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The Perfectionist

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"I don't need a me who isn't perfect!"

A character that has to be perfect at what they do, or at everything they do.

There's a variation when some sort of special event is going on, where there's usually one crazy organizer who takes charge and the rest just go along. This chief organizer has a pretty good chance of becoming an overbearing perfectionist.

Of course, said person obviously needs to learn that nothing is perfect in life. After all, if it was, it'd be pretty boring. Whether or not the message gets through is up to the character.

In a Four-Temperament Ensemble, this character is Melancholic.

Compare and contrast the Ultimate Life Form and Go-Getter Girl, who is "perfect". Also compare the Broken Ace, who often overlaps with this character. See also the Consummate Professional, who strives for perfection in their work. A character with Ridiculously High Relationship Standards is like this with their romantic partners. Contrast Deliberate Under-Performance, when a character goes out of their way to not be perfect at something.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Beastars, Louis strives to be the perfect candidate to become a Beastar; the top animal of the world who leads the rest. He has everything working for him and is Cherryton's top student. However, he is specially aware of how his herbivore status limits certain areas he is not proud to admit and thus does everything in his power to avoid showing any sort of weakness to avoid getting pitied. It doesn't help his past practically had him be herbivore meat fodder at a young age until he was saved, adopted, and raised to be the man he is today.
  • In Bleach, although one would expect him to be one considering his love for experimentation, Mayuri Kurotsuchi makes it quite clear that he absolutely loathes perfection. To him, perfection means there is no place left for additional knowledge and abilities and thus nothing else left for him as a scientist to strive for. This puts him in contrast with Szayelaporro Granz, who boasts about having become a perfect, immortal being; this earns him the contempt of Mayuri, who denounces him as a fellow scientist after putting him through a Cruel and Unusual Death. Much later, when Nemu is killed during the Quincy Blood War, a vision of Szayelaporro calls out Mayuri for having the audacity of being distraught at her death, taking it as a sign of Mayuri thinking that she had become perfect. Mayuri admits that Szayelaporro is right, before turning his own logic against him and boasting that he will simply make a new, superior Nemu to replace the old one.
  • Anne Sieber in Boarding School Juliet demands that her subordinates put forth nothing less than their absolute effort in every task, even if that task is as small as pinning up posters (they must be uncreased and perpendicular, she says). When Romeo questions this mindset, she fires him, preferring to do all the work alone rather than accept inferior help. This makes her really hard to work alongside, despite her considerate nature.
  • A Certain Magical Index has Shizuri Mugino, at least before her Heel–Face Turn. Shiage Hamazura noted that if she hadn't been obsessed with a perfect victory, she would have been able to kill him in an instant. Instead, she toyed with him while waiting for the perfect moment to end the fight, allowing him to counterattack. He also describes her as someone who will freak out if they beat a video game without doing 100% completion.
  • Yuki from Cheeky Brat is a perfectionist, at least when it comes to her club manager duties which she takes very seriously. It makes her reliable, but also causes her personal life to suffer.
  • DARLING in the FRANXX: One of Ichigo's Fatal Flaws; she takes any kind of failure, no matter how small or justifiable, very seriously and believes it reflects laziness on her part. Thus, whenever even the slightest thing goes wrong, she tends to panic.
  • Death Note: The crux of Light Yagami's beliefs and moral code runs around this. He gets perfect grades in school? That's good. He's athletic, intelligent, and charismatic? That's good. He just murdered a man using an Artifact of Doom? That's... it's... It is good. It has to be good. He has to be good. He has to be perfect, and if the only way to ensure that he is perfect is to establish himself as God by forcing his brand of justice upon the world, in the process murdering everyone who is imperfect and bad according to him, then so be it.
  • Henry Wong from Digimon Tamers has this as one of his few flaws. In addition to the inherent problems this causes, it comes into conflict with his pacifism, since perfectionism abhors compromise.
  • Food Wars!: Erina Nakiri considers the idea of any kind of failure or struggle abhorrent. The idea that Soma actually learns from failure even if he doesn't like it repulses her. To her, a true master can never fail. However, it's rather telling that she seems to look up to Joichiro Saiba (Soma's father) as the ultimate chef because she believes him to be similarly obsessed with victory, unaware of how different he is in real life.
  • Miki Aono/Cure Berry from Fresh Pretty Cure! usually peppers her words with "Perfect" to the point her catchphrase is "I'm perfect!". As an aspiring model, she usually goes out of her way to keep up with her perfect appearance and manner, but unlike most of the examples here, she could take failures better, by lamenting "I'm not perfect...". Also, if she really perceives that something is really her fault or there's bigger stakes at hand, she'd ignore whatever imperfect look she had, in order to fix that fault or solve that stake. Unlike most examples here, however, Miki remains a positively good and sane girl despite her 'perfectionist' stance.
  • Deconstructed with Machi in Fruits Basket. Throughout her childhood, she was forced to be absolutely perfect. Now, perfection actually causes her to snap and wreck things intentionally.
  • Shirogane from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is obsessed with maintaining his perfect student council president image. He takes studying very seriously, and any shortcomings he may have (of which there are a lot) are painstakingly rooted out and overcome. Part of this effort is motivated by his desire to stand as Kaguya's equal and prove that he's good enough for her. The rest is because he was abandoned by his mother as a child when he didn't meet her insanely high standards.
  • In Medaka Box, Kurokami Medaka is a super-talented girl who can't help but try and "complete" herself. Whatever she does, even if it's an absurdly amazing accomplishment, she always worries and questions how she could have done it better (even if she doesn't let her worry show on her face). To her chagrin, she's actually AWARE that trying to become a perfect human being is both impossible and foolish, but her Abnormality compels her to keep on chasing self-perfection anyway, kept in check only by her friends keeping her grounded. Her compulsive self-completion manifests in her Skill, "The End", which instantly learns and completes any Skill.
  • In Naruto, the Sunny-Side Battle! OVA has Itachi attempting to make breakfast: every single one of his eggs is a failure in some way. Everyone else would just pick the eggshell out of the yolk or, if that seems too squicky, settle for the egg whose yolk dripped out. But Itachi is having none of that. His sunny-side-up egg has to be absolutely perfect.
  • Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion, will not accept anything less of herself than being the best among the Evangelion pilots, because the integrity of her incredibly low self-esteem depends on it. The idea of Shinji surpassing her starts her breakdown.
  • Played for Laughs in One Piece, where Vegapunk considers the replica he made of Kaido's Devil Fruit a failure solely because it turns its user into a pink dragon rather than an azure one, never mind the fact that it's every bit as powerful as the original.
  • For Chiri from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, everything has to be done "properly" ... even things that are not right, if you don't do them the right way.... let's just say things don't get pretty.
  • Death the Kid from Soul Eater. Symmetry is just his most prominent obsession. Others span from trivial ones like writing his name perfectly on test paper to maintaining a perfect balance of good and evil in the world.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, the teacher Ukyo Kitano acts like this when possessed by No. 34: Terror-Byte, to the point that he devotes some of his resources to make sure he never takes any damage. In his normal persona, he's a kind man who encourages his students to take risks and learn from their mistakes.

