|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
When Germans Love David Hasselhoff is applied to the protagonist in his world.
So you've saved the universe many times, taken down many multi-dimensional threats, and have generally done lots of good stuff. You're a celebrated hero! Everyone knows your name, the kids want to grow up to be like you, and people may even be selling merchandise based off of you!
At least, in places other than the town or world you came from.
There, you're just that annoying kid at best, or another one of the faceless masses at worst.
There are many reasons for this. Maybe you have to keep up a Masquerade, maybe the heroics you did are in Another Dimension, or maybe your current cred isn't enough to change how the locals have always seen you. Whatever the reason, while you're popular everywhere else, at home, you're still just a part of everybody else.
Note that this does not apply to heroes with a Secret Identity. Their normal persona maybe be unknown, but their alter-ego is clearly famous to the locals. However, a Superhero who is looked down upon in their hometown, but is widely regarded as a hero everywhere else, does count.
Anime and Manga
- The heroine of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha had saved the entire Space-Time continuum multiple times and is shown to be the idol of everyone. Everyone who isn't from the Insignificant Little Blue Planet she came from that is, who don't even know that other worlds exist. Also applies to her friend Hayate, who, despite some parts of the Bureau denouncing her as a criminal commands a great deal of respect in general. On Earth, not only is she similarly obscure, but she had no friends until she first met Suzuka in the second season.
- The Suzaku no Miko of Fushigi Yuugi is a well-known figure in the Universe of The Four Gods, much heralded in the country of Konan, perceived as a threat by the country of Kuto, and generally respected everywhere else. On her home dimension, however, she's simply known as Miaka Yuuki, a perfectly Ordinary High School Student.
- Kagome of Inuyasha. In the Feudal Era, she hangs out with demons and regularly makes the finishing move with her magical arrows, but in her own era she's just an ordinary schoolgirl of little regard, and is occasionally regarded as strange for the bizarre excuses her grandfather invents for her absence from school.
- The title character is basically ignored in his hometown at first. He actually aspires to be the Hokage, or leader of the village ninja, just to make sure he gets noticed. Acknowledged. This is apparently a major factor in how Akatsuki could capture jinchuuriki; most are outcasts from their villages and so receive no help.
- Averted with regards to Gaara, Naruto, and Bee. Through hard work and unwavering will, they proved themselves to their villages and became beloved heroes, in spite of initial hatred.
- Naruto was disliked for his association with the kyuubi and for being annoying as a kid; he seems to have mostly overcome this during the chuunin exam, between his fight with Neji and his defeat of Gaara, but he leaves town not too long afterward and when he comes back all his old peers outrank him. He's not actively approved of generally until after he defeats the guy who flattened the town.
- Yuuri in Kyou Kara Maou is the king of the demons, is widely famous and has saved countless lives and averted several wars. But at home, he's just a loser teenager who can't even get a girl to look at him sideways. And who bitches at his whole family constantly. Yuuri-in-Japan is worse than Wolfram.
- X-Men from Marvel Comics. Now worldwide famous; their every move on the news. Known for general superheroics, hated for being mutants. Massive protests right on their front gate all the darn time.
- Spider Man still can't catch a break from J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle.
- Guy Gardner, Kyle Rainer, John Stewart, and Charlie Vickers are all legendary members of the Green Lantern Corps. They are clever, they are capable, they are fearless, and they have all saved countless millions of lives across the Galaxy, including many of their fellow Lanterns. Despite this, the general opinion of humans among the alien members of the Corps begins at "uncouth, primitive barbarians" and descends from there. Hal Jordan, on the other hand, isn't appreciated by the other Lanterns for entirely different reasons.
- The Russian animated film Alyosha Popovich and Tugarin the Serpent has its heroes defeat the titular Tugarin the Serpent, be commended by the Prince of Kiev, and return the stolen gold to their home town of Rostov... only to have a lukewarm welcome because Alyosha is remembered as a rowdy who once accidentally destroyed half of the town, and it's believed that the gold was returned by divine intervention.
- Semi-real life example: In Madonna's Truth or Dare documentary, her father doesn't seem to understand that she's a megastar; he worries that she won't be able to get him tickets to her show when the tour comes to Detroit, and complains about the burlesque style that made her famous.
