory and his defeat of Doflamingo, effectively halting his plans to create an army of Devil Fruit users. As for Big Mom, what began as Luffy infiltrating her territory to get one of his crew back from her ended in massive collateral damage to her kingdom, the defeat of two of her top soldiers, who are also her sons, and the papers playing up the entire thing as Luffy's victory despite the fact they barely escaped. Chapter 907 opens with Big Mom and Kaido arguing with one another over an open, unencrypted line about which of them will claim Luffy's head and threatening the other against it.
- Holyland: Masaki originally did not want to lead the rest of the street fighters against King, but when Yagi tried to kidnap Mai, he changed his mind.
- In Saki, during the individual tournament, Momo makes it her goal to defeat the eponymous main character, since Saki faced Momo's friend and senpai Yumi in her match, defeating her and eliminating Momo and Yumi's school from the tournament; Momo notices that in spite of Yumi taking her loss gracefully, she was still quite disappointed. Momo doesn't succeed, though.
- Fairy Tail
- This is the Tartarus guild member Silver's history with Gray, as he makes no secret that he absolutely loathes him. Which actually makes sense, when you realize he's actually Deliora, the demon who destroyed Gray's hometown and forced his beloved mentor and surrogate mother to sacrifice her life to stop. He never forgave her or any of her students. For those same reasons, and considering he's also currently using Gray's father, Silver's, corpse as a vessel, this trope is in full swing by Gray to him as well. Subverted when it turns out that he isn't really Deliora, he's actually the reanimated body of Silver Fullbuster, and he was just saying all that to Grey to make him angry enough to kill him so as to avenge him and defeat Tartarus.
- Zeref's desire to die is so great that he deliberately tries to invoke this with protagonist Natsu Dragneel, who, as both his younger brother and the demon E.N.D., is the only being capable of killing him. He hopes that if Natsu is driven by rage, it'll empower him enough to kill Zeref.
- Shizuo Heiwajima and Izaya Orihara hated each other the moment they first met — Shizuo was able to tell what kind of person Izaya was while Izaya hated the fact that Shizuo's Too Dumb to Fool status and aggression made him unable to manipulate him, and therefore a potential Spanner in the Works for his plans. The intervening years of numerous Noodle Incidents is what made that hatred personal. By the time the series starts, Shizuo's flies into a homicidal rage just by seeing him, while Izaya, who espouses that he loves all humans, admits that Shizuo is the one person in the world he actually hates and goes to great lengths to kill him, including harming those close to Shizuo.
- Izaya isn't all that fond of Nakura or Yodogiri either.
- Rosario + Vampire: Kurumu promptly develops this mindset against Security Committee member Keito calls her a "dumb, slutty airhead" to her face.
- In Attack on Titan, Eren when he sees the abnormal Titan who ate Thomas while in Titan form. He suddenly gains the strength to overpower the numerous Titans pinning him and charges the abnormal one uncaring of the fact that his arms are being torn off in the process. He then proceeds to bite the Titan's weakspot and throws him at the other Titans while simultaneously decapitating the one he was biting.
Eren: I'll do everything in my power to make your deaths as excruciating as possible.
- Eren's feelings towards the Colossal and Armored Titans who destroyed his hometown. It's the same as his feelings towards all Titans, but turned Up to Eleven.
- Bon from Blue Exorcist is someone who takes this trope too far as a character flaw. He tends to take everything personally, from Rin hiding that he's the son of Satan, to Shima serving as a Double Reverse Quadruple Agent between the Order and the Illuminati. He feels betrayed that Rin wouldn't confide in him his true heritage, even though he never stopped talking about how much he hates everything Satan related (and indeed, he and everyone else started ignoring Rin after the truth came out for a while) and can't understand that the latter example has nothing to do with him. It's not until Shima calls him out for acting like a spoiled brat who thinks the world revolves around him that Bon starts to get over this behavior.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable, Rohan Kishibe's motivation to join the hunt for Yoshikage Kira is this trope. Kira's first victim was Rohan's Cool Big Sis Reimi, and she died protecting him.
- In Hunter × Hunter:
- This is the core of Kurapika's motivation for almost everything he does: He is the Last of His Kind among the Kurta Clan, which the Phantom Troupe had wiped out many years ago—Kurta eyes glow red when under distress, and sell for very high prices on the black market. From that point on, Kurapika has dedicated his life to seeking out and killing off every member of the Phantom Troupe.
- The Phantom Troupe itself, meanwhile, plays with this trope. Uvogin has no personal stake in anyone he kills, and in fact is so remorseless that he feels nothing when killing people. However, he is absolutely thrilled to kill people who have developed personal grudges against him, and goes from indifference to elation when Kurapika fights him one-on-one and Uvogin learns Kurapika's motivations. When Kurapika actually manages to kill off Uvogin, this kicks off this trope in Nobunaga, as Uvogin and Nobunaga were friends, and Nobunaga swears revenge on Kurapika. Meanwhile, Nobunaga attempts to nominate Idiot Hero Gon into the Phantom Troupe, and while it fails, for some reason, this enrages Troupe member Feitan so much that he makes it a personal goal of his to kill Gon, though it's a low priority and he doesn't actively seek Gon out.
- The presence of this trope is what distinguishes a superhero's Arch-Enemy from his or her most dangerous enemy. The two are rarely one and the same.
- In "The Origin of Batman", Batman learns that the villain of the week is none other than Joe Chill, the two-bit hood who killed his parents outside the theater. Upon this realization, Batman becomes determined to collar Chill, asking Robin not to get involved, and even going as far as unmasking himself on the gamble that doing so will scare Chill into making a mistake. And it does.
- Death of the Family: Barbara Gordon had been left paralyzed by The Joker in The Killing Joke and Jason Todd had been murdered by him in A Death in the Family. Now that Joker is after both of them, Barbara and Jason have some scores to settle with him. Made worse with the poisoning of Jason's girlfriend, Joker's poisoning of Commissioner Gordon, and his kidnap and mutilation of Barbara's mother. This goes both ways, as in Red Hood and the Outlaws, The Joker is really, really irritated that Jason went off-script and basically ruined one of the best jokes he pulled on Batman by coming back to life. So he prepares a little surprise for Jason as an aside from Death of the Family and booby-traps one of Jason's helmets, causing him to receive a face-full of acid.note
- The Punisher MAX series had one story arc that involved a vengeful mob boss trying to get revenge on Frank Castle — and he started by unearthing the bodies of Frank's deceased wife and children and urinating on their bones. Frank wasn't very happy about this. The arc ended with Frank dragging the man out into the woods and shooting him in the stomach, then leaving him to die a long, inevitable death.
- Before this he kills fifty-eight mobsters in one night and vows to continue until the police bury his family, tortures the assassin said mobster hired, and is saved from a suicide strike on the mobster by a hot sex-crazed Punisher fan lady. On the plus side? Crime rate went down.
- Which gets a "Fuck you Johnathan" as the mayor's reply, after another aide suggests they hope he just stops.
- Another hot sex crazed Punisher fan lady shows up, going to far as to take his clothes and seek out revenge on those who wronged her, before beating one of them to death, naked, in front of Castle. Compared to Jenny, O'Brian is perfectly sane.
- At one point in Preacher, Allfather D'aronique explains to Jesse Custer why he changed his plans from exploiting the word to killing him:
Allfather D'aronique: You killed her, Custer. You killed my Aunt Marie!
- In Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog, Mammoth Mogul told Sonic that he now understands he can never defeat Sonic. He is content to outlive Sonic and make sure that Sonic never knows peace until the day he dies.
- The newest Spider-Woman comic series revolves around Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) coping with her new life after having been rescued from the Skrulls after two years in captivity while the Skrull Queen impersonated her, giving her an even worse reputation than she had before. Needless to say, she came to hate Skrulls, and when she found a Skrull posing as Spider-Man and trying to trick her again, she was displeased.
- Johnny Alpha in Strontium Dog has a couple of these, notably against Nelson Kreelman in "Portrait of a Mutant"/"Wanted", and Max Bubba in "Rage".
- Played for laughs in issue #4 of The Awesome Slapstick. When the Neutron Bum is rampaging through Manhattan, Steve Harmon flatly refuses to get involved (he was waiting in line for a concert). He leaps into action only after the Bum attacks the Tower Records building.
- In Superman: Red Son, Lex Luthor was originally hired to kill Superman (here a champion of the Soviet Union) by the US Government and just saw it as another problem to solve with his genius intellect. But he decides to devote his entire life to the task shortly after Superman defeats a Bizarro duplicate he created. But he later reveals that wasn't the problem—the thing that drove him over the edge was that Bizarro managed to beat him at chess, implying that he, and by extension the original Superman, was more intelligent then Lex was.
- The Supergirl from Krypton: Superman goes after Darkseid when he kidnaps his beloved cousin. Barda joins the rescue team because she hates Darkseid and because her ex-teammates -the Female Furies- killed Harbinger and abducted Supergirl.
Barda: From what you've told me, I'm willing to bet that it was the Female Furies who killed Harbinger... and made off with your cousin. That makes it personal for me too.
- Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl:
- In a classic story, Supergirl and her cousin fight Kryptonite Man, a villain who blames their race for Krypton's destruction and his own species' extinction. Superman tries to explain the truth to him, but K-Man refuses to listen.
- In the New Krypton storyline, Post-Crisis Supergirl has a feud with Reactron after he kills her father. It doesn't end well, and he eventually blows up her mother and almost every surviving member of her race. She also takes her enmity with Doomsday this way, knowing that he once killed her cousin.
- In the Red Daughter of Krypton arc, Supergirl explains that she hates the Worldkillers (sentient, genetically-engineered biological weapons) and the Diasporan alien race because they kill planets, and she's an orphan of a dead world. She's very committed to stop them all.
Supergirl: How could anyone make it their mission in life to murder whole worlds? Can you imagine what an abomination that is to an orphan from a dead planet? [...] This world-killing stuff... it hits a nerve. It makes me furious, and the ring just fans the flame!
- In Bizarrogirl Supergirl dreams she's slugging Superwoman while shouting: "You destroyed our planet!"
- The Supergirl from Krypton: Superman goes after Darkseid when he kidnaps his beloved cousin. Barda joins the rescue team because she hates Darkseid and because her ex-teammates -the Female Furies- killed Harbinger and abducted Supergirl.
- Spider-Man has so many villains that fit this mold, he can sometimes seem as though he isn't actually doing any superhero work but is rather trying to survive the next villain who wants to get even:
- The original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, started off trying to take control of the New York underworld, but by his second appearance he was dedicated completely to killing Spider-Man. See quote for this trope. It's only been during the recent Dark Reign crossover that he has begun to do other villainous things besides messing with Peter Parker.
- The same goes for the second Green Goblin, Norman's son Harry. He went into villainy just to kill Spider-Man as revenge for his father's "death". It doesn't help that he was always going through a HeelFace Revolving Door so he never really wanted to do anything evil when he wasn't after Spidey's blood.
- The first Venom was Eddie Brock, who was also only after Spider-Man and not only had no aspirations for further villainy, but he was something of a Sociopathic Hero. Once he agreed to a truce with Spider-Man, he became an Anti-Hero.
- The Jackal was also mostly interested in Spider-Man and was the villain responsible for kick starting The Clone Saga... apparently For the Evulz.
- Kraven the Hunter was hired to captured Spidey one time and failed, resulting in him becoming obsessed with Peter Parker to the point where he was Driven to Suicide.
- Over the years, his wife and three children all took turns trying to kill Spidey in revenge.
- The Mad Scientist Spencer Smythe was likewise hired to build spider-slayer robots. He was driven to insanity and financial ruin due to building wave after wave of robots designed to kill Spider-Man, only for them to be busted into pieces. Eventually, he died of old age.
- His son then took up his mantle during a single story arc where he built an entire robot army of spider-slayers which, as expected, were destroyed by Spidey. He even turned himself into a cyborg in order to beat Spidey one-on-one. He lost.
- During Spider-Verse, Spider-Girl, Miles Morales and Spider-Gwen all say one variation of this to the Inheritors after they end up doing something that really pissed them off: Killing Mayday's family, destroying Rio Morales' gravestone and forcing a Peter Parker Gwen was trying to save to sacrifice himself. For the last two, the Inheritor who brought this about just has no idea why.
- Marvel supervillain Jackie Dio, aka Underworld, asserts that while the mutilation of one of his friends by Hammerhead may have been "just business," it was personal to him, and shoots Hammerhead for it.
- The one thing that all Iron Man villains have in common is that they really, really, really hate Tony Stark. Or are psychotically obsessed with him.
- X-23 is ordered by her mother to kill Rice and destroy the Facility to prevent them from making more clones of her. When Laura puts up her claws to beat Rice to death over the course of ten minutes while having Flashback Cuts to the severe physical abuse he subjected her to throughout her life it's pretty clear she's made it personal.
- This is the core motivation of the Astro City story arc, "The Dark Ages," with Charles and Royal Williams spending years on a vendetta against the man who killed their parents twenty years ago.
- The conflict at the heart of Civil War II is due to the death of War Machine as when a new character with precognive powers emerges, Captain Marvel, who was Rhodey's lover and present when he died, wants to use the character to make Precrime Arrests and Iron Man, who was Rhodey's best friend, still believes that punishment should come arrest the crime.
- In the Eleventh Doctor Doctor Who (Titan) comics, Alice has this level of personal hatred of the Talent Scout after he impersonates her dead mother in an attempt to manipulate her.
- Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: Captain America will not shy away from saving the world, but taking down a cult of aliens that pervert the idea of God... that's something else.
- Clash of the Elements: In Part 2, Gemini has this with Smithy, Luigi with Dimentio, and Alpha with Cackletta
- In Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, Firefly has a grudge against Black Star and it's one of the reasons she returns to Equestria.
- A Crown of Stars: Shinji and Asuka want to topple Jinnai because he is a blood-thirsty dictator and warlord who has taken control of the UN government and has a stockpile of nukes, but they have very important personal reasons to want to destroy him, too: after the end of the world, Jinnai and his former boss forced Shinji and Asuka to work for them. They abused them, mistreated them and turned Asuka into their plaything for four years.
- Power Girl story A Force of Four provides several examples:
- Badra wanted to keep Wonder Woman alive to force her to witness the Earth's destruction before killing her.
- As far as Fury was concerned, Badra was just another loony whom her mother Wonder Woman had defeated before her time. Then Badra bashed her mother's face, and Fury promised to tear Badra's face off.
- Intrepid: Anne blames the ABB for her family breaking. So now she has powers, she wants to break them.
"The ABB broke my family. I wanted to break them. I will break them. I want the ABB dismantled and gone."
- The Immortal Game: General Esteem being Rarity's father naturally evokes this between them. However, it's Twilight who ends up having a personal vendetta against him, as he's the one who turned her into Nihilus.
- Mare of Steel: Both Zod and Brainiac end up with this with Rainbow Dash/Supermare. Especially Brainiac, who nearly kills her mother.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Roll has a personal vendetta against Wily for killing Doc.
- Mr. Black has one against Wily for killing his wife, Tonya.
- As of episode 11, Wily has one against Dr. Light running even deeper than before.
- Hardboiled Detective Fakir Romeiras in An Uncommon Witness dedicates his life in the purse of the Corvo family because they murdered his parents. Still, as a detective working with the police, he needs to keep it secret to avoid getting out of the investigation.
- Magical Pony Lyrical Twilight:
- In A's, Chrono still remembers what the Wolkenritter did, even if they don't or are pretending not to remember.
- As the Pensieve Flashback in Chapter 11a of A's shows, this was also Luna's reaction to what King Sombra did to Princess Aria.
- In StrikerS, Teana has Fantastic Racism against ponies because one of them killed her brother.
- In I Against I, Me Against You, Rainbow Dash seems to have decided this in regards to the Meta After it kills Derpy
- In Advice and Trust, Misato wants to destroy the Angels because she blames them for her father's death.
- Thousand Shinji:
- Before deploying the Evas to destroy Sahaquiel, Misato reveals Shinji and Asuka that she hates the Angels because her father died when Second Impac happened.
