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Unintentionally Unsympathetic / Fan Works

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  • Frigid Winds And Burning Hearts claims to be even-handed when it comes to Princess Luna vs. Princess Celestia, but swiftly comes down on Luna's side. Even as it reveals she was perfectly willing to have all of Equestria collapse into riots and civil war if it meant she could leave. Even as she bullies, lies, and manipulates every other pony she meets to have her way.
  • How I Became Yours:
    • Prince Zuko, upon finding out that Mai hid his letters to Katara, hits her, divorces her and runs off to go to Katara. He's meant to be motivated by love and reacting to Mai's betrayal, but he comes off as an abusive husband and irresponsible ruler.
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    • Similarly, Katara is portrayed as grieving over her baby's death, but comes off as selfish by inexplicably emphasizing that her unborn son died a day before her birthday, and the morality of her decision to kill Mai with bloodbending instead of taking her in alive comes off as fairly questionable.
  • My Immortal: According to the author, you are supposed to like Ebony Dark'ness Dementia Raven Way. For those who don't know, Ebony is every negative stereotype about goths made manifest, in the vessel of a self-centered sociopath. Of course, it could be INTENTIONALLY Unsympathetic if you subscribe into the theory that it's a Troll Fic instead of just really bad writing.
  • In The End of Ends, Beast Boy is this, even before he becomes Count Logan and starts destroying entire worlds. His whining over Terra wanting a normal life, even one away from him, easily qualifies as Wangst, he essentially stalks Terra, and resigns from the Titans because after they call him out on beating up Terra's friends, he's convinced none of them like or appreciate him.
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  • Despite Cori Falls going out of her way to make them sympathetic woobies, her versions of Jessie, James, and Meowth become very unsympathetic as her stories go on, not only in their brutal treatment of characters like Ash, but in their self-righteous behavior, constant whining about their bad lot in life, and blaming their (usually self-inflicted) problems on anyone but themselves.
  • Princess Celestia in Chains. Even though it's made clear she didn't enjoy turning the humans living in Equus into slaves for the ponies and she is genuinely haunted by her decision, the fact that the flashbacks explaining why humanity was enslaved in Chapter 15 made Celestia look like she was carrying a massive Idiot Ball, her weak attempts at justification to a very angered Luna, as well as the fact that she refuses to just overturn slavery overnight have made her come off like a weak and incompetent leader easily manipulated by her Evil Chancellors to many a reader. The fact that it took protests from pegasus abolitionists to outlaw the practice of human gladiatorial rings, as well as the fact that a great many slaves are being mistreated (Twilight and Applejack are very clearly exceptions rather than the rule), yet Celestia doesn't seem to have done much to improve those conditions doesn't exactly help her case either. The author eventually had to pull an Author's Saving Throw of sorts with the reveal that Celestia funds anti-slavery movements and is playing the Long Game, and with Celestia herself feeling she can never truly atone for what she did, but for some readers it just didn't cut it.
    Celestia: Luna, please, I need your help. I want your help to bring things to how they should be, with humans free.
    Luna: Why don't you just force the council to do as you command?
    Celestia: That would not solve the problem. Ponies have had humans as slaves for centuries, to just force them to give it up would be difficult, these things will take time, but...
    Luna: You say you want to set things right, but you're not willing to do so in the quickest and simplest way?
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  • Little Sun has Sunset Shimmer as Princess Celestia's biological daughter, with her anger over being given up for adoption and keeping it secret during years as Celestia's student leading to her Start of Darkness. This was after Celestia saved her from an assassination attempt, showing that the reasons for secrecy, which weighed heavily on Celestia and leaked through no fault of hers, were fully justifiable. Then there's Sunset inexplicably, instantaneously becoming a jerk, forgetting all the good times they had together and rejecting everything Celestia offers to reconcile insisting she be made an alicorn, the one thing beyond her power.
  • The Doctor Who fanfic Fragments tries to be a Fix Fic for the Tenth Doctor's regeneration. Here 10 comes across as incredibly selfish, hating 11 just for being the next Doctor and wishing he could die so he was the last. And for this he gets Rose. Karma Houdinis together.
