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Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training

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Worth it.

"You know why he's so awkward when he's so smart? It's because he took all his talent and poured it into places that have nothing to do with living a normal life!"
Graham Spectre, Baccano!

There are characters who as a result of their lifestyle or education have one area of great strength while being weaker in another. Some people might just have been born that way, but these guys sacrificed a basic skill for awesome training. Whether from lifestyle, schooling, or personal preference they have grown up without learning a very basic skill. It can be a chore like cooking or laundry, to more important things like reading and dating, or downright essential like dressing oneself and social interaction.

As a result of a sheltered and highly structured lifestyle where their education and training was tightly controlled, they become so that a key part in their upbringing or skill set is completely ignored, sometimes purposely by their teacher as "unnecessary" or distracting. Before long, they become something of an idiot savant: an expert artist that is nonetheless unable to carry out a basic ability. In extreme cases, they may not even understand it.


This trope has two different setups. The more common one involves a character who spends their formative years in a convent, school or sequestered in a family home and trained in the "family ways". Usually, these involve warfare, magic, or assassination. Expect there to be Training from Hell and The Spartan Way especially that is so highly specialized it leaves no room for anything else. So instead of Home Ec 101, they're getting Tundra Guerrilla Tactics 101. The children who "graduate" are usually Tyke Bombs, in which case it was probably done purposely by their teacher. They might have considered it "unnecessary" or distracting, or useful to exclude both to make their job easier and keep the student tightly controlled. In the case of a school or the like, the students are likely so rigorously policed and kept apart that they don't interact enough to learn basic social skills.


The other set up is perhaps more alien: a character purposely ignores the basic skill because he or she considers it "wasteful". This isn't just a Spoiled Brat forking off laundry to a maid, but usually a highly focused (or at least willful) character who purposely avoids all knowledge in that field in favor of more interesting pursuits.

Cue Fish out of Water moment when the princess is dumped on the street or the chaste assassin rebel starts interacting with the (very sexy) opposite gender. Usually they'll make a friend (or partner) who can help them with the missing skill.

If there is a whole team of people with the same absent basic skill, expect them to panic and try their best to do the job themselves. Understandably, you can expect hilarious results.

If the character has developed awesome abilities and lacks important skills due to a mental difference rather than Training from Hell, they may be an Idiot Savant. When what is sacrificed is common sense or social skill, it may lead to the creation of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer. Compare Unskilled, but Strong. See also Crippling Overspecialization.

