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Non-Standard Character Design

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No, this wasn't done with Photoshop. It's just that this guy thinks he lives in a Hot-Blooded Shonen anime.

A character that looks strange in the context of their cartoon world. Often a result of Art Evolution, with earlier designs becoming The Artifact to a newer, more refined sensibility. It could be that a major character was designed independently and integrated without any changes. This could also be an intentional stylistic choice, indicating a descrepency between the odd one out and the rest of their world.

Crossovers often result in this, with an attempt at fidelity to both art styles rather than going for Off-Model. It's especially noticeable when the characters are from different franchises, showcasing distinctive character designs from their respective source material. A Gonk often utilizes this, deviating from the style specifically for the purpose of looking ugly. Same could be applied to an Eldritch Abomination to emphasize how alien it is.


Compare Art Shift (when the art itself shifts in style temporarily), Masculine Lines, Feminine Curves (women tend to be drawn more realistically than men in many illustrated works) and Flashy Protagonists, Bland Extras (when the major characters look non-standard compares to the background characters). Cartoonish Companions, No Cartoon Fish, and Realistic Humans, Cartoony Animals are subtropes.

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Other Examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: The pupils of Careful S.'s eyes are designed differently from the other Supermen of his team. His look more like real-life eyes, having an iris and a pupil, whereas the other Supermen have just a simple black pupil with a highlight inside.

    Comic Books 
  • Everyone in the Animorphs graphic novels has black eyebrows except Mr. Chapman, whose eyebrows are the same colour as his hair.
  • The Bone cousins in Bone are drawn in a simpler, more cartoony style than the other characters. Unlike the other characters they also obey cartoon physics, most notably in a scene where Phoney Bone tries to hide a partly-eaten pie by shoving it into Fone Bone's mouth and Fone Bone's head assumes the shape of the pie, complete with missing segment. They are also the first characters shown — Thorn, the first human character, doesn't appear until chapter 2.
  • The aardvarks in Cerebus the Aardvark are drawn in a cartoony style, with liberal use of zip-a-tone. Everything else, especially as the art gets better, is much more realistic and hard-edged, and zip-a-tone is used nowhere else.
  • The black Cuban-Mexican protagonist in the Mexican comic book series Memin Pinguin is drawn in a cartoony style while everyone else, including his three friends, is done in a far more realistic style.
  • In Mortadelo y Filemón, whenever real people (or Superman) show up, they're drawn with realistic faces, which contrasts with the usual characters looking cartoony. Then there's also the Crossover with El Capitan Trueno, where the Trueno characters get sometimes drawn in their original realistic style and sometimes look cartoony... and sometimes it's a mix... you can see why we don't like talking about that.
  • The Awesome Slapstick: Slapstick has an appearance akin to a Looney Tunes character in a world with more realistic designs. This is to highlight his powers, which makes him and him alone follow Cartoon Physics.
  • This is how you tell if a character in an Asterix comic is an Comic-Book Fantasy Casting version of a real person — fictional characters are quite clean and grotesque-looking, but caricatures are a lot more realistic and detailed. Compare Boneywasawarriorwayayix (who was modelled after the editor of the magazine Asterix was originally printed in, Pilote), Dubbleosix (a Sean Connery parody) and Spartakis (based on Kirk Douglas) to non-caricature characters like Fulliautomatix or Caligula Minus and the difference is obvious. This is occasionally really useful, since a lot of the "cameos" are French celebrities that no-one outside of France would identify.
    • The exceptions are Tragicomix and (somewhat less so) Panacea, who aren't particularly based on any one person but are drawn much more photorealistically than the other characters, especially in closeup. Panacea is stylized enough to not look out of place with either Tragicomix or Obelix, but when we see Tragicomix and Asterix together it looks almost like a Crossover (or possibly Uncanny Valley-type creepy). Tragicomix is also the only adult male Gaulish or even Celtic character to lack a moustache, besides members of the tribe in The Big Fight who were forced to shave by their chief's Foreign Culture Fetish for Rome. When Tragicomix reappeared in The Actress, he got a more stylized design based on how he looks in the Animated Adaptation Asterix Versus Caesar, making him look a lot less odd.
  • Used in Christopher Priest's run on Black Panther. Future Panther (and his former companions Abner Little and Princess Zanda) are drawn in a distinctly Kirbyesqe style. Other characters are drawn in a more modern style, highlighting how these three are in a very different world.
  • Almost everyone in Archie Comics has Black Bead Eyes on default. Kevin's most noticeable feature are his baby blue eyes, which make him really stand out (and often not in a good way) from the others. He had black eyes in his first appearance but was redesigned later.
  • In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe comic, The Quest for Kalevala, Don Rosa decided to draw Väinämöinen and Louhi with realistic human noses instead of the usual dog-noses reserved for supporting cast. In contrast, Elias Lönnrot, who is a historical character and not a character from Kalevala, is drawn with a dog-nose.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • The original Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) cast started standing out when the comic-only cast were introduced, many of which were taller, had more humanistic builds, and were more prone to having hair. Art Evolution made characters look even more out of place. It wasn't until around issue 160 or so that the character designs finally became consistent, firmly rooting themselves into designs following the style of the Sonic Adventure redesigns.
    • Nack, Bean, and Bark, whose designs are drawn in the "classic" style (i.e.: short and chubby) of the old games, look really out of place next to the modern designs of rest of the cast. This is because they never received any "modern" redesigns in the games due to never appearing in them, and the character designers never bothered updating the three themselves beyond giving them eye colors.
    • The SegaSonic design characters like Sonic, Tails, Amy, and Knuckles clash with the Canon Foreigner characters; most of the SatAM and Archie-original characters don't follow the design scheme of the Sega characters, the former due to being made in the 90's without Sega's input and the latter following the design conventions of SatAM, also without Sega's input. Thus we get characters with Furry Female Manesnote , more humanoid designs, fully dressed male characters and minimally dressed female characters. The Continuity Reboot redesigned several characters, most notably Sally and Antoine, to look more Sega-esque.
  • Tojo is a cub that appears in The Lion King comics, standing out among other cubs due to being one of the few lions with blue eyes.
  • In Fawcett and DC Comics' Captain Marvel/Shazam! series, characters designed by C.C. Beck (and Pete Constanza, working in Beck's style) generally tended to be much more cartoonish and simplified in appearance then those from Mac Raboy, Jack Binder, and other artists. Until the final issues of the 70's Shazam title, however, they were almost always drawn "on-model", particularly Billy with his classic Black Bead Eyes. The trend is most noticeable in the finely detailed work of Kurt Schaffenberger, where Billy often looks bizarre and inhuman next to the realistic Freddy and Mary. When Don Newton took over as the main artist, he standardized Billy's look to match Mary and Freddy. Some non-DCU spin-off media (such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold) still use the Beck designs, even if the other characters are less cartoonish looking.
  • The first X-Men/Star Trek crossover infamously used jarringly different arts styles for each set of characters. The crew of the Enterprise was portrayed rather realistically, with more muted colors, more shadowed faces, and so on. The X-Men got absurdly muscular or curvy proportions, proportionally larger eyes, brighter colors, and their clothing seemed to always have a metallic sheen on it.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Spy vs. Spy, only the two main characters are drawn with the well-recognizable pointy noses. Any disguises they wear have to include a mask for this reason (and the masks somehow fit right over their noses).
  • The dinosaurs from Calvin and Hobbes are all drawn rather realistically compared to the cartoony artstyle of the comic, at least in later years after the artist had done some research. Other animals similarly became more realistic when they were the focus of a particular strip, and Calvin and Susie were drawn as grown-ups in a more realistic and serious manner when a strip took place in her imagination. The aliens in Calvin's Spaceman Spiff fantasies are also drawn with much more detail than objects in the "real" world.
  • In Dick Tracy, Dick and the rest of the police are drawn fairly realistically — but his relatives B.O. Plenty and Gravel Gertie are like Popeye characters. The crooks that Dick pursues are also freakish, but they're supposed to be freakish-looking in-universe.
  • Played for Laughs in Beetle Bailey once when Beetle appears in what turns out to be a Dream Sequence looking like a character from a superhero comic. Another time, a bunch of characters from other comics appear briefly, drawn as in the originals.
  • In Priscilla's Pop, Hollyhock has a simple head and face design unlike the other humans.
  • Peanuts:
    • By the mid 1950s, the characters have became more detailed while Charlie Brown still has the simple design he had from the start. Later, the other characters got simpler designs and this was no longer the case.
    • Lucy was drawn with much more realistic eyes, however she got the Black Bead Eyes like everyone else later but with marks.
  • Tillie the Toiler: Mac is drawn rather cartoony compared to the semi-realistic style of the comic.