  • The Axis Powers Hetalia Alternate Universe fanfic Not Everything is Silver and Gold tries to paint Prussia/Gilbert as sympathetic because he lost Ludwig, and can't get him back unless he finds a Pure One, a being that can find treasure easily, to Arthur, the guy who murdered the reader's parents. However, the fact that chapter 2 involves Gilbert raping you instead of explaining what's going on, and why, then constantly forcing himself onto you and basically behaving like an abusive boyfriend doesn't exactly win sympathy from the readers.
  • Emerald of I'm Here to Help can come across this way, especially if one interprets the fic as him being right.
    • Various records throughout the fic hint at an extensive terrorist record in the future, which involve multiple attacks on Crystal Tokyo that put a lot of people's lives in danger. It doesn't help matters that the senshi of the future aren't shown having actually done much wrong and actually try to create a peaceful world where everyone's safe.
    • The fact that it's implied that Emerald and his teammates chose to attack the senshi first makes them not come across as particularly admirable or make the senshi look very unlikable for choosing to send them away regardless of who was in the right about the purification.
  • Iris lands in this territory in Ace Attorney fic The Fey Family Cousin. Not only in this continuity she was watching Phoenix's trial and haven't lifted a finger to help him(in canon it was heavily implied that she didn't know about it until it was already over), but her motivation for not telling him the truth about herself mas moved from canon "I Want My Beloved to Be Happy" to "I don't want to be hated" and from there to "just leave me alone" making her seem rather selfish.
  • In My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic, pretty much all the protagonists are this. The Original Characters come off as racist and sexist, treat everyone with different views than them as enemies that need to be destroyed or re-educated, and change Equestria's society into what reads uncomfortably like a fascist regime. The canon characters have been reduced to one-note caricatures almost solely devoted to either Character Shilling the OCs or clutching the Idiot Ball. As a result, it becomes hard to sympathize with any of them.
  • In The Real Us, Harry and Hermione are pathological liars (The entire canon series is pretty much lies they told), have a sociopathic disregard for anyone who isn't them and won't worship at their feet (for example, manipulating the Weasleys, including by using memory charms at the slightest provocation), manipulate the law and their status as heroes of the Wizarding World to visit Disproportionate Retribution on their personal enemies, and are insufferably smug about everything, outright boasting about how they lied to and manipulated everyone. Is it any wonder that they come off as outright villainous?
  • The Bloody Ashikabi tries to make Lily and James Potter out to be sympathetic in their introduction by revealing that they had Harry sent away to protect him from Death Eaters wanting to avenge Voldemort's death. The problem is that not only did they never BOTHER checking up on Harry or see where Dumbledore left him (which should have clearly been their first priority to begin with), some reviewers pointed out that they had more children, making their point about Death Eater attacks void, as they are just putting more kids in danger. Not only does it fail to present them as Parents as People, but it makes them borderline incompetent. Their anger at Dumbledore should have made them out to be Mama Bear and Papa Wolf respectably, but again, they never bothered checking to see if Harry was safe to begin with, meaning they had no right to be angry at the old man when they acted no better.
  • One notorious Rule 34 fic featured Matthias and Cornflower, the supposed Messiah figure and his girlfriend, responding to overhearing someone being raped and tortured to death by randomly starting to have sex.
  • Pokémon Zeta and Omicron has an interesting case of this with Zeta/Omicron, your Evil Twin who corrupted and stole the signature Legendary Pokemon of the Gold, the protagonist of Pokémon Gold and Silver, resulting in him becoming a Fallen Hero in an effort to get it back. They are clearly not supposed to be a sympathetic character, as they smugly rub their theft in Gold's face, show little concern when you snag said signature Pokemon from them, and acted out said theft (which ultimately resulted in every bad thing that happens in the game) solely so they could be the owner of every Pokemon in the world; despite this, it's clear that the creator intended for them to have a biting Not So Different What the Hell, Player? moment, when (after going back in time and witnessing them stealing said Pokemon) they tell you that you're no different since you snag every Shadow Pokemon you find (including Brendan's Rayquaza, which indirectly causes his death), capture every Olympus Mons you can, and never care to think of the consequences, before leaving without any consequence for her actions. The problem (aside from them being a massive Hypocrite with a super-flimsy At Least I Admit It justification) is that the circumstances are almost entirely different: the player was railroaded into snagging Brendan's Rayquaza (and on the Heroic Route, you're doing it to stop a much larger threat), and have been snagging Shadow Pokemon to free them from their Shadow state (including the aforementioned Rayquaza); Zeta/Omicron deliberately transformed Gold's signature Pokemon into Shadow Pokemon for entirely selfish reasons, and has made absolutely no efforts to purify it (thus causing it to suffer, as Shadow Pokemon are The Heartless). Because of all this, Zeta/Omicron come across not as an unrepentant monster who nonetheless raises some serious moral questions, but an unrepentant monster whose actions are made even worse by her almost sociopathic lack of self-awareness.
