Follow TV Tropes

Following

Power Stereotype Flip

Go To

Geras: For a cryomancer, you run hot.
Frost: My well of hate runs deep.
Geras: Deep enough for you to drown in it.

Personality Powers are useful shorthands for characterizing superpowered individuals. However, given how widely used they are, some creators will invert Personality Powers and give their characters personalities entirely opposite from what is expected given the superpowers they have in order to make them unique (also see the Four-Temperament Ensemble).

Advertisement:

There could be an in-universe reason regarding the logistics of their superpowers — for example, one might expect a character with a flashy, highly destructive superpower to have a bombastic and excitable personality to match, but they are logical and cool-headed to mitigate potential damage. They may also be rejecting the way the superpower is traditionally taught. Occasionally, a proper-looking case of Personality Powers may involve the character having Hidden Depths, where their true personality is the opposite of the power they're using. The reverse may also be true.

Some examples of inverting Personality Powers include:

  • The Four-Element Ensemble:
    • Dishing Out Dirt: Since earth as an element is associated with sturdiness and steadfastness, its user could instead be flighty, temperamental and indecisive.
    • Making a Splash: Water users are traditionally flexible, patient, and nurturing; characters to whom this trope applies could be Hot-Blooded and impatient. The same goes for An Ice Person, who is usually cool as a cucumber.
    • Advertisement:
    • Playing with Fire: Fire users are usually characterized as Hot-Blooded and excitable. Thus, inverting that makes these characters stoic and cool-headed, though they may still be warm-hearted.
    • Blow You Away: Wind users are often cheerful, hyperactive, and carefree; inverting this personality can make them somber, serious, and slow.
  • Physical powers:

And so on.

Super-Trope of Fiery Stoic. Compare Bad Powers, Good People and Good Powers, Bad People (when it's the morality at odds from what is expected from the powers), Stereotype Flip (when someone looks or acts contrary to some other non-power stereotype), and Square Race, Round Class (when someone's race and class are at odds).

Advertisement:


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Barry Allen, The Flash of the Silver Age, is a speedster with a slow-and-steady personality.
  • W.I.T.C.H.: Played With. Taranee's and Cornelia's powers don't seem like straightforward fits, but Yan Lin explains that their powers suit them despite this. Taranee, the Guardian of Fire, is level-headed and analytical, but this makes her reliable enough to be trusted with it. Cornelia, the Guardian of Earth, is temperamental, but since she uses hard logic, it's a good fit.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Invisible Boy from Mystery Men is energetic and outgoing, unlike the shy stereotype.

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cloak & Dagger (2018): Tandy, who runs from every situation and never believes anyone has any good in them, gains the powers to manifest light daggers and see the hopes and dreams of whomever she touches. Tyrone, who attacks first and has trouble understanding how people can be cruel, gains shadow teleportation and the ability to see fears. They even note that if Tyrone had gotten Tandy's daggers he would have already killed someone, and if Tandy had gotten Tyrone's shadows she would be long gone.
  • In The Flash (2014), scientist Caitlin Snow has a superpowered persona named Killer Frost who can control ice. Instead of being composed, cool, and collected, Killer Frost is bold, temperamental, violent, unpredictable and impulsive.
  • Nowhere Boys: Jake Riles, an ex-Jerk Jock, has the element of earth. But he has a Hair-Trigger Temper, becoming a Foil to his friend Felix Ferne.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Silver Age Sentinels has "Officer Prometheus", an NYPD Super Cop who can be described as "the mentality of Captain America with the powers of the Human Torch". He is one of the most calm, approachable and humble men amongst the "signature characters" in sharp contrast to his capacity to set a city block on fire with a wave of his hand.
  • Enforced for Fire-Aspect Dragon-Blooded in Exalted. They are prone to being Hot-Blooded, but since that is entirely unacceptable in a society based on order and hierarchy, they are under especially much pressure to develop respect and discipline, making them even more rigid and controlled than other Dragon-Blooded.