    Fan Works 
  • The RWBY Loops has a few unique twists in comparison to the more general loops setting. For one, all loopers on Remnant activate in pairs, which is eventually explained as a result of their unique soul anatomy; for another, an early intervention by a hacker led to three nominally villainous individuals looping, alongside a pet dog and two teachers, which circumvented the usual way loopers were activated and had a number of consequences.
  • PostMU: Life's a Scream! has the sorority known as Exceeda Zeta, and its members consist of Laura Sharp note , Dot Pressler note , Colette Creouture note , Katy McCrea note , and Monnie Monstre note . They each stand out quite significantly from the other sororities/fraternities at Monsters University in that their designs are far more detailed and vastly different from each other.
    • Katy and Monnie stand out in particular as they seem to be the only monsters at MU who wear pants.
    • Dot is also different from the other blob-like monsters, seeing as how she has a more realistically slim body complete with curves.

    Films — Animation 
  • LeFou, Maurice, and the appliances as humans are far toonier-looking than the rest of the human cast in Beauty and the Beast.
  • In the 1939 Max Fleischer film of Gulliver's Travels, Gulliver is drawn in a more realistic manner (thanks to Rotoscoping) than the more cartoony Lilliputians. Except the two love-interest Lilliputians, Prince David and Princess Glory, who are also rotoscoped, wrecking the otherwise nicely stylistic contrast.
  • Up: Dug's design is a little more cutesy and more consistent with the other cartoony-looking characters than the rest of the more photorealistic-looking dogs, especially in the eyes. This is used to easily distinguish Dug as a good dog from the rest of the Mook canines the Big Bad uses.
  • The Anglerfish from Finding Nemo is the only realistically-drawn animal to appear in the entire film.
  • The Lion King (1994):
    • The song "I Just Can't Wait to be King" features weirdly colored animals, in contrast to the more-or-less realistic colors of the film. Though this may be considered an Art Shift typical of a Disney Acid Sequence.
    • The animals in the "Circle of Life" opening (and occasionally seen in the background) are all drawn realistically, despite the main and supporting cast being far more cartoony. This is best shown by comparing the meerkats from the beginning of the movie to the far more cartoonish Timon. Timon is supposed to be Gonk, so it's somewhat justified, though his family in the third film are also cartoony like him.
  • The title character of Pocahontas had her appearance based on her voice actress, Irene Bedard, and while the rest of her tribe are portrayed fairly closely to how they would have looked in real life, she sticks out like a sore thumb. Even among the Disney Princesses, she's stylistically different, drawn with smaller, realistically sized eyes and lankier limbs.
  • Peter Pan:
    • Tiger Lily is drawn realistically as opposed to the more "Cleveland Indians"-looking Native Americans featured in the film.
    • Peter has Pointy Ears while the other humans don't.
  • Madagascar:
    • Melman the giraffe looks more cartoonish-looking than the realistically-drawn giraffes that inhabit Africa in Escape 2 Africa.
    • Sonya the bear from the third movie looks far more realistic than the rest of the cartoonish animals.
  • The Blue Fairy from Pinocchio is the only realistically-drawn character in the entire film considering the fact that she was rotoscoped.
  • The Fairy Prince's pet bumblebee, Buzzby from Thumbelina is for some reason drawn very realistically compared to the otherwise cartoonish-looking animals that appear in the film. The human and fairy characters are also drawn differently from all of the animal characters (aside from the aforementioned Buzzby).
  • In the Cars series films, all of the characters' eyes are drawn on their windshields. In Cars 2, a background salescar has, for some reason, her eyes on her headlights instead, thus looking like she wandered out of the set of A Car's Life: Sparky's Big Adventure. They probably made her look like that because she's selling headlights.
    • The Hero Lightning McQueen has a rather unique design compared to most other stock cars — specifically his hood area is squished in a little and the sides are raised up slightly, his spoiler is bigger with rounded edges and curves in at the center, and his back bumper is completely yellow instead of having a yellow double stripe (a tradition in NASCAR given to racers in their rookie seasons). This sets him apart from the others.
  • In Ringing Bell, a cute, adorable little lamb becomes a monstrous ram that looks nothing like what he did as a kid or really any other sheep in the movie. It's justified because of how he lived.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, while all of the other characters are drawn realistically and tend to be somewhat fleshy, Dr. Facilier is unusually tall and Noodle People thin.
  • Aladdin: Everyone else is drawn with curves, Jafar is drawn with straight lines and is much thinner than the rest of the cast.
  • Watch The Great Mouse Detective. Professor Ratigan, unlike ALL the other "mice", has five fingers. Justified, because in the film, at least, he is a rat.
  • Disney Princess:
    • Rapunzel, unlike all the other Disney Princesses before her, is actually animated using CGI instead of cel animation, so she often looks very strange when they are all in a group. It also explained why she had to be redesigned when she is greenlighted into the franchise so that she can blend in with the other princesses. The first few waves of Rapunzel merch that used 2D images had a tendency to be...creepy, due to basically being paint-overs of the 3D models. It was especially obvious in the group pictures, where the rest of the Princesses big, anime-style eyes look tiny when compared to Rapunzel's soulless dinner plates. Disney seemed to have realized this though, as her official redesign fits in perfectly now. Unusually, Tangled was originally meant to look traditionally animated (such as with Paperman) so plenty of very early promotional images and especially concept art have her looking Disney Princess typical instead of the uncannier version early merchandise went with.
    • Cinderella and Snow White look somewhat less stylized than the later princesses. This is because Snow White was rotoscoped in her film and Cinderella was drawn with a more realistic face compared to other princesses.
    • Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is currently the only Princess with an unnatural eye color. She has purple eyes.
  • Kidagakash from Atlantis: The Lost Empire for some reason despite being an Atlantean actually looks more like a white woman with tanned skin and white hair, while the other Atlanteans (including her father, King Kashekhim Nedakh) have more ethnic designs. She is the only character in the film to have blue eyes, something no one else in the film has. Her fingers have rounded tips, while the males have square-tipped fingers, the other females also have similarly-drawn fingers (Audrey has squared fingers because of her tomboyish nature, while Helga has claw-like fingers to fit her role as The Dragon).
    • Speaking of Helga, her animation is considerably much more fluid than the rest of the cast. This may be due to her supervising animator being from France.