Infamously used when Min-Maxing roleplaying characters, whether it makes any sense or not.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle:
    • Since middle school, Matsuri has dedicated his time to becoming an exorcist ninja to protect Suzu. He's gained a lot of power with just three years of training, but at the expense of any kind of social life. He never made any other friends before high school, and became distant from Suzu. When he joins Suzu's group to act as her bodyguard, Matsuri avoids actually talking to them when they were together, only getting to know them at Suzu's insistence.
    • Soga is a similarly-dedicated exorcist ninja basically for its own sake, and so has even worse social skills than Matsuri. He can't help but terrify most people he runs into, is very terse in general, Cannot Talk to Women, and any hint of female sexuality can send him running with his tail between his legs.
  • Guts from Berserk, who grew up in a medieval mercenary camp and remained a mercenary until the Eclipse came down. Though he is intelligent in his own way, he knows little more than how to fight and survive.
  • Blood+ has the Schiff. As prototype Super Soldiers, they're deadly warriors, but due to their upbringing as living weapons, they have No Social Skills whatsoever; even something as simple as asking for help or something they need rather than taking it by force is an alien concept to them.
  • The Claymores from Claymore. Though not all of them may have been 100% willing, they sacrifice their recognition as humans to be monster hybrids for superhuman strength, speed, and other superpowers whilst being despised and feared by those they protect. They are also made to fight monsters until they are killed or become a monster themselves.
  • L from Death Note was raised in an orphanage for genius children, making him insanely smart, but with No Social Skills and a couple other... uhh, quirks. Later on in the series we meet Mello and Near, two kids from the same orphanage who split the difference. Near is possibly even smarter than L in things not involving human interaction but has essentially no living skills and is entirely reliant on people around him to carry out his plans. Mello is less intelligent than both (though by no means an idiot) but is far more socially competent and capable of taking matters into his own hands.
  • Goku from Dragon Ball, as his perpetual interest is in fighting. He lived his early childhood in the mountains with only his adoptive grandfather, a hermit martial artist who died early in Goku's childhood. Due to these conditions, Goku has no education, has No Social Skills, no concepts of things like money and gender, and as we find out later, no job skills either. He can survive very well off the land, and even provide for his family in Z, but his wife isn't entirely happy with the situation.note  As an adult, he still remains pretty Book Dumb, yet he's actually quite capable at farming (it was part of his martial arts training with Master Roshi), though it still causes him problems in that he prefers to goof off with training and getting ready for the next fight. The offset of all this? Goku spends almost all of his time training and thinking about fighting, meaning he's exceptionally strong, talented in combat, and always ready to meet the next bad guy who might show up.
    • On a smaller level, Vegeta. While he does have a family life and is more educated than Goku, he too prefers training over providing for them and socially fits in about as well as a thumbtack in a balloon factory. Contrast him and Goku to characters like Krillin, Gohan, Goten, and Yamcha, who have a history of focusing on their normal lives over training. In a world like Dragon Ball's, this means they often lose their usefulness.
    • Chiaotzu has incredible psychic powers, but has to count on his fingers to solve single-digit addition and subtraction problems, nor can he tell right from left. This is actually a subtle Brick Joke to Goku and Krillin's training with Master Roshi. Master Roshi actually made a point of taking time for things like basic schooling and proper rest during the year he was training them — this is most likely the only schooling Goku ever got and why he's actually literate or capable of counting. Goku could have potentially sacrificed a lot more of his basic skills, if not for the fact that his early teacher (who also taught his grandfather) ensured that he wouldn't be a total musclehead.
  • Seijirou Shin of Eyeshield 21 is incredibly intelligent, freakishly hardworking, and athletically gifted, but lacks any awareness of social norms and has a tendency to break any piece of machinery within seconds of getting it.
  • The protagonist of Fly Me to the Moon Nasa Yuzaki, is so determined to overcome the stigma of his Embarrassing First Name that he devotes his youth to studying. As a result of this, his test scores are high enough that he has a good chance at getting into a prestigious high school (and probably would have if not for the accident), knows accounting well enough to save the Arisugawa bathhouse, and can even repair a display case that preserves a moon rock. Unfortunately, he lacks common sense, social skills and knowledge about romance.
  • Food Wars!: Erina has a sense of taste best described as the "tongue of God". This, along with the training provided by her family, has made her a fix-star in the culinary world at age 16, already raking in millions in consulting fees. However, she needs assistance to perform basic tasks like buying her favorite manga and doing laundry, has never even heard of mass-produced snack foods and doesn't understand why people do things like visiting the beach and go on dates. As it turns out, Erina's case is Played for Drama. She was made to give up her social skills on purpose by her abusive father in order to refine her culinary skills, the result making her a genius in cooking but utterly dense in everything else.
  • Sosuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic!. Most of the time, he approaches everyday life as if he were in a combat environment. He has landmines buried on school grounds. He responded to a secret admirer leaving him a package by blowing it up from a safe distance as per EOD protocol. And when he was buying food from a popular vendor, Chidori advised him to be "aggressive" such, he fired a pistol into the air and made his order as if he were robbing a bank. The tradeoff is that he's an incredible soldier and pilot, especially considering he's a teenager.note 
    • There is a darker side to it: Sosuke is a Child Soldier who grew up in a thinly veiled Expy of Afghanistan, and has at age 16 already spent six years of his life on campaign. It is also heavily implied that he was sexually abused. That is the lens he views the world through. Sosuke was only chosen as Chidori's bodyguard because he was the only candidate with the necessary combat skills who could fit into a high-school environment (anyone else would be in their late twenties at least) and treats life as an ongoing combat situation because... well, that is what his entire life has been.
  • The titular Goblin Slayer spent years training under an abusive and somewhat psychotic Rhea Burglar to become a goblin killing machine. This combined with the harrowing experiences of being the Sole Survivor of the goblin attack on his hometown (especially seeing his own sister being raped and killed by goblins while he was helpless to save her) has severely hampered his ability to interact normally with other people. A big part of his Character Development throughout the series is him coming out of his shell with the help of a band of True Companions he manages to gather in spite of himself. Another problem is that his training and specialization in goblin slaying tactics has given him a case of Crippling Overspecialization — he tends to have a lot of trouble handling anything stronger than bog-standard goblins (including the strongest goblins such as Goblin Champions).
  • The Greatest Magic Masters Retirement Plan: Due to his talents in magic, Alus Reigin was recruited into the military at age six and spent most of his life in training and combat, but has no idea how to function as a civilian. When he sees a vending machine in the school cafeteria, he needs help from Tesfia and Alice to operate it.
  • Ippo from Hajime no Ippo is the best infighter in Japan, and possibly even the world. However, he's accomplished this by all but ignoring the skills that would make him a well-rounded fighter, to focus his training only into increasing his devastating punching power and his inhuman endurance, and almost nothing else. This isn't a decision that was made lightly, as Ippo and his coach knew that wasting precious training time building general boxing skills (that would be wasted on Ippo's unique body and personality) would make him a worse fighter overall. Instead, spending all their effort building his strengths directly would have the highest chances of success.
  • Heaven's Lost Property: The First-Generation Angeloids all get hit with this. Ikaros has strength & intelligence maxed out at the expense of her emotions, to the extent that she is incapable of voluntarily smiling. Nymph has intelligence & emotions maxed at the expense of strength; her strongest attack doesn't even leave a scratch on most of her enemies. The Harpy twins appear to have gone the jack-of-all route, but their High-Altitude wings are next to useless when they leave Synapse. Astraea has sacrificed intelligence for strength & emotions.
    Ikaros: You have three apples and four oranges. How many total pieces of—
    Astraea: I eat them all!
    Ikaros: Okay, let's try again. Seven bananas—
    Astraea: I EAT THEM ALL!
  • In Infinite Dendrogram, because Ray jumped straight into a High-Rank Job (Paladin) without going through a Low-Rank Job in the same skill tree, he doesn't learns basic skills initially learned through the Low-Rank Job (like Horse Riding). However, because he jumped into the High-Rank Job with such a low total level (the combined levels of all his known classes), he was able to learn a skill with a requirement made harder to earn at higher levels (Purifying Silverlight) and would require anyone else to reset every other job barring Paladin to 0 just to have a chance to learn it.
  • Aiz Wallenstein from Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?. She's 16, yet a ten-year veteran dungeon delver and one of the strongest and most famed adventurers in the city of Orario. Fighting in the dungeon from such an early age, however, has left her knowledge base focused almost entirely on combat and dungeoneering. Outside of her particular skillset, she's a bit of an airhead, has next to no people skills, and has difficulty understanding people and her own emotions.
  • Shichika from Katanagatari spent his entire life training under his father to master Kyotoryuu on a deserted island. At the start of the series he has absolutely no knowledge of the outside world and can't even pick up the differences between other people. This seems to have been intentional on his father's part; a Kyotoryuu master is supposed to be a sword (not a swordsman) with no will of his own that someone else wields. Most of Shichika's Character Development has him realizing that he is still a human and has a will of his own. Another side effect of Shichika's training is that he is completely unable to wield swords. This becomes an issue in episode 9 since the owner of that episode's Deviant blade is a kendo master who refuses to duel Shichika unless he is also armed and armored. At the last episodes, we discover that this trope is exaggerated: Shichika was the last product of an Ancient Conspiracy, the Kyotouryuu, the No Sword School, that wants to create the perfect swordsman (a man so powerful that he doesn’t need swords anymore), and he is the seventh generation of a school that had made the practicing of this martial art the principal motive of their lives. That means that Shichika is the last in line of five generations, each of them who were educated by a father who Sacrificed Basic Skill For Awesome Training, meaning each generation had more and more problems with social skills.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Subtly played by the Masters of the Ryouzanpaku: Six masters of their own martial arts, all of them (except the oldest) are Socially Awkward Heroes: Akisame Koetsuji is a Broken Ace, Shio Sakaki is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Apachai Hopachai is a Manchild, Shigure Kosaka has No Social Skills, Kensei Ma is a Henpecked Husband who ran out on his family, all of them depend of Miu Furinji to run the dojo. All of them were reunited at the Dojo because they have nowhere else to go. Hayato Furinji claimed that Kenichi (The Heart) united them in a true family.
  • Medaka of Medaka Box can do everything, literally everything. She is a master of every single sport ever played, top of every class, could read entire libraries of books when she was three, can rip entire buildings off their foundations with her bare hands, and she has a superpower that lets her copy and perfect any other superpowers she witnesses. Because of her near perfection though, her people skills are non-existent. She can barely understand how normal people work and generally causes trouble everywhere she goes. It has required the lifetime of effort and struggle of her childhood friend Zenkichi to just barely keep her in check.
    To a lesser extent, it's shown that because of this flaw, the one thing Medaka is actually bad at is any form of artistic expression. In one chapter she plays the drums for the first time in her life; though her technique is described as godly, it utterly fails to inspire any kind of emotion in those who hear it. Zenkichi describes her performance as too perfect, remarking that because it lacks the human touch of little slip-ups or errors it doesn't "feel" right, and explicitly says that it's like the opposite of the Uncanny Valley effect.
    Another flaw in this ability is she will learn things regardless of whether she intends to or not. For this reason, it is dangerous for her to face an opponent who's ability might actually be a problem such as Munakata's impulsive need to kill and understanding of how to kill others. Unlike Munakata, who is kind-hearted so he restrains his ability, Medaka doesn't understand right from wrong beyond their concepts so it's likely she'd have become a crazed killer.
  • Poor, poor Extendeds from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Especially Stella. One of the best Alliance pilots, but has a mind of an eight-year-old.
  • In Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation disciples of the Sword God are usually illiterate. Ghyslaine, a Master Swordsman and skilled adventurer who's a former companion of the main character's parents and even better than Rudeus' father, admits that this, along with her inability to do basic arithmetic, made life as a solo adventurer hard because it was so easy for merchants to trick her.
  • My Hero Academia: Shoto Todoroki has won the Superpower Lottery, being able to wield both ice and fire. However, his father Endeavor has subjected him to intense Training from Hell ever since he got his Quirk for the sake of ensuring Shoto becomes the Number One Hero: this has left him with a serious case of Daddy Issues combined with No Social Skills.
  • Sai in Naruto can go toe-to-toe with S-Class criminals twice his age but needs a book that tells him how to act tactfully and politely. This is explained as part of his training in Root, which kills emotions and empathy, though none of the other Root members seen in the series so far are nearly as socially maladjusted as Sai.
  • The denizens of Nazarick in Overlord (2012) are this due to the fact that they were originally designed as MMORPG NPCs. Many of them have no practical skills such as cooking, cleaning or basic maintenance, relying on Nazarick's specialized NPCs for such services. Many also cannot interact meaningfully with anybody outside of Nazarick since they are seen as "lower lifeforms". This culminates in a character introduced in a later part of the work; a dragon who has spent so much of his time learning from books, he is obese, cannot fight well despite being a dragon and can only barely fly. His awesome skill? Knowing that pissing off that Overlord will mean instant death. Something that his relatives generally lack.
  • Pokémon:
    • Used well with characterization when Ash and Pikachu take on Lt. Surge and Raichu. After losing, Ash gets a Thunder Stone, allowing him to evolve Pikachu at any time with it, but Pikachu vehemently refuses to evolve to match Raichu. Turns out that in Lt. Surge's haste to evolve his Pikachu into a Raichu, it didn't learn basic attacks (especially ones involving speed). Bulbasaur and Squirtle also adopt this philosophy, but contrast Charizard who evolved as quickly as possible because of its low self-esteem. While Charizard goes into the Johto region as Ash's strongest Pokemon, he discovers a entire valley filled with Charizard much stronger than he is. This motivates Charizard and Ash to part ways so that Charizard can train there and realize its full potential.
    • Though Charizard's a bit more complicated. While it did evolve early, it remains as Ash's most powerful Pokémon throughout just about the entire series. Its weakness compared to other Charizard is more attributed to the facts that A. It flat out refused to battle/train for most of its time with Ash, and B. The Charizard it's compared to spend ALL their time in brutal training with other Charizard. After Ash's Charizard spends some time training, it briefly comes back and beats a Legendary Pokémon in a one-on-one battle.
    • Meowth of Team Rocket almost never fights directly, and can't even use Pay Day. This is because, in his efforts to walk and talk like humans, he used up most of his skillset that normal Pokémon use for battle.
    • In Pokémon Adventures, Sapphire has a bit of a problem with this due to living in the wild for most of her life. She's incredibly strong and agile, with a powerful sense of smell and quite a bit of nature survival knowledge... but she has some trouble with reading and writing. She's not completely illiterate (she maintained some contact with the civilized world), but can't read kanji (original Japanese) or big words (English translation). She is also unaware of what a Pokémon Center is, although she's capable of treating her Pokémon's ailments herself.
  • The cast from Ranma ½. In particular, see Ranma, Ryouga, Mousse and Shampoo; by and large, they make up for their extensive martial abilities with their lack of social skill and modern knowledge: Ranma, because of his father's upbringing; Ryouga, because of his lack of upbringing; and Shampoo and Mousse, because they were raised in a warrior society.
    • For a specific example, there is Ranma's training in the Cat Fu school of martial arts. On the one hand, he gained access to a powerful feral attack style that allows him to tear through almost anything as if it were excelsior paper. On the other hand, the training gave him a crippling fear of cats.
  • Naofumi from The Rising of the Shield Hero, having been Locked Out of the Loop due to his ignorance about MMORPG mechanics and a royal conspiracy to destroy him preventing him from sharing info with the other Four Heroes, went for ages completely in the dark about basic functions of his shield (including the ability to copy pre-existing weapons of the same type just by touching them and his shield's built-in Item Crafting and fast-travel functions) being forced to do these things the long and hard way like any normal person. However, despite this handicap, he actually ends up stronger than the other Four Heroes due to his intense bitterness from being the victim of the aforementioned conspiracy causing him to unlock the Curse Series.
    • It also inverts in that, due to having to learn and do things like a normal person, Naofumi winds up actually being much better equipped to interact with the world, because he’s spent time learning the ins and outs of it (I.E.: "When in Rome do as The Romans Do"), whereas the other three heroes were basically handed everything they needed on a silver platter, and instead focused on leveling up and powering up their weapons. For example, because he didn’t have access to the tools the other heroes had to learn magic easily, Naofumi had to study magical texts instead, which necessitated that he actually learn to read in the world’s written language (the heroes’ weapons’ translation ability only applying to spoken language), which resulted in him being able to learn magic the other three were unable to access.
    • Not to mention that Naofumi having to craft items by-hand naturally resulted in him making better and higher-quality products to use or to sell as wares during his time as an Intrepid Merchant and translating those abilities into the shield forms he unlocked through his natural crafting skills: such as using his Potion-Enhance Skill to boost the healing of any potion or elixir he administers to patients: which allowed for Elrasla Grilaroc to no longer be bedridden with sickness and later fighting alongside Naofumi in the Waves, and later modifying the seeds from a cursed monster plant one of the other Heroes accidentally unleashed upon a starving village in order to turn it into a harmless, fast-growing nutritious crop that the residents could actually eat.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Sanosuke doesn't really have many skills outside of fighting; his activities mainly included mooching off and being lazy. Even during fights he's often reckless and relies more on his inherent strength, but his inhuman endurance and power from street fighting make him a formidable opponent.
    • Kenshin fits to a lesser extent; he's a nice guy with a fair bit of wisdom to offer. However, most of his life was devoted to learning swordsmanship. Coupled with his wanderer lifestyle, there's not much else he's good at.
    • A sadder example exists with the Oniwabanshu. Other than Aoshi, none of his four remaining comrades had any skills that were applicable in a new era. This coupled with their grotesque appearances meant that fighting was the only thing they were really capable of.
  • This trope fits Millia Falnya Jenius from Super Dimension Fortress Macross to a T. She is an ace pilot and proficient in close-combat as well, but as soon as she and Max are married, she nearly burns them out of Max's quarters by the simple act of making coffee. Justified due to her Zentraedi upbringing: cooking is not a necessary skill for a race of pure warriors.
  • Barnaby from Tiger & Bunny has been focused on becoming a superhero for four-fifths of his life, and as a result has developed a very odd personality; he knows exactly how to behave in public in order to inspire awe and boost popularity, but flounders badly when it comes to personal relationships. Throw in the "absolute trust or complete mistrust, nothing in-between" bit and you've got a guy with a very weird form of No Social Skills.
  • Jin from Samurai Champloo fits this to a T. Trained from childhood in a high-level and super purist dojo, by age 20 he's a fearsome, near-unbeatable kenjutsu prodigy who can't cook, catch fish, or hold a conversation (especially with women). He does get better once he has to.
  • Yoruka in Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle is a master assassin, capable of slaughtering small armies on her own. But due to a combination of this trope and being ostracised for her killing instincts, she can't function as anything other than an assassin who serves someone else. She doesn't even try to socialise with her classmates and instead spends her time trying to protect her master from (other) assassins. More comedically, she doesn't know how to do basic housework, trying to use her katana to cut grass for example.
  • The titular Violet Evergarden. She is very adept with fighting, obeying orders and military duties but knows next to nothing about civilian life, emotions, and basic human cues. When Gilbert first meets her, Violet was practically feral. He had to teach her how to talk and how to see human contact as more than a threat.

    Comic Books 
  • Batgirl (2000): Cassandra Cain was trained from birth to be the perfect assassin and martial artist, with the ability to read body language so well that she can predict how her opponents will move. The method of teaching her this incredible understanding of body language? She was raised with absolutely no exposure to language of any other kind. She was seven or eight before she even heard speech for the first time, and only telepathic intervention well into her teens enabled her to understand it.
    • Which destroyed her intuitive combat abilities. Only after a lot of training and a lethal ordeal (being killed, then revived by Lady Shiva) does she begin to regain her talents.
  • Bruce Wayne, more commonly known as Batman, occasionally falls into this, with Alfred as his occasional voice of reason. Sometimes Bruce needs reminding to do everyday activities or at least do stuff normal people would expect of a Rich Idiot With No Day Job.
    • Like sleep.
    • He is at least aware of his limits when it comes to his cover: "What does somebody like me do?"
    • Also Bruce Wayne absolutely cannot cook, though that's mostly because he's had such an excellent chef available to him his whole life. Depending on the Writer.
    • Speaking of food, in some depictions, Bruce has no idea how to eat normal-people food. One time has him eat a burger with a fork and spoon.
    • Also, for all his crime-fighting abilities, he has absolutely dismal social skills. It's telling the guy's best friend is Superman, whose patience and understanding are as limitless as his strength.
    • It's made clear in several books that the facade of the rich, ditzy Bruce Wayne is only maintainable by Alfred's instruction in acting. In some stories, he was against this idea from the beginning until Alfred pointed out that Bruce behaving the way he normally does would mean he'd be fingered as Batman within a week.
  • His son Damian Wayne is even more socially inept, having been raised by the Society of Assassins. He started ninja training at the age of three, and at the age of ten, he has never even been in a bounce house.
    • This comes up a lot in Li'l Gotham, where each issue is set around a holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. He spends a lot of time puzzled or offended by whichever holiday is going on at the time.
  • Threeboot Titanians, such as Threeboot Saturn Girl from the Legion of Super-Heroes fall into this. Titanias are a highly evolved race of telepaths, highly skilled in mindreading, thoughtcasting, and ESP. However, over generations this faculty caused their offspring to born with underdeveloped, if not nonexistent, voice boxes. If not for telepathic speech, every single Titanian in existence would be a mute.
  • Taskmaster's ability to memorize fighting techniques simply by seeing them also has the downside of making him forget things unrelated to combat such as his memories or basic information. This ability and its related downsides are passed onto his alleged daughter Finesse.
  • X-23 was raised from birth to be the perfect assassin and kept isolated from the rest of the world (except for assassination missions). Because of this she does not understand emotions and has no clue how to interact with other people.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Maddie Pryor a.k.a. Rachel Grey in the sequel. Having been raised as a Living Weapon, she's an extremely powerful psychic, and an expert in efficiently using her powers to track others and in combat, as well as being highly intelligent, and on a technical level, very well educated. She also has next to no actual life experience and is bemused by fairly basic concepts, including, heartbreakingly, being shown basic decency.
  • Amalia in City of Chains, a Dragon Age II fanwork, is a Ben-Hassrath, a Qunari infiltration agent/spy/assassin type, and exceptionally good at it. She also has serious trouble understanding things like how money works and what families are, and why it might not be a good idea to tell people exactly what you really think whenever prompted.
  • A Knight's Tale as Inquisitor has Arturia Pendragon; the most iconic example of The Good King in our world's history and has been smoothly adapting to Thedas despite it being a completely different setting. Yet, she REALLY struggles with just simply, you know, interacting with her peers. To her credit, Arturia is fully aware of this personal problem of hers and does her best to rectify this...with mixed results.
  • Defied in MHA - An Asura is Born Niko makes it clear Izuku needs a proper education and he cannot shirk it to focus on martial arts.
  • The Alternative Character Interpretation of Avatar Korra in Project Voicebend shows her being a great bender, but having no clue about money, sex, or basic math. She's also barely literate.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hanna was raised to know how to fight in an instant, but never learned basic social skills or how the real world works. This becomes a problem when she is separated from her dad and enters the real world.
  • The first Hitman movie shows 47 to be worldly enough to function on his own just fine, but he's asexual, almost robotic in terms of personality, and unable to relate to people in a benign context. It's consistent enough with his characterization in the source material, but the games don't really delve too deeply into his personal dealings off the job (and in all media, much to his benefit, people rarely seem to take special notice the silent, imposing bald chap with the nice duds and visible barcode on back of his head).
  • In Hot Pursuit, the degree to which Officer Cooper can be considered 'awesome' may be debated, but she possesses a virtually encyclopaedic knowledge of police procedural codes, while lacking various social skills such as an ignorance of the meaning of the term "I call shotgun", as well as coming across too strongly during dates.
  • The only interest the titular Major Payne has that isn't related to the military is dancing, and he can't even tell a bedtime story to a 6-year-old without it degenerating into the tale of how 'Bubba' lost his legs.
    Payne: To be continued. When I get back, I'll tell you what Bubba used as a penis.
    Tiger: Eugh...
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe interprets Tony Stark as a guy smart enough to build the world's first function suit of Powered Armor, but simultaneously too dumb to know his own social security number and too dense to buy remotely acceptable Christmas presents for his own girlfriend (as another example, when trying to apologise to her he brought her strawberries, which she was deathly allergic to, and attempted to atone for this gaffe by noting that at least he remembered strawberries were 'important' in some way). In general, the films play up his total lack of normal human skills a lot more than the comics do, where he's brilliant but just an asshole.
  • Kurt Russell's character in Soldier, along with everyone else in his unit, was taken by the military as an infant and raised to be little more than an obedient weapon. He has no social skills whatsoever, and barely speaks except when giving a one or two-word reply to someone else. He addresses everybody as "Sir" no matter who they are, because that's all he knows. While waiting for orders, his entire platoon sits bolt-upright on their beds in the barracks doing absolutely nothing. Flashbacks to their training days showed that any one of them that couldn't be turned into a human robot that did nothing but follow orders was summarily shot by an officer or beaten to death by his comrades.
  • Julius Benedict (Arnold Schwarzenegger) in the movie Twins learned to speak 12 languages, and excelled in mathematics, history, science, and literature. Highly intelligent, but extremely naive about the real world which his more worldly brother inhabits.
  • Polish trilogy Wściekłe Pięści Węża features Roman Niemowa — a mad Romanian martial artist. Despite his name, he is not mute; his father instead of teaching him how to speak instead taught him how to fight.

  • In Anne Mason's YA novels about linguist Kira Warden, throughout Kira's childhood, her parents were constantly taking her on their missions to other planets. This helped make her an outstanding linguist and cultural interpreter but meant that she missed out on a lot of the general education that her agemates received.
  • In the Alex Verus novels, it's revealed that Alex himself suffers from this. When he loses his powers briefly in Cursed it's revealed that he has serious trouble making logical connections and can barely walk straight without magical guidance.
  • Artemis Fowl is the world's smartest human; he has several patents, designed an opera house, became a musical genius and expert in combat tactics, and wrote several medical books, all by the age of 13 or so. However, he cannot cook (he tries, and pretty much fails, to make a sandwich), is too physically weak to hold or shoot anything heavier than a fairy handgun, and even when he has Butler start teaching him martial arts, he has no skill with it. He can't even remember having climbed a ladder in his life.
    • He also has extreme difficulty communicating with people without making them hate him, although that has less to do with this trope than his colossal arrogance and condescending attitude towards anyone he doesn't respect, and the list of people he does respect can be counted on one hand. His only friend (Butler) is literally paid to be around him. And once puberty hit, he was quickly distracted by every girl he found pretty and struggled to keep his mind straight.
    • On the other hand, his split personality Orion is more skilled in these areas.
    • Butler, on the other hand, can cook (to make sure no one poisons Artemis, presumably) and is ludicrously skilled in combat, but has very little ability to do anything creative, or things outside his training/orders. As a min-maxed pair, Butler and Artemis work pretty well; they only have problems when they get split up, so, naturally, they get separated pretty often.
    • Foaly is in the same boat, although as a centaur, he is able to trample people...
      • Small people. Centaurs are on the same scale as the rest of the fairy folk, meaning Foaly probably equals ponyman.
  • In the Boojumverse story "The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward", when Cynthia becomes the doctor of the Jarmulowicz Astronomica, she forms this opinion of her predecessor. The previous doctor was a genius in pioneering cutting-edge research, but not so good on the fundamentals; while pushing the boundaries of knowledge, she overlooked that most of the crew were suffering from basic malnutrition.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, the Beta Team were allowed out of the underground base every week. this has left a number of gaps in their knowledge — that stages have trap doors is one plot-relevant one.
  • Cradle Series: Yerin was adopted by the Sword Sage when she was a child, becoming his disciple — despite Sages historically never taking disciples. He raised her to follow his Path in the sacred arts, turning her into one of the most powerful sacred artists of her advancement level, and giving her a solid foundation to continue after he's gone. He didn't bother teaching her anything else, from reading to politics to geography. At the start of the story, she doesn't even know the name of the country she's in.
  • Kirth Gersen of The Demon Princes series, much like Sosuke Sagara, has been focused primarily on combat since childhood; his social skills aren't completely missing, but he's pretty inept.
    • He had a different love-interest to one degree or another in each of the five books. Not exactly a shabby performance, plus he was aware of, and occasionally prone to undue introspection about, the abnormal life he chose to lead.
  • Discworld:
    • Captain Carrot in was raised by dwarfs, so while he's quite apt at taking out threats, he doesn't get sarcasm or innuendo. Then again, neither do dwarfs (this is a cultural thing because dwarves live in relatively dangerous locations, so making sure everyone believes you when you say a cave-in is about to occur is a survival trait).
      • This is not to say he's incapable of guile or deception; he just does it in his own way. In one scene in Men at Arms, he tells the head of the Fools' Guild that he has "special orders" he must follow if he is asked to leave (namely, that he must accept such a request), and insinuates that the consequences would be very bad for someone if he was forced to carry them out.
      • He also admits quite honestly that he would feel "very ashamed" if forced to carry out his orders. This ability is something he developed after prolonged exposure to city life; when he first left the mountain, he was absolutely straightforward. Dwarves have also developed the ability to be quite sneaky at times and have a highly complex culture. Maybe it's just that Carrot was raised by uncomplicated country folk, and was also rather young when he first arrived in Ankh-Morpork.
    • Rincewind as well: he's a Fragile Speedster, smart, but with few practical skills. This is largely because wizards aren't supposed to have any practical skills; they leave those to the witches.
      • Rincewind is an odd example of this trope as applied to wizards: having practically no capacity for magic whatsoever, he's had to become much more physically capable than your average wizard simply to survive in a world that seems to be actively trying to kill him. As a result, at the end of The Light Fantastic, he managed to defeat one of the Things from the Dungeon Dimensions — which was strong enough to petrify several senior wizards — by punching it into submission. He also solved the problem of the unstoppable Sourcerer, a fountainhead of magic, with a brick in a sock. He's not tough at all — just compared to most wizards, and has more importantly developed a talent for thinking in straight lines.
    • The Last Continent hangs a lampshade on the fact that society itself has done this when Ponder Stibbons' internal monologue defines a savage as someone who only knows useless and backwards things like how to tell an edible mushroom from a poisonous one, instead of important, civilized things like the square root of 27 (five and a bit)... while he's stranded on a deserted island with the rest of the wizards, who are equally civilized.
  • The children in Ender's Game, most notably the titular character, are separated from their families at a young age and placed in an orbiting military boarding school. The most promising, such as Ender and Bean, are intentionally isolated even from this small community by the teachers. The result are genius commanders who have little connection with their culture of origin and have no idea how to navigate typical social situations outside of a military command structure. Being geniuses, those who are motivated to do so can learn to fake it pretty easily, and most seem to adapt okay after a few years on the outside.
    • Hilariously alluded to in the sequel Shadow of the Giant at a gathering of Ender's old jeesh of military super-geniuses.
    "It was an analogy," said Rackham. "If you hadn't spent your entire childhood playing war games, you'd actually know something. You're all so uneducated."
    • It's established in the book that beyond commanding his Jeesh and working within a military context, Ender (and his brother Peter) are capable of understanding human emotions.... And use that knowledge to manipulate people for their own ends. Early in the book Ender intentionally engages in Troubling Unchildlike Behavior to make sure some bullies leave him alone. His brother Peter, meanwhile, is an outright sociopath who uses his genius to go unnoticed as such by his parents.
  • Not so much a basic skill as cultural knowledge, but wizards in Harry Potter are very ignorant of the world outside their community. For example, Hogwarts has to offer classes in basic Muggle technology and culture. Despite Hogsmeade being the only all-wizard community in Britain, most wizards are so self ostracized they can't function outside their Masquerade without drawing attention to themselves. Even Arthur Weasley, who was director of the Ministry office dealing with Misuse of Muggle Artefacts, needed Harry's help to correctly pay a cashier with British pounds.
    • Also, in the first book, one of the obstacles defending the Philosopher's Stone is a logic riddle because, as Hermione puts it, "A lot of the greatest wizards don't have an ounce of logic in them, they'd be stuck here forever."
    • Interestingly, as Harry and Hermione were raised by Muggles, they can be ignorant of wizard culture. For example, in the final book, they haven't heard of the tales of Beedle the Bard, which are fairy tales set in the wizarding world and which would be very familiar to magical youths, who to contrast wouldn't have heard of Cinderella and other Muggle mythology.
    • Though given the increasingly small number of Pureblood wizards and the rising number of Muggleborn or half-Muggle children, it's mostly older wizards who are clueless. Many students and younger wizards are perfectly capable of passing for Muggle when they need to.
    • We also only have a fairly small sample set when it comes to wizards in the wider world, and both the primary examples do have some sort of excuse: Hagrid's job probably keeps him in and around Hogwarts and the neighbouring village, so he wouldn't get a lot of practice. Arthur comes off as more than a little absent-minded (it's been speculated, with some good evidence, that he might be on the autistic spectrum) and his job heavily stresses the misuse part of Misuse of Muggle Artifacts, so he probably doesn't see a lot of mundane items in the first place.
    • It's also a common criticism of the books that no mention is made of typical school curriculum taught at Hogwarts. Somewhat justified; History and Chemistry seem to be focused exclusively on the History of Magic and Potions, which would be the more important versions of the subject to a wizard, Physics has basically gone out the window, and Biology is split between Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures. However, that also means that any Hogwarts student's Math, (Muggle) History, and Writing/English skills are pretty much capped off at the sixth grade. It's a wonder that any of them can do the complex conversions required for wizarding economics (though that might be covered by Arithmancy — and in any case, goblins run the wizarding economy), or the quite lengthy essays that are demanded of them by the Third year on.
  • Doc Savage, Omniglot, Genius Bruiser Omnidisciplinary Scientist, and Badass Normal Charles Atlas Superpower Proto-Superhero never learned, or figured out, how to cook. Far more important, he spent approximately zero time with girls during his childhood and adolescence. As Philip José Farmer notes in his bio of the great man, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life:
    The great minds that nurtured him forgot that when Doc went out into the world, he would find that half of it was female. And a man who doesn't know women is half a man. Or half a superman.
  • Harry Dresden in The Dresden Files occasionally faces enemies who have done this, and are ultimately undone when they lose access to their super cool abilities and have no fundamentals to fall back on.
  • Inverted in Fate/strange fake with Enkidu. In his original clay doll form, he was monstrously powerful (only fitting, considered he was a divine Noble Phantasm originally meant to curb-stomp Gilgamesh), but had no other skills otherwise. After spending some time with the divine harlot Shamhat, he assumed her form, losing most of his power but giving him the potential to become more than a weapon.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series: The Second Foundation abandoned attempts at developing any new advances in mechanical technology or the physical sciences, or even preserving most of the existing ones, instead focusing exclusively on developing psychohistory. As a result, they have Psychic Powers and can predict the future with mathematics, but they can't defend themselves against physical attack — which is why they have to stay hidden. And which is why, every hundred years or so, they must scramble to mind-wipe yet another person who threatens to develop an anti-psychic field, which, in-universe, is slightly less complicated than a button-and-a-dial remote control.
  • In Le Morte D Arthur, Lancelot says at one point that he's bad at climbing trees. The Once and Future King, a modern update, expands this to a general lack of all skills that children normally learn through play since he spent most of his childhood concentrating on his combat skills to the exclusion of all else.
  • Harrow of The Locked Tomb series can summon armies of skeletons like nobody's business, but she has No Social Skills, is phenomenally bad at taking care of herself, and has the physique of a wet noodle.
  • Vince of Super Powereds, thanks to his homeless childhood and strange upbringing. Survival skills? Good enough. Fighting? got that in spades. Social skills? minimal. operating basic appliances? Not a clue. There's also Chad, arguably the best fighter in the class, whose every thought is focused on training to be the very best he can be. Even his mother is concerned that he has no actual friends but a number of sparring partners. He actually uses his "total control" power to prevent himself from sensing any emotions towards others until later, when he becomes curious. Vince's friends note that he and Chad are the same in the No Social Skills respect, as well as their general obtuseness to Double Entendres (Chad tells Vince that a girl has invited him to a club only to avoid inviting someone who would grope her all night long, and both accept it at face value; the others wonder how it's possible to be this dense for not one but two people).
  • In the first Sherlock Holmes story, A Study in Scarlet, it's said that Holmes has next to no practical knowledge that isn't related to detective work. He professes surprise when Watson tells him that Earth revolves around the sun (and states his intention to forget about it as best he can, so as not to fill up his mind with irrelevant information — comparing it to a 'brain attic', and information with furniture). This part of his character was quickly dropped by the author, as by A Scandal in Bohemia, Sherlock has quite a great deal of political knowledge (in contradiction to Watson's claim in Scarlet that Holmes' has a "feeble" grasp of politics), Holmes often peppers his speech with literature references, and, in any case, Holmes' ultimate career as a bee-keeper would suggest he's picked up the practical gardening knowledge that Watson claims he lacks. Then again, it's possible that this is the result of offstage Character Development.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Tom in Being Human is incredibly naive and socially awkward, due to having been raised in near-isolation from a young age by his adopted father. His lack of social graces are because all of his training was focused on managing his Lycanthropy and in hunting down and killing Vampires. Considering that Vampires have superior strength to humans, while Werewolves are regular individuals for most of the month, it's a testament to this training that Tom is able to go toe-to-toe with numerous Vampires and is said to have an incredible body count to his name.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon has, as he puts it, "a working knowledge of the important things in the universe"... which apparently does not include driving a car. Justified in-universe in that cars do not seem to be a frequent transportation method in most of our solar system or of our universe. Sheldon also Does Not Understand Sarcasm or even symbolism, adheres rigidly to familiar habits and schedules and knows little to nothing of non-nerdy popular culture (a trait shared somewhat with his roommate Leonard). Sheldon's social skills are also lacking, but that's more by choice; he's relentlessly logical, brutally honest, and refuses to feign interest in people or situations he finds boring. He's also incapable of keeping secrets. The main reason he doesn't lie or keep secrets is that he's paranoid that someone will Pull the Thread. The one time we see him try to lie, he constructs an elaborate back story (which he insists Leonard learn and help him construct alibis and documentation for) and provides unsolicited details about it at awkward moments. With the effort he puts into lying, it's just easier to accept the consequences of honesty.
  • Dr. Temperance Brennan from Bones is a genius forensic anthropologist, but has zero social skills, no knowledge of pop culture, and Does Not Understand Sarcasm.
    • Every time Brennan says "I don't know what that means", take a shot. You won't make it to the first act break.
    • Oddly enough this only extends to her own culture. She has shown a working knowledge of several other cultures, including their pop culture, over the course of the show.
      • Making it even odder, she shows an understanding of many things in her own pop culture, making it a bit off-putting that she misunderstands common metaphors but views Jersey Shore of all things as a documentary, and apparently thought that Selena Gomez was an anthropologist.
    • Zach Addy, Brennan's assistant until he goes batshit crazy and becomes the apprentice of a cannibal, is the same way, leading to widespread speculation that he has Asperger's.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: When she showed up in Sunnydale, Kendra the Vampire Slayer demonstrated the primary weakness of the Watcher's Council usual treatment of potential slayers (that is, they trained them to be living weapons above and beyond all other things). Kendra might have been a kick-ass fighter, for sure, but when it came to anything other than just hitting things, she was naïve, nervous about interacting with boys, had no dress sense, hesitant, and when push came to shove easily beaten by an enemy that did anything other than stand there and offer her a straight fight.
  • In Burn Notice, Michael mentions that spying is a great way to learn things like how to survive in the back mountains of Afghanistan, or how to disassemble a .50 caliber machinegun, but it doesn't teach you how to do more basic skills of normal life, like keeping track of sports teams or how to hold a baby. He's also fluent in many world languages... but can't say two words in Spanish (note: he was born in raised in Miami).
  • Mostly averted with Sherlock in Elementary, who is just as smart but is able to navigate the social circles fairly well (for one, he has no trouble finding sexual partners, even engaging in a Twin Threesome Fantasy at one point). However, his main flaw is expecting everyone else to see things from a logical and not emotional standpoint, and he admits he can be a dick a lot of the time. After betraying Captain Gregson's trust, he thinks that Gregson is being immature when the captain no longer trusts him. Also, his idea of proving to his brother that Mycroft's fiancee is only interested in the family money is to repeatedly sleep with her. He does, however, spend a lot of time training and practicing, ignoring unnecessary little things like sleep.
    • Part of the reason Sherlock can cope on this level is that he's learned he doesn't have to specialise; where Sherlock seemed to basically keep track of everything he'd need to know for investigations on his own, in Elementary Sherlock has a group of experts — referred to as his 'Irregulars' — he can consult if a case requires specialised knowledge of particular subjects he wouldn't expect to deal with on a more regular basis (Mathematics, meteorology, computer hacking, etc.)
    • As of Season 3, Watson has been trained to or close to his level of skill. It's worth noting that everyone in the show who's in his league (Holmes, Watson, Kitty) are all profoundly hurt in some way, though Watson is otherwise fairly normal and Holmes was just as skilled before his major trauma. The one exception is Moriarty, who's just a sociopath.
  • Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother is highly skilled at the performing arts, speaks multiple languages, is a master manipulator and seducer, can write loophole-proof documents that a trained lawyer cannot work around, and his home is full of complex gadgets which he apparently designed himself. However, he is also shown to lack basic high school level knowledge (he conflates Spain with Italy), simple life skills like driving and using tools, and, despite being very socially adept in other areas, is unable to navigate a genuine romantic relationship or a serious dispute with his best friend without help.
  • Legion (2017): Kerry Loudermilk is an odd example. Kerry and Cary are actually a single mutant who have the ability to split into two people. Kerry (the girl) spends most of her time merged with Cary, where she doesn't age and can ignore the outside world completely. Since she's a Blood Knight, she only comes out for training and fighting, leaving the "boring" stuff like eating, sleeping, school, and talking to Cary. The end result is that Cary's over forty years older than Kerry, and Kerry doesn't even know the most basic things about the world, like what people do in bathrooms. Cary is very worried about how she'll survive when he eventually dies.
  • Parker from Leverage. An incredibly talented thief who plans complicated robberies the same way normal people do crosswords, she nonetheless has serious problems interacting with people on an everyday basis. Because of an abusive childhood (during which she may or may not have blown up her foster parents) and later being raised/trained by a master thief, she comes across in non-heist situations as awkward, disturbing, or somewhere in between. Word of God says that she's high-functioning autistic.
  • Played for Laughs in Married... with Children. In one episode Al trains Kelly to learn a bunch of sports trivia for a quiz show, and during the Training Montage we see basic life skills (like "Dinner first, then sex") literally exiting her brain.
  • Lauren and Jayden in Power Rangers Samurai were basically raised as weapons. Jayden has very little idea how to interact with people since he's only seen two since he was five and one of those left when he was seven. Lauren, bizarrely, is easy enough with the team but awkward around Jayden.
  • The title character in Sherlock is a polymath forensic genius who has honed his memory and reasoning skills into precision weapons and spends his spare time researching things like what harpoon wounds look like. His knowledge of human interaction is limited to criminology and he's absolutely hopeless at navigating social situations. His older brother Mycroft is even more brilliant and even worse at emotional reasoning. As distinct from Doyle's "attic" metaphor, Sherlock speaks of it in terms of deleting unnecessary items from his hard drive.
    Sherlock Holmes: Look, it doesn't matter to me who's Prime Minister, or who's sleeping with whom—
    John Watson: [somewhat bitterly] Or that the earth goes around the sun.
    Sherlock Holmes: Oh God, that again?! It's not important!
    John Watson: Not important? It's primary school stuff! How can you not know that?
  • Stargate SG-1 has a version of this with a one-off race of aliens. The "awesome training" is instant learning from nanobots, which are imprinted with the information by specially selected children who basically act as information harvesters. The children are filled with these nanobots, then tasked with learning everything there is to know about a specific topic. Once the child reaches a certain age, the nanobots are harvested and spread to every member of the society — leaving the child essentially mindless. Learning is painless and thorough, but because the kids their information comes from are treated as pure data-gathering units, they never learn things like play, with the result that no one else on the planet learns it either; the concept of drawing something that isn't an exact diagram is utterly foreign to them.
    • Later upped by the Ancient Repository of Knowledge. It writes everything there is to know about the universe into one's brain... but the human brain is not meant to store that much information, gradually overwriting things and eventually killing the subject when it starts mucking up low-level things. O'Neill was the only one who actually used it on-screen; it gave him insane scientific prowess, to the point that he invented a revolutionary new method of distance calculations between Stargates using base 8 math, and tweaked the battery of a handheld energy weapon into a one-use energy source of astronomical power... at the expense of losing his ability to speak, read or even understand English. Later comments by the Asgard imply that very few humans could have survived even that. Most would've just burned out in minutes or seconds.
      • Another Repository was used by Daniel Jackson, but according to all evidence this one had been specifically programmed to only give Daniel the knowledge of a specific Ancient, the man known to mythology as Merlin, and was also programmed to automatically depart Daniel after a certain amount of time.
    • Dr. McKay encounters another Ancient device in Stargate Atlantis, which enhances his brain activity in preparation for ascension. However, as he starts developing advanced powers such as telepathy and telekinesis, his brain starts losing the ability to regulate the more basic functions needed to keep his body alive, until it becomes a choice of "ascend or die".
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the episode "Mute" we have a young girl, orphaned in a house fire, who apparently cannot speak a word. She turns out to be completely telepathic. Unfortunately, a strictly conformist teacher forces the girl to be Brought Down to Normal by forcing the girl to speak (which causes her to lose her gift).
  • The Swedish comedian group Varan TV made a sketch about a family who didn't let their son go to school because that would take time from their busy schedule of teaching him ninjutsu so he could participate in junior leagues of UFC. "Why learn math when there are so many other important things to know in life? Like how to escape when attacked by three people at the same time."

  • In Barry Louis Polisar's "I Can't Tie My Shoe", the narrator can cook expertly and write poems to operas, but never learnt how to tie his shoes.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Practically a universal rule of all RPGs: since the mechanics usually enforce some kind of balance on the game, creating a character who is exceedingly proficient at one thing (be it magic, sword-fighting, unarmed combat, whatever) will usually result in sub-par abilities elsewhere. It is all too easy to slip into the realm of "Min-Maxing", where a character contains a ridiculous number of weaknesses or quirks (usually applying to everything but their chosen skill) because each optional weakness taken provides precious character points for strengthening their one chosen skill.
    • This can backfire very badly, depending of course on the GM's level of personal evil and the style of the campaign; more specifically, the "min" part leaves a very obvious Man of Kryptonite situation open to a GM that's tired of your nonsense.
  • There's a peculiar physical-combat-based example of this trope in Anima: Beyond Fantasy involving ditching buying any Attack (and if taken to a more extreme level, any Block/Dodge either) at all and instead sticking the points in Martial Knowledge, Ki Pool, and Ki Accumulation. As all of the above stats draw from the same pool of points, some of them have to be sacrificed, as trying to do all of them at once often falls into Master of None territory. This results in one of very few character builds that can use incredibly complex combinations of ki techniques — some of which can turn a character into the most devastating practical artillery pieces in the setting, or dish out damage per round that far exceeds the health of anything in the game — within a combat-practical time period, but without said techniques and the energy to power them, these characters are actually more prone to ineffective flailing than most civilians.
    • On a more general level, either hyper-focused secondary skill spreads (sacrificing any pretense of competence in basically anything else non-combat, or even anything combat-related if focused hard enough) that can quickly get up to physics-breaking levels in their one area of expertise at the cost of potentially fouling up routine checks outside that area (like taking stairs two or three at a time) on a fairly regular basis, or forgoing secondary skills entirely to spend the points on other things like extra maximum health or monster powers (which tend to be great for raw stats but not so much for life skills).
  • BattleTech: Clan Trueborns are raised from birth to fight. Their training programs produce some of the best warriors, tacticians and (for the more prominent bloodlines) leaders around but other areas get neglected. Trueborns generally don't perform well in other fields if they don't have the civilian castes to back them up and this can often be a problem for anyone (that is, around 90%) who washes out of the warrior caste.
    • The RPG system also enforces this for characters; everything is purchased with experience. A special forces operative isn't going to have room for negotiating prowess after he's spent his experience points on stealth, demolitions and marksmanship skills.
  • Similarly largely averted in Fate-based games like Spirit of the Century or The Dresden Files, where a character who invests nothing in a skill generally still gets at least a Mediocre (+0) rank in it — meaning they can still roll for it, the skill just doesn't add anything to the dice — and it's not actually possible to lower this any further. In addition, because the skill system is pretty coarsely grained, most "regular" people will be only one or maybe two steps better than that in even their trained skills and likewise fall back to being Mediocre at everything else; player characters and major NPCs are already awesome just by virtue of being able to have more trained skills including some beyond that cap right from the word go.
  • Games that use Point Buy for ability scores (such as Dungeons & Dragons) can fall into this. A player can maximise their chosen ability score but have so few points left that the rest of their ability scores are average at best.
  • The Barbarian of pre-third edition of Dungeons & Dragons is a Lightning Bruiser, and is considered by some to be the best melee class. He has exactly 3 weaknesses: He has no resistance to magic whatsoever, he is illiterate and he isn't a spell caster.
  • In Exalted, the Infernal Exalted have Charms that work like this — which makes sense, as their Charm trees are more about emulating the Yozi who gave them their powers more than anything else. Adorjan, for instance, has Charms that allow the Exalted to block all social influence attempts — by turning all noise into wretched, hateful discord; or communicate telepathically — by losing the ability to vocalize anything but laughter. Kimbery, meanwhile, has the Intolerable Burning Truths Charm, which covers a number of conditions the Infernal can buy into while at the same time losing the ability to do something else (such as making it easier to establish and protect an Intimacy to someone while losing the ability to hate someone for their betrayal).
  • Several archetypes from Feng Shui, such as the Killer, the Techie and the Sorcerer, have no Martial Arts skill, with their only combat skills being in guns or sorcery, and thus have to default to Reflexes in order to do things that do not involve guns or sorcery that isn't covered by their other major skills.
  • GURPS is a partial aversion, with "defaults" for skills; for example someone who has put all their points into combat or magic and none into the Housekeeping skill has a "default skill level" of IQ-4, and can probably prepare basic meals and keep their living space in decent condition, right up until they get a bad roll and Something Goes Wrong. Or they can take an Incompetence disadvantage and squeeze some extra points into those combat abilities.
  • The rules for most Prose Descriptive Qualities games are explicitly written to avert it — anything you don't have a better rank in, you have automatically at Average [+0], which is general competence that anyone has. You might not be a gourmet chef if you don't take a cooking Quality, but you can at least boil water or cook meat without burning it. Though you can still hyper-specialize to your detriment by overlapping your Qualities as much as possible. In Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, this may even be a good way to rack up Training Points quickly, by jumping in outside your area of expertise, because you only gain TP for failed rolls. Whether your party will appreciate it, on the other hand...
  • Averted in Savage Worlds: While it is possible to min-max to the moon and back, Savage Worlds introduced the "Common Knowledge"-roll as a way to get a reasonably well-rounded character without having to spend a whole slow of experience points on a number of vaguely useful knowledge skills.
  • Averted in Shadowrun and possibly others: the starting skill value of 0 just means no special training (eg. 0 in a knowledge skill represents what a high school student knows).
    • The above-mentioned universal rule still looms, however. Players can take the "Incompetent" flaw, which means their character lacks even the common knowledge that might apply to the skill. Zero skill in driving means you can't be a stunt driver. Incompetent: Driving means you don't have a driver's license.
  • The Spycraft system, which runs primarily on skills and a skill-focus/proficiency system, hits this intentionally very, very hard. Not having full ranks in a skill places a flat cap on your total result, which can make advanced tasks literally impossible. Having no ranks in a skill lowers the cap to where it's barely possible to do basic tasks, and dramatically increases the likelihood of catastrophic failure. So players have to choose between extreme specialization and crippling mediocrity, with the first usually winning.
    • It's even worse with weapons, given that the non-proficient penalty to attacks is substantial and, for instance, the critical failure on a grenade is to pull the pin and drop it at your feet...
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, a setting that depends heavily on diversifying skills and gives even most combat-related careers some non-combat skills for roleplaying reasons (for instance, mercenaries tend to be decent at gambling and haggling), the Troll Slayer has only three skills, of which one is only useful in a fight (Dodge Blow) and the two others generally useful for starting one (Intimidate, Consume Alcohol). Justified because Slayers are disgraced Death Seekers who have put their past lives behind them to fight and die against a worthy enemy; you cannot leave the Slayer career once you start, except in death.
  • Characters in The World of Darkness systems, especially those that are built toward combat, can often end up in this category — they still get raw attributes toward their rolls, but penalties can be insurmountable.
    • In Hunter: The Vigil, this is a frequent issue Slashers have; many focused so much on learning to kill and murder people they actually lost basic social skills, making them unable to empathize or interact with people in a peaceful way. The most outstanding example may be Masks, who gain the ability to resist any form of damage. Anything from a hit with a baseball bat to getting a full bursts from a flamethrower will do the minimum possible damage. The downside is that Masks lose the ability to read, speak, or truly understand humanity; in fact, one piece of fiction suggests Masks kill in a focused rage because the very presence of other people causes unbearable pain.

    Video Games 
  • This can be seen with min-maxed characters in many games, especially those games that receive new DLC or content patches: A character min-maxed for a specific build-type or playstyle can find itself completely out of its depth when new content comes about that changes the Meta or adds new mechanics, or patches exploits that once made specific builds unstoppable. Characters built around exploiting the current Meta end up completely out of their depth when the latest season begins, the latest DLC drops, or a patch comes in that completely changes the game, while characters built around overall versatility can typically do well (Clearing main game content, but suffering in the post-game content) no matter how much the Meta changes.
    • A good example of this can be seen in Dark Souls 3 when a fairly well-known patch came through and radically changed the Meta, removing many glitches and exploits that many players had been using to dominate player-versus-player combat. Characters built around using those glitches and exploits had to either respec or be completely abandoned. Additionally, characters built solely for PVP combat have a tendency to have difficulty clearing the game, while characters built around clearing the game tend to have issues with PVP combat.
  • Asura of Asura's Wrath is an outstanding fighter, but he doesn't know how to interact with people outside of punching. He still tries hard to be a good father and husband but is always very awkward about it.
    Durga: [As Asura is scared by baby Mithra crying]. Even one of the Eight Guardian Generals is no match for his own daughter, is he?
    Asura: She's... so small...
    Durga: Do you know what I think? I believe that you wish only the best for our daughter...
  • Bullet from BlazBlue was born on a battlefield, raised by soldiers and has been working as a mercenary her whole life. As a result, she's a great combatant but she has no idea how to do anything outside fighting.
  • Most player characters of modern video games that are heavy on scripting, especially the Call of Duty series. For example, Soap, from Modern Warfare. Highly trained SAS operator. Can shred through dozens of baddies in a matter of minutes. Cannot open a door.
  • Laharl from Disgaea is a respectably powerful Overlord, and is stated to train every day to surpass his father, King Krichevskoy, but this has left him unable to do more mundane tasks and provide for his own needs, like setting a VCR or making his own food. Part of his recruitment in Disgaea 2 is the promise of working with the group as long as he's fed. (Context: Etna left his employ after he ate an expensive snack she was saving up, and Flonne later joins in another optional map, leaving Laharl with nobody to cook for him. He complains of having to be on a diet of ramen, and after Flonne joins the team, he mentions being reduced to canned tuna fish.)
  • Similarly to Sangaril, Zevran from Dragon Age: Origins was raised as an assassin by the Antivan crows. He alludes to not having many skills apart from this. You can suggest (at a different point) that he would make a good prostitute, which makes him laugh.
  • The Elder Scrolls series has the Greybeards of High Hrothgar, a monastery atop the Throat of the World, Tamriel's tallest mountain. The Greybeards are masters of the Thu'um, the draconic Language of Magic. The Greybeards have trained their voices to such an incredible extent that even a misplaced whisper could kill a person, thus they have to live in seclusion and rarely speak (with Arngeir, their representative to the player, being an exception). They play a major part in Skyrim, where they summon the Dragonborn to High Hrothgar for training in the Thu'um. When they speak in full voice to summon the Dragonborn to High Hrothgar, all of Skyrim hears it. Even when they greet the Dragonborn with a politely whispered "Dovahkiin", the whole mountain shakes from the force of it. In fact, Arngeir is chosen to speak on behalf of the Greybeards because his voice is the weakest, as evidenced by the fact that he can hold a full conversation with non-Greybeards without making their heads explode. It should be noted that this isn't just lore fluff, the four Greybeards are some of the highest level-NPCs in the game, with Arngeir sitting pretty at level 150.
  • Halo:
    • Master Chief and the other Spartan-IIs are this, especially in the Expanded Universe. Taken from their homes and normal lives, their life from early childhood has been nothing but the military. As such, they are basically incapable in normal social situations, and often have difficulty relating to anyone who isn't a Spartan. One of the side effects of their augmentation is suppression of any sort of sex drive whatsoever.
    • The Spartan-IIIs are even worse, as they consist of war orphans from worlds destroyed by the Covenant, raised by focusing entirely on their drive for revenge and made into disposable suicide soldiers. Spartan IIs were given a reasonably well-rounded education and can at least pass as normal among enlisted personnel. IIIs are socially unskilled and Ax-Crazy. This can be seen in Halo: Reach when comparing the personality and behavior of Jorge (Noble's lone Spartan-II) with the rest of Noble Team, especially Emile.
    • Spartan-IVs avert this, as they were regular soldiers prior to being upgraded to Super Soldier levels.
  • An actual gameplay element in NieR: Automata: Since your HUD is a Diegetic Interface and all your HUD elements are added by chips, you can sacrifice bits of your HUD to make more room for chips that give combat buffs. The actual gains are quite small, but if you're good enough the HUD isn't that necessary either.
  • Mitsuru in Persona 3 has spent her life learning how to fight shadows and take over the Kirijo group when the time comes. She is absolutely hopeless when it comes to day to day common activities such as normal friendships, dating, small things like fast food or considering her own goals for the future.
  • Pokémon:
    • Holding a Pokémon back from evolving leaves them with lower base stats (until they evolve, at least), but they learn many attacks sooner, or may even learn moves that their evolutions can't learn at all. This is most prominent for Pokémon which evolve with evolutionary stones; though there are exceptions, either the evolved Pokémon can't learn any more moves by level-up and must rely on TMs and Move Tutors (i.e. Raichu, Ninetales, Poliwrath), or their level-up learnsets are completely different from what the unevolved Pokémon can learn (i.e. Eevee's family).
    • The title character of Detective Pikachu, much like Team Rocket's Meowth in the anime (see above), spent most of his battle skills on being able to talk with humans, leaving his electric attacks rather weak.
  • Similar to tabletop RPG s, one of the earlier SmackDown vs. Raw games (back when it was still called Smackdown!) allowed your created characters to sacrifice attribute points for quirks that gave you a slight advantage in combat. On the other hand, you could also pick negative traits to give you additional attribute points. This allowed the wrestler to receive ungodly strength or endurance in exchange for being hampered by multiple crippled limbs. Happily, elective quadriplegia had almost no effect whatsoever, effectively granting you a massive power boost for free.
  • Starkiller from Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was raised his whole life by Darth Vader as his personal assassin, and as a result is unsure how to act around his lovely pilot, Juno Eclipse. It's also a miracle that he successfully impersonated a Jedi and rallied The Emperor's enemies into The Rebel Alliance.
  • In Summoner 2, Sangaril was raised from a young age to be an assassin, but couldn't kill when she witnessed joy for the first time, instead becoming Maia's most trusted companion instead of her killer. Sangaril's mentor, however, sought revenge for her betrayal.
  • Survival Arts, made by Scarab and published by Sammy, is a fighting game with an SNK Boss named Dantel. He can do a Spam Attack with a very long sword, has Eye Beams, can do a Blanka/Kano Rolling Attack and shoot a machine gun stream of bullets out of his finger!! All these abilities including the last one, is pure woowah skill! Whether it's bad programming or the makers wanted to give a little mercy, the guy cannot crouch. So make him eat those high attacks.
  • Tales Series:
    • Leon Magnus from Tales of Destiny, raised with little contact with anyone who wasn't Hugo or Marian and trained to be a knight. He's come to believe the only people he can rely on are himself and Chaltier (his sword) and thus has a very hard time interacting with people without coming across as a major asshole. When Marian is taken hostage and Chaltier tells him to go get help from his previous teammates, he refuses. It gets him killed.
    • Luke from Tales of the Abyss comes to mind. After being found with no memories, his parents refused to let him leave the manor. While he studied swordsmanship to pass the time, he was so ignorantly unaware of how the world outside worked that he bit into an apple without paying (an excuse for the tutorial on shopping) and was branded a thief for it. As well, despite his amazing ability to use the seventh fonon to create a hyperresonnance, he is also incapable of learning healing spells, which are the basic application of the seventh fonon.
  • Ashtarte in Tears to Tiara 2 is a goddess who hasn't appeared on earth for a long time. She needs to be taught what hunger is and how to eat.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, more than one Valkyria (Selvaria from VCI and Aliasse from VCII) knew no life besides being used in experiments, until chance encounters changed their lives (Selvaria's encounter with Maximilian, or Aliasse's friendship with Avan and Cosette). Aliasse in particular is still very young, and as such, is a powerful Valkyria but is also very naive and uneducated.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: Illya was raised as a Tyke-Bomb by the Einzbern family to win the Holy Grail War. She went through Training from Hell in order to be able to summon and control the Berserker-class servant Herakles, and probably has the strongest magical power of any master in the Fifth Grail War. The downside is that her isolated and torturous upbringing turned her into an unstable Yandere, who also shows poor people skills and a lack of maturity considering she's Older Than She Looks.
  • Masaomi Hibiya of Serendipity Next Door, aka the famous musician OMI, is of the opinion that people shouldn't bother expending their energy on doing things they're not good at. Mostly what this means is that Masaomi spends all of his time on his music and nothing else, to the point that he's only barely capable of taking care of himself and lives entirely on energy drinks, nutritional supplements, and beer because learning even a minimal level of cooking ability would be too much trouble.

    Web Comics 
  • This is Pete's rationalization for his ludicrous Min-Maxing of R2-D2 in Darths & Droids. He lacks the ability to even speak to other characters (in-character anyway), but consequently his mechanical and hacking skills are through the roof. Bizarrely, this makes sense in-universe. Mech droids can't speak to humans specifically because they're over-optimized for their job of fixing things. Their "droidspeak" is much more efficient than human speech... for communicating with computers, so it's higher priority than being able to speak human languages.
  • The early strips of Goblins have Minmax the Unstoppable Warrior, who lives and breathes this trope. He's a low-level fighter with stupidly high combat-related stats and abilities, but completely lacking in other abilities (and stats; it's quite obvious that he used both Wisdom and Intelligence as "dump stats"). He has sacrificed everything for maximum combat ability. An Alternate Universe version even sacrificed his ability to speak for more bonuses. The current list of Minmax's sacrificed skills includes starting fires, literacy, the ability to rhyme on purpose, the ability to wink, and even the skill to dress himself. Readers tend to find them out along with other characters when Minmax does something that should have been impossible; someone will look at him incredulously and say "How...?" and Minmax reveals what he traded for the ability just demonstrated. See the page image for one such event. Minmax knows 38 ways to kill a man with his thumb, but doesn't know what chess is.
  • In The God of High School, Jin Mo-Ri is extraordinarily talented at martial arts to the point of copying most techniques with a single glance and gifted with ridiculous physical prowess. Unfortunately, a life spent secluded in the mountains with his grandpa whose motto is "Do what you want!" has left Mo-Ri a bit of a Manchild who lacks common sense and is innocently honest to a fault.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: In-universe, there is a story about a Prince Kassardis fleeing from his warlord suitors, who are nigh-undefeatable and conquer everything Kassardis throws in their path. Unfortunately for them, they've been so accustomed to getting what they want through violence that they cannot do anything remotely peaceful, such as simply bringing themselves to share the prince and his kingdom instead of mutually murdering each other in a rock-paper-scissors standoff.
    • This also applies to the goddess of humanity, Aesma, who has powers that are supernatural even by god standards due to her short temper and lack of people skills causing her to pursue things the hard way at all times. This causes her to get duped, conned, and abused by her own boyfriend. Who she then murders with the force of a thousand planets.

    Web Original 
  • In Clickhole's quiz, Which One of the Kids Who I Sell Samurai Swords to Are You?, there's the Shadow. The author theorizes that the Shadow once had a sensei that taught him absolutely everything there was to know about swordsmanship, but forgot to explain anything else, resulting in a kid who has to ask strangers incredibly awkward questions about puberty at sword-point.
  • Sylvester, in Twig, is this thanks to the Wyvern formula that's regularly injected into his brain, which increases neural plasticity to allow him to rapidly learn new skills to the point where he can become a knife-throwing expert after a few throws. However, the rapid memory degradation that comes with Wyvern means that he can only maintain these skills with constant practice at the cost of his other skills. He mainly focuses on social skills, since he can constantly practice them for his Awesomeness by Analysis role, but of course this makes him less than useless in a fight.
  • Phase of the Whateley Universe. Filthy rich. Trained from birth to be the ultimate financial wizard, so he could one day be one of the rulers of the Goodkind empire. Unfortunately, that means he doesn't know how to do things like use a can opener or do laundry. That would be fine, given how much money his family has, but then he gets kicked out of the family and disinherited... The relative pittance his family eventually basically bought him off with to avoid future trouble still makes him one of the richest kids at Whateley, and the same "financial wizard" training is helping him build on that even with him spending money left and right to simply buy even fairly exotic equipment at fair prices or hire competent help as needed. That said, the struggle between his refined palate and common cafeteria food (to say nothing of his shock at the first time he ever saw the inside of a common supermarket) remains fun to watch.

