We have the FaceHeel Turn, when a hero changes sides and becomes a villain. We have the HeelFace Turn, when instead a villain abandons ship (no, not that kind of ship) to become a hero. We even have the HeelFace Revolving Door, where they keep changing sides at the drop of a hat. But what about the part in between, when a character becomes more of either a Heel or a Face, but not far enough to leave the team?
That's what we call a Morality Adjustment. It comes in all different variations based on direction and extent, but we'll break it into four main flavours.
- A villain becoming more of a Heel. (eg: from Villain to Complete Monster)
- A villain becoming more of a Face. (eg: from Villain to Anti-Villain)
- A hero becoming more of a Heel. (eg: from Hero to Anti-Hero)
- A hero becoming more of a Face. (eg: from Hero to Ideal Hero)
- In Naruto, this happens to Kakashi. He changes from a by-the-book and cold-hearted (if loyal) Child Soldier who'd leave a friend to die in a heartbeat if he thought it'd be better for the village, into a man who is known for never leaving anyone behind, no matter the costs.
- Xellos from the Slayers franchise. Although we're never exactly sure where he stands, he does skirt back and forth across this line while still facing the "I'm still evil but currently in a trend of doing good/evil things" line.
- Doctor Who:
- The First Doctor goes over the course of Season 1 from being the Token Evil Teammate (his original intended role) and a Sociopathic Hero, to being a Guile Hero and Loveable Rogue. Most of the time.
- "The Waters of Mars" has the Tenth Doctor snapping and temporarily becoming a Knight Templar who declares himself "Time Lord Victorious" and decides that the Laws of Time are his to do with as he wants before a woman he saved snaps him out of it by killing herself. And it is deeply unsettling. Adelaide, the woman in question, straight-up calls him a power-mad despot.
- In Legend of the Seeker, Cara has a morality adjustment, makes a HeelFace Turn, and then has another Morality Adjustment. She becomes an Anti-Vilain (a kind of Noble Demon) to save her friends, and then, after a Heel Face Turn, she becomes, first an Anti-Hero (type 3 bordering the next type), and then a just, compassive and determined heroine with great strength of will (and shades of Anti-Hero type 2).
- With the introduction of rogues and vigilantes in the Going Rogue expansion, characters in City of Heroes can go from hero to vigilante, from villain to rogue, from vigilante to villain or back to hero, and from rogue to hero or back to villain.
- Characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic are locked into supporting either the Republic or the Empire, and since they are given objectives by their class and faction quests, their overall support of freedom vs. tyranny can't change. However, they are allowed to embrace the Light or Dark Side as they so choose, so a member of the Republic might be The Cape or an Anti-Hero willing to embrace Imperial tactics if it means winning the war. On the other hand, an Imperial character might be a traditional villain, or a Consummate Professional who eschews unnecessary cruelty and senseless violence. For instance, it is possible to rise to the Dark Council of the Empire as a Sith Inquisitor by taking an exclusively Light Sided path—and yet every LS choice will come across as a shrewd scheme that, first and foremost, advances the Inquisitor's agenda, and just happens to have an unintentional side effect of making life better for the others.
- Arnie started out somewhat of a douchebag in Super Robot Wars UX, but after being captured by UX and seeing Richard, he realized there needs to be a justice outside of the laws like UX and aspires to become like Richard. The fact that he was willing to pilot the Orphes, knowing what it could do to his body is telling.
- The titular antihero Shadehawk of Antihero for Hire has been making a slow but steady crawl towards the Disney Antiheroes. These days the real antihero of the strip is Crossroad, who's accused Shadey of "rampant idealism".
- Maverick (i.e. future Kaycee Jones) in Magellan moved from Hero towards Anti-Hero after her mother's murder.
- Lampshaded in Mandatory Roller Coaster with Tiger Pope declaring "All that stuff we told you was wrong and gross is actually pretty cool."
- Characters in Ménage à 3 (and its spinoff, Sandra on the Rocks) are normally admirably resistant to anything as boring as learning lessons, but here, Tatiana realises that she may have gone too far. (She's just finished conducting an improvised psychosexual experiment on one character, and she's been bullying another for a while.) Admittedly, it's a small adjustment, and it may not stick.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Discussed Trope when Roy's moral compass is assessed after his death to decide which afterlife he should go to. Though he'd identified himself as Lawful Good through the story up to that point, the assessing angel points out his more questionable decisions, such as hiring Belkar, and suggests that his mixed bag of motivations and methods would make him fit better as Neutral Good. In the end, he's still found Lawful Good.
- Belkar has one: while still Chaotic Evil, his tactics shift from Stupid Evil to Pragmatic Villainy as a result of meeting Lord Shojo (a Chaotic Good Chessmaster) and gaining an appreciation for his style. He later shows signs of Becoming the Mask and shifting towards Chaotic Neutral, even talking with Durkon about the concept of a Heel Realization.
- David Xanatos of Gargoyles never quite did a full HeelFace Turn into being a good guy, but he did tone down the ruthlessness of his methods, start a family, and mend his bridges with the gargoyles.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars: After getting fired from the Separatists by Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress slowly becomes more antiheroic over the course of the rest of her time on the series and the novel Dark Disciple. This culminates in a Heroic Sacrifice to save Quinlan Vos from Dooku's Force lightning.