Tycho: Was too. The guy had a tail.
Gabe: Was it a sword tail?
Tycho: No, I think it was just a regular tail.
Some media, such as Final Fantasy or Gundam, are known for being long-running series with multiple incarnations. Within these series, there is always at least one installment that is drastically different to the rest. Most of the time, this installment will be considered the Black Sheep of the group.
The reasons for this particular installment being different vary, the most common generally being Genre Shift and Art Shift. Games which acquire this status are different enough that it's hard to coherently compare them to other counterparts in the series. Many a Flame War is likely to ensue over the relative quality of the title compared to its counterparts with the same license branding.
Will often happen specifically with the second incarnation of the series, often because the creators, not having realized the exact blend of their successful formula, will change it in such a way that many of the fans' favorite parts are removed. As a result, later sequels will take more influence from the first title than the second. Early Installment Weirdness can ensue if the first one is the oddball, and Later Installment Weirdness if the game in question comes long after the series or franchise has fully established itself. Spin offs of a series can also fall into the trope unless the spin offs themselves start to create a series of their own.
See also Creator's Oddball, for Creators instead of franchises.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam drastically departs from the Real Robot Genre and war themes to delightfully and shamelessly embrace Shonen and Super Robot tropes. Still manages to be popular and loved despite, or perhaps because of, this.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 reaches this by the movie, what with the aliens in a series that generally has zero signs of any extraterrestrial life no matter how far humanity spreads out into space.
- ∀ Gundam, due to the considerable differences in themes and settings. Slow paced, atmospheric, and largely set in a pseudo-World War I landscape.
- Gundam Wing is something of an edge case— On paper it's pretty similar to the others, with more or less the same themes and plot elements. In execution, though, the tone is radically different, featuring loads of over-the-top action and a less-focused story due to the Ensemble Cast.
- Gundam Build Fighters takes place 20 Minutes into the Future where Gundam is a fictional series, having technology to allow Gunpla figures to move and be controlled. It's by the the most Lighter and Softer series without the series' usual themes of War Is Hell.
- Digimon Tamers is the Cyber Punk Deconstruction of what's normally a Science Fantasy multiverse, and the only installment to avoid broad, archetypal character types in favor of more subtle personalities (or boring personalities, depending on what side of the Broken Base you fall on). It also makes adult characters more prominent than usual, and, most famously, it's much much darker in tone.
- Digimon Frontier stands out as the only Digimon series with no partner Digimon, instead having the human characters fuse with spirits to become Digimon themselves.
- Within the "Baron" series, Chiisana Sūpāman Ganbaron qualifies. Unlike the previous installments, which were Super Robot Genre shows, Ganbaron is more of a typical Henshin Hero show done in the vein of Superman (albeit with the ability to call a Combining Mecha for help). Between the glut of Ultraman imitators that came out at the time and the show's sponsor Bullmark going out of business, it went relatively unnoticed.
- Pretty Cure has two potential examples:
- Smile Pretty Cure!: There's no Myth Arc, the character designs are more cutesy and Moe, and there's a greater focus on slice-of-life and comedy (to the point that it almost feels like a parody). While it does have its fans, it's generally considered to be one of the weakest seasons.
- DokiDoki! Precure: The main reasons are its Kudzu Plot, lack of filler, and (attempted) subverting of most tropes associated with the franchise.
- Macross has Macross 7, which is decidedly more Super Robot than the rest of the franchise, with Magic Music, giant space vampires, and other silliness of that sort. It also contains by far the most Stock Footage out of any entry in the franchise. Nonetheless, the story is still canon: the more fantastic aspects of it have since been explained away by hyper-advanced Protoculture technology and then-little understood properties of Fold Waves.
