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Overshadowed by Awesome

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"Okay, look, the city is flying, we're fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow."

Where in a show or game that features ludicrously powerful people, a certain character or group of characters are overshadowed by their superior fellows and end up looking like plain crap, even though they are still very competent in comparison to your average Innocent Bystander.

Similar to Badass Normal, except they rarely get a chance to actually be badass and they are not always considered "normal" in the first place. If the creator is cognizant of this, expect a few rounds of Training from Hell to remedy this Can't Catch Up. Occasionally, they'll get their own storyline among 'real' normals, just to show how objectively badass they actually are. Unfortunately, Hard Work Hardly Works, so you can expect them to remain overshadowed throughout the show...

Of course, this makes sense for human characters playing second-fiddle to someone superhuman, or even a god. Unless...


See also Muggle Power, Tough Act to Follow, and In the End, You Are on Your Own. Can cause Always Second Best, Always Someone Better, Stuck in Their Shadow, Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist. Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond may result if they end up somewhere where their ability is actually potent. Videogame gameplay version of this would be Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness and Power Creep.

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    Tabletop Games 
  • This can easily happen if a Munchkin (who knows the rules of the edition they're playing) min-maxes their character to hell and back. Especially if combined with a dungeonmaster who doesn't place enough upgrades for melee fighters in a campaign of Dungeons & Dragons.
    • It can also happen easily if the players roll for their character stats, in fact this is one of the main arguments for the point buy system: every character has 8 in every stat at the start, distribute 27 points around up to a cap of 15 (though racial bonuses and the like can go through the cap) and there's your character. Every character will have different arrangements but will be on level pegging if you tally them up.
    • Or, in 3rd edition, 3.5, and the various offbranches thereof such as Pathfinder, if someone plays a caster class above level 6 or so, thanks to Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards. The higher the level, the greater the disparity. Even if the non-caster seems awesome on paper, he's still massively outclassed by the magic users.
    • This is one of the reasons why the 3.5 Tome of Battle supplement (which introduced a brand of magical martial arts for melee classes to help balance them towards casters) was so loathed. Instead of giving new options to the existing Fighter, Monk, and Barbarian classes (melee fighters without magic access), Tome of Battle introduced three new classes to showcase the magical martial arts of the book that completely rendered the aforementioned core classes obsolete by being better in every conceivable way. The Kick Them While They Are Down moment was that the Warblade martial class was revealed to be statistically better than a Fighter even if you removed the new systems it was built to showcase.
  • Exalted:
    • The Lunar Exalted: Blessed by the goddess of the moon with the power to shapeshift, which includes the ability to assume the forms of anything or anyone they've killed and eaten, including demons and gods. They are the only Exalt type to have successfully and permanently altered their own Exaltations. This is on top of their own innate magic to become masterful charmers and hypnotists, brilliant sorcerors and scientists, and/or nearly unparalleled warriors; they are the protectors of all Creation. They are also completely overshadowed by the Solar Exalted, who were empowered by the sun god with sheer overwhelming skill and might. On top of that, each Lunar is magically bound toward a single Solar.
    • Dragon-Blood have it even worse. Even the Dragon-Blood book goes out of its way to point out that one Terrestrial in a mixed game is a bad idea; the Terrestrial Exalted are intended to work as a team, and outnumber the whole host of all Celestial Exalted nearly 30:1 for a reason.
  • All over the place in Warhammer 40,000. The Imperial Guard are the most obvious example; they're the largest military force in human history, made up of trillions of intensely trained soldiers equipped with technology far more advanced than their modern equivalents, and yet the prevalence of Super Soldiers, Eldritch Abominations, and alien species superior in technology, physical prowess, psychic abilities, and/or numbers makes the Guard quite pathetic by comparison. They do have frequent wins, and their tanks are the nastiest things on the tabletop, but ultimately they aren't that impressive despite their power. They do still get a decent amount of respect for the standard-issue giant brass balls that they keep fighting regardless.