- Asuka wanted to chop Matarael into pieces because it hurt Shinji.
Screw thinking like that. This Angel made it personal by hurting Shinji; its the one in for a world of hurt.
- In Children of an Elder God, Misato wants to kill Cthulhu and co to avenge her father.
- In chapter 17 of Once More with Feeling, Misato risked Asukas life during a mission. Later on, she apologized and explained the younger girl that she was obsessed with destroying the Angels because her father died during Second Impact, and she wants to avenge him.
- Lampshaded in Infinity when Lindy fights Precia. While she is arresting them for their crimes, it's more because they hurt her children.
Lindy: At this point, I suppose I should be telling you something appropriately neutral and law enforcement-esque. But I've already used 'you're under arrest', and frankly speaking I'm not neutral towards you at all.
- In This Bites!, unlike the rest of Baroque Works' agents who hold no real grudge against the Straw Hats, the Unluckies have made it clear they will only retire after they've brutally killed Cross and Soundbite.
- The main conflict in Soul Chess is between main protagonist Lelouch Lamperouge and main villain Sosuke Aizen. The two outright despise each other with every fiber of their being. Lelouch hates Aizen for killing his mother-figure Mari Akari and her lieutenant Yuna Homura (who Lelouch was in love with) along with engineering the exile of several of his comrades and friends. In turn, Aizen resents him for constantly foiling his plans and having the audacity to doubt his superiority. The latter bothers him so much that he goes into a Villainous Breakdown when Lelouch refuses to acknowledge him at the end of their second confrontation.
- In the Discworld fanfic Clowning is a Serious Business by A.A. Pessimal, Miss Alice Band becomes this when her girlfriend is stabbed and left for dead in the doorway of the Assassins' Guild. Other Assassins are expressly warned off the retributory contract as it is clearly understood this one has Alice's name on it. She is even warned not to let anger dictate her actions when she signs the contract. She then goes on to slay two of her lover's attackers with something verging on Extreme Prejudice, but is explicitly advised that one needs to be kept alive for just long enough to be interrogated as to who employed them and what their motives are. She reluctantly complies, accepting that his interrogation will be very unpleasant indeed. But is allowed to complete the contract afterwards - in cold blood, this time.
- And in the tale Hyperemesis Gravidarum, it is the turn of Fiery Redhead Assassin Johanna Smith-Rhodes. A gang with a reason to hate the Smith-Rhodes family is at large in Ankh-Morpork. In quick sucession they murder a Wizard believing him to be her husband; wound her uncle; attempt to murder her cousin, poison her pet dogs; and wound her sister. Believing her sister dead, Johanna, although over eight months pregnant note goes for the ringleader. Who discovers a pregnant Assassin with a personal reason to see him dead - is dangerous. note
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Supergirl crossover The Vampire of Steel, Zol-Am hates Supergirl because her uncle discovered and designed his prison, and he looks forward to suck her dry.
The blonde girl was there again, investigating. With Supergirl. He never suspected she had such connections. But that only made it more gratifying.
Like all those who came from where he did, he had a grudge against the cursed El family. The only one they hated more than Supergirl was Superman. Shed be a fine appetizer, and the blonde would be a chaser.
- Rivals Series: Initially, Yuuri's hatred of Viktor was thought to be a result of professional jealousy; Yuuri, like any other skater, wants to be the best, and Viktor was the nigh-insurmountable obstacle for that goal. However, as the years went on, most people (correctly) speculated that his grudge was actually this as Yuuri was kind and courteous to literally every competitor not named Viktor Nikiforov, even those who occasionally beat him, like Chris. Ironically, the only people who don't seem to see it are Viktor's coach and rinkmates, who are too blinded by their affections for Viktor and dismissive of fan speculation to acknowledge the possibility that Viktor might have actually done something to earn Yuuri's hatred — even Viktor realizes that Yuuri's grudge was something beyond mere jealousy, though he didn't know how deep the pain actually ran until Yuuri straight up told him about it.
- In Nobody Dies, Misato really, really hates the Angels due to her father's death. She makes sure to explain it to ADAM before shooting him in the chest with the Positron Cannon while on foot.
ADAM: I REMEMBER YOU.
Misato: Good. Because I sure remember you too.
ADAM: WHAT ARE YOU?
Misato: My name is Misato Katsuragi. Lieutenant Colonel of NERV. Daughter of Shiro Katsuragi, the stupid son of a bitch who woke you up. I am the daughter of a murdered man and the only human being to look on you with their own eyes and live to tell about it. I am the right hand of retribution and the last human being you will ever see, you glow in the dark mother f_er. Now smile asshole. Because this... (throws the 'fire' switch on the positron cannon) is my seventeen years of f_ing payback!
- In Hellsister Trilogy, fighting Darkseid became a personal matter rather than a matter or principle for Supergirl after the ruler of Apokolips attempted to kill and/or enslave her cousin, her lover and her friends several times over. Likewise, Berserker looks forward to kill Supergirl after she killed his mother in self-defense.
Berserker: I will avenge my mothers death. I will avenge your honor. I will make her pay for blocking the True Path. I WILL DESTROY THE SUPERGIRL.
- Atonement has Amy Dallon, who makes sure that Crawler meets a gruesome end after he kills her father just as she was getting to understand him.
- In Epic, Mandrake really gives his all in defeating the Leafmen after one of them kills his son.
- In Penguins of Madagascar, this is Dave's motive for revenge against cute animals, as he feels their cuteness stole his fans from the various zoos and parks where he performed in.
- Averted in Tarzan when Tarzan fights with Sabor. He does not yet know that Sabor had killed his birth parents or Kerchek and Kala's son, so the fight between them has more meaning than he realizes.
- In Toy Story 2, Woody fights Stinky Pete after seeing him punch Buzz Lightyear.
- In Kung Fu Panda 2, Po slowly discovers that the Big Bad he's trying to stop happens to be responsible for massacring most of his species. Subverted in that he spends most of the movie trying to get answers about this, but ultimately lets it go and attains inner peace. In addition, every villain in the series, including the aforementioned one, has some kind of personal stake in their motives.
- The popularity of the phrase possibly originates from Jaws: The Revenge's tagline: "This time...It's personal." Given that the film came out in 1987, the concept is probably substantially older.
- It was the driving plot point in most, if not all of the action films of the 80s and early 90s. It was particularly egregious in martial arts films revolving around a tournament (Bloodsport, Kickboxer, The Karate Kid, Best of the Best). It's not enough motivation for the hero to just compete with honour in a competition. Nope, his main rival has to have killed his brother, molested his girlfriend and kicked his dog too. Cop movies were bad too—in every Lethal Weapon movie, the villains threaten Murtaugh's family, and in the second film we learn the villains have not only killed Riggs' current squeeze, but also killed his wife previous to the events of the first movie.
- Parodied in Back to the Future Part II, when Marty sees an ad for Jaws 19 with the tagline "This time it's really really personal!" All Marty has to say is that the shark still looks very fake.
- In King Arthur: Legend of the Sword even after finding out that Vortigern murdered his parents, tried to murder him, and that the throne is his birthright, Arthur still has no interest in being king, only wanting to return his life as a street-level gang lord. But then, as Arthur is being dragged off to be decapitated for being a threat to the kingdom, Vortigern kills Lucy, the prostitute that raised Arthur, the only mother Arthur's ever known Just. Because. He. Can. Then Arthur escapes his execution and the only thing on his mind is avenging Lucy's death.
- In Robocop 1987 the titular character initially arrests Clarence Boddicker, the man responsible for wounding him so grievously that he was made a candidate for OCP's clandestine cyborg program, but the next time he encounters Boddicker, after he tried to ambush and kill RoboCop and messily gunned down his former partner, RoboCop ominous walks towards Boddicker- who seemingly is surrendering- with his gun out. He tells Boddicker 'I'm not arresting you, anymore'...
- Batman films:
- The 1989 Tim Burton Batman movie adds this to the relationship between Batman and the Joker — it is revealed that the Joker was the man responsible for murdering Bruce Wayne's parents.
- Subverted in Batman Begins: Bruce plans to murder Joe Chill, the man who killed his parents, but is denied the chance when a crime boss' assassin kills him instead to prevent Chill from testifying against him. Ironically, being denied this chance for personal closure is partly what leads Bruce to the path that will result in his becoming Batman.
- Invoked in The Dark Knight when Joker kills Rachel Dawes and drives Harvey Dent insane. Joker is trying to make Batman think It's Personal and act as such; trying to push him over the edge and kill him. More broadly, he is personal in symbolising everything that Batman is opposed to, and intentionally threatening the (mostly) crime-free city Batman has dedicated his life to.
- Harvey Dent, now Two-Face, also hunts down members of the mob, Gordon, and Batman because he views them to be responsible for Rachel's death. So now It's Personal for the villain.
- Same goes for Bane and Talia in The Dark Knight Rises. It's out of revenge for Bruce Wayne killing Ra's al Ghul: The attempted destruction of Gotham City's society is purely to make Bruce psychologically suffer as much as possible before killing him. Bane sets up a state-of-the-art TV system in the prison to make sure Bruce sees it happening.
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1 and even more so part 2, with Part 2 being mostly about redemption according to the screen writers. Redemption here means revenge among other topics. Katniss first wants revenge on president Snow for the death of the people in her home disctrict and later also for the brainwashing of her love Peeta. In the climax, Katniss also wants revenge for the death of her little sister.
- James Bond
- Diamonds Are Forever opens with Bond on a probable personal vendetta-driven assassination run against Ernst Stavro Blofeld for the murder of Bond's wife at the end of On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
- Licence to Kill exemplifies this trope. The slimy villain, Franz Sanchez, throws Felix Leiter (Bond's best pal) to the sharks. Bond is naturally pissed, and subsequently blows up windows, laboratories and trailer trucks to get to Sanchez.
- As bad as almost killing Felix by shark is, the real Moral Event Horizon was that the gang also raped and killed Felix's wife... on the night of their honeymoon!
- Quantum of Solace has this at its heart. Cars crash, boats explode and planes fall as the two protagonists battle their way to get revenge.
- Skyfall has Silva, a villain that doesn't want to destroy/take over the world. He just wants revenge on M for leaving him to be tortured to the point of insanity when Silva was an MI-6 agent.
- On a more amusing note, it wasn't until Silvia shoots up the iconic Aston Martin DB5 that Bond really gets pissed off.
- Averted with Eve. While Bond enjoys snarking at her for accidentally shooting him, he is more angry at M for giving the order.
- This is one reason why The Ring Two was less successful than the first: Samara's wrath was horrifying in the original precisely because it was impersonal. Not only was she out to kill people who had never done anything to her, she was out to kill anyone who watched the video, regardless of whether they had done anything wrong ever. In the sequel she targets Rachel and Aiden specifically, and the feeling of "it could happen to you," so powerful in the first film, was accordingly defenestrated.
- Star Wars:
- Star Trek (2009): Both Kirk and Spock have lost a parent to the Big Bad Nero. It's also personal on Nero's side, as he blames Spock for the destruction of his home planet. In reality, it was destroyed by a natural disaster while Spock was the only person who was actively trying to save it.
- Star Trek: Into Darkness: Things start to become personal for Kirk and Spock when Pike dies. And when Kirk dies in a Heroic Sacrifice...let's just say the result for Khan was NOT pretty.
- The first lesson learned from the movie Taken is never travel out of the country. The second is never, ever, ever kidnap a retired federal agent's daughter, as he will proceed to mercilessly carve a bloody swath through your organization to get her back.
Saint Clair: Please understand... it was all business. It wasn't personal.
Bryan: It was all personal to me. [shoots him with every round in his pistol]
- The whole reason Tom Sawyer wants to join the League in the film version of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is because the Phantom killed his Secret Service partner, who was also his childhood friend. He never actually comes out and says this was Huckleberry Finn, but it's pretty well implied. Unfortunately, the scene in which Tom explains this to the League was cut from the film and only appears in the DVD extras. The novelization has him outright confirming that it was Huck Finn he was out to avenge.
- When his wife is accidentally killed by a crooked cop firing off his Thompson in Legends of the Fall, Tristan and his father-in-law seek out retribution together. While Tristan kills the mobsters that had forced the confrontation, the older man waits with a powerful rifle on a hilltop near the police officer's patrol route. The first bullet doesn't kill him, nor, in all likelihood, was it meant to.
- This was introduced in Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Return of the King, where what finally causes Aragorn to accept his destiny is Elrond telling him that his lover Arwen will die if Sauron is victorious.
- Even Godzilla can take things personally:
- The conflict in Godzilla vs. Destoroyah becomes personal after the latter brutally tortures Godzilla Junior to death, then attacks Godzilla while he is grieving.
- Matches between Godzilla and his Archenemy King Ghidorah often come off this way; in Scott Ciencein's novelisation, Godzilla vs. The Space Monster this is made explicit, as Ghidorah's gleeful enjoyment of what he does, mockery of his opponents, and unprovoked attack on Monster Island really piss the big guy off. By the end of the novel (and the later films in the franchise), it's personal on Ghidorah's side as well, given the damage Godzilla has done to him.
- In Sunset, it becomes personal for Wyatt Earp after Christina is murdered.
- In Tombstone, another movie about Wyatt Earp, it becomes increasingly personal as the film goes on and the Cowboys keep killing people connected to him. This culminates in the death of Wyatt's brother, at which point he declares "I see a red sash, I kill the man wearin' it!"
- In Die Hard, the first terrorist McClane manages to take out happens to be the little brother of The Dragon Karl. Karl does not take it well and spends the rest of the movie in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, being fully willing to put their entire plan at risk for the sake of putting a bullet in the head of his brother's killer.
Simon: There's a difference between not liking one's brother and not caring when some dumb Irish flatfoot throws him out a window!
- Zigzagged in Die Hard with a Vengeance where Simon is apparently blowing up buildings as part of an elaborate scheme to screw with, and eventually kill, McClane as payback for killing his brother Hans (the Big Bad of the first film). Then it's revealed that was all a cover for Simon's scheme of robbing the Federal Reserve and that Simon didn't even like his brother. Then it's revealed that while Simon's in it for the money and he didn't like his brother, he still took the man's death personally:
- Nothing is personal in Live Free or Die Hard, at least not until the bad guys make the huge mistake of kidnapping McClane's daughter. Of course, this was in response to McClane killing the Big Bad's girlfriend Mai, after which Gabriel said "You want to make it personal? Fine. It's personal." Still, it was a very very bad idea on Gabriel's part, and he paid the price eventually. Don't fuck with McClane's family.
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- In Iron Man Tony decides to go back to Afghanistan and take on the Ten Rings after seeing they've attacked Yinsen's hometown.
- Loki in The Avengers deliberates gives every single member of the Avengers a personal reason to take him down:
- Thor, because Loki's his brother and he feels responsible for his actions.
- Hawkeye, because Loki uses mind control to make him attack the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.
- Black Widow, partly because of what Loki did to Hawkeye and partly because of the vicious speech that Loki treats her to while she's interrogating him.
Natasha: I've been compromised... I've got red in my ledger. I'd like to wipe it out.
- The Hulk, because Loki plans to target him as the weakest link in the Avengers and pit him against the others.
- Iron Man and Captain America, because Loki kills Agent Coulson, hitting a little too close to home for both of them.
- It's later revealed that Nick Fury lied about Coulson's trading cards being found on his body to give the Avengers even more motivation to stop Loki.
Nick Fury: They needed the push.
- The elevator fight in Captain America: The Winter Soldier features Cap's buddy Rumlow claiming that "It isn't personal" as he attacks. Steve beats the hell out of him and snarls "It kind of feels personal" at his unconscious form.
- Erik Killmonger has it out for the Wakandan Royal family in Black Panther because of how King T'Chaka killed his father Prince N'Jobu and left him to fend for himself in a crime ridden ghetto.
- Half the characters of Avengers: Infinity War have personal reasons to want Thanos dead:
- Both Nebula and Gamora want to kill him for the life time of abuse he put them through. While Drax wishes to see him die for the part his played in Ronan the Accuser killing his family. Star-Lord gets a reason to hate him after he kidnaps and later kills Gamora.