- Ultimate Adventures is the only series in Marvel Comics' Ultimate Universe not based on one of their existing franchises, instead focusing on Hawk-Owl and Woody, an Affectionate Parody of a certain superhero and sidekick belonging to their competitor. Genuinely seen as So Okay, It's Average, it apparently wasn't popular enough for them to try repeating this with other characters.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is quite different from the other films in the Indiana Jones series. Whereas the rest of the films have Indy trotting the globe trying racing to find an artifact before aggressive government agents from an enemy of America, this story has Indy stuck in India fighting thuggee cultists. The tone is also very different, with a wacky child sidekick and several scenes dedicated solely to gross-out reactions.
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Where every other movie is a slasher flick about Michael Myers, the third installment is about a crazy Halloween mask maker who wants to use magically bombing masks and Stonehenge to kill children. The original intent was to turn Halloween into an anthology series, but fans rebelled and the series reverted back to focusing on Michael Myers.
- The seventh film doesn't take place in Haddonfield (aside from the prologue), and occurs over several days, rather than one.
- After Friday the 13th went over to New Line Cinema, two instances of oddballs were made in a row:
- Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday, the ninth film, where instead of a hockey masked killer and/or a Crystal Lake Locale, Jason becomes a body stealing demon thing for most of the film.
- Jason X had Jason being his familiar self again, but otherwise the film was a deliberately campy effort which send him into space.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street has A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy's Revenge, where Freddy is not quite the horrific figure of the original, nor the quipster he would become in 3, and instead attacks people in reality, rather than in dreams, and manipulates the protagonist to do his bidding. It is also the only film in the series with a male protagonist.
- The Godzilla series has a few oddballs here and there.
- All Monsters Attack, also known as Godzilla's Revenge, is a surreal Clip Show where a kid suffering from bully problems at school daydreams about Godzilla (or rather, daydreams about footage of Godzilla taken from the previous movies). It's unclear whether it's meant to take place in the same universe as the other movies or in the real world, but either way, it's nothing like anything else in the franchise.
- Godzilla vs. Hedorah is a disturbing art-house film which alternates between live-action and animated segments, has a scene where a character randomly hallucinates that all of the people in a club have transformed into fish, a scene where Godzilla flies using his atomic breath (which never happens again), several psychedelic montages using weird split-screen effects, and the only appearance of the word "fuck" in the series (only in the dub, obviously). In general, it' a very strange and nearly incomprehensible movie that sticks out from the others so much that its director was permanently banned from ever working for Toho Studios again.
- Godzilla (1998) is an American reboot which presents a different version of Godzilla who looks and acts nothing like the Japanese one (even lacking the character's trademark atomic breath) attacking New York. Fans have labeled this creature as GINO ("Godzilla In Name Only") while Toho has named it Zilla, as it does not deserve to be called a god.
- Godzilla: Final Wars was meant to be a celebration of the franchise's 50th anniversary though the film itself barely feels like it belongs in the series. It's more of a general sci-fi thriller focusing on martial arts and motorcycle chases, putting the monsters in the background. It has more in common with The Matrix, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and Independence Day than with the previous Godzilla films.
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is the oddball for the Star Trek movie series. Whereas every other movie is set in the 23rd century and features Captain Kirk & company flying around the galaxy on the Starship Enterprise, this movie takes place almost entirely in the mid 1980's, on Earth, with the crew being Fish out of Water, trying to literally "Save The Whales" (and hence becoming the Trope Namer for Space Whale Aesop).
- Chicken Little sticks out like a sore thumb, thanks to its lack of songs, rather cynical (and sometimes downright mean-spirited) tone, and its poor and pop-culture ridden writing, partially due to it attempting to capitalize on the Fractured Fairy Tale genre made popular by Shrek.
- Atlantis: The Lost Empire was also treated as such back when it first came out, being more of a straight-up action movie or sci-fi epic rather than something for children. Unlike Chicken Little, however, it has since been Vindicated by History.
- When it comes to movies about Winnie-the-Pooh, Pooh's Grand Adventure was a bit of a surprise to people thanks to its complex plot, noticeably darker tone, and being a character study of Pooh and his friends. While some (especially critics) thought this was too much for a Winnie The Pooh movie, Pooh's Grand Adventure is still just as well liked as the other Pooh movies that have come out both before and after it, with some Pooh fans hailing it as the best.