    • Generally, Toughness 3 and an Armour Save of 5+ was supposed to be considered good, with 4+ being elite body armor and 3+ being the equivalent of a walking tank. However, with the popularity of Space Marines and variants, many of the other species that would have been considered "normal" have been demoted to "swarm" status. Doesn't help when GW seems to actively embrace this new image, releasing even more space marines while actively playing up the "swarms" part in other armies.
    • A high-powered laser that can take off an unarmored man's limbs in a single shot, can be recharged just by throwing its magazine in a fire or keep it in sunlight and can be mass-produced with such ease that a man who barely knows how to build a hut out of mud and wood would not only be able to operate one, but also make one? The US army would be clamoring for such a piece of technology. To 40k however, it is the humble lasgun, otherwise known as "flashlights". This is because every other gun in the setting is either a rapid-firing, one-handed grenade launcher, fires mono-molecular edged ninja stars, flesh-eating worms, or just flat out rips you apart at an atomic level.
    • In the current Meta many units are often seen as "uncompetitive". This does not mean they're bad or underpowered, in fact most of them do very well at what they do and are quite appropriate for their cost. However, there are many units who are more powerful than them, many of which share the same Force Organisation Slot, meaning you either choose between the balanced unit, or the overpowered one. It's not a hard choice.
    • In the actual lore, Luther would have been the single greatest hero of all time on Caliban, if one of the primarchs, Lion El'Johnson, didn't happen to land on that particular planet. At this point, it is almost bordering on a tragic subversion, since, while Lion El'Johnson is physically powerful, tactically brilliant, and very quick to analyze any situation, he is an absolute moron with dealing with people. Luther isn't quite at Lion's level, but his charisma ends up making him more effective than Lion in most situations. Several major issues caused accidentally by Lion El'Johnson probably would not have occurred under Luther.
    • What about the PDF? The Planetary Defence Forces? It's joked that their role is to be punching bags long enough for the Imperial Guard and Space Marines to arrive, but think that not all of them are backwater hired guns and mercs. The wealthier and more important worlds have huge and well-equipped PDFs with competent officers, competent men, and have the money and industrial base to equip their men with the finest weapons and armour the Imperium can provide. Forge worlds are even more impressive, with lasguns, tanks and artillery that are produced by the Adeptus Mechanicus and actually superior to what the Imperial Guard get, not to mention they may be upgraded with the order's own cybernetics technology and turned into the Skitarii. Basically, a Forge World PDF will be the size and technology equivalent of the US military, a Badass Army in their own right. Yet in come the Orks, Eldar or Tyranids, and the PDF get utterly crushed. The PDF lack the one thing that make the Imperial Guard competitive: quantity. Even the most badass PDF is not enough. Not even close to being enough.
      • PDF tends to outnumber Guard by a large margin. It is hard to transport millions of soldiers between stars to defend nameless backwater planet. Guard is more effective because they are recruited from the best fighters of PDF, they have much better morale, actual combat experience, and complex electronic equipment.note  However, the main problem of PDF is the plot. Xenos attacked and PDF kicked their asses just don't make up a good story. (Except in some of the Ciaphas Cain books, where they get A Day in the Limelight and provide the muscle for Cain's wins.)
  • One of the outcomes of Power Creep whenever it is applied to any game. What was once dominant can be knocked down into obscurity because the newest additions invoke this trope. Case-in-point, the famed Blue-Eyes White Dragon from Yu-Gi-Oh!. Once known as a nigh-unbeatable powerhouse, the shift in power and pacing of the game has changed such that it is not unusual to see a Deck field out 2 or more monsters of its strength in a single turn with beneficial effects to boot. It took some explicit support (involving cards that would also be on par with the game's own Power Creep, mind you) to bring Blue-Eyes back up to speed.