  • David has long been praised as absolute perfection of human anatomy. Creator/{{Michelangelo Buonarrotti worked for two years straight on David, sleeping rarely and eating sparsely. There are hundreds of tiny details that you can see, from the raised veins on his hand from the grip on the stone to the small genitals, not only standard for the time and area but also an example of pre-battle shrinkage. The only notable anatomical flawnote  is that of a missing muscle in the back. But it was necessary. A flaw in the block of marble prevented Michelangelo from carving it, as mentioned in a letter he released at the time of finishing. It's the same flaw (among others) that had the block of marble sitting in a plaza for 40 years before Michelangelo took a chance.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, the Many are a gruesome variation. When a being is infected and being assimilated by the Many, it gives them this sense that they're somehow broken and lost, and that only becoming another facet in the Many's whole will cure them.
  • In The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan, Nova Shine is a textbook case, coupled with a large side-helping of Heroic Self-Deprecation when he fails to live up. He's immensely self-critical of how he was able to match Twilight Sparkle's spells during their first assessment but not the ease at which she could cast them, punishes himself for yelling at Twilight after she pushed his buttons one too many times, exiles himself to her basement for a whole week after he failed to make peace with his parents (even though his only goal earlier that day had been to make peace with a completely different pony, which he did succeed at), and won't even talk to her during that time.
  • This gets a woman akumatized in Burning Bridges, Building Confidence. She wanted her family's Parisian vacation to be absolutely picture-perfect, and her dismay over her plans falling apart is exploited by Hawkmoth to transform her into Idealizer. This grants her the power to alter her surroundings so that they fit what she saw in the brochures, bright and crisp and clean... and turning anyone who gets caught in her magic into living props, frozen in various poses.
  • The Cosmos (Miraculous Ladybug): Sabine is such a perfectionist that she refuses to acknowledge any of her daughter's achievements as the least bit remarkable. One of Marinette's defining memories of her is overhearing her lamenting to her husband that Marinette hadn't scored 100% on a test where she got 99%.
  • Shirou in Fate Revelation Online became this as a blacksmith. If the sword he created didn't match what he envisioned, he immediately breaks it down and uses the materials to try again. Lisbeth doesn't understand how he can be so good at his job and yet, for quite a while, not produce a single sword he didn't deem a failure.
  • Vigil in The Irony Of Applejack has this as one of his defining traits. It also counts as his Fatal Flaw.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, the Stardroid Terra sees any sign of imperfection as disgusting, even extending to things such as dirt.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Professor Snape imposes extraordinarily high standards on Rigel, far more than any other student, going so far as to issue a detention for a single missed homework assignment. His justification is that he intends to apprentice Rigel in the future, and since drawing apprentices from one's own school is frowned upon in the community, he needs Rigel to be so far beyond reproach that it would seem more strange not to take him on.
    If Rigel was to become Severus' apprentice, he must be more than exceptional; he must be perfect.
  • Twilight Sparkle in Stardust upon being asked to take a break after working for nineteen hours: "Sleep is for B minus ponies. I'm an A+ pony."
  • Lord Shen works for perfection in many aspects throughout The Vow, like his fighting style and appearance, the gifts and training for self-defense he gives Lianne, his coming wedding and his attempts to be theatrical.
  • In Where Talent Goes to Die, Reiko Mitamura is an honors student with an upstanding reputation who feels great pressure to stay that way, especially after being recognized for her talent as the Ultimate Proofreader, which fits her personality. This is also her undoing. Afraid of what would happen if she got a bad grade, Mitamura cheated on a test, and after Monokuma threatens to release the information, she commits murder in order to graduate and keep said information secret.