  • King Candy from Wreck-It Ralph looks more Disney-esque and cartoony (a la Ralph and Fix-It Felix Jr.) compared to the Super-Deformed and Animesque characters of Sugar Rush. This is actually Foreshadowing that King Candy isn't who he says he is. Also happens all through the movie, whenever characters from different video games appear next to each other. The scenes between the cartoony Fix-It Felix Jr. and the more realistically designed Sgt. Calhoun are probably the most notable.
  • How to Train Your Dragon Toothless's design is less cartoony than the other dragons. He was always meant to stand out characterwise, by being of the rarest and most intelligent dragon species.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World: The Light Fury is noticeably more typically feminine than all the other female dragons shown so far. Part of it is due to being a species closely related to Night Furies.
  • Alice in Wonderland: The White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, and the other residents of Wonderland are cartoony, while the main character, Alice, her older sister, and Dinah the kitten are semi-realistic. This is most noticeable with Alice and the Mad Hatter. Justified as Wonderland is much wackier than the "real world" of the movie.
  • The Bohrok in BIONICLE: Mask of Light are more-or-less faithful representations of the original LEGO models, in a movie where every other character has been redesigned to look more organic and less like buildable action figures. They were actually the first characters to be designed for the movie, and ended up having a mere cameo, frozen in ice. The fire drones in the second movie, due to reusing the bodies of the Bohrok, stand out in the same fashion.
  • The LEGO Movie:
    • Whilst most of the other main characters are your standard LEGO minifigs or human, Princess Uni-Kitty is a cat/unicorn made entire out of bricks, with an Animesque face being printed on a brick.
    • Emmet and Benny have Black Bead Eyes reminiscent of the early generations of minifigs, while the other major characters have reflections in their eyes.
    • Metal Beard is built much more like a BIONICLE or Hero Factory figure than something from a traditional set.
    • Vitruvius is a minor offender here: Almost all of the non-licensed characters have yellow skin, with a few non-humans (e.g., the vampire) having non-human skin tones. Vitruvius owns the Magical Negro trope by having brown skin, which is otherwise very rare on non-licensed minifigs. His staff wasn't an actual LEGO piece, but rather a partially-eaten lollipop. His appearance in actual LEGO sets naturally averts that, giving him a staff made from a LEGO bar and jewel piece.
  • Dave is much more anthropomorphic than the other octopi in Penguins of Madagascar.
  • From My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, the humanized Diamond Dogs would look less out-of-place in a Gorillaz clip than in an Equestria Girls movie.
  • In The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, all of the CGI models of the characters in their superhero forms look like their cartoon counterparts... except for Sandy Cheeks, who looks like an actual squirrel.
  • Fiona's human form in Shrek stands out against other humans in the franchise. She is an Ink-Suit Actor of her voice actress, Cameron Diaz. Future humans (including her parents) are less hyper-realistic looking and more stylized.
  • Every character in Chuck Jones' Mowgli's Brothers has a very stylized look to them with the exception of Tabaqui the jackal who looks like a stoned quadrupedal Wile Coyote with sickly green colored fur.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: As befitting the multiverse concept, three of the alternate Spider-People are animated very differently from the other characters:
    • Spider-Man Noir has an entirely black-and-white color scheme that makes him look like he's in a dimly-lit street even in bright daylight. Also, while every character is rendered at least partially with Ben-Day dots, they're particularly visible on Noir.
    • Peni Parker is much more Animesque than the rest of the cast, right down to the large eyes and exaggerated expressions. She's even rendered in a pseudo-"2D" style, despite being in a CGI film.
    • Spider-Ham's uniqueness isn't just because he's a pignote ; he's rendered to look like he almost walked straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon, right down to the "2D" look and bouncy animation. Notably, he's also treated as an animated character in-universe.
  • In the Jetlag Productions movie Magic Gift of the Snowman, most of the characters have cute anime esque designs except for the villain Charlatan with his bulging bug eyes, wrinkled skin, bony face, long crooked teeth, and claw like hands.
  • In Frozen (2013), Iduna and her daughters have slightly almond eyes and a slightly different skin tone than other characters. This is expanded upon in Frozen II with the reveal that Iduna is from a tribe of Fantasy Counterpart Culture Sami called the Northuldra.
  • In The Man from Button Willow, most of the characters look like they came from a Hanna-Barbera cartoon, save for the main character Justin Eagle who looks more realistic because he was rotoscoped.
  • In Teen Titans Go! See Space Jam, the Nerdlucks have far more detailed and complex designs than the Titans.
  • In Gummibär: The Yummy Gummy Search for Santa, the Gummy Bear himself looks out of place alongside his friends, Harry, Kala and Vampiro.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Unusually for a highbrow live-action film, Akira Kurosawa's Ran includes two characters (Lord Ichimonji Hidetora and Lady Kaede) who are set apart by their Noh-inspired costume and makeup.
  • The villains in the French film Immortel are realistic CGI — all other characters are played by live actors.
  • Pacific Rim:
    • Most of the Jaegers are fairly humanoid, except Crimson Typhoon — who has three arms and digitgrade legs — and Cherno Alpha — who has, in place of a normal head, something that looks like a nuclear cooling tower.
    • In regards to the Kaiju, Onibaba sticks out like a sore thumb due to its crustacean body and four, centaurian legs as opposed to the bipedal, semi-reptilian Kaiju in the film.
  • A portion of the robots introduced in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen seemed to have been experiments in out-there character design (specifically Demolishor/Scavenger, the Arcee triplets and Rampage, none of whom had real legs, though the Rampage toy could also turn into a centaur), especially since the later films went back to more traditional-looking and often exceedingly humanlike robot bodies.
  • Most of the title creatures in Gremlins have the same basic appearance but with different markings, skin coloring, and eye colors, but George, Lenny, and Daffy from Gremlins 2: The New Batch look much more cartoonish compared to the others with George being very fat and having big lips, Lenny being tall and skinny with big buck teeth and a dopey expression, and Daffy having googily eyes, a beak like mouth, and three yellow hairs on his head.
  • Zilla is the only kaiju in Godzilla: Final Wars to be portrayed entirely by CGI. Every other monster in the film is portrayed using practical effects. This was a nod to how Godzilla (1998) heavily relied on digital effects for its depiction of Godzilla.
  • In Team America: World Police, Trey Parker and Matt Stone intentionally made Kim Jong-il shorter and fatter than the other puppets, with more exaggerated facial features with his jagged teeth and sagging cheeks.
  • In The Howling, the werewolves have scraggly fur with long muzzles, long pointed ears and long clawed hands. However, when Karen White becomes a werewolf at the end, she ends up looking like a female Wookie from Star Wars. This is because Dee Wallace requested to have her werewolf form be beautiful and feminine.

