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This is the sort-of "younger sibling" or "milder version" to Adaptational Villainy. This is what happens when a character has a good or at least Jerk with a Heart of Gold-like portrayal in a determined piece of media, but in an adaptation of said media goes from either a nice person or a golden-hearted jerk to a straight-up Jerkass.

Why? It depends. At times it's because the adaptation itself is Darker and Edgier, or because the people in chage of the adaptation failed to make the character look like the good person they're supposed to be, or they straight-up hated the character and derailed them for the worst.

The main difference from Adaptational Villainy is that the character is a jerk, but not that kind of jerk. They either have a surly personality but still are good on the inside, or simply has enough standards to not go to the bad side.

Compare with Adaptational Personality Change and Adaptational Nice Guy, and maybe Adaptational Heroism.

Examples of Adaptational Jerkass include:


  • The Sailor Moon first anime has Rei, a borderline Aloof Dark-Haired Girl in the manga, as far more Hot-Blooded and more prone to fights with Usagi (though still verty close to her when Usagi needed it). Then, the first English dub took it Up to Eleven and made "Raye" even bitchier to "Serena"; she kept trying to kick Serena out of the Scouts and stole the Moon Wand from her, where in the original it was made clear that even with how much they bickered Rei was the closest to Usagi of all the Inners, and Usagi was Genre Savvy enough to give Rei the Wand and ask her to take care of it.
    • Haruka and Michiru were also more of Aloof Allies bordering on bullies who treated Usagi and the Inners like dumb, naive children for believing the world can be saved without some horrible angsty sacrifice; at one point Haruka forcefully stole Usagi's transformation brooch to make sure she wouldn't "get in the way" and after the penultimate battle, they're so angry at the choice she made regarding Sailor Saturn that they challenge her to a fight and make her prove her worth as their future Queen. This never happens in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal, where Haruka and Michiru are still aloof but their motives are more clearly explained. They're also less nasty towards the Inners, even though they disagree with Usagi.
      • The battle in episode 126 is taken Up To Eleven in the dub. In the original, it's made clear that they want her to defend her choice even if they're being too harsh about it; afterwards it's revealed that the battle was a test of her abilities and power. In the dub, they're fighting her over her "right" to be the Princess!
    • Zoisite and Jadeite of the Dark Kingdom, too. Both were villains and eagerly tried to steal people's energy, but conducted themselves in a more businesslike and serious manner. In the first anime, Jadeite became an outright Jerkass and a bit of a misogynist, while Zoisite viciously bullied his colleague Nephrite and outright killed him.
      • Strangely inverted with Nephrite. He was a jerk in the first anime, but he showed signs of humanity and kindness near the end of his arc as he got closer to Naru. In the manga he was cocky, but was killed too quickly to make much of an impact. In Crystal, he gave Jupiter a Breaking Speech about her love life and nearly made her go into a Heroic BSOD during battle!
    • Chibi-Usa was quite brattier in the first anime than the manga and Crystal. And ChibiUsa in the first anime was still nicer than Rini in the DiC dub.
    • Mamoru in the first season was more of a jerk to Usagi than he was in the manga and in Crystal. He warmed up to her much faster in the latter two, and even in the beginning he was more cold to her than anything.
  • Rapunzel's mother acted almost like a Spoiled Brat in Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics, throwing tantrums when her Henpecked Husband alias Rapunzel's dad wouldn't give into her Wacky Cravings.
    • In the original The Six Swans, the Young King tries thrice to save his wife from being burned at the stake as a supposed witch and baby-killer, until he cannot do it anymore and she's set to be executed. In the anime these scenes are written out, save for one where he goes into denial and desperately tries to get Elise to tell him the truth. As such many viewers mistakenly think that he ALSO wants her to die and even wonder What Does She See in Him? as they reconcile, when in reality he's caught between his love for his wife and his royal position.
  • The Amy Rose from Sonic X was far more tempery and clingy to Sonic than in the games. While some anime touches kinda bled into the games themselves, these were still less noticeable.
  • Ryo Asuka from Devilman was never the kindest person even before being revealed as the Big Bad, but his ruthless streak was made far more evident in Devilman Crybaby.
  • Joe Asakura in Science Ninja Team Gatchaman was snarky and butted heads with Ken Washio, but was overall a team player who simply hated the enemy Galactor more due to them playing a major part in his tragic past. Battle of the Planets removed said past, so instead Jason was simply a whiny Leader Wannabe who picked fights with Mark, who was inexplicably turned into a wholesome Boy Scout rather than the kind but Hot-Blooded leader Ken was in the original.
  • Since the first Fruits Basket anime was Cut Short, a good part of Kyo Sohma's Character Development wasn't featured and thus he's somewhat more prone to yelling and to be rude at others than he actually is.
  • General Cross Marian of D.Gray-man suffered this big time in the first anime. He asks Allen to bring him lions, sells him into slave labor, and at one point, pinned him to a wall to take his money. The scene is reminiscent of a pimp and prostitute, including Allen asking Cross how long he's going to be forced to make money for him. Also, the latter scene happened while Cross was living in a palace with a Maharajah's widow, thus he wasn't in dire need of money at that point. Manga-wise, Allen said he gambled if they really needed money; none of the aforementioned scenes happened, or were hinted.
    • There's also the scene where guards drag Allen away from Cross in HQ, and Cross waves him off, while smirking and humming. In the manga all Cross does is watch, thinking it was quick.
    • In Episode 27 Cross is said to have taken money from a woman when her boyfriend came after him. He is shown being a lover to a rich widow, and Allen states Cross has a thing for rich women. In the character fanbook, Cross is stated as liking "good" women. So the anime makes Cross look like a Gold Digger who specifically wanted to take / use women's money, which he isn't in the original.
  • Naru Narusegawa and the other Hinata Inn girls (barring Shinobu and Mutsumi) infamously got this trope in spades in the anime adaptation of Love Hina. Although not particularly pleasant towards Keitaru Urashima in the manga, they nevertheless were a bit more tolerant and forgiving of his accidents.