    Visual Novels 
  • In Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! this happens to pretty much all the male leads. Gakuto in particular is shown to be able to hold off 70 people attacking him at once with a broken leg but is hopelessly outclassed against almost all the characters. It also happens to some of the female characters, like Fushikawa or, tragically, Kazuko Kawakami.
    • Majikoi is incredibly bad about this, to the point where nearly every character save for a select few is completely overshadowed by the main female lead Momoyo by a wide margin. To put this into perspective, all of the women on the main team are stronger than the men, but all of them save for one are significantly weaker than Momoyo.
    • Yamato manages to avoid this however, by being The Chessmaster and a Magnificent Bastard.
  • Poor Hoshikawa Maki from Tokimeki Memorial 4. She is the dedicated lead heroine, taking up the torch from previous main lead heroines from the game series and overall fulfills all the necessary criteria to be one. But she is easily overlooked or deemed not as memorable as Satsuki Yuu, the deuteragonist who is an Expy of old-time fan-favorite Fujisaki Shiori as well as Okura Miyako, the game's Ensemble Dark Horse due to her not just being a secret character to date, but also her route consisting of her personality doing a 180 and being the first Yandere in the game series.

    Web Animation 
  • Death Battle has matches like these frequently. Nearly every single combatant is a badass in their own right, and some can even fight on equal footing with their opponent. Other matches on the other hand, end up with the losers getting destroyed by their opponents who are simply better than them in every single way that matters.
  • RWBY: Jaune Arc is fairly physically strong, but he's still the weakest fighter of the heroes and has no formal training, so he Fights Like a Normal in a World of Badass where everyone fights according to Rule of Cool anime physics. Jaune makes up for it by being The Strategist.

    Web Original 
  • Meta-version. Cracked made an article about works which become Genre Killers, not because they are bad, but because they are that good that they become the "definitive" movie.
  • At the Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, there are mutants who just don't have the best powers.
    • Aquerna possesses the spirit of the squirrel. She can do a 25-foot standing broad jump. She's far stronger and quicker than any normal human her size. She has super-senses. She can talk to and command squirrels. And she's regarded as one of the biggest losers on campus.
    • For that matter, Phase is a good example. Phase has pounded Matterhorn, fought an interdimensional demon to a standstill, one-punched Fantastico, and still thinks of himself as being in the bottom half of his team. He's probably right, given who's on his team.
    • Gadgeteers often find themselves falling into this. They don't tend to have flashy powers - though their mechanical advantage, so to speak, can be utterly devastating. They don't usually have the Exemplar package, or magic, or super strength, or the like... so it's easy to underestimate them. One does so at one's own peril.

    Web Videos 
  • Honest Trailers all but says this in regard to the 2015 summer blockbusters that were not Mad Max: Fury Road:
    Narrator: Age of Ultron (while showing the Hulkbuster)
    Immortan Joe: Mediocre!
    Narrator: Jurassic World (while showing the dinosaurs)
    Immortan Joe: Mediocre!
    Narrator: Terminator Genisys (while showing the T-800 make its un-smile)
    * Epic Rap Battles of History:
    • According to Winston Churchill, if Mount Rushmore was a band, Theodore Roosevelt would play bass.
    • Wayne Gretzky points out to Tony Hawk that the two of them have collectively set 184 world records... of which Gretzky set 183.
    • Guy Fawkes disses Che Guevara for being "Castro, but less so".
  • Discussed in Idols of Anime, with regards to Magical Stage Fancy Lala: Viga theorizes that part of the reason for Fancy Lala's poor ratings and early cancellation was that Cardcaptor Sakura was airing at the same time (and in fact premiered just two days after Fancy Lala), and was a much better Magical Girl show.
  • In Noob:
    • Heimdäl is leader of Justice, the top guild of the game up to Season 3/The third novel/Comic 7, can be assumed to be the best mage, is a good strategist and may possibly be in the top five. However, Fantöm, Amaras and Spectre, the three that outrank him, are the poster boys for UltimateGamer386 and get to do most of the impressive stuff in the story, thus greatly limiting Heimdäl's opportunities to shine in comparison.
    • Mist, who was top player before Spectre and actually the first to even earn the title, is stated to have gotten overshadowed by him in terms of reputation in one of the novels.

