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Unpopular Popular Character

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"Do you guys know why nobody else at school likes hanging out with you? Because you're always doing stuff like this. You're always coming up with some stupid idea to do something, and then it backfires, and then you end up in some foreign country, or in outer space or something. That's why no one likes hanging out with you guys."
Craig to Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny, South Park

A character who is liked in the fandom that, within the work, is the exact opposite: being treated badly, overlooked, or just plain hated by all other characters. In some comedic works, this can be a Running Gag on the part of the creators, in which the character in question isn't actually annoying or doesn't actually display the traits they're ridiculed or hated for. It's just funny to have everyone constantly mock and belittle them. Of course, not every character in this category will necessarily be a lovable loser. Sometimes it's a case of the audience latching on to the work's resident Jerkass, villain or Anti-Hero: dangerous characters whom the cast have a legitimate reason to hate and fear, but are sufficiently powerful enough or have enough Plot Armor that everybody else has little choice but to put up with them.


Part of it may be reflexive sympathy from the audience, but sometimes it's born out of the character being able to genuinely incite sympathy. On the other hand, some shows have such a large fandom that it's difficult to find common ground about who likes/dislikes any one character. Often it comes from the very large difference between what makes a character likable to impartial observers of a situation, and what makes him likable to the people he's interacting with. To be blunt, being a jerk is a horrible way to make friends, but seems to do wonders for fans.

Compare Ensemble Dark Horse, Cool Loser, Tough Room, Creator's Pest, and Designated Monkey. Contrast Ascended Extra, Creator's Pet, and The Scrappy.

Note: Although this is subjective, only blatantly obvious or creator-acknowledged examples should be listed in the pages below.



    open/close all folders 

  • The Trix Rabbit. Who doesn't want him to get that cereal, kids watching the commercials included?
    • The company has, at least once, run polls to see if he should get the cereal. When they do, the answer is inevitably "yes" in a landslide. (Indeed, if the message the commercials is trying to get across is the benefits of being selfish and mean to someone, as they suggest, it hasn't rubbed off well.) And at least once, the rabbit has gotten his wish with no strings. (Oddly enough, that one time, where he won it in a bicycle race, the kids in-story had no say in the matter; the contest judges who gave it to him were adults.)
    • One interesting example had him disguised as a human and hurriedly buying Trix (along with other cereals as decoys) before hurrying back to the house and pouring a bowl... before discovering he was out of milk (the entire thing being an admittingly clever Got Milk? ad).
    • One time, the Trix rabbit was moping in front of a little girl's house, when she said she would be willing to give the rabbit Trix. The rabbit actually was able to eat a spoonful before the girl's big brother woke up and took it away. Oddly, this had two versions. Originally, the girl is whispering the whole time, and the brother discovered them. For whatever reason, it was re-shot with the girl yelling "Be very quiet! We don't want to wake my big brother!" as if she's warning her brother to get in there before the rabbit eats too much.
    • The Trix Rabbit often loses things he gains legitimately when the kids take away his Trix as well, such as one where he entered an ice-skating competition and wowed the judges—when the kids took away his Trix, they took away his trophy too. (There was no indication he was not qualified to enter.)