  • The Batman from All-Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder is more into inflicting pain than the original one.
    • It's also the case with The Dark Knight Returns, if his commentaries when beating up criminals is of any indication, though it's to a far lesser extent.
  • Listing the examples from Ultimate Marvel would be near impossible, since there are WAY too many. Of special note is Wolverine, who was far more ruthless regarding his Love Triangle with Jean and Scott - including straight-up trying to kill him over her (and boy, does he pay for it).
  • The Bimbettes get a bit of this in the Marvel Comics serial for Disney's Beauty and the Beast, where they make cattish remarks against Belle, are explicitly jealous of the attention Gaston gives to her instead of themselves, and also engaged in a lot more nasty behavior (such as trying to use a love potion on Gaston, using a tiger trap on him, sabotaging Gaston's attempt at hunting a hibernating bear, using themselves as a honey pot trap for LeFou, and in Belle's flashback their deliberately sending Belle the wrong way to the fair specifically to ensure they land Gaston to themselves). In the original film, the Bimbettes if anything were supportive of Gaston marrying Belle despite personally being sad that they won't be chosen by Gaston (and at worst were only upset that Belle would reject Gaston at all than actually jealous of her being Gaston's chosen bride), and were also implied to be Belle's friends in one scene, and overall were depicted as being closer to nice girls even if air-headed.
  • In Transformers: The Movie, despite Hot Rod's "Nice Job Breaking It, Hero" that led to Optimus Prime's death, none of the Autobots treated him harshly. In Transformers: Deviations, despite Hot Rod never getting a chance to interfere and Optimus surviving, every Autobot who isn't Optimus Prime or Kup is nothing but a massive jerk to Hot Rod for no reason.


  • A general complaint about fanfiction as a whole is how many authors love to apply the trope and Adaptational Villainy to the characters they write about, especially if they dislike them or think they get between their ships.
  • In the original Ben 10 canon, both Gwen and Ben's parents, while Out of Focus, were Good Parents. In Changing of the Guard, Ben's mother is an amoral politician, supported by her husband, while Gwen's parents are only interested in her diplomas, not even bothering to remember their daughter's age and acting confused when it looks like Ben, their nephew, thinks they'd want to talk to him.
  • Sam Manson's less flattering qualities are played up in The Many Dates of Danny Fenton and its spin-offs. Though in fairness, she was dragged off against her will for a month and returned to find the status quo totally changed, particularly that the boy she was crushing on is now in a committed relationship
    • Dash, Paulina and the other A-listers. Sure they were hardly great people in canon but in these fics, it's unclear if they even have a life outside of plotting petty schemes against Danny.
  • Most of the Harry Potter cast in Harry Potter and the Invincible Technomage have their more petty qualities amped up, as part of the Potter Verse being a Straw Loser next to the Marvel Universe, but the stand out is doubtlessly Albus Dumbledore. He still has enough of his good qualities to avoid full-on Adaptational Villainy, namely that he is trying to protect Wizarding Britain from Voldemort, but he's now gone all out in trying to shamelessly manipulate and indoctrinate Harry into becoming, in the author's own words, "the compliant little protoweapon of canon".
  • Dipper Pines in Universe Falls, mixed in with Adaptational Angst Upgrade. While somewhat justified by the fact that Dipper has to deal with the threat of Homeworld Gems in addition to Bill Cipher and his ilk, he's still much more short tempered and prone to lashing out than his canon self ever was.


