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Sadly Mythcharacterized

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"I am a big muscly mercenary who in this movie does nothing that Hercules did in any of the myths, and who is constantly stated as having technically not done any of things that WERE in the myths. So basically I have about as much in common with the character of Hercules as I do Theseus, or Conan the Barbarian, or Popeye the Sailor Man."
The Rock, The Editing Room's abridged script for Hercules (2014)

When a work portrays a mythological figure differently from their original mythological depiction.

Mythology, a subject that is open to interpretation. What one nation calls Jove, another calls Zeus. The deeds they did are scrutinized, and what is considered heroic changes over time. But sometimes, modern writers want to take things further, and present us with gods and heroes far removed from their mythological context. A god known for judgment and cheating on his wife might get flanderized into being all about one or the other. A hero who looked completely human might take on magical aspects. Any adaptational changes may apply.

The reasons are varied.

  1. Influence from other cosmologies might have colored the perception of these characters. Especially if the cosmology is Abrahamic in nature.
  2. The namesakes may had been taken from other concepts that just happened to be named for mythological characters (such as the objects of the solar system).
  3. And sometimes, plain old Flanderization sets in as a result of things the immortals will never live down.

It is not this trope when the adaptation of a mythical being is closer to the original attitude toward said being because we've overlaid modern sensibilities on them. For example, Zeus being portrayed as a basically decent guy rather than a serial rapist is not this trope, because the Greeks or Romans would have regarded him as a decent guy. Likewise, anyone that is called a hero being depicted as well, heroic would also not count.

This is a Supertrope to Everybody Hates Hades, Everybody Loves Zeus, Hijacked by Jesus, Villain Baal, and Pantheon Sitcom. This is a Sub-Trope of Adaptation Deviation, Adaptation Personality Change and Sadly Mythtaken where the writer makes misconceptions about the source material or other parts of mythology, respectively.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • While Happy Science movies make up mythological characters to further the idea that these are Ryuho Okawa's (and El Cantare's) past lives, they take liberties with existing mythological figures, altering them to suit the cult's religious agenda.
    • The Golden Laws: Prometheus, a Titan whom the Gods punished for giving fire to mortals in the original Greek myth, is depicted as an ordinary human Glory Seeker in Hermes' times. Moreover, he tries to lead people astray from God with his control over fire and Hermes storms into his altars to stop him.
    • Hermes: Winds of Love has Hermes, Aphrodite, and Eros depicted as mortals. The former two are royals destined to marry each other and lead Greece to an age of prosperity. The latter is their baby son, born from a magical arrow from an unnamed Goddess of Love. While this portrayal is a far cry from their depictions in the original Greek myths, it's how they're depicted in Ryuho Okawa's mythos.
    • The Mystical Laws: In the original Japanese myth, Yamata-no-Orochi was a monster who harassed a family for refusing to sacrifice their youngest daughter after it ate their other seven older daughters one by one each year, depicted as gigantic. In this film, it is depicted as a bird-like smoke construct barely bigger than a mountain, with eight dragon-like heads, and is the protector of Izumo and all of Japan at the service of Konohana-no-Sakuya-bime.
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? includes the Greek goddess Hestia as one of the protagonists, depicted as a young girl with Girlish Pigtails and a blue ribbon who wants to get into a relationship instead of becoming an older virgin goddess with a head veil. Other gods include Loki (who has an excuse in the original myths), and Hephaestus (In the original myths Hephaestus was crippled, elderly and male). Freya, Hermes, Take-Mikazuchi, and Ishtar also appear, but are more accurate to the source myths.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid includes characters derived from myth, all as shapeshifting dragons. Quetzalcoatl has a Gender Flip and Fafnir goes from a dwarf to a Bishōnen who doesn't care much about treasure. Tohru, the eponymous dragon maid, is a subversion. While her name is derived from the Japanese translation of Thor, it's actually stated that it has a different In-Universe origin.
  • The Mazinger Z franchise has Zeus appear in two series. Of the two, Z Mazinger not only depicted Zeus and other Greek mythological figures as Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, but also made Zeus the original pilot of the eponymous Mecha.
  • Much like the card game, Yu-Gi-Oh! has a couple cases.
    • The God Osiris, one of the Egyptian God Cards (and better known as Slifer the Sky Dragon) is depicted as a giant red Dragon with two mouths. Averted in the original, since there its name is "Sky dragon of Osiris", not Osiris itself.
    • Anubis appears in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie: Pyramid of Light, losing the Jackal head and becoming Obviously Evil. He created the eponymous artifact to settle a long score with Atem. He is also claimed as the god of the Dead (that title actually belongs to Osiris, funnily enough the God Card most associated with Yugi and Atem).
  • Devilman takes some liberties with the character of Satan. One forgivable example is Satan having 12 wings. While seraphim are well known for having 6 wings, there are varied accounts inside and outside the Bible on how many wings particular angels had. Satan is described in more than one instance to have a serpent/dragon appearance, and yet not once does Satan ever take on such a form. Certainly Satan having a feminine, hermaphrodite body is nowhere in the Bible. One big deviation from Satan's character, is the idea that Satan wants the death of all humans. Satan is certainly not friendly to humans in the Bible, but he's characterized as more of a trickster archetype who likes to corrupt humans and bring them down to his level. In fact, a big part of Revelation's plot centers around how Satan wants to rule over humans. If nothing else, they did get the part about Satan being an angel of light correct.