    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano!: Ladd Russo, who's understandably disliked by most characters by virtue of being a totally off-his-rocker Psycho for Hire. To be fair to the viewers, how many characters are so Laughably Evil that they make shooting off a ten-year-old's head utterly hilarious?
  • Berserk: Guts has had this hard from the moment of his birth and throughout his life, considered a curse by his awful adoptive father Gambino and despised by nearly everybody he came across. This only changed when he met the Band of the Hawk who apart from Casca and Corkus accepted him with open arms. This also served as a metaphorical and physical gut punch as they were savagely taken away from him in the bloodiest and cruelest way possible. Which sent Guts off alone again as the infamous Black Swordsman.
    • Naturally Guts's eternal pain and struggle, make the heart and soul of the series in the eyes of fans. Who detests the injustice of Guts being accused and hunted during his quest for righteous vengeance and especially against the alleged hero of the kingdom Griffith who is worshipped despite the colossal amount of shit he's pulled.
  • An example of this working to the character's benefit is Jeremiah Gottwald, the Ensemble Dark Horse of Code Geass. While legitimately villainous in his first appearance, after getting defeated by Lelouch he gets treated like crap in the first season, both the fans and the show's makers adored him, which inspired the writers to change his story arc from an early death to taking several levels in badass and undergoing a Heel–Face Turn to join forces with protagonist Lelouch before finally receiving one of the few unambiguously happy endings out of the entire cast.
  • L from Death Note isn't exactly well-liked in-universe (having literally no friends and no social skills), but he is probably the most popular character with the fandom. Even those who don't like him do tend to have respect for his professional abilities.
  • Deltora Quest: Doom the leader of the rebellion against the Shadow Lord is distrusted and outright hated by everyone from the Jasmine in main trio to members of his own revolution, but Doom beloved by the fans and especially those who read books. Knowing full well that Doom is actually Jarred, loving father of Jasmine making her hatred of him beautifully ironic.
    • Barda in books and anime is a disgraced guard turned beggar and despite his troubled status is adored by readers and viewers alike. The anime especially makes it very entertaining and gives him some legitimate awesome fights towards the end of the series, complete with Ak-Baba decapitations sadly not present in the books.
    • Thaegan the haggard/beautiful sorceress is loathed in the books but is given a more sympathetic portrayal in the anime making her a fan favorite helped by her attractiveness and wickedness.
    • Dain was popular before and after he turns out to be an evil backstabbing Ol due to his fangirls, most people were happy when Lief "gave him the belt" however.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Zenitsu is considered to be a loser by almost all of his past acquaintances before meeting the main cast, and even if he has friends now there’s still new people Zenitsu meets who don’t like him, yet he is very popular among the fandom, once scoring 2nd place in an official poll only behind the loved-by-all protagonist Tanjiro himself; his popularity proved to be long lasting, the 2nd official manga poll in Japan crowned Zenitsu with the 1st place in 2020. This is made even more curious by the fact Zenitsu is disliked by many of the girls he tries to impress but is loved by a fandom that has a gigantic female presence in it.
  • Kanda from D.Gray-Man. Because of his attitude, not many characters appear to like him at all including Allen. Minor characters, such as finders, hate him and even the characters that do like him have a bit of an issue with his attitude. Only Lavi normally doesn't seem to be bothered by that but gets annoyed from time to time. Despite this, he is quite popular with fangirls...
  • Due to the constant demands by producers to make the show more humorous, the dubbed version of Digimon Adventure 02 had a lot of humor that poked fun at Davis' arrogant personality. Despite what you might think, he was still a Butt-Monkey in the original.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Vegeta is very popular with fans despite most of the cast including his loved ones and Goku (And the author initially) either distrusting him or outright hating him for most of the series.
    • Before Vegeta, Piccolo the reincarnated Demon King was the one Hated by All and for a good while none of the good guys could be around him without at least getting nervous. Of course he’s a perennial fan favourite with even Toriyama admitting Piccolo is his favourite before flip flopping back to Goku in another interview.
    • Yamcha, in the story he’s a loser who was drastically Overshadowed by Awesome, lost his girlfriend to Vegeta and seen by a weakling by most characters. Among the fandom thanks to smacking Beerus on the back and being extremely fun to play in Dragon Ball Fighter Z Yamcha has become a Memetic Badass. Even in Japan Yamcha was voted 15th most popular character, above even Bulma the series main female character.
    • Chi-Chi is seen as an unpleasant Education Mama in-universe, Goku her husband is terrified of her and even Toriyama admits he doesn’t like her very much. While a vocal section of fanbase still dislikes Chi-Chi for “holding Gohan back” else where in the fanbase she’s a massive Ensemble Dark Horse being seen as misunderstood and sympathetic and has a massive amount of Fan Art dedicated to her. Telling, despite getting often flak Chi-Chi’s playable appearance in Super Dragon Ball Z is celebrated and there’s a large push for her to appear in Fighter Z.
    • Cell and Freeza have wide followings in the fandom, the former especially the from the American fanbase, but most everybody in-universe hates them, being that they're pure evil.
    • Broly in his debut was supposed to be a disgustingly evil Hate Sink who repulses even Goku. Fandom-wise, Broly is absolutely beloved being the most popular movie villain by far (rivalled only by Cooler), he’s so popular he became canon.
  • No-one in El-Hazard: The Magnificent World likes Jinnai save for the Bugrom he commands. But he's so entertainingly Laughably Evil that he's one of the more popular characters outside of the show.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Envy is a spiteful, sadistic psychopath who exists to cause discord and revels in being a vile heartless bastard, doing acts as despicable as posing as an Amestris soldier and shooting an Ishvalan child to offset a civil war and gloating about it with a huge Slasher Smile on their face. They're so despised that they end up on the receiving end of Cold-Blooded Torture from one of our heroes. Furthermore, while Envy does have their competent, manipulative moments, they're disrespected by both heroes and villains for their Hair-Trigger Temper and awful fighting skills that result in them getting their ass handed to them and becoming a Dirty Coward. At best, they have a sibling bond with Lust and Gluttony who they playfully banter with, get along with Kimblee who admires their cruelty, and Edward feels some pity for them when he figures out Envy's jealous of humans. Despite all this, Envy is consistently one of the most popular Homunculi (competing with Greed) and the only one to rank in the top 10 on the popularity charts each time. Many fans find their cruelty and inevitable comeuppance extremely entertaining along with their snarky attitude, dramatic expressions, cute androgynous Shapeshifter Default Form, Scaled Up Eldritch Abomination form which is horrifying and disgusting but pretty cool, and their sympathetic death scene in their de-powered Ugly Cute form.
    • Envy is an even bigger case in the first anime, where he's even crueler and more sadistic than his manga counterpart with no redeeming qualities, and nobody in the cast has a positive view of him. In the '03 fandom's heyday, he was consistently ranking in the top 5. In this version he's The Dragon and a lot more badass and manipulative, making him a compelling antagonist in a different way and arguably more important, but what really got him so popular was his personal vendetta against Edward and goals of murdering his father motivated by him being the failed transmutation of Edward's half-brother.
    • The sadistic, genocidal, Sociopathic Soldier Mad Bomber Kimblee is very much disliked in-universe for these reasons and was one of the few soldiers to be imprisoned for his actions (though in the manga/Brotherhood, this was only because he blew up his superior officers; Mustang had an even higher kill count.) In the fandom, he’s one of the most popular antagonists, especially the manga version for his “unique” philosophy, class, and sense of style. The 2003 version is not as popular as he's more of a one-note psycho, but he's still very memorable and entertaining to the fandom for how gleefully hammy and Axe-Crazy he is.
  • Akabane from Get Backers, on the character charts, he's easily the most popular character followed by which of the duo gets the most development at the time of the polls, helped by being easily the most genial character in the main cast. This is in spite of all of the cast fearing or hating him for being a killer as they all have a no-killing mindset and understandably turning on them at certain points.
  • Gundam:
    • Ali al-Saachez of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is loathed by every single character on the show who is not paying him for something at the time. The fans? They're the ones singing "Prince Ali! Mighty is he!"
    • Patrick Colasour from Gundam 00, who underwent a very similar character arc (Butt-Monkey antagonist, hangs on by sheer persistence, eventually gets his happy ending). Unlike Jeremiah, Colasour was never intended as anything but a joke, which makes his eventual fate more surprising.
    • Among all the endless debates and disagreements over Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, one of the few things everyone agrees on is Rau Le Creuset is one of the best villains Gundam has ever produced. Obviously, he's very much hated in-universe (such that only two characters in Destiny thought well of him, and both of them still opposed his goals), and for good reason since he nearly succeeded in causing humanity to wipe itself out, but as far as anyone in the real world is concerned Rau is a Magnificent Bastard of epic proportions, being one of the few Gundam villains (and Char Clone to boot) to be completely evil and nefarious, yet holding a distinctive style and level of badass from those around him. Even fans who hate SEED in general often claim Rau was one of its saving graces.
  • In Heat Guy J, the young mob boss Clair Leonelli is easily one of the most popular and well-known characters, but at least initially he's opposed both by the heroes (because he's a violent criminal they have to stop) and by the other members of his crime organization (because he's so young and mentally unstable), and generally surrounded by people who want to screw him over.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
  • Hypnosis Mic: Doppo Kannonzaka is one of the most popular characters among the fanbase, with many fans seeing him as The Woobie, but the same can’t be said for him In-Universe. His coworkers and boss abuse and overwork him, he’s overlooked and ignored by Matenrou’s fanbase in favor of his more popular teammates, and overall he’s treated with a lot of contempt by the other characters (particularly Dice (who detests white-collar workers) and Saburo (who shows disdain towards just about everyone who isn’t Ichiro)), with many of them finding his profuse apologizing to be insanely annoying.
  • Aoi Todo from Jujutsu Kaisen is hated by most of the other students for his erratic behavior, violent tendencies, and obsession with his favorite idol, with only Yuuji somewhat tolerating him. These traits make him beloved by the fandom.
  • Ishigami from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War is considered to be creepy by most of his classmates due to an incident that happened back in middle school, but one of the most popular characters among the fanbase, especially when the truth of the said incident (he tried to secretly protect the honor of a girl) comes to light.
  • Medaka Box: Partly justified since he's a former villain, but Kumagawa generally aggravates a good chunk of the cast with his antics. However, he never "wins" in his eyes, and gets a fair amount of abuse. In the fandom, he's indisputably the most popular character of the series, having more than three times the votes of the titular character in one poll.
  • In Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Yuzuki Seo is brash, selfish, aggressive, and has a knack for saying exactly the right thing to piss people off without even meaning to do it. Apart from Sakura, just about everyone finds her annoying. Of course, the audience is watching from the sidelines where she is instead one of the funniest members of the cast by sheer virtue of how incredibly obnoxious she is.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • Katsuki Bakugo is the biggest example. Among Class 1-A, the only ones to show signs of liking him are Kirishima, Uraraka, and Midoriya (and of those, Ochaco basically likes everybody and Deku is his childhood friend), outside of that, he is either the Butt-Monkey or The Friend Nobody Likes, but he has ranked 1st place in three popularity polls in a row.
    • Tsuyu Asui is the biggest example next to Bakugo. Within the series she’s supposed to be seen as weird and strange with her frog-like traits straight up freaking people out. Among the fandom however Asui is utterly beloved with countless fans finding her adorable and not creepy in the slightest. In the first US popularity poll she ranked 2nd place, above even Bakugo, Ochaco, Momo and All-Might himself.
    • The League of Villains is hated by everyone and even by other villains who consider them childish, such as Stain, and a bunch of overhyped villains, such as Chisaki. They even dislike each other among themselves. Still, characters such as Shigaraki, Himiko, and Dabi maintain a strong fanbase.
    • Hitoshi Shinso isn't exactly popular when he's first introduced because of his Mind Manipulation Quirk which causes people to mistrust him and repeatedly comments it would be a useful power for a villain, and he provokes Midoriya into responding to his question by insulting Ojiro - but then we see that he actually wanted to be in the Hero Course and strives to be one despite the discrimination he faces. The fandom loves Shinso, to the point where he's consistently ranked in the top ten of every popularity poll since he's appeared, despite only showing up as a cameo since his debut and some fans even hope Mineta will be kicked out of the Hero Course and replaced with Shinso.
    • Gentle Criminal can't seem to catch a break. Whether trying to become a hero in his younger years or being a villain when he got older, barely anyone acknowledged him, other than his only fan La Brava. To put it in perspective, Gentle created an online video-sharing account and uploads video after video, each of which barely gets any views. And the few comments that show up always seem to berate him. Meanwhile, Stain became an overnight sensation without even trying, as a single video featuring him leaked online, where he exclaims his true heroism ideals. Gentle could only wish for that amount of attention. If only he knew how many real-world fans he had who sympathize with him, especially after seeing his backstory. It's to the point that some fans wanted him to defeat Midoriya!
  • Fans of My-HiME love the bombastic, loudmouthed, malaproper-prone Haruka Suzushiro for precisely the same reasons that people in universe hate her. Averted with her My-Otome counterpart, Haruka Armitage, who is as loved in universe as she is out of it.
  • Tomoko Kuroki from No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular!. A shy Otaku girl with No Social Skills who gets into many humiliating situations because she, well, as the title may indicate, wants to be popular. Got quite the following on /a/, primarily for how close to home it hits. And how huggable the character is.