    Films — Animation 
  • The LEGO Movie: Lord "All I want is total perfection" Business, to the point where he doesn't believe in failure. This normally results in him exacting his murderous wrath on anyone when an imperfection turns up. He has also created a Police State where everyone has to follow the instructions, otherwise they will be put to sleep, connected with his hatred of Master Builders who are a lot more chaotic and individualistic than his system is. Mostly because he is a representation of Finn's father in real life, who likes order and control and doesn't want anyone messing with his LEGO sets.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • In Rollercoaster of Friendship, Vignette Valencia cops to this during a Motive Rant, where she wonders why anyone can like something that's not perfect. In practice, Vignette changes her mind on a whim if she thinks something about her costumes or her designs aren't absolutely perfect, which leads to those who work under her getting easily frustrated.
    • In Sunset's Backstage Pass, the band PostCrush is revealed to be this, particularly Kiwi "K-Lo" Lollipop. K-Lo insists on using the Time Twirler to redo their performance at the Starswirl Music Festival over and over until they get it perfect, much to the dismay of her bandmate Supernova "Su-Z" Zap. It wouldn't be until Sunset Shimmer destroys the artifact and talks her out of it that K-Lo decides to accept that Perfection Is Impossible.
  • Georgette from Oliver & Company ends up blowing the cover of the crew, who are supposed to be sneaking around, by screaming in horror after breaking a nail.
  • Lord Farquaad in Shrek was obsessed with making Duloc perfect. This is why he expelled all the fairy tale creatures as he viewed them as ruining his perfect image. He intended to marry Princess Fiona, viewing her as perfect, to officially have the title of king and make Duloc a kingdom.
  • In Turning Red, Mei has been raised to highly value things being perfect. This can be seen in her reaction to her father deeming the bao buns she made as "perfect", and her attitude that Second Place Is for Losers.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Nina's Fatal Flaw in the Black Swan.
  • Dave Made a Maze:
    • Dave repeatedly says throughout the movie that the maze "isn't finished" despite it being gigantic.
    • Harry also has shades of being a perfectionist in regards to the documentary he's directing. He repeatedly asks for retakes on people's genuine reactions to things that happen inside the maze, implying that they weren't as emotional as he would have liked.
  • French comedy actors Louis de Funès was one both in and out of character.
  • In Pacific Rim, both Chuck Hansen and Mako Mori are perfectionists who have no social life, very few if any friends, and are completely invested in the Jaeger Program. They don't tolerate failure from anyone, including themselves.
  • TRON: Legacy: "I'm Clu. I will create the perfect system."
  • Played for tragedy in The Platform, as the chefs preparing a 'truly perfect' buffet every day are unaware that their work is used to justify starving hundreds to death, and disregard a symbolic message of their food being rejectednote  because they believe the hair on top was their error. The head chef is angrily criticizing his team for a simple mistake instead of wondering, for five seconds, why anyone would care about a single dessert on a smorgasbord eaten by two VIPs and/or over 400 people.

  • Mentioned by the Navy psychiatrist as one of Lt. Queeg's faults in The Caine Mutiny.
  • Earth's Children: Rydag is a rather fastidious person with a keen eye for detail. This makes him an excellent artist, though he also gets rather anxious or frustrated when things he puts effort into don't turn out completely the way he wishes. The first time he and Ayla have sex, he's particularly flustered over the fact he climaxed and Ayla didn't; even though Ayla says she still found it enjoyable, he berates himself for being too hasty and insists on trying again so it will be "perfect" for her. When Ayla breaks up with him, he apologizes for not being perfect for her, only for Ayla to state she never wanted or needed him to be perfect, and that this isn't the reason she's leaving.
  • Leaf by Niggle is an allegorical story by J. R. R. Tolkien about a painter who is obsessed with getting every detail of his painting to be perfect, down to each individual leaf on the tree.
  • Keladry from Protector of the Small is aware that any sort of failing on her part will be taken as proof that girls can't be knights, and so pushes herself to succeed in everything she can. She gradually gets better through the series, but maintains her stubborn streak. It's even played for laughs in Squire when Kel is so determined to master woodworking that she bruises most of her fingers before the carpenters throw her out.
  • A big source of self-inflicted stress in Summer's Dream by Cathy Cassidy as aspiring dancer Summer Tanberry pushes herself to the point of anorexia in an attempt to win a place at a prestigious ballet academy. The doctor she meets in hospital (implied to be a former anorexic) even uses the word to describe them both.
  • In Terra Ignota, the Utopians are an entire quasi-nation of perfectionists due to attracting this particular type of members. They always take the time to do everything perfectly, no matter how small an error or how long it takes. For example, the worldwide transit system is controlled by the Humanist Hive and is the safest, fastest, and most efficient transit system in human history. There was an accident that resulted in a number of Utopians (and others) dying. Everyone else accepted it as an unfortunate statistical error, but the Utopians removed themselves from the Humanist system and created their own transit system. It is slower and smaller, but it has never caused even one death.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Deconstructed with Vanessa from Backstage: When she gets a role in a ballet production of Cinderella, she obsesses so much over dancing perfectly that she isn't able to relax and enjoy herself, which negatively affects her during rehearsals. Worse yet, she initially takes her teacher's attempts to remedy this as personal attacks, though she eventually eases up.
  • Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory counts, he constantly tells everyone how smart he is, and organizes everything he does to the smallest detail.
  • Boston Legal: Denny Crane has never lost a case. Nowadays he only takes cases he thinks it's a lock to win, and/or takes second chair in cases so if his side does lose it doesn't count for his stats.
  • Detective Amy Santiago in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, who describes herself as "a little OCD". This is a little like saying that the Atlantic Ocean is "a little wet". Detective Jake Peralta is an interesting case, in that he initially appears to be a lazy slacker who doesn't take anything seriously, but he can be surprisingly intense when it comes to doing his job successfully; he just has slightly different standards of 'perfect' than others.
  • Bree van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives, especially in the first season. Her second husband Orson could qualify too.
  • Doogie Howser, M.D. deals with a patient who keeps having plastic surgery after plastic surgery, always in despair because every single inch of her body doesn't look perfect yet. When Doogie tries to convince her to lay off and accept herself as she is, she absolutely freaks out.
  • Recurring character Craig "The world's most perfect paramedic" Brice on Emergency!. He drives the main characters nuts with his insistence on doing everything perfectly.
  • Fosse/Verdon portrays real-life collaborators and married couple Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon as absolute perfectionists when it comes to their work.
  • Monica Geller from Friends, especially in later seasons when Flanderization set in.
  • Game of Thrones: A defining feature of Tywin Lannister. Tywin is obsessed with House Lannister's reputation, never misses an opportunity to point out his children's flaws, and disrespects anyone that does not live up to his standards... which is everyone else but himself. On the other hand, his perfectionism is one of the major reasons he is aware of everything that goes on around him and what makes him a deadly strategist.
  • In the Pilot Episode for the Amazon Studios series The Interestings, the members of the title group are having a hypothetical discussion about living people who could be God in disguise. When Ash Wolf (another member of the group) is brought up as a candidate, the suggestion is immediately shot down because Ash fits this trope. "She would never have let a mistake like Dick Nixon slide."
  • One of the My Kitchen Rules judges, Colin Fassnidge, is known for setting a very high standard for himself and others. Suffice to say, this gives him a reputation of being ultra-critical and awfully hard to please, and the scores he gives to the contestants is almost always in the lower margin.
  • Schitt's Creek has mother and son Moira and David Rose. Moira is a White-Dwarf Starlet who throws herself into her acting gigs, even if it's a ridiculous soap opera or schlocky B-movie. She also becomes a meticulous director of a community theatre production. David is a Bunny-Ears Lawyer when it comes to retail, not understanding or caring about paperwork, but he always makes sure the products in his store are well-packaged, of high quality, and displayed appropriately.
  • Lito in Sense8 always asks the director to film one more take, even after he's told that he nailed it.
  • In Star Trek, the entire Borg Collective is this trope, with special mention for Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager.
  • Masato Jin/BeetBuster of Tokumei Sentai Go Busters is an inversion of this trope. While he sees nothing wrong with perfection, he feels that flaws make things more interesting.
  • The Twilight Zone (2019): In "Try Try" Mark has become one, trying to make his date with Claudia perfect. When she rejects him nonetheless, it sends him over the edge.
  • Victorious: Andre takes his music very seriously. In one episode, he becomes depressed after he receives a bad grade in a songwriting class, insisting that he always gets As.