- It becomes this for Tony after realizing Thanos was the one behind Loki's attack on New York, which caused him to suffer from PTSD.
- Thor wants him dead for slaughtering half of what was left of his people including Heimdall and Loki.
- After Vision and Scarlet Witch are attacked, the rest of the Avengers swear to stop him, no matter what.
- Invoked by some of the posters for Rambo III:
The First was for himself.
Second for his country.
it's for his friend.
- In The Expendables 2, the death of one of the team members turns a meager mission to retrieve weapons-grade plutonium into this trope.
- In The Crossing, Washington is particularly eager to get back at the Hessians in Trenton because they killed his surrendering troops in Brooklyn.
- The Wolfman (2010): Lawrence in relation to his own father, who is revealed to have killed his wife and oldest son and bit Lawrence, thus spreading the curse to him.
- X-Men Film Series
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine:
The only thing in the world Victor cares about is his baby brother. When said brother walks out on him, he doesn't take it well.
This is also how Stryker gets Jimmy involved in the Weapon X program.
When Logan gets bashed through a wall by Gambit, he sees Victor. When Gambit appears right behind him, intent on continuing their fight, Logan doesn't even spare him so much as a glance before elbowing him in the face and fighting Victor.
- Erik wants revenge on Shaw/Schmidt for killing his mother. One of the reasons it feels like Erik is the hero of X-Men: First Class.
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine:
- In Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, this is present in the film's tagline of "First he fought for the crown, now he's fighting for the family jewels!" While done in a more comedic sense, Austin's desire to take down Dr. Evil becomes personal in the second film when the villain orders the theft of Austin's mojo, the physical manifestation of his libido, rendering the International Man of Mystery impotent. Naturally, Dr. Evil's revenge plan hits below the belt literally and causes Austin to pursue him relentlessly to reclaim his mojo and cure his erectile dysfunction.
- In You've Got Mail Kathleen Kelly is miffed about Joe Fox claiming putting her bookstore out of business was "nothing personal".
Joe Fox: It wasn't... personal.
Kathleen Kelly: What is that supposed to mean? I am so sick of that. All that means is that it wasn't personal to you. But it was personal to me. It's personal to a lot of people. And what's so wrong with being personal, anyway?
Joe Fox: Uh, nothing.
Kathleen Kelly: Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.
- The Hidden: Lloyd Gallagher has been hunting the evil alien parasite ever since it killed his partner on the planet Altair, so he's a lot more reckless than the human officer he's paired up with.
- Assassin's Creed (2016): Sophia hates Callum after he kills her father Alan at the end of the movie along with stealing the Apple. Before then, their interaction were just business and research.
- I Shot Jesse James: Frank James comes after Robert Ford, as Ford killed Frank's younger brother Jesse.
- War for the Planet of the Apes: Unlike in the first two films, Caesar is fighting selfishly in this film because his wife, Cornelia, and his eldest son, Blue Eyes, were killed.
- Twice in Spotlight:
- Reporter Mark Carroll (the father of two young children) discovers a "treatment center" for pedophilic priests is one block away from his house. He definitely gives off this vibe when the scandal is published and he personally goes to leave a first edition of the newspaper at the center's front door. Downplayed, however, in that he doesn't try to actually confront the priests, nor have his own children been victims.note
- Later, editor Walter "Robbie" Robinson discovers that one of the priests was the hockey coach at his high school, and he molested some of the players. It comes out in a very understated way during an interview with the school's principal, a fellow alum:
Walter Robinson: I ran track, you played football. I guess we were just lucky.
- Maverick. After Angel learns that Maverick tricked him into backing down from a fight, he's enraged and is determined to get his revenge. He says "Maverick is mine, anyway. But this time it's personal."
William Munny: That's right. I've killed women and children. I've killed just about everything that walks or crawled at one time or another. And I'm here to kill you, Little Bill - for what you did to Ned.
- Older Than Feudalism: In The Bible, God promises to punish all who harmed and will harm his children.
- An infamous and brutal example in Genesis 34. Shechem, prince of Shechem, rapes Jacob's daughter Dinah, and then has the audacity to ask for her hand in marriage. Dinah's brothers say sure, but first you and the entire male population of Shechem have to be circumcised in accordance with our tradition (keep in mind that at this time, the "kingdom" of Shechem was probably a small city-state with a few hundred people). Shechem and the males agree, and are circumcised. With the newly circumcised men too sore to do anything, two of Jacob's sons, Levi and Simeon (and probably a number of servants and retainers of Jacob's family, making it the size of a small tribe), enter Shechem and kill all the men, enslave the women and children, and loot the town.
- A Brother's Price has this in spades. First, some bandits are stupid enough to wound and leave for dead a soldier of the crown on Whistler land, which means that the Whistler family is bound by law to help the soldier. Then, six years ago in time, but revealed later in the novel, there is the poisoning of the Prince Consort, and the bomb that kills half of the royal family. And then the villains who were behind all of the previous kidnap Jerin, who is at this point engaged to the princesses, which makes it very personal to all of the five adult princesses and their mothers, the very big Whistler family, and enrages every loyal subject of the Queens. Those villains do have chutzpah.
- A dramatic literary subversion, from Terry Pratchett's novel Men at Arms:
Samuel Vimes: He killed Angua. Doesn't that mean anything to you?
Carrot Ironfoundersson: Yes. But personal isn't the same as important.
- In a later book, Jingo, Carrot decides to go to have a nap while pursuing Angua's kidnappers by boat, on the basis that if he stayed awake fretting about her, he would be useless when they caught up to them.
- Partially subverted in Thud!!. The baddies and the Summoning Dark try to get the main character Vimes to make it personal multiple times. Whether they succeed is subject to discussion (though it does seem so in the end).
- A dramatic literary subversion, from Terry Pratchett's novel Men at Arms:
- The Shahnameh: Rostam has gone to war against the Turanians on many occasions, simply as a patriotic Persian defending his country. But when the Turanians kill the innocent Siavash (Rostam's surrogate son) he goes to war for the sole purpose of killing everyone responsible. Same can be said about king Key Khosro who was Siavash's son and the Persians in general.
- Harry Potter:
- Harry's conclusion of Dumbledore's reasoning for Harry's position as The Unchosen One. He doesn't really have to do it, but of course Voldemort killed his parents. And a whole mess of other people, and screwed up many more (Cedric and Neville's parents are two of the many, many examples that Harry thinks of when Dumbledore poses the question to him).
- Bellatrix Lestrange also makes things personal for Harry as well when she murders his godfather, Sirius Black. She also makes things personal with Neville due to the fact that she tortured his parents into permanent insanity. However, neither of them are the ones that kill her in the end — what ultimately does her in is that she makes things personal for the wrong witch.
- The Hunger Games, President Snow murdered Haymitch and Johanna's loved ones for petty reasons. They later join District 13 to put a stop to his reign.
- In the Hurog duology, the king has the nasty habit of keeping his subjects under control by threatening their relatives. Needless to say, that results in a lot of situations that are this trope. Ward, the main character, is a very loyal friend, brother and cousin. There is also Oreg, some kind of family ghost, who was very protective of the family's daugther. An aunt who slapped her once "never visited again", the implication being that Oreg did worse to her than just make her needlework basket disappear.
- Redwall: Many antagonists in the series make things personal for the heroes one way or another.
- In Mossflower, Tsarmina Greeneyes destroys Martin's sword. He promises to slay her for this action.
- In Mattimeo, Slagar The Cruel abducts Matthias's son Mattimeo, intending to sell him to Malkariss so that he will become a slave.
- In Legend of Luke, Vilu Daskar murders Luke's wife, and massacres his clan as well.
- In Lord Brocktree, Ungatt Trunn conquers Salmandastron, which results in the death of many heroes, and forces the title character's father into a Heroic Sacrifice.
- In Outcast of Redwall, Swartt Sixclaw captures and abuses Sunflash The Mace for several seasons, who ends up maiming his paw when he escapes.
- In Shadows of the Empire, crime lord Prince Xizor would hate Vader anyway, since they're more or less rivals for power under the Emperor. But Xizor has a special hatred for Vader and wants to kill his son, because there was a hazard lab on Xizor's homeworld, a flesh-eating bacteria escaped, and Vader had the site - and the city around it, including Xizor's family - "sterilized" (ie. incinerated) from orbit. Xizor erased all record of this, but Vader's spies find out about this near the end of the novel.
- For the first eleven books of the Dresden Files series, Harry fought vampires, necromancers, werewolves, faeries and God knows what else because it was his job and because he helps the helpless. The twelfth book, Changes (whose very name is a change from the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming of the rest of the series), has the monsters bring the fight to Harry. The first line promises a rampage to end all rampages. And it was. It was spectacular. Fuck with Harry Dresden's family, and he will be willing to sell his soul to get back at you. Not that he does, but it's close:
Harry Dresden: I answered the phone, and Susan Rodriguez said, "They've taken our daughter."
- Subverted in The Acts of Caine. For the main bad guy (the Blind God) and his minions, everything is impersonal, and that anonymous hunger is their defining trait. There are lots of side characters (Raithe, Kierendal, Orbek, Avery Shanks) with personal grudges against the main character, since Caine has a tendency to ruin people's lives. But the protagonist himself doesn't count, despite the horrible things done to his family and friends, not because he doesn't take their vengeance personally, but because he takes every single fight personally. Something as trivial as getting drunk and shouting at him is enough to get your jaw broken, minimum.
- Daine's Roaring Rampage of Revenge in The Immortals. She didn't like Ozorne very much before, but she wasn't gung-ho about doing what the Graveyard Hag wanted... until Ozorne had Numair (fake) killed. Daine promptly unleashes her new necromantic powers and awakens a horde of dinosaur fossils to storm through Ozorne's palace.
- The 39 Clues: Amy and Dan don't just want to beat Isabel in the clue hunt, they want to do it because she murdered their parents.
- In the novel The Andalite Chronicles, Visser 32 (the future Visser Three), promises Elfangor that he will kill Elfangor for all of the crap Elfangor has put him through, and that he would make it personal. Very personal. Visser Three kept his word in the first book of the main series when he turned into a horrible monster and ate Elfangor alive.
- Marco and Jake when the Yeerks went after their families. Marco, in particular, battled his way through half the Yeerk Pool with the rest of the group helping him, to save his mother. He also took on several hork-bajir and human controllers singlehandedly to save his father, although Rachel showed up for backup partway through.
- Don't forget David and Rachel. After two books with no interaction, Rachel swears to kill David after he almost kills Tobias. David in turn makes Rachel his number one target after she jams a fork into his ear and threatens to kill his parents.
- Rachel also almost killed Taylor after she tortured Tobias, and only Tobias's pleas stopped her. Tobias got one of his own when his mother was being targeted by the Yeerks.
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: The first 7 books have almost all the members of the Vigilantes wronged in some way. Naturally, it is quite personal for them. Some of the books after that have the Vigilantes taking action, because one of their friends or loved ones is in trouble.
- In the Dale Brown novel Shadows of Steel, being told that Hal Briggs is with the group he is being asked to help convinces Pat to come out of "early retirement" where more nebulous appeals fail.
- In When Gravity Fails, the killer leaves a message, written in the blood of his last victim, next to the corpse, saying, "Audran, you're next." Up until that point, Audran didn't even know the guy knew he existed. Suddenly, matters become much more urgent.
- It pops up with a vengeance, complete with Disposable Woman, in the second Amber novel. A minor character murders one of Corwin's casual flings. It's not a good idea to cross Corwin.
- Corwin: I spoke not a word when I unhorsed him, nor afterward, and I did not use my blade, though he drew his own. I hurled his broken body into a high oak tree, and when I looked back it was dark with birds.
- In Michelle Paver's "The Chroniclesof Ancient Darkness:Oathbreaker," Torak swears he will avenge his cousin Bale and kill Soul-Eater Thiazzi. However, when he finds Thiazzi (staying in the tree Torak was born in, no less), he has to break his oath in order to save Renn, who is trapped inside with a fire and who is quickly running out of breath.
- Tolkien's Legendarium:
- In The Hobbit, the goblins of Goblintown who discover Thorin's company and believe they are spies who want to destroy them (even though the dwarves didn't really want anything to do with them), especially after the Great Goblin discovers Thorin's "Orc-cleaver" and orders them destroyed. But when Gandalf murders the Great Goblin attempting to save the dwarves (and Bilbo), the Goblins pursue them after they escape to avenge their ruler. They even believe the dwarves (and the elves and men) are a greater threat with the dead Smaug's treasure, prompting the Battle of Five Armies (when the Eagles join with the dwarves, elves and men).
- In The Fellowship of the Ring, the surviving goblins turned out to have massacred Moria, including Balin, as revenge for the Battle of Five Armies. They were probably satisfied when the Balrog took the Great Goblin's "murderer" down with him, though they didn't seem to give up until after the Lothlórien elves saved the eight then-surviving members of the Fellowship. And unbeknownst to the Moria goblins, that "murderer" was resurrected later.
- To take this a little further, the same band of mountain orcs passed Lothlórien completely and followed the fellowship downriver, and joined forces with the Uruk-Hai at Emyn Muil, lampshading the trope by stating they were after revenge. They finally perished at the brink of the Fangorn Forest, when the Rohirrim defeated them.
- Many of the Forskaken in The Wheel of Time had extremely personal enmity with Lews Therin Telamon, carrying over wholesale to his reincarnation Rand. Ishamael, Lanfear, Sammael, and Be'lal were all noted for this, but Demandred hated him most of all; it's said that nobody ever hated anything more than Demandred hated Lews Therin. Deconstructed when Demandred squanders the most overwhelming military force on the planet tantruming for Rand to come out and fight him, and gets himself killed before he ever accepts that Rand was off taking care of more important business at the time.
- Honor Harrington:
- The titular heroine is quite willing to make peace with the people she's fought for most of her career in a sometimes very vicious and brutal war that has cost her many friends, because they were only doing exactly what she would have done in their place. The sneak attack on Manticore that kills most of her extended family (as well as several million other civilians) by the Mesan Alignment, on the other hand — that has her out for blood.
- Queen Elizabeth III had it out for Haven because their agents assassinated her father. She's since discovered that the Alignment, ultimately, was the reason for Haven's expansionism which led to her father's death, and is not at all pleased. The Havenites aren't too happy about the revelation either; the Alignment's manipulation re-started military hostilities and resulted in the death of the President of Haven's lover and de facto husband. And when Eloise Pritchart carries a grudge against someone, that someone is going to die. Painfully. The only thing that can make the Alignment's situation worse is having Manticore and Haven join up in a military and political alliance — which they do.
- After discovering all of the above, the Alignment does the only thing it can do: get the hell out of Dodge. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they'll be able to get out fast enough...
- In the Rainbow Magic series, Rachel takes it personally when Jack Frost threatens to ruin her mom's birthday.
- In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, one of the things that keeps the superhero/supervillain fights nonlethal and relatively harmless is that everyone goes to a great deal of effort to keep things from getting personal. Villains who prey on kids or heroes who try too hard to discover supervillain secret identities tend to get "accidentally" killed.
- In Shock and Awe, Carla hates Arabs because her brother was killed in 9/11.
- In Coiling Dragon, when Linley discovers that the Radiant Church killed his mother, he makes it his life's goal to destroy them (and, along the way, gathers a group of followers that want to do the same).
- In The Falconer the protagonist kills faeries because they killed her mother.
- Debt of Honor:
- It's revealed at the beginning of the novel that Yamata's reason for starting a war with the United States was because he was orphaned during World War II when his family chose to commit suicide during the invasion of Saipan rather than be captured by the Marines.
- Ron Jones says this of his motivation for fighting against Japan, as the son of his mentor when he was a sonarman aboard USS Dallas was aboard USS Asheville when it was sunk.
- Yerrininae from Companions Codex didn't take the death of his beloved at the hands of Dahlia well. The only thing stopping him from cruelly killing her are the plans of Lolth and first priestess Berrelip for Dahlia to become Matron of the next incarnation of House Do'Urden. They don't stop him from having a good time hitting Entreri sensless multiple times a day, though.
