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Expy Cleanup Thread

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An expy is an unambiguous and deliberate copy of another, older character."

Note the word "another" and the words "unambiguous", "deliberate", and "copy". Those are the important words.

Here's your checklist:

  • "Unambiguous": There is no doubt, there is no room for arguing that they aren't.
    • If a plausible or convincing argument can be made that they aren't an expy, they aren't.
    • If the reasons for saying they are one are not convincing, they also aren't.
    • A character is not an expy only sometimes but not other times. They either are, completely, or they aren't, completely.

  • "Deliberate": Done with intent.
    • The resemblance is not accidental or coincidental. (For instance, being played by the same voice actor/actress is not sufficient to make an expy. Neither is a similar art style when they're both drawn by the same artist.)
    • Word of God helps a lot with this point, but if the other points are present strongly enough, Word of God is not absolutely required.

  • "Copy": A duplicate, an item made in imitation of another one.
    • The expy came after the character they're an expy of. If they both were created at about the same time, it probably isn't an expy.
    • The older character is never the expy, even if the other, later character is better known.
    • Superficial traits (like a hairstyle, choice in clothing, preferred fighting method) are not sufficient to make an expy; the copy needs to also fill the same role in the work and serve the same purpose within the story.
    • Major traits or characteristics being very different between the two characters is enough to make a character not an expy (for instance, the original is a demure Girl Next Door, the proposed Expy is a FemmeFatale — not an expy)

  • "Another": One other. Note the singular. It doesn't say "several". If the proposed expy combines traits, characteristics, or features of two or more other characters, they are not an expy of any of them.

If an entry fails to meet even one of those criteria, it is not an expy and should be removed.. Actual expies are nowhere near as common as many editors think.

If you want to link to this post in your edit reason, please do.

Here's the link to copy and paste: https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=13983140170A37263400&page=1#5

edited 27th Mar '15 6:53:01 AM by Madrugada

MagBas Mag Bas from In my house
May 19th 2014 at 7:09:18 PM

In the first of the "references" section, close to the end of the wikia page.

DoktorvonEurotrash Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
May 20th 2014 at 8:37:09 AM

@24: Not objecting.

It does not matter who I am. What matters is, who will you become? - motto of Omsk Bird
MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
May 21st 2014 at 2:53:43 PM

Honest question: Is this initiative taking into account the conclusions reached by this TRS thread on the trope in question, which sadly staganted before anyone got around to actual implementation?

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
ShanghaiSlave Giver of Lame Names from YKTTW Relationship Status: is commanded to— WANK!
May 23rd 2014 at 1:25:20 PM

[up] which conclusions? if you mean to redefine Expy according to it's use. I dunno.

Is dast der Zerstorer? Odar die Schopfer?
Hodor Cleric of Banjo from Westeros
Cleric of Banjo
May 23rd 2014 at 2:27:37 PM

I still question Baloo/Little Jon not counting. I know the identical look is because of cells being reused, but I can't think that hiring the same actor is a coincidence, and while the story role is different, both are the Big Guy plucky comic relief.

On the Expy topic, wanted to bring up some Shakespeare examples to see yeah or nay:

  • I had once commented on Brutus and Hotspur playing a similar role as a Hero Antagonist Anti-Villain- I think is a bad example and will cut it if it hasn't been already
  • I wonder about the two Antonios- from Twelfth Night and from Merchant of Venice. Besides the name thing, both men are gay and have nautical professions (sea captain versus merchant).
  • One example actually seems a clearly good one is with Mistress Quickly- although The Other Wiki assumes it is the same character in all cases, the one from The Merry Wives of Windsor seems to be be a quite different person from the one in Henry IV and Henry V (a respectable albeit cheeky Servile Snarker versus an aged prostitute), although they are similar in personality (both are also The Malaproper).

Edit, edit, edit, edit the wiki
Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
May 23rd 2014 at 3:13:35 PM

"Similar" is not enough to make an Expy. The criteria we're using are listed in the header post at the top of each page of this thread.

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Hodor Cleric of Banjo from Westeros
Cleric of Banjo
May 23rd 2014 at 3:49:53 PM

Well, it isn't just similar. I think that the Merry Wives as well as the Baloo/Little Jon one is something along the lines of Universal-Adaptor Cast.