  • The title character of Clifford the Big Red Dog, in both the books and the two cartoon adaptations, is the only character in the series that has visible sclerae. Averted in the movie, however.
  • The eponymous character of The Little Engine That Could, for some reason, has her face drawn on her funnel instead of the smokebox unlike all the other locomotives in the book. Averted in the film adaptation however, where the "Shiny New Engine"'s face is drawn on his cockpit, the "Broken Down Engine"'s and the "Big Strong Engine"'s faces are both drawn on their smokeboxes, and the "Rusty Old Engine"'s face is also drawn on his funnel.
  • Mr. Messy from the Mr. Men series has no outline; he's just a bunch of scribbles with eyes and a mouth.
  • The art style of Precious Moments figurines and other media uses large heads, rounded faces, and teardrop-shaped Puppy-Dog Eyes, on both adults and children. In the Precious Moments Storybook Bible, the only two humans not depicted this way are adult Moses and adult Jesus, who are drawn much more realistically.
  • In the Franklin books, most of the bird characters, such as Goose and Mr. Owl, are anthropomorphic, complete with Feather Fingers. The only exception is Hawk, who is a realistically-drawn red-tailed hawk.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer generally focused on the vampires who were humans with a reptilian true face, but would also spend a bit more effort to make full-body suits for really crazy designs. On a few occasions they would blend the styles that results in just odd-looking for the normal standards of the show, like the Loan Shark who had a literal shark head with flippers for hands, but dressed in a regular suit.
  • American-created villains in Power Rangers sometimes tend towards this due to not exactly matching with the design aesthetics of the Super Sentai-sourced villains. Lord Zedd, for instance, had no hint of the "single-eye" designs that were the trademark of the Dairanger monsters he used.
    • Furio from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy is a strange example — since his suit was recycled from an unadapted Denji Sentai Megaranger villain (specifically the One-Winged Angel form of the Big Bad Dr. Hinelar), he doesn't match either the insectoid motif that the other American-original villains of the season had, or the four disparate groupings of the Gingaman-based villains.
    • The most notable example of this was Sledge, whose rough, green-and-grey design contrasts with the much more colorful Kyoryuger-based villains.
    • Scrozzle's design leans less towards the monsters of Go-Busters and moreso towards that of Go-Onger/RPM, more specifically his human-like face and hodge-podge armor. And since Scrozzle's master turns out to be RPM's villain reborn, this is a bit of foreshadowing.
  • In Star Trek the Starfleet ship designs hold to a fairly consistent pattern, specifically a saucer section, usually a secondary hull, with either two or four warp nacelles supported by pylons elevated away from the ship. A few ship designs ended up skewing away from this for one reason or another (several background ships across the franchise do break this pattern, if only to show greater fleet variety, but rarely placed in the foreground).
    • The Grand Finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation showed a future Enterprise with a third nacelle planted into the middle of the stardrive section. Being a quick modification to an existing model in a one-off episode, little was really said about it. In addition, there were other cosmetic additions made to the saucer section (a long underslung phaser weapon and what looks like sensor pylons near the bridge) that took away the traditional clean saucer design.
    • The Defiant of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was said to be a unique design In-Universe. There is only a hint of a saucer but has very small nacelles seemingly clamped to the main ship rather than protruding away. The whole concept was that of a cheaply produced warship with a minimal profile making it harder to hit in battle. The class had a lot of potential but violated a number of Starfleet safety standards to be operational.
    • The Discovery of Star Trek: Discovery has an overly large secondary hull and cut-out sections of the saucer. The nacelles are also bolted directly to the secondary hull rather than having separate pylons.
  • Ultra Series: A few monsters/Ultras have designs very far removed from most things in the franchise aesthetically speaking.
    • Ultraseven: Alien Wild is the only alien or monster in the series which is depicted with a full-body suit that doesn't covers the actor's face.
    • Ultraman Leo:Ultraman King is the only good-aligned Ultra with red eyes.
    • Ultraman: Towards the Future: Ultraman Great is the sole Ultra whose suit is made of spandex instead of rubber, therefore creating some rather obvious folds and creases when he moves. The white parts of his suit are much brighter compared to his fellow comrades, a trait that shows up in all his future appearances (even during cameos).
    • Ultraman: The Ultimate Hero: Ultraman Powered has blue eyes, which changes colour as he transforms.
    • Ultraman: The Next: As the first installment of the Project N works meant to reboot the franchise from scratch, its titular Ultraman (sometimes called The Next) has a very, very different design to past Ultras, looking much more organic and with many vessel-like red lines on his body.
    • Ultraman Nexus: As the evolved form of The Next, Nexus maintains a very distinct design from past Ultras, having no real resemblance to any beyond the original one. Kuutura, Lord of the Dead, resembles little the usual fare of Ultra Series Kaiju even more than any of the other Space Beasts, looking like a swelling mass of flesh with screaming faces that wouldn't be out of place in a David Cronenberg film.
    • Ultraman Ginga: Ultraman Victory is one of the few Ultras with a non-circular Color Timer, instead having a V-shaped one.
    • Ultraman X: X has an X-shaped Color Timer in place of the usual circular one. He also has many cybernetic parts on his body which no other Ultra has.
    • Ultraman Geed: Geed has curved triangles for eyes, and his Color Timer is shaped like the Ultra Capsules he frequently uses during his transformations.
    • Ultraman Taiga: Ultraman Titas differs from most Ultras by having a muscular body instead of a slim one like other Ultras, as well as having silver shoulder pads, gloves and boots with red/black coloration unlike the rest of the U40 Ultras, this is due to him being the son of 2 members of the Heller Army who was sent to U40 to have a good life.
    • Ultraman Z: Ultraman Z is the only Ultra with crystal-like textures on his eyes. Like Victory and X he also has a non-circular color timer instead having a a Z letter.