    Real Life 
  • The Jaguar XJ220 is a 1992 supercar capable of going 213 mph or 343 km/h, it could go from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, and it was crowned the fastest production car in the world. What happened? Just a few months later, the McLaren F1 came out, stealing the title of fastest production car from the Jaguar and keeping that title for 12 years until the Bugatti Veyron came outnote , and to say it stole the Jaguar's thunder dramatically and left its buyers feeling hollow and ripped off would be an understatement — it could go 0-100 in 3.2 seconds, with a max speed of 386 km/h with a rev limiter, and 391 without it, and that's not all — it's fully capable of pulling a seventh gear, which means it could go even faster by just adding a seventh gear — possibly as fast as the first Veyron.
  • People remember John Wilkes Booth for his assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865, but very few people remember the just as interesting life of Boston Corbett, the man who killed Booth. Corbett was a fanatic Methodist and hatter who mutilated his own testicles, was discharged dishonorably in his first stint as a Union Army soldier for holding unauthorized prayer meetings and mouthing off to a superior, and in his second stint ended up spending time in the notorious Andersonville Prison. He later become a destitute hobo in Kansas, and is believed to have been killed in 1894 in a wildfire that burned down the town of Hinckley, Minnesota.
  • Fans consider Expelled from Paradise this trope when it made its debut in Super Robot Wars T. While an overall solid entry, the other series debut were Magic Knight Rayearth, Arcadia Of My Youth - Endless Orbit SSX, and Cowboy Bebop, three other series fans had always dreamed of wanting to get in a Super Robot Wars entry but was considered a pipe dream till then. This in addition to series coming back in the franchise for the first time in ages like GUN×SWORD, Mobile Fighter G Gundam, and GaoGaiGar, and it's really easy to see how people think that Expelled got the short end of the stick. It didn't help that Word of God treated the series as Trivially Obvious. This trope, however, isn't treated as such in-game.
  • Kevin Conroy is the undeniable linchpin of Batman: The Animated Series. In contrast to the likes of Keaton and Kilmer (who barely change their voices), Clooney (who didn't care), Bale (whose growl is often considered a joke), or Affleck (who has to use a modulator), Conroy's vocal performance as Bruce Wayne and Batman is realistic, subtle, yet distinct enough for both characters, and his ability to portray a vast range of emotional qualities, from action to drama to comedy to tragedy, should have won him numerous awards many times over. After 20 years in the same role, Conroy is considered the definitive Batman voice, and the voice that most people still hear when they read the comics. Unfortunately, his co-star is Mark Hamill as The Joker.
  • Jakob Dylan is a respected musician and activist with a career that's more than 20 years long. He's put out six albums as a solo artist and more with his group the Wallflowers. He's received an honorary doctorate and has been awarded for his activism and philanthropy when it comes to Diabetes Research, awareness, recognition, and greater levels of assistance for male victims of domestic abuse and rape, and many other projects. Unfortunately, he's the son of Bob Dylan. (Jakob's status as living in his father's shadow was once even snarked about on Saturday Night Live.)
  • This also happened to the English/British Royal family as for most people who either don't study the subject or are foreign, there are pretty much only four members who ever lived: Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Victoria and Elizabeth II. Some might also recall William the Conqueror and Richard the Lionhearted, and theater lovers might recall the ones who appeared in Shakespeare's historical plays. Bearing in mind that this is one of the most influential countries in modern history it seems sad that the achievements of all the other great kings and queens are often entirely forgotten.
    • For Small Reference Pools, "Mad King" George III for some reason in The American Revolution, Edward Longshanks with same reason for Scots and William Wallace, Prince John (usually in connection to Robin Hood), Henry Tudor and Richard III, Edward VII for succeeding Victoria, maybe Cromwell if he is counted.