- In The Southern Reach Trilogy, The psychologist/director used to live in the place that became Area X and her mother disappeared together with everyone else within it when the border came down, which later motived her to work for the Southern Reach no matter the cost.
- Villains by Necessity:
- Sam starts the book under the belief that the Assassin's Guild, the closest thing he has to a family, are all abandoning their trade because it's a much less stable business as evil is being wiped out of the world. After finding out exactly what whitewashing actually entails, he realizes they were forced against their will into leaving their old lives behind, and vows to kill Mizzamir for it.
- Cited as the reason behind Blackmail's final break with the Six Heroes. When his brother turned evil, he had asked Mizzamir to be merciful... and Mizzamir turned his brother into a warhorse. It's implied that this is the same warhorse he rode and lovingly cared for until Fenwick's men killed it.
- Valeriana's grudge against Sir Fenwick - the Verdant Company hunted her race to near total extinction, including her husband, daughter, and unborn son.
- In Dreadnought!, when Piper's friend Merete reveals herself as The Mole for Rittenhouse, she explains that the motivation for both her and one of the captains most loyal to Rittenhouse to join him was from when Orion pirates attacked a passenger ship that both her family and the captain's son were on. The Orions butchered everyone except Merete, who was a child and able to hide from them. Their grief and anger has simmered ever since then, making them both easy to bring to Rittenhouse's side although Merete genuinely likes Piper and the book's events have shaken her trust in Rittenhouse, and Piper is gradually able to make her see that she doesn't matter to him and bring her around.
- 24: Features this in pretty much every series. Over six hellish days, Jack has had to deal with people he's already killed, his former partner, his former mistress, his mentor and his own family. He seems to have accepted this as standard practice, though- he gets quite upset early on when his wife is murdered, but when his best friends are killed in Series 5 he barely even blinks.
- Angelus got annoyed with the vampire hunter Holtz, so he decided to go murder his wife and infant son, turn his daughter into a vampire, and leave her there so Holtz would have to kill her. Holtz responded by time traveling two hundred years into the future, stealing Angel's own son, and raising him to hate his father.
- There's also Lindsey McDonald who really starts to hate Angel after he cut off his hand and goes after Angel with a sledgehammer after he sleeps with Darla.
- Arrested Development:
Gob: Let me ask you something. Is this a business decision, or is it personal? 'Cause if it's business I'll go away happily. But if it's personal, I'll go away... but I won't be happy.
Michael: ...It's personal.
- Oliver Queen and Malcolm Merlyn are Arch-Enemies for a reason. For Oliver, Malcolm sabotaged the Queen's Gambit, leading to the death of Robert Queen and Oliver being left stranded on the hellish island of Lian Yu for five years. Since then, Malcolm coerced his mother into the Undertaking by threatening his sister, kidnapped his stepfather, inadvertently killed his best friend, Malcolm's own son, via said Undertaking, manipulated his sister (and Malcolm's daughter) and their love for each other by brainwashing Thea into killing Sara to turn Oliver and Ra's against each other so he can get off the hit list of the League of Assassins, resulting in Ollie temporarily dying, and then told another villain the location of Oliver's son out of spite. For Malcolm, Oliver was a constant thorn in his side throughout the events leading up to the Undertaking, culminating in Malcolm's first defeat in combat in a long time, and later cost Malcolm the leadership of the League of Assassins and cut off his hand after handing him his ass in a humiliatingly one-sided duel. It seems the only reason both of them are alive at this point is because Oliver initially thought he was dead after Season One and adopted a Thou Shalt Not Kill policy during that time, while Malcolm just wants Oliver to suffer as much possible.
- Slade Wilson desires to destroy Starling City and kill all of Oliver's loved ones in retaliation for Oliver's role in Shado's death, who Slade loved — not helping the situation was the Mirakuru injected into him, which caused him to hallucinate and see images of Shado telling him to do all these terrible things. Oliver, meanwhile, despises him for his attempts to do so, including Slade successfully killing his mother. That being said, Oliver still spared him after Season 2 — he recognizes that Slade turning out the way he did was partially his fault, and let him live out of respect for their past friendship.
- Damien Darhk made it personal with all of Team Arrow when he killed Laurel. Oliver's despair over the death of his First Love and arguably the love of his life was enough for him to violate his Thou Shalt Not Kill policy and kill Darhk.
- Prometheus. Like Slade, he hates Oliver for the death of someone he loved (in this case, Prometheus' father, a corrupt Pharmaceutical Executive whose name was on The List) and wants to destroy his life. Unlike Slade he doesn't have the excuse of Mirakuru-induced insanity — he just hates Oliver that much. The long list of things he's done to screw Ollie over include: terrorizing the city as a serial killer murdering innocent people whose names are anagrams of those on The List, manipulating Oliver into killing Billy Malone, Felicity's boyfriend, breaking out Black Siren and having her impersonate the deceased Earth-1 Laurel, Oliver's First Love, and then arranging things so Oliver's alter-ego is public enemy #1. In the meanwhile, under the guise of False Friend DA Adrian Chase, he butters Oliver up to gain his trust, aiding him in his administration several times and even helping Diggle get out of military prison. Once Oliver learns his identity, he is not happy, and after The Reveal, the two don't even try hiding how much they've come to hate each other.
- The only Big Bad Oliver didn't come to personally hate was Ra's al Ghul, mainly because it was Malcolm's fault they were at odds at all. In the finale, when an opportunity to make Ra's back off entirely with little bloodshed involved for both sides presented itself, Oliver didn't hesitate to take it, and the only reason he killed Ra's was because he didn't have any other choice. Seasons afterwards, Oliver still regards him with some respect, recognizing that for all his faults he was an honorable man to the end.
- The Flash (2014)
- Barry Allen and Eobard Thawne, whose conflict spans over several different timelines. While Eobard's reasons for hating Barry are rather petty, Barry's reasons for hating Eobard are much more severe — Eobard murdered his mother, framed his father for it, and then manipulated him for most of his life just to make sure he became the Flash, that way Thawne had a way to get home. He is one of Barry's most personal enemies (though not necessarily his most hated) — their destinies are so intertwined that they literally can't get rid of each other without causing a paradox, which only makes them hate each other more.
- Earth-2 Hunter Zolomon made it personal for all of Team Flash. On top of presenting himself as False Friend "Jay Garrick" (an identity he stole from the real Jay Garrick, the Earth-3 counterpart to Henry Allen, who he kept as a trophy in his lair) and ingratiating himself to them much like Eobard Thawne as Dr. Wells last season, he beats the crap out of Barry several times, the first time breaking his back and humiliating him in front of Central City. He kidnaps Jesse Wells to force Earth-2 Harrison Wells to do his bidding, kidnaps Wally West to force Barry to give up his speed, and kidnaps Caitlin Snow to invoke Stockholm Syndrome on her, traumatizing her. For the final finishing touch, he murders Henry Allen in the very same spot where Eobard Thawne murdered Nora Allen, right in front of Barry's eyes. After that, Barry wants him deader than he does Eobard Thawne.
- Savitar. In a possible future, he kills Iris West (the love of Barry's life), cripples Wally, and more-or-less breaks Team Flash. If that wasn't personal enough, his identity makes everything worse: he's a time remnant of Future Barry Allen, one created to stop himself from killing Iris. After he failed, he was rejected by Team Flash for not being the "true" Barry. Already grieving over Iris' death, he completely fell apart after that, subsequently went insane, and decided to become a god so he could no longer feel emotional pain, traveling back in time to become the Savitar of legend. His desire to kill Iris stems from his wish to maintain the Stable Time Loop that ensures his existence, and his hatred for his progenitor for rejecting him as an "expendable" aberration. He is Barry's most personal enemy by far, even more so than Eobard Thawne and Hunter Zolomon. After all, one can't have an enemy more personal than themself.
- Downplayed with the Thinker. While his ultimate plan is on a more worldwide scale, he still spies on Barry and either tries to keep him from interfering with his plans, or uses him as an Unwitting Pawn to further them. For example, at the end of the previous season, Barry had to go into the Speed Force. In the next episode, the others found a way to bring him back after a villain wanted to fight the Flash, resulting in a release of energy similar to that of the particle accelerator, which was later revealed to have turned a group of people into metahumans. While it all seemed completely coincidental, it what the Thinker had planned to happen so he could Body Surf through them to escape his dying body. Also, the villain who wanted to fight the Flash was actually a robot created by him to get Barry's friends to bring him back and create the new metahumans. The whole episode was a Batman Gambit. It becomes personal for Barry once he realises he's being played with, and when he is framed for murdering the Thinker when he takes over someone else's body and leaves his previous body in Barry's apartment, stabbed with the knife he was gifted earlier that episode and therefore had his fingerprints. Then it becomes even more personal after the Thinker takes over the body of Ralph Dibny, one of the new metahumans who Barry had previously disliked, but soon became friends with after he decided to become a superhero.
- Babylon 5:
Bester: If you can save her, I'll do anything you want to help. Your war is now my war.
- A major catalyst of why Londo Mollari really becomes so belligerent against the Narns is their invasion of Ragesh 3 in the episode, "Midnight On The Firing Line." In that episode, Londo's nephew, who had been assigned there to keep him safe, was among the capture and he was tortured and forced to cooperate in their propaganda, and the Centauri Republic was too weak to respond. So, Londo blames G'Kar in particular for these events, even after Commander Sheridan manages to undo the Narn's aggression, and later sees Mr. Morden's offers to assist him partially as a chance to prevent further such incidents against his loved ones.
- Morden then goes and exploits this trait of Londo's. Londo had been trying to distance himself from Morden, fearing his "associates," the Shadows, would turn on the Centauri one day, so Morden hatches a plan: murder Londo's mistress, Adira, then pin the blame onto his rival, Lord Refa The plan works to perfection, and Londo seethes with Tranquil Fury as he invokes the trope as his reason for requesting Morden's services again. Later still, he discovers the truth. He does not take it well.
- Of course, G'Kar's hatred of the Centauri is equally personal: he was raised in slavery under the first Centauri occupation, and his father was strung up from a tree for the crime of spilling a drink on the mistress of the house. His hatred of the Centauri is extreme, but his horror of ever being under their power again is genuine.
- Alfred Bester is normally completely unflappable and professional. He keeps everything at a "strictly business" level. But when he realizes that the Shadows not only kidnapped a bunch of telepaths, but that one of them was his lover and the future mother of his child, he shows a Tranquil Fury side that has never been seen on him before.
- Does this somewhat frequently. When someone threatens either Booth or Bones, it becomes quite personal for the other.
- The Gravedigger and Harold Epps are the most guilty of invoking this. The Gravedigger kidnapped Bones and Hodgins in one episode and Booth in another. Epps poisoned Cam, tried to blow up Zack, and used Booth's son as a clue, all in the same episode. Making it personal was pretty much his M.O.
- And then there was Pilant, who snuck a dead body above Angela and Hodgins' bed while they were knocked out from carbon monoxide poisoning, among other things. After a while his M.O. was literally making things personal.
- Breaking Bad: Gustavo Fring, a drug trafficker with a restaurant chain as a front, is the textbook example of a calm, collected businessman (despite a few frightening acts here and there). However, there's a moment in his past 20+ years ago that sticks with him: The cold-blooded murder of his associate by the cartel members he sought to go into business with. Though he retains a business relationship with the cartel, he plots his revenge against them for 20+ years.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel:
- This is the entire character description for the villain Angelus.
- Also, Oz references the line as a suggestion after some failed quipping during sans-Buffy patrolling at the beginning of Season 3.
Oz: If I may suggest: "This time it's personal." I mean, there's a reason why it's a classic.
- Much of the criticism with Buffy's handling of Faith boils down to this. It's not enough for her to become The Dragon and get off on killing, she has to shoot Angel with a crossbow that poisons and slowly kills him to make Buffy seriously risk falling to The Dark Side and breaking her Thou Shalt Not Kill rule.
- Anything which touches on the murder of Kate Beckett's mother is this trope. It's also a Deconstructed Trope as well, as where she's normally a rational, level-headed and effective investigator her mother's case sends her completely off-the-rails, leading her to make big mistakes as a result.
- It's also notable that most of Richard Castle's badass moments tend to result from situations where Kate Beckett's life is in immediate peril.
- Several villains decide to target the family or friends of Chuck, Sarah and Casey, making missions suddenly very personal:
- Volkoff directly threatened Ellie and Devon, though was forced to back down when Mary reminded him that she will protect her children. Volkoff is a particularly interesting case because It's Personal on both sides. Stephen and Mary had been trying to stop him for twenty years because Alexei Volkoff is actually their close friend Hartley Winterbottom, victim of an Intersect experiment Gone Horribly Right that they are now trying to fix.
- And of course, Shaw shot and killed Chuck and Ellie's father, making the beat-downs he receives from both in season three and four, respectively, very personal. And satisfying.
- Quinn made his vendetta against Chuck personal, blaming him for not receiving the Intersect. It's revealed that FULCRUM, the Ring, and even Volkoff were aided by Quinn as part of his quest for revenge. He even more personally attacks Chuck by turning Sarah Brainwashed and Crazy, to the point she even threatens Ellie.
- Criminal Minds:
- Has had quite a few where the case directly related to one of the team, and some where it didn't but one of the team identified with one or more of the people involved.
- Hotch is probably the best example out of the whole team. When Foyet returns to get his revenge on him, he infiltrates the Hotchner residence, threatens Hotch's son, and shoots Hayley while on the line with Hotch. When he's finally captured, Hotch goes into a fir of Unstoppable Rage and literally beats Foyet to death. It's not until Morgan pries him off that he calms down.
- In one specific episode, Morgan is accused of murder. It's immediately personal for the rest of the team, who are still allowed to investigate it despite their connection to him.
- Usually starts or ends a season with an "It's Personal" episode.
- When the investigators fly off the handle, they sometimes violate some of the suspects' rights with their outbursts (Catherine Willows and Sara Sidle are especially guilty of this) or some of the ways they try to obtain evidence. As just one example, getting a suspect to give a urine sample through saying it's required by law, when it actually isn't, sounds like grounds to have the evidence thrown out of court, given that it was obtained under false pretenses, or was coerced.
- In early seasons, even if there weren't a direct relationship between the investigators and the criminals, the nature of the crime would often make the investigator take it personally themselves. For instance: domestic abuse, or overall violence towards women? Sara would sympathize. Broken marriages, or mothers (especially the working kind)? Catherine. Damaged childhoods? Nicky. Grissom himself explicitly stated that drug dealers and people who harm children make him furious.
Grissom: You prey on innocent children, and you think we came all the way out here to bust you for possession, you dumb punk?!
- CSI: Miami: By contrast, features such episodes all the time. And when it's not threatening the characters, it's arresting the characters. It's so frequent, you'd think the whole place would get shut down by Internal Affairs just on...(cue dramatic sunglasses removal) general principles.
- CSI NY: Same thing. Many seasons start or end with personal eps, though they can come at any time. It's in between CSI and CSI Miami, basically. The end of the Shane Casey case is a good example, it got seriously personal for both Danny and Lindsay. And then it got personal for the entire team in 'Near Death' when Mac got shot. It also got personal really fast when Mac's girlfriend was kidnapped. In that case, Mac will kick your ass so badly, you'll be lucky to survive to trial.
- Detective In A Wheelbarrow: Referenced by a Reeves and Mortimer-written advert for TV Licencing, featuring this spoof show - "I'm in a wheelbarrow- and this time, it's personal!"
- Doctor Who:
- Having Amy and Melody their daughter kidnapped, the Last Centurion takes it very personally. The Doctor, too; he does not like it when he's attacked "through the people [he] loves!"
- It's possible that "The Idiot's Lantern" went this way after the Wire fed on Rose, since the Doctor says upon finding out:
The Doctor: There's not a force on the planet that can stop me now!
- The Doctor tends to get this way over: Companions, Daleks, and the Master.
- Summed up best in "Forest of the Dead":
The Doctor: You just killed someone I like, that is not a safe place to stand!