- Only two Disney Princess movies have the protagonist as someone other than the princess: Aladdin, where it's the titular "Disney Prince," and Sleeping Beauty, which is especially interesting for making the good fairies, who would be sidekicks or mentors in any other Disney fairy tale, into the main characters.
- Terminator Salvation is the only film in the series that does not have Time Travel as a central plot device. Salvation instead focuses on the war between Skynet and the resistance, with most of the time travel shenanigans being relegated to John's backstory.
- The Incredible Hulk, the second film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is a pretty big oddball in that series. First of all, unlike the rest of the movies preceding The Avengers, it was distributed by Universal rather than Paramount, meaning Disneynote doesn't have the rights to either sell it on home videonote or make sequels. Furthermore, the film breaks from the MCU formula by establishing the Hulk's origin story via a montage in the opening credits (allowing it to share Broad Strokes continuity with the 2003 film) rather than in the movie proper. It has a much darker tone than the series is known for, and the S.H.I.E.L.D. presence that linked all the other Phase One films together was reduced to an Easter Egg in this film. Add on the fact that Edward Norton was replaced by Mark Ruffalo, and that Ruffalo's Hulk looks and behaves much differently from Norton's, and you might not even think TIH is an MCU film at all, the only real sign being the cameo from Tony Stark (another oddity in itself, as such a moment would normally occur in The Stinger, an MCU staple, rather than at the end of the film proper), which was the first confirmation that yes, the MCU was a thing that was happening. To this day, Call Backs to the events of TIH are far rarer than callbacks to any other film in the series, to the point that Thunderbolt Ross was featured in Captain America: Civil War for the explicit purpose of assuring audiences that The Incredible Hulk is still canon.
- Halloweentown High, the third film, actually takes place almost entirely in our world, with Halloweentown residents coming over as foreign exchange students. It's also set over at least several weeks instead of just Halloween night, unlike its predecessors (but like its sequel). In addition, Gwen suddenly drops her dislike of magic and Marnie's Love Interest for this film is never mentioned again. (The sequel also tries to ignore any consequences of this film breaking the Masquerade so that Marnie still can't be happy in the human world.)
- The fourth Hercule Poirot novel, The Big Four takes a break from the usual murder mystery scenario and reads more like a thriller, where Poirot must stop a secret organisation from taking over the world.
- Ring for Jeeves in the Jeeves and Wooster series by P. G. Wodehouse - the novel features only Jeeves as a character (Bertie Wooster is absent), it's the only Jeeves and Wooster novel told in the third person (Bertie being narrator of all the other books and stories) and the story is set in the post-WWII Britain instead of usual vague Genteel Interbellum Setting, with quite unpleasant implications for the upper class protagonists, who have to actually start to work for living. It's quite funny, just different from the classical Wodehouse, into whose signature Strictly Formula novels reality intrudes quite disturbingly.note
- The tenth James Bond novel, The Spy Who Loved Me, is told from the First Person perspective of the Bond girl, rather than the usual third-person perspective focusing on Bond. Fleming didn't like the result—the movie with that title is In-Name-Only, on his request—though fans of the books generally think that it was an interesting experiment.
- The Lost Years of Merlin's fourth book, The Mirror of Merlin, is a mild example—it's not as Strictly Formula as the others (dispatching with the rhyming prophecy and with a subtler Race Against the Clock), and is a bit less In-Name-Only in its approach to Arthurian legend (due to Merlin meeting his future self and a young Arthur through Time Travel).
- In the choose-your-own-adventure Time Machine series, The Rings of Saturn is the only book that is set in the future rather than the past, and thus doesn't try to teach the reader anything about history.
- He Who Hesitates is the only novel in the 87th Precinct series that is told from the villain's point of view.