It's like Falstaff and most of his cronies show up in the Henry plays as well as in Merry Wives, except instead of Mistress Quickly being this prostitute he knows, she's a maidservant in the town he goes to. So, it's the same character but with a different role/background.

edited 23rd May '14 3:50:28 PM by Hodor

Edit, edit, edit, edit the wiki
MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
May 23rd 2014 at 4:09:25 PM

@Shanghai Slave: Yes, the redefinition of Expy according to its current use. It's mentioned in the "Decisions" part of the post that I linked to in my previous post.

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
May 23rd 2014 at 4:45:32 PM

Marq, it's quite simple: We're using the definition posted at the top of this thread. I don't know whether that's what the misuse was or not, but it really doesn't matter. That thread didn't come to any final conclusion. Use the definition posted at the top of this thread. If the example does not fit the definition posted at the top of this thread, it's bad and should be removed.

edited 23rd May '14 4:49:07 PM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
May 23rd 2014 at 7:15:02 PM

OK. No offense intended; I was only wondering why this a clean-up effort for Expy doesn't mention AFAIK was the last attempt at repairing the trope last year, and wanted to be sure where this effort stood with respect to that thread's apparent conclusions. And to be honest, I thought you were responding to Hodor's post.

edited 23rd May '14 7:24:21 PM by MarqFJA

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
Hodor Cleric of Banjo from Westeros
Cleric of Banjo
May 23rd 2014 at 8:14:43 PM Edit, edit, edit, edit the wiki
MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
May 23rd 2014 at 8:20:32 PM

On a different note, I am genuinely curious about what prompted the creation of this long-term project, given that the OP (as currently written) doesn't actually explain what the problem is, beyond the somewhat vague "Actual expies are nowhere near as common as many editors think." Is it a split from a separate thread?

PS: I am in no way questioning the validity of the effort at hand; it's just that I believe that proper comprehension of the nature and scale of a problem can be very helpful in motivating "passerby" members like me into contributing to the collective effort.

edited 23rd May '14 8:24:14 PM by MarqFJA

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
SeptimusHeap Token Good Teammate from Bern, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
May 24th 2014 at 1:04:06 AM

The problem is that a lot of people tend to consider some similarities between two characters as evidence that they are an Expy.

DoktorvonEurotrash Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
May 24th 2014 at 2:31:28 AM

@30: I agree that the first Shakespeare example is bad: Hotspur and Brutus are different in terms of characterisation, and don't even serve the same role in the play (Brutus is the true protagonist of his play, while Hotspur is more peripheral).

The other examples look a lot more valid (though I've never seen or read Twelfth Night, so I can't vouch for the second one).

edited 24th May '14 2:48:17 AM by DoktorvonEurotrash

It does not matter who I am. What matters is, who will you become? - motto of Omsk Bird
MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
May 24th 2014 at 5:59:00 AM

[up][up] Aye, that is more or less the same problem that prompted the now-inactive TRS thread that I talked about.

I assume that we're to prune through Expy's subtropes — Char Clone, Rei Ayanami Expy, etc — for similar misuse (unlikely as that may benote )? And come to think of it, is my impression from all this that Expy cannot be played in any way that isn't straight (not even subverted) correct?

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
May 24th 2014 at 6:36:50 AM

Right now, we're working on Expy. If you want to work on the others, go ahead,, but this thread is for Expy. Part of the problem with the thread from last year is that it didn't stay focused on any particular thing.

This is a clean-up thread, not a "what do we need to do with this trope? discussion thread. Please stay focused on the clean-up of Expy.

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Aug 5th 2014 at 12:52:38 PM

I just cleaned up a bunch of references on Future Diary Diary Holders:

For some reason, people really like to name people as expies of Evangelion characters. Anyway, the fact that all of these are 'X crossed with Y' seems enough to disqualify them, even aside from the fact that I would instantly discount any chance of it being deliberate for all of them except maybe the first.