    Religion And Mythology 
  • In The Bible, it's stated that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God", and that mankind's best actions and accomplishments are "as filthy rags" to God. To hear some theologians tell it, if you have ever done even one bad deed or had one bad thought at any point in your life (including so much as being grumpy or cranky as a baby), then you deserve to be tortured for all eternity in Hell. Naturally, this damns every single human being (save Jesus). The only loophole is worshipping Jesus, which gets you into Heaven, even though you don't actually deserve it.

  • Katheryn from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues is a perfectionist to a fault. She refuses to use pens because their mistakes aren't as easily fixable as a pencil, and won't hand in tests unless she's sure that they're perfect.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Canonically in most settings, it's a traditional mentality of elves. This means they spend centuries to improve some or other art, craft, or fighting style as far as they can. So they end up regularly doing stuff that amazes others but being too focused on refinement to ever do much of anything at all.
  • Magic: The Gathering: Yawgmoth, and by extension, every Phyrexian is obsessed with perfection. Their methods to reach it always include a good dose of Body Horror. On New Phyrexia, the white Praetor Elesh Norn made it a religion.
  • Warhammer:
    • One of the domains of Slaanesh is how the obsession over perfection can utterly ruin a man's soul and lead them to depravity. Slaanesh will encourage its followers to seek perfection in experience and personal skill; artists will starve themselves obsessing over making their paintings just right, or experiment with bodily fluids (willingly donated or otherwise) to see if they can give the hue they're looking for, to give just one example.
    • Dark Heresy: Forge World Selvanus Binary, run by High Fabricator Dinuum, practices an extremely orthodox interpretation of the Universal Laws, and its priests' attention to detail in manufacturing is second to none. Everything is built to extremely exacting tolerances, and anything that deviates even the most minor amount from these tolerances is grounds to discard the entire thing and start again. As a result, Selvanian products have a reputation for extreme quality, but their rate of production is so necessarily slow that their overall level of output is well below expectation for a Forge World of its kind. The Quorum Primus tries to argue that Selvanus Binary needs to balance its quality of production with quantity of production, but Dinuum rebuts that any intentional compromise in quality would be blasphemous to the Machine-God, a point his critics cannot in good theology disagree with.
    • Warhammer Fantasy: Dwarfs are notable perfectionists and will not accept shoddy or 'good enough' work from themselves or anyone else — if a dwarf is not giving 100% to whatever they're doing, they're dead. Dwarfs whose work fails to live up to their own (or their masters') standard are dishonoured. Those whose works harm or kill another Dwarf through shoddiness (such as a cannon that misfires, or a light fixture that falls down) are expected to take the Slayer's Oath.