- Of Ludwig Bemelmans' original six Madeline books, Madeline's Christmas, is the only one that features magic and fantasy. Subsequent books by his grandson John Bemelmans Marciano have also included fantasy elements, but of the original six, especially compared to the Slice of Life tone of the first book, the Christmas story is a definite oddball. Unsurprisingly, the Animated Adaptation gives it an extensive rewrite, replacing the magic with a Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane scenario more tonally in-line with the rest of the series.
- The Bible: ''The Song of Songs" is much different from all the other books of The Bible. It is a highly erotic love poem (even if many modern readers won't understand all the innuendo), which has no mention of God. Traditionally, it has been believed that King Solomon (that is, one of the wisest figures in the Bible) wrote it. But still, some people have argued that this book shouldn't be taken at face value, but rather as an allegory for the bond between God and Israel, or maybe for the bond between Christ and the Church. Because it can be hard to see why it should be in the Bible otherwise.
- Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell isn’t too out of place in The Cosmere, having a decently similar tone and style to the other entries. However it has one notable exclusion that makes it an Oddball; it’s the first (and so far only) story in the whole series where Hoid never appears or gets mentioned at all.
- Our Miss Brooks: The last season of the television series, the product of Executive Meddling. Madison High School turns out to have been in Los Angeles. Not the City of Madison - as had been the case before. What's more, it's immediately being torn down for a new freeway. Miss Brooks and Mr. Conklin start working at Mrs. Nestor's private school. These changes were completely ignored by the radio series. Our Miss Brooks ended with a theatrical series finale that followed the radio continuity and ignored the final TV season entirely.
- Roseanne, upon being told that they only had one more season, decided "whatever, let's have some fun" and retooled things by having the lower middle-class family win the lottery. A string of Bizarro Episodes ensue, including one where Roseanne fight terrorists on the roof of a train while wearing a sports bra. Even when it wasn't being weird, it made some controversial decisions, such as revealing that Dan had been having an emotional affair with another woman. This all leads up to its finale, which infamously reveals that Dan died of his heart attack and most, if not all, of the series was actually a novel Roseanne wrote, based loosely on her life. However, the show has since been Un-Canceled, and the last episode, at least, will apparently be ignored.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is very different from the other Star Trek series, due to being the only one set on a station instead of a starship ("Fort Apache In Space" as opposed to "Wagon Train to the Stars"), and relying heavily on the use of the Story Arc. Instead of a weekly Planet of Hats, most of the focus is on the Federation's interaction with one planet, Bajor, and said planet's internal politics. It also acts as a deconstruction of the utopian Federation Gene Roddenberry envisioned. As such, it's pretty polarizing among Trek fans, but also has a following among people who don't necessarily like the other series.
- Kamen Rider:
- Kamen Rider Amazon was a major departure from the traditional Showa-era Kamen Rider formula, having the main character transformed via mystical spells instead of using "traditional" belts. The Rider cuts the enemies in a gruesome way instead of letting them explode in most cases, and had inexperience at riding motorcycles. At the finale, the Rider had to leave instead of staying in Japan like other Showa Riders did.
- Kamen Rider Kuuga, which began the Heisei-era formula, places as much emphasis on the actions of the police force as on the titular hero, has a mysterious ancient enemy whose motives are only fully understood in hindsight or on a second viewing, never has the hero declare his finishing moves, never uses the name "Kamen Rider" outside of the opening song, treats the growing destructive power of the main character as concerning or even detrimental, deconstructs the idea of the main character's powers coming from the same source as the enemy, and doesn't even have a traditional Final Battle where the hero and Big Bad show off the full extent of their abilities and powers, instead going for a bloody fist fight in the snow. Also, the final episode is set after everything's over and involves going back and revisiting all the main characters to see how they've moved on afterwards, instead of being the final battle.
- Kamen Rider Ryuki was pretty much Kamen Rider In-Name-Only back in 2002. However, it fell victim to "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny, and most of the elements that made it unique when it was new (such as a Super Sentai-esque Transformation Trinket, grey moral tones, varied suit designs, etc) are quite passé now. The Highlander-esque plot, however, still makes it quite unique amongst the franchise, or at least until Gaim touched that again.