Also, the main character of Pact:

  • Expy: A young man who returns from an absence from his family who are currently bickering about his disliked grandparent's inheritance, only to discover said grandparent is involved with magic and his family is in danger because of it? Battler, is that you?

No, no it is not. That reads to me more like a string of superficial similarities (especially since their role in the plot is utterly different after the first chapter.)

I'm somewhat tempted to say that examples where people feel compelled to list a large number of points of similarity are very likely to be bad examples — it feels like they're trying to make an argument to convince other people about some amazing thing they just realized, which probably means it's not a deliberate reference.

edited 5th Aug '14 1:08:23 PM by Aquillion

SeptimusHeap Token Good Teammate from Bern, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Aug 5th 2014 at 1:12:22 PM

^The first two of them are Zero Context Examples anyhow.

Not sure about creating an Audience Reaction as an outlet for the misuse here (I saw your pre-edit post).

nrjxll Relationship Status: Not war
Aug 5th 2014 at 6:15:54 PM

I'm pretty sure we already have a Just for Fun page along those lines.

Madrugada Zzzzzzzzzz Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Aug 5th 2014 at 6:29:13 PM

I'm somewhat tempted to say that examples where people feel compelled to list a large number of points of similarity are very likely to be bad examples — it feels like they're trying to make an argument to convince other people about some amazing thing they just realized, which probably means it's not a deliberate reference.

I'd say you're probably quite right, and the more superficial the similarities, the higher the likelihood that it's a shoehorn.

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
ryanasaurus0077 Shiny bald-headed objector (and gamer)
Shiny bald-headed objector (and gamer)
Jan 12th 2015 at 12:28:01 PM

From Pokémon:

The one-shot Girl Posse that appears in BW098 seems to be this to the 'Zuka Club from Ouran High School Host Club. Snobbish and arrogant? Check. Rivals with a character voiced by Mamoru Miyano? Check. One of the girls is dressed as a boy? Check.

Thanks to the Rule of Three, I'm positive on all but Deliberate. And what's with the Deliberate requirement anyway?

edited 12th Jan '15 12:28:22 PM by ryanasaurus0077

Creator of VG Walkthroughs
Larkmarn Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Jan 12th 2015 at 1:33:55 PM

I'm going to have to go ahead and say "no" to the Pokemon example. Of the evidence, "Rivals with someone voiced by Mamoru Miyano" is crazy vague. MM's a pretty prolific VA, and they're hardly "rivals," they're a set of one-shot characters.

"One of them dresses like a man" isn't even true, as none of the Zuka Club wear men's clothing casually. That, and the "arrogant" thing both stem from the fact they're both based on Japanese theater troops. Not much evidence they're based on the Zuka club directly.

ryanasaurus0077 Shiny bald-headed objector (and gamer)
Shiny bald-headed objector (and gamer)
Jan 12th 2015 at 1:58:21 PM

Now that you mention it, "rivals" is kind of an overstatement. And that girl in the trio with the masculine attire kind of struck me as similar to Benio Amakusa, the leader of the 'Zuka Club trio. (Oh, and MM's role in Ouran is Tamaki, who butted heads twice with the 'Zuka Club.)

Creator of VG Walkthroughs
Larkmarn Relationship Status: Hello, I love you
Jan 12th 2015 at 2:01:21 PM

Yeah. If the masculine one was the leader, then you maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay have something. But as-is, it's sorta standard theatre troupe tropes.

Jan 21st 2015 at 9:14:57 PM

OK, so I removed the Expy examples from Characters.Hyrule Warriors since they were pretty much garbage, but someone restored one of them claiming that it was a legitimate example, so I'm bringing it here for evaluation.

  • Expy: With his immense strength and violent Blood Knight personality, Volga is essentially this game's Lu Bu with a little Volvagia thrown into the mix.

This is way too vague. "Immense strength and violent Blood Knight personality" could be used to describe a large number of characters, so why does this make him an expy of that specific one? And even if the similarity is intentional, that alone isn't enough to make him an outright expy. Not to mention that the example completely fails to tell me who the hell Lu Bu is. At least pothole his name to his work of origin or something.

Someone with better knowledge of the source character needs to give more conclusive evidence, otherwise, it's Not An Example.


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