    • With historical rulers, one of the problems is that even relatively competent or long-reigning monarchs may be overshadowed by more famous predecessors and successors, with more of an impact on the historical record and/or popular imagination. A good example is Henry III (1207-1272, reigned 1216-1272), also known as Henry of Winchester. He was king of England for 56 years, had significant building, military, and diplomatic accomplishments, and was the first king to face a Parliamentarian revolution (under Simon de Montfort). He is overshadowed by his father John (1166-1216, reigned 1199-1216), who had a relatively short and troubled reign, and by his son Edward I (1239-1307, reigned 1272-1307), who conquered Wales, briefly took over Scotland, participated in the Ninth Crusade, and led major administrative and legislative reforms in England. While John and Edward I are among the most famous kings England ever had, Henry III is largely forgotten. To quote Wikipedia: "Henry's reign did not receive much attention from historians for many years after the 1950s: no substantial biographies of Henry were written after Powicke's, and the historian John Beeler observed in the 1970s that the coverage of Henry's reign by military historians remained particularly thin. ... Unlike many other medieval kings, Henry did not feature significantly in the works of William Shakespeare, and in the modern period he has not been a prominent subject for films, theatre or television, having only a minimal role in modern popular culture."
  • Chess:
    • Many chess experts consider Anatoly Karpov to be the second-greatest grandmaster ever to play the game. He's mainly remembered for spending his career as foil to Garry Kasparov.
    • Kasparov himself is remembered largely for being a foil for Deep Blue!
    • Among Chess World Champions Max Euwe (1935-37) is often overlooked, as he won the championship partly due to his predecessor being a raging alcoholic, and generally did not play many games during his career. But the latter was partly because he is the only man ever to win the title as 100 % amateur.
  • This is perhaps why crossbeats REV. bombed in Japan: It was released too close to the far more popular and better-acclaimed CHUNITHM, another Rhythm Game.
  • ScrewAttack has this problem with their own work. The series Death Battle has eclipsed virtually everything they've made, which disappoints them when other shows don't catch on. A good example of this was when they attempted to get fans to watch the live-action show The Industry to find out who the next combatants were, only for entire rows of YouTube comments telling fans where to look.
  • Dogora would probably be better-remembered today if it wasn't sandwiched between Mothra vs Godzilla and Ghidorah the Three Headed Monster.
  • Everyone has heard of the aurochs, the extinct king of the European forest, once the largest land mammal in the continent. Comparatively few people have heard of the European bison (or wisent), the current largest mammal on the continent, which is still alive.
  • One reason for the continuation of the Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys stereotype is that although the Gauls With Grenades are definitely some of the best soldiers in the world, their most famous unit recruits primarily from foreigners.
    • Most people know that they surrendered quickly (or rather, their high command did) when German armies bypassed the Maginot Line and invaded through the Ardennes region, what most of the people don't know they reformed throughout the war with recruitment of many French North Africans and later many of the re-encouraged Frenchmen (after the Allies made a beachhead in Normandy) they gave many contributions to war efforts. Understandable because most English-speaking sources come from either the United Kingdom, Commonwealth, or USA and, understandably, tend to highlight their own respective country's efforts in late stage of war. In a simpler term (for organizations scale), French get better but USA, UK, and Commonwealth get even better and with less glaring serious mistake(s).
  • Happens to a lot of gifted students when they attend competitive universities. Back home, they might have been the smartest kid in their high school, but when they get into schools like MIT, Harvard or Stanford, they're surrounded by people who were the top students in their schools, with faculty and administration far less willing to cut them some slack than in high school. If these students haven't had to develop real study skills before, they find themselves flunking out despite their intelligence.
  • The film How Green Was My Valley itself. Despite being generally regarded as a highly innovative and well-made movie in its own right, nowadays just about any discussion of it centres around how it stole the Best Picture Oscar from Citizen Kane, generally considered to be the greatest movie ever made.
  • Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson, to name only two of the many talented Elizabethan/Jacobean playwrights who weren't William Shakespeare. Which is funny, because for a long time it was the other way round and only really changed in the Victorian era.