    Video Games 
  • Battleborn: The Jennerit in general are this. Anything they deem imperfect must be fixed or destroyed. If the Jennerit need to manipulate the laws of the universe in the process, so be it.
  • BlazBlue: Relius Clover is a horrific perfectionist, as he is also a Mad Scientist with a penchant for Mind Rape and possessing complete Lack of Empathy. He's trying to achieve perfection and his goal was to create the "Perfect Doll". And he has never suffer a crushing defeat... until BlazBlue: Chronophantasma, where he witnessed his plan to reset the world completely obliterated by the hands of Bang Shishigami. As this was his first time taking utter, unsalvagable defeat right on his face and his plan cannot be prepared again in a short time, Relius ends up suffering a quiet, but massive and well-deserved Villainous Breakdown that he's willing to let himself be beaten down to near-death (he was just about ready to get himself killed) by his rival, and then lets himself be put on the leash by the very son he deeply traumatized nonchalantly in his quest of perfection and the woman whose emotions and love he just recently manipulated just so he could get extra fodders.
  • BLUE REVOLVER will accuse the player of being one if they restart Stage 1 three times in a row, "awarding" them the "The Perfectionist" achivement.
  • One of the Quirks your team members can catch in Darkest Dungeon is called "Perfectionist". It causes the character in question to gain stress every time they miss. This is somewhat annoying on any character and a high-priority removal on a Leper.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening
      • The Avatar aims to have no war casualties and will consider any mission a failure, even if the mission was successful if one of his/her units dies. Fitting considering how most gamers play Fire Emblem.
      • Cordelia is by nature a genius who is perfect in every way, as noted by her comrades. Though she mutters to herself that she became a pegasus knight because she's a lousy runner.
      • Discussed by her daughter Severa, who dealt with the fact not even being perfect saved Cordelia's future self from death. Severa has tried to be like her mother, but her death pretty much kicked Severa into depression.
    • Fire Emblem Fates
      • Sakura's retainer Tsubaki is known to boast how perfect he is at everything he does that he takes it very seriously to make sure to never show any flaws. Cue several occasions when his perfect nature reveals weaknesses.
      • His daughter Caeldori (an obvious younger Expy of Cordelia) turns out to be 100 percent perfect, which forces Tsubaki (and Selena, should she marry Tsubaki in Revelations) to stay on top of things so he never falls behind her.
    • Roy in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade has a similar attitude to his troops, as revealed in a support conversation with one of his cavaliers.
  • Amara in Fleuret Blanc is actually fairly successful at this, to the point that she's comfortable being a Snark Knight. Tying into the Central Theme of materialism, she tries to surround herself with only the most expensive and highest-quality of items.
    • Interestingly, her prized possession is a reminder of an instance where she slipped up: she used the metronome to maintain her rhythm during fencing practice, but accidentally damaged it with a botched thrust.
  • Genshin Impact: Noelle is hyper-focused on passing the knights selection exam flawlessly. In one of the scenarios of part II of her Hangout Event, if she passes Cyrus' mock-up entrance exam for the Adventurer's Guild with only few mistakes, she'll slump into disappointment that she didn't get the perfect score and head back to the Favonius HQ library to study more books, thinking that her "success" didn't qualify as one.
  • Creepily shows up with Sirush from The Reconstruction. One of his passive abilities even revolves around this.
    No room for error. None.
  • Gaichû in Shadowrun Returns: Hong Kong is a mild example, mentioning that his role in his former team was to be the one to hone the team to perfection in the minutiae and never being satisfied, thus keeping them constantly drilling. This meant that, when he was exposed to The Virus and became a ghoul, he became affixed on mastering his new form as if it was any other kind of handicap.
    • Note that Imperial Japan's superiority complex convinces them that they are already perfect humans, and the training is meant to cut them into new styles of perfection. Gaichû realized this was just self-serving bullshit when he managed to fight off two of his former teammates while zombified and blind, because they had convinced themselves that killing a 'sub-human ghoul' would be a milk run, and refused to cut their losses and forgive. The moral of the story is that convincing yourself you are entitled to perfection means you'll always lag behind while striving to improve yourself regardless of whether or not you can achieve perfection means you'll be a step ahead.
  • In Starshot: Space Circus Fever, Technomummy is a planet renowned for its flawless technology, and yet the local robots have become such overbearing servants that people take to hysterically enjoying a museum dedicated to defective devices. In the end of the stage, it is revealed the robots plan to get rid of the museum and its Malfunction Machine on top of cluelessly replacing the brains of people with machines to make them "perfect" as well.

    Visual Novels 
  • Manfred von Karma from Ace Attorney, who maintained a perfect win record for over 40 years through perfectly coached witnesses and perfectly prepared evidence, disregarding petty things like "legal ethics" and "fair play" to keep his streak. When defense attorney Gregory Edgeworth manages to land a penalty on him, von Karma enacts a revenge that defines Disproportionate Retribution. His perfectionism leaves him with an ego so large that he believes there is no way he could lose to the likes of Phoenix and Maya as well as an inability to cope with a situation not perfectly under his control, leading to his downfall.
    • Manfred's daughter Franziska takes her perfectionism to a neurotic level because she believes she has to uphold the Von Karma family creed, which is to be absolutely perfect in everything she does. At the end of the second game, she finally drops her high and mighty attitude around her brother Edgeworth and cries, admitting that she's not perfect but has been forced to try to be because her father would accept nothing but the absolute best from her at all times and wouldn't give her the time of day otherwise.
    • Klavier Gavin is not a perfectionist in court, where he's one of the few prosecutors who aren't at all amoral. When it comes to his career as a rock star, on the other hand, he won't tolerate even the slightest error in his band's performances.
    • The Dual Destinies character Robin Newman holds himself (actually, herself) to ridiculous standards, referring to himself as a "second-rate" artist even though his sculptures alone were chosen to decorate the school concert, and smashing to the ground any pieces that don't adequately express the emotions in his heart. Since those emotions are so intense, it's a miracle that he's ever created anything he's satisfied with. This may have to do with Robin's asshole parents, who forced her to dress as a boy against her will. Luckily, Robin's friends- Hugh and Juniper- understand the pain of having to live up to high standards.
  • In Reflections on the River, Prince Shun tends this way. Being something of a Sheltered Aristocrat, he can often achieve perfection at home, but as Zheng's prisoner, he's exposed to new challenges. When cooking, for example, he's actually distressed to find that although most of the pieces of radish he sliced are exactly equal, there's one on the end which isn't. Zheng, who never bothers to even try, is bemused.
  • Jett in SC2VN leaves her old team because they're worse than bad — they're complacent.

    Web Animation 
  • The cranes of Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story seem obsessed with keeping the Vinylmation figures in a very specific order.
  • Paintbrush from Inanimate Insanity.
  • SMG4: Niles, the toxic friend of SMG0 goes insane with his desire to create a perfect universe and wages genocide against other universes for the parts he needs.
    • SMG4 himself succumbs to this when he gets possessed by a combination of his dying self-esteem and a cursed keyboard.