    Music Videos 
  • CrazyCod: The King from "Keep Your Head Up, King" is shown as a wriggly blobbish shape, compared to other shapes being standard and very plain, to show he's unique.
  • The video for "Be Faithful" by Fatman Scoop mostly features characters who are floating heads with detached hands and feet. However, the stripper is the only one with a torso or limbs.
  • Cherry, lead singer of the animated band Studio Killers is CG animated, while the rest of the band and other characters are all 2D.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show: The Swedish Chef and Dr. Teeth are the only Muppet characters with human hands, since they're required to pick up and manipulate objects and convincingly play the piano, respectively.
  • The characters of Potter Puppet Pals are naturally hand puppets. Except for Neville, who's a butternut squash (not a potato, learn your vegetables) on a stick, and Cedric Diggory, who is a face drawn on a foot.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech:
    • It had a hefty does of this due to Early Installment Weirdness. About two dozen of the game's earliest BattleMech designs were licensed from Japanese studios (such as Robotech), whose thin and generally more graceful lines stood in stark contrast with the boxy, Walking Tank-style American original designs. The difference became even more magnified as the game adopted the chunky American aesthetic entirely. However, a legal fustercluck caused the designs to be dropped for almost a decade before being redesigned; they still look gangly, but not to the hilarious degree of the original designs.
    • There's also the very unusual Solaris: The Game World designs. They don't have the straightforward and functional war-machine look of most Battlemech designs, being more heavily decorated, detailed, stylized, and sometimes a bit bulbous. The reason for this is that, in a strange twist of fate, some of these designs are actually Studio Nue redraws of Battlemechs—many of which are designs based on Studio Nue's own Super Dimension Fortress Macross series! This leads to the somewhat surreal situation where the Battletech Colossus is actually the Japanese art for the Battletech Marauder, because the Battletech Marauder artwork was originally a Zentradi Officer Pod in Japan.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Due to the general shift of Daemon Engines having a more organic look (to emphasis their living nature) the Defiler now looks very out of place when compared to its brethren (due to its very boxy and mechanical design) as it was designed before the aesthetic was set. For a long while it was also the only example of a Daemon Engine, so this only became a problem when the newer codex introduced no less than 3 new Daemon Engines (and later they were joined by the Lord of Skulls Apocalypse unit).
    • As it was one of the first titans ever produced, the Lucius Pattern Warhound suffers from a similar problem as the Defiler; namely it was boxy and much more mechanical looking than the more rounded, dog-headed Mars Pattern Warhound. Functionally the two are identical, but the aesthetic set by the Mars Pattern Warhound would later go on to influencing the design of the Reaver Titan and the (much smaller) Imperial Knight Titans. While a Lucius Pattern Reaver was produced, it was in epic scale (a 40k scale one was never made) and thus the Lucius pattern warhound remains the odd one out in the imperial lineup of titans. This is made all the more evident as the Lucius Warhound is much more easily scratch built than any of the other ones (due to it's blocky nature) so most people will more likely own one than the Mars pattern variants.