  • Naruto:
    • Rock Lee might as well be the Trope Codifier among Naruto for this. In-Universe he’s mainly seen as a ridiculous weirdo who trains hard but can’t hope to keep up with the likes Naruto and Sasuke and only a select few people such as Might Guy (his mentor), Tenten and Naruto genuinely like him. Fandom-wise Lee is absolutely beloved, skyrocketed to fifth most poplar character in the first and second popularity polls and among western audiences Lee’s Determinator nature and the fact he’s a Magically Inept Fighter make him truly inspirational with a good portion of western fans actually believing he’d make a better protagonist than Naruto himself.
    • Jiyaria in-universe despite being part of the Legendary Sannin is often regarded as a joke and embarrassing loser due his lecherous behaviour, both his teammates Tsunade and Orochimaru (former in the latter case) find him annoying. Of course among the fanbase Jiyaria is adored being one of the popular characters and his death often being considered the saddest in the series.
    • Villains such as Zabuza, Orochimaru, Hidan and especially Madara are loathed in universe with Hidan and Madara in particular meant to be Hate Sink to nth degree. Fandom-wise they are all extremely popular and adored.
  • One Piece:
    • Similar to the Zenitsu example, Sanji is supposed to a bit of a loser outside his crew despite his talents often being a Casanova Wannabe who gets put in humiliating situations and is frequently rejected by women when they aren’t pretending to find him attractive. When it comes to the fanbase Sanji eclipses 90% of the rest of the cast in popularity being only surpassed by Luffy and Zoro (and Nami world wide) and out of universe his female following is not feigned at all.
    • Ace in-universe is absolutely hated across the world of One Piece for being the son of Gold Roger the King of the Pirates and only Whitebeard’s crew, Luffy's crew and a few others who know Ace personally like Jimbei, Tama and Oden like him. Fan-wise Ace is adored being consistently ranked high in popularity polls even after he’s dead and buried and is one of the most celebrated heroes in the series alongside the aforementioned Luffy, Zoro and Sanji.
    • Robin has been hated In-Universe since she was little girl even before she became wanted by The Government. Every former ally she’s had has betrayed her and besides her close friends the Straw Hat Pirates and Revolutionaries she’s held in suspicion and considered a cursed woman. Out of universe, Robin is the most celebrated female character next to Nami with her character focused arc in Water 7 and Enies Lobby being an all time fan favourite.
    • Buggy for a lot of the earlier series is supposed to be The Chew Toy who is seen as laughable pathetic even by his former crew (who were the Roger Pirates). When it comes to the fans however Buggy is adored and even Oda has admitted Buggy is one of his favourite characters alongside Luffy. Averted in Marineford and onwards when he becomes Fake Ultimate Hero.
    • Caesar plays this straighter than Buggy, being a massive Hate Sink in-universe and understandably loathed by just about everyone for his Would Hurt a Child Mad Scientist actions. When it comes to fans, Caesar has a disproportionately large amount of them who find him extremely funny and endearing to some extent. It speaks wonders to Oda’s writing and art that he can make a man who experimented on children an Ensemble Dark Horse. Although given Caesar has the same Seiyū as the aforementioned Freeza maybe it isn’t so surprising.
  • One-Punch Man: Saitama, the protagonist, is very popular with fans of the series, but in-universe is widely seen as a fraud who takes the credit from other, more competent heroes and has done nothing to earn any of the achievements he's accomplished. This is mostly because his strength is simply so unbelievable that whenever he beats an opponent in one punch, the people assume that other heroes must have weakened it first and he cherry-tapped it for the final blow. Saitama himself does little to dispel these rumors since he doesn't want to take away the public's faith in the other heroes out there. There is a small group of people (notably Genos) who have witnessed enough of Saitama's strength to know he's the real deal, but they're definitely a minority and not all of them like him for it.
  • Second brother and Butt-Monkey Karamatsu of Osomatsu-san is most often ridiculed, physically abused, or outright ignored (depending on which is funniest) by the rest of the cast, but especially the Western fandom, ironically or genuinely, adores him. This is even mentioned in an episode where Karamatsu himself says that the showrunners have been receiving letters from viewers that feel sorry for him.
    • Ichimatsu often causes this reaction too. However, his reputation is not as bad as Karamatsu's.
  • Team Rocket from Pokémon are quite the chew toys in-Universe, and constantly fail, but are quite popular in the fandom.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Sanosuke Sagara is one of the most popular characters in the series (he's placed second in all the popularity polls after Kenshin himself). Within the story, he's often subjected to The Worf Effect, and many characters don't quite respect him due to his Idiot Hero tendencies, as well as being a moocher.
  • Kanetsugu Naoe from Samurai Girls can't win the respect of anyone in the show, often being ignored, beaten up, or both. In a poll taken before the anime began, she was the winner, and when the show aired, she earned the love of the fanbase for her delusional persistence.
  • Chiri of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei is an Ax-Crazy Neat Freak who doesn't receive a lot of in-series affection on account of those traits. Nearly everyone fears her, she's the only student that Nozomu seems to dislike, and in one instance, a public park is shown to have a sign prohibiting her from being there and disturbing the peace. However, she's one of the more popular characters in the series because of how crazy she is.
  • Kururu/Kululu from Sgt. Frog is supposedly the most unpopular character in the anime when mentioned in-universe excluding Dororo because no one remembers him, and the narrator nags him occasionally for having a "bad personality". In reality, Kururu is often considered the most outstanding character in the whole show, and the negative in-universe attention has potential to bring in would-be fans/intensify preexisting fan-ism. They all seem to forget that his personality makes it rather just; would you hang out with a perverted, near-sadistic FROG? However, he's only popular outside Japan, making this slightly more justified.
  • Soul Eater's Excalibur. Super powerful, downright annoying and loony as far as the other characters think, it says something that he singlehandedly created some sort of "DO NOT WANT" emoticon/meme (ﺧ益ﺨ). However, he's also considered very hilarious in his irritating-ness that even if he's The Scrappy in-universe, the fans and even the producers like him for his hilarity and loonydom.
  • In the anime/manga series Tenjho Tenge, poor Masataka, despite being one of the most powerful characters in the series spends several of the early volumes being walked all over and generally mistreated by people, even if he could have beaten them with both hands tied behind his back. Fortunately, he starts to gain the respect of other characters as the series progresses, to the point where it is being hinted that he may be the key to resolving the plot of the entire series.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Wild Tiger/Kotetsu Kaburagi's low popularity as a superhero is something of a Running Gag — a stark contrast to the real world, where he's not only the most popular character of the show, but also of the entire Spring 2011 anime season.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Bastion (Daichi) Misawa on Yu-Gi-Oh! GX is fairly popular among the audience, but is continually mistreated in the series. A recurring joke is that the other characters interrupt him without ever bothering to apologize. At one point in the second season, he threw an important duel once promised that he would be treated better if he lost. (Ironically, it was the only time he dueled the entire season, and he was treated even worse afterwards.)
    • (Ryou) Bakura gets even worse treatment in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.
    • Also in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series is Jaden Yuki, who just can't catch a break from Yami/Yugi or Yusei, and they also hate his rapping, though that is a well-regarded part of Jaden's shtick by the fans.
  • Akari Akaza from YuruYuri. She's constantly fighting against the world to get people aware of her existence (and hopefully not get hurt in the process), with only a scant few supporters, such as Sakurako. As for the fans, she always makes her way into show discussion precisely because of her lack of focus.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spidey himself, and arguably the Trope Codifier: one of the most beloved and popular of all superheroes in real life, in addition to being one of Marvel's flagship characters; but widely feared and distrusted by the Marvel U. public with frustrating consistency. One of the key factors that made him such an effective Deconstruction of the Super Hero at the time of his creation, it's become an integral part of his character to the point that he has it worse than pretty much anyone else in the Marvel U. (where practically everyone who isn't Captain America or Tony Stark has to deal with this, and even they have had their moments).
    • Linked to Spider-Man is his recurring enemy Shocker. He's widely regarded as a loser and a coward by the rest of the supervillain community and isn't taken very seriously by any of the superheroes he's battled (Ultimate Spider-Man went as far as to depict him as a pathetic Butt-Monkey). And yet he's one of the most beloved villains in the Marvel Universe due to being a professional, Badass Normal Jerk with a Heart of Gold who relies on his wits and skill to get him through the day. Even in-universe he points out that all the things he gets mocked for are the traits that keep him a.) out of jail, b.) alive, and c.) not bogged down in a pointless feud with Spider-Man.
  • X-Men:
    • The X-Men as a team are much the same, they are hated by most of citizenry of the Marvel Universe because they're mutants, in fact the comic largely revolves around this, but they are among Marvel's most popular superheroes. This made for an ironic situation: In-Universe, the X-Men are feared and hated by those they protect while The Avengers are "Earth's Mightiest Heroes". In Real Life, X-Men was Marvel's most popular team book and a flagship series, while Avengers was considered a second-tier title filled with B and C-list characters until Mark Millar, Brian Michael Bendis, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe all boosted its popularity a great deal.
    • Cyclops was never the most popular X-Man in or out of universe, often seen as the least interesting member of the X-Men, and actively disliked by some for his straight-laced, sometimes brusque and cold personality. However, Marvel's treatment of him post-Avengers vs. X-Men has turned him into this. He's reviled as a monster on the level of Hitler by the general public, his former lifelong friends, and his own time-displaced teenage self, however many fans agree with him. It doesn't help that his Face–Heel Turn occurred when the X-Men were at the bottom of Marvel's priority list, and suffering from serious mishandling as a result. Fans started to develop sympathy for him, mostly out of frustration at how unfairly he was treated, or as part of the wider backlash to unpopular creative decisions at the time, such as the unwanted pushing of The Inhumans as a replacement for the X-Men, established characterisation being completely disregarded in service of plot lines and regular contrived conflicts between good guys. This peaked with Death of X, which Marvel spent a full year building up as his Moral Event Horizon and then completely fumbled, showing him dying a horrible death while trying to save the entire mutant race. Eventually, they had no choice but to bring him back as a hero.
  • Scott Pilgrim, on his own comic book, is depicted as being the butt monkey of almost, if not all, of his friends, and his own girlfriend, Ramona, to the point that (being played for laughs), Stephen Stills told Knives Chau (Scott's previous short-term girlfriend, and stalker) that EVERYBODY hates Scott. To the reader, Scott is just a shy, cute, awkward, video gamer guy, who's trying to come out into the world. Becomes Played With as the story goes on and Scott is deconstructed due to making the same mistakes and revealing to be not as good as initially thought. This created a backlash against the character. However, thanks to his Character Development, he won back the audience.
  • Deadpool might be one of Marvel's most popular characters right now, but he's disliked by heroes and villains alike. He's one of the most talented mercenaries in the Marvel Universe (he beat Taskmaster with his hands cuffed behind his back) but he can barely get a job because of his bad reputation. That and his Chronic Hero Syndrome normally kicking in only when he's employed by the bad guy, and vice versa for when he's working with the heroes. And he's annoying.
  • TheSandmans Death of the Endless is the Perky Goth beloved of the fanbase, but in-universe is very much subject to Everybody Hates Hades.
  • Watchmen: Rorschach. This is an unintentional example, as Alan Moore didn't intend for Rorschach to be as popular as he was. Moore intended Rorschach to be somewhat sympathetic and intriguing and even claimed he was his second favorite character at the time of writing (the Comedian being the first). It's more that he was taken by surprise by the large number of fans who think Rorschach is absolutely right about absolutely everything.
  • The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye: Whirl, twice voted the most likely autobot to defect, and when a party is held to dress up as one's most hated person, most of the crew dresses as Whirl. Out of universe, this is his first grand role in fiction and is liked for being a hilariously crazy badass.
  • In Original Sin, it seems that Bucky Barnes wasn't very well-liked by anybody other than Steve and Natasha while he was a superhero. Even Nick Fury, who mentored Bucky after he came Back from the Dead, said he never liked Bucky (though it was an LMD, they generally act how Nick acts). Bucky himself is a very big Breakout Character, who averted being a Replacement Scrappy for Captain America, to the point that readers actually didn't want Steve Rogers returning to the role, and even got second billing in a critically acclaimed movie. May be a case of Depending on the Writer for Jason Aaron, since this isn't shown anywhere else.
  • The Punisher doesn't exactly win popularity contests in the Marvel Universe. Villains hate him since he spends all his time slaughtering them, while other heroes hate him for how much of a ruthless, violent psycho he is, and Frank (Depending on the Writer) holds most heroes in contempt for being soft on crime. But for readers he's a fan favorite, due to him slaughtering creeps who have it coming, his status as one of the most Badass Normal characters in Marvel history, and how even when he's written at his most sociopathic he isn't above some acts of compassion.
  • Marvel Universe villain Ultron is feared and hated by both hero and villain alike for his ruthlessness, sociopathy, and genocidal ambitions. In the real world, those traits are what's led to him being considered one of the best Marvel villains.
  • You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the DC Universe that actually likes The Joker. Well, there's Harley Quinn, but even she's had her days. Anyone that knows him hates him with a passion and simply can't tolerate him (including other villains), because he's such an unpredictable, maniacal sociopath. This hatred also spans other universes, because as seen in Mortal Kombat 11, the entire MK cast makes it clear how much they despise him, with several of them having no issue with killing him. And yet, he's hailed as not only one of the most popular villains of comic book history, but also pop culture.