    Web Comics 
  • Irrelevator has the blue guy, calm and collected until it the perfection is broken.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Solomon David, appropriately as a Demiurge of Pride. He's enough of a perfectionist Control Freak that he's the only Demiurge that bears no scar at all, and is the greatest and only practictioner of Ki Rata, an entire style of Dangerous Forbidden Techniques where losing control of even one's own breathing for even a millisecond can kill the user. He's just as harsh on himself as he is on others, too, as the moment he's called out on breaking his own social contract of utter control over others in exchange for perfect protection (Jagganoth made a mockery of the whole idea by nuking his realm), he basically self-destructs in one last mad rush at Jagganoth in an attempt to make up for it.

    Web Original 
  • Grandmaster of Theft's Cassidy Cain strives to be perfect at anything she aims at, to the point where she relentlessly drills herself, seeks challenges to improve, and won't accept anything less of her.
  • A lot of Stormtouched artists in Twisted Cogs are this. It's justified since making even the tiniest mistake can block your storm from acting properly. As an example, when Frederica, a Caelator, had to go on with her project, it ended with the sculpture being born... with its first memory being agonizing pain due to a scratch mark on its face.

    Web Videos 
  • In Noob, Saphir, Justice guild's recruiter, has to make sure only the best players join the guild. She hence requires candidates not only to be maxed out on any in-game feature one can think of but to have a spartiate lifestyle outside of it. Requirements include no job (e.g. either living with one's parents or living off unemployment benefits), no romantic relationships, not requiring too much sleep, having only one meal per day because having three is lost time in her opinion. She also seems to have a bane for interviewing players in Dead Character Walking form.
  • The Nostalgia Critic always wants everything to be perfect and breaks down in disappointment when the movies he's watching inevitably "fail" him.
  • The Victorian Way: Mrs. Crocombe, a cook at Audley End House, employed by Lord and Lady Braybrooke, does not tolerate the food to be anything else but delicious and garnished to perfection. It must taste and look amazing. She's a bit less fussy about the meals she prepares for the staff, but she's still careful and does a very thorough job.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake: Gary has problems with perfectionism, obsessively modifying his candymenschen pastries even though all of his friends say they're delicious. He's actually relieved when Marshall Lee calls the Lemoncarb twins to try the pastries without asking first, since he would've kept tweaking them forever and never would've built the courage to bring the idea to an investor himself.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula is shown to have heavy dosages of this, first seen when she is practicing her Lightningbending. Graceful execution, deadly precision, power, and striking speed... but a single hair out of place. Not satisfied with being "almost perfect", Azula's shown compulsively retrying her technique. Later down the road, it turns out that being Daddy's Little Villain doesn't save you from being used in Ozai's schemes, and Azula's cool demeanor breaks, culminating in a colossal Villainous Breakdown.
  • In the rebooted series of Bob the Builder, Roley is this trope. His tendency to ensure his job is done perfectly can result in jobs being delayed, as shown in the episode "Car Wash".
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Mr. Harriman is this trope, full stop. The Camping Episode had him repeatedly demanding the tent to be torn down and set back up again when it doesn't reach his standards. When they finally have it perfect, he tells them to tear it down again and make it more perfect.
  • Helga's older sister Olga from Hey Arnold!, who once broke down into a state of teary depression over a B+.
  • In the early seasons, the titular Kim Possible strived for this. It was even lampshaded in her Animal Motif.
  • Peggy from King of the Hill in the later seasons who just can't stand being upstaged or wrong in the slightest.
  • Amanda Lopez from Milo Murphy's Law, the titular Walking Disaster Area's crush.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Rarity, as a fashionista, is a bit of a Hollywood case. Though considering the clientele she keeps (a famous songwriter and dancer, a model, and several fashion moguls), her perfectionist tendencies tend to be rather justified.
    • Twilight Sparkle has the version of perfectionism you find in Real Life in people who did very well in early schooling... and thus never got used to getting less-than-perfect scores. The mere thought of not having a friendship lesson prepared for Princess Celestia and being tardy causes a meltdown that results in her brainwashing half the town in an attempt to engineer a friendship problem.
    • Applejack likewise has an episode ("The Last Roundup") devoted to this character trait. Although in this case, it was less to do with the fact she didn't do perfectly in and of itself and more that the fact that she didn't do perfectly meant she didn't get the money she promised. She was less concerned about the fact that her performance was flawed and more that she made a promise to someone who was counting on her.
    • We later see that Diamond Tiara exhibits the negative aspects of this trope, courtesy of the pressure put on her by her mother Spoiled Rich. The reason she acts like a bully is because of the pressure on her to be the best and her less-than-graceful handling of it when she isn't. The moment she turns around completely is when she lets go of being a "Well Done, Son" Guy in favor of actually making friends with her classmates and listening to the positive reinforcement from the CMC instead of the negative criticism from her mother.
  • Sean from Ready Jet Go!, who is uptight, always wants to do things by the Scientific Method and is frustrated whenever mistakes are made.
  • The Legend of Korra: Going hand-in-hand with her Control Freak nature, Kuvira strives to do her best at everything and constantly attempts to ensure that nothing can go wrong. When something goes wrong or she is confronted the prospect of failure, Kuvira starts to lose it.
  • In Sofia the First, Princess Amber insists that all her parties must be "perfect", and she gets upset if there's even one little mistake in the preparations. In "Gizmo Gwen", Baileywick reminds her that her banquet doesn't have to be "perfect" to be fun.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: SpongeBob is shown to be very specific and exact when it comes to his job. In "Bummer Vacation", he's horrified to find that the grill is set to one degree below what it's supposed to. In "Sea-Man Sponge Haters Club", he repeatedly takes away parts of Bubble Bass's huge meal once he notices incredibly minor flaws, leaving him with nothing to eat. In "Boss for a Day", he critiques Patrick on his cooking:
    SpongeBob: No, Patrick! We went over this! It goes bun, patty, cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, bun! Not bun, patty, cheese, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, bun!
  • Boimler from Star Trek: Lower Decks desperately needs his efforts to be rewarded, and strives for perfection in whatever task he's assigned. On the one hand, this makes him efficient and he's the only one who can function without "buffer time", on the other, this means he won't stop until he makes a perfect score. This actually ends up saving the ship in the second season; not only does he pass a rigged simulation, his repeated attempts to bump up his score and avoid The B Grade mean that the bureaucrat trying to disband the ship can't submit the crew's score until he's done. This may also explain why he failed the infamous Kobayashi Maru test 17 times, if a line from his rant in "Reflections" is any indication (presumably he didn't realize it was supposed to be a no-win scenario and kept trying it over and over).
  • Steven Universe:
  • Courtney from Total Drama, a straight-A student, an aspiring lawyer, and an Insufferable Genius with a notoriously competitive streak who does not take well to failure. Ironically, her overly competitive drive usually proves to be her greatest weakness in the game.
  • Archibald Asparagus from VeggieTales. He's a stuffy guy that always wants everything to be of the highest quality. Best demonstrated after the "Song of the Cebu" incident, wherein he cancelled Silly Songs just because of Larry messing up his slideshow.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: Mr. E always wants everything to be perfect, especially the shelves in his store.