  • LEGO:
    • In general, this is going to be a problem with anyone using something from another set to fill in for a missing piece. It's less of a problem during playtime, when all of your sets will likely be mixed up.
    • Tim from LEGO Time Cruisers and the Indians from the old Wild West sets are some of the few original LEGO Minifig characters to have noses.
    • Certain characters in licensed LEGO Themes, such as the casts of SpongeBob SquarePants, The Simpsons, and the alien characters in Star Wars, have uniquely molded head pieces, which at times looks odd on the standard Minifigure bodies and alongside other, normally designed minifig characters. Certain characters, such as Scooby-Doo, Gollum, and the Angry Birds, have such nonhuman bodies that the standard minifigure template simply won't do for them, and as such have unique molds with prints that makes it almost look like they hopped straight out of whatever film or show they came from.
    • One of the reasons that the original Pohatu figure was so popular was because he was the only one with an inverted torso, so that he had a kicking action whereas the other Toa swung their arms. This carries over to his first Nuva form. He was also the first Bionicle to come with an accessory, namely a Systems rock that acted as a soccer ball for him.
    • Besides the playsets, Tarakava are the only Bionicle sets to make extensive use of System bricks, namely in their brick-built midsection.
    • Whereas most Bionicle beings have tribal-looking masks, robotic faces or animalistic heads, the Piraka have organic faces made out of rubber and bear big toothy, cartoony grins. The Toa Inika stand out in the same fashion, having rubber masks and actual mouth openings, sans Matoro and Kongunote . In-Universe, this is due to the unique transformation of the Inika by the Red Star turning their masks into organic ones.
    • The Voya Nui Resistance Team, being a squad of deformed Matoran, each have at least one oddity in their design, such as Velika's uniquely built arms or Dalu's larger limb pieces, but none stand out like Kazi, who uses a forearm piece for his body, while the other five all have foot pieces for theirs, giving them significant hunches. He also lacks the usual head piece; his mask is mounted on a piece typically used for hands, and his legs are different pieces that lack hip articulation.
    • The titan set Axonn had an unmodified canister set body and individual fingers made from Matoran limbs. His short body, which looked like a Toa with more ornate armor, cartoonishly huge feet, and equally big Four-Fingered Hands stood out among other titan characters, which were taller and more evenly proportioned.
    • The Barraki sets were popular for being the first wave of canister sets without a uniform build, but Ehlek, Pridak, and Takadox stood out for their slim bodies that used no specific torso piece. Pridak in particular is the only canister set with waist articulation.
    • Two of the titans from the 2007 line, Gadunka and Maxilos, had custom designed bodies. Maxilos, being a fully robotic character in a world of Biomechanical Lifeforms, had a hollow body with more articulation than most sets, and Gadunka, being an enlarged Rahi, had a huge head on a squat body made from three Toa torso pieces and a Matoran body piece arranged triangularly.
      • While not as much, fellow 2007 titan Hydraxon has individual fingers similar to Axonn, this time made from a minifig arm piece common in the playsets and LEGO Exo-Force and the small claw/tooth piece as the fingernails.
      • Another 2007 titan set, Lesovikk, contains the only Toa to use the Piraka eye/brain piece instead of the usual Toa piece.
    • Whereas most of the sets from the reboot represent a natural progression of the standard action figure template, the Lord of Skull Spiders is instead a throwback to the franchise's Technic origins: it's built entirely around a play gimmick and has next to no useful articulation. It also has a printed-on face instead of a sculpt or a build, making it look more cartoonish than any other figure.
  • Mr. Game & Watch's amiibo is two-dimensional (accurately reflecting the character), and more unusually has several poses that can be swapped out.
  • Milky Way and the Galaxy Girls:
    • Milky Way and her little sister are the only characters with stars in their eyes.
    • Mars is portrayed as an alien instead of being human.
  • Transformers: Generation 1 has the Autobot Mini-Cassettes Grand Slam and Raindance. There have been Transformers that look more robotic than others, and some whose robot modes are animals instead of humanoids, but how many Transformers do you know whose "true" forms are vehicles? And they're not non-sentient drones, either — they have personalities like any other Transformer!
    • Plenty of other Transformers have this going on, due to the original line being basically cobbled together from multiple unrelated lines. Ironhide and Ratchet's toys were originally intended to be Mini-Mecha and therefore don't have heads, infamously receiving heavy redesigns to make them look anything like the other characters. But no amount of redesigning could make Sky Lynx, who has two separate bodies, neither of which have humanoid forms (a space shuttle and its platform that turn into a bird-thing and a lion), which can combine into a single robot that looks vaguely like a four-legged dragon, look normal. Even odder, he's not a combiner - he just has two separate bodies that share a mind. Explanations for why he's like this are generally along the lines of "Sky Lynx is weird."
  • Kaya from the American Girls Collection was a departure from the doll line's trademark toothy smile, out of respect for the Nez Perce tribe she belonged to, though her face mold is no longer exclusive to just her with the introduction of Logan Everett, American Girl's first and so far only boy doll.note 
  • GoGo's Crazy Bones: While most Gogos have a front and a back, GoodyBaddy is a double-sided Gogo with faces on both his front and back. Due to this design, GoodyBaddy also lacks the Magic Box stamp that every other Gogo has to ensure they aren't a bootleg, which might confuse some people into thinking the real GoodyBaddy figure is a bootleg.
  • Squishmallows: Jingles the Cat's tail has stuffing inside, curves around to their front and is sewn on as to be unmovable. All other cats have unstuffed shorter tails that are only sewn on to the plush toy in the back.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Both Mike Meekins and Spark Brushel stand out as cartoony compared to the rest of the cast.
    • Before Art Evolution kicks in, Maya Fey looks very cartoony as well.
    • In contrast to the bright colors and simple faces of everyone else, Detective Badd has drawn facial definition and much darker colors.
  • Monokuma in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (and Usami in the sequel) is drawn to look like a kawaii mascot without many details, whereas all the other characters have a more realistic pop-art manga-type look. There is also (traditionally) one character among each cast of characters who looks almost nothing like any of the other characters: Hifumi Yamada, Teruteru Hanamura, and Ryoma Hoshi, respectively.
  • All the bird characters in Hatoful Boyfriend are represented by stock photographs of real birds. In Holiday Star, the King is an extremely stylized watercolor painting of a bird that matches the fantasy world he lives in. It's an early clue that whatever he used to be, he isn't any more.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, the owner of the antique shop who shows up in Lilly's and Hanako's routes has a more "painted" look to him, rather than the animesque design of the rest of the characters.