  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast has the Beast himself. In the old tales he is more sad and depressed than actually mean, save for when he gets pissed off at Beauty's dad; in the movie, he's a Jerkass from the very start, albeit with something of a justification.
    • The 2017 live-action remake is no slouch on this either, since has the townsfolk and especially the Bimbettes as far more hostile to Emma Watson's Belle than in the original.
      • Speaking of the Bimbettes, this trope is inverted with them in the 1991 film due to their roles as expies of Belle's wicked sisters in the original tale, as they were not at all antagonistic towards Belle and depicted as being Nice Girls with a brief scene[1] implying they might have actually been friends to Belle, with their only real flaw being their crushing on Gaston. A notable contrast with Belle's wicked sisters who were spoiled and even attempted to arrange to have Belle murdered out of spite.
  • The Lord of the Rings movies make Faramir more antagonistic towards the Hobbits in the film version of The Two Towers than he was in the book. He is also tempted by the Ring in the movie - in the book, he's Genre Savvy enough to know that anything made by Sauron is probably dangerous. Word of God says it was because they didn't have enough time to do the complex Character Development that that scene would require to justify Faramir not trying to take the ring.
  • In Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, the first five Rangers were near flawless teens. In the 2017 film, they're all much more bitter and cynical, Kimberly in particular, even first meeting in detention for their various screwups.
    • Zordon isn't immune either, openly admitting that he has no confidence in the Rangers.
    • While Rita Repulsa was always a villain, this one is so much crueler than her MMPR counterpart could ever hope to be, openly torturing and killing people and plotting a genocide.
  • Yondu in Guardians of the Galaxy. The comic version was a hero while this one is Space Pirate Anti-Hero whose primary concern is money.
  • Jill McIntyre in the movie Molly: An American Girl on the Home Front. In the books, she's a bit stuck up and tries to be mature and "realistic" most of the time, but she's also a Cool Big Sis to Molly. In the movie, the only time she really talks to her is to scold her for wanting a fancy birthday party and to call her "selfish" when she struggles to deal with all the changes going on at home.
  • Albus Dumbeldore in the Harry Potter films, at least when portrayed by Michael Gambon. Richard Harris' take on the character was very faithful to the books but Gambon's, while not evil, was far more Hot-Blooded and even manhandled Harry in Goblet of Fire. Allegedly, it's because Gambon wasn't too familiar with the books.
    • When Harry's name was spat out of the Goblet of Fire, the book Hufflepuffs shunned him under the belief that he wanted to upstage Cedric. Their big screen counterparts outright taunt him.
  • Most depictions of Dr. Thomas Wayne are kindhearted philanthropists who seek only to help Gotham City. Not the one in Joker who's a smug elite that looks down on the poor.
  • In the source material, the Martians invaded Earth because their world was dying and their leadership deemed the invasion as a Necessarily Evil, even if some soldiers got a kick out of genocide. In Mars Attacks!, Mars is fine and the Martians are doing it For the Evulz.

Live-Action TV

  • The first Power Rangers series gave this to the original Rita Repulsa, compared to Bandora from Zyuranger. Bandora was a bit of a Benevolent Boss to her underlings, but Rita treated him worse.
  • Game of Thrones has several characters fall into this, including Brienne (while still good-hearted, she's colder than in the book) and Robb (who's seen as more irresponsible and selfish than his book self)


Video Games

  • Ryu from Street Fighter is a stoic yet kind-hearted Action Hero, but is made much snarkier in SNK vs. Capcom SVC Chaos.
  • Many characters went through this in Street Fighter X Tekken, due to Character Exaggeration.
  • Jill Valentine gets this treatment in the remake to Resident Evil 3, being more prone to swearing and being a lot more hostile towards the Umbrella mercenaries in the game before eventually warming up to them somewhat. In the original game, while she is still distrusting of the mercenaries, she's a bit more compassionate to them as well. This is also one of the reasons why the remake got polarizing reception.

Western Animation

  1. Specifically, Gaston's scene of setting up the wedding BEFORE proposing to Belle had them setting up and their reactions when seeing Gaston was the groom indicating they were not aware of his status as such before then.