Follow TV Tropes


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).

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. And sometimes it is based on their personality, but in a non-intuitive way; a Hot-Blooded water user might simply be a manifestation of a stormy sea, an unstable earth user a sandstorm or volcanism, a stoic and measured fire user a hearth or industrial furnace, a calm air user the tranquillity of clear skies, and so on.

Some examples of inverting Personality Powers include:

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 with 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).


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Berserk, Serpico is a very calm, obsessively dedicated, introverted, and serious-minded sort. He himself points out that it's rather ironic that he ended up with wind-based magic gear since that would imply someone flighty, outgoing, and free-spirited. Of course, it actually does complement his elegant and strategic fighting style.
  • Black Clover: Wind users are usually portrayed as cheerful and free-spirited. Instead, Yuno is very calm and serious, usually acting unflappable. This is made especially apparent in his interactions with Sylph, the energetic, playful wind spirit.
  • The Elusive Samurai: Though it involves mundane skill rather than a superpower, Tokiyuki's extreme evasive abilities—initially at the cost of being unwilling to attack—don't reflect his personality the way you might expect. Far from being a coward who avoids danger, he's a Thrill Seeker who loves getting as close to death as possible.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Roy Mustang is famous for his fire skills as the Flame Alchemist, but his personality is fairly laid-back. He appears to be a carefree flirt but is actually quite subtle and scheming. In combat, rather than scorching with wildfire or blasting foes to smithereens, he is extremely technical, tactical, and precise, able even to target specific enemies in a crowd without hurting allies. Even the one time he is absolutely enraged beyond belief, Mustang still uses his flame alchemy very precisely and methodically, he is still capable of rational thoughts and quick thinking and he makes sure to only harm his enemy.
    • Kimblee is a notorious war criminal who uses alchemy to create massive explosions, easily leveling buildings and obliterating humans. Rather than a furious Mad Bomber, he is actually perhaps the most philosophical and sophisticated character in the series. He is extremely calm, genial, and thoughtful, pushing Affably Evil to its furthest extremes. Word of God cites him as the most intelligent mortal human in the manga, which is quite the achievement in a cast full of scientists and researchers. He is undoubtedly insane, but his obsession with destruction and death is more artistic than sadistic, and he has a surprisingly rational and complex (though amoral and brutal) set of morals and beliefs.note 
    • While the homunculus Wrath is capable of some extreme violence and is shown to be capable of wiping out an entire army (including a tank) by himself, he's otherwise a huge departure from the stereotypes normally associated with the sin he's named after. Instead of the typical berserking brute, he's extremely stoic and methodical, and while he is shown getting angry at some very petty things, he's almost never shown getting animated about it and instead remains firmly in Tranquil Fury. Even with how overwhelmingly powerful he is, his fighting style and power set don't simply rely on raw strength and instead heavily incorporate dexterity and his Magic Eye to form superhuman feats of Implausible Fencing Powers.
    • The Canon Foreigner Isaac McDougal from Brotherhood has ice powers and behaves more like the typical fire/mad bomber type.
  • High School D×D:
  • This comes up fairly often in Hunter × Hunter. Since characters get to choose their powers (albeit sometimes with drawbacks), having a character seemingly at odds with his or her power is more of a sign of Hidden Depths:
    • Biscuit usually fights via sheer brute force—depending on what form she's taken, she is either a Pint-Sized Powerhouse or a Brawn Hilda. Most who have seen her in battle assume her powers revolve around gaining strength. Instead, her power is the rather odd choice of allowing herself or someone else to get eight hours of sleep in only one hour. It is quite useful, and it's not hard to figure out how she can get stronger this way, but a non-combat power is not what anyone would expect, including the main characters.