    Comic Strips 
  • Charlie Brown from Peanuts. He's a lonely kid who always fails, the other characters rarely respect him, he has very few friends who treat him well, and even they have their moments of treating him like trash - fans love him. When he gets only rocks at Halloween, bags of candy flood in from fans as gifts for him, and when he gets no Valentines from his class, fans send him them by the hundreds. Why, you might ask? Mainly, it's because a lot of people know exactly how he feels because they've been there throughout their own lives.
  • In Pearls Before Swine, we have Rat, an ego-driven Jerkass and Pig, The Ditz, as the main characters, along with the even stupider Crocs as Ensemble Darkhorses.
  • Garfield: Jon Arbuckle. Up until he got into a relationship with Liz, his dog and his parents were the only ones who ever really liked him. He's constantly belittled by his cat, people tend to hate him within a few seconds of meeting him, and he drives women away in droves, and that's when he's just trying to get a date, not to mention ones he's actually dated, who frequently go to ridiculous extremes to avoid him, but he's pretty popular with fans. Both sides probably have to do with him alternating between incredibly boring and utterly (if harmlessly) insane.
  • Luann has Tiffany as an antagonist to the star lead, but a lot of readers wonder why her trying to advance a career as an actress is constantly treated with derision by the aimless Luann, and why this is supposed to be a good thing.

    Fan Works 
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Misty's Psyduck is a great source of annoyance for his trainer, but also a great source of amusement for the readers. Also the Pokédexes with their quirky personalities; Ash's annoys him and his friends to no end, and Paul can't stand his, but the fans can't get enough of them.
  • Yasuhiro Hagakure from Never Say Never is hated by almost every member of the cast for his stupidity, while the readers love him for the same reasons.

    Films — Animation 
  • Wreck-It Ralph gives us the title character Ralph and Vanellope von Schweetz, victims of severe Fantastic Racism in the world of video games they live in. They were both shunned by their fellow inhabitants for being a Punch-Clock Villain and a glitch. Now...go ask the fans what they think of Ralph and Vanellope and prepare yourself for a very long session of squealing and gushing. This is brought up in-universe when King Candy argues that the players will dislike a glitchy character like Vanellope being made playable, and will report the game as broken because of her. Ralph counters with the possibility that the players will love her. In the end, Ralph's right.
  • After Elsa's ice powers are revealed in Frozen, the citizens of Arendelle and the dignitaries become wary of her, several characters even attempting to kill her throughout the movie until she becomes loved and accepted at the end. Outside of the movie? She's one of the most popular Disney characters in general, her Signature Song "Let It Go" broke out in a huge way, and she topped the 2014 list of Time Magazine's most influential fictional characters.
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride: Nuka, The Unfavorite among Zira's sons, is constantly mistreated by his own mother, neglected by the rest of the pride, and hardly considered as a threat by his foes. The only characters who are somewhat sympathetic to him are his siblings, and even they don't show him much sympathy until he dies. However, he has gained a substantial amount of fans thanks to his Tragic Villain status (he's not evil per se, he just wants to gain his mother's love) and his unstable, yet funny, personality. His tragic last moments surely helped too.
  • The Little Mermaid (1989): Ursula is shown to be extremely unpopular In-Universe, between Triton banishing her from his kingdom, her reputation as someone to be avoided reaching the likes of Flounder and Sebastian, and even a deleted opening scene showing that people on land dislike her too, with sea tales that depict her negatively. It even goes to a supernatural extent, where the Animals Hate Her trope is what ruins her wedding with Eric, the resident Evil-Detecting Dog growls at her and later bites her butt, and while the wedding guests initially accept her in her “Vanessa” disguise, that all goes out the window immediately after she returns to her true appearance and they react with horror. It really seems as if Flotsam and Jetsam are the only people who actually like her. That hasn’t stopped fans in Real Life from absolutely loving her though for her personality, having fun Large Ham tendencies, and even being seen as a role model for her positive traits. Notably, she is seen as a body-positive icon for loving herself and her body as a bigger woman, and as an icon of female empowerment for being a single, confident, and very powerful woman. It has even reached a point that, during an era of Disney villains getting their own movies to show them from a sympathetic point of view, Ursula is far and away one of the most requested to get one of these movies herself.
  • Hades from Hercules. He's hated by every other god and it's implied he has his job in the Underworld because of it, due to the way he treats mortals as pawns for his sick amusement. The fans, on the other hand, consider him one of the best Disney villains due to his hammy personality and James Woods's stellar performance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Big Lebowski: Really, all three of the bowling team members, including The Dude, who is shown to be a hopeless loser in-universe ("You don't draw shit in this town, Lebowski."), Walter, whose wife left him and whose bellicose nature seems to mean that most people in-universe barely tolerate him (or don't), and especially Donnie, who's always put down by the other two ("Shut the fuck up, Donnie!") and isn't shown much appreciation until he dies from a sudden heart attack.
  • Possibly Riley Poole of the National Treasure films, whom the filmmakers seem content to treat as a standard Sidekick.
  • James Norrington from Pirates of the Caribbean is the epitome of this. He didn't get his girl, his entire ship and crew were destroyed, he was killed in At World's End saving the hides of Elizabeth and her Chinese crew, and he apparently didn't deserve a first name until the second movie (exceptfor in the deleted scenes). But ask your average (female) Pirates of the Caribbean fan; he is very popular. He's a decent role model, too. A man principled enough to stand against both piracy and the nefarious deeds of the East India Trading company, their mortal enemy. Even in the face of death, humiliation, and non-girl-getting. He's almost The Woobie because he didn't get the girl; while he said that he was fine with her marrying Will, every time he looks at her it's clear how agonized he is that he didn't get her, and it's acted so well it tugs the heartstrings.
  • Both Bruce Wayne and Batman are often not well perceived by the people of Gotham in The Dark Knight Trilogy. The viewers see him in a much more positive light.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
  • Stifler from American Pie is a loudmouth Jerkass barely tolerated by the core characters, and stated to be outright loathed by everyone else in the Direct to Video sequels. However, his popularity among the franchise's fans is one of the big reasons the movies were successful.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader is not a very popular person in the galaxy. Citizens hate and fear him for terrorizing the galaxy, Imperials hate and fear him for his Bad Boss tendencies, his Sith master Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious views him as a disposable pawn, his former Jedi masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda believe him to be beyond redemption and are training his son to kill him. Only his son Luke has any affection for him. Needless to say, Vader is easily the most popular character in the entire Star Wars franchise.
  • The Last Duel: Pierre is an immature hedonist and a complete dick who is barely tolerated by even his own wife, but reviews consistently noted him as a highlight due to Ben Affleck's performance and for being a welcome source of comic relief in such a grim film.