- In The Gunfighters, the Clantons kill Wyatt Earp's brother. Oops. Of course, it would appear that one effect of the Time War was to alter details at the OK Corral....
- ER: Happens with some frequency. From the very first episode, Carol Hathaway was treated for a suicide attempt and by the time the final episode aired, nearly two-thirds of the characters having been in the ER for one reason or another, and not all surviving.
- In a pivotal scene, Mal and his tormentor are struggling near the edge of a Malevolent Architecture pit when Mal's allies arrive. It is played straight at first: Jayne raises his gun to shoot the tormentor, but is stopped by Zoe. "Jayne. This is something the Captain has to do for himself." Then they turn it into an Inverted Trope. Mal: "No! No it's not!" Zoe: "Oh." The ensemble promptly riddle the tormentor with bullets.
- Played straight when Mal discovers Jayne betrayed Simon and River to the Alliance.
Mal: To turn on any of my crew, you turn on me!
- In From Dusk Till Dawn the manhunt for the Geckos becomes very personal for Ranger Gonzalez after they kill his partner.
- Game of Thrones:
- Robb takes Theon's betrayal very personally, and demands that Theon be brought to him so Robb can kill him himself.
- Robb invokes this from his siblings after his death both Sansa and Jon have a special hatred for the Boltons because Roose was the one who finished Robb off. Jon also has an even more intense personal hatred for Ramsay Bolton when he learns that Ramsay Bolton has taken his brother Rickon hostage and also raped his sister Sansa, and despite vowing to never fight again, becomes willing to take up arms. Ramsay threatening to rape Sansa again just makes Jon even angrier and determined to kill him.
- After learning about Shireen's death, Davos demands that Jon allow him to personally execute Melisandre for the princess' death. When Jon decides to exile her instead, Davos warns her that if he ever sees her again, he will kill her himself.
- Lord Rickard towards the Lannisters after Jaime killed his two sons. Later, House Karstark to House Stark after Robb executed Lord Rickard for killing two Lannister squires, to the point that they sided with House Bolton when Sansa and Jon start reclaiming the Northern seat.
- Daenerys vows to destroy the Night King and stop him by any means necessary after he murdered her dragon Viserion.
- Heroes: Matt plans to kill Danko's lover Elena as revenge for Danko's murder of Matt's girlfriend Daphne Millbrook but can't bring himself to go through with it.
- iCarly: Trying to take down iCarly.com is one thing.. hurting Carly herself will get your ass kicked by Sam.
- Law & Order: For a series that is mostly plot-driven, not character-driven, the franchise and its various versions did this relatively often.
- Law & Order:
- It's Personal episodes give us rare glimpses into the characters' home lives/personal histories (Logan confronts the priest who abused him in childhood, Logan tracks down his partner's killer, Briscoe tracks down his daughter's killer).
- And Jack literally breaking all the rules to make sure Alexandra Borgia's killers are punished.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Did it too, with Goren and Eames finally solving the murder of Eames' late husband and also with the illness and death of Goren's mother.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
- The series could be said to be made up almost entirely of It's Personal episodes, with each investigator having buttons that make him or her consider the case personal. (Why let someone work on a case they are clearly biased towards? No one ever plants evidence in this world, I guess...)
- Olivia Benson is searching continuously for her mother's rapist/her own biological father. Although only one SVU episode deals with investigating Ma Benson's rape, this Back Story is touched on in any episode involving pregnancy from a rape as well as at other times.
- Benson has also been stalked by perpetrators at least three times in six seasons.
- Benson takes it to the extreme when someone who was convicted because of her testimony and was later cleared by DNA evidence eight years later starts actually killing people. Other people she brought in and testified against. She takes it so personally that she says she would accept responsibility for the man's crimes. He commits Suicide by Cop before the situation is resolved.
- On the other hand, her partner, Elliot Stabler, has his buttons pushed by any crime involving children (which is roughly every episode that doesn't involve a rape—and, for that matter, not a few which do).
- In the episode "Persona," Judge Elizabeth Donnelly takes a leave of absence and dusts off her ADA credentials to prosecute a murderer who escaped out a bathroom window after setting up a meeting for a plea deal when Donnelly was a junior prosecutor over three decades before.
- Deconstructed in "Gambler's Fallacy," when Detective Rollins' personal connection to the case makes her an unwitting accessory to the rape SVU is investigating, ultimately blows up their investigation, earns her a blistering What the Hell, Hero? from Benson, and nearly gets her fired. On the other hand, Rollins has also been the subject of two It's Personal episodes that are actually pretty great about the detectives following protocol while still being supportive and protective of her.
- Averted by Amaro in "Russian Brides": near the beginning of the episode, he and Olivia have a conversation about their respective fathers, in which Amaro reveals his father was physically abusive toward his mother. Later in the episode, the victim of the week is alleged to have had an abusive ex-boyfriend. Rather than leaping to irrationally believe her due to his own hot button issues, Amaro is immediately (and, as it turns out, correctly) skeptical that the victim might have been engaging in a Wounded Gazelle Gambit.
- Played with in Class: Stabler thinks they should go easy on a college student who murdered his girlfriend, since the boy had a tough time in school due to his working class background, much like Stablers. He tries to appeal to Casey Novak, who also grew up working class and then went to Harvard - Casey responds that her experiences were hard, but they never pushed her to murder anyone.
- Law & Order: UK: The team basically goes all-out to bring Alesha's rapist to justice and later does the same regarding Matt's killer.
- In Season Two of Legends of Tomorrow, Sara has a deep hatred of Damian Darhk, as he murdered her sister. Whenever the team encounter him in history, she is willing to risk all of time itself to kill him for a crime which he hasn't technically committed yet (although he's committed plenty of others). Notably, this is a one-sided grudge at first, since Darhk has yet to meet Sara from his point of view, he originally has no idea who she is or why she hates him. This changes in "Compromised", where Sara tells Darhk his future — the loss of his loved ones and his eventual defeat and death — making Darhk hate her as much as she hates him.
- Used twice in the pilot. Dubenich gets Nate to take on the job because the company they're targeting is ensured by Nate's old company, who refused to pay for the procedure that could have saved his son. When Dubenich turns on Nate and the team, Nate strikes back because he used his son's death as emotional blackmail.
- For the rest of the team, it's personal in e pilot mainly because they didn't get paid. In later episodes, though, Eliot's old girlfriend's barn is burned down, which pisses him off about both the girlfriend and the horses, and Parker gets obsessed with a job dealing with mistreated orphans because she was one, herself.
- At the end of the first season, Nate targets the man who is the head of his old insurance company. In season two, there are also several versions of this: they target a hacker who tried to kill Sophie and a psychic who brought back bad memories for Parker, among several others.
- Life: Crews has pretty much taken the Roman situation to an It's Personal level after finding out that his partner's been abducted, probably by Roman, who has shown an increasing interest in her.
- Little Mosque on the Prairie: Played with when Reverend Magee beats Baber in a Koran quiz and the two of them have a fight over it: on accepting a rematch, Magee declares that this time it's personal, but Baber points out it was personal for him the first time, too. "Seriously, my feelings were hurt."
- The Others tend to see the survivors of the plane crash as interlopers on their island, and take a somewhat detached attitude to them, but their decisions, particularly abducting Walt, end up being personal for the survivors, especially when Sawyer executes Tom after he surrenders "for taking the kid off the raft".
- Ben's feud with Widmore suddenly becomes personal when Alex is killed by Widmore's Psycho for Hire.
- In the final season, the battle between the few remaining Candidates and the Big Bad becomes this after he causes the deaths of Sayid, Jin and Sun in one fell swoop.
- The Mentalist: Fundamental to the show, where the titular mentalist, Patrick Jane, is only helping the California Bureau of Investigation because they're his best shot at catching Red John, the Serial Killer who murdered Jane's wife and daughter. Also the reason why, at the start of the second season, the CBI has taken the Red John case away from the team Jane works with, because the team head was also losing her detachment from the case and indulging Jane's recklessness too much.
- A variation of sorts. Due to his father's anti-magical stance, Prince Arthur has witnessed dozens, possibly hundreds of people being put to death for the crime of witchcraft. Throughout it all he has remained stoic, and when arguing for clemency for various people (Mordred, Gaius, Merlin) he does so in a calm and reasonable manner. But when Uther accuses Guinevere of being a witch and ordering her to be burnt at the stake? Arthur almost tears down the throne room, three armed guards, and his own father to get to her...
- Merlin is a fairly calm person, generally speaking, but if you dare to threaten someone he cares about, he will hurt you.
- Millennium: Used as a Story Arc in season one.
- NCIS: Contains quite a few examples of members of the team being either targeted for or accused of murder, in addition to the fact that Gibbs especially takes his ties to both the Navy and the Marine Corps seriously.
- NUMB3RS has quite a few, especially considering the relative length of the series.
- There is no bigger It's Personal case for the team than "The Janus List"/"Trust Metric". Megan even comments on it.
Megan: Why are we doing this? We're acting like this is any other case, and it isn't.
- A close runner up is "Two Daughters", which was a normal case until Megan is taken hostage, then it becomes very, very personal. Though Megan herself doesn't seem to feel that way, despite everything that happens.
- "Breaking Point" has two separate versions of this around the same case. Colby has this from the beginning, identifying with the victim to the point of obsession, while Don starts off professional, but takes it very personally when their antagonist goes after Charlie.
- Charlie gets the Season Four finale and no less than four separate cases in Season Five (including that season finale as well).
David: In a world where mathematicians go mano a mano with a killer—
- That's not even counting "Frienemies", which is mostly played for laughs.
Colby: This time, it's personal.
- A variation occurs with Colby in "Greatest Hits". He clearly sympathizes with Bloom, but he eventually reveals that it's not so much Bloom himself as the fact that Bloom's situation reminds him of what happened to his father (who he suspects killed himself because of it).
- Invoked by the main antagonists in "Backscatter" to throw the FBI off their game when they get too close to the truth.
- Many guest character cops get involved because of this: Willons in "Nine Wives", Malloy in "Burn Rate", Bloom in "Jack of All Trades". Even recurring guest character Gary Walker gets one in "End of Watch", though unlike the others, it's not his first appearance.
- A humorous example in "The Art Of Reckoning": Charlie is taking Larry's seat at the CalSci poker tournament. At first it's just for Larry's sake, but when his main opponent tries to force him to drop out, Charlie begins to take it personally.
- There is no bigger It's Personal case for the team than "The Janus List"/"Trust Metric". Megan even comments on it.
- Power Rangers: If any one Power Ranger is targeted specifically, he or she will usually lead the others in retaliation, and may even give the order for the finishing blow. If one Ranger is captured, the others will all get mad.
- Prison Break: Alex Mahona and Wyatt. And it's not the cool kind.
- Profiler: Used as a Story Arc in this show.
- In episode 3, Private Richards made things personal with Danny over the death of Richards's best friend Templeton. Danny handled that one in short order.
- In episode 10, things got personal between Miles Matheson and Tom Neville when Miles used Neville's wife Julia as a hostage. Neville swore revenge on Miles for that.
- Danny Matheson's death in episode 11 made things very personal for Rachel and Charlie. It basically had them committed to fighting Sebastian Monroe however they can.
- Things became personal between Jason Neville and Tom Neville the minute the latter realized that the former had not only turned against him, but was now working for the rebels in episode 13.
- Rachel is now fully dedicated to return power to the world. Not because it would be better for everyone. It's only to allow Monroe's enemies to have occasions to kill him, as well as get revenge for her son's death. Never get a mom angry. She said as much in episode 17.
- Monroe has it in for Miles, but he really cranks up the personal part in episode 15 by going back to their hometown in Jasper, and threatening to kill everyone there, starting with Miles's highschool fiance Emma. Emma ends up dead, and Miles more or less states this trope.
- Episode 18 reveals that Jim Hudson has been out for Miles's blood, because Miles ruined his life back in episode 12.
- The first season finale reveals the reason things got so personal between Miles and Monroe in the first place. A rebel bombed a restaurant the two men were in and injured Miles. Monroe, acting on his borderline erotic fixation for Miles, responded to this by executing the rebel and his entire family. You get to see five coffins being loaded. Miles responded by trying to assassinate Monroe while the guy was sleeping...but he couldn't do it. Miles just walked without an explanation and Monroe was never the same since.
- Sherlock: In The Great Game, Moriarty straps random people to bombs, and while Sherlock puts real effort into solving the mysteries to rescue the hostages, he remains largely unmoved, because caring about the people won't help save them. When Moriarty straps John to a bomb, though, Sherlock freaks the fuck out.
- It also happens in Series 3. After Sherlock get John out of a bonfire, he said that he'll find the person responsible for throwing him in it, since he hates not knowing. Cue episode 3, and cue it being Charles Augustus Magnussen. Uh-oh. We can expect a certain detective BEING PISSED when he finds that out. It doesn't help that it proceeds to screw things up since Sherlock had no idea that Magnuseen knew his pressure point was John and Sherlock shoots Magnussen right in front of everyone, including Mycroft. WHOOPS.
- John's prone to this as well. Okay, unlike Sherlock, he MAY care about lives at stake, but if you manage to piss him off by messing with his friends-and good luck to you if you manage to get him pissed if you make an attempt on Sherlock's life, since, well... he'll end you.
- Stargate SG-1:
- Although the team seems to take it personal every time one of the main characters is hurt/threatened/kidnapped/killed/whatever, the conflict with the Goa'uld was personal for both Daniel (because of what happened to his wife) and Teal'c (because of his history as Apophis' First Prime). The team actually gets called on taking things too personally a few times, but they generally shrug it off.
- Jack also tends to take it somewhat personally when Skaara is involved, a holdover from The Movie, where Skaara is the Abydonian Jack interacts with the most and becomes rather protective of, possibly reminding him of his recently-dead son whom he was still mourning heavily. And Sam, of course, when her father/Selmac is involved.
- Star Trek:
- The Next Generation: Naturally, the Klingons have a tradition called the "Rite of Vengeance." Worf invokes it on Duras when Duras kills K'Heyler.
- In "Loud as a Whisper," Riva tells the Enterprise crew not to even bother investigating the reasons for the war provided in the background they've been given. It'll say that it's about some piece of land, or wealth, or something, but it doesn't matter. After fifteen centuries of fighting, nobody really cares about the original reason anymore. It's just personal.
- In "Qpid," Picard decides to go rescue Vash ("Maid Marian") himself and leave the rest of the Enterprise crew out of it, telling Riker that it's not a mission, it's personal between himself and Q and he doesn't want the rest of the crew involved.
- Deep Space Nine: Sisko's pursuit of Michael Eddington. He's absolutely livid that Eddington betrayed him to the point where Starfleet brass takes him off the case—until Eddington beats them and Sisko's the only one available to capture him. Which he does by bio-bombing the Maquis planet Eddington is on to make it uninhabitable to humans (with ample time to evacuate, mind, but it still makes Worf balk).note
- Enterprise: Trip wants to personally pay back the Xindi for killing his sister Elizabeth. When the Xindi official Degra (who lead the attack on Earth) starts working with the crew, Trip wastes no time letting him know, verbally, how much Trip hates him. Archer also has this attitude to a lesser degree.
- The Wire: Season one: Omar and his crew have ripped off one too many Barksdale stash-houses, so Avon places a bounty on the three of them. One of them, John Bailey, is found dead, having been shot 39 times with three different guns. The other, Omar's boyfriend Brandon, suffered two broken arms and several broken fingers, several knife wounds, cigarette burns, and one of his eyes was gouged out. It's unsurprising that Omar takes this personally and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Barksdale gang. Later, Omar and Stringer discuss the issue quite plainly:
Stringer Bell: But y'all was fucking with my stash. Anything after that — part of the game.
Omar: Maybe, but you see, y'all went past that with Brandon.
Stringer Bell: What happened to your boy was business. But how that shit happened — you got a right to take that to heart.
- Without a Trace: After distinguishing itself in the beginning by not having episodes of this type, this show has since had at least three.