    Web Animation 
  • In The Legend of Zelda: The Light of Courage, Ganon actually has a very decent, almost professional-level model, which makes the blatant Stylistic Suck of every other character stand out even more than they already do.
  • The title character of Blockhead is drawn in a rather simplistic and cartoonish style while all other characters are drawn in a comparatively more realistic style.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Crack Stuntman is the only character to exist in the "real world" of the main characters that actually looks like a normal human being. He is also drawn in the style of the cartoon he voice acts for rather than the style of the main characters.
    • In an April Fools' Day cartoon, all the characters are replaced by "revamped for the '90s" versions of themselves with black outlines and exaggerated jagged edges, except Homsar who doesn't change at all. The final scene shows all the characters together, with Homsar obviously clashing with the rest.
    • In Teen Girl Squad Issue #11, So-And-So's manager at the Shirt Folding Store has her hair, eyes, mouth, and feet taken from clipped-out magazine pictures of a real-life person (Mary-Kate Olsen, to be precise).
  • The Whites, in comparison to the Proles, in Lucky Day Forever. This trope is used to show that the Whites are completely inhuman.
  • Lumpy from Happy Tree Friends is taller than the rest, and is one of the few characters to lack a heart-shaped nose. In addition, his hands don't turn mitten-esque like the other animals and has simple beady black pupils rather than the traditional Pie-Eyed pupils. Furthermore, his popsicle stick head and bulbous nose sticks out amongst the rounded oval-esque faces of the other characters.
  • The countries in Polandball usually take the form of spheres with their nation's flag emblazoned on it. However, several of them break this mold. Poland itself has its flag upside-down (a reference to the attempts on Drawball to flip the flag upside down), Israel is a tesseract rather than a sphere (because of Jewish Physics), Nepal is the actual flag with teeth added, and the Reichtangle is a rectangle.
  • In Mario Brothers, all character sprites are from the original Super Mario Bros with the exception of the Toads, whose sprites are from Super Mario Bros. 2 and have a slightly different artstyle (most notably, being outlined in blue while no other sprites have outlines). This is likely due to Toad's only sprite in the original game not exactly lending itself well to all the action required by the Toads in this series.
  • All the Doctors in the Mashed spoof Time Traveller Boyfriend are drawn in a cute Moe style except for the Fourth, who is drawn as a Gonk. His dialogue is all in capital letters as well.
  • Most characters in Senpai Club are drawn in a cute, animesque style. The aforementioned "senpai" are drawn in a much more simplistic style with sharp angles, but are still treated as drop dead gorgeous.
  • In The Grossery Gang 2017 Christmas episode, the guest character PukieHurlC, being a parody of YouTube toy reviewer CookieSwirlC's logo, has eyes with green sclera, large black pupils, and white highlights, instead of the standard Grossery white sclera with a black pupil dot for an eye. She also has six eyelashes per eye, rather than three like the other female Grosseries.
  • SMG4
    • While everyone else's is either an edited Super Mario 64 character model or ragdolls that are contorted and positioned to look as ridiculous as possible, Meggy and other Inklings are animated using Henry's Animation Tool, resulting in unusually smooth, flowing animation compared to the rest of the cast.
    • The Genesis Arc introduces SMG1, SMG2 and SMG0. The former two look like an amalgamation of shapes akin to Super Paper Mario rather than something recognisable or humanoid like other original characters, and the latter being an Eldritch Abomination with connected horns, a single glowing red eye with a slashed Zero as a pupil, and what appears to be teeth sticking out of his neck bone. All three of these are justified, as they all hailed from alternate universes.
  • Meta Runner contains Theo, who is more cartoonish in design than the rest of the cast, who look more realistically animated. Justified as he is from a Video Game.
  • Dreamscape: While it follows the same template as all the other human characters, there are a few differences in Melinda's design compared to others. Her chin and nose are vastly different, and her limbs are much skinnier.
  • Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures: everyone has simple dots for eyes except for Geoff, who has significantly larger eyes with visible lids and pupils. This is apparently because his model was created very early on and never "fixed" to match the others for the sake of consistency.