    • Knuckle dresses like a Japanese Delinquent, is a poor strategist, is loud and forceful, and has a muscular physique. Everything points to him being Dumb Muscle until he whips out his power: the ability to lend others strength, but with interest that's added every ten seconds, and once the principal and interest together exceed the opponent's total strength, they are drained of all their power. This requires Knuckle to know exactly how much power he's "loaned" to his opponents and calculate, every ten seconds, how much interest they've accrued, meaning he has to be very good at on-the-spot mental math. He also has to be good at estimating the total strength of his opponents without getting distracted.
    • Leol is an angry, brutal guy and is one of the villains in this series with little to no redeeming qualities. However, in order to activate his power, he first has to do a favor for that user. Considering he would rather tear his opponents apart than blend in and try to look friendly, this is something he wouldn't willingly do otherwise.
    • Shiaipouf is introduced as a calm, cool-headed Bishounen who enjoys looking classy and even plays the violin. His powers, however, include scattering dust that Mind Control people who breathe it in and splitting into Fun Size versions of himself that he uses to spy on others, indicating he constantly seeks approval from others to feel comfortable.
    • Alluka is a child, about grade-school age. Despite her not coming across as a genius in any way, she has arguably the most complicated and well-thought-out power in the entire series, with at least a dozen rules covering various scenarios. An entire Story Arc is spent with both the good guys trying to save her and bad guys trying to exploit her attempting to figure out all of these rules to avoid bringing danger to themselves.
    • Played with and deconstructed with Cheetu, whose power allows him to bring an opponent into a Nen-space enclosure with the only means of escape being to catch Cheetu within eight hours. Cheetu is extremely fast, so the power appears to work in his favour, but as Morel points out, it actually relies on patience and a long attention span, which Cheetu lacks, and there's no incentive to catch him since no one knows what will happen when the time limit runs out. Morel defeats Cheetu by refusing to play, thus losing the Chimera Ant's interest and giving him the opportunity to use his own power to ensnare Cheetu without a struggle. Notably, Cheetu is a rare example where this trope makes someone an unfit user of their powers.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure in general loves playing with this trope:
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Fate Testarossa-Harlaown has lightning magic and is the Fastest Thing Alive, yet she is calm, motherly, and something of a Shrinking Violet.
    • Reinforce Zwei is far more outgoing and cheerful than one would normally suspect from an ice mage.
    • Signum is a fire mage, but also a stoic and level-headed Lady of War (albeit one with a bit of a Blood Knight streak).
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury, Chuchu is short-tempered, impatient, and will gladly punch a jerk in the face outside of a mobile suit, but her fighting style is sniper rather than using a melee weapon as many pilots do. Supplementary materials explain this is simply a practical necessity; the impoverished Earth house can only afford an old mobile suit that could never compete in close range and has limited funds for repairs.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Protagonist Midoriya, as well as All Might, have Super-Strength and agility but are both very intelligent and, if anything, prone to overthinking in a fight. He's also very timid at the beginning of the story as well as being prone to crying.
    • Bakugo is much smarter and more creative with his Quirk than one might assume, though otherwise his explosive power perfectly matches his explosive temper.
    • Iida has Super-Speed but is cautious and uptight rather than impulsive and goofy. Even his decision to track down Stain was done in a calculated manner, at least until they met.
    • Despite Toru Hagakure being literally invisible, she is not shy or introverted at all, and is instead very outgoing and unabashed - perhaps because she is invisible.
    • Yoarashi Inasa has wind powers, but is extremely Hot-Blooded.
    • Mina has acid-based powers, but she's a friendly Genki Girl instead of sneaky or malicious.
    • Dabi has extremely hot flames, but he's by far one of the most cool-headed and stoic members of the League of Villains. At least at first.
    • By contrast, fellow villain Geten can manipulate large amounts of ice, but is very Hot-Blooded instead of aloof and cold.
  • Naruto does this a lot, especially concerning the Five Great Shinobi Countries.