- The X-Files:
- If there is an episode that involves anything relating to Samantha Mulder, it's probably this trope.
- A more subtle example is in Season 3's "Revelations," where Scully, investigating a case of a young boy with stigmata, is forced to confront the gulf between her Catholic faith and the scientific procedures she must follow as a federal agent.
- There are quite a few episodes in which Scully deals with her faith, and the slow losing of it. Others include "Redux II", "All Souls", "Biogenesis" and its sequels, and all of the things surrounding Wiliam's conception and birth.
- Also, involving either Mulder or William in a conpsiracy is a good way to bump the episode up to a "it's personal" for Scully.
- Eventually, the "it's personal" thinking shifts from something involving Samantha to events involving Scully. In "Redux", he tells Scully he can't let his crusade rest because they gave her cancer:
Mulder: There are those who can be trusted. What I need to know is who among them is not. I will not allow this treason to prosper, not if they've done this to you.
- Hulk Hogan has been involved in numerous examples of the trope, with perhaps the most important being André the Giant ripping off his crucifix during a Piper's Pit segment, as part of the lead-up to WrestleMania III. The feud continued to become more and more personal as Hogan felt that Andre, who had sided with Bobby "The Brain" Heenan in a FaceHeel Turn out of nowhere after being out of the ring for some time, had betrayed him by doing so.
- Kane entered the WWF (now WWE) in 1997 with the purpose of destroying The Undertaker, who he believed had murdered their parents.
- Shawn Michaels and Triple H's feud circa 2002-2004. The sheer hatred and blood shed between the former best friends over the course of those three years was immeasurable. They went through every single match in the book (barring an "I Quit" match), including one of the bloodiest Hell in a Cell matches in the history, and didn't make up until mid-2006 in order to reform DX.
- Partially subverted in the feud between Randy Orton and John Cena. Orton made things personal with Cena when he attacked Cena's father note on multiple occasions. Cena returned the favor in later years as he constantly got in Orton's way and drove the character to a near-obsession with getting Cena out of his life, and just when it seemed he was going to do so at Bragging Rights, Kofi Kingston prevented Orton from getting the victory. Which then caused a feud between Randy and Kofi.
- It had become so personal, that during the match Orton tried to blow Cena up with pyrotechnics. Cena barely rolled out of the way.
- When Josie and Lexi Lane were given a match at Southern All-Stars Wrestling, neither was particularly interested in wrestling the other, both preferring to play games with the fans. When the match got started however, it ended up being so personal they both waited until everyone else had left the SAW Arena, then contacted a PGWA referee and cameraman for another match without distraction.
- While Wesna Busic vs Cheerleader Melissa had been an ongoing rivalry, Cheerleader Melissa's personal feud was with Busic's manager, Annie Social. Social had interjected herself into the rivalry to ensure Melissa never won a title in SHIMMER.
- Chris Jericho's feud with CM Punk over the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 28 is one of the more notable ones in recent years after the whole Cena/Orton debacle. Both were arguing over who was the best wrestler in the world, and that should have been enough — but Jericho proceeded to make it personal by bringing up the history of alcohol and substance abuse of Punk's family, which caused him to go absolutely postal. Became even more personal after 'Mania when Jericho proceeded to dump beer all over Punk's prone body after a match with Mark Henry, leading into a Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules for the title.
- Punk's feud with his former best friend Paul Heyman was similar in a way. It was one thing when Heyman cost him another Money in the Bank briefcase and therefore another chance at the WWE title, but then Paul brought up Punk's family, or lack of. While Punk was stuck battling the many wrestlers under Heyman's management (including Brock Lesnar), it was clear to everyone that he couldn't care less about them — all he wanted was to get his hands on Heyman, which he eventually did.
- Vendetta Pro Wrestling owner, and champion, Billy Blade personally assaulted Reby Sky and made sure to let everyone know it was because of her association with Matt Hardy by ending with a twist of fate. Before this, Hardy had only been trying to add another title to his collection and was completely professional about it, afterwards he was more concerned with just beating Blade, which means he neglected to put the belt on the line even though he won at Terror Rising 2012 and shaved Blade bald.
- AJ Styles took a personal issue with Adam Cole attacking after his successful defense of the NJPW IWGP Heavyweight Title at War Of The Worlds. AJ intimated how much it bugged him that he had never been Ring of Honor's World Champion, even though he really should have been, but said even if Adam Cole lost the title to Michael Elgin, he'd put off pursuing the belt to get back at Cole, which he did.
- After Seth Rollins backstabbed the rest of The Shield, it seems Dean Ambrose's only goal in life is to beat the shit out of him. Every other feud Ambrose has had over the last year since then is at most is minor distractions — Ambrose makes it very clear that once said distractions are gone, Rollins is his next target. Even his desire to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Seth is more like another way to stick it to his rival, with the added boon of winning the most prized championship in sports entertainment.
- WWE NXT has had a fair number of these kinds of rivalries, but the absolute most personal one had to be between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Originally the popular tag team #DIY, Ciampa turned on Gargano after they lost a ladder match for the NXT Tag Team Championships against the Authors of Pain, a match in which Ciampa tore his ACL. Undeterred, Ciampa spent months tormenting Gargano on numerous social media sites, while Gargano was traumatized by the incident and entered a bit of rut in regards to his singles career. Just when he turned it around, Ciampa re-entered his life, almost completely healed, attacking Gargano after his five star classic against then-NXT Champion Andrade 'Cien' Almas. Gargano still couldn't quite face Ciampa, so he focused on the NXT Championship, putting his career on the line for the sake of a title shot; and just as he was about to win the title, Ciampa attacked him again, costing him both the title and his career. Thoroughly pissed, Gargano was done evading his former best friend, stalking him throughout the weeks since the incident and attacking him on NXT, culminating in an unsanctionednote grudge match at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans, where, if Gargano won, he would be reinstated to NXT.
- Samoa Joe and AJ Styles' 2018 feud became personal when Joe repeatedly mocked AJ and accused him of being an inattentive husband and father. Joe would then threaten AJ's wife and daughter when they were in the audience and claim that once he destroyed AJ, he would be their new daddy.
- In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, every shapechanger hates vampires to one level or another. However for the Silent Strider tribe of werewolves, their history includes an ancient ungodly powerful vampire who placed a curse on them, banishing them from their homeland of Egypt. Since that time, they've nurtured a burning hatred of all things bloodsucking.
- In the musical 1776, Lewis Morris of New York always abstained (courteously!) because the New York legislature never gave him instructions about what to do or how to vote or even whether the colony was pro or anti independence. Then toward the end, as they're ratifying and signing the Declaration of Independence, Morris finds out from George Washington that the British army had destroyed his home, his wife and most of his children fled to Connecticut, and his oldest sons were now in the Continental Army fighting the British.
Morris: To hell with New York! I'll sign [the Declaration of Independence] anyway!
- Rock of Ages: The villainous Moral Guardian wants rock-and-roll music banned because she was dumped by a rockstar years ago.
- Chrono Trigger has a couple instances of this:
- Frog initially joins Cronos crew so that he can wreak vengeance on Magus, a dark sorcerer who killed his best friend and cursed him to look like a frog. He remains on the team to prevent Lavos from destroying the world.
- Magus summons Lavos in order to slay it, as the creature is responsible for destroying his family, his kingdom, his childhood basically his entire life.
- In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, if the player sends Nino, Jaffar, or Renault against Nergal, the fight will be this for them. Nino because Nergal ordered Sonia to kill her birth family, Jaffar because Nergal is responsible for raising him into a remorseless killer, and Renault because Nergal turned his dead friend into an Empty Shell.
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, fighting the Demon King is very personal for Ephraim and Eirika, since Fomortiis is responsible for eating their best friend's soul.
- In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, the game is ostensibly about saving a princess and freeing a country, but to Ike, it's also a story of revenge against the Black Knight, who's serving Daein. In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, vengeance has taken more of a back seat, though it's still there and has been tempered to a Tranquil Fury.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Chrom has his fair share of issues with Plegia and its king Gangrel, but when his elder sister and Yllise's ruler Emmeryn dies in a Heroic Sacrifice to try and end the war between Plegia and Yllise, Chrom decides the time for diplomacy is over and commits to full-scale war with Plegia and Gangrel.
- There are a few cases of this in Fire Emblem Fates as well.
- Letting Corrin fight Hans in Birthright, since he'd killed Lilith just a few minutes prior.
- Also in Birthright, letting Takumi fight Iago is some much-deserved penance, because Iago had been using Takumi as an inadvertent spy against the Hoshidan army.
- Having Corrin fight Garon in either Birthright or Conquest counts, albeit for slightly different reasons depending on the route, and slightly more so in Birthright. In Birthright, Corrin is fighting the man who kidnapped and then neglected them for their entire life. In Conquest, they're more getting revenge on the evil entity who made Garon do that to them.
- Resident Evil has several cases of this.
- Chris in Resident Evil 5, when he pretty much abandons his original mission to search for Jill Valentine instead, who he had earlier thought was dead, but turned out to be alive. And then of course, when he kills Wesker in the end, this is not only his job as a BSAA member, but it's personal considering Wesker kidnapped/brainwashed Jill, and Chris used to work with Wesker before he went all evil and tried to infect the whole world with the Uroboros.
- Again in Resident Evil 6, Chris has this with Ada Wong, or so he thinks (it's really Carla Radames) after she kills his entire team, save Piers.
- Helena in Resident Evil 6 has this with Simmons because he basically killed her sister.
- In Metroid, Samus hunts the Space Pirates not only because it's her job, but because they attacked the colony where she lived massacred everyone there, with their commander, Ridley, killing her mother before her very eyes, and later eating her corpse. Samus was three.
- Although it's only briefly mentioned in a scan log, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption says that Admiral Dane was also orphaned by the Space Pirates.
- Assassin's Creed. Every. Single. Game.
- Assassin's Creed I: Robert De Sable defeats Altaïr in combat and thus making him fail his task and loose his his rank. Although Altaïr realises he was arrogant and he himself was main reason for his failure. Still, it's VERY personal.
- Assassin's Creed II: Templars kill half of Ezio's family which gives Ezio motivation for 3/4 of the game.
- Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood: Yet again, Templars strike against what is valuable to Ezio. This time it's his uncle Mario, and the whole town you spent the previous game in.
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations: This is the first Assassin's Creed game that doesn't start with this trope. Ezio seeks knowledge and not revenge this time. Until he hooks up with Sofia, who the Big Bad is eager to exploit. He even realizes he is making things fully personal against one of the most dangerous killers of the world.
- Same with Altaïr. He is wise enough to not let himself be consumed by anger, but you know Abbas is finished when he executes Altaïr's youngest son and indirectly kills his wife.
- Assassin's Creed III: The destruction of Connor's village is what keeps him going.
- Ironically, it's revealed that the Templars were trying to protect the village, having made allies with them before. Since Connor didn't give them directions, George Washington's troops were able to burn the village. But by that point their leader personally wants him, his village, and his town dead anyway.
- The Elder Scrolls
- In Skyrim, when you confront Mercer Frey in the Thieves' Guild questline, you can claim this as the reason to kill Mercer for him stabbing you, although you can also claim your loyalty to Nocturnal as the reason to go after Mercer.
- In the spin-off Dungeon Crawl game Battlespire, it's bad enough that Mehrunes Dagon has taken over the Battlespire, but he has also captured The Apprentice's partner.
- In the spin-off Action-Adventure game Redguard, the protagonist is the Redguard pirate Cyrus. As a pirate, his primary modus operandi is the acquisition of wealth and treasures. Despite the rebellion going on in his homeland of Hammerfell, he only returns when his sister goes missing, making it personal. During his quest to rescue her, Cyrus unintentionally becomes the leader of the rebellion, leading them to great success. They would have named him King of the Redguards afterward, but he turned them down.
- In the series' backstory, Pelinal Whitestrake was the legendary 1st Era hero of mankind/racist berserker. Believed to have been a Shezarrine, physical incarnations of the spirit of the "dead" creator god Lorkhan (known to the Imperials as "Shezarr"), Pelinal came to St. Alessia to serve as her divine champion in the war against the Ayleids. Pelinal would fly into fits of Unstoppable Rage (mostly directed at the Ayleids) during which he would be stained with their blood and left so much carnage in his wake that Kyne, one of the Divines, would have to send in her rain to cleanse Ayleid forts and village before they could be used by Alessia's forces. When Huna, a grain slave Pelinal had raised to hoplite, was killed by the arrow of an Ayleid king, Pelinal went so berserk that he not only slew the Ayleids in the kingdom responsible, but erased their lands from the world. The Divines were so disgusted with his actions that they nearly left the world if not for Alessia making sacrifices to regain their favor.
- Final Fantasy X's Auron is the stoic, quiet, all-knowing, Badass Longcoat of the group, never losing his cool or raising his voice. He doesn't have to - his reputation and obvious awesomeness compels everyone else to fear and respect him. The one and only time we see any passion from him is when he and the heroes confront Yunalesca... who, when he last saw her, calmly explained how his friends' deaths were meaningless, then killed him. Yes, he has a bit of a grudge there.
- Final Fantasy X-2 carries the Tagline of "Last time she saved the world. This time it's personal." "She" being the High Summoner Yuna, of course.
- Vent and Aile of Mega Man ZX lost their mother to a Maverick raid on Area H ten years ago, and the lack of intervention on Slither Inc's part gave them a reason to hate the company. The truth behind it gives them a reason to search for Model W...and that's to destroy it.
- Max Payne is ALL about this, which gets lampshaded by Max in more than one Private Eye Monologue.
- It's a common enough multiplayer game trick to have allies beat all the mooks on the way to some huge big bad monster, but that monster you must defeat alone (so you get to win a quest at a lower level than would be doable alone, get powerful and untradable monster drops, or make a memorable revenge video against some enemy gang). Bonus points if both gangs are into roleplaying enough to stand aside while 2 people duel it out without interference.
- In Starcraft, Raynor, Zeratul, Mengsk and Artanis have all sworn revenge against Kerrigan for her general Not-So-Magnificent Bastardry.
- By Starcraft II, Raynor seems to have softened a bit, partially at the guilt he feels about going along with Mengsk so long that he feels complicit in what Kerrigan has become.
- Once the Heart of the Swarm expansion rolls around, Kerrigan herself has been partially de-infested and is only now aware of the atrocities she has committed. As such, she now wants personal revenge against Mengsk for delivering her to the Zerg in the first place.
- Guild Wars warrior Devona has this battle quote:
Forget duty! This is personal!
- In The World Ends with You, Neku starts to distrust Joshua after he finds out that Joshua shot him. At the end of the chapter, Neku goes totally berserk on Sho Minamimoto after it's revealed that the image Neku discovered was incomplete and Minamimoto shot him instead of Joshua. Although, even THAT image was incomplete. Joshua really did kill him. Neku gets another "It's Personal" moment while facing Kitaniji, who possesses Shiki and the rest of Shibuya.
- In Shadow Hearts: From The New World, Ricardo signs on with Johnny after his lover, Edna, is given the Kiss of Malice by Lady and turned into a conduit for monsters. He's forced to kill Edna himself to free her, and follows Johnny to make sure the one who turned his beloved into a monster dies.
- Reversed in Dark Souls II. The Last Giant goes apeshit as soon as he sees you, which can be attribued to the hatred the Giants hold for humanity after they lost their war against Drangleic. But later you access the Memory of the Giants which really makes you travel to the past during the Giant War and defeat the Giant Lord, winning the war for the humans and leaving the Giant Lord the "last" of his species.
- Reversed in Metal Gear Solid 3, with the villain declaring It's Personal on the hero. Volgin already intended to kill the CIA operative who had infiltrated his base. But after he found out what Snake did to Major Raikov...
The Boss: Are you going to kill him?Volgin: Of course. But first, I will make him pay for hurting Ivan.
- It is then played straight with Snake whose mission had always been to kill Volgin but after the torture he went through by his hand Snake becomes motivated to get a little payback which he succeeds in doing by humiliating Volgin in hand to hand combat. Then after a long battle with Volgin in the Shagohad Snake witnesses Volgin have a villainous breakdown over how Snake has ruined his plans and dies a karmic death by lightning before he can attack Snake again.