  • In A Brother's Price Princess Trini gets hate from all her sisters for not wanting to marry again...after her late husband tortured and raped her. As all sisters in a family marry the same husband, she gets in her sisters' way, but the reader, who likely has a different view on male-on-female rape, will likely sympathize with her. She is also implied to be the most kind-hearted of the princesses, as she immediately changes her opinion on marrying Jerin when she is told that a family she thinks will mistreat him has also offered for him.
  • Fitz Kreiner of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe Eighth Doctor Adventures basically constitutes a subversion. All but one of the recurring protagonists are genuinely fond of him, and the only one who isn't doesn't like anyone but tolerates him more willingly than she does most people. It's just that they also see him as The Ditz and a Kavorka Man. Even the Doctor, who really does like him quite a bit, has been known to insult his intelligence to his face repeatedly over the course of a single conversation.note  And it's not so much that he's an Ensemble Dark Horse; he gets good plotlines and is second in "screen" time only to the Doctor. He just is also accused of never taking an interest in anything he can't "drink, inhale, play, dance to or --" even though he totally does. He reads Sartre, for goodness's sake. And it's often said that he competes with the Doctor for popularity among the readers, who generally see him as The Woobie. So, basically, he's well-liked by the audience and the other characters, but the other characters all treat him like the Butt-Monkey.
  • Mat Cauthon of The Wheel of Time is one of the most badass and popular characters in the series, but he tends to be treated like dirt by many of the other characters, who still think of him as a lazy, Handsome Lech farmboy despite the fact that a few books in, he's a brilliant general, a supernaturally lucky low-level Reality Warper, is fated to marry the most powerful woman in the world, defeated two trained swordsmen with a Simple Staff, has an artifact that makes him immune to magic, invented cannons, and has a Nice Hat. This has a lot to do with the fact that most of his Character Development took place while everyone else was out doing their own thing, but he still doesn't get the respect he deserves until people see his awesomeness with their own eyes.
    • Pushed up to eleven by Mat's background and personality making him actually insecure— he frequently thinks of himself as a lazy lech of barely-non-criminal origins always overshadowed by friends with greater abilities. He has several moments where he basically monologues to himself about how either of his friends would bring more to the table while simultaneously ruthlessly exploiting a fairly minor luck-power into a string of military victories that permanently reshape the continent's politics in ways Rand could only dream of.
  • Edmund Pevensie gets this treatment in the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia, in his family, but this is probably due to his... not-so-positive attitude. Still, this created his Anti-Hero status, which made him the most popular character in the series.
  • The Heroes of Olympus:
    • For much of the series Leo is the only lead without a love interest and is treated as an annoyance by all his friends. Listen to the fans and he's the best thing about the new series. He's also got a line of fangirls a mile long. Team Leo!
    • Quick, find a page where Nico di Angelo is a) in the vicinity and b) not described as "creepy." Unless his sister is the POV character, it's easier to find rooster teeth. Meanwhile, he's a fangirl darling. The reveal that he's gay and had a crush on Percy both boosted his popularity further among fans, and seemed to mark the point where people found him less creepy in-universe.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Name one character who likes the Hound. Only Sansa is even slightly fond of him; every single other character (and there are many) thinks he's frighteningly unpleasant at best. He doesn't get much luck from the author, either: a ridiculously awful childhood has led to a ridiculously brutal life and culminated in being left for dead after unsuccessfully begging for a clean death and crying over thoughts of Sansa. Now ask the fandom how they feel about Sandor.
    • Tyrion does have a few friends and allies, but ultimately even they are either killed or abandon him, and everyone else... His father and sister despise him, the court finds him repulsive, and the common people call him things like "twisted little monkey" and very unjustly blame him for all the problems of the realm. Absolutely nothing works out well for Tyrion in the long run, even though he's very clever and is one of the few characters attempting to be heroic. Perhaps due both to his misfortune and his considerable wit, however, he's among the most popular POV character among fans and even the author himself.
    • Brienne of Tarth, a lesser noblewoman unfortunately born with an unattractive, manly appearance, who as only heir to her father took it upon herself to become knight. In-universe she is constantly made fun of for her ugliness and not taken seriously as knight. Among the fans, she's popular for her prowess as well as taking her vows and oaths as knight seriously, one of the few to do so, but also for showing a gentler, more feminine side, and not being someone who just goes round killing people. Basically, the fandom has a soft spot for good characters who subvert the in-universe expectation that Beauty Equals Goodness.
    • Daenerys has elements of this as well. Even her own people don't really like her for much of her arc, she grew up with an abusive brother, something made only more pitiful by her moon-eyed narration. Later on, she had smothered her husband to death after someone she thought she could trust rendered him catatonic. Add in the fact that her current political activities have amounted to sinking three nations into murderous anarchy and at least one campaign of mass murder and the fact that she has pets she thinks of as her cute little children that eat people, and it's not hard to understand why the other characters find her less of the charming and strong young woman the audience usually sees and more of a crazy Bond villain who might strike unpredictably in any direction at any moment.
    • Jaime Lannister is reviled behind his back and known as the Kingslayer for his Bodyguard Betrayal of King Aerys II, among a few other horrible things he's done. For a while this was the attitude among fans until he became a POV character in A Storm of Swords, and we got the story behind his killing of Aerys. Afterwards, he became one of the most beloved and sympathetic characters among the fans because of his desire to redeem himself of other crimes he's committed.
    • There is a grand total of two people in-universe that like Stannis Baratheon, one of whom is his daughter; although almost everyone respects him as both a masterful commander and a truly just man who will see the guilty punished and the virtuous rewarded while his troops will follow him to the bitter end. Out of story, he's by far the most popular character who doesn't have a point of view, tends to rank in the top ten even with them, and his fanbase of self-proclaimed King's Men are fiercely loyal to him. In large part this is because of his very modern sensibilities; he promotes by virtue of merit rather than birth, favors a centralized society over decentralized feudalism, and is uncomfortable at best with religion if not a downright atheist-but it also helps that he came riding to the rescue of the Night's Watch while everyone else was busy slaughtering each other for the throne, is the only person in any position of power who takes the Others seriously as a threat, swore to avenge the Starks despite his dislike of them, and has a hilariously dry sense of humor. His brother Renly is quite the opposite, a charismatic charmer who easily rallied a massive army to his cause; but is universally despised by the fans due to his total lack of substance, his antiquated view on society, his mocking of both Brienne and Shireen's appearance, and his attempt to usurp his brother's rightful position. Even Stannis' detractors don't tend to hold killing Renly against him, especially as Renly was clearly intending to have Stannis killed and shows no remorse about it, and Stannis is clearly upset at having to resort to killing his brother, and there is a very good argument that he isn't aware of his role in his brother's death, yet still feels responsible.
    • Stannis' loyal Knight Ser Davos Seaworth also gets this. He is looked down upon by many of the lords and nobility for being new nobility, as Davos was a smuggler who grew up poor but was knighted for Stannis when he smuggled food to him during a siege. However, Davos throughout the books shows himself to be one of the most decent and kind characters, always trying to do the most moral thing while at the same time showing Undying Loyalty to Stannis despite Stannis' orders sometimes conflicting with Davos' morality. Also Davos acts as a useful contrast to other social climbers like the arrogant and corrupt Janos Slynt and the manipulative and treacherous Petyr Baelish, always trying to be humble and feeling unworthy of the honors Stannis gives him, such as when he is made a Lord and Hand of the King by Stannis.
    • Edmure Tully is not treated well in-universe by his uncle Brynden Tully and nephew Robb Stark for messing up their military plan by holding back Tywin Lannister at the Fords. His sister Catelyn sees him as young and foolish, and doesn't like the way he lets smallfolk into Riverrun for protection. However he is very well-liked among the fandom, many people thinking it was unfair to blame him for the strategic failures as he hadn't been informed of the plan and understandably misunderstood the order hold Riverrun. He also seems to be one of the few Lords who actually takes his duty of protecting his people seriously and would make a great ruler in peacetime. And despite marrying Roslin Frey at the infamous Red Wedding, where his sister and nephew were murdered along with a large part of his army by his treacherous father-in-law Lord Walder Frey, and he was made a prisoner of the Lannisters, he doesn't hold it against his wife and genuinely loves her, saying she was forced into it by her family.
    • The crannogmen in general and the Reeds (Howland, Jojen, and Meera) particular are victim of Fantastic Racism in-universe due to being one of the poorest lands in Westeros and living in mysterious swamps away from civilization. They are actually Memetic Badass people who are not only very loyal to the Starks (Lord Howland is one of Ned Stark's closest friends, the Reed kids are Bran Stark constant companions), but also their swamps make a terribly strategic territory, where Everything Trying to Kill You and thus virtually impregnable and very good to use for sneaky guerrilla warfare. Not to mention that crannogmen are famous for being experts in poisoning and probably seer. Sounds cool enough now?
  • Harry Potter:
    • Luna Lovegood is a quiet, unpopular, bullied Cloud Cuckoolander, and even the few who like her seem to find her more than a bit strange. Among the fandom, she's probably the only character just about everyone likes. Of course, she becomes quite popular in-story during Book 7, where she ends up one of the Big Damn Heroes alongside the likes of Neville Longbottom and Ginny Weasley.
    • Severus Snape is really unpopular in the books among his peers and students, but he's easily one of the most popular characters in the fandom. So popular, in fact, that in a poll that ran after the seventh book came out he was voted the best character in the entire series.
  • Twilight: Leah, the only female werewolf. Everybody in-story seems to hate her, but some people especially will argue that she's the most badass and well-developed character in the series.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, Simon is constantly mocked and belittled by the Shadowhunters for being a "mundane", no matter what he does. Even Clary, his childhood friend and love interest, can hardly be bothered to remember him most of the time. A number of fans, especially those not overly fond of the Shadowhunters, love him for his snark, geeky personality, and willingness to do nice things for Clary. It helps that he's one of few not afraid to call out Jace on being a jerk.
  • Caine Soren from GONE had this in spades. Justified seeing as he's kinda the Big Bad of the entire series.
  • Kurda Smahlt from The Saga of Darren Shan. In-universe he's looked down on by his fellow vampires because they mistook his pacifism for weakness, and the only one that seems to like him is Darren. Among the series' fans, however, he's one of the most popular characters and were sad when he betrayed the clan in a Well-Intentioned Extremist moment and ultimately executed. The "unpopular" part is downplayed in the manga adaptation, as his two assistants and Glalda genuinely like him.
  • Animorphs: Tobias is a shy, poorly treated boy and a fan favorite.
  • In-universe in the Inheritance Cycle, Murtagh isn't really liked or trusted by anyone save for Eragon and Nasuada; after Eldest, he's pretty much universally despised after he's Forced into Evil. Amongst both fans and even anti-fans, he's one of - if not the - most popular characters in the series.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Magicians: Todd is resented by the main cast for his awkwardness, his attempts to ape their style, and (at one point) earns their ire by temporarily overtaking their status as the party-thrower du jour while they're away. However, he's well-loved by fans for his charmingly and hilariously un-self-conscious personality.
  • Ashes of Love: Run Yu. In the series, he's abused and mistreated by his father and stepmother, and overlooked or disliked by many of the other characters. Among the series' fans, however, he's one of the most popular characters. Some even like him better than Xu Feng and Jin Mi.
  • The Daleks from Doctor Who are an Always Chaotic Evil race that across a Universe full of Scary Dogmatic Aliens are regarded as The Dreaded. Despite this, they are very popular among the fandom.
  • Sherlock:
    • Mycroft Holmes is usually treated with cold civility at best by his brother (although this seems to be a bit of a Holmesian trait), John isn't terribly enamored of him after their first encounter in the warehouse in "A Study in Pink", and Lestrade seems to resent him a bit if his attitude in "The Hounds of Baskerville" is anything to go by. He's never shown in any sort of social circle either, and the probability that he has actual friends is quite low. But he's well-liked by fans, to the point where's he's become an Ensemble Dark Horse (the fact that he's played by Mark Gatiss helps out a lot).
    • Sherlock treats everyone around him shabbily; if at any point he takes your sensibilities into consideration, say by apologizing, consider yourself deep in his inner circle. But he's a jerk with such panache that audiences can't help but love it.
  • Although a fan favorite, Seamus Harper of Andromeda was treated increasingly worse in each subsequent season, becoming the butt of stupid jokes and the target of the other characters' unwarranted hostility, even raped by Magog.
  • All of the Bluths in Arrested Development count technically, but special mention has to go to Gob, as even his own family don't really care for him.
  • Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory is seen as the weirdest nerd out of the whole group by far, which is really saying something, but he is also very popular with the fans, much more so than the creators intended.
  • Xander Harris, Butt-Monkey (and trope namer at that!) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Spike, who is largely detested by the rest of the characters (barring Dawn in seasons 5 and 6, and Buffy in season 7, and Fred in season 5 of "Angel") and an Iron Butt Monkey but was so popular with fans that he became a Breakout Character, despite the writers' best efforts to combat it. note 
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • Jerry Grgich, although mostly rule of funny. Also played with, since this status only seems to apply to him when he's at work; outside work or in his home life, he's apparently The Ace.
    • Jean-Ralphio Saperstein is very obviously an obnoxious ass, but Ben Schwartz plays him so marvelously that the fandom likes him anyway.
  • Almost identical to Jerry's case is Britta Perry from Community, a Phrase Catcher for "Ugh, you're the worst."
    • Britta's borderline Butt-Monkey status is actually Lampshaded in "Critical Film Studies", where Annie even says "Everyone hates Britta".
    • Ben Chang. Although he came in for a fair amount of fandom backlash after the creators responded to his popularity by exaggerating his character to the point of Flanderization and building long, elaborate plot arcs around him.
    • Pierce Hawthorne is the only character hated more in-show (and in the case of his actor, in Real Life) than both Britta and Chang, and yet is loved by the fans for his Crosses the Line Twice humor.
    • Perhaps subverted with Abed, however, who is perhaps the most popular of the main characters in the show, while also apparently being much better liked among the Greendale student body than his other friends.
    • Actually, from what we can gather, the group as a whole (referred to as the Greendale Seven, rarely in a positive tone) seems to be a bit of an annoyance to the rest of the student body for the trouble they cause and the Dean's very obvious favoritism toward them.
  • Topher in Dollhouse. In-universe, he's a bit of an Insufferable Genius, but the fangirls don't mind.
  • Family Matters:
    • Steve has ended up being a zig-zagged case. He played it straight at first when the fans loved him and most of the other characters on the show (which included his own parents) did not like him. But as the years went by and Steve went through plenty of Flanderization, more and more viewers started to look at him in a less sympathetic light.
    • Waldo. Like Steve, although to a lesser extent, he's likely to annoy nearly everyone on the show, even Steve, but he still is loved by fans.
    • Myra. Lots of people like her more than Laura, despite the fact that the writers of the show did their best to portray her as the Abhorrent Admirer.
  • Carlton of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was often the Straw Loser to Will and often an embarrassing Butt-Monkey. Yet fans often find him much more hilarious than the protagonist. Jazz is constantly kicked out of the Banks' house but fans liked him not just because of the Running Gag but because of him being good pals with Will.
  • Lucy of I Love Lucy by way of Values Dissonance. The viewers at home know that Lucy is immensely talented, and certainly worthy of being in Ricky's show... but is usually humiliated at the end of every Zany Scheme and is told to Stay in the Kitchen.
  • The central family from Malcolm in the Middle. In one episode, they discover that their entire neighborhood has a block party whenever they go on vacation.
  • Sam from iCarly is disliked and feared by many in-universe, but is by far the most popular character in the fandom, or at least she was before her Flanderization in later series, which led her to become a Base-Breaking Character among some fans.
  • Dwight Schrute from the U.S. version of The Office is a fan favorite but in-universe is generally considered annoying by the other characters.
  • Red Dwarf has Arnold Judas Rimmer. The fact that the other characters regularly go out of their way to tell us how unlikable Rimmer is probably just makes the fans more defiant.
  • Radek Zelenka, from Stargate Atlantis, is a gifted scientist, but never got much respect from Rodney McKay, and by the fourth season, is not getting respect from anyone. Fans, however, like his capacity for comedy... and his ability to curse violently in Czech. It also helps that he showed a little wonder at getting to do what some of us would give our left arm to do, as evidenced by his poetic description of Atlantis' rising.
  • Karmic Thief Omar Little on The Wire is an interesting case. The drug dealers hate him because he robs them and makes them look foolish and the cops hate him because he kills people and gets away with it. But the random people on the street practically worship him because he's such a badass, and audiences love him and regularly name him as the best and most liked character.
  • The Nanny: C.C. Babcock is usually disliked by everyone in the main cast but Maxwell, however her verbal sparring against Niles is among the funniest aspects of the show.
  • Married... with Children: Al Bundy is despised by pretty much every person in his neighborhood, and barely tolerated by his greedy (Peggy), perverted (Bud), and brainless (Kelly) family. But ask any minimum wage worker in the real world what they think of him, and he's venerated as a man among men.
  • Tyrion from Game of Thrones is mentioned in the Literature section as well, but it's worth repeating him here, because the TV version is possibly even more popular with fans, being played masterfully by Peter Dinklage.
  • Barney of How I Met Your Mother. He's The Friend Nobody Likes to an extent, with the other characters disliking him for being a womanizer, but he is adored by the fans.
  • On Once Upon a Time, Rumplestiltskin is a very magically powerful Magnificent Bastard, Manipulative Bastard, and master of Xanatos Speed Chess. He's treated in-universe as The Dreaded. The fact that he has strong paternal instincts, can out-ham anyone and is sometimes incapable of more than monosyllabic greetings when the woman he loves enters a room has made him a fan favorite.
  • Alan Partridge is, in his universe, a dismal failure of a man who is incredibly narcissistic and unlikeable, has very few friends, a television show which hardly anyone watched and which bombed terribly, and an increasingly failed career in local radio. Outside of his universe, he's one of Britain's most-loved comedy characters.
  • The eponymous character from Adam Ruins Everything is disliked by practically everyone for debunking common misconceptions about everyday things, causes tons of property damage in the name of Edutainment, and is generally extremely socially awkward, but few viewers catch that.
  • The Umbrella Academy:
    • Klaus, who to his siblings is a nuisance who can’t take things seriously at worst and an Annoying Younger Sibling at best, is essentially worshiped by the fans, declaring he be deserving of all the hugs. God knows how many Klaus fanfics there are.
    • Vanya, who has earned the ire of her siblings with an autobiography spilling their most painful secrets, painting herself as the constant victim of their cruelty, and casting them as the villains of her story, has quite a sizable and vocal fanbase, some of whom go out of their way to absolve her of all responsibility for her more harmful and self-centered actions.
  • Derry Girls: Uncle Colin is an annoyance to the cast for his dull way of telling stories and long ramblings. He’s beloved by the fans for the exact same reason.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: Gary Green is incompetent, overly cheery, and often does more harm than good, but fans love him for his enthusiasm, his tendency to be the butt of jokes, and Adam Tsekhman's terrific performance. So much so that after being a bit part in Season 3, he was promoted to recurring cast for Seasons 405 and finally main cast in Season 6.
  • ER: Dr. Kerry Weaver was not at all liked among her co-workers at County thanks to her abrasive personality, insistence on following the rules, and unfortunate tendency to put advancing in her career ahead of her relationships with her colleagues. However, Kerry was also an incredibly talented, dedicated doctor with an excellent bedside manner who was shown from the outset to be a Friend to All Children with a Sugar-and-Ice Personality and a surprisingly vulnerable side. All this won her a lot of support among the fanbase; to this day, a number of fans cite her as their favorite character on the show, and many more cite her as among their favorites.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Princesses of Mirrors in Princess: The Hopeful are disliked in-universe for being insufferable immature brats who won't shut up about how they are better and prettier than everybody, coupled with a strong tendency for megalomania. For fans, however, this makes them all the more hilarious to roleplay as, and their powers are impressive enough that they can potentially back-up their ego, making them a surprisingly popular Court.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • Arguably, Altair. He has status as a Memetic Badass among fans and the distinction as the first playable character in the series, but many of the other Assassins in-game don't think very highly of him because of his arrogance, to the point that he violates all three tenants of the Assassin's Creed and is demoted to novice by Al Mualim. In particular, Malik—who loses his arm and his brother because of Altair—is pretty unforgiving of him for what he did previously. However, Altair's actions are appreciated by many NPC civilians, who call him a hero, and most of the Assassins warm up to him over time. It zigzags a bit in Assassin's Creed: Revelations where the Assassins are divided between supporting either Altair or another Assassin named Abbas.
    • And by the end of the first game, Malik turned from strongest hater to closest confident and friend so Altair does more than just zigzag this trope.