    • Konoha (Fire) are mostly normal, admirable folk with a strong sense of unity over bombastic egotism.
    • Suna (Wind) are more calm albeit misunderstood people, who have had a difficult history, especially Gaara.
    • Kiri (Water) was a land feared for its bloodthirsty, murderous shinobi. A sharp contrast from the serenity water is known for.
    • Iwa (Earth) are highly efficient and open to experiment. The opposite of the slow, stubbornness Earth is rather infamous for.
    • Lastly, Kumo (Lightning) are definitely not crazy or hyperactive, in fact they punish any form of foolishness. Let's not forget, that the Raikage himself is not a man you'd play around with.
  • One Piece:
    • Unlike most other Barrier Warriors in fiction, Bartolomeo is not particularly protective or stolid. Instead, he's one of the biggest trolls in the Grand Line and just generally an extremely unpleasant person that will gladly get a rise out of everyone he meets (except Luffy, who he admires). Amusingly this is an entirely valid take on the power's effect on personality, too; he can deflect any and all consequences of pissing everyone off, so he has no incentive to stop.
    • Kanjuro has the power to bring to life anything he draws. Normally, this is associated with talented artist types, and while he has all the passion for drawing expected of someone with this power, he has very little talent for drawing. The result is Kanjuro always being surrounded by badly drawn creatures, all of whom want to be killed, or at least reverted back to an inanimate drawing once their tasks are finished. Subverted when it turns out it was all an act: Once Kanjuro reveals himself as The Mole, he reveals he's capable of making perfect drawings with his powers.
    • Almost every Marine Admiral has this to one extent or another:
      • Ex-Admiral Aokiji/ Kuzan has the Chilly-Chilly Fruit. and while he does exhibit the calm, cool, and collected personality you would expect, he's also a deeply empathic and warm-hearted individual.
      • Admiral Akainu/Fleet Admiral Sakazuki has the Magma-Magma Fruit, and while he has the hot-tempered and aggressive personality, he also has none of the warmth of personality, being a cruel and cold-hearted individual.
      • Kizaru/Borsalino has the Glint-Glint Fruit. He lacks any of the speed or urgency that such a powerset would imply. He speaks incredibly slowly, drawing out his words and sentences, and is generally an extremely laid-back individual. Even his attacks, while they are fast once executed, have incredibly long charge-up times. Additionally, he heavily subverts Light Is Good, being one of the most outwardly sociopathic Admirals in the series.
      • Fujitora/Issho has the Press-Press Fruit. His personality, on the other hand, is incredibly light, lacking any of the heavy-handedness that the fruits powers would imply. Additionally, many works of Japanese fiction tend to associate gravity with darkness; Fujitora, however, is a shining example of Dark Is Not Evil, being a Marine Admiral that cares far more about helping people than he does about killing pirates.
      • Ryokugyu/Aramaki has the Woods-Woods Fruit. Such a power conjures up the image of a kind, caring gardener. "Kind" and "caring" are two words that do not belong in the same sentence as Ryokugyu. He is violent, ill-tempered, and revels in violence. He's especially happy to attack Wano because he believes that since Wano is not affiliated with the World Government, they have no human rights, and he can murder and slaughter as many people as he pleases.
  • Our Last Crusade or the Rise of a New World: Aliceliese Lou Nebulis IX is An Ice Person, and though she rarely shows emotion on the battlefield, her true personality is that of a Nice Girl Cloudcuckoolander, who is trying to sort out her feelings for her Worthy Opponent.
  • In Promare, it's something of a running theme that Lio, leader of a group of people with fire-based powers, is actually a calm, honorable, reserved, strategically-minded Bishounen who wears elegant black clothing and only loses his temper in the absolute worst moments. Meanwhile, his rival/friend/possible love interest Galo is a firefighter who mostly uses ice-based weapons but is a Hot-Blooded exuberant Idiot Hero who refuses to wear a shirt and rushes into battle with reckless abandon.
  • The Paper Masters of the Read or Die franchise are typically compulsive Bookworms. However, Anita of R.O.D the TV outright hates books.
  • In Soul Eater, Black Star is a loud Boisterous Bruiser who is constantly handing people autographs they don't want. He's also a trained assassin whose soul resonance powers involve manipulating shadows and darkness, makes extensive use of Chain Pain, and has demonic imagery associated with his ultimate attack.