    Real Life 
  • Sadly, perfectionists are more likely to suffer from depression. When everything the sufferer does has to be perfect in order to be "acceptable", this creates an impossible standard that can lead to feeling worthless when that impossible standard isn't met. This will sometimes include the sufferer Moving the Goalposts on themselves, wherein even if the perfectionist performs a task flawlessly/gets a perfect score/etc., they can still say it isn't good enough because it isn't world-changing or life-altering. They might also fall victim to the Perfect Solution Fallacy, where they refuse to do something good if it can't be perfect and end up doing nothing.
  • Fred Astaire's flawless dancing technique came at a cost. He often failed to meet his own high expectations, and constantly questioned whether or not he was even good at dancing, let alone worthy of doing it on camera. And this is a man that is considered to be the best dancer in the history of the Hollywood film industry.
  • Similarly, Michael Jackson was notoriously meticulous when it came to his music and performances, to the point where he outright broke down in tears after his famed Mowtown 25 performance simply because he couldn't stay on his toes after a twirl for as long as he intended. This perfectionism is believed to have played a role in the notoriously long gaps between his albums, particularly the 6-year one between HIStory: Past, Present, and Future -- Book I and Invincible.
  • Ditto with Johannes Brahms. From the other wiki for examples:
    Brahms was an extreme perfectionist. He destroyed many early works – including a violin sonata he had performed with Reményi and violinist Ferdinand David – and once claimed to have destroyed 20 string quartets before he issued his official First in 1873. [Only two survive as published today] Over the course of several years, he changed an original project for a symphony in D minor into his first piano concerto. In another instance of devotion to detail, he laboured over the official First Symphony for almost fifteen years, from about 1861 to 1876. Even after its first few performances, Brahms destroyed the original slow movement and substituted another before the score was published.
  • NBA legend Jerry West suffered from this. Even when he posted a quadruple-double, he criticized how he played defence. During his playing days, when he won a game he'd feel nothing. And when he lost, it felt like the end of the world. When West was GM for the Lakers, he often couldn't watch the Lakers play because he couldn't stomach the idea of losing.
  • Jerry Rice, the all-time NFL leader in...a lot of things. He was a perfectionist about how he ran routes, his physical conditioning, his exact weight for a game, where he would catch the ball and the list goes on. During his hall of fame induction speech, he (positively) credited being afraid of failure as the engine for his peerless work ethic and success.
  • Thomas Andrews, the head designer for the RMS Titanic. He was aboard for its maiden voyage to observe the general performance of the new ship and note anything that needed improvement. Despite some cosmetic changes, he said to a friend that the ship was "as nearly perfect as human brains can make her." Of course, he said this on April 14th, only a few hours before the sinking. Tragically, he didn't make it off; supposedly he decided to Go Down With The Ship, blaming himself for her sinking.
  • Richard Donner had this reputation, using the word "Verisimilitude" as a mantra during production of Superman, best exemplified in its tagline "You will believe a man can fly." Unfortunately, he got fired during production of Superman II because of his perfectionism. And years later, while making the music video for The Goonies soundtrack song "(Goonies 'R) Good Enough", Cyndi Lauper found him so hard to work with, doing take after take even when she was tired, that it wasn't until 2003 that she'd include the song in her discography.
  • According to most accounts, George Broussard's rampant perfectionism was a primary factor in the Troubled Production of Duke Nukem Forever and ultimate demise of 3D Realms.
  • David Byrne has a reputation for this, and it's not entirely undeserved; during production of Remain in Light, he spent a significant chunk of the recording sessions training his bandmates in Talking Heads to play the exact same rhythms on an indefinite loop, due to sound engineering technology in 1980 not allowing for looped rhythms to be done by computer (tape loops existed, but they were of variable reliability due to the greater amount of moving parts and the natural degradation of magnetic tape when played repeatedly). While the idea seems easy on paper, it was physically and mentally exhausting for the band due to Byrne's demands for mechanical precision from human musicians. This was just one of many elements of Remain in Light's Troubled Production that drove producer Brian Eno from ever working with Talking Heads again, and Byrne's continued perfectionism on the band's following output is generally believed to have been a significant factor in their acrimonious breakup in 1991.
  • Along with Kyle Rasmussen's health issues, this was part of the reason why Vitriol took as long as they did to write and record a full-length album. As per both Kyle and co-frontman Adam Roethlisberger, their writing process is grueling and labor-intensive; nothing is "good enough" at the start, and anything that they write will be subject to extensive retools and revisions until (if) they feel that it has become the best version of itself possible, with the understanding that they may find themselves scrapping something that they have slaved away at for a while because they couldn't make it into something truly extraordinary. This, among other things, led to an entire full-length being scrapped because they didn't like how it was turning out, and while Adam has admitted that it can be a painful and frustrating experience, he shares Kyle's vision of being in it to win it and refusing to ever settle for less.
  • Mike Myers has this reputation, and is one of the main reasons why he hasn't had any major film roles outside of documentaries, Austin Powers and Shrek films. Back in the late '90s, a film based on his SNL character Dieter was in production, but it was cancelled due to him refusing a $20 million paycheck because he thought the script was lousy, even though he was the one that wrote it.
  • Disgraced cartoonist John Kricfalusi was infamous for this. His extreme perfectionism was one of the main factors behind the Troubled Production of The Ren & Stimpy Show, and many of the people who worked with him expressed disdain towards him, as John treated everyone like garbage.