- In Metal Gear Rising, the final boss has this to say when you drop him to about a third of his health:
Senator Armstrong: You know what?! Fuck this war! I just want you dead!
- American McGee's Alice: The Mad Hatter trampled your friend the White Rabbit into the ground, causing Alice to break down... and when the Queen of Hearts slaughtered the Cheshire Cat, you knew Alice was going to break her into pieces.
- In the first Mercenaries, the player character was going after General Song for the One Hundred Million Dollar bounty on his head. In the sequel, Ramon Solano hires you to rescue General Carmona, a friend of his. Carmona then launches a coup, and Solano is installed as the President of Venezuela. Rather than pay the merc and let them be on their way, Solano tries to have them executed. People trying to kill them? That's something Jennifer, Chris, and Mattias are used to. Getting screwed out of a paycheck? It's Personal, now.
"Yeah! No one shoots him in the ass and gets away with it!"
- You forgot the part where the merc you're controlling got shot in the ass. To quote Chris:
- Persona 4 is filled with them.
- Persona 5: There are personal motives behind almost all of the heroes' heists.
- Kamoshida, your high school's coach, broke Ryuji's leg, ending his promising track career and causing him to become an uncaring delinquent, tormented the student body with impunity, sexually harassed Ann and many others, and molested Ann's friend Shiho, driving her to attempt suicide.
- Madarame, Yusuke's adopted father, emotionally abused Yusuke, stole his work, and indirectly killed his mother by purposefully letting her die.
- Kaneshiro blackmailed students from your high school, causing the principal to force Student Council President Makoto to get on the case. He also manages to blackmail her and the Thieves. His Shadow, representative of his inner thoughts, threatens her sister as well.
- Okumura, Haru's father, started putting his company before his family. He failed to realize how much he was neglecting her and put his needs before hers by forcing her into an Arranged Marriage with a guy whose ties would improve his business.
- Sae's ambition and cynicism got so bad that it was straining her relationship with Makoto, who could tell how unhappy she was and really wanted for Sae to be able to live meaningfully rather than slave endlessly after promotions.
- Masayoshi Shido personally screwed over Futaba, Haru, and the Protagonist, had The Conspiracy mess with Sae on the job so much that she became disillusioned enough to have her own Palace, and had his aide push Ryuji out of the way so he could steal Ryuji's elevator ride. Pretty much only Ann and Yusuke have no real beef with the guy. And let's not even talk about how he's also practically responsible for everything that went wrong with Goro's life.
- In The Godfather game, you as Aldo Trapani already had a personal stake in attacking the other families as the Don of the Barzinis killed your father Johnny. After Tattaglia goons abduct and kill Frankie Malone, though, you'll definitely have it in for them. The game Hangs a Lampshade by naming this particular mission "Now It's Personal".
- In Battalion Wars II, Marshall Nova comes to have this attitude when Ubel takes command and invades his country. To recap: Ubel killed his father, wired the national monument he was buried at to explode, and in general devastated the Tundran Territories in a way unprecedented throughout history. The Alliance of Nations reformed solely to say "AW HELL NAW" to that behavior, because goddamn.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The entire reason Link goes out on the Great Sea in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker is because his little sister was kidnapped by the Helmaroc King, a minion of Ganon. Which makes his fight against the bird nearly half-way through the game all the more epic.
- Likewise, Link in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword - Link is motivated through his Dungeon Crawling by the chance to find his lifelong friend and Implied Love Interest again after she'd been spirited away from Skyloft, which is exactly why Hylia had her taken to begin with.
- Urbosa, the Gerudo Champion in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, thinks that the fact that Calamity Ganon, the Eldritch Abomination that has caused so much misery for Hyrule, originally manifested as a Gerudo man is a deep stain upon the honor of her people.
- In the first Mass Effect, Saren makes it personal for Shepard and the Normandy crew when Shepard is forced to leave Ashley or Kaidan behind on Virmire.
Shepard: They messed with my hamster guys. Now it's personal.
- In Mass Effect 2, things get personal right from the get-go: the Collectors attack and destroy the Normandy, kill twenty-one crewmembers, including First Officer Pressley, and kill Shepard. Later on they attack the Normandy SR-2 and kidnap the entire crew, save for Joker and the squad members. And of course, it gets even more personal if Shepard loses squad members during the suicide mission.
- In Mass Effect 3, it's personal from the very beginning when Earth is attacked, but even more so when Shepard finally gets to kill Kai Leng, who had previously attacked both Thane and Miranda.
Shepard: That was for Thane/Miranda, you son of a bitch!
- The Reapers themselves, normally very stoic and uncaring for the affairs of the species that they're harvesting, are very specifically targeting Earth... because Shepard has ruined all of their well-laid plans that have worked for eons.
- Played for Laughs in the Citadel DLC, where Shepard's evil clone intends to have Shepard's space hamster destroyed, among other items of value in his/her cabin. S/he is so rattled s/he asks his/her teammates why they're not saying anything, before thinking they don't have the words for it. As opposed to, y'know, questioning Shepard's sanity.
- In the "There's Something in the Sea" Alternate Reality Game for BioShock 2, Mark Meltzer was devoted to finding out more about the recent kidnappings of six- and seven-year-old girls around the North Atlantic, namely, who, why and where to. He eventually estimated where the next kidnapping was due to be and went there with his family. His family included a seven-year-old girl. The kidnapper, a Big Sister, obviously recognised Mark as a threat and kidnapped his daughter. He then put his search into finding out where the girls had gone to in full motion after that, until eventually he found where the girls had been taken...Rapture. In the game he is caught by Sofia Lamb, the Big Bad who kidnapped the girls in the first place and is made into a Big Daddy for his daughter Cindy (now a Little Sister), something you discover only after you kill Mark.
- The Knights of the Old Republic duology have a luggage shuttle of these. Carth going after Saul Karath for the destruction of Carth's homeworld, the death of his wife, and letting his son fall into the hands of the Sith. Juhani and Xor getting into a scrap because Xor killed Juhani's dad, then later tried to buy her as a sex slave (for a T-rated game, they sure got a lot of crap to sail under the radar...). Canderous wanting to kill Jagi for insulting his honor in the first game, then being tricked by Kreia in the second because he needed to find out why Revan abandoned him. In the second game, Bao-Dur also joined the Republic forces and created the horrific Mass Shadow Generator to make the Mandalorians pay for what they did to his homeworld. Atris's hostility towards the Exile has shades of it. You can also state this as a motive for either PC. Strangely, most of these revenge motives get inverted or subverted in some way.
- From the same family, you also get a couple of these in Jade Empire. Sky's got a "thing" about slavers...having your five-year-old daughter run through by a group of them would kinda do that. There's also "The Serpent" running the Imperial City arena that Black Whirlwind has an axe to grind with...literally. And it certainly goes there with your PC and "Master" Sun Li - he killed your people, spent your entire life grooming you as an Unwitting Pawn, then killed you after all.
- Left 4 Dead 2: Ellis is pissed that the Zombie Apocalypse made him miss Jimmy Gibbs's appearance at the mall.
Ellis: Aw, shit, we missed him? You know what, that's the last straw. These zombies have just made themselves an enemy.
Ellis: Aw, c'mon Coach, that biker guy seemed nice.
- Also played for laughs concerning Jimmy's car:
Coach: He's probably stolen the Jimmy Gibbs Jr. by now.
Ellis: He is a dead man.
Bill: *concerning Zoey's death* One of those sick sons of bitches just sealed all of their death warrants.
- Of course, whenever one of the survivors ends up dead, some of the remarks the others make lean more towards this.
- Supplementary materials reveal that while Final Fantasy VII Big Bad Sephiroth had grand ambitions of godhood, it was his very personal hatred of Cloud that gave him the strength to maintain his identity in the Lifestream. Being killed by an unremarkable grunt was apparently too much for Sephiroth's ego.
- Within the actual game, Cloud addresses this towards the end of the game—he urges his party to find something important that will make them want to fight, instead of fighting under the more impersonal notion to "protect the Planet."
- CJ's reasoning behind taking on Big Smoke alone at the end of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
CJ: Smoke played me. Tenpenny played me.
- This is what motivates Lu Bu's relentless pursuit of Nezha in Warriors Orochi 3. After soundly thrashing Lu Bu by himself, the Mystic turns and casually kills Diao Chan right in front of him.
- Mickey Mouse, of all people, has this briefly in Kingdom Hearts II when Goofy pushes him out of the way when a Heartless was about to attack him and gets hit instead. And was thought to be dead.
- This occurs in the Endgame to Quest for Glory IV: When Katrina is killed through the machinations of Ad Avis, the game makes it clear that the Hero is partly driven by the realization that Katrina truly did love him when he finally puts his nemesis down for good. Shadows of Darkness allows the player to take dialog options earlier in the game that indicates the Hero was in love with her as well, and her death is stated to weigh heavily on him during the victory celebration. It's not that the Hero needed any more motivation than saving the world and stopping the Dark One from escaping imprisonment, but killing the woman he loved was probably not the best idea.
- Invoked by Handsome Jack in Borderlands 2. He does what he can to stop you from getting in his way and he acts like a total douche about it until you kill his daughter, Angel (she asked you to kill her so that Jack can't power up the Vault Key). Jack becomes deadly serious after the event and vows to personally kill you after what you did.
- Much of of Krieg's motivation to fight Hyperion is because both sides of his personality are ripshit pissed off because of the experiments they put him through.
- In Virtue's Last Reward, while Akane engineered the events of the game to ostensibly save humanity from Radical-6, she's also out for revenge against Brother.
- The same goes for the prequel, Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. The reason for the murders during the game is because Akane wanted to manipulate the man responsible for killing her in another timeline into murdering his accomplices. Wow, Akane Kurashiki can be really vindictive...
- In Crysis 2, Commander Lockhart hates the Nanosuit programme because he lost a nephew to it.
- Done in Thor: God of Thunder, a game set before the events of Thor itself. Sif is impaled, after pushing a fellow Asgardian out of danger, and becomes temporarily dead. Although it wasn't planned or caused by a Big Bad, her death enrages Thor and causes him to seek vengeance, to the point where Odin worries that "Thor will slaughter and bring holocaust" if he doesn't do anything.
Odin: (discussing bringing Sif back to life and interfering with fate) If I do not, I fear that Thor will...Loki: Thor will defy you and wage war against the Jotuns from now until Ragnarok.
- Saints Row 2 has a double dose of this:
- Makes up a good portion of the Brotherhood plotline: after getting his face scarred, a pissed-off Maero kidnaps Carlos, a Saints lieutenant who helped the Boss escape prison, and has his goons chain him to the back of a truck and drag him through the street. The Boss retaliates by having Maero's girlfriend Jessica crushed by a monster truck.
- In the Ronin plotline: After his girlfriend Aisha is killed by a Ronin lieutenant, Johnny Gat takes Shogo Akuji, who ordered her death and tried to crash her funeral, and beats the living shit out of him before burying him alive.
- Saints Row: The Third: Discussed by Cyrus Temple at the end of "Gang Bang" when he mentions Jessica's death in the previous game and asks the gathered reporters if she were their daughter, how far would they want STAG to go in fighting the gang menace?
- Saints Row IV:
- Cyrus Temple, ironically, takes his failures in the previous game personally. How personally? Try "found a terrorist cell and fire a nuke at Washington DC" personal.
- And, of course, Boss is sore at Zinyak for destroying almost his entire constituency and for imprisoning him and his gang, telling Zinyak that his retaliation is less about pride and more about wrath. Keith David too.
Keith David: I was twelve hours into Dead Island when the Zin attacked. Now I'll never finish. I won't forgive them for that.
- In Sword of the Stars: The Pit some characters have this sort of reason for getting involved. The Marine is looking for his Love Interest, who was working in the mountains near the facility. Said Love Interest is the twin sister of the Scout. The Engineer is out to avenge a friend killed by enemies he tracked to the Pit. The Warrior is seeking help for his afflicted friends and neighbours.
- In the comics Bane wants to break the Batman because he's the biggest challenge out there. In the Batman: Arkham Series, it first appears that this is the case, while also making him something of a dumb brute. Origins brings the character more in line with both the comics and the The Dark Knight Saga, and also provides information that he's after Batman for revenge ("the Batman's death will bring him peace"), though revenge for what isn't stated.
- In World of Warcraft the Burning Legion's attitude towards Azeroth has become this. Having wiped out and corrupted hundreds of worlds in the past, their efforts to do so to Azeroth have thus far led to their leader Sargeras having his body slain and spirit banished to the Twisting Nether with no clear notion on how to get him back, their chief tactician Tichondrius being permanently killed (which is very difficult to do to a dreadlord), the greatest of the pit lords Mannoroth also being slain, one of Sargeras' two seconds in command Archimonde being Zerg Rushed to death by wisps and the other, Kil'jaeden, being defeated and banished. Naturally as demons, this long list of failures makes them all the more determined to wipe Azeroth out rather than acknowledging they should probably leave its inhabitants to fight each other. Not helping is that Azeroth now plays host to the draenei, the race Kil'jaeden was once part of and whose leader Kil'jaeden is obsessed with killing for rejecting the "gift" of the Legion.
- In Yu-Gi-Oh! Capsule Monster Coliseum, Yami Yugi is infuriated with Bandit Keith and his cheating ways. The entirety of their battle banter is them trash-talking each other the entire way.
- Dragon Age:
Loghain: So, there is some Maric in you after all. Good.Alistair: Forget Maric, this is for Duncan!
- In Dragon Age: Origins, you can fight Loghain yourself in a Duel Boss during the Landsmeet, or choose one of your companions (except your dog) to act as The Champion for you. However, picking Alistair ends with him automatically executing Loghain for being responsible of the deaths of the many Grey Wardens in Ostagar, including his father figure.
Cabot: Thieves made off with our stores of cookie dough. Now it's personal.
- Portrayed rather tragically in Dragon Age II, in which Varric wants revenge on his brother, Bartrand, who traps Varric, Hawke, and their other two companions in the Deep Roads just so he won't have to share profits from their expedition. They eventually find their way out and back home, but Varric is determined to revenge himself on his backstabbing brother; if Hawke's younger sibling dies as a result of Bartrand's betrayal (and particularly if it's Bethany, to whom Varric is very attached), his anger is that much more evident. He finally gets his chance during the second act of the game... only to find his Vengeance Denied by the fact that Bartrand has gone completely insane, and the revenge killing is more like putting down a rabid animal.
- Parodied in Dragon Age: Inquisition. The player can ask The Bartender about current events. One of the things he might say in reply is this:
- Xenoblade: Dear, God. Let's get counting:
- Shulk hates the Mechon anyway, since, you know, they're ravaging mechanical monsters, but really loses his cool when Metal Face kills Fiora.
- Reyn has the same reasons as Shulk, since he was friends with Fiora as well, but also wants to avenge his fallen friends in the defense force.
- Sharla finds out that the Mechon completely destroyed her home, and ate most of its inhabitants, while the one responsible laughs at her. And then, of course, Metal Face didn't win any points with her either.
- Dunban is more calm than the others, but the party repeatedly assumes he must hate the Mechon the most out of them all. Not surprising, considering what they did to his sister. Then when the first big reveal comes along, and Dunban finds out who Metal Face is, that he didn't die in the battle of Sword Valley, and that he ravaged Colony 9 for the lulz, Dunban shows how much hate he has against Mumkhar and tries to kill him then and there. Luckily, Shulk stops him.
- Melia already had a personal fight against the Telethia, since it killed her four most trusted guards. When you help her kill it, she agrees to help the party. And then, guess who, Metal Face shows up and kills her father. So if you're keeping count, Metal Face invokes this in five out of seven party members.
- Even still, when The Reveal comes out and the party discovers Fiora is alive, and is piloting a Face Mechon, the focus seems to shift away from a revenge plot, and more on trying to stop the people of the two Titans from fighting.