    Comic Books 
  • Fantastic Four: Mister Fantastic, a Rubber Man, is also a pretty stubborn and strict man. While he's sometimes said to have Personality Powers making his body as adaptable as his mind, he's actually often shown to be quite, well, inflexible.
  • The Flash: Barry Allen, the Flash of The Silver Age of Comic Books, is a speedster with a slow-and-steady personality. In some continuities he also has a reputation for tardiness. Partly because he's busy fighting crime and saving people, admittedly, but The Life Story of the Flash makes it clear he was always like this.
  • The Inhumans: Black Bolt has a hypersonic voice so powerful that even a whisper could level a city. As such he is highly stoic and disciplined, trained to not even speak in his sleep.
  • 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.
  • X-Men: Bobby Drake, a.k.a. "Iceman", is An Ice Person but is usually pretty hotheaded and extroverted. Some writers have argued that this is actually appropriate for his powers; while not cold, he's transparent.

    Fan Works 
  • In Pain And Blood: Elsa's second son Aksel inherited her ice powers. He also has a very quick temper.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Fumikage Tokoyami is a serious Cold Ham who tends to be associated with darkness and Chuunibyou culture. He's contracted to Tskymi, a Genki Guy Fifth-Dimensional Genie who is Fun Personified. Tskymi is always trying to get Tokoyami to be perkier, while the latter is irritated by his genie's constant zaniness and inability to respect personal space.
  • Incorrect Smash Bros Quotes has a twofold example: Galeem, Lord of Light, is a grumpy, sour Deadpan Snarker with a Hair-Trigger Temper, while Dharkon, Embodiment of Chaos and Darkness, is a cheerful, energetic ditz.
  • In River of Stars, O'Neill is utterly incredulous in front of the extremely dour and aggressive Sanzo being The Empath. It's later justified by Daniel explaining that yes, someone able to feel the sheer meanness and cruelty mankind carelessly displays on a daily basis would be kind of an asshole out of sheer emotional pain and fatigue.
  • Crimson and Noire: According to Master Fu, users with personalities that contrast their Miraculous's concepts tend to have the best outcome, since the opposite natures create a good balance. This is why in this universe, the creative and sharp Marinette is partnered with Plagg to temper his destruction, while the bold and impulsive Adrien is partnered with Tikki to act as a drive for her creation.
    • Fu speaks from personal experience as he, back when he was a cautious young boy, was partnered with trickster and The Gadfly Trixx. Trixx even jokes that it was for the best that Fu didn't get partnered with Wayzz like in canon, since he would have just reinforced their similar personality traits.
    • The role attached to the Rabbit Miraculous is to maintain the Best of All Possible Worlds, with the decisions ranging from alternating small things to even choosing to do nothing. Apex describes it as a confusing ordeal and explains that's why Cottontail, AKA Future Kim was the best choice for the Miraculous because he won't ask Fluff too many questions and he's too much of an idiot to question the infinite lack of logic when it comes to time travel.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Aurora is a Bloodliner who has the ability to use Ice Beam. Contrary to the usual stereotypes, though, she's a kind-hearted Shrinking Violet and the most morally upstanding of her group.
  • Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus: Once Specter gets back on the Infinity Train and his relationship to Easter is more on an equal ground, he can use their electricity as his very own. However, he's still Specter regardless, meaning he's also sadistic, calm and quick to make analysis of his opponents.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Invisible Boy from Mystery Men is energetic and outgoing, unlike the shy stereotype.
  • From Star Wars, there's a fighting style variation rather than powers per see. Master Yoda is always portrayed as a wise, solemn master who always keeps his attitude cold and prefers meditation and diplomacy over violence. Yet, once you actually see him fighting with a lightsaber, his fighting style gets surprisingly aggressive. In fact, it's indicated in supplemental material that Yoda's main lightsaber fighting style is the Form IV Ataru, noted for being highly kinetic, acrobatic and is called as "the way of the aggression" for being a form that focuses in speed and attack over defense. Not what you'd expect from someone as revered and peaceful as Yoda.