  • Baldur's Gate has a few particularly successful cases of this:
    • Edwin Odesseiron: In-universe an arrogant and entitled Smug Snake who fellow party members will mock and refuse to take seriously at best, and attempt to violently murder at worst, Edwin is The Friend Nobody Likes taken to its logical conclusion; i.e. he has no friends at all and not even the dialogue choices with him for the player generally offer a friendly response. Among the fandom Edwin is not only widely considered an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain for his humorous failures, but also has a respectable amount of Fangirls (enough to star in his own romance mods!), and an infamous reputation among game-players as a Game-Breaker to such an extent that he can effortlessly outperform player-made mages.
    • Tiax: Even more than the aforementioned Edwin, Tiax is a gnome priest of Cyric with a delusion of grandeur. His party members barely tolerate him but he has a solid fanbase among players.
    • Viconia de Vir: In-universe a frequent victim of Fantastic Racism and almost universally disliked as a result (but also for other reasons), among the fandom easily considered one of the best-written characters in the game and the hottest female in the series, with her Romance Sidequest without a doubt being the most popular one in the second game.
  • In-Universe, Alice Angel from Bendy and the Ink Machine got a less-than-stellar reception upon her release. Out of universe, she’s arguably the most popular character in the game.
  • BlazBlue
  • The Borderlands series has Claptrap, who's a bit of an odd case. In the first game, the Claptraps were the Scrappy. After that, however, the writers noticed the fandom's negative opinion and went wild with the Take That, Scrappy! moments. This actually led to him getting Rescued from the Scrappy Heap — the constant, relentless abuse made him downright pitiful, and its jerkass tendencies eventually gave way to endearingly earnest incompetence.

  • Corpse Party:
    • Yoshiki Kishinuma. Somewhat of a delinquent and loner, who's implied to have had a Friendless Background prior to meeting the main cast members. He suffers from some of the more gruesome Wrong Ends the game has to offer because the Big Bad favours him as a chew toy, and being paired with Ayumi means he has to go through a lot of effort to keep her alive with little gratitude in return. He's also easily one of the most popular characters in the series, for being very level-headed in a crisis, surprisingly kind-hearted, and because fans just sympathize with the poor guy.
    • Sakutarou Morishige, to a lesser extent. He suffers from Loners Are Freaks in-universe due to being so anti-social, but fans like him either because they can relate to that aspect of him or because his creepy hobby later in the game is equal parts entertaining and tragic.
  • The Maple Heights district of Criminal Case: Grimsborough introduces Adam Bentley, a forerunning socialite whom the Grimsborough PD dislike for being a pretentious creep who frequently hangs around rich and powerful people — most of whom ended up dying — while the rest of the districts looks down on him for not having an affluent background. He seems to be quite well-liked by the audience, and his murder gathered more than a few mourners among fans.

  • Danganronpa:
    • Nagito, Kokichi, and Miu are treated as The Friend Nobody Likes within their respective stories. However, while some fans view them as divisive characters, they have very loyal fanbases. A Reddit poll ended up placing Nagito at the top ten and the official NDRV3 popularity poll had Kokichi and Miu at #2 and #4 respectively.
    • The first game has Kiyotaka Ishimaru. Despite his best efforts to make the students work together, almost everyone else sees him as an annoyance, it is made clear that Mondo is his Only Friend, and barely anyone reacts when he's killed. The fanbase on the other hand loves him and he always scores highly in popularity polls.
    • The second game has two more:
      • Usami/Monomi is treated very badly by almost the entire cast. She gets abused by Monokuma for most of the time, and almost all students are suspicious of her and are very annoyed by her constant appearances, casuing them to tell her off and verbally abuse her. Because of all the hatred she receives In-Universe, she's The Woobie to the fandom, with many players being able to sympathize with her, especially since she is constantly shown to be on her students side no matter how much they hate her. It also helps that she is sometimes useful to the class, such as saving Fuyuhiko and Nekomaru's lives or her role in the Grand Finale.
      • Mikan was bullied relentlessly throughout her life by both her peers and family, repeatedly insulted by Hiyoko, and Fuyuhiko is rather harsh to her before his Heel–Face Turn, while the rest of the cast range from being annoyed or indifferent to being nicer but mildly condescending towards her, with the possible exception of Ibuki and Hajime. While she is a bit more controversial than other characters listed here due to other factors, many people express a desire to give the poor girl a hug.
  • Donkey Kong Country: King K. Rool is detested by the Kongs (possibly related to the fact that he has stolen their bananas, kidnapped them and even tried to blow up their island) and isn’t well-liked even among his underlings due to how badly he treats them. Among audiences, however, the Kremling King is beloved thanks to his refreshingly crazed personality and ridiculous yet effective schemes. He was one of the most popular contenders for a playable fighter in the Super Smash Bros. series, and his reveal in the fifth game was met with acclaim.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • Alistair is, while not hated, at least viewed as rather annoying and childish by many of the other companions, with even the most positive opinions of him being condescending. Many of the fans, on the other hand, find him hilarious, adorable, or some combination of both.

  • Ensemble Stars! has very clear in-universe popularity rankings for each of the units which often diverge greatly from reality. In-universe, fine is the clear top unit and Akatsuki second, while in reality those two tend to be among the least popular. (Though this is justified by the fact that real-world readers are privy to a lot of information about fine's bad behaviour that the in-universe audience are not, and fine's popularity is at least in part due to Eichi's deliberate manipulation.) By contrast, Knights is definitely the top unit in the real world, with Undead and Ryuuseitai up next. And while Ra*bits isn't hugely popular, it's a hell of a lot more known out of universe than in-universe, where they're a very new unit who got off to a very shaky start (thanks, again, to Eichi and Akatsuki).
  • Epic Mickey: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit leans a bit into this trope. In the game, he's portrayed as a vengeful and jealous antihero regarding Mickey's popularity. Though he improves, he's constantly pained with the knowledge that Mickey received his fame. In Real Life, Oswald's inclusion was one of the key aspects which drew people into the game, and he has a solid fanbase in Japan.

  • Final Fantasy VI Kefka Palazzo is hated by almost every single character on the game for good reasons. Amongs the returners, he's a cruel commander who has killed lots of people, innocents included, for his callousness and amusement. The empire soldiers on his charge doesn't have a higher opinion of him either, as he's infamous for burning lots of imperial soldiers during a practice. Kefka is so cruel, sadistic and sociopathic he cannot fully get true loyalty from anyone outside of dangerous beasts. And yet, the fanbase loves him for being such a darkly amusing villain who manages to take over the role of the Big Bad. A lot of his popularity comes from the Main/Woolseyism in the american version, giving him a surprisingly charming humor sense while also showcasing his cruelty and effectiveness as a villain.

  • Final Fantasy VII's Yuffie, certainly not without justification seeing as how she's a thief that attacked the party and tried to trick them after the fight. If you head to her hometown, it'll turn out that the party was right to be suspicious. She steals your materia and you have to get it back from her. She joins you on the straight and narrow from then on and by the end, some of the group have grown attached to her, such as Red XIII (the only one to point out she's missing when the group re-unites before the final dungeon) and Cloud (who welcomes her back when she comes.)
  • Serra from the Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword. No-one likes her at all unless you engage Supports, yet she's very well-liked by fans.
  • In Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, it's clear that no one In-Universe likes the Daycare Attendant, due to it being unnecessarily creepy even for this series and its tendency to traumatize the children it's supposed to watch over in its Moon form. Even Freddy doesn't have anything good to say about it. Out of universe, it's easily one of the most popular characters, getting quite a bit of fanart and fanfic.
  • Fukushima Masanori is one of the better-known historical Japanese generals, leader of the Seven Spears of Shizugatake, and one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's finest (and wasn't reported to be as brutal as his fellow general Katou Kiyomasa, who takes anti-Christianity Up to Eleven). However, whenever he makes an appearance in KOEI games (Samurai Warriors, Ace Attorney-like game Saihai no Yukue), he is usually portrayed as a bumbling fool nearing The Scrappy level to possibly make Ishida Mitsunari (main protagonist of the latter game) look good. Koei truly hates Masanori.

  • Grand Theft Auto
    • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: If there's any character in this game that deserves to be in this trope, it would be Ryder. Sure Ryder's an asshole who betrays the Grove Street Families later in the story, but he has the charisma and cohesive attitude that makes him a fan favorite to many fans of the game.
    • Grand Theft Auto V: Trevor Philips is undoubtedly one of the most psychotic and murderous playable characters in the franchise history which understandably makes him isn't very well-liked by everybody around him apart from Michael and Franklin and a handful number of people, with his underlings followed him mostly out of their fear for him. For the fans, however, he's easily the most beloved and memorable character out of the three game protagonists thanks to that very same psychotic nature. Trevor's popularity is also helped by his surprisingly complex personality with many Hidden Depths that makes him an entertaining yet also relatable character.

  • Norman Jayden from Heavy Rain definitely qualifies. The poor guy is abused by every police officer in the game, constantly getting the crap beaten out of him, and doesn't have a single happy ending But he's easily the most popular character outside of the game.

  • The Legend of Zelda: Tingle is one, but only in Japan. It's Downplayed in his debut appearance; Tingle's father is certainly embarrassed by his son's obsession with fairies, but it doesn't go as far as hate. Notably, if you bring him a pictograph of Tingle, he'll reward you with a heart piece. The Tingle of The Wind Waker, on the other hand, is clearly viewed as bizarre at best and outright disliked by the laborers on his island — two of whom are his brothers!
  • Lemina from Lunar: Eternal Blue is loud, pushy, money-grubbing, has her fair share of blonde moments, and is somewhat lacking in integrity from time to time (despite her respectable long term goals). She's sometimes viewed as a slight annoyance by the rest of the group, and certainly by people outside of it.

  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Kung Lao, at least in more recent games, has often been portrayed as the more jealous second fiddle to Liu Kang. Characters often compare him unfavorably to Liu Kang in terms of skill but he has been a consistent fan-favorite since his debut for his unique abilities. Liu Kang, on the other hand, tends to be a Base-Breaking Character among fans.
    • Johnny Cage qualifies as well. He was the resident Butt-Monkey of the original timeline (as revenge by the writers due to the actor who played him doing work for a Mortal Kombat knock-off) and is something of a No Respect Guy and The Friend Nobody Likes even in the new timeline. His popularity with fans however skyrocketed with MK9 due to the many CMOFs he contributes to the game and for being a Deadpan Snarker with a Heart of Gold. Although this appears to be an Intended Audience Reaction since the new timeline also makes him an Ascended Extra with improved and sympathetic characterization, makes him The Heart for the good guys and subverts his Fake Ultimate Hero status.
    • Mileena puts the two previous examples to shame. With two exceptions of Tanya and Shao Kahn literally everyone in the cast despises Mileena and considers of her a Butter Face freak of nature, Kitana her twin in particular cannot stand Mileena and rejects her on sight. Even when Mileena is empress in Mortal Kombat X, she’s hated by the citizens of Outworld and quickly overthrown. Among the fanbase on the other hand, it is a very different story with Mileena being adored pretty much across the board with more than a few character polls even putting her above both Kitana and Sonya. The fact she's considered the series main Ms. Fanservice despite her face to the point of appearing in Playboy being the ultimate irony. Mortal Kombat 11 outright lampshaded Mileena’s popularity in her reveal trailer.
    Mileena: A coin for your thoughts, Erron?
    Erron Black: Just trying to reckon why the hell you're back.
  • Nippon Ichi:
    Laharl: Aren't you happy, Flonne? There's someone even dumber than you.
    • Gig from Soul Nomad & the World Eaters is outright hated by most of the cast and it takes most of the game for them to be able to even stand him. The fans, however, love him for his how outright how Laughably Evil he is.