- Humorous example in Zoolander: Though he's a successful fashion model, the title character gets no respect in the mining town he grew up in. Especially after claiming he has black lung... after maybe a few hours of mine work.
- The Hebrew Hammer saved Hannukah from an evil replacement Santa. His mother complains because "it's not even one of the High Holidays!"
- One of the stories in Heavy Metal was about a nerdy kid from Earth (or at least, a planet that seems to be more Earth-like than most of the planets in that film) is transported to a different planet and given a completely different physical appearance and basically becomes a huge hero. He has absolutely no interest in returning home.
- This isn't a saving-the-world example, but in Miss Potter (about Beatrix Potter, who wrote and illustrated children's books) her family never took her painting very seriously, her mother especially (she persisted in scoffing at it even after Beatrix's work was published); so much so that at one point rather late in the movie, when Beatrix is buying a house, her mother disapproves and frets about how she'll pay for it. Her father dryly points out: "Our daughter is famous, Helen. You're the only one who doesn't know it." And she continues to not know it for the rest of the movie.
- In Million Dollar Baby, despite becoming a rising star in boxing, Maggie is told by her selfish and money grubbing white trash family that back home "everyone is laughing at her". After Maggie had just offered her mom a house (which she rejected, since it endangered her welfare and Medicare benefits).
- Harry Potter certainly counts, as he grew up in the Muggles' world where he's practically unknown. A sharp contrast to his celebrity status in the world of wizards.
- In The Hobbit,
- Bilbo Baggins participates in events of legend, then comes home to learn they've declared him legally dead, sold his house and don't believe a thing he's got to say.
- Similarly, in Lord of the Rings, Bilbo's nephew Frodo carries the One Ring across half of Middle-Earth at great cost to his body, mind, and soul, destroys the Evil Overlord and ends the endless battle between good and evil, but when he returns to the Shire, his cousins Merry and Pippin are the ones who get the respect, due to becoming warriors and leading battles against the brigands who had taken over the Shire.
- In the Xanth novels, everywhere else, Bink is known as "Magician Bink". Most people don't know why (since Bink's talent stays hidden by design), but they know he's a Magician and treat him with due respect. In his home village, even years later, he's still "Bink The Talentless Wonder".
- In the famous Sherlock Holmes pastiche, The Seven-Percent Solution has Holmes and Watson in Germany with Sigmund Freud pursuing a villain. During the chase, the German police meets them and immediately announces that the constables are to be put at Holmes' disposal to catch the criminal and the Detective quietly mutters "No prophet is accepted in his own country."
- Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series:
- A straight example and inversion in one. Herald-Mage Vanyel is as much feared as admired in Valdemar for his nigh-awesome magical power - except in the lands held by his father, where he's regarded with "proprietary pride." However, it takes a very long time, most of his life, in fact, for his own family, especially his very traditional father, to accept him, mostly because he's gay.
- Talia of Sensholding gets it even worse some centuries later. The Holderfolk along the border mistrust and dislike the Heralds to begin with, and do not appreciate people fleeing their marital duties as she did; so given that she was The Unfavorite to begin with...
- By The Sword features another example: the story of "Kerowyn's Ride" achieves remarkably widespread popularity across a number of countries, but the events of the eponymous ride - in which tomboy Kerowyn set out to rescue her younger brother's fiancee after her home was attacked, her father killed, her brother gravely injured and his fiancee kidnapped - are a source of some embarrassment to the rest of that end of her family. It's not good when your older sister has to rescue your bride for you, after all.
- The above Talia's story resembles Menolly's story in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsong, wherein the protagonist is a girl who dares to perform and even compose music in a fishing village of a practical and pragmatic (and repressive) sort. In the course of the novel, Menolly injures herself cleaning fish, and her own mother deliberately stitches her palm up wrong, crippling her hand so she can barely perform routine household tasks (making her even more despised), let alone play any instrument. Meanwhile, the Master Harper Robinton and his faithful have been searching for the "anonymous" author of the fine music mailed to him by a rural harper, and take her away from all that to make her as much a star as a Medieval setting permits.
- In the Young Wizards books, wizardry has to be kept a secret. So after saving the earth and relighting the sun while rewriting who the Lone Power is so he is can be redeemed, Kit and Nita go back to school to get bullied. Granted, they can stop the bullying now but... Later, in the fifth book, Nita at least is still without friends at school 2-3 years later for no apparent reason other than being smart and quiet.