  • Several of the characters in The Circle develop powers that are at odds with their personalities, all the better to force them to undergo some Character Development.
    • Anna-Karin is timid and has No Social Skills. She gets the ability to control the minds of others.
    • Ida is narrow-minded, shallow and always in control. She becomes an oracle, able to see what is concealed from others but also at constant risk of being possessed by ghosts.
    • Linnea is a rebel who doesn't care what anyone else thinks of her. She gets the power to read minds.
    • Vanessa is loud and flamboyant. She gets the power of invisibility.
  • Cradle Series:
    • Ozriel, the Reaper, Eighth Judge of the Abidan Court, was the man in charge of exterminating entire worlds. Even when he was a mortal, he was known for nothing but being very, very good at destruction, at creating weapons to destroy, and taking destructive vengeance on those who wronged him. Suriel notes that he also had a very healthy sense of humor (even if he still doesn't smile much), more than any of the other Judges. In fact, the entire reason Ozriel gained all his incredible power was because he wanted to clean up his Crapsack World homeworld of the monsters that infested it. Deep down, he's a nice person who wants to make the world a better place—but he is completely useless at anything besides destruction.
    • Min Shuei, the Winter Sage, is a send-up of a classic literal Ice Queen. She has ice powers, is one of the most powerful people in the world, and is the estranged fiance of Yerin's dead master. Characters like this are almost always The Stoic, if not flat-out The Sociopath. Min Shuei, instead, is a Drama Queen who has absolutely zero ability to hide her emotions. She spends most of her time trying to hug Yerin and mother her.
    • Akura Charity, the Heart Sage, has powers over thought and emotion. Traditionally, this creates a character who is extremely emotional, driven to the extremes over and over again. Instead, the first thing Charity does is control her own emotions, leaving her almost The Spock.
  • Epithet Erased: Prison of Plastic: Rick Shades has the power to access any abilities, mundane or supernatural, that are possessed by anyone who considers him to be a friend. While a Power of Friendship-style ability like this would normally be expected to belong to a Magnetic Hero, Rick is instead an intensely weird person with No Social Skills who is regarded by most of the other characters as strange, creepy, and off-putting.
  • In Galaxy of Fear, the twins' uncle, Hoole, is a Shi'ido shapeshifter with the power to mimic almost any species or any object. He's also a very solemn, logical kind of guy who's been making a living as an anthropologist, and even once he's warmed up to Zak and Tash, he comes across as overly cautious and sensible. As such, his powers are most commonly put to use in protecting his niece and nephew rather than stealth and trickery - making him a deliberate contrast to Borborygmus Gorg, a villainous Shapeshifting Trickster and Arc Villain.
  • Jack from Gone is a computer genius Non-Action Guy who ends up with Super-Strength. He feels rather embarrassed about it and hates being pigeonholed as the one to do the heavy lifting.
  • The Irregular at Magic High School: Miyuki specializes in ice and brainwashing spells, but she is a short-tempered Rebellious Spirit whose Power Incontinence comes from her desire to make everyone shut up and listen to her for once. Due to the way physics works, she is later able to leverage her specialty to cause powerful fires.
  • The Locked Tomb:
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!:
    • Catarina has an affinity for earth magic, but she is an air-headed Genki Girl with poor impulse control and long-term planning skills. The only thing about her that really screams "earth magic" is her farming hobby, but she only picked that up in the first place because she mistakenly thought it would make her magic stronger. However, she is also associated with two of the traits stereotyped with people with earth magic, such as her nurturing nature and her bullheadedness. Her younger adoptive brother Keith, who also has this power, is the opposite.
    • Geordo is an interesting case. While he is a textbook example of Fiery Stoic, he also takes some of the personality and attitude that is commonly associated with people with fire magic, such as his passionate and forwardness with his feelings towards Catarina. And in worse cases where things aren't his way, he shows recklessness with his attempts to protect himself and his loved ones.
    • His twin brother Alan has water magic, but he's shown to be acerbic, Hot-Blooded, and always ready for a challenge if pushed enough. But like Geordo, he also possesses the levelheadedness and rationality of people commonly associated with people with water magic, especially in dire situations. Likewise with his betrothed Mary, who also has water magic, but she has an effusive personality and quite forward and passionate with her feelings for Catarina, if not a little manipulative into getting what she wants.
    • Sophia and her brother Nicol both have wind magic, but they're both somber and serious. Although Sophia later grew to be more cheerful as a teen thanks to Catarina, subverting this trope.
    • Downplayed with Mary. She's still very much feminine and ladylike as other hydrokinetic females are often portrayed, but she's also quite impulsive and manipulative. These traits are often associated with fire.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Melisandre is a witch with an affinity for fire magic, however, she is stoic and calculating rather than Hot-Blooded.
  • Warrior Cats: Part of the abrasive Jayfeather's powers is being The Empath.
  • The Wheel of Time: Semirhage's gift for Healing Hands is one of the strongest in millennia. Unfortunately, she's a vicious Sadist and also the most infamous Torture Technician in millennia.
  • Wings of Fire: The second series has the Red Oni, Blue Oni dynamic between Winter and Qibli, with Winter as the red and the fire-breathing Qibli as the blue.
  • Worm: Imp's power is a Perception Filter that causes people to forget her when she leaves their presence, but instead of being quiet or shy, she is The Gadfly.