  • Persona 4:
    • Yosuke is liked enough amongst most fans. It's not uncommon for him to end up as the butt of a joke. It's a different story when the laughter stops: See any scene involving Saki.
    • From the same game, nobody in the party (except possibly the PC) likes Morrigan, but many fans like her for her acerbic wit and Femme Fatale qualities.
  • Generally speaking, with the Phantom Thieves from Persona 5 receiving All of the Other Reindeer treatment, a few of these are bound to happen. However, these people deserve special mention-
    • Ryuji Sakamoto is ostracized by his former track teammates because he was indirectly responsible for getting the team shut down-even though he was trying to call out Kamoshida’s abusive behavior, and while he's not disliked by the other Thieves, he’s definitely the Butt-Monkey of the group and they, especially Morgana, tend to make comments at his expense. Needless to say, the Western fanbase adores Ryuji due to his endearing, friendly personality and bromance with the protagonist, and many of his fans are not fond of the scene where he gets beaten up offscreen by the female Thieves while the males do nothing to stop them after they escape the last palace.
    • The other students at Kosei High treat Yusuke Kitagawa differently due to both his association with Madarame and because of his behavior in general, and after Madarame is arrested, he's actively shunned. However, he manages to be one of the most popular characters in the game due to him being a Comically Serious Cloudcuckoolander.
    • Upon her introduction it is clear that Makoto Niijima is not very well-liked among her classmates. In fact, it's implied that she didn't have any friends before joining the Phantom Thieves. While some do see her as a Base-Breaking Character, she has still gained numerous amounts of attention. She ranked number 3 on a popularity poll in Japan and after the game's international release got even more popularity with increased amounts of fanart and being one of the, if not most popular shipping options with Joker.
    • Prior to Futaba Sakura being a shut-in, she was almost completely friendless at school with her Only Friend having to be a girl named Kana in which their friendship ended up falling apart. On the other hand, fans really like her due to her Moe personality, having huge amounts of Character Development, and her lacking the Annoying Video Game Helper tendencies that past Mission Control characters have.
  • Pokémon:
    • Magikarp: since it has horrible stats and can learn only four moves outside of events, it is systematically perceived by in-game trainers as useless, and even its Pokédex profile describes it as "virtually useless". In Real Life, on the other hand, everyone knows it evolves into the much more badass and useful Gyarados, so it ended up being the opposite of this trope for fans and the Trope Namer for Magikarp Power. This had the side effect of giving the impression that nearly any Pokemon based on a fish is bound to be awful, even when it isn't the case (most of the time anyway).
    • Absol is despised in-universe for a widespread but mistaken belief that it starts natural disasters but has quite a hefty fanbase because of a very beautiful design.
    • This applies to many of the Dark and Ghost types, as well as a few Poison, being widely feared or at least regarded with suspicion in-universe but loved by the fandom for their good designs, usefulness in battle, or just because Evil Is Cool.
    • Mimikyu is probably one of the franchise's biggest examples yet. It's a tiny ghost who wears a crudely made Pikachu costume made from old Pikachu merchandise in the hopes that it will be noticed and loved more thanks to its resemblance to the widely popular Series Mascot. Considering its massive Ensemble Dark Horse status among the Pokémon introduced in Pokémon Sun and Moon, it seems to have achieved this out of universe at least, thanks to its Woobie-ish backstory and endearing design.
    • In terms of human characters, Team Skull is treated as a group of nuisances and losers In-Universe, but out of universe, their comedic qualities, strong personalities, and surprisingly sad backstory resulted in the group being one of the most popular villain teams in the franchise.
  • From the Punch-Out!! series:
    • Glass Joe. He may be the ultimate Jobber with more defeats than most champions have victories, but he'll always be the champion in players' hearts.
    • Aran Ryan (at least in the Wii version) is a complete psycho who breaks all the rules and is greeted with a chorus of boos from the in-game audience. He also happens to be one of the most popular characters.
    • Super Macho Man (Also Wii version), is met with more audible boos than Aran Ryan, and the crowd cheers harder for when you knock him down than the other combatants. Despite this, he is loved by the fanbase for his overinflated ego and how much of a Large Ham he can be. Add that to the number of things he says falling under Memetic Mutation.
  • Schezo from Puyo Puyo often gets no respect from his peers, due to being an intimidating dark mage and generally unpleasant. On top of that, his terrible choices in vocabulary lead to him be taken far less seriously than he would want to be. Fans, however, find his antics entertaining and is well-loved to have better depictions in fanworks, if only to soften his Butt-Monkey status.

  • Uncle from Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption II is often berated by other characters for being a lazy, sleazy, drunken freeloader. Out of universe? He's one of the most, not the most popular character, due to providing much of the Comic Relief, his Jerk with a Heart of Gold moments, and sacrificing his life to save the Marston family.
  • Erik from Rune Factory Frontier. Despite his sheer awesomeness, he has to bribe people in-game to appear impressed by him.

  • Dexter "Dex" Jackson in Saints Row. In-Universe, he's virtually hated by everyone In-Universe for suddenly betraying the Saints for Ultor, then attempting to kill the Boss, and then becoming a Corrupt Corporate Executive in Saints Row 2. Outside, he's well-liked for his snarky attitude and for being more level-headed than the rest of his gang, especially when compared to Johnny Gat. It doesn't help that Volition put both him and his storyline from the second game on a bus, as the Corporate Warfare DLC was never released on the infamous PC port. Although Dex returned in Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell as part of a revenge sidequest, many long-time fans felt that it was an Anti-Climax ending to a feud that went unanswered for two games straight.
  • Shantae: Bolo is often treated with disdain from nearly everyone In-Universe, and generally written off as nothing but an idiotic screw-up and pervert. Out of universe, he is loved for being a loyal friend to Shantae, his antics being seen as hilarious and he is even a popular ship partner for Shantae.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Tails is often a "victim" of this, especially in Sonic the Comic.
    • Knuckles seems to be leaning into this area as well due to recent Flanderization. He's bitterly jealous of Sonic and his dopiness and lack of "team ethics" has even Cream the Rabbit making snide remarks at him at times, nevertheless he has a fanbase nearly as big as the hedgehog himself (granted, however, Knuckles was an Ensemble Dark Horse even before his transition into a Butt-Monkey).
    • Same for Dr. Eggman, especially in Sonic X, where the poor guy's really just an Attention Whore at heart.
  • Street Fighter:
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Luigi tends to be neglected by the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom and Bowser and his men, apparently the entire population of the Beanbean Kingdom, Colonel Campbell... his fanbase is fairly large due to this, especially since his own game debut Luigi's Mansion gave him his own personality to stand out from Mario, and it's pretty hard to find someone who doesn't like him nowadays, to the point where most Nintendo fans are likely to tell you they prefer the green-clad plumber to his more iconic brother. In fact, a lot of Luigi's problems in-universe, especially in the Paper Mario games, is that he can be as good as Mario, but nobody gives him a chance. This has gotten to the point that Nintendo declared 2013 to be The Year of Luigi to celebrate three games Luigi stars in.
    • Waluigi isn't very well-liked by the characters in-universe due to being a crazy, petty Jerkass. Outside of the games, a sizable portion of the fanbase loves him for various reasons, including being an underdog (due to his plans often backfiring, Nintendo themselves occasionally teasing him, and his minimal chances at A Day in the Limelight - the closest to date being the Tricksters Episodes from the 3DS version of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games), having great levels tied to him (such as Mario Kart and Mario Sports Mix's Waluigi Pinball), going through bouts of Crazy Is Cool and just plain hilarious ridiculousness (like trying to take over the world with his dance moves in Dance Dance Revolution Mario Mix), creating several memes (including "Waluigi time!", the crotch chop, and Waluigi's Taco Stand), and various combinations of the above. Nintendo once ran a poll asking who you would give a Valentine to, and while their polls usually pull in a couple thousand votes per option, Waluigi totaled more than 1.25 million votes by the end of March of 2019, becoming the only character on the poll to break a million; for comparison, Animal Crossing's Breakout Character Isabelle received the second-highest number of votes, and she still didn't even reach half of Waluigi's total. In spite of his lack of presence outside of spinoffs, Waluigi has managed to pull in a dedicated group of fans, and support for him to have his time to shine, whether in Super Smash Bros. or headlining his very own title, is very easy to find on the internet.

  • Raven from Tales of Vesperia. At best, everyone tolerates him. Usually, the party members are disgusted by his antics, mostly because he's a Dirty Old Man and refuses to act his age. Most of the time they don't even call him Raven; they just call him, "old man". He's still one of the group until the end.
  • Lots of Touhou Project fan works (and some canon) show their love for characters like Hong Meiling, Cirno, and Reisen Udongein Inaba by making them into all-round Butt Monkeys abused by their superiors.
  • Tsukihime: Isn't it sad, Sacchin? But we love you.

  • Papyrus from Undertale has three people in the Underground who give him the time of day, and one of them's his brother. The others are Undyne, and a soulless flower who's repeatedly killed him before you show up. Naturally, the main reason he wants to be a Royal Guardsman is because people might actually want to be his friend afterwards. The fandom, meanwhile, pretty much universally loves him, the cinnamon roll that he is.

    Web Animation 
  • The Annoying Orange: Orange himself. Marshmallow seems to like him and Passion Fruit has a romantic subplot with him, but he's barely tolerated by the rest of the group. Even more so with Grapefruit.
  • Strong Sad in Homestar Runner. The King of Town became this but didn't start out that way (he was more The Scrappy when he was only focusing on food, and became funnier when he started to also focus on fixing his own unpopularity.)
  • Also, What's Her Face from Teen Girl Squad.
  • Boxing Glove from Object Overload is treated by the contestants as a murderer, despite not really meaning to cause harm. Fans really love him because of this.
  • Red vs. Blue:
  • Hazbin Hotel: Charlie. To most characters, they don't take her too fondly and think her idea to help sinners is a waste of time. To the fans, however, she's just downright precious.
  • Battle for Dream Island: Golf Ball. While she's hated in the show by nearly everyone besides Tennis Ball for being a tyrant who has things done her way or the highway almost all the time, she's absolutely adored in the fandom for being a cute, nerdy Well-Intentioned Extremist that fits the example of "girlboss" to a T, as well as her outlandish competition strategies that are always Crazy Enough to Work and her rivalry with Snowball. It says something when, even though she didn't get enough votes to join BFDIA, she still managed to be a contestant thanks to one of two fans who won a contest deciding to guarantee-vote her in.
  • Shrapnel: Given the Ugandan Knuckles originate from a controversial internet meme, the characters themselves are this both in and out of universe, as while it’s easier to make a list of characters who don’t like them, they get a much warmer reception among Shrapnel fans, due to their Ugly Cute designs, odd mannerisms, and the fact that when the chips are down, they can be surprisingly capable (sometimes), and some fans who consider the original a "shitty internet meme", admit to liking their depiction/members in Shrapnel. Of course, for anyone who still doesn’t like the meme that much, there’s something of a Catharsis Factor in seeing them get injured.

    Web Comics 
  • Belkar in The Order of the Stick is a casually murderous jerk with no real loyalty to his companions, and the feeling is definitely mutual, as they only keep him around because he's useful/can be "aimed" at the villains. Readers on the other hand love his antics, some so much that they gave him the Draco in Leather Pants treatment (such as insisting he's Chaotic Neutral even though he's canonically identified as Chaotic Evil on multiple occasions).
  • 8-Bit Theater:
    • Black Mage is an ugly, smelly, rude, wanted Omnicidal Maniac who sacrifices orphans for fun and the only person who likes him is too stupid to know any better. Even the universe hates him. Yet he's the comic's most popular character.
    • King Steve also applies, having approval ratings so low the majority of people would rather die than have him rule.
  • Rebecca Sue McKay of Shadowgirls is treated like dirt by just about everyone at school because of the circumstances surrounding her birth. Fans of the book, however, want to give her a hug whenever she's feeling down.
  • Kali of Enjuhneer was created as a literalization of the "invisible roommate," but the author has mined her abilities for so many jokes that at times she practically feels like a second main character.
  • Let's talk about Bacon
  • Homestuck:
    • Eridan Ampora falls under this. He already had very few friends before his breakup with Feferi, after which he becomes intolerable. After crossing the Moral Event Horizon, nobody likes him, nobody mourns his death, and even the person who killed him doesn't feel any regret. Despite all this, he has a very large fanbase, mostly due to him being seen as The Woobie.
    • Vriska Serket has a similar effect - at the start of Hivebent, most of her friends have stopped liking her due to her abusive, sociopathic personality, and the only troll willing to give her the time of day as a friend is Kanaya, with her association with Equius being due to their mutual desire to manipulate each other, her fling with Eridan being antagonistic and her friendship with Tavros being blatantly abusive. She treats everyone unpleasantly, even her eventual best friend John, who puts up with it out of inherent kindness. While she's a controversial character, she's definitely one of the most popular in the fandom.
      • As of the Omegapause (summer 2015), this is turning around; she's undergone some character development (due to John's ability to retcon history allowing Terezi to Take a Third Option on whether to kill Vriska or let her go off to confront Jack Noir) and, while still somewhat abrasive and egotistical, she's now recognized in-universe as a competent planner and effective leader.
    • Gamzee Makara has been all over the map on this. He was initially a one-joke character (a stoner slacker juggalo; okay, maybe that's three jokes) who was regarded both in-universe and out as, at worst, irrelevant. Then some stuff happened and the most common in-universe quote about him became "Because seriously, fuck that guy" while his popularity with fans skyrocketed.
  • In Ensign Sue Must Die, the eponymous Sue is about as popular In-Universe as your average self-insert is in fandom. However, the fans of the webcomic find her difficult to hate because she's comedic and cute. It's like trying to hate a 5-year-old playing make-believe. And that's before she stops being so bland and Character Development happens to make her genuinely sympathetic.
  • Vampire Cheerleaders: Leonard is the series' poster boy for the trope, which can be seen in the comments of this thread about this particular strip on the comic's official site. Due to the split that resulted from the "Vampire Cheerleaders Must Die!" arc, the comic lost a significant portion of its fanbase. Which is the reason Adam (the writer) starred Leonard in the final volume:
    Adam: As for which characters would lead the series... I split the difference. Readers liked Leonard, so I paired him with one character from Vampire Cheerleaders and one from Paranormal Mystery Squad and just shifted ahead to the next school year.
  • In Nebula, Earth and Pluto are both quite unpopular with the other characters, with Earth being seen as annoying and Pluto being seen as creepy. Fans, on the other hand, find it very easy to emphasize with how both of them just want to have friends (and know thanks to a Sympathetic P.O.V. that Pluto is just a shy Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold and that Earth is a Genki Girl who comes on too strong when trying to make friends), and find the two of them to be adorable.