- A Dog of Flanders by British author Ouida takes place in Flanders, Belgium. But both in Great Britain as in Belgium this children's novel is totally forgotten and not popular at all. In Japan, however, it's a massively successful children's classic.
- In the Russian book series Alice, Girl from the Future, the heroine is a young girl ( 7 years old at the beginning, 13 in the end) who, on her adventures, rescues countless people (and planets) and is thus revered and respected on many worlds, and by some high-ranked officers on Earth. But in her hometown, she is regarded as lightheaded, irresponsible misfit, is often grounded, distrusted and belittled.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who. The Doctor. Saves the multiverse more times than he can count, but is still looked upon as a wanted criminal for much of his life (except for those few times he's been elected President of Gallifrey, but even then it ends up with him being charged with treason or some such). Things got so bad that at one point the Time Lords wiped the Doctor's mind, forced him to regenerate, and exiled him to Earth with a TARDIS that was sabotaged and rendered useless. Even after he saved Gallifrey from A Fate Worse Than Death, the ungrateful so-and-sos still merely gave him his memory back and allowed him use of the TARDIS -- when he went back to Gallifrey, he was still made prime suspect number one in the assassination of the President of the Time Lords... And that's not even counting the later time when he was put on trial for his life...
- Stargate SG-1:
- Cameron Mitchell returns to his hometown for one episode. While no one thinks he's evil or a criminal or anything, no one really knows what's going on at the SGC, and they basically remember him as the football player who came back with a weird girlfriend and is the reason they all have to sign confidentiality agreements.
- This happens a bunch in the Stargate Verse, since they can't tell anyone about their planet/galaxy-saving adventures. Before Jacob Carter becomes a Tok'ra host, he disparages Sam's work with "deep-space radar telemetry" and tries to get her into NASA. Similarly, when Rodney McKay returns to Earth for a scientific presentation by an old colleague, he is repeatedly criticized for not publishing in a couple of decades since no one knows about all his top-secret work with the Stargate program.
- While it is never made a central plot point, Daniel Jackson is still viewed as a nutcase by the archeological community. His theories have been proven correct and he has spent years studying astounding artifacts and alien cultures, but he will not be able to tell anyone about it until the Stargate Program is finally made public.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer is always seen as a weirdo with violent tenancies by her peers. Although this is mostly explained with Sunnydale Syndrome.
Mythology and Religion
- Older Than Feudalism examples from The Bible:
- In Matthew, Jesus goes back to Nazareth, where he grew up. His frigid reception causes him to Lampshade this trope. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." Things don't go so well, because, honestly, how seriously would you take your old neighbor if he suddenly showed up after years of living out of town, going on about how he's the son of God and the new age is at hand?
- In the long run, averted: Christianity eventually became the dominant religion in Nazareth -- and all of the Middle East, for that matter -- for a period of 200-300 years, at which point Islam swept in. Even then, it took at least a century and a half for the Christian lands under Muslim rule to convert (Christians were allowed to live as they pleased as long as they payed a higher tax rate; eventually taxes got too high, and...).
- Also, to this day, Nazareth itself is just under 32% Christian, making it one of the largest if not the largest Christian population in all of Israel.
- Just like Jesus, Muhammad's message was not well received in his hometown, and for basically the same reasons. He eventually had to conquer it (bloodlessly, by playing its leader, Abu Sufyan, like a violin).
- The majority of India did not take after Siddhartha's message, either, but he was very popular in most other areas of Asia.
- In Secret of Mana, the Boy is banished from his hometown after the residents learn he has disturbed the Sword in the Stone. Though possibly recognized as the Chosen One, the elder correctly deduces that trouble will inevitably follow him around. He remains exiled even after becoming a hero, but at least he's allowed back in during the ending.
- In Fallout,
- The Vault Dweller, having saved the area from a BBEG and saved his vault in particular with the recovery of the water chip, is promptly banished from his vault forever because he's been changed too much by the outside world.
- Returned to in Fallout 3, in which the Lone Wanderer (optionally) rescues the vault and is then kicked out because the residents unfairly blame him/her for the problems existing in the first place (with a Call Back to the speech in the original Fallout to boot).