- This isn't even getting into Egil's motivations, who harbors so much hatred towards Zanza, and what he and the Bionis did to him and his people. He vows to wipe out all life on Bionis, setting up a Not So Different moment with Shulk that Shulk himself notices. Though to be fair, Egil's hatred is only towards Zanza; he had no enmity for Shulk or any of the others, but killing the life on Bionis was to ensure that Zanza could never rise again.
- And then we get the second big reveal: Shulk had been dead, possessed by Zanza, since the day he found the Monado, and was reduced to nothing more than a shell just so that Zanza could return. And who is it that delivers this news? Dickson, Dunban's other friend, Shulk's father figure, and one of Zanza's immortal Co-Dragons. And to top it all off, Zanza not only taunts them about Shulk while adopting his appearance, but plans to kill everyone to preserve his immortality.
- Can it get any more personal after that? YES, actually, with the reveal of one of the other Co-Dragons: Lorithia of the High Entia. Now, granted, that particular reveal doesn't make it personal. What the Co-Dragon does makes it personal: forcibly converting all of the pureblooded High Entia, including Melia's older brother, her only remaining family, into Telethia, Zanza's draconian servants, to carry out the genocide on Bionis.
- But wait, there's more! Yes, even after all of that, it can still become more personal. Fiora's reconstructed body was the vessel for Lady Meyneth, deity of Mechonis. Zanza attacks the group, forcing Meyneth to sacrifice herself for them. He steals her Monado, mocking her even after she's dead. Is that it? Of course not: now that Meyneth has left Fiora, her body is dying. Seriously, six of the party members had it horribly personal at this point; the only way that it could have been more personal at this point is if Riki's family was targeted.
- In Telltale's Game of Thrones, Gared Tuttle returns from The Twins to find that his father and sister have been murdered by Britt Warrick and his men. Needless to say, when they meet again it is very personal indeed.
- Another example of this is Rodrik or Asher's potential revenge on Gryff Whitehill, as he killed either Rodrik or Asher in the previous episode.
- It pops up in the end of Cuphead. So you've kept your end of the Deal with the Devil and shown up with all the contracts as agreed. King Dice is thrilled and has no reason to not take you straight to the big guy himself... except he apparently bet that you would fail, and he doesn't exactly take losing bets well. Cue Nightmare Face and one of the hardest battles in the game (and that's saying a LOT).
King Dice: Well, lookie here! You actually pulled it off... but you've made me lose a bet!! And for that, you ain't seeing the boss just yet. We're gonna play a little game first!
- In Fable I: The Lost Chapters, the Big Bad Jack of Blades tells the Hero of Oakvale that they have a personal enmity because the Hero has destroyed Jack's prized Artifact of Doom. Rather rich, given that Jack has murdered both the Hero's parents and mutilated the Hero's sister by that point in the game.
- Subverted in The Order of the Stick. Roy pursues Xykon due to an oath of revenge, but not for his sake. His father swore the oath after his mentor was killed by Xykon, but was too lazy to pursue it and handed it to Roy who tries to fulfill it out of duty — but after he dies and spends some time in heaven with his father Roy begins to actively hate his father. He keeps pursuing Xykon, though, because he feels that saving the world is a lot more important than spitefully trying to anger his father.
- In Looking for Group we learn that if you failed to kill the target personally, the next best thing is to resurrect him so you can kill him personally one second later. Bonus Kick the Dog points if you claim intention to do it over and over!
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
- It comes admixed with a Badass Boast.
Doc: Rayner, you killed my mentor, and you kidnapped my sidekick. I met Death himself last night, and he's going to follow me all the way to your house. You made it personal.
- Played with later when the Doc is facing down Rayner and tries to remember the cool thing he said about meeting Death earlier, but can't get the phrasing right, so he just gets down to kicking his ass instead.
- It comes admixed with a Badass Boast.
- Subverted in Sluggy Freelance. Torg is all set to kill Lord Horribus for killing Alt-Zoe. But, at the last second, he decides saving the world is more important, and settles for knocking Horribus down a steep hill instead. And it's revealed he wasn't exactly trying to "make him pay" — he wanted to make up for failing to keep her safe as he had promised.
- In The Dreamland Chronicles, Nicodemus to Alex, for the scar
- In Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures, Kria points out that Dan's rivalry with Dark Pegasus is not that personal, but that his hatred for Regina definitely is.
- Even though the trope isn't played straight by any means, it's said in these pages we get one from Doc Scratch after Spades Slick breaks Vriska's God Tier clock, leaving it stuck on 'Just':
Doc Scratch: Slick, I can tolerate many things from a guest. Curt manners. Egregious womanizing. Murdering the help. Casual arson. Even atrocious candy bowl etiquette. But it is the desecration of a priceless timepiece where I must draw the line. I'm afraid I must now insist that you take your beating quite personally.
- Later actually played straight when John has a rematch with Bec Noir in the dream bubbles, ostensibly because he's just remembered, through the dream bubble's projection, the scene of the murders of Dad, Mom, and Rose, as well as his own second death.
- Even though the trope isn't played straight by any means, it's said in these pages we get one from Doc Scratch after Spades Slick breaks Vriska's God Tier clock, leaving it stuck on 'Just':
- Pranger's Bangers during the "Resident Mad Scientist" arc in Schlock Mercenary. Kevyn describes them as having "a grudge and a contract"...which overlap. The problem is eventually solved with a spot of Time Travel.
- Cinder appears to have formed an intense hatred for Ruby due to being defeated and crippled by her silver eye powers, and makes sure to add during Salem's meeting that something must be done about her. When training during the Volume 4 finale, she has Emerald summon an illusion of a defenseless Ruby on the floor begging for mercy, before she burns it with her Fall Maiden powers in a manner more concentrated than when she was testing her powers on some Grimm.
- When a terrorist coup topples Ghira, the peaceful White Fang leader and Blake's father, Blake initially sides with the coup leaders, especially Adam. The new, violent direction eventually causes her to defect to Beacon Academy to become an honourable Huntress. She remains obsessed with trying to uncover the White Fang's end-game until Beacon is attacked, where Adam vows to destroy everything she loves. Blake flees and only stops running once she's reunited with her parents and worked through her guilt over the injuries Yang and Sun receive just for trying to help her. Learning that Haven Academy is Adam's next target is the final straw, whereupon she vows to take back control of the White Fang from Adam.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, Refan goes after Zarnagon because Zarnagon has harmed Refan's loved ones. This also happens when Refan confronts Awar who has slain Refan's dear friend and adoptive little sister Nalaen, and it eventually leads to Refan brutally disarming and murdering Awar in cold blood, signalling Refan embracing his demonic side.
- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Doctor Horrible's]] rivalry with Captain Hammer is more or less a fact of life for the both of them, with the Doctor trying to take down Hammer with nonlethal means, and getting thoroughly pounded on every time by the Captain. When Hammer announces to Horrible that he's going to sleep with Penny "just because you want her," it gets personal. The normally pacifistic Doctor upgrades his Stun Ray to a Death Ray, and makes his intentions quite clear with his next song:
- It's a brand new day, and the sun is high
All the birds are singing that you're gonna die!
- For reference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMR_wm92k1w
- In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, this is how Ultra-Man and his Arch-Enemy, Baron Malthus view their long-standing rivalry.
- Also, Nemesis, the Greek Goddess of Retribution and Punishment, took Athena's freeing of Arachne as a personal insult. This is why the goddess makes Arachne's life so difficult.
- Survival of the Fittest has another example of this being done to a villain. Lenny Priestly takes any attack (or anything he thinks is an attack, or a good excuse to pretend someone's attacking them) as personal and immediately becomes even more psychotic than usual.
- And we can't forget Adam Dodd's vendetta against Cody Jensen for the murders of Amanda Jones and Madelaine Shirohara, with Madelaine haven been raped by Cody before having her throat ripped out with his teeth.
- Fetus and Acrylic's motivations for taking down Mega-Corp in Next Breed of Thief. The former's parents were killed and harvested for biological materials; the latter was basically a guinea pig for cyborg enhancements.
- The webseries version has Gaea, usually a Dirty Coward, temporarily refuses Ivy and Couette's help in fighting Master Zen in Season 3 finale, because the latter broke into her appartment in real life and framed her the previous Wham Episode events.
- The novel version has Coalition defector Töne Förk want to kill the Coalition Tyrant Takes the Helm Lorth Kordigän because the latter's men killed his parents.
- Combustion Man from Avatar: The Last Airbender, after letting the Gaang narrowly escape, and later defeat him in "Ember Island" and "The Runaway", essentially does this (though unspoken) in "The Western Air Temple". He persists in going after the Avatar, despite his employer having a HeelFace Turn and even offering to double his pay to cancel the hit.
- For most of Season One Admiral Zhao thought Zuko was little more than an annoyance. Once he learns that Zuko was the one who rescued Aang from his clutches (via the Blue Spirit disguise) he's immediately out for blood.
- Codename: Kids Next Door:
- Spoofed in the episode "Operation: D.O.D.G.E.B.A.L.L.", where the self-proclaimed "Dodgeball Wizard" lures Numbuh Four into a dodgeball match by kidnapping his family. After finding the ransom note, Numbuh Four dramatically declares "This time, it's personal!". When Numbuh Two points out neither of them have ever met this Dodgeball Wizard, Numbuh Four responds he just wanted to use that line.
- Kinda used straight in "Operation: F.O.U.N.T.A.I.N." when it's revealed that Numbuh Five always pursues the Delightful Children, because she can never forgive them for what happened the last time she didn't: making Numbuh One bald.
- A much more serious example crosses this with Broken Pedestal: the fight between Chad (a.k.a. Numbuh 274) and Nigel (a.k.a. Numbuh One) in "Operation: T.R.E.A.T.Y.", stems from the underlying resentment over Chad's betrayal of the KND. Nigel has idolized Chad, and the betrayal stung him deeply, while Chad resents Nigel for being considered the best KND operative on Earth, still believing himself to be the best. The fight however, proves him wrong, showing that Nigel has indeed surpassed him.
- The Simpsons:
- An episode has recurring character Sideshow Bob attempting to rig the election for Mayor of Springfield by including the names of dead people and animals as those who voted for him. When Lisa's cat Snowball appears on the list, she angrily declares that "now it's personal!" Bart points out, with some irritation, that "he did try to kill me, you know."
- Another episode has Alec Baldwin use this line (in reference to Homer). When Kim Basinger and Ron Howard just look at him, Alec says, "What? He has our underwear!"
- Another episode subverts with little subtlety — in an episode of Police Chief Wiggum becoming determined to be a good cop (for the episode, of course), he realizes evidence for a case which involves a food. He tells the other cops that they're going to the Kwik-E-Mart. Lou says with exasperation "Chief, you already sent us there two times today.", to which Wiggum answers "Yeah, but this time, it's not personal."
- Plus, another episode parodies this. Marge and Homer invite Apu and his wife to come to dinner, but Apu responds "No no, you hosted our wedding! We will have YOU over for dinner. Yes.... it is payback time, and this time It is Personal." (dramatic music)
- Parodied when giant alien brains are trying to gather all knowledge in the universe.
Fry: So they're trying to learn things? The bastards!
Nibblonians: Yes. Then, once it has collected all data in the universe it will open its protective shell, so as to scan itself.
Fry: I'm as mad as I've ever been!
Nibblonians: Then, it will destroy the universe, so no new information can come about.
Fry: Now it's personal.
- Also spoofed in "Möbius Dick": "It's not personal, that whale ate my delivery. This time, it's business!"
- Parodied when giant alien brains are trying to gather all knowledge in the universe.
- Subverted in Batman Beyond. Terry believes his relationship with Season One Big Bad Blight is personal. Blight is ignorant of this.
- Then again, Blight was turned into a "walking meltdown" thanks to a fight with Batman, and Batman kept foiling his various Evil Plans, to the point where Blight visibly lost his temper at even the mention of Batman's name. So in a way it is personal for Blight too... just for completely different reasons.
- Kim Possible:
- In the episode "Car Alarm", the tweebs supe up Kim's Cool Car after Motor Ed blows outruns them. Emphasized by the shifty camera angle and the fact that they actually say "This time its personal!"
- Kim herself claims that it's way personal when Ron is kidnapped. And after everything that happens to her in So the Drama, can you blame her for whaling on Drakken and damn near cold bloodedly killing Shego?
- The fighting that goes on between The Powerpuff Girls and Mojo Jojo is taken to a new level when it revealed early on (and mentioned several times afterward) that Mojo could actually be considered the girls' true father, since he was directly responsible for their creation.
- Megas XLR:
- Coop often lists several offenses (or perceived offenses) as to why he's going to kick the badguy(s)'s ass(s), usually ending with a personal grievance. So, for Coop, nearly every fight is personal. Heaven forbid someone should spill his slushy or scratch his paint...
- The leader of the Glorft also takes their defeats personally and often vows revenge on Coop, even to the point of resigning himself and his crew to being trapped in the past by ordering the destruction of MEGAS (and thus, also its time drive).
- While the Queen of the Crowns is a very big threat to Earth in Galaxy Rangers, making a Slaverlord of Zach's wife pushed it into this territory. Fanon will state that the feeling is very much mutual - Zach's been an equal pain in her side, and the only sentient being to have escaped her Psychocrypt.
- G.I. Joe: Renegades:
- Storm Shadow has made it his life's goal to kill Snake Eyes, because he believes SE betrayed the clan and killed his uncle, the Hard Master.
- Earlier in the series, after Major Bludd loses an eye, he makes it clear to Baroness that the next time she needs him for the Joes he'll handle them for free.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Discord does this by breaking apart the mane cast's friendship, breaking and Mind-Raping them, driving everyone they care about insane, and turning their homeland into a World Gone Mad. By the end, they're reasonably ticked off at him. This is most clear with Fluttershy, who furiously calls him "THAT...BIG...DUMB...MEANIE!!!" at one point. For Fluttershy, that's pretty much the meanest thing she's ever (willingly) said about anyone at the time.
- In "Twilight's Kingdom Part 2", while Tirek did plenty of evil, horrific things throughout his time as Big Bad, destroying Twilight's home makes her go berserk and attack him with everything she has. She doesn't seem to feel any remorse about sending him back to Tartarus either.
- In "To Where and Back Again Part 1", Discord is indifferent to Queen Chrysalis kidnapping the most important figures of Equestria, but when he learns Fluttershy was one of them, Discord gets pissed and decides to come with Starlight, Thorax and Trixie just to save his one friend that cares about (and is cared about by) him.
- Transformers Prime:
- Arcee's rivalry with Airachnid is personal since Airachnid had tortured Arcee and killed her partner Tailgate to get her to speak.
- Later, Arcee and Starscream after she finds out that Starscream killed Cliffjumper.
- Wheeljack has a grudge against Dreadwing for killing his friend Seaspray.
- Miko specifically lists this as a reason in "Nemesis Prime" for Agent Fowler to go after Silas after the latter had tried to kill Fowler earlier in the episode.
- Raven from Teen Titans lampshades it to friend-turned-villain Terra in that subtle, elegant way only she can:
Starfire: You attempted to annihilate us!
Raven: Did you think we wouldn't take it personally?
- This was how the South Park episode "Mecha-Streisand" came to be. In real-life, Barbra Streisand insulted the people of Colorado when the state passed a law that prevented homosexuals from being considered a protected minority; native Coloradans Trey Parker and Matt Stone did not take it well, and they decided to make an episode where they tried to make as many cheap shots at her as they could.
- Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy?: Fred considers it personal when the curse of Cleopatra (presumably) turns Velma to stone.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The longstanding feud between the Hamato Clan/the TMNT and the Foot. The enmity between the TMNT and the Shredder is the one thing consistent among all adaptations — the Utrom Shredder came to hate his turtles so much that in Turtles Forever, he was willing to destroy the entire Multiverse to get rid of every Turtle in existence, even at the cost of both his life and his daughter Karai's.
- The Smurfs: While he never really stops trying to get enough Smurfs to make the Philosopher's Stone and with it the ability to make gold, Gargamel at one point admits that he's grown to genuinely hate the Smurfs after losing to them so many times and cares less about the gold than about getting payback.