    Web Videos 
  • That Guy with the Glasses:
    • Ma-Ti, in-'verse, is ranked somewhere between "object of pity" and "The Scrappy" by his compatriots unless he's packing heat. In fandom, he's a woobie of epic proportions and is usually paired off with at least one hot chick by the end of the fic. They seem to be aware of this though, since in Kickassia, while Ma-Ti was only in it for one scene (partially because the actor did not want to be typecast), he gets to call The Nostalgia Critic out on his douchebaggery, cementing his place as an Ensemble Dark Horse. As of Suburban Knights, Ma-Ti finally got his due. Sure, he died, but he died being AWESOME.
    • Nella gets paid to be treated like dirt in The Nostalgia Chick's show. When she turned into Dark Nella and got some modicum of payback, the fandom cheered like they were at a football match.
    • Arguably most of the reviewers and characters from Channel Awesome are this. The actors have a fondness for Self-Deprecation and writing themselves as hating each other, and each one has a fanbase of some size.
  • Matthew Santoro:
    • Eugene is disliked by Matt and the other clones for being too nerdy and annoying, but is loved by the fans.
    • Hugo is disliked by Matt and Eugene for doing crazy things like eating the cat, but is adored by the fandom.
  • The Press Buttons 'n' Talk Let's Play of the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy created the bit of the people in the gallery being called the Charlie Brown Adults. They are mostly know for their increasingly absurd and disruptive antics during trials and being obnoxious to the point that everyone else In-Universe of their canon cannot stand them, especially the Judge. During the course of the let's play, they became very popular with the audience. They were brought back for Investigations as much as they could despite not being in court, with their version of Edgeworth still not having any patience for them.
    ProZD: People love the Charlie Brown Adults!
    Manky: I think the most popular character on this let's play —
    ProZD: I'm kinda glad because it's fun to keep doing them.
    Judge (ProZD): I don't like them.
    CBA (Manky): You know what we did this weekend?
    Judge: We don't care.
    CBA: Well, we do.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Prince Zuko counted as this for a time, having to endure the hatred and neglect of his cruel father Ozai throughout his youth and of his sociopathic younger sister Azula, with only his beloved and kindhearted Uncle Iroh to support him through life even after his father deemed him "lucky to have been born". After he is banished from his homeland for speaking out of turn before his father, he is scorned and loathed by the Fire Nation elite as well as his former enemies in the world abroad, ultimately hoping to capture the Avatar in the hopes of regaining his father's love and admiration. In-universe this eventually all changes as Zuko realizes his nation's corrupt ways and devotes himself to helping Aang defeat his father, going on to serve a very successful and prosperous reign as Fire Lord after the war; out-universe, he has been one of the most beloved and respected characters since the very beginning, with his constant struggle between good and evil and his original status as a Tragic Villain serving as a key appeal of the series.
    • His sister as well. We see her being mostly a bratty bitch who ends up nearly killing Aang, torturing Zuko, and kicking kid's sandcastles but her emotional turmoils combined with her epic breakdown at the end of the arc painted a different picture about her to many fans. Even beforehand, fans loved the hypercompetent dragon of Ozai for her accomplishments and amazing talents with a suave, confident air.
  • Adventure Time:
    • The Ice King. Despised by nearly everyone in Ooo, but loved by the fans.
    • Lemongrab is a Base-Breaking Character version of the trope.
  • Wakko Warner from Animaniacs was intended to be this, as a joke about "Middle Child Syndrome," and it was explicitly mentioned a few times in regards to Dot's cuteness making her so much more popular with the fans. The truth of the matter was the exact opposite.
  • Regarding The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes!, The Incredible Hulk has so many fans, the second intro makes him one of only four members referred to by name.note  Unfortunately, the second season of the show sees Red Hulk frame him of terrorizing SHIELD, torture him in prison offscreen for several episodes, and provoke him into performing a rampage that causes even his best friends to lose their respect for him. Worse, during the Hulk's imprisonment, none of the other Avengers acknowledged his absence.
  • Beavis qualifies as this during the Christmas Episode of Beavis and Butt-Head when during both the It's a Wonderful Life parody where Butt-Head learns he's now Stewart's sidekick and even protected from Butt-Head by helpful homeless people. During the "Letters to Santa Butt-Head" segments, Beavis gets increasingly more and better fan mail, much to Butt-head's annoyance.
  • Beast Wars: Why universe hate Waspinator? And his suffering also makes him beloved by fans, to the point his popularity saved Waspinator from being killed in Season 2.
  • Argit from Ben 10: Alien Force. The guy's a Con Man who'd sell his grandma for money. He seems to have everywhere in the galaxy people who want him dead. And even the protagonists despise him, allowing him to go around only because he isn't that much of a threat. The only reason someone as obnoxious as him could survive so far is that he has the ability to stop his pulse to play dead. Yet, fans adore him because they find him hilarious.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: While Wheeler is considered a friend (or potential love interest) by the rest of the group, he's also the least environmentally sensitive (due to being the only city kid), resulting in a lot of criticism from his comrades-in-arms. The fandom as a whole considers him Unintentionally Sympathetic due to being dismissed even when he has a point and criticizes the more sensible Planeteers for being preachy, flawless, and condescending.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door:
    • Numbuh 86 is a grumpy, unpleasant and confrontational Straw Feminist who is associated with the feared practice of decommissioning other Kids Next Door agents. For those reasons, she's not very popular among the main characters or any other KND operative, but the fandom (and the show's creators) loved her enough that she went on to become a highly recurring character, receiving plenty of character development all the while that helped make her less one-dimensional.
    • The Toiletnator, the resident Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain with toilet-based superpowers. The main characters laugh at him, the other villains hate him, but the fans love him.
  • Disney's Donald Duck is one of the most famous enforced examples. Disney always ensures that Donald In-Universe is portrayed as second banana to Mickey and that in his adventures with Mickey and Goofy, he's often The Load who gets into trouble (while Mickey and Goofy are portrayed as more collegial, in spite of similar blundering from Goofy), and he's often invoked as the sourpuss and unlikable one. Outside Disney's corporate brand image politics, however, Donald is easily more popular and beloved than Mickey Mouse and Goofy, a character who has been reinterpreted time and time again for multiple generations, and who still finds new audiences around the world. He's a far more consistent and in-demand moneymaker than Mickey and Goofy ever were.
  • Xandir of Drawn Together is largely the show's Butt-Monkey, being on the receiving end of all kinds of abuse by the other characters, particularly Captain Hero. However, in the fandom, he's far and away the most popular character on the show; just go to any Drawn Together message board or fan community and check out how much Xandir traffic there is compared with the other characters.
  • Eric the Cavalier in Dungeons & Dragons (1983) was intended to be a case of The Complainer Is Always Wrong, but his Butt-Monkey luck, copious sarcasm, and the fact he was the only one of the party willing to call Dungeon Master out on his dirty tricks made him a fan favorite, especially among tabletop players who have said things like that to their own dungeon masters.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy:
    • All three of the Eds are this.
      • While Ed's near-lethal idiocy annoys nearly everybody in-universe and it's implied that not even his own family likes him that much (at least in the case of his mom and sister), he's loved for being so stupid and kindhearted as well as providing a lot of memes and comedy.
      • This is played with in the case of Double D, who's probably the most popular character in the series—while he tends to get in trouble just as often as his companions (even when he had minimal involvement in their scam-of-the-day), he's clearly still more liked and respected by the other kids than Ed and Eddy are (the latter especially). In fact, when you really get down it, it seems like the rest of the kids really only dislike Double D because of the fact that he's friends with Ed and Eddy (mainly the latter). Double D's also the biggest Chick Magnet on the show (in the Nerds Are Sexy-way) and, of course, has plenty of fangirls in Real Life.
      • Eddy's the most straight-up example of the titular trio—almost everyone on the show hates him with a passion and not even Ed and Double-Dnote  sugarcoat just how much of an asshole he can be at times (particularly in the later episodes). But plenty of the show's fans do like Eddy (or at least sympathize with him).
    • Marie Kanker (the Kanker Sister who likes Double D) is this as well—while everybody except for her sisters, Lee and May, fears and/or loathes her, she's considered to be the most popular female character on the show. And despite being an Abhorrent Admirer, many male fans consider her to be more attractive than resident hottie Nazz. The same also applies to Marie's sister May (albeit to kind of a lesser extent), especially since May's considered to be the nicest of the Kanker Sisters.
    • Jonny 2x4 is definitely this to an extent—while he's generally more liked and accepted by Kevin, Rolf, Nazz, Sarah, and Jimmy than the Eds and the Kankers, he's still a bit of a loner and it's also clear that the other kids do find him to be weird (including the Eds and the Kankers). He eventually becomes the most despised kid on the show after the movie.
  • The Fairly OddParents:
    • Tootie is extremely popular with the fanbase, despite her position on the show. A decade into the show's life the creators seemed to have finally picked up on this, and elected to make her one of the main characters of the live-action Fairly Odd Movie.
    • Timmy Turner is subject to this as well (mostly in the early seasons).
    • Crocker, although he has become more a Base-Breaking Character (and even a borderline scrappy) case due to his overexposure and Flanderization in later seasons, especially in Seasons 9 and 10.
  • Family Guy: Early on, Meg Griffin wasn't a fan favorite due to being a rather bland, typical teenage girl character. She became popular with fans when the writers turned her character into an exaggerated Butt-Monkey and the rest of the cast started treating her like crap for somehow being considered so ugly, people have committed suicide by setting themselves on fire. Due to her Woobie status, she has lots of fans, many pictures of her on DeviantArt, and lots of stories of her in, which tend to revolve around her getting revenge on everyone who's ever wronged her.
  • Futurama:
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • Eugene's peers (bar Arnold) ostracize him for being a jinx and being all-around unlucky. However, he has a lot of fans for his charming personality.
    • Helga is widely disliked by the same peers for being a bully, but due to her character development, she's arguably the most popular character in the show as well as the Breakout Character. Being a complex Jerkass Woobie really helps.
  • Invader Zim:
    • Dib is the most unloved and abused character in the show. Everyone hates him... and yet, he's the second or third most popular character.
    • Zim himself. Ostracized by his classmates (although they do sometimes stick up for him when he's being picked on by Dib, who they hate more), banished to Foodcourtia by his superiors, then double-banished to an obscure planet beyond the edge of known space when he escapes from his original banishment and tends to be the target of revenge plots whenever he comes into contact with other members of his own race. But his Large Ham tendencies and Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain nature make him a hit with fans.
  • Johnny Bravo: Johnny can't get a girl on his home show, but there are plenty of chicks that would like to handle his bod in Real Life.
  • In Justice League, Hawkgirl ends up becoming hated in-universe following the Thangar Invasion, where neither the Thangarians nor most Earth residents are willing to cut her a break. The other members of the League are pretty much her only holdouts, and it took many of them a long time to accept that she had atoned. But among fans, she has far more support.
  • On KaBlam!, Henry is pretty much the planet's punching bag. But of course, most of the fans wanna pick him up and hug him.
  • Among Kaeloo fans, Stumpy is the most popular character, yet he is a literal Cosmic Plaything and his friends make fun of him and bully him.
  • Daffy Duck from Looney Tunes is one of the longest-running and most famous examples ever. His ever-escalating rivalry with Bugs Bunny has always been balanced by the audience knowledge that Daffy is very funny... or more accurately, his constant and frequently self-inflicted suffering is. A major theme of Looney Tunes: Back in Action is that everyone hates Daffy, but can't get rid of him because he is a pivotal part of the show. Interestingly enough, after that movie, Warner Bros. began using Daffy a lot more, giving him bigger roles and even his own show.
  • Jenny from My Life as a Teenage Robot. Oftentimes she gets no respect from her hometown in spite of her saving it every other day, only has three real friends (one of whom has a bit of a infatuation problem with her), and is the school freak. With the fans, she remains one of the popular and iconic Nicktoon characters to this day, with many people hoping for a reboot of the show. Half of this trope does start to fade away as the show goes on though, Jenny's heroics are not entirely lost on the town and eventually they give her the recognition she deserves.
  • Miraculous Ladybug: Downplayed with Cat Noir, who's a popular hero, but to a lesser extent than Ladybug. In universe, several characters already made clear that they see him as less important, and as her sidekick. When it comes to girls, many (including Marinette) have crushes on his Secret Identity, Adrien, who's a popular model, with hundred of fans. But nobody loves Cat Noir, including his crush Ladybug (aka Marinette), who is turned off by the alter ego of the boy she loves. Fans, however, love Cat Noir even more than Adrien, the most often, due to his funnier and edgier personality. (And his Superpowered Evil Side, Cat blanc, fall under "Evil is cool".) In fact, he's responsible for cases of Perverse Sexual Lust among more or less little girls in the fandom.note 
    • Played straight with Chloe. She was never popular in her school (unlike the classic Alpha Bitch character), with nearly no friends, and she's the Creator's Pest. For that reason, she was The Dragon to Hawk Moth in season 3 finale. As a result, season four saw Chloe stripped of her superhero status when the Bee Miraculous was given to her newfound and nicer half-sister, before Chloe was put Out of Focus. But many fans found her behavior hilarious, and her getting her comeuppance each time she wronged someone was satisfying (unlike the other and way more dangerous Alpha Bitch Lila). Chloe was also the only character who went through positive Character Development during the first three seasons, from a Hate Sink bully to a part time superhero with the Freudian Excuse of her horrible mother. Throwing away all her development by the window arguably gained her more support from the fandom, actually.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Princess Luna. Within the show's universe, she comes to be accepted back after her exile, but many ponies are initially suspicious of her, as seen in the episode "Luna Eclipsed". Outside of the show, she's one of the most popular characters, even beyond the Mane Cast.
    • The Great And Powerful Trixie is an egotistical showoff attention horse who spends most of her stage performance in her first appearance bragging about her accomplishments, humiliates Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow Dash after they heckle her show, and earns the scorn of most of Ponyville before the episode is over. In real life she has a dedicated fanbase, regularly appears in fanworks, Snips and Snails swiftly became utterly despised by the fans for causing the conflict that ruined Trixie's career, Derpibooru (the largest FiM fansite) uses Trixie's color palette and cutie mark as an icon (as well as the alternate domain "Trixiebooru" and her face as the icon for the "best pony" category), and the owner of Equestria Daily (the second-largest FiM fansite) is an open and unabashed Trixie fan to the point that people used to have him appear in fanworks just to praise her. The showrunners very clearly picked up on her popularity, as she was the first antagonist ever in My Little Pony to get a toy, her second appearance had her return for revenge against Ponyville (particularly against Snips and Snails) that ends particularly well for her, and by the sixth season, Trixie had gone from one-off "antagonist" to a regularly appearing supporting character who has eased back on her narcissism.
    • Gilda the Griffon also receives plenty of love from the fanbase despite her being almost literally run out of Ponyville by the main cast at the end of her debut, getting one more appearance several seasons later.
    • Silver Spoon is often characterized by the fanbase as being emotionally conflicted and not actually enjoying taking part in Diamond Tiara's bullying of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, but doing so simply out of loyalty to her only friend. In contrast, Diamond Tiara herself was considered a Hate Sink by the fandom until her Freudian Excuse was revealed in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark".
    • Much of Fluttershy's childhood consisted of other pegasi bullying her for her substandard flying skills, to the point that she left her hometown behind and never looked back. But even when she got older, she continues to be berated or taken advantage of by other characters. However, Fluttershy was voted the most popular member of the Mane Six by an official poll.
    • Discord, even after making a Heel–Face Turn, was still distrusted by the show's cast for a good while due to his antics in the past. Said antics are hilarious and made him among the most popular characters in the show despite his few appearances.
    • Maud Pie, Pinkie's older sister. Pinkie adores her to bits, but the rest of the Mane Six were initially put off by her extremely Stoic mannerisms, monotone voice, apparent dullness, and her obsession with rocks. They fail in bonding with her and even express that they don't really consider her a friend since they have virtually nothing in common with her. The fanbase however finds her quite intriguing and even hilarious.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Doofenshmirtz is pretty much this, Oh so much. He's victim to a Hilariously Abusive Childhood and his best and evidently only friend is also his Arch-Enemy. And earlier in the series, his own daughter didn't appreciate him either, but Characterization Marches On. But put short, he only has Perry, Vanessa, and Norm, and that's it. His balloon story doesn't even begin to cover it. He was forced to wear dresses after his mother believed they were having a girl, but it was a boy. He also had to become a garden gnome, moved to NYC after he was kidnapped, etc. One has to believe whenever or not he is really a misunderstood guy.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: Mojo Jojo. He would always be the butt of jokes, and he never wins. But in real life, fans love him due to how funny he is. And let's not forget how he speaks. Being the villain who appears the most, he's obviously the one who takes the most damage.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In the episode "Stimpy's Fan Club", Stimpy gets tons of adoring fan mail, while Ren gets none. Stimpy tries to cheer Ren up by making him the president of Stimpy's Fan Club, but this just drives Ren to new levels of psychosis (and for Ren, that's really saying something). The next week, Nickelodeon got a truckload of letters from children telling Ren they loved him too.
  • Rick and Morty: Rick Sanchez is hated by many characters In-Universe due to his eccentric, dangerous and unpredictable nature, and seems to alienate everyone he comes across. His daughter only wants him to stay because of her abandonment issues, and his grandchildren have also slowly beginning to dislike him due to his above-mentioned nature, and knowing he has infinite grandchildren ready to be replaced at a drop of a hat. Even infinite versions of Rick hate him, which is reciprocated. Rick has very few people he can call a true friend, and it's implied due to them turning a blind eye to his more strange activities. Outside the universe though, Rick is extremely popular among fans, to the extent that his rants have become Memetic Mutations as well as Rick being genuinely funny, smart and quirky in nature, and accurate about his world in general.
  • The Simpsons: While the audience finds them lovable, it's made clear that most of the populace finds the Simpsons troublesome and/or dangerous. In the episode "Simpson Safari", this subtle exchange occurs:
    Homer: The Simpsons are going to Africa!
    Family: Yay!
    (In Africa, two tribesmen dance around a fire. Suddenly, one of them stops)
    Tribesman: What is it, N'gungo?
    N'gungo: Evil is coming.
    Tribesman: What shall we do, N'gungo?
    N'gungo (puts his mask on the other tribesman's head): You are N'gungo now! (runs away screaming)
    • Milhouse fits this trope fairly well. He's one of the least popular kids at his school and a hopeless Butt-Monkey in the show, but in the fanbase, he's one of the most popularly quoted characters.
  • Steven Universe:
    • The Crystal Gems initially can't stand Peridot because a.) she's one of the Homeworld gems that they've been fighting for centuries and b.) she is obnoxious and annoying. It's even implied that her own allies tolerate her at best. Although these issues lessened as the plot moved on, they were very much there for quite a while. Meanwhile, the fans have pretty much always loved her and she quickly became a popular character thanks to her antics and complete inability to be threatening.
    • Lapis Lazuli is, for some time, mistreated and manipulated by everyone other than Steven himself. Out-of-universe she is quite possibly the most popular character outside of the protagonists thanks to her cute design and tragic story.
    • In-Universe, Jasper is highly respected for being a pinnacle of gemkind. None of our heroes like her though; this is compounded in Steven Universe: Future when Jasper is one of the few gems interested in preserving Homeworld's former warlike ethos. Though Jasper has committed morally reprehensible actions, it is hinted, then outright confirmed, that the circumstances of her "birth", combined with Homeworld's fascism, has left her with a deep, abiding sense of self-loathing, that is only ameliorated by her deep, abiding love for her diamond. This, along with her beefy physique, makes her a very popular character.
  • South Park:
    • Kenny is killed off on a regular basis for five seasons, bullied and insulted by all of his friends, and generally treated like dirt. Of course, as soon as he was Killed Off for Real, the fans were in an uproar, and he was back for good by the end of the season.
    • Subsequently, the character of Butters has taken Kenny's place as the fan-loved, but terribly treated character.
    • According to Craig in "Pandemic," the entire main cast qualifies as this. Cartman, being a sociopath, comes as no surprise, but Stan and Kyle are disliked because of their propensity towards getting involved in Zany Scheme after Zany Scheme that end up with them getting shot into space or stranded in Peru, which: A) only happens to them, out of all the children in South Park, and B) is their fault, according to — well, everyone in South Park.
    • Pip, who nobody in the show seems to like (including the creators) but has lots of fanart.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Squidward Tentacles is often berated, loathed, and disrespected by most of the rest of the characters; which is pretty understandable considering a majority of the time he is a selfish and lazy jerk. That has not stopped countless fans however from sympathizing with his misfortunes and appreciating his Deadpan Snarker moments.
    • SpongeBob himself seems to be despised by nearly everyone in Bikini Bottom, to the point where they actually have a holiday dedicated to getting away from him. This is however a zigzagged example, since in other episodes Spongebob is practically a town hero who is adored by all.
  • Furrball from Tiny Toon Adventures is an unwanted stray cat who is often abused and unable to find a home with anyone but Elmyra (who's the most frequent source of said abuse). His status as the show's resident Butt-Monkey is epitomized in the lyrics to the opening theme, "Furrball's unlucky," complemented by a piano falling on him as he's happily sniffing a flower. Yet he's quite popular for a relatively minor character, with numerous fanart and fanfiction devoted to him. Being both a Ridiculously Cute Critter and The Woobie probably helps a lot, as quite a few YouTube commenters on his shorts express their desire to see him get a home. To say nothing of the fans who want to see him "get lucky" in the form of a certain purple skunkette from the same show...
  • Tom and Jerry: The former of the titular duo is not only more often than not the loser of the two's altercations at the end of many shorts, he is loathed by almost everyone else in the show, and most of them even take Jerry's side during the two's frequent quarrels. This, however, doesn't stop Tom from receiving a rather popular fanbase in which about 60% of them would root for him to win at the end, usually because Jerry either started the conflict between the two for no reason at all or took his retribution towards Tom too far (as well as the fact that Jerry often portrays a rodent who steals more food than he really needs from the kitchen and Tom is ordered by his owners to get rid of the mouse). Luckily, in many of those instances, Tom ends up getting the last laugh at the end.
  • Total Drama
    • Chris is hated by the majority of the contestants in-universe, but some of the fans find him to be an interesting part of the show.
    • Don from The Ridonculous Race could count. While Don was hated less by the contestants (only the Ice Dancers, Laurie, and Gerry hated him), some of the fans that liked Chris didn't think [Don] was an interesting host.
    • Heather is a perfect example, she was the most hated character in-universe (until Alejandro showed up), but is a fan favorite and has one of the largest fan bases out of every character in the show.
    • While Duncan was one of the most popular characters in the show, the vast majority of the contestants in TDA hated him in-universe. This was evident in the TDA finale, where Duncan won in a close [3-4] vote in his ending.
    • Cody during Island, who was disliked by most of the girls in-universe, but was an Ensemble Dark Horse in the fanbase. In World Tour this gets reversed where he's a favorite in-universe but becomes a Base-Breaking Character out-universe.
    • Harold is fairly popular in the fan base but was deemed a loser and Butt-Monkey in the series. Though much like Cody he becomes more liked in-universe as the series progresses.
    • Courtney, in a sense. She's very unpopular with most of the other contestants because of her bossiness and "win at all costs"-attitude. However in real life, while she's currently a Base-Breaking Character, she has one of the largest and most vocal fanbases.
    • Noah is not very liked in the show, due to his condescending, sarcastic know-it-all, slacker nature. But in the fan base, he's an Ensemble Dark Horse, and unlike Cody, his support has not waned.
    • Ezekiel was hated by the female campers before his transformation and utterly feared by everyone afterwards, but he's built up quite a fanbase that thinks of him as The Woobie and want him to get another chance, and are hoping for him to be reverted back to his human self.
    • Scott in All-Stars arguably qualifies. He still carries his hatred from Revenge of the Island in the show, but his Iron Butt Monkey and increased stupidity has earned him a lot of fans from his very large hate base.
    • Samey from Pahkitew Island could possibly be the best candidate for the show to represent this trope. In that season, she is not strongly well-liked by her fellow contestants (except Jasmine, who understood her the most) due to her bullying sister Amy making them believe that she's "horrible at everything". In contrast in real life, many fans have shown their huge love for her because of how she is genuinely sympathetic and kindhearted, as opposed to her sister who is greatly hated because of her heartless, ignorant, and barbaric nature in the show, especially towards the former.
    • Scarlett is probably universally disliked in the show after the events of "Scarlett Fever", but she gained a lot of fans both before and after that incident in real life.
    • Max is another perfect example, as he's arguably the most hated character since Heather, yet has quite a sizable fan base (despite being a Base-Breaking Character).
    • The Ice Dancers from The Ridonculous Race were the villains of that show/season, and became hated by every other team for their cheating and backstabbing throughout the series. These traits also made them the most entertaining to watch.
    • The Goths regularly freaked out the other teams with their dour personalities, but they were decent people, and the weird situations they got into made them a lot of fans.
  • Transformers: Animated: Blitzwing alternates between an aloof Jerkass, a Hair-Trigger Temper Jerkass, and a psycho Jerkass, and even his partner Lugnut can't stand him all the time. He's also one of the most popular characters in the show.
  • If there was ever a poster boy for this trope, it'd be Wacky Races own Dick Dastardly. Not only is he universally despised by all (even his own sidekick), but he never won a single race in the original series despite having the fastest vehicle in the tournament (mostly due to a compulsive desire to cheat, and every attempt always backfiring on him spectacularly). And the one time he actually appeared to have won a race by legitimate means (and by legitimate, we mean by the typical standards of this race), the judges called foul play and disqualified him, despite the same tactic being used by another racer who won. Regardless of these failures, Dick Dastardly is easily the most popular character in the fandom, to the extent that he (and fellow contestant Penelope Pitstop) got spinoffs!
  • Jack Spicer from Xiaolin Showdown. An Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain/Butt-Monkey, described by many as being the funniest character on the show, and even having the largest number of fangirls. Following him is Raimundo, who has either a larger or equal number of fans, and is the butt of a lot of jokes within the show (not as much as Jack).