- Link suffers from this in at least one installment of the series. In The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past, he has to avoid being noticed while traveling through his native village of Kakariko because the townspeople are convinced that he's the villain who has abducted their beloved Princess Zelda. This is somewhat of a variant on the trope, since the hero's bad rep stems from some nasty public relations from the Big Bad's minions.
- This gets worse in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time because even after you save most of the world and return to your adopted home village post Time Skip no one recognizes you except as a scary intruder, and you're remembered from before then as a strange loner who likely died once he left the forest.
- Tales of the Questor: Despite impressing the notables in the big city and in the swamp territories, Quentyn's hometown of Freedom Downs considers his chosen calling as a Questor a joke and can only see the bad side of his successful adventures. However, when the town is threatened to be repossessed because of an old debt concerning an old Questor's abandoned quest, Quentyn volunteers to resume it to cancel the town's debt even though he may never be able to see home again. The town, stunned at this sacrifice, finally realize that their current Questor is a hero and hail him as such.
- The Dugs: In its photocomic days, Hamish Mc Haggis, a player for the fictional Las Vegas Tsunami, becomes a skilled baseball player only after being shunned by his homeland, Scotland, for struggling at all things Scottish in a story line that begins here
- Erfworld's Sizemore the Dirtamancer is something like "rockstar" in the Magic Kingdom, where all the other magic users appreciate his abilities and willingness to lend a hand to anyone. Back home in Gobwin Knob, his boss refers to him "as the shit guy" and his job is basically taking everyone's waste and making terrible smelling golems out of it. He starts getting more respect at home once Parson takes over as Chief Warlord, but that comes at the cost of his popularity in the Magic Kingdom (as more and more people become unwilling to associate with him due to his side's actions and expansion)
- In the live-action TV movie of Ben 10, the titular character spends most of the time having to get over this.
- In the War Planets series, Graveheart is the leader of the Alliance, brave, honorable, and has largely saved the day on more than one occasion. However, he was declared an exile by the leader of planet Rock (his home planet) and remained banished despite being a decorated (if retired) soldier and having destroyed two Beast armadas that had managed to invade the planet after his exile. He only is allowed to officially return at the end of the series after the new leader of Rock, his girlfriend, pardons him.
- In Transformers Animated, Optimus Prime and his crew, although they became heroes to the people of Earth for defending them against criminals and the Decepticons, are in fact deemed outcasts on Cybertron due their initial position as a Space Bridge repair crew. This changes, however, once they return to Cybertron as heroes after defeating Megatron, returning the Allspark, and saving the stolen protoforms.
- Justice League: Wonder Woman saved Themyscera from Faust and Hades. How the Amazons repay her? By exiling her as punishment for bringing men (the male Leaguers) to the island.
- Atomic Betty is a famous and respected hero outside Earth. At Earth, she's just another kid.
- The Swedish eurodance artist Basshunter is hated beyond belief in his home country, yet fairly popular everywhere else.
- Karl Marx was a German by birth and spent much of his life in England. So naturally, the country that adopted Marx's ideas was... Russia. (Amusingly, Marx's own theory predicted Russia was not economically advanced enough to have a communist revolution... though given how said revolution turned out, he was probably right on that count)
- The entire Genre of Techno was founded in Detroit, MI; this is not widely known because techno was largely ignored at the time of its creation in America. It barely took root until producers went to Europe, where it exploded. While Techno has gained some recognition in Detroit, it pales in comparison to the attention R&B, Hip-Hop and Motown receive. To this day Techno still remains more popular abroad then at home.
- Add to this list every single Vietnam War veteran who returned home to be sneered at, because the war they fought in was unpopular.
- By contrast, many, many people who do not support the War On Terror make it clear that they do care about the health and well being of the men and women who fight it. They respect the soldiers, but not the war itself.
- Irish people tend to be like this with their own culture, particularly from the mid-nineties onwards and especially with Irish cinema. It's only after something has started to be popular abroad that they're willing to admit they like it. The films Once, The Secret of Kells and Zonad were each seen by about ten people and a stray dog on their original releases, and only started to receive any attention after they earned raves abroad. This may have something to do with the way British media dominates there.