    Comic Books 
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Ares, who according to Greek mythology was the Amazons' ancestor and one of the gods they supposedly worshiped most, is their inveterate enemy.
    • Artemis, goddess of the hunt, was in the mythology entirely uninterested in sex, a virgin goddess of virgins, and took pleasure in finding creatively cruel deaths for those who saw her naked form—so her Wonder Woman (2011) version's crush on her brother and exhibitionist ways are New 52 originals.
    • Athena was an enemy to the Amazons in mythology, fighting against them at Troy and specifically aiding Achilles in killing Penthesilea (in some versions even bringing him back to life after Penthesilea killed him on the battlefield before ensuring his victory), and setting Bellerophon to assassinate their previous queen (implied to be Penthesilea and Hippolyta's mother Otrera). Starting in Wonder Woman (1987) DC's Athena acts as something like the Big Good to DC's Amazons, and Wonder Woman becomes her champion.
    • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons: As is common in most Wonder Woman works, this series intentionally deviates from how the Olympians were perceived by the Ancient Greeks. Most of the male Olympians for example are hit hard with Adaptational Villainy, this is common with figures such as Ares and Zeus but now it's even extended to Apollo, Hermes, Posiedon, Hephaestus, and Dionysius.
  • Marvel's Thor is quite different from the original depiction of Thor, the red haired, red bearded god, wielding the hammer Mjölnir that bears no inscription on the worthiness of whoever lifts it, and is not so flat on its sides or top, but is known for its curved shape meeting up towards an angle, and hammer must be lifted with the assistance of the power-belt Megingjörð. In the comics, there has a been a briefly introduced red haired Thor, the power-belt has been used on occasion, and Loki was mentioned as the mother of Sleipnir in a guidebook once, but otherwise, characters and elements originating from the comics, such as the Enchantress and the Warriors Three, are much more prevalent than figures from the original myths. There are some figures from the Norse Mythology family tree who should be much more prominent in an ongoing mythological drama, but are instead relegated to obscurity or not mentioned at all. And though the character designs should make it clear that these are the Marvel versions and not the originals, there are plenty of artists who go by the Kirbyesque designs when depicting non-Marvel versions of the Norse pantheon. For more information, see SadlyMythtaken.The Mighty Thor.
  • Hellboy depicts Hecate as a snake-from-the-waist-down blood-drinking Eldritch Abomination who exists to herald the Apocalypse, corrupted an ancient utopian city for shits and giggles, and is generally kind of an asshole (like most of the non-Abrahamic supernatural characters in that series). While the mythological Hecate was sometimes referred to as drinking blood (because, like all the Greek gods, people sacrificed animals to her), basically none of the rest of that bears the slightest resemblance to the mythological Hecate besides the name and gender.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Hercules has several cases of this:
    • Philoctetes is a satyr and a trainer of heroes, akin to Chiron the centaur. In the original myths, he was a human and his only interaction with Heracles was lighting his funeral pyre.
    • Hephaestus is missing a foot but is still able to use his legs.
    • Hera herself as a loving mother instead of the jealous wife who wanted Heracles dead.
    • And of course, Hades as a villain and wanting to kill Herc, instead of being one of several figures who helped him with a few of his trials.
    • Hercules himself is missing the pelt of the Nemean lion, with his Nigh-Invulnerability being derived from his demigod status instead (once he earned that back). The "Zero to Hero" sequence referenced the Nemean pelt by having Hercules drape Scar's pelt over his shoulders during a photo shoot.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dogma: There is no explanation for why the angel Loki shares the name of the Norse trickster god, or why the angel Bartleby shares the name of a character from a Herman Melville short story.
  • Hercules in New York: The Olympian gods go by their Roman names, except for Zeus, who would be known to the Romans as Jupiter.