    Video Games 
  • In Chrono Trigger, the Hot-Blooded outgoing Marle has ice powers, while the calmer more introverted Lucca uses fire. They were originally going to have elements that more appropriately lined up with their personality types, but they got swapped at some point in development; hence the explanation on why Marle has fire powers on the cover art.
  • Karis of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is a Wind Adept, but whereas most Wind Adepts are calm, intelligent mystics, Karis is instead a Hot-Blooded Tsundere more akin to a typical Fire Adept.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • Kyo, who uses fire powers, is initially appropriately Hot-Blooded and full of himself, but as the game goes on he becomes more mature and laidback. His father Saisyu is Older and Wiser while also having fire powers. Ash Crimson in a later story is downright cunning and calm, almost never raising his voice, despite also having fire powers.
    • Kula Diamond has ice powers but is an outgoing, fun-loving, somewhat immature teenager.
  • Mega Man:
    • Mino Magnus from Mega Man Zero 4 is a lightning user, but unlike his fellow lightning user Pegasolta Eclair, Magnus is slow both in thought, speech and movement.
    • Mega Man ZX: Purprill, one of the holders of the Biometal Model P, is a hyperactive Manchild. By contrast, Model P itself (as a sentient artifact) is appropriately stern and solemn like a ninja.
  • In Octopath Traveler, Alfyn uses ice magic by default but is friendly and Hot-Blooded, while Therion uses fire by default but is cold and standoffish.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl:
    • The Ice-type Pokemon Gym Leader Candice is a peppy, tomboyish young girl with a fiery personality who openly wonders out loud if she should cultivate an "Ice-Type" personality, aloof and cold.
    • The Water-type Gym Leader Crasher Wake is a completely crazy, over-the-top madman who wears a mask—AT ALL TIMES—demands that people call him Crasher Wake, and donates to charitable causes in his free time.
    • Most Ghost-type trainers are weird, anti-social people—possessed mystics, mediums, psychics, and the like. Fantina is a beautiful, vivacious woman who has her Pokemon compete in beauty contests, nicely tells trainers who are way too weak to battle her that they can't face her now and should come back later, and happens to have gotten into Pokemon as a kind of hobby she turned out to be good at. She is also foreign to the main country—apparently, Dark is French.
    • Volkner, the Electric Gym Leader, who's quiet and withdrawn even after you motivate him to actually fight you.
  • The remakes of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire play this with regards to the leaders of the two evil teams. Maxie, the leader of Team Magma and a user of Fire-type Pokémon, is cold and analytical; Archie, the leader of Team Aqua and a user of Water-type Pokémon, is a Large Ham Boisterous Bruiser.
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
    • Series Mascot Jack Frost is obviously An Ice Person, but it is very cheerful and playful, adding a "-ho!" at the end of each sentence.
    • Digital Devil Saga:
      • In spite of him being a wind user, Gale is The Spock, completely incapable of understanding emotions and operates solely based on logic. Even after his Character Development, he remains coolheaded and subdued, with moments of emotion - usually anger - being few and far between.
      • Lupa is perhaps the most powerful fire user in the duology, but he is always calm and dignified even when having suddenly a knife at his throat.
      • Heat, whose abilities are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, while usually a Fiery Redhead, enters a stage of Tranquil Fury during Berserk Mode.
    • There is hardly anyone in Persona 2 whose abilities match their personalities.
    • Persona 4: Both Chie Satonaka and Teddie have ice powers, but they both are cheerful and friendly, with Chie being Hot-Blooded and Teddie being very optimistic.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long has the oracle twins, Kara and Sara, who both have randomly occurring visions of the future. One is a dour Goth who can only see the good things about to happen while the other is a perpetually sunny Pollyanna who can only see the bad things about to happen. This is actually explained in the show as the former having all the joy sucked out of life since every good surprise is spoiled for her ahead of time, while the latter can't help but be happy since every second the horrible things she sees aren't happening is absolutely fantastic in comparison.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Korra grew up in the water tribe but is fiery, passionate, and aggressive, while waterbenders are usually associated with patience and flexibility. She is also the Avatar which imbues her with powers to connect to the spirit realm as she is meant to act as a mediator between the realms, but unlike her predecessor her spiritual sense is very low and she is not at all naturally diplomatic.
    • Master Tenzin, son of Avatar Aang and heir to his legacy as the (no longer) last airbender, starts the series as Korra's stiff, humorless stick-in-the-mud mentor figure, borne down by the weight of his responsibilities. This is in direct contrast to his father, who spent the predecessor series as a happy-go-lucky Cheerful Child, and whose hundred-year disappearance was the direct result of running away from his role as Avatar.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Celestia, who controls the sun, has a calm, sensible personality. Luna, who controls the moon, has a bombastic, intimidating personality.

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback