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This is when Took a Level In Jerkass is plot-requested.Sometimes, an otherwise nice person becomes a Jerkass unexpectedly, mostly to advance the plot. May overlap with Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, Depending on the Writer and Comedic Sociopathy.

Tropes used in Jerkass Ball include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Ranma One Half, Ranma's dad Genma was always a bit of a careless Jerkass, but definitely took a level with the introduction of the Nekoken (a super-secret technique that can only be taught by torturing children), turning him from Bumbling Dad to insane, nightmare, dad. Its also a case of Never Live It Down, since he rarely does anything else that approaches that level of horrific stupidity.
  • The Voltron Force picks up the ball and runs with it for most of the Defender of the Universe episode "Give Me Your Princess", griping at Allura for her inexperience in battle and as a Voltron pilot. They drop it when she willingly puts herself in danger for their sakes, though, and go back to treating her with the respect they always have.

Comic Books

  • Cry for Justice hands the ball to several heroes, making them increasingly violent and sadistic in their efforts to track down criminals. The worst of them is Ray Palmer, who tortures information out of Killer Moth by shrinking to a microscopic size, entering his brain and enlarging slightly to simulate a stroke--the same method Jean Loring used to kill Sue Dibny.


  • Septimus Heap: The usually nice titular character was rather mean to his sister Jenna at the beginning of Darke, for ostensibly no reason other than to disregard her warnings about a building danger in the Palace.

Web Comics

  • In Gunnerkrigg Court Chapter 31 "Fire Spike", the cool-headed and stoic Annie argues with much-less-cool-headed Reynardine, beginning with copying her friend Kat's homework, effectively leading to revealing to him a secret that her mother has kept from him her entire life, one that Annie had learned about not 10 minutes ago. She harshly hammers the nail into him about it for little reason until he retaliates in frustration by making what is essentially The Reveal to her. Annie generally never acts this way and doesn't have much reason other than being visibly frustrated previously, but as a whole she's generally stoic.

Western Animation

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