  • Tom Holt:
    • Expecting Someone Taller is one of several books by Holt that play a bit fast-and-loose with characterizations of The Ring of the Nibelung's cast. Wotan, in particular, is a straight-up jerkass with a passive-aggressive thing going with the Valkyries where he refuses to wipe his feet before entering Valhalla, or to clean up after himself.
    • Ye Gods features the Roman pantheon. Mars, god of war, is now a pacifist who is only fighting (in a metaphorical sense) for nuclear disarmament. (The logic being that, if there's a war, he has to be in the middle of it, and he has no idea if his immortality covers being at ground zero of a nuclear explosion.)
  • American Gods features a bunch of "old" gods from various mythologies fighting against the rise of the "new" American gods. The old gods, who have literally changed to reflect changing beliefs, include European gods like Odin, who now goes by Mr. Wednesday, and is a Con Man instead of the wise Allfather. The end of the novel reveals that an Odin much more in line with the mythology exists in Iceland, implying that the same for all of the other gods too and that the gods presented in the novel are all americanized versions.
  • Creatures of Light and Darkness: The ancient Egyptian gods still rule the universe. While the actual myths have a great deal of variation in how some of these gods are portrayed, Zelazny ignored most of that in favor of characterizations which forwarded his plot. Thoth was the Top God before being forced out by a coup by Angels and trying to contain the Thing That Cries in the Night. Anubis is now an angel that became the ruler of the House of Death (a common misconception as Anubis was only the guardian of the resting places in the source myths). Osiris (the actual chief deity of the dead) became the ruler of the House of Life and is also an angel. Set is simultaneously Thoth's son and father.
  • The Camp Half-Blood Series: Despite a sincere attempt at faithfulness towards Greek and Roman myths, resulting in this trope being mainly avoided, Rick Riordan still takes some liberties while depicting the personalities of the gods, either for the Rule of Funny or out of personal creations.
    • Dionysus was depicted in the Greek myths as a pleasant and andrygonous youth constantly seeking joy and festivities - in Riordan's universe he is a grumpy and rude overweight middle-aged man. Discussed in The Trials of Apollo where it is theorized that Dionysus specifically chose to take this unusual appearance out of defiance.
    • Venus in the Riordanverse is treated as identical to her Greek counterpart, Aphrodite, when in truth the two goddesses were quite different: Aphrodite was a goddess of sexual and romantic love, focused on things such as desire and beauty; Venus was a much more of a mother-goddess, whose aspects were mostly about purification, vegetation and victory.
    • Prometheus is portrayed as a shifty, untrustworthy manipulator who will readily let human civilization die if it means he gets to be on the winning side of a war. This stands in stark contrast to the original myths, where he's one of the very few unambiguously good characters, and famously loved humans enough that he defied Zeus in order to protect them.
    • Zeus's portrayal downplays this trope; while the series emphasizes his Jerkass God status and ignores his mythical role as an upholder of justice and moral order, but is still reasonably close to the original myths. However, it's played straight with Poseidon, who is frequently presented as a Good Counterpart to Zeus and the Only Sane Man of the Olympians. This has very little basis in the original myths, where Poseidon was just as petty, temperamental, jealous and arrogant as Zeus was if not more.
  • The Lost Years of Merlin took Rhita Gawr, a minor Arthurian antagonist most known for beating up people and cutting off their beards, and made him a full-blown Satanic Archetype of the Celtic gods. Dadga, meanwhile, goes in the other direction, with his wisdom emphasized to the point where any unpleasant traits, like his status as a War God, pretty much disappear.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles: Arawn is the King of the Unseelienote  Faeries and a general Hate Sink, killing most of his daughters and abusing his many sons. The Arawn from Welsh mythology was a generally nice guy with none of these unpleasant traits. (Overlaps a bit with Everybody Hates Hades, since the legends were fuzzy on any distinction between "land of the fairies" and "land of the dead.")
  • The Time Warp Trio book "It's All Greek to Me" invokes this; the Book transports Joe, Sam, and Fred into Classical Mythology, but they quickly figure out that the gods they encounter are based off of the versions they wrote for a comedic school play rather than accurate depictions.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Cursed (2020) features the Cailleach, a deity in real world Irish Celtic mythology, but she appears to bear next to no resemblance to the Cailleach as depicted in the show. The real-world Cailleach is a goddess of winter, storms and the harvest, and protecter of wild animals, often depicted as an old woman, not a dark spider-like entity who makes sinister deals with people and eats children.
  • The makers of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys took a look at Typhon, the biggest and most dangerous monster in all of Greek Mythology, the greatest enemy ever faced by Zeus and the Olympian gods, and the winged monster with snakes for legs. They decided to make him into a dim-witted but lovable, completely human-looking oaf.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The Halloween episode is notorious among certain circles for portraying Janus as a god of chaos. Nothing could be further from the truth; while the "division of self" does fit the idea of people and their costumes becoming one, Janus could better be portrayed as a god of Order, not Chaos, especially in his role as the Roman god of portals, doors, and gateways.
    • Same season has someone invoke Diana as "goddess of love and the hunt." Goddess of the hunt yes, but she didn't really "do" love, which was Venus' thing. Then again, that might be why the spell went so horribly wrong.
  • Charmed:
    • The Hindu goddess Kali is portrayed as an evil entity that hides in mirrors. She was actually a benevolent deity (mostly) who punished evil doers.
    • Hecate is portrayed as an evil demon, as opposed to the protective goddess she was in Greek mythology.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Hades makes a big deal about Zeus being his older brother. Anyone who is familiar with Greek mythology, however, will immediately point out that the opposite is true: Hades was the eldest son of Cronus and Rhea, while Zeus was the youngest.note 
    • Poseidon also gets this treatment; he apparently isn't related to the other two brothers mentioned above and Ursula the Sea Witch is his daughter.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons did this with one unusual case: Bahamut. What was a fish from Arabic Mythology that carried the world became a powerful dragon to be better related to Tiamat. In turn, Tiamat changed from her depiction in Sumerian myth as a primordial, formless sea-deity and embodiment of primal chaos into a five-headed Lawful Evil dragon goddess who lives in Hell note . This depiction is the Trope Maker for Bahamut's draconic depiction in other franchises such as Final Fantasy.
    • Most editions of the game also apply this to the Egyptian god Sobek, usually portraying him as a Lawful Evil god of flooding and natural disasters, even though to the actual Egyptians, he was a god of fertility and creation. Part of the confusion may come from the fact that, on the Nile, floods aren't a disaster so much as they are a necessity for agriculture, making Sobek somewhat equivalent to the storm gods (like Thor, Zeus, Marduk, and Susanoo) from civilizations whose farming relied more on rainfall than on seasonal flooding. Another likely reason for Sobek's vilification is that he was a god associated with crocodiles, and everyone knows crocodiles are evil.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Several of the cards fall into this trope:
    • Hyperion is depicted as an angelic being with flaming wings in dominion over the Agents (All based on planets in the solar system).
    • Freyja is depicted as a cheerleader. Also of the things Freyja was associated with in Norse myth, victory was not explicitly one of them.
    • Artemis is depicted as an angel made of metal and crystals.
    • The Bujin are all based on the Japanese-Shinto pantheon. The Xyz Monsters are the gods, the components are based on items associated with these gods and the Beast-Warrior-type Effect Monsters are also based on people or places associated with their deities. The archetype has a slight Combining Mecha and Powered Armor flavor.
    • The Hieratic archetype depicts the humanoid Ennead of Egyptian Mythology as Bakugan-like dragons.
    • The Nordic archetype, the related Aesir archetype and most Spirit monsters subvert this for the Norse and Japanese pantheons.
  • Warhammer 40,000: It's implied the Mesopotamian god Nergal (Mesopotamian god of war and plague, among other things) was a dormant aspect of Nurgle, the Chaos god of disease, entropy and decay.

    Video Games 
  • BlazBlue draws heavily from Japanese myth, but depicts Amaterasu as a machine with the ability to interfere with physics and change the timeline (within limits), Take-Mizazuchi as a Kill Sat and Susano'o as a suit of Powered Armor and a Soul Jar as well as the real body and identity of Terumi. And he acts more like Lucifer from the Christian myth rather than Susano'o in the original Japanese myth.
  • Bravely Default takes a lot from Final Fantasy, including summons that are different from their mythological contexts, with Hraesvelgr (a giant that resembles an eagle) being an eagle that resembles a jet plane. Susano'o (god of storm) being a giant wielding a radio tower as Kusunagi, a Genderbent Sumerian King, and Prometheus (the Titan who gave fire to man) being a dragon-train. All of these are hints that Earth is the Celestial Realm.
  • Castlevania: Persephone is a demon maid if her description is anything to go by. In practice, she's a Ninja Maid. In the myths she's Hades' wife and bound to the Underworld. Thanks to Everybody Hates Hades, The Underworld is conflated with hell, and thus houses demons.
  • Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening does this with Agni and Rudra, who are depicted as twin ogre-like demons instead of the humanoid Hindu gods they're based on. Other cases include Beowulf, who looks more like Pazuzu than the actual Beowulf (a human king), and Geryon, who is depicted as a demonic horse instead of a man with multiple conjoined bodies (details vary) from Greek myth.
  • Final Fantasy often does this with various mythological characters.
    • Gilgamesh is the prime offender. Despite being named after the Sumerian king and eponymous character of The Epic of Gilgamesh, he is depicted as a Multi-Armed and Dangerous Oni who more closely resembles Musashibo Benkei of Japanese folklore. He's also obsessed with the Arthurian sword Excalibur. His human companion Enkidu also appears in several forms: a green demon, a green dog and a green chicken.
    • As a result of copying several elements from Dungeons & Dragons, Bahamut is depicted as a dragon instead of the fish from Arabic Mythology. Final Fantasy XV makes him a gigantic Dragon Knight and the most powerful of the Astrals.
    • Odin is depicted as a Black Knight whose weapon of choice is not the spear Gungnir, but the sword Zantetsuken. Final Fantasy XIII's incarnation is able to transform into a horse and use lightning powers. Odin in XIII is also the Eidolon of Lightning, who takes on the aesthetics of a Valkyrie in Final Fantasy XIII-2 and effectively the job of one in Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII. Final Fantasy XIV's incarnation of the character gave him attacks referencing Norse Mythology such as Valknut, Einherjar and the aforementioned Gungnir. His horse Sleipnir often does not have the 8 legs associated with him (and in Final Fantasy XII is A Kind of One).
    • Shiva. In Hindu Myth, Shiva the Transformer is a male god who defends and changes the universe. Here Shiva is a female entity with power over Ice who is closer to a Yuki-Onna. The name might be a pun on the word "Shiver". Final Fantasy XIII makes Shiva a pair of twins who can merge into a Motorcycle.
    • Final Fantasy XII included a set of bosses based on The Four Gods. One of those bosses is Fenrir, who is a bipedal white tiger representing Baihu. Fenrir in the original mythology was a wolf and a quadruped, not a tiger.
    • Final Fantasy XIII uses summons different from the traditional mold (though Odin and Alexander are still in the game). Most of which are more akin to Transformers. Among them are Brunhyldr (one of the Valkyries of Norse myth) as an Eidolon who can transform into a sports car.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has a few cases.
      • Heavensward introduces Hraesvelgr of Norse Mythology as a dragon instead of an eagle, as well as related to Nidhogg, Ratatoskr.
      • Also from Heavensward is the Primal Ravana, who is now depicted as an insectoid samurai. The actual Ravana was a Multiple Head Case and less of a Blood Knight and more of a scholar.
  • In the God of War series, Typhon is just another Titan and far less powerful than in the original mythology. Typhon was not a Titan, he was a monstrous enormous beast and the only being Zeus feared who almost singlehandedly overthrew him but was defeated. However, his birth varies Depending on the Writer. Some stories have him as the son of Gaia with no father, born out of Gaia's rage at the Giants she sired being destroyed by Hercules and the Gods (although not stated to be a Giant himself) while other stories have Typhon as the son of Hera and only Hera, and another story has Typhon born thanks to Kronos semen being smeared across 2 rocks at the request of Hera because she was angry at Zeus at the time. But in none of these stories is Typhon a Titan.
  • Golden Sun has plenty of them with its Summon Magic, though some might be due to using Western names/concepts in the translation:
    • Coatlicue is a beautiful woman bearing healing water, rather than a horrifying Aztec goddess.
    • Daedalus is a missile-spewing Humongous Mecha, instead of the mortal inventor from Classical Mythology.
    • Procne is a Giant Flyer, though the sequel shows two birds flying alongside it which is more in line with the original Greek myth. The character from Classical Mythology had her and her sisters turned into birds to escape vengeance.
    • Cybele is a giant frog/plant hybrid rather than a Greek goddess. Subverted in Dark Dawn when it is revealed that said frog is actually Cybele's assistant.
    • Ulysses is called "a legendary wandering mage", using flying snapping mouths to attack. The original myths did not include those mouths or give him any magic, but The Odyssey has often shown him and his crew as victims of magic.
    • Megaera is a Magical Girl-looking warrior rather than one of the Furies of Greek legend.
    • In Dark Dawn, Boreas has gone from an armored giant ice grinder to a train whose front half is a horse. Boreas in Classical Mythology was the God of the North Wind (Though the Amenoi in general were depicted as both horses and humanoids).
    • Moloch (bull-headed Mesopotamian fire god) looks like a giant yeti that breathes ice.
    • In Classical Mythology, Poseidon and Neptune were effectively the same god as called by the Greeks and Romans, respectably. In Golden Sun, Neptune and Poseidon are two different entities: the first is a mutant sperm whale that fires spouts of water, while the second looks like a classic merman.
  • Kid Icarus:
    • Kid Icarus (1986): The queen of the underworld is Medusa, Pluton is a common enemy that steals your weapons, Pandora is a giant soap bubble and goddess of calamity and deceit, and Tanatos is a snake that lives in Medusa's hair.
    • Kid Icarus: Uprising either fixes these, changes them, or plays them for laughs. Palutena herself is supposed to be Pallas Athena, but is now pretty much a different character entirely (her most notable trait? She's a Troll). Tanatos decides to add the much needed "h" into his name, stating it's for "Hamaaaaazing!", and is explained to be a shapeshifter, with his original role of God of Death intact. Pandora is still the Goddess of Calamity and Deceit, but her "soap bubble" body is revealed to actually be a ghost formed from her own willpower and eventually regains her original very beautiful body in line with the Pandora of myth and uses "Pandora's Boxes" that are traps. Medusa is brought closer in line with the original myth, being cursed to take a monstrous form by Palutena for her vanity, she still has snake hair but is less monstrous since her return. She still has the face of a monster and her head can detach itself from the body, and after she dies it's revealed she was not the real queen of the underworld at all. It's Hades, who just used her as a distraction.
  • Ōkami: Amaterasu, the humanoid Sun/Universe goddess of Japanese Mythology becomes depicted as a wolf. This is due to a pun. Okami can mean "great god" or "wolf".
  • Justified in most cases in Onmyoji due to the need to incorporate some foreign mythical figures (the Hēibái Wúcháng, vampires) into the Japanese setting, but still comes rather bafflingly with the case of definitely Japanese Tamamo-no-Mae, who's rewritten into a man here (albeit one who looks and dresses like a woman, and by contrast, the ruler of the underworld King Enma being recast as Lady Enma.
  • Some of Shin Megami Tensei's demon designs tend to be more symbolic. Instead of reflecting what the mythological character physically appeared as in their myths, the demon designs incorporates aspects of the myths themselves into them. While often showing their work, the results are still at odds with usual physical depictions:
    • Cerberus is a Double Subversion. They are depicted as some sort of lion-wolf with only one head, instead of the three headed canine, in all but three games, due to their portrayal in the original Digital Devil Story novels and anime from which the video games took off. But the version with one head is actually the original portrayal. Later portrayals emphasized multiple heads, while varying on the actual number. The idea that they has 3 heads specifically did not sink in until the Renaissance. Therefore, while the 3 headed version is iconic, the one headed version is more accurate but thus unusual.
    • The Egyptian god Seth is traditionally depicted as an animal that somewhat resembles a jackal, an aardvark, a fox, or a combination all of the above. Not in SMT, however; here, he's depicted as a gigantic black dragon. This is in contrast to all the other Egyptian gods in the series that are accurately portrayed (for example, Horus, Seth's foil, is portrayed as a falcon like in the myths).
    • Horkos got hit with this twice as of Strange Journey. In the Greek myths, Horkos was the personification of curses inflicted on oath breakers and people who make false oaths. Prior to Strange Journey, he was depicted as a Hell Gate. (a result of his Roman counterpart, Orcus being the ruler of the underworld). Strange Journey however changed him into a glutenous pig-like beast, who eventually came Back from the Dead as the Hell Gate form (now being called Orcus). The two have since became separate demons.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV and Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse featured several unusual demon and boss designs. Of note is Lucifer. In IV he looks like a bald man with white skin (actually being a leather bodysuit) and a red outfit. In Apocalypse, he resembles a man with very dark grey skin dressed in shining gold and residing on a golden sun throne. His wings are actually the twelve rays of light from his sun throne. He also lacks the empathy for Humanity and most of his ability to manipulate people. the duology's incarnation is actually a part of Satan. In previous games and Judaic tradition, the two were considered separate beings, and in Christian tradition, Lucifer is believed to taken the identity of Satan after his fall.
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse also has Odin, who is depicted as a Gold and Blue Ultraman-like humanoid without the beard (although MegaTen's other incarnations of Odin usually don't have facial hair to begin with, and would still fall under Amazing Technicolor Population with his purple skin).
    • Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse's version of Quetzalcoatl is visually accurate and appealing, it's his behavior that is diametrically opposite to his original myth: while the Quetalcoatl of the Mesoamerican cosmogony is a staunch defender of humanity (and its creator in the current universe), one of the few Aztec deities with an aversion for human sacrifice, and all around considered the nicest guy in a pantheon full of bloodthirsty gods and goddesses, Apocalypse depicts him as a merciless, human-eating Omnicidal Maniac who wants to destroy the current humanity so he can regain his status as Sun God in the universe created by the Divine Powers.
    • Also from Apocalypse, the games version of the Celtic deity Dagda is pretty much unrecognizable from his mythological counterpart. In the myth, Dagda is pretty much the definition of Big Fun, wanting nothing more than to drink, eat, fight and have lots of sex. The games version of him meanwhile is portrayed as a Straw Nihilist who constantly spouts anti friendship speeches and the like while also sporting a very skeletal design.
    • Some of the angels also play with the trope. While several of them go for the Winged Humanoid depiction, and others subvert it by using Talmudic depictions, Metatron and his twin Sandalphon are depicted as more machine than man. Symbolic of YHVH's desires for absolute control over humanity. Shin Megami Tensei IV extends the mechanical aspect to the four Archangels, but goes for a more eldritch aesthetic, with faces not on their heads but on other parts of the body. All of them angelic demons are usually fanatical followers of YHVH and his ideology.
    • The Video Game Remake of Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, on the other hand, deliberately tries to buck tradition with its new demon designs. For instance, Demeter, Mother Goddess, goddess of the harvest, and mother of Persephone, and who once withheld the fertility of the soil and nearly starved humanity to death when her daughter was kidnapped by Hades, is now a little girl in a floral dress and a bough decorated with a skull motif.
    • Zeus has had... controversial interpretations. He first showed up as a ball of lightning with a face on it. Then he was a hulking Humongous Mecha with a Winged Humanoid core. More recently, he's literally half-evil god, half-horrifying demon, on the designer's word that he saw Zeus' Jerkass side that way.
  • In Spellstone, the great titan Atlas is the immensely powerful god of the Wyld, a magical faction in tune with nature, and becomes a boss when he arises to "slay all enemies of nature". He is depicted as an enormous, green-skinned cyclops covered in tree bark that coils around him and forms parts of his body. In Classical Mythology, Atlas has no such association with nature, and was instead punished with holding up the heavens for all eternity.
  • In Too Human, the Jormungandr is a type of massive war machine created by Ymir, of which only one survives to the time of the game. In the original myths, Jormungandr is a gigantic serpent coiling around the world keeping it together, and Ymir is already dead by the time Jormungandr's parents are born.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night: Unlike some of the other Heroic Spirits, who were merely derived from their myths and were not the real figures (and thus are more subject to changes over time). Saber made a deal with the world to become a Heroic Spirit herself. This means that in that universe King Arthur is female.

  • Lore Olympus changes up the characterization of a number of the Greek Gods. The most jarring would have to be Hestia: in the original myths she was a kind, motherly figure, while here she's a Slut-Shaming jackass.

    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom: Pandora. For one thing, she was turned by Pandora's Box into a supernatural being who guards the Box from being opened. In the actual myth, Pandora is the first woman in the world, and she opens the Box because she can't resist the Schmuck Bait.
  • The Mighty Hercules: Daedalus was a skilled and cunning craftsman in Greek Mythology, not the flying sorcerer whose only motivation is the Evulz that the show would have you believe.

Alternative Title(s): Sadly Mythcharacterised