- The Argentinean soldiers who returned from the Falklands' war suffered from this, in one of the most degrading demonstrations of hypocrisy and ungratefulness from the same society they came. Said society was brainwashed and manipulated by the Corrupt Government of that era, anyways, but the ungratefulness and hypocrisy are still there.
- The Grapes of Wrath was burned in John Steinbeck's hometown, and when he moved back there he wasn't treated well because everyone thought he was a communist.
- Josephine Baker was ignored and briefly hated in America because she was black and tried to take on William Randolph Hearst, but was revered as a goddess in France because of her pioneering dance style. Her working as a spy for the French Resistance during World War II (which earned her a Croix de Guerre, making her the first American-born woman to receive the honor) didn't hurt her reputation either.
- Variation with Rammstein: One of the (if not the) world's most famous Industrial Metal bands, with sold-out concerts in many parts of the world... yet they can't catch a break in their native Germany. As Paul Landers, their rhythm guitarist, said:
"We have such a bad reputation in Germany it can’t get any worse elsewhere."
- Former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau is both widely loved and widely hated by Canadians for a variety of reasons, although his vision of a bilingual country based on individual rights above all else has become widely accepted by Canadians living outside Quebec. Inside Quebec, Trudeau is almost universally hated by francophone Quebecers, who have always seen themselves as being distinct within Canada and now loathe Trudeau due to his opposition to distinct status for his home province.
- Singer Anastasia is much more popular in Europe and Asia than her native America, so much so that you'd probably be hard-pressed to find someone in America who's heard of her.
- The British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is internationally respected as an important stateswomen. Time Magazine even listed her among the most influential people of the 20th century. In the United Kingdom however she is hardly popular at all and even hated by most of the Britons. Her government is not held in high esteem compared to other British Prime Ministers. In a list of the 100 Worst Britons she was number 3 (compare this to her position in the list with 100 Greatest Britons: 16).
- YMMV. Plenty of people around the world regard Thatcher as badly as most Britons. Arguably worse.
- The same goes for Mikhail Gorbachev, who is internationally respected for his reforms in the former USSR, which brought the Cold War to an end. Yet in Russia itself he is not held in high esteem because the poverty rate of his country didn't diminish after the USSR fell. And some older Russians feel that they lost a their global greatness after the mighty Soviet Union collapsed.
- During the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s Benny Hill's comedy shows were an international hit due to the risqué bathroom humor and absence of any dialogue. In his home country England his comedic talent was never met with much respect and most Englishmen were even embarrassed by his popularity.
- Famed Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, up until his death, was far more popular and acclaimed in the West than in his native country and was even accused by Japanese film critics of being "too Western". When Dodes'ka-den bombed in 1970, most of his small amount of Japanese popularity and acclaim vanished completely and he was considered to be a hack that was beloved in the West for what Japanese critics believed was mere exotica and over-rating by their American counterparts. After his death, his Japanese reputation increased dramatically.
- Dante Alighieri was Florence’s Butt Monkey (When his natal city declared an amnesty for all the exiled politicians, he was the only one not included). He begged all his life to return, but he never could. He died in Ravena in 1321. When they realized Dante was the greatest modern Italian poet, Florence came to regret Dante's exile, and made repeated requests for the return of his remains. The custodians of the body at Ravenna refused to comply, at one point going so far as to conceal the bones in a false wall of the monastery. Nevertheless, in 1829, a tomb was built for him in Florence in the basilica of Santa Croce. That tomb has been empty ever since, with Dante's body remaining in Ravenna, far from the land he loved so dearly.
- Likewise, James Joyce is celebrated in Ireland today as a national hero. For most of his life, however, Ireland regarded him as persona non grata.
- As an Anglo-Irish singer-songwriter (albeit born in Buenos Aires), Chris De Burgh was generally never popular in the UK (or in the US), other than a few hits such as "Don't Pay the Ferryman" and "The Lady in Red", which both gained exposure on MTV. He has, however, long been popular in mainland European countries, especially in Norway, as well as in Brazil and in Iran.
- While Your Mileage May Vary on if he qualifies as a hero, Paul Watson is not liked in many parts of Canada. Especially the seal-hunting areas.
- While Hercules was hated in Greece and well-liked everywhere else, and Mulan was well-liked in its home market and loved in China, Pocahontas was panned in its home market of America and decently-liked in other countries.