  • The fortune teller from Blue Moon Blossom stands out for being based on a Blob Monster rather than any real-world animals/animal groups (even stylized ones), being colored with a grainy violet-blue-green gradient instead of a single flat color, and having a star pattern apparently right on their body, assuming that isn't supposed to be clothing- the art style is so minimalist it's hard to tell.
  • In Experimental Comic Kotone, the author had difficulty drawing a convincing middle-aged father... so he based Laika's dad on a character from The Lord of the Rings, making him stand out next everyone else, who are drawn in a simplified Moe style.
  • In Fite!, Mutali was originally designed to look very out-of-place compared to the rest of the characters, but the author changed his mind and switched to a character design in a style more like the others. Original, final.
  • Gharsena, the Big Bad of Garanos, is the only character who's drawn without any light reflections in her eyes.
  • In Overcompensating, Andrew Hussie is portrayed in a pixelated style with animated fidgeting reminiscent of the art for his webcomic MS Paint Adventures.
  • General Protection Fault has most of its characters given simple designs. Some secondary characters, however, look vastly more realistic. It can be quite jarring to see two characters like Trudy (Blank White Eyes, No Mouth, generally cartoony design) and Dr. Not (a far more detailed and human looking woman) side by side, especially since both are meant to be attractive women. Compare and contrast.
  • Brawl in the Family normally uses a simple cartoon style, but it's fond of characters suddenly becoming hyperdetailed for a gag, such as Dedede's father being a photorealistic penguin. The Grand Finale Story Arc Meet Me at Final Destination features characters suddenly and noticeably (including in universe) changing appearance briefly.
  • The ninjas recently introduced into The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! have been revealed to be fairly detailed manga-style characters beneath their masks, in contrast to the western toony style of everyone else in the comic.
  • The Humanoid Steelswarm except Roach take on a hyper-realistic look in comic #46 of the Yu-Gi-Oh! Card Game Gusto Fan Comic.
  • Homestuck:
    • Andrew Hussie's Author Avatar is the only character who is drawn with a "guardian"-esque base yet has visible eyes (which are completely white in spite of white eyes usually meaning the character is dead, the avatar does die but that's not until much later in the story) and lacks an outline. He is also drawn with orange-ish skin, whereas every other human who isn't a celebrity or part of Sweet Bro and Hella Jeff is drawn blank white.
    • Dad Egbert is the only character shown with a nose in the "default" art style; even the other Guardians are drawn without noses, but they do have other visible facial features. The same applies for his counterpart across the Scratch, Dad Crocker.
  • In Something*Positive, Kestrel, who was originally the main character of Queen of Wands, retains her green eyes, even though other S*P characters have no visible irises.
  • Roommates has one character, who the fans dubbed the Scribble Person because (s)he looks like an ever changing collection of scribbles/words in a vaguely humanoid shape. (S)he is the Story.
  • The Story of Anima has Pocket and the bandit leader, who have long snouts and digitigrade legs in contrast to the shorter-muzzled, more humanoid Beastkin.
  • Taito from Consolers sticks out a bit compared to the rest of the cast with her Black Bead Eyes and yellow Blush Stickers.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent, the manifestation of a dead Christian priest encountered in a world where Christianity has fallen out of practice is drawn more realistically than any other character. The difference can be seen on this page.
  • You could try to list examples from Tower of God, mainly characters who are drawn more sketchily and less realistically than most... but the list would get too long, and eventually you'd realise there's no single "normal" style in this comic, and even many of the relatively normal-looking characters are drawn in subtly different styles from each other.
  • In the earliest Redac stories, the simplistic art style lacked visible ears and noses. As a result, characters like Grandpa (who got huge ears) or Il and Myself (who got different kinds of Gag Noses) stood out.
  • Cursed Princess Club: Princess Gwendolyn is drawn differently from all of her siblings, who resemble pretty anime girls (even her brother Jamie). By contrast, Gwen's eyes are much smaller and her face is drawn with more lines, which reflects the fact that her appearance is often described as that of a witch. She looks like she's from a different genre of story than her family members. This gets lampshaded in-story when the club members wonder why she looks nothing like the rest of her family.
  • Katamari: While all of the members of the Royal Family have Black Bead Eyes, Opeo's eyes are vertical and are thinner than the rest of his cousins, who have rounder, wider and thicker eyes.


Video Example(s):


Lord of Lightning

A realistic-looking dragon in a normally cartoony Mario game.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / NonStandardCharacterDesign

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