    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.
  • Heroes: Daniel Linderman, an Arc Villain of the series, has the superpower of Healing Hands.
  • The Sandman (2022): Gault, one of the nightmares that escaped from the Dreaming, is identified as a shapeshifter, and it seems that she lives up to the Shapeshifting Trickster stereotype, to the point that Dream himself remarks that, as a shapeshifter, it's "not in her nature to be trustworthy." However, when Dream finally finds her, it turns out that Gault is actually a compassionate sort who hates being a nightmare and is using her powers to give an abused child a happy dream to escape to - even impersonating his long-dead mother. Far from trying to wriggle out of her sentence, she proves honest to the point of bluntness with Dream.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Constable Odo is a Changeling with the ability to become almost anyone or anything... and far from being a Shapeshifting Trickster, is a rigid, humorless, order-obsessed stick in the mud who is continuously trying to maintain order aboard Deep Space 9. His powers are mainly put to use in hunting down evidence of criminal activity.

    Tabletop Games 
  • A multi-faceted, complicated case in Magic: The Gathering. The colors themselves are associated with a specific philosophy, which is broad enough for characters with wildly different personalities to express it (for example, Blue is associated with calm, knowledge, and perfection; Tezzeret seeks knowledge and perfection yet is most definitely not calm, Jace Beleren is calm and likes knowledge but is not perfection, Niko Aris is a perfectionist and relatively calm but was deliberately designed as an example of a Blue character not interested in knowledge). Also some of the powers associated with the colors are wildly different from the mainstream take; for example, earth magic is Red, the color of passions and emotions, for which canon geomancers have personalities more similar to people with fire powers in other media (though of course there is variation, like the rebel leader Koth and the fanatical Nahiri, neither of them nor any other example has traits associated with earth magic like "sturdiness and steadfastness", both being indeed impulsive).
  • 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.

    • The Piraka in seem to be based in part on this trope, with each member in some way inverting the traditional stereotype of their element. The most obvious is probably Vezok, who is associated with Water. Normally, Water characters in the franchise are calm and subtle, with good ones being kindly and empathetic, and evil ones being slippery and calculating. On the other hand, Vezok is a psychopathic brute with a Hair-Trigger Temper who is constantly filled with barely-restrained loathing for everything around him. He was legitimately capable of being calculating in the past, but literally Took a Level in Dumbass when his calculating side was separated from him and became its own being, forcing him to rely on the wrath he originally kept in check to stay ahead.
    • Vakama, Toa Metru and eventual Turaga of Fire plays with this trope. While his temperament as a Toa was a lot milder than his stereotypically Hot-Blooded successor Tahu, his character was still governed a lot by his own emotional struggles, in his case being his massive insecurities over his new duties. This culminates into his own infamous Leeroy Jenkins moment during the Visorak arc.
    • Some of the Toa Inika/Mahri have personalities that differ from what their elemental or mask powers would indicate. For instance, while previous Toa of Fire were hotheaded warriors with Leeroy Jenkins tendencies, Jaller is a Fiery Stoic, being more cautious than his predecessors in order to avoid making the same mistakes (on top of already being haunted by his memory of dying as a Matoran). As stated above, Toa of Water are usually calm, gentle, and empathetic, but Hahli can be aggressive and pessimistic at times, particularly doing the Mahri Nui arc. While most Toa of Ice are aloof and stoic loners, Matoro is emotional and receptive to teamwork, though he has to overcome his own doubts. There is also the case of Nuparu, who while a down-to-earth Genius Bruiser like most Toa of Earth, has worn masks that clash with that mentality, having worn both the Masks of Flight (much to Kongu's chagrin) and Stealth.