- Kamen Rider Hibiki was vastly different from the other Kamen Rider Series, to the point where it was originally supposed to be it's own show before Toei decided to put it as the next Rider. Everything is a departure from the previous shows. The Rider barely looks like a rider, his main weapons are drumsticks, he lacks the bike in which he has his name, and the signature move for the Riders is nixed in favor for beating the monster to death like a taiko drum (he actually puts a taiko drum on the monster to boot). Because of this, it created a Broken Base with the fandom of Riders, and the Executive Meddling that was done to try and make Hibiki more like Kamen Rider seemed to make it worse in eyes of the half that liked Hibiki.
- Kamen Rider Ex-Aid is a Medical Drama in the form of a Tokusatsu show, with the Riders having a Video-Game motif, Super-Deformed base forms, and masks with giant anime-style eyes.
- The Ultra Series has had its share of unorthodox series:
- In a franchise about giant superheroes, Ultra Q is a Twilight Zone-styled mystery show featuring all sorts of strange creatures (not necessarily Kaiju) and paranormal phenomenon menacing ordinary people, rather than superhero-type action. Stranger still, it was the first entry in the franchise before the Genre Shift!
- 1967's Ultraseven is rather strange compared to other Showa entries. Asides from not being called Ultraman Seven, the show rarely featured Kaiju, preferring alien invaders (not always capable of turning giant-sized au contraire to series norm) as the weekly villains. It was also quite serious in comparison to its family-friendly contemporaries, covering themes ranging from dictatorships to genocide to war, as well as being more a la Star Trek than Superman. Still, Ultraseven has proven to be even more popular than the original Ultraman with more appearances as well as some sequels and spinoffs of his own.
- 1974's Ultraman Leo seems like a fairly typical Showa entry at first glance, but, as the show makes it obvious from the start, it isn't. It's a lot less silly and light-hearted than its contemporaries with character death, minor horror, and disturbing examples of violence being standard. The title hero hailed L76 rather than the typical M78 and preferred martial arts style attacks over dazzling beams of energy. It also deconstructed many of the ideas of the series from before it. Unfortunately, these elements proved to be bad for its run as it proved to have the poorest ratings in the franchise's history!
- 1980's Ultraman 80 had its first half as an oddball, being just as focused on Takeshi's life as a teacher and his relationships with staff and students as on his battles with kaiju. However, ratings dipped in the mid-tens, causing the rest of the series to be retooled into a far more standard Ultra show. Producer Noboru Tsuburaya specifically meant to use the first half as an attempt at a school dorama as well as a tokusatsu, and he later said the second half of the series was an Old Shame for him due to not living up to his original vision, and the first half of the show only got a resolution in Ultraman Mebius some 26 years later.
- Ultraman Cosmos in 2001 has the Badass Pacifist hero put more emphasis on saving the monsters rather than destroying them directly like others, and fights very defensively. It's regarded as one of the lightest shows in the series aside some spin-offs.
- 2004's Ultraman Nexus aimed for a much older audience than the average Ultra series. This is made most obvious by the extremely dark elements from horrifying monster killing innocents to lots of angst to the massive amount of Deconstruction on the ideas typical to Ultraman shows. Monsters were not weekly enemies this time, but took a miniature story arc to kill too. This is even stranger when one considers that this show was the result of Tsuburaya trying to completely remake their iconic character! Like Leo, it also got screwed hard though, forcing Tsuburaya on a more lighthearted path it hasn't strayed off too much since.
- Tsuburaya shifted gears in 2007 from superheroes to Mons with Ultra Galaxy Mega Monster Battle. Although technically more of a spinoff to the main franchise, it had the same giant monster battles, only without the Ultramen involved, instead using the many monsters from the history of the franchise to battle each other a la Pokemon. This time, the hero was a man named Rei who had the mysterious ability to command monsters by capturing them in a Battlenizer; his partner of choice was the ever-popular Gomora. Also, it took place on alien worlds populated by rampaging hordes of Kaiju or aliens with Rei's powers, instead of Earth. This new aspect of the franchise uni-multi-verse would carry on into the Ultraman shows.