    Web Videos 
  • There's a fan theory regarding To Boldly Flee that while other Psychlos were learning how to SPELL THEIR NAMES, Turrell was being trained to conquer galaxies. This has the reverse implication that Turrell was so busy learning how to conquer galaxies that he doesn't actually know how to spell his name (it was "Terl" in the original). The sad thing is, he's not even all that good at conquering galaxies. As the Nostalgia Critic put it, he couldn't even conquer Rhode Island. The real reason was copyright concerns, but the reviewers have heard of the theory and were amused by it.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
      • Azula, having grown up in the midst of a cutthroat royal court that heads a nation that instigated a century-long war, has manipulation, Firebending, and intimidation down pat. When it comes to associating with people on equal terms to her, it ultimately doesn't go well. The third season Beach Episode is a Villains Out Shopping episode on the beach, with the Gaang relegated to B-plot. Azula's attempt to flirt normally deteriorates into a declaration that their children will conquer the world, thoroughly weirding out Normal Guy With Beach House, who has failed to recognize his Princess.
      • Likewise, Zuko, who grew up in the same circumstances and spent three years at sea. He's a good Firebender and a good martial artist but when he has to help re-shingle a roof, he's awkwardly holding a hammer with two hands and bending all the nails. He also is significantly lacking in social skills, such that his first reaction to seeing a girl his age frequently coming to the tea shop to watch him is that she's a spy or assassin who has figured out their identities, until Iroh points out the much more likely (and correct) assumption that she's attracted to him. At least he usually has his down-to-earth uncle to help him get along...
    • The Legend of Korra: Korra herself has this, but also somewhat involuntarily imposed on her. Because the White Lotus took Aang's dying wish to "keep his next incarnation safe" a bit too much to heart, Korra pretty much grew up in a Gilded Cage, practicing only bending. Once she debuts in Republic City, it is plainly obvious that she's quite lacking in social graces and discretion.
  • Webby Vanderquack in DuckTales (2017) was raised by an overprotective grandmother who is also a retired superspy. As a result, she has been trained in martial arts, stealth, and other skills that serve her well when she's on adventures with Scrooge McDuck and the triplets, but has been sheltered in McDuck Manor all her life so she's never had any exposure to anyone her own age or related activities. The second episode, "Daytrip of Doom!", has this on full display as Webby goes with Huey, Dewey, and Louie to the resident Suck E. Cheese's and doesn't know what some of the attractions even are, but later single-handedly captures Ma Beagle in the ball pit.
  • Agram, the Big Bad of Magi-Nation long ago traded his sight for power over Void Energy. After Orwin is brainwashed into his service, Agram uses his staff to restore it, but the staff is broken as the episode goes on, rendering him blind once more.
  • This is actually the point of the first three seasons of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Twilight Sparkle is the personal apprentice of Princess Celestia and is a wildly powerful and talented magic-user in her own right, but she has almost No Social Skills because she's a snarky introvert who spends too much time studying. Celestia takes it upon herself to do something about this before it's too late, with Twilight learning various friendship lessons and reporting them to Celestia being a framing device for those initial seasons.
  • The Daughters of Aku introduced in Season 5 of Samurai Jack are a team of deadly assassins born and raised for the sole purpose of killing Jack. All of that training came at the expense of basically any knowledge of the outside world. They don't even know what a deer is and are completely baffled (and upset) by displays of affection. It gets all but one of them killed.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Adora is a Tyke Bomb raised from infancy to be a soldier of the Horde, meaning she's a fantastic fighter and tactician. The tradeoff is that she has no understanding of things that aren't military, like horses, parties, soft beds, or the concept of aunts. When invited to a prom, she prepares like she's planning to invade a country. Notably, this is limited to Adora. The rest of the squad she grew up with are fully aware of these things, even if they never got to experience some of them; the aforementioned prom example has her Evil Former Friend be aware that its simply a fancy social event without it having to be explained to her.
  • Steven Universe does this a bit. On one level, there's the Crystal Gems. They are millennia-old protectors of Earth, and are very good at that job, until Steven's father Greg entered an actual romantic relationship with their leader, they never felt a need to actually interact with humans or study what it has to offer on a regular basis; they suck at both human interaction (less so talking with them as it is treating them with respect when doing so) and understanding human cultures. On another, the caste system of the species means that pretty much every Gem is like this when it comes to things that fall outside what they were specifically created for (such as Peridot, whose Gem type is dedicated solely to engineering).
    • Peridot is probably the best example in the series, as in addition to being completely new to Earth, her dedication to her work means that she also completely lacks the social skills that even other Gems have. So her redemption arc has her both struggling to understand how to process the emotions of herself and others on top of adapting to things like "rain" and "teen dramas".

    Real Life 
  • Unfortunately, this is often Truth in Television: many child prodigies tend to practice and allocate all their resources on their skills so often that they neglect some very basic aspects on growth into a fully socialized person. This is particularly true in regions or education programs that focus on good grades and high test scores, such as the Advanced Placement system, as they spend almost all of their time teaching students how to do well academically. In more intense cases, the time that students normally spend socializing, like during lunch or after school, is taken up by further studying. It has become an issue as of the 2010s, with growing awareness of people graduating from universities with no idea what to do next, as they were only taught how to receive that degree without being told what to do with it or what employers want.
  • This is also why education has almost eliminated grade skipping in recent years, as the 10 year olds graduating college found themselves unemployable, over-educated, with no social or "soft" skills, and no way to gain those skills, as they had no peers with which to interact.
  • Big business college athletics in the United States has been noted as suffering from this, especially with the presence of sports scholarships in some universities leading to cases of players able to get, essentially, joke degrees that have no practical benefit to them. If players then manage to make it into professional ranks at some point when they're forced to retire many realize they have no useful skills outside of the sport. This is often exacerbated by the effect of fame and fans so their ability to socialize like a normal person when they're no longer the center of attention can be hampered. Many professional leagues now offer, essentially, life-skills classes and support so ex-athletes can manage to survive off the field. There are also efforts to clamp down on the fake athletic degrees so the college athletes have at least some kind of a real education.
  • Pro sports teams outside the US college athletics ecosystem are simultaneously better and worse at this, because they do their talent-spotting through relationships with the local youth leagues and start recruiting promising rookies before they're even old enough to be applying to colleges. This avoids the problem of talented young athletes being forced into an academic career they're not interested in or suited for (not to mention the perverse incentives created by college sports being as marketable as they are Stateside), but it results in particularly impressive rookies signing contracts for very impressive salaries when they've barely reached the age of majority and have absolutely no life-experience when it comes to what to do with all that cash. Conspicuous Consumption, excessive partying and bad financial decisions in general often follow, sometimes with tragic consequences. And if they get past that phase without harming their ability to continue playing professionally they're still going to retire from the sport at some point and figure out what to do with the rest of their lives with nothing but a highschool education to fall back on if they're not cut out to be coaches or team managers.
  • Some argue that the Autism Spectrum Disorder is just an exaggerated example of this, reasoning that the person sacrificed social skills for their "special interests". Some autistics would agree but put it another way: that socializing is simply the neurotypical "special interest", and that to autistics themselves, other children were/are simply not interesting.
  • This is sometimes the case with musicians who received formal educations at Berklee or similarly prestigious institutions and then attempt to start or join bands with no formal band experience. They generally have all the technical knowledge and ability in the world, but they also frequently have no idea how to write a full-fledged song that sticks with the listener, an overly sterile and robotic feel because they never really developed one on their own (you can't exactly teach feel, after all), and no idea how to function in a band setting, which often leads to frequent turnover if they're the leader (as they often wind up being difficult to work with and/or are egotistical assholes) and a steady stream of ejections if they're not (as they frequently try to take control of the band or just have trouble working with others in general).
  • In some species of termites, soldiers have powerful jaws, toxins, or even the ability to squirt glue at predators that attack the colony. This comes at the expense of being able to feed themselves — they require workers to feed them.
  • Extremely advanced degree programs (learning how to be a specialist doctor, for example) sometimes erode away any social skills an aspiring doctor had built up at that point, due to spending 20 hours a day, every day, for 6-8 years studying biology, medicine, and human physiology.
  • Racing Thoroughbred horses are among the fastest breeds in the world, thanks to an incredibly rigid schedule to get them that way. They spend the vast majority of the day in their stall, with their only outdoors time being at the track, training for the track, or at the vet to make sure they're still healthy enough for the track, so Retired or rejected horses take off at a gallop on anything remotely resembling a racetrack, and often just in the presence of other horses, because that's the only time they meet. The first thing that owners of ex-racehorses need to teach them is how to socialize without competing, and the second is basic riding cues that most grown horses know as a foundation for every other riding discipline. Like "slow down," or "turn left/right."
    • Many vets have noted that the immense training both shortens their lifespans and quality of life. Most horses reach their prime at six or eight years old and live well into their twenties or thirties, but a professional racehorse is often retired at 6-8 years if they're not outright euthanized for health issues.
    • On top of their training, Thoroughbreds in general are notorious for being high-maintenance and prone to injury, so a common joke is that ANY other breed is hardier than a Thoroughbred.
  • Toughening your knuckles is one of the Required Secondary Powers if you want to be a fighter. That said, the sacrifice comes if you toughen them too much, to the point where it's difficult to write (since finger dexterity is reliant on cartilage inside the joints of the hands, some of these being the knuckles).
  • As a form of government, constitutional monarchy requires this of the monarch and their immediate heirs. A constitutional monarch must be educated from a young age about what is expected of them and what is permitted from them, since all it takes is a few seemingly small deviations and the monarchy could fall. (Just ask the Greek, Italian, and Portuguese royals.) This education frequently comes at the expense of a more "normal" one. However, if a constitutional monarchy is diligent about educating its dynasts, it can retain incredible staying power and even allow its country to punch above its weight diplomatically and culturally (as the British monarchy powerfully shows).

Alternative Title(s): Sacrificed Basic Skill For Awesome Ability