  • Rockstar Games shows signs of this.
    • Their games tend to be of extremely high quality, but have very long production times and often have a lot of removed content. There are several cases where dataminers have discovered cut content that works just fine and would have improved some aspects of the game, but was removed for not passing Rockstar's insanely high standards of quality. For example 
    • From 2008 onwards their mission design is also believed to go into this territory, as many missions require the player to tackle the missions in the exact way the developers intented, to the point where sometimes even the slightest misstep causes an instant mission failure. While this means their stories often avoid narrative pitfalls, their insistence on avoiding Gameplay and Story Segregation affects the gameplay as a result.
  • Naughty Dog has been described at length by anonymous employees as being this. Developers will stay back long hours to focus on features that most players would find totally innocuous or not even notice, such as making sure that sandbags deflate correctly when shot with a gun. This tendency has reportedly resulted in the majority of employees (over 70 percent, according to Jason Schreier's investigative articles), leaving the company due to burnout over how hard they crunched.
  • Stanley Kubrick is the most famous (or infamous) example of a perfectionist director, with him taking control over most aspects of the filmmaking process, from direction and writing to editing, and took painstaking care with researching his films and staging scenes, working in close coordination with his actors, crew, and other collaborators. He often asked for several dozen retakes of the same shot in a movie, which resulted in many conflicts with his casts. Shelley Duvall and Kirk Douglas are the most well known examples, as both of them hated his control freak tendencies and outbursts. For one close up shot in The Shining, he did 148 takes, which broke the Guinness World Record for the most retakes in a scene with dialogue. His perfectionism was even evident off set, as shown when his idol Akira Kurosawa sent him a letter of appraisal. Kubrick was so astonished at what he read that he agonized over how to reply, wrote innumerable drafts, but somehow couldn't quite get the tenor and tone right and Kurosawa passed before he ever got a reply back. This was also the reason why there were such long gaps between his movie, with his infamous 12-year-gap between Full Metal Jacket and Eyes Wide Shut being because he struggled with finding material that suited him. This extended to the foreign-language dubbing and subtitling of his films. Kubrick would make sure that he had frequent contact with the translators he chose and would grill them on things such as past translation problems and how they'd solved them. Additionally, the translators and Kubrick would agree on the former's methods and processes before the translating had begun.
    • Amusingly, Kubrick denied that he was a perfectionist. He said that he kept doing multiple takes because he thought his actors got the right idea, but weren't happy with their performance. In addition, Dorian Harewood, who played Eightball from Full Metal Jacket, said that in an interview that Kubrick was a perfectionist, but Kubrick called Harewood a few days later to tell him otherwise.
  • David Fincher could be seen as the heir presumptive of Kubrick, who is known to be similarly meticulous with every aspect of production and is known to demand dozens, if not hundreds, of takes. Fincher has said he normally demands at least 17 takes of dialogue shots because it takes that many to get earnestness out of performances. However, Fincher has said he doesn't agree with the "perfectionist" label.
  • James Cameron also fits into this category when it comes to directors. His dedication to his craft has given us some of the biggest and best blockbusters of all time are admirable, but also come at a price, as he is one of the most infamous directors in Hollywood who has been criticized for his grueling filming standards and irritable temper. His actions during the troubled production of Titanic (1997) were the reason why the budget ballooned so much and why box office insiders thought the movie would fail. His long break from filmmaking between that and Avatar was because he spent so many years perfecting the motion capture for the movie, and his longer break between that movie and the sequel Avatar: The Way of Water was because he spent nearly 5 years developing underwater motion capture as well as writing out the scripts for a 5-sequel movie plan.
  • Jimi Hendrix: Not for nothing did he end up building his own recording studio. For example, he spent seven months recording "All Along the Watchtower", and most of that time was taken up with revising and redoing various individual guitar riffs.
  • Richard Williams is noted for being an extreme perfectionist in his animation, which is best exemplified with his desire for The Thief and the Cobbler to be "the best animated film that has ever been made", which is why that film took so long (not helped by his preference to animate on onesnote  instead of the industry standard twosnote . While animating on ones leads to far more fluid animation, it is also regarded to be very costly and lengthy compared to animating on twos due to the larger amount of frames). While this has led to some of the best and most fluid traditional animation in the medium, it also had the unfortunate side effect of him being notoriously difficult to work with, with animators working under him frequently being overworked and fired by him due to his strict standards. This attitude is what ultimately caused the downfall of The Thief and the Cobbler, as his desire to make it the best animated film ever made would cause the film to go over budget and behind schedule, which culminated in several companies backing out of the film and then him being ousted from his film by a completion bond company, who, unlike Williams, prioritized getting the film finished as cheaply and quickly as possible. Even before then, his perfectionist attitude also reportedly caused many production woes during the animation production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, to the point that Disney came close to firing him multiple times during it.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Perfectionist


Ideally I'd Deal With It

Owen does so much work at the park that he can't trust his workers to do certain jobs. He would micro-manages his workers to ensure that they're doing right, and when he feels that they're not then he takes over their work.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThePerfectionist

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