  • Secret Love is a Land Before Time fic where Ducky and Petrie fall in love and have to keep up the secret, learned by their friends, their mothers, and Littlefoot's grandparents. The fic tries to show Ducky and Petrie as being victims of prejudice (which is brought up quite a bit in the story), but those who do protect them are bound to be very angry with those who don't tolerate them (such as Mr. Threehorn, who got a Ron the Death Eater treatment and got turned into an intolerant interspecies-hating jerk). There's also a chapter when Hyp's father is chewing out Hyp for being a bully, but he seems more angry that his son is against Petrie and Ducky's secret relationship than he is about Hyp swatting Ducky into a tar pit.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug fic Bring Me Home, Adrien falls into this pretty heavily after his decision to shut Ladybug out of his life without saying goodbye after the defeat of Hawk Moth, and it unfortunately still applies even after the story's attempts to redeem him for it, thanks to a few unaddressed factors:
    • First of all, regardless of Adrien's actions toward Ladybug, his overall situation is frankly not as bad as it's made out to be. We're told more than once that he "lost everything that day" after his father was unmasked as Hawk Moth, but the fact is that we see little evidence of him suffering socially or financially from this, since he willingly sold the mansion and his stake in his father's company the first chance he got, none of his school friends have been shown to treat him differently because of his father, and he isn't shown to have any regrets about leaving behind modelling to pursue his interest in teaching, nor does he seem to deny that he has a lot more freedom now than he ever had when Gabriel was running his life. For comparison, other noteworthy fanfic portrayals of Adrien in a similar position have had Gabriel being killed in the final confrontation and Adrien being taken in by resentful guardians in another country (Back To Us) or had Adrien's career explicitly suffering because of his father's reputation and forcing him to leave Paris just to find designers willing to work with him (Ruined With You). It is eventually revealed that he's been suffering nightmares of the final battle, but that only excuses so much.
    • While this isn't the first "post-victory separation and reunion" fic to involve Adrien consciously choosing to leave Ladybug behind without revealing his identity because of his father, it comes across as a lot more unforgivably callous here because, as Marinette points out, he always had the choice to come back to her. For comparison, Ruined With You!Adrien made a snap-judgement to return his Miraculous to Master Fu without waiting for Ladybug, thus leaving her with no illusions about seeing her partner again, and he regretted it later but couldn't take it back so easily. Bring Me Home!Adrien knows that Ladybug has been sitting on their rooftop meeting place every night for years, occasionally crying, but despite still having the ring locked in a safe in his bedroom, he still isn't willing to return to her. And while he is of course called out on it after the reveal, it arguably becomes a case of Easily Forgiven due to subsequent events, thus pushing him further into this category.
    • One of Adrien's stated excuses for not contacting her is that he honestly thought she was crying over some problem in her civilian life, because he didn't think that she'd miss Chat Noir this much if she only saw him as a friend. Even if any of this had still been correct, it doesn't make it any less callous that he wasn't willing to comfort her over whatever this civilian problem was, especially after he saw her crying for multiple years without getting better. It also raises troubling implications about how much Adrien values his other friends such as Nino.
    • In one of Adrien and Marinette's scenes together before the reveal, he calls her out on the way he's been shutting people such as Alya and her parents out despite her obvious growing depression. Okay, it's a fair assessment (especially after we learn that Tikki herself had been encouraging Marinette to reveal herself and get support), but coming from him it's staggeringly hypocritical given what he's been doing to Ladybug so far. Particularly jarring is this line delivered without a hint of self-awareness: "You’re not the only one who’s hurting. My mother’s dead, my father’s in jail, I’ve pushed the only woman I’ve ever loved away, and yet you don’t see me going around making everyone pay for my sorrows." In fact, he outright states eventually that one of his reasons for abandoning her was not wanting to burden her with his family's problems. He apologises for the outburst later that night, but the hypocrisy goes unaddressed.