- 2007 also has Ultraseven X, which is much darker than Nexus and being more Spy Fiction-oriented. The defense team in the story is an Anti-Villain All Along, and the giant monster/alien fights are rare. Unlike Leo and Nexus though, Seven X was put in Otaku O'Clock to avoid getting screwed.
- 2013's Ultraman Ginga was the first proper Ultraman series since Ultraman Mebius in 2006. It took some strange turns with the formula though. First off, there's no defense team, but instead a group of childhood friends hanging out at their former, soon-to-be-demolished elementary school (think Digimon Frontier). Second, it used Spark Dolls, toys of monsters and Ultras that could be used by people to transform into the monster or Ultra trapped in the toy form, meaning it was not uncommon to see the monsters used by the good guys fighting the villainous monster of the episode. Third, and least significant but still noteworthy, the franchise had begun relying heavily on their most popular monsters (Zetton, Red King, Eleking, etc.) to regularly antagonize the heroes, but this time, the iconics either never appeared or were Demoted to Extra in favour of more obscure monsters. It wasn't terribly well-received with fans, so perhaps that's why Tsuburaya returned to the normal formula with the Sequel Series Ultraman Ginga S (albeit still using the Spark Dolls).
- 2016's Ultraman Orb again skews the typical Ultra style in favor of the main hero being a wanderer, Gai Kurenai, helped out by a team of amateur paranormal investigators, against a mysterious demon who can take human form named Jugglus Juggler and his card-summoned Kaiju. All the main cast are played by actors with backgrounds in tokusatsu, something which hadn't been done in the Ultra Series in quite a while. Juggler and Gai have several untransformed fight scenes, and their relationship has often been compared to Kamen Rider's tradition of having villains who fight the hero both transformed and untransformed. Also, Gai gets his powers to transform from other Ultra heroes fairly late in the series, and there is a significant, Digimon Tamers-esque Cerebus Syndrome that takes hold starting with Episode 12.
- 2017's Ultraman Geed pays homage to Ultraman Leo in multiple ways: The series has Ultraman Zero as a mentor to Geed in much similar way to Seven's relationship with Leo, he is significantly injured in combat and takes on a more vulnerable human form to mentor a younger Ultra. The series breaks several conventions of the franchise in the first 5 eps alone. Big Good Ultraman King is killed in the beginning of the first episode as part of the backstory to how Belial ended up on Earth after the Crisis Impact which destroyed most of the universe, and Ultra beings are normally not Killed Off for Real. The show also has Riku's monster hunter friend/potential love interest Raiha discover his identity of Geed within minutes of meeting him, and Zero's human identity to mentor Geed with, Reito, has a family, yet another Ultra no-no.
- Super Bowl 50 is the first one to use the Arabic numeral instead of the Roman numeral, because the logo designers could not come up with an aesthetically pleasing logo that incorporated the Roman numeral L.
- Twitch Plays Touhoumon and Moemon, in addition to being the only time that Twitch Plays Pokémon used romhacks that replaced the Pokémon with Cute Monster Girls, was a dual run in which all inputs controlled both games. Furthermore, because of the difficulty inherent in this, democracy was made easier than ever to obtain. The expectation was that there would be battles between people trying to progress each game, but instead there was mostly just "work on one, then the other", and the idea of a dual run has never been revisited.
- Beast Machines is this in the larger context of the Transformers canon. Instead of “giant warring robots that turn into vehicles or animals”, the series involves technorganic beings fighting evil, anti-nature drones in a Villain World setting. Nothing quite like it has ever been attempted again, mainly because it’s failure led directly to the end of the Beast Era and the Generation One timeline. It’s rather dark and serious tone also used to be considered unusual, though far darker entries in the franchise have arisen since.