    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 Marle has fire powers on the cover art.
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade: Canas uses dark magic, same as the main villain of the games, but is very kind and mild-mannered. Indeed, Nino comments that he "look[s] a little scary" when he uses magic... right after she's thanked him for teaching her how to read and write.
  • 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.
  • Genshin Impact
    • Despite wielding a Cryo Vision, Kaeya's quite active, sociable and a bit shady in a fun way.
    • Lisa is an Electro Vision owner... who's Brilliant, but Lazy. And we mean pretty lazy.
    • While characters associated with wind would be vivacious, accepting of change and talkative, Xiao is the opposite; a brooding, to-the-point guy who's not of many words and doesn't (or at least tries not to) concern himself with change.
    • Contrary to his Cryo element, Chongyun is easily excitable and tends to fly into fiery states easily. Downplayed in that he knows this and tries his best to keep himself calm.
    • Downplayed with Ayaka. Unusually for a Cryo Vision holder, Ayaka is quite the Nice Girl, and is much more open with her feelings than people would like to think she is; though true to a Yamato Nadeshiko, she is still calm and demure.
    • Where an Earth-elemental would be calm, stoic and rarely faltering, Itto is instead bombastic, friendly, loud, Hot-Blooded and with a bit of a temper — nothing at all fitting for what his Geo Vision would suggest.
    • The Electro Archon is... nigh-devoid of emotion. This is in stark contrast to most of the Archons (minus the Hydro Archon (though she's a bit of a complicated case)), whose personalities tend to fit their element. This, however, applies mainly to the Shogun Puppet; Ei herself averts this.
    • Instead of the nurturing, kind personality that's associated with nature and thus Dendro, Alhaitham is instead pragmatic (in a guile way), blunt and disinterested in stuff that doesn't concern him (which is a lot). Downplayed in that he's still a decent person.
    • Similarly to Xiao, the Wanderer's personality doesn't allign with the typical one of wind/Anemo; he remains an abrasive, cold, arrogant and rude guy who rarely concerns with what other people think of him, and while he can show acts of kindness, he's still in the process of recovering his humanity.
    • For an Anemo Vision owner, Lynette isn't as social as one would usually expect. Quite the opposite, in fact.
    • For a person with control over Cryo, Charlotte is actually a Genki Girl with an enthusiastic demeanor and a Motor Mouth.
    • Furina is much more bratty, grandiose, and loud (yet insecure) in personality than what should be expected of the Hydro element's usual wielders. Even after Focalors' death, Furina receives a Hydro Vision that grants her actual powers, and despite being humbled, she still has traces of her old self.
  • 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.
  • Zan Partizanne from Kirby Star Allies only fits the electric user stereotype of being fast. Other than that, she's a stoic warrior who is the leader of herself and her sisters, completely unlike the Genki Girl attitude you'd expect an electric user to have.
  • 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. His power is technically metal and magnetism, but it counts as lightning in the game.
    • 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.
  • Mortal Kombat has Frost who is mentioned in the page quote. Like series regular Sub-Zero, Frost has ice powers but where Sub-Zero is patient and stoic, Frost is hot-tempered, arrogant, and impulsive. These flaws have caused her to betray Sub-Zero in two separate timelines and are implied to have hampered the development of her abilities.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door: Vivian, who has fire powers, is soft-spoken and withdrawn and one of the least boisterous members of the team.
  • Pokémon sometimes does this with its Gym leaders and the Pokémon types they specialize in:
    • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl:
      • The Ice-type Pokémon 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. As far as this goes, he forms a sort of inverse relationship with Brawly from Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire; Wake is a masked wrestler who uses Water-types, while Brawly is a Surfer Dude who uses Fighting-types.
      • 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon 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.
    • Melony from Pokémon Sword and Shield is a warm-hearted, kind woman who doesn't act cold or aloof like an Ice-type specialist would be expected to, although her League card points out that she can also be stern at times.
    • Ghost-type Gym Leader Ryme from Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is a bombastic, outgoing and energetic rapper who hits her rhymes just as effectively as she battles, and treats her gym challenge as equal parts concert and takes-all-comers rap battle.
  • Psychonauts 2:
  • Shin Megami Tensei:
  • Cirno from Touhou Project is an ice fairy with a Hot-Blooded Boisterous Weakling character you'd normally expect from a fire user.
  • Troubleshooter: Abandoned Children:
    • Carter is, unlike the stereotypical fire user, grim, dour, stoic and almost pathologically purpose-driven.
    • This contrasts with Leton, who is a carefree, perpetually smiling (to the point of Dissonant Serenity) Dance Battler, who uses ice as his element of choice.