    • As for why Adrien's "redemption" does little to turn any of this around, it comes shortly after the reveal and Marinette's justifiably furious reaction to it. When Tikki flies in his window and alerts him to Marinette getting in a car crash just outside the city, which no one else will be able to rescue her from in time, Adrien refuses to put his ring back on because he wants to avoid Plagg's anger at him for taking it off in the first place. Even when Tikki tells him that he's going to need Cataclysm to get her out of the car, he still insists on leaving the ring behind, once again putting the pain he wants to avoid above that which he knows the woman he loves is going through, and it takes a withering verbal beatdown from Tikki to change his mind. As such, what was almost an effective (if rather contrived) redemption falls flat because he fails to demonstrate that he's learned anything from the consequences of his mistakes. Nevertheless, it's accepted as one in-universe and he and Marinette have only gotten closer since.
    • Marinette also comes across unsympathetic. She spent years refusing to open up to anyone about her problems, despite Tikki encouraging her to unmask herself if it would help and despite Alya, her parents and others being openly worried about her, and it seems that she never went to any effort to track down Chat Noir beyond sitting at their meeting place - if Ladybug had spoken to the Ladyblog about his disappearance, Adrien at least wouldn't have been able to fool himself about what she was crying about. Her excuse for this is that to unmask to anyone before Chat Noir would have felt like she was betraying him, but she continues to do this even after finding out he was Adrien (and had effectively betrayed her first), choosing to leave town rather than seek help from Alya or her parents (which gets her into the aforementioned car crash). What's more, after the rescue and her reconciliation with Adrien, she lies to them about the cause of her depression and why she walked out on Adrien, and there's little indication that she's planning to reveal to them despite the story having progressed two years since this scene. Eventually Alya finds out herself but doesn't tell them, for some reason feeling guilty about not being there for her even though she had clearly tried to be.
  • The author of The Longest Road clearly intends for the readers to side with Ash in regards to him being banned from Erika's Gym for not liking her perfume. Unfortunately, the fact that he gets her ousted from her job for being a lesbian (for some reason, the story reveals that LGBT members cannot be trainers, let alone Gym Leaders), makes him come across as extremely worse than Erika. Doesn't help that as soon as everything is said and done, he's all cheerful and ready to go to his next stop, like it's just everyday business, and without a care that the rest of the Gym's staff might find themselves out of a job. The writer of the story later rewrote the chapter to exclude that portion. Instead, Erika's just a jerk who gets in trouble for denying Ash a battle simply due to his hatred of perfume.
  • In Silent Reproach, Steve "Captain America" Rogers gives a polite and understated but firm Quit Your Whining to Buffy about her life as a Slayer, likening her to a draftee during World War II, and saying that whether drafted or volunteers, the soldiers simply did their jobs. We're meant to conclude that this is a well-deserved reality check for Buffy, but Cap fails to acknowledge that not only has Buffy been fighting for much longer and from a much younger age than he has, but she also receives much less help and no pay, with her duty only ending when she dies. One reviewer even points out that Cap should be outraged over Buffy being treated this way. Someone later wrote a response to the story where Xander chews Steve out over those exact points, including that Buffy died twice to save the world.
  • In Wishing Well, Wysteria and Sparkleworks have a voltaile relationship full of Belligerent Sexual Tension, with Wysteria usually being the instigator of the arguing. They switch between periods of constant arguments, before going into a Sickeningly Sweethearts phase where they do nothing but kiss, then going back to their arguing. On at least one occasion Sparkleworks has ended up bruised. None of the other ponies care much about their arguing due to how common it is. Sparklework's and Wysteria's relationship is supposed to be seen in a light-hearted relationship, but it comes off more as abusive.
  • The Assassination of Twilight Sparkle had Princess Luna learn of the assignation plot, but fails to stop it due to The Mole she planted being ousted. She then take revenge against the mastermind behind it by giving then nightmares until it desired their sanity, unaware of how it would lead his daughter to become a more dangerous villain. But despite this willingness to act Luna never does more to stop the plot or even warn Twilight or others about it. When she does act her unwillingness to straight-up kill allowed him to corrupt their daughter making it obvious Luna's impulsive act of revenge would do more harm than good. When the author looked back on the series, they admitted Luna's handling was a mistake.


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