  • John Cornyn is the senior U.S. Senator from Texas and briefly served as Senate Majority Whip. He’s still nowhere near as famous as Texas’s junior senator: Ted Cruz.
  • John F. Kennedy once addressed a dinner of Nobel Prize winners at the White House: "I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone."
  • Kings:
    • Philip II of Macedonia was a hugely successful king and general who is completely overshadowed by his son, Alexander the Great.
    • Pepin the Short was an effective Frankish king during his time, but he is overshadowed by both his father and son. His father was Charles Martel ("Charles the Hammer"), who saved Christendom from the Muslim invasion at the Battle of Tours and is the patriarch of the Carolingian dynasty. His son was the even more famous Charlemagne ("Charles the Great"), who founded the Holy Roman Empire and is called "the father of Europe."
    • Suleiman II is known as "The Magnificent" in the West. His father Selim I, the first Ottoman sultan to claim the Caliphate and the one that doubled the Ottoman Empire's territory by conquering Mamluk Egypt, is comparatively forgotten.
    • Philip II of France (aka "Philip Augustus") was the first true King of France, expanding his territory, subjugating rebellious underlords, and introducing governmental reform that made his realm the strongest nation in 12th-Century Europe. He was also a wise and just ruler, and apparently a really nice guy in person. He might have been a far more well-known monarch if he hadn't been a contemporary of Medieval Europe's Rock Star King Richard the Lionheart... who pretty much overshadowed everyone else in the room.
  • There are exactly two pieces of evidence for the historical King Arthur: One is an 11th-century chronicle of the noble families in the English Isle who showed that there were a generation in the fifth century CE where every single one named their eldest son ”[Something] Arthur [Family Name]”. The second one is from the Welch Epic Poem ”Y Gododdin” from around 600 CE, where every verse mentions another thing the King was awesome at (one was about how awesome he was at taming horses, another was about how patiently he listened for Counsil, etcetera) but every verse had the humbling final line: “and yet he was not Arthur.”
  • In 2012, the film Hyde Park on Hudson opened. Starring Bill Murray as Franklin D. Roosevelt, it would have been seen as a must-see Oscar Bait film in any other year (and probably would have finally gotten Murray his Oscar). Too bad it had to open the same year as Lincoln, with Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. As a result, the former film has been seen as So Okay, It's Average while Lincoln has taken all of the glory.
  • The long-awaited return of Halley's Comet in 1910 - hugely anticipated because it was to be the first time the comet would be photographed - was largely overshadowed by the completely unexpected apparition of the Great Comet of 1910 in January of that year, which was visible even during the day (hence the popular nickname of "Daylight Comet"), and is generally regarded as the brightest comet of the 20th century, even brighter than Hale-Bopp in 1997 (although Hale-Bopp was visible to the naked eye for much longer). Halley, which showed up three months later, put in a good showing with one of its better apparitions on record (it came close enough to Earth for the planet to pass through the comet's tail at one point), but many elderly people interviewed in the lead-up to the 1986 apparition describing their memories of its 1910 apparition turned out to be remembering the Great Comet instead. Speaking of the 1986 apparition, it was a total bust - the worst in recorded history - making the 1986 apparition a case of this in terms of all its past apparitions. On a positive note, at least, the next apparition in 2061 is predicted to be much more favourable.
  • Malcolm in the Middle was a very popular show in the early 2000s and was easily the most famous role for Bryan Cranston at that time who was seen as one of the highlights of the show. Unfortunately, Cranston followed up the series by playing the lead role in Breaking Bad, a series that is generally considered to be one of the greatest ever made on par with The Sopranos and The Wire. Bryan Cranston's performance as Walter White won him multiple Emmys, made him a major star and is considered to be one if not the greatest TV performance ever. This means that Malcolm in the Middle is now generally seen as little more than the show Bryan Cranston was on before Breaking Bad.
  • Les Misérables:
    • Poor Nick Jonas. By most reasonable standards, he was quite good at the 25th Anniversary Concert of Les Misérables as Marius. Unfortunately for him, he was standing next to the likes of Alfie Boe and Ramin Karimloo, and he paled in comparison.
    • Ditto Samantha Barks as Eponine, who was good enough to be cast in the film version over dozens of big-name actresses, but who has the misfortune of being compared to legendary names like Lea Salonga and Frances Ruffelle and will therefore always come in third-rate no matter how good she is. (However, her situation is made quite a bit better by the fact that the aforementioned legendary names were cheering her casting like it was going out of style.)
  • Just about anything prehistoric that isn't a dinosaur is typically overshadowed by... well, the dinosaurs. This includes animals often mistaken for dinosaurs, like pterosaurs and marine reptiles. Heck, even dinosaurs can be subjected to this; in summer 2015, three new dinosaurs were discovered. One was a dog-sized herbivorous theropod. Another was an extremely complete skeleton of a terror birdnote , the most complete skeleton of one ever found. The third? It was a dinosaur that resembled a tiny feathered dragon. Guess which one got the most attention.
  • Not only the red dwarf stars are by far the most abundant ones of the Universe, but it's also thought most of them are orbited by small, more or less Earth-sized planets. Despite that they're overshadowed by those far more luminous than them, including ours and especially the likes of for example Deneb or Betelgeuse, but much less abundant and that last nothing next to said dwarf stars, that will still be around when all others are long dead and will be the last ones shining —if the Universe does not end before.
  • Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Ed Markey of Massachusetts are renowned Democratic Senators, having served in Congress since the 1970s (although Markey never moved up to the Senate until 2013). Their respective states’ other senators? Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, arguably the two best-known Democratic Senators in the country (although the former is technically an independent).
  • Unless you’re a die-hard fan of PBS, their 1990-91 season was all The Civil War, all the time (well, that and their "Just Watch Us Now" image campaign). For example, good luck trying to find someone who remembers that the National Geographic special "Man: The Ultimate Machine" was rebroadcast right before the series premiere on September 23, 1990, and an independent film, El Matador, was broadcast right after, or that the weekday installments were followed by repeats from the Bill Moyers series A World of Ideas, including the first part of a two-parter featuring Noam Chomsky.
  • John Michael Attenborough has two brothers: Richard, an actor known for a few big films, and David, who is perhaps the most famous nature presenter in the world. At least John's got something going for him as an executive of Alfa Romeo.
  • Robert and Ted Kennedy had distinguished political careers, but both were overshadowed by John.
  • Ever heard of Peter Lawford or Joey Bishop? Maybe not, but you've likely heard of their fellow Rat Pack members Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, and (especially!) Frank Sinatra. Case in point: the latter three have their own pages here, while Peter and Joey do not.
    • The Rat Pack gets this twice over. Everyone knows the lineup named above, but how many know that there was a whole other lineup a decade earlier? You'll know some of the members, like Humphrey Bogart and David Niven, but not their status as Rat Pack members.
  • One major factor in the Sega Dreamcast's demise, and Sega's downfall as a first-party developer as a result, was in the simple fact that the PlayStation 2 existed - after Sony's extremely successful entry into the console market with the first PlayStation, the mere hype generated by the announcement of a second generation was enough to kill further interest in the Dreamcast.
  • Marc Coppola is a nationally-syndicated DJ, whose uncle and cousin are Oscar-winning directors, his brother is an Oscar-winning actor, his late grandfather an Oscar-winning film scorer, and several other relatives are high profile actors and musicians. Once in an interview, Howard Stern remarked: "in any other family, you'd be top of the heap, but in the Coppolas, you're kind of the nobody."
  • Happens a lot in Real Life for various reasons. Usually it might be because the person is The Ace in whatever field they excel at (professional sports is a great example because it's easier to notice physical differences in performance). It could also be that they have more charisma than others (Stan Lee is an example because, regardless of your opinions about his abilities, both he and Jack Kirby were needed to make Marvel Comics what it is and neither could have done it alone, but Stan was far more recognized initially and even now people remember Stan mor than Kirby). It might also be because a fortunate circumstance allowed the person to make their mark in history.
  • The Thespians at Thermopylae were overshadowed by the awesomeness of the Spartans and are not remembered enough. And considering that the thing they died for was at least partly that it would be remembered that Thespians had been as brave as Spartans it rather behooves us to remember.
    • Few outside history geeks remember Thebans were also there.
    • Also in the Bronze Age, any civilization not from Persia, Egypt, nor Greek were outshined by those three. In the Greek areas, any military was outshined by Athena in naval strength and Sparta, Athena, and later, Thebe in land strength.
  • This kinda happened to Charles IX of Sweden, the youngest son of Gustav Vasa I (Father of the Nation) and the father of Gustavus Adoluphus (founder of the Swedish Empire). Living between these two has made Charles IX a rather overlooked king, which's sad considering that he was a cunning and competent king that won the bitter power struggle the sons of Gustav Vasa fought after their father's death; a power struggle that killed Charles' older brothers Eric XIV and John III, and which Charles' nephew Sigismund barely survived.
  • The vast majority of scientific breakthroughs build on the work of dozens, if not even hundreds, of other scientists (contemporary and past), while often only one person gets the limelight. A perfect example of this would be Albert Einstein. While his contribution to science has undoubtedly been absolutely invaluable, few people in the general population know that he didn't do all the work himself. If you ask the average person who, for example, Hendrik Lorentz (who worked out most of the special relativity equations that Einstein used) was, most people will give you a blank stare. Einstein himself, however, has entered popular culture as The archetypal scientist (although, to be fair, not entirely without merit.)
  • In 2019, LEON and LOLA, the first two products of the mega-popular synthesising software Vocaloid, hit a milestone 15th anniversary. Unfortunately for them that month, Crypton Future Media's Megurine Luka hit her 10th, and thus got the lion's share of the promotion. The only official sources celebrating on that day would end up being Zero-G's Twitter page, which itself accomplished this by retweeting the news from a fan.
    • The software itself ran into the same problem: LEON and LOLA's birthdays coincided with the 15th anniversary of the V1 engine (and thus all of Vocaloid). That would have been celebration-worthy news... if the 15th anniversary of Fate/stay night (and thus all of Fate) didn't also happen that month.
  • The name Phedon Papamichael might not mean much to people outside the film circle but he's made a respectable career as a cinematographer (being the regular cinematographer for Alexander Payne and James Mangold). However, his proteges Janusz Kaminski, Mauro Fiore and Wally Pfister have all managed to surpass him in recognition and acclaim (all three have won Oscars for their work, Papamichael has never been nominated). Also overshadowed by awesome in terms of family: his uncle was famous indie director John Cassavetes.
  • While Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite was also a severe case of Overshadowed by Controversy, its failure was only further solidified by the announcement and later release of Dragon Ball FighterZ. While MVCI was drawing a near constant flow of backlash, Dragonball Fighterz instantly captured the hearts of fighting game players with one of the few franchises with a pedigree comparable to Marvel, a 3v3 format where MVCI inexplicably went back to 2v2, along with its development being in the capable hands of Arc System Works. As a result. Marvel Vs. Capcom: Infinite was doomed to obscurity, not helped by getting snubbed by EVO note , while Dragonball Fighterz became a mainstay in Fighting game tournaments ever since.
  • 1998 was a great year for the First-Person Shooter genre, with the releases of Quake II, Si N, Unreal I and Blood II: The Chosen. However, the Game of the Year award and the limelight had another owner: Half-Life.
  • Brandon Choi was the co-creator of Stormwatch, WildCATs, and Gen13, which essentially makes him one of the founding fathers of WildStorm. Alas, he has long been overshadowed by his friend Jim Lee, who was the official founder of the company.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Krillin


Zeke and Cole

Zeke was THIS close to closing the deal before his much cooler friend Cole showed up.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / OvershadowedByAwesome

Media sources:

Main / OvershadowedByAwesome