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Sandbox / Fantasy Creature Stereotype Flip

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The stereotype is that elves, unicorns, robots, aliens, vampires and other fantasy and science fiction creatures to be otherworldly, dignified, or even terrifying. Well, this fantasy or scifi creature subverts the expectation by having a characterization very much at odds with their stereotyped racial "Hat". To put simply, a violation of Genre Consistency regarding fantasy creatures.

For example, instead of a snobbish elf you get a slob, the werewolf isn't a woodsy Beast Man but instead a scholar of refinement, and rather than a whimsical and lyrical she-unicorn this one acts as if he were from the common parts of Boston. If someone asks why they're not living up to their respective trope, they'll get a response like "You expected me to be like in the comic books/fairy tales? Just when you think a meat-bag can't get any dumber..." If there's an actual explanation, it's that living under The Masquerade and among humans for long enough has rubbed off, and that Lots of Planets Have a North.


...or it's all just an affectation for the fun of it, which is why this is usually Played for Laughs. However, if characters take this to mean that the creature isn't a threat or powerful, they're likely to discover it's Obfuscating Stupidity and the creature is every bit as dangerous or powerful as the stories make out. Or maybe they played that straight - either the dragon turns out to be a wimp, or the Cutesy Dwarf is a Killer Rabbit.

Compare Stereotype Flip for cases of this with normal humans, My Species Doth Protest Too Much when one member of a species defies the common stereotypes of his species in universe and Our Monsters Are Different, general cases for how different media depict their monsters differently.



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  • The Coca Cola ad for "El Hada Futbolera", or "The Soccer Fairy," a guy fairy who is more stereotypically a soccer hooligan than delicate sprite.

    Films — Animated 
  • Mulan: Mushu is a Chinese dragon who sounds like... well, Eddie Murphy. His street-smart lingo is hilariously out of place, especially in his intro scene where he's surrounded by grim elderly spirits.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In Elf, Buddy the elf has a very elf-like demeanor, but doesn't look like an elf - because he isn't, he's Obliviously Adopted.
  • It's a Wonderful Life: Clarence the 2nd class Angel has a very unangelic demeanor, since he's a 17th century New England shopkeeper trying to earn his wings.
  • The Santa Clause: The Tooth Fairy is not a pretty little pixie woman, but a rather jovial and burly guy who dresses as if he were a completely mundane dentist — except for the wings.
  • The Tooth Fairy: Dwayne Johnson plays a bruiser-brawler hockey player who is sentenced to act as the Tooth Fairy.

  • In the children's book Cold Cereal, Mick the leprechaun wears a red tracksuit instead of green. And Harvey, his rabbit friend, wears a button down shirt, a tie, and a pair of slacks. Additionally, Biggs the nanny is Bigfoot, and he wears regular clothes and calls the children he takes care of "his babies." He zig-zags this trope by still living in a forest-reserve park in a tree, but the tree house in question is well decorated inside with 60s decor and clean.
  • Discworld has lots of examples:
    • Hwel is a dwarf playwright who is the Disc's equivalent of Shakespeare.
    • Casanunda is a sophisticated, womanising dwarf who claims to be the world's greatest lover.
    • "John Smith" is a vampire, president of the blood-abstinence group the Black Ribboners, who changed his name from Count Vargo St Gruet von Vilinus, affects a perfectly normal accent, and dresses as blandly and un-vampirically as possible.
    • The goblins are an entire species of this, in-universe - humans tend to assume they're dirty, stupid creatures, but they're highly intelligent and technologically and artistically capable.
  • Zigzagged with werewolf Remus Lupin from Harry Potter. While he is still capable of being dangerous in his wolf form, as long as he remembers to take his wolfsbane potion, he's docile and friendly even as a wolf. As a human, he is gentle, reserved, intelligent, levelheaded, compassionate, and calm- very different from many a "savage" werewolf.
  • The Spellsinger series of humorous fantasy has several examples; the population of Funny Animals and mythical creatures all are generally subversions of the expected fantasy types. This ranges from style (Mudge the Otter is a womanizing rogue with a cockney accent) to type (the mighty Clothahump the wizard is an unassuming turtle, Drom the unicorn is immune to virgins because he's homosexual, a dragon has discovered Marxist philosophy, the worst pirate on the seas is actually a parrot)...
  • Dragon Bones: half-dwarf Axiel works as valet of the Battle Butler variety for the Hurog family. The other dwarves of the setting, likewise, are a lot less grumpy and more refined than the stereotype would have it.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout 3: Faux is an an erudite Super Mutant, a race known for their Hulk Speak and somewhat low IQ's.
  • The Zeekeeper in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is built up to be an ancient majestic avian protector of Pi'illo Island. When the brothers awaken him, he speaks in the Classical Tongue, with lines like "Those who hinder me will become one with the light." However, after Luigi defeat him, it's revealed his real manner of speaking is one of a Totally Radical Jive Turkey. Obviously done for the Rule of Funny, along with his overall attitude.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner: The Grape Fairie has a gruff New York accent which completely clashes with his ballerina-esque appearance.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • A staple in Acquisitions Incorporated: Chris Perkins loves giving his NPCs weird accents, such as the Surfer Dude Rad from "The Prisoners of Slaughterfast" or the redneck-sounding unicorn from "Ark of the Mad Mage".
  • Steve D'Monster: Despite being Santa's Head-Elf-In-Charge-Of-Stuff, Ella the Elf has a very sarcastic and snarky demeanor, very little patience for just about anyone she encounters, and her skills lie in mechanical engineering rather than toy making (then again, all of her brothers went into toy making early on, and they needed somebody handy around the house).

    Western Animation 
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: This was a plot point in one episode. On the run from the Huntsman, Jake got lost and was saddled with a group of magical beings who fit this trope. Giantesses are usually depicted as intelligent gorgeous women, so the giantess in the group was unattractive and unintelligent. Mermaids are usually depicted as having a natural affinity for the seas and oceans, so the mermaid of the group was afraid of swimming. And leprechauns are usually depicted as Born Lucky, so the leprechaun of the group had a huge streak of bad luck
  • The unicorns on Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends have tough guy accents and don't take kindly to being called "goily".
  • Freakazoid!: Cave Guy looks like a giant blue caveman but has a Boston Brahmin accent and is Wicked Cultured.
  • Gravity Falls: In "The Last Mabelcorn" Mabel and friends discover the Unicorns in Gravity Falls, and except for Celestabellebethabelle (who works the stereotype for all it's worth) all talk with California skater accents.
  • Private Snafu: Some shorts feature a Technical Fairy, First Class, depicted as a tough-looking guy with Perma-Stubble and a rough New York accent.
  • In The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Lee meets a leprechaun who is tall and speaks like a hippie, who points out that this is how real leprechauns look like.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: A christmas episode features an elf of Santa who talks like a CIA agent. His first scene even has him presenting his badge.


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