    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 good things about to happen while the other is a perpetually sunny Pollyanna who can only see bad things about to happen. They explain the former has 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 Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender usually plays the stereotypes rather straight, but has meaningful exceptions.
      • Zuko's Uncle Iroh is calm, level-headed even in fights, and tends to laze off whenever he can. He is also one of the best firebenders in the world.
      • Toph Beifong is a master earthbender with the stubborn personality that usually goes with it, but she also has a fiery Hair-Trigger Temper.
      • Katara is a master of waterbending, a patient, "go with the flow" style, but she's extremely passionate and more than willing to dive headfirst into danger to protect her friends.
      • Azula is both a cunning manipulator and firebender. Her firebending produces flame that burns blue and makes her look icy cool even in combat. It is up to the audience to recognize that, contrary to this appearance, blue flame burns hotter than red.
      • Most earthbending is loud, blunt, and brash. Halfway through the series, the heroes clash with Arc Villain Long Feng and the Dai Li, who defy this trend. The Dai Li agents' earthbending moves are fast, sneaky, silent, and precise.
    • The Legend of Korra flips a lot of the stereotypes that its predecessor used.
      • Korra grew up in the water tribe but is fiery, passionate, and aggressive, while waterbenders are usually associated with patience and flexibility. Granted, both Water Tribes are Proud Warrior Race Guys, Korra is just a little more so. That said, there's a reason she defaults to fire early on as her combat element of choice, even if she's the waterbender for her pro-bending team.
      • Korra 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. She eventually develops these skills over time, though.
      • 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.
      • Mako, a firebender is a cool-headed, responsible person who looks out for his little brother Bolin - himself an earthbender who comes off as naïve, impulsive, and absolutely not down-to-earth.
      • After the cheerful Aang and the stiff, aloof Tenzin, season 3 gives us Zaheer, an incredibly powerful and extremely disciplined airbender, who remains cold and emotionless whatever the situation, through asceticism and a philosophy that emphasizes detachment. He values absolute freedom of the individual and has no qualms about murder. It's worth noting of course, that he was not born an airbender.
  • Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny: The Four Constellations were each deliberately given a power that would help them develop a neglected side of their personality.
    • Nu Jai, the careful, sometimes overthinking leader, is given a powerful Hand Blast.
    • Bao, a bombastic, charge-in-head-first kind of guy, becomes a Barrier Warrior.
    • Jing, who is morbid and perpetually angry, gets Healing Hands.
    • Fan Tong, the passive, sensitive one, has his powers manifest as a Big Freaking Sword.
  • 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.
  • The Owl House:
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Mermista is a Princess with powers over water and the ocean, traditionally associated with flexibility, patience, and nurturing people. Instead, Mermista is sarcastic, aceribic, and has to be forced into spending time with anyone. In fact, you might say she has a very dry personality.
    • Played with in Frosta's case. She initially appears cold and uncompromising, but that turns out to just be because she had to take the throne at a young age. When she has a chance to open up more, she turns out to be giddy and excitable, obsessed with doing cool stuff with her powers.
  • Very common on Static Shock. For every Bang Baby with a fitting power set, there's one who's damn near the opposite of the usual archetype. For example, the shady gang leader Ebon controls darkness, but his brother Rubberband Man's stretchy powers belie his ill-tempered, inflexible demeanor.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Garnet has electrical powers but is very stoic, focused, patient and wise. She's also the strongest of the Crystal Gems, her weapons being gauntlets, but she's probably also the most intelligent
    • Lapis Lazuli can manipulate water, and rather than the stereotypical patient and nurturing water user, she's an easily irritated Deadpan Snarker
  • Invisi-Bill from WordGirl has exactly the power you might suspect from his name, but he's a loud Genki Guy with a constant need for attention.


Video Example(s):


InvisiBill, yay!

InvisiBill--who has the power to turn invisible--is surprisingly loud and energetic, rather than the stealthy and reserved nature that might be expected.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (22 votes)

Example of:

Main / PowerStereotypeFlip

Media sources: