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Character development is the process of building a unique, three-dimensional character with depth, personality, and clear motivations. The experience, events, and adventures shape up the characters’ personalities and help to develop them further. It is the opposite of character derailment.
The Overall Reason Why This Trope Rocks
It gives the audience the opportunity to not only know the characters, but also to connect with them and to enjoy seeing how much they learn from their experiences throughout the story.
Notable characters who went through character development
- 22 (Soul): She started off as a cynical jackass who hated Earth and life, but after actually experiencing life, she realizes that it does have meaning after all.
- Anne Boonchuy: She starts off as a selfish and lazy teenager, but it's gradually revealed that she was manipulated into being like that by her toxic friend Sasha. She also becomes more responsible, kind, noble, and brave as the series goes on, helping tons of people and even rejecting an offer to become the multiversal guardian after destroying the Core in the finale.
- Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender): At the start, he was a happy-go-lucky and naive kid who doesn't want to be the Avatar. Going through numerous battles and trials, especially when Appa was kidnapped, took a toll on his carefree attitude. By the end, Aang became a more mature young man who took his Avatar duties seriously without losing who he is or sacrificing what he wants and desires.
- Adora (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power): She started off always blaming herself for things beyond her control and that were the fault of others. Her time in an emotionally healthy environment with non-toxic people helped erode this. As such, when a corrupted Catra tries to blame her for reality falling apart in the season 3 finale, Adora promptly calls her out, saying it was Catra's fault. As well as she goes from always being willing to sacrifice herself, to eventually realizing that she doesn't want to sacrifice herself and decides to live her own life and be happy rather than senselessly sacrificing herself as She-Ra.
- Aigis (Persona 3): Became devastated after losing Makoto, went back to being a machine, then at the end of the game, she develops into a strong-hearted girl with a talent of leadership, and regained her will to live, becoming more human than a machine. Yukari even admits that out of all the members of S.E.E.S., Aigis cared about Makoto the most, which is why out of all of them, she was the one who inherited his power.
- Aki Hayasawa (Chainsaw Man): the hardship he went through throughout the series leads him to recognize the pain he inflicts on those around him with his self-destructive habits.
- Alm (Fire Emblem): He was, at first, pretty unsure about his role as a leader, but throughout the war Alm grows more confident and assured of his abilities to lead and inspire others to his cause.
- Antonio (Nahuel and the Magic Book): Since the death of his beloved wife Consuelo from childbirth, he's being an arrogant, selfish, short-tempered fisherman who still can't forget the death of his wife, but as the story goes on, he began to be helpful, kind and a caring father to his own son by helping him to catch fishes and to fight Kalku.
- Atsuko "Akko" Kagari (Little Witch Academia): Started off as short-tempered, lazy, rude, childish, entitled and selfish at times and is frequently seen as a childish and irresponsible troublemaker by several characters early on, but by "The Fountain", she's realized that there are no magical shortcuts to accomplish her goals and she has to put the work in and earn it. The following episode shows that she's taken it to heart and started dedicating herself to her studies, though she continues to struggle to catch up to her classmates. By "Bee Affection", she's able to perform the Metamorphosis spell well enough to make a kaiju squirrel, as well as not screw up her part in the Cinderella-kit ritual. And by the end of the series, Akko can not only perform the Metamorphosis spell near-flawlessly and shapeshift into various animals on a dime, but she can also fly.
- Axl Heck (The Middle): Went from a mean-spirited lazy unintelligent brother to a more caring figure to his family but still remains antagonistic.
- Black Star (Soul Eater): started off as an arrogant person who mostly cares about himself. He later comes to learn how to respect others and manages to lose a lot of his arrogance, and also learns to be a lot less impulsive and opportunistic, becoming more level-headed to a degree.
- Mr. Incredible: He began the film as a workaholic who thought more about his job than his family and he wants Supers to be legal again, But after he and his family are captured by Syndrome, he realizes just how important his family is.
- Buddy Thunderstruck: Started as a dimwitted, egotistic and toughest country ace truck racer, later became mature, smart, and likable to other people in some episodes (though there are a few episodes that showed at his worst such as "Cannonballistic" and the infamous "Get the Hock Out".
- Byakuya Kuchiki (Bleach): During the Soul Society Arc, he presented himself as a callous man who only cared about upholding the law, even if it meant executing his sister. After he is defeated by Ichigo, he reveals to Rukia that the reason was that he made a vow to his parents to always uphold the law no matter what after breaking the law twice by letting commoners join the Kuchiki family. With his internal conflict regarding the vows resolved, Byakuya shows himself to be a more caring and generous person.
- Charmander (Starter Squad): Starting out as a rude, cheating, hypocrite that only cares about himself. In episode 8, he realizes that Squirtle helped him out and in episode 9 he went to try and save Squirtle.
- Cheetor (Beast Wars: Transformers): Starting out as the kid of the crew of Maximals, Cheetor with the help of Optimus Primal, Rhinox and Rattrap slowly matures as the series progressed. After getting affected by the Transmetal Drive he becomes the moody teenager of the group by the end of Beast Wars. In Beast Machines, he moves out of that phase as he slowly becomes the new leader of the Maximals and after Primal's death carries on the legacy by becoming Alpha Trizer in the Wings Universe.
- Chihiro Ogino (Spirited Away): Went from a spoiled, whiny child with no experience in work. The craziness she went through in the Spirit World made her more selfless, brave, and generally more well-mannered.
- Connie Maheswaran (Steven Universe): Starting out shy and nervous around others at the beginning of the series, Connie slowly grows to become more independent and self-confident, standing up to others and participating in Steven's Gem life when she can. She learns to manage her anxiety better, significantly improves her relationship with her parents, and actively takes part in battles.
- Coraline Jones (Coraline): Started off as whiny and somewhat spoiled due to feeling ignored with all the changes going on in her and her family's lives. After getting trapped in the other world, however, she grows to become more selfless and less bratty.
- Cordelia Chase (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel): She started out as Buffy's rival, a typical bitchy, self-obsessed mean girl with the occasional hint that she was smarter than she lets on. When she joined Angel in Los Angeles, she became much a much kinder and empathetic person, becoming the heart of Angel Investigations.
- Cricket Green (Big City Greens) As the episodes go by, Cricket himself became more and more of a better character as he learns his lessons along the way. Though, he still keeps his mischievous persona.
- Cyborg (Teen Titans): When he went undercover at the H.I.V.E. Academy to get enemy info, he meets his nemesis, Brother Blood, who he holds a grudge against. He managed to stick by his team and eventually, he was able to defeat Brother Blood in the end.
- Death the Kid (Soul Eater): starts off as a dismissive and aloof Control Freak who hates any asymmetry, is obsessed over his ideals, lives in doubt about his worth as his father’s successor and refuses any aid besides his Weapons. In the manga, he undergoes a Breaking Speech about how his ideas are incompatible with reality and becomes an Omnicidal Maniac to make the world a symmetrical clean slate, but with help from his friends, he learns to trust others more, talk about and process his fears.
- Dendy (OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes): At the beginning of her friendship with K.O. and the other Bodega heroes, she tended to treat other people more like experiments due to her lack of social skills, seen in episodes such as "I am Dendy", "We've Got Fleas", and "Mystery Science Fair 201X". She realizes this in the latter episode and gives K.O. a heartfelt apology and becomes a better friend to him from then on. She also began to emote more often as the series went on.
- Denji (Chainsaw Man): went from being a manic, hedonistic horndog to a tired but experienced "Knight in Sour Armor". His desire for a normal life leads to many hardships and losses, but in the end, he comes to accept that it's just how the world is and the best he can do is to keep dreaming and to show kindness where it was previously absent to make life just a little bit better.
- Diana Cavendish (Little Witch Academia): She isn't the nicest to Akko at first but ends up being very good friends by "Intellect and Sensibility". Their friendship gets quite a bit bigger throughout "Yesterday" and "Changing at the Edge of the World" to the point wherein "Changing at the Edge of the World", Diana cries at the thought of Akko dying.
- Dick Grayson (DC Comics): He goes from Robin the Boy Wonder to stepping out of Batman's shadow and becoming Nightwing, whose crime solving rival those of his mentor. He's even been called "The Heart and Soul of the DC Universe".
- Donna Noble (Doctor Who): She was initially a guest character introduced in a Christmas special played by famed comedian Catherine Tate and was a comically obnoxious and overbearing bridezilla. When she became a main companion in season four, she's much more empathetic and considerate towards others. We also learn that she's insecure, as a result of her overbearing mother, something she overcomes to become the most important woman in the universe.
- Draco Malfoy (Harry Potter): He's introduced as Harry's rival, an arrogant, snobbish, cowardly spoiled brat. It's later revealed that he's pressured into joining the Death Eaters by his family. He does manage to redeem himself by helping Harry during the Battle of Hogwarts.
- Ebenezer Scrooge (A Christmas Carol): He starts the story as misanthropic miser who hates Christmas due to his past tragedies and learns to be a better person thanks to the three spirits showing him his past, present and future.
- Edward Elric (Fullmetal Alchemist): He started out as a loudmouth who easily gets angered when people called him short to a person who saved everyone from his father.
- Ellis Carver (The Wire): He starts out as an incompetent, meat-headed cop assigned menial duties along with his partner Herc. He gets a lot more competent and rises to the rank of sergeant. He attempts to adopt Randy to prevent him from going to a group home, but fails.
- Endeavor (My Hero Academia): He went from being a rude, abusive asshole to trying to not only become a better hero, but a better person as well.
- Enid (OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes): She was, at first, snarky, cynical, and uncomfortable with her witch heritage since she wanted to be a ninja. Later, she grows out of the latter two traits and realized that accepting and embracing the witch side of herself doesn't make her any less of a ninja, and she attends witch college.
- Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan): A brash, and a simple-minded young man who is keen on eliminating every Titan in the world, until he saw the past about them, realizing that they were never the monsters he thought they would be. He has to carry the pain and hatred of the world by becoming a villainous warlord and convince his friends, Eldia, and Marley to work together and stop the Rumbling.
- Faith Lehane (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): Introduced in season three as another Slayer, she goes from hero to villain to anti-hero seeking redemption.
- Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu (Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair): Started off as short-tempered, arrogant, and violent. But after losing his bodyguard and only friend Peko Pekoyama, partially due to his own actions, he decides to start taking genuine steps to become a better person so that her sacrifice wouldn't be in vain. He cooperates with the other students more, and even accepts their criticisms of him to improve himself. He also learns that depending on other people doesn't make you weak, and that you can still be strong even if you have to have others help you.
- Fuuka Yamagishi (Persona 3): After Natsuki's transferal, she decides to overcome her shyness and is more outgoing. She also initially doesn't get along with her parents because they are the reason why Fuuka became as shy as she is and she believes that living at home is difficult. Later on, however, she goes home to see her parents frequently and implies that the relationship between Fuuka and her parents had improved.
- Gabi Braun (Attack on Titan): Has now stopped being a Paradis-hating racist after upon realizing that they are just as human as she was.
- Gaara (Naruto)ː Started off as a cold, arrogant and heartless villain who loved to kill (though his backstory explained why he was like that). However, his epic final battle with Naruto during the Konoha Crush, Naruto made him realize that there is more than just killing, and he became more friendly to others, and he turned good (along with the entire Hidden Sand after they found out that Orochimaru tricked them). He later helped Rock Lee (who he fought and almost killed) defeat Kimimaru during the Sasuke Retrival Mission, became best friends with Naruto, and later became the leader of his entire village, sacrificing himself to the Akatsuki member Deidara so he can protect his village (though he later got revived by Chiyo), and later becoming commander of the Allied Shinobi Forces 4th Division during the Fourth Great Shinobi War.
- Glimmer (She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Following Queen Angella's sacrifice, she matures significantly upon becoming the new Queen of Bright Moon.
- Gloria Sato (Big City Greens) She started out bitter, mean, and grouchy and because of Cricket's Shenanigans they did not get out to a great start. But all that changed when Cricket started working at Big Coffee and the two developed a strong friendship with him. Over the series she becomes calmer, nicer, and friendlier towards Cricket and his family as she learns lessons along the way.
- Goro Akechi (Persona 5): In the third semester, he leaves his goody-two-shoes personality, and he is now perfectly comfortable showing his true self, he behaves more coldly and seriously, speaking straightforwardly without any sugar-coating, regardless of who he's talking to. He won't bother making small talk, directing the conversation straight to the point. He also refuses to let Maruki gain control over him, wishes for atonement from all the psychotic breakdowns he's caused, framing and attempted murder towards the Phantom Thieves, and wanted to choose a path for him and only himself.
- Gelatin (Battle for BFDI): He becomes more mature in BFB 30, where he calls out on Four for being an asshole.
- Hajime Hinata (Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair): After discovering that his desperation for talent had led him to agree to an experiment that ended up turning him into the talented but emotionless and sociopathic, Izuru Kamukura, during his time at Hope's Peak, he learns to accept himself for who he is with some help from Chiaki Nanami.
- Hiccup (How to Train Your Dragon): At first, was shy but becomes more courageous and confident as time flies.
- Hime Shirayuki (Happiness Charge Pretty Cure!): At the beginning of the series, she could barely hold her own against a Saiark, with other cures (namely Lovely and Fortune) bailing her out every time. She could also barely speak to other people without fainting from the anxiety it caused her. But as the series went on, she became a stronger fighter and comes out of her shell.
- Himiko Yumeno (Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony): Started off as lazy and whiny about how "tiresome" everything was. But after the deaths of Angie Yonaga and Tenko Chabashira, Himiko decides to take the latter's final words to her to heart and starts expressing herself more, taking part more during the Class Trials, and using the word "nyeh" less.
- Ichigo Kurosaki (Bleach): Went from a person that didn't really care about anyone and rather used his powers selfishly, he turned into someone who helps the soul society as well as anyone else in danger. Also, after the emotional beating he receives during the Fullbring arc, he becomes much calmer and displays greater self-awareness. And while he still won't hesitate to get involved in a fight, he's more aware and analytical about his situations with a more mature outlook than before.
- Itachi Uchiha (Naruto)ː While he started off as a cold, emotionless villain who killed the entire Uchiha Clan (only sparring his brother Sasuke and teammate Obito), in Naruto Shippuden, it was later revealed that the reason he killed them was because the clan was manipulated by Danzo to plan a coup d'etat on the Leaf Village, and that he killed them to protect his village and so that his younger brother Sasuke wouldn't find out the truth about what Danzo did. He eventually got reincarnated during the Fourth Great Shinobi War, broke out of Kabuto's jutsu, and teams up with Naruto and Killer Bee (and later Sasuke), and later breaks the jutsu that causes the reincarnation.
- Izuru Kira (Bleach): started off as a friendly and somewhat cocky cadet in the Spiritual Arts Academy. Come present time, although pragmatic in combat, he's gloomy, introspective, worrisome and indecisive, which leads to several areas of conflict between himself and his friends. Once we see him in the Blood War arc, he's far less moody and a lot more analytical, making him appear generally more leader-like amongst the other lieutenants.
- Jaden Yuki (Yu-Gi-Oh! GX): He started as a happy-go-lucky and optimistic character who loved dueling and being around friends. Unfortunately, he became a brooding and cynical loner in season 4, though he did suffer from PTSD after the traumatizing events of season 3, realizing that he must not lose sight of he is as he grows up (Post Traumatic Sleep Disorder, and he did redeem himself).
- Jessie Prescott (JESSIE): She starts off as a struggling, new nanny, but then learns more about taking care of the Ross family, and became a strong, loyal woman who considers the Ross family as her own.
- Joel (The Last of Us): Is a hardened survivor who suffered the loss of his daughter, has now been brought back into the light due to his bond with Ellie.
- Joy (Inside Out): Learns that endless happiness isn't always the solution, and that feeling sad isn't always bad and can be an important part of emotionally processing a problem in order to be able to fix it.
- Kai (LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu): Started off cocky, became more devious, sharp, and a lot less cocky.
- Kairi (Kingdom Hearts): In Kingdom Hearts II, she becomes more mature and is saddened by Sora's absence but obtains wisdom beyond her age.
- Kazuichi Souda (Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair): While his overall personality does not drastically change, over the course of the game he learns to let go of his old trust issues and believe in his friends, allowing him to work together with the survivors and survive the Killing Game.
- Keitaro Urashima (Love Hina): In the manga, he went from a Butt-Monkey, who later through hard work learns martial arts, becomes successful, slowly wins the women in his life, and finally gets to marry his first love.
- Ken Kaneki (Tokyo Ghoul): Starts his tragedy by living his life upside-down, learning how ghouls live in a society, embracing his ghoul side, have many different kinds of split personalities, becomes a king to seek peace, reflects on his life, finds his own redemption, as he recognizes that everyone is their own protagonist, and that his tragedy doesn't make him any more special than anyone else. He knows that the world is a harsh and unforgiving place, but despite it all, people will still strive to be loved and chosen by those around them. As a result, he'll carry on and choose and be chosen, nothing more, nothing less.
- King Dedede: Although he started out as a misguided buffoon, he's grown into a dependable friend and one of the many heroes in the ever-peaceful Dream Land, who will always rise up to the forefront to protect his friends no matter what.
- Komaru Naegi (Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls): She starts the game off as a skittish and nervous girl when the Warriors of Hope target her in a killing game. But as the game goes on, her experiences help her become more courageous and independent. After her speech to the masses, her walking animations and holding of the Hacking Gun change to reflect how much more composed she is now.
- Kratos (God of War): Became very viscous and vengeful by the end, realized his mistakes and tries to control his anger more and teach his son to be a good person.
- Kyoko Kirigiri (Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc): Starts off as distant and aloof but warms up to Makoto and the other students as the game goes on, opening up about her past and supporting Makoto and the other students as they face off against Junko.
- Legoshi (Beastars): Over time, he stops trying to hide in the shadows and embraces being a wolf.
- Leonardo (Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles): At first, Leonardo is portrayed as a laid-back character who seemingly cared little for others and acted cocky and unfunny, however, when being given Character Development and at the end of the series, he is the leader of the show.
- Lloyd Garmadon (LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu) Used to long to be like his father, before realizing he was the green ninja.
- Louis Stevens (Even Stevens): After unintentionally humiliating his father at the pool and being told by his father that he cannot go through life being a prankster, Louis reflects on his mischievous lifestyle and how it will affect him in the future, realizing that his immaturity would push his friends away from him. After realizing that he has been fooling around too much, he learns to take life more seriously on a necessary level.
- Luke Skywalker: He goes from idealistic farmboy who dreams of adventure to a fully-fledged Jedi master who redeems Darth Vader, defies Emperor Palpatine and rebuilds the Jedi Order.
- Maka Albarn (Soul Eater): From a girl with temper problems to her temper issues are replaced with being more responsible and courageous.
- Maki Harukawa (Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony): At the start of the game, she was mean, hostile, and cold. But she eventually warms up to the other students, especially Kaito (who she admits her feelings to prior to the latter's execution) and becomes one of Shuichi's closest allies.
- Makoto Naegi (Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc): He starts of as a self-proclaimed "average high school student". But with the help of Kyoko, he's able to become a leader for the other students so they can all stand up to Junko Enoshima together and end the Killing Game.
- Makoto Niijima/Queen (Persona 5): After joining the thieves, she stopped denying herself as a tool of higher authorities and decided to vow to fight for what she really believes in as a result of triggering the awakening of her own Persona. Even after defeating Junya Kaneshiro, she has a good reason as to why she wants to join the thieves because she wants to be more honest with herself.
- Makoto Yūki/Minato Arisato/The Protagonist (Persona 3): Aloof and depressed teenager, uncaring about the dangers around him, thinks life is meaningless, until he was destined to stop the world's end, accepting that death was a natural way of life, saved the world by sealing Nyx, but at the cost of his life, this making the sacrifice by becoming a door. And afterwards, Makoto spends his remaining days until March 5th as a regular highschool student, then lies on Aigis' lap while having their last talk together, and sleeps for eternity.
- Marlin (Finding Nemo): Starts off as an overprotective father due to losing his wife Coral in his past. But over the course of the film, he learns to let go of his past and not let it control him.
- Marth (Fire Emblem): Ever since Marth became known as the Hero-King, he started to ponder the true meaning of justice which concludes that he would want to fight for people and not for vengeance.
- Max Keeble: Max started off as a somewhat vain and troubled kid who desires popularity and plots revenge on his bullies after finding out his family is planning to move to Chicago. After realizing that his desire for popularity came with the expense of his friendship with Megan and Robe, learning that his family is not moving to Chicago and seeing how his actions causes the bullies to take out their anger on his friends and other students, Max comes to terms with the fact that not only do his actions have consequences, but that seeking revenge is not a way to stand up to his enemies. As a result, Max learns to value his friendship and becomes more assertive, insightful and courageous.
- Megamind: His past of being raised at a prison and mistreated at school caused him to grow into a tyrannical supervillain. However, after finally getting the chance to take over Metro City and finding himself to have no purpose in life, he forms a close relationship with Roxanne Ritchie. This is what causes him to give up villainy and become Metro Man's successor.
- Michael Corleone (The Godather): He goes from an idealistic, straight-laced young man who doesn't want to get involved in the family business to a calculating, pragmatic, ruthless mob boss who achieves power at the cost of those he loves.
- Miguel (Coco): He starts the film as wanting to wish to follow the footsteps of Ernesto de la Cruz regardless of what his family thinks of him after years of having his dreams stifled. However, he's also insecure as well and started to show some unappreciation towards Día de Muertos. As he went to the land of the dead, he started to learn what Día de Muertos really means and reconnected with his family thus learning that family is more important which is a good message.
- Miles Morales (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse): Starts off as incompetent about his powers and his relationship towards his dad. But things change later on in the film and even used a new maneuver that Peter B. Parker didn't even used.
- Miyuki Hoshizora (Smile Pretty Cure!): Went from a coward who would rather run from a fight and had a difficult time adjusting to her new powers, Miyuki eventually develops into a brave, strong, and more rounded leader. She also became more confident in her abilities over time, to the point where she was the first Cure to use her special attack more than once without being tired from using it.
- Monkey D. Luffy (One Piece): After witnessing his brother Ace being murdered by Akainu in front of him, Luffy became severely traumatized by Ace's loss to the point where he mentally broke down. He realizes that being a pirate can sometimes mean losing the people he cares about. After he recovered from his trauma, he develops a more realistic outlook on life and becomes less reckless and impulsive.
- Motoko Aoyama (Love Hina): started as a girl completely focused on her training, thinking love is useless. She ends up conciliating her training with a normal life, going to Tokyo U and wanting Keitaro as her husband as a result.
- Nahuel (Nahuel and the Magic Book): He started off as a young timid, weak kid who is afraid of the sea and try to be loved with his father ever since the death of his mom, and as the film goes on, he became a brave and couragious as he fights Kalku in order to avoid the Cai-Cai being controlled and jumps off the tower and to the water to save Fresia in the bottom of the sea.
- Naruto: He started as a young boy who was hated by everybody in the village. After seeing his former teacher sacrifice himself to protect him, he became a ninja and worked hard so that everybody could recognize him. He eventually completed that goal and now he is the Hokage.
- Nakoruru (Samurai Shodown): In the development on Samurai Shodown 2019, Nakoruru disposition had gradually changed in the years which leads her from a sad and stoic girl to become a bit cheery.
- Naru Narusegawa (Love Hina): In the manga, she started out hating Keitaro in the beginning, but over time she became nicer to him.
- Neji Hyuga (Naruto)ː He started off as a cold man who believed fate was predetermined. After experiencing Naruto Uzumaki's refusal to be limited by such an ideology, he realised his fate was what he chose it to be, and as a member of Team Guy, he sought the strength necessary to make the future he wanted for his family and friends, and he later sacrificed his life to protect the very same person who taught him about the freedom of one's choice of fate, Naruto.
- Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter): Introduced as a clumsy, luckless student of Hogwarts, he gains confidence, fights in the Battle of Hogwarts and ends up with Luna Lovegood. He's also revealed to have a tragic backstory.
- Noelle Silva (Black Clover): She was described as a failure and an embarrassment to the Silva family, due to her lack of controlling her Water Magic, until she utilize her new wand to gain more control and create new water-based spells.
- Orel Puppington (Moral Orel): In the beginning, Orel was known for making a lot of mistakes throughout life and would always be scared when his father would hit him with a belt, but after the season 2 finale where Orel sees his father's true colors, Orel shows maturity by never being scared of his father's beatings and being more wise and intelligent as a character.
- Orihime Inoue (Bleach): She went from being cheerful into a very solemn character since the Arrancar arc first began. Then she returns straight back to being cheerful, but with a pluckier disposition.
- Oscar (Shark Tale): A traumatic childhood experience of his classmates mocking his father's job at the Whale Wash causes Oscar to develop serious insecurities about being a nobody and led him to believe that he has to become rich and famous in order to get the respect that he yearns for. After befriending Lenny and seeing how much his lie hurts the ones he cares about, Oscar learns to let go of his insecurities, accept himself for who he is and value what he has in his life, becoming humbler and more confident.
- Pacifica Northwest: She starts off as an arrogant and bossy rich girl, who is secretly manipulated by her parents into a bit nicer and kindhearted one as her one episode of her character development, The Northwest Manor Mystery.
- Phoenix Wright (Ace Attorney): When he became a lawyer, Wright did depend on Mia Fey a lot for advice (even after Mia dies due to the spirit channeling of Maya and Pearl). Even his morality has been challenged in Farwell, My Turnabout. Later on, he is more self-confident and resistant to intimidation by his opponents. Even more resistant compared to Apollo Justice, Athena Cykes, and the judge. He also used to be a fool but became a great attorney at law. Then he eventually becomes a brilliant owner of his own law film. When Dual Destinies existed in the first place, he becomes pretty legendary.
- Phosphophyllite (Houseki no Kuni): Started off as an arrogant, useless child, but grew into a mature warrior who starts showing signs of PTSD and distrust about the surrounding world.
- Power (Chainsaw Man): started out hating humans but thanks to Denji and Aki it tones down, and even considered Denji her friend.
- Radicles X (OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes): Thanks to K.O.'s influence. he began feeling a lot more comfortable with himself and able to be more open about his true thoughts and feelings. He becomes less of a jerk and a better mentor to K.O. as a result.
- Ratchet (Ratchet & Clank: He becomes humbler and more compassionate throughout the course of the series.
- Razputin "Raz" Aquato (Psychonauts): Starts off as a naïve and rebellious boy, who disliked and ran away from his father in belief that he hates psychics. As the series progresses, he becomes a compassionate, yet cheeky, young boy with a strong determination to help others and rekindles the relationship with his family.
- Revali: starts off as an arrogant, egotistical, yet insecure jerk, often to Link for being chosen to defeat Calamity Ganon while he himself was merely a supporter to him, but he does go through development in both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, where Link managed to defeat Windblight Ganon and frees Divine Beast Vah Medoh a century later, that he is noticeably more light-hearted and relaxed towards him and in gratitude grants him Revali's Gale. After repositioning Medoh, he himself accepts his own role and admits that Link is indeed worthy of the role. His development also occurred in Age of Calamity where he is spared from death because of Terrako's time portals that brought Teba to the past and Link arriving to drive off Windblight. This time, Link wasn't the only one who changed him, a young Rito boy named Tulin helped Revali to reveal his noble and thoughtful side in him and he not only embraces his role, but he also cheers Link on as the latter defeats Ganon.
- Rigby: He makes a conscious effort to turn his life around, even making it a point to go back to high school and complete his remaining classes.
- Ronnie Anne Santiago: She was known for being the toughest girl in Royal Woods Elementary who would bully Lincoln then became his other best friend/love interest and she would later become the main protagonist of the spin-off The Casagrandes.
- Riku (Kingdom Hearts: He goes through the most development of the Destiny Islands trio, going from an antagonist to a protagonist over the course of the overarching story. Kairi points it out in their scenes in "A Fragmentary Passage".
- Roxas (Kingdom Hearts): A central component of Days is that Roxas has to learn to emote on his own since he has no memories of his life to tell him how to, and he begins the game as a lifeless dullard.
- Ryuji Sakamoto/Skull (Persona 5): The story portrays him as an individual who is obsessed with glory and recognition. He later admits to letting things go to his hand and mentions how little he changed as a person. With the help of the protagonist, Ryuji resolves to improve himself.
- Ryuko Matoi (Kill la Kill): Initially, all that she cares about is using Senketsu to get her revenge, everyone and everything else be damned. After she interacts with Mako, who loves her deeply, and Senketsu, who is nearly permanently killed while serving her, she begins caring about others.
- Sanjay Patel (Sanjay and Craig): In the early episodes, he was gullible, clumsy, and childlike. By the end of the first season, he became the shy, well-meaning, good leader.
- Schwi Dola (No Game No Life: Zero): Was introduced as a machine built to fight during the war, then became much more human after learning the human heart and emotions from Riku and deciding to marry him.
- Shinobu Maehara (Love Hina): she went from extremely shy to just kinda shy, but still social and confident about her wits. But in the end, her shyness completely vanished.
- Shoto Todoroki (My Hero Academia): He leans to never use his power on his father despite hating him for ruining his and his mothers live.
- Shuichi Saihara (Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony): Throughout the game, he grows more confident in himself and his abilities, but according to the Tsumugi, his journey as was decided from the start and was the reason he was selected for the Killing Game. But he later becomes the first and only Danganronpa participant to reject both Hope and Despair. His experiences within the game and the abuse and torture he endured have caused him to deny Danganronpa in all its entirety out of revenge, and not just Despair as per series tradition, which causes the other participants, as well as the audience watching to side with him and the Killing Games end once and for all.
- Sonia Nevermind (Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair): Even though her personality traits do not dramatically change, but throughout the game she does mature a bit when it comes to her behavior, as she becomes less naïve and more willing to accept the harsher aspects of reality even when it's painful to do so.
- Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel): He goes from main villain to comic relief to anti-hero. He went from terrible poet to badass vampire who helped save the world.
- Stella (Winx Club; seasons 1-4); Started off as selfish and arrogant, but as the series goes on, she learns to be more selfless to her friends and grows in maturity. But season 5, unfortunately, undid this development.
- Steven Universe: As the episodes progress, he becomes more emotionally mature, independent and rebellious towards the other Crystal Gems and their authority over what he is supposed to know, and the "Change Your Mind" special has him decide to stop trying to be what others want just to please them.
- Soul "Eater" Evans: he's first portrayed as a very laidback and level-headed guy who also had a hot-headed, Jerkass streak a mile long. As the series progresses, Soul proves to be very, very competent and kindhearted.
- Tadashi Yamaguchi (Haikyuu!!: As a pinch server and the only freshman non-regular player of Karasuno, he was initially a coward who failed to do his jump float serve (taught by Makoto Shimada) during the first match against Aoba Johsai in season 1; in season 2, however, he gained successful development of his pinch serve and confidence after spending his time practicing with his mentor and his teammates.
- Taiga Aisaka (Toradora!): Started out as a fierce, mostly quick to anger, but a socially awkward loner, and an accident-prone in a messy apartment who mostly relies on Ryuuji has now changed to responsible and a much kinder person who now has friends to look after and interact. Taiga wouldn't be mature and responsible by the end of the series if Ryuuji didn't bump into her on the first day of school.
- Tecna (Winx Club; seasons 1-4): She's initially stoic and by-the-numbers but learns to warm up to those around her. Unfortunately, like Stella, her character development was undone in season 5.
- Tohka Yatogami (Date A Live): Was originally very cold and hostile to everyone, assuming that everyone was out to kill her and refusing any of Shido's attempts to communicate with her. However after their second meeting, Shido gives her a name, and gains her trust, and the following day she sees the world from Shido's eyes which leads to her becoming the person she is now.
- Toko Fukawa (Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls): Starts off as pessimistic and cynical as she was in the previous game but grows to care for Komaru Naegi as the game goes on. To the point where she's willing to break the promise she made with Byakuya Togami, who she's obsessed with, of never letting Genocide Jack take over again to save Komaru.
- Tony Stark/Iron Man (Marvel Cinematic Universe): He starts off as a reckless, hedonistic, immature playboy who becomes a hero and gradually matures, even becoming a surrogate father figure to Peter Parker.
- Tsubomi Hanasaki (HeartCatch Pretty Cure!): She starts off as introverted then becomes more outgoing as the series continues. Eventually, she discovers that can find her own balance between being introverted and outgoing and accepts her flaws along with her own good points.
- Vegeta (Dragon Ball): Arguably has the best redemption arc of any character in the series.
- Walter White (Breaking Bad): He starts out as a pathetic middle-aged chemistry teacher and gradually becomes his criminal alter-ego Heisenberg. He goes from doing criminal acts purely to provide for his family to doing so because he enjoys it.
- Weiss Schnee (RWBY): She went from haughty and bigoted to a kind friend and ally to Ruby. After getting to know Blake better, she also undergoes a shift in her treatment of Faunus.
- Wesley Wyndham-Pryce (Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel): In the third season of Buffy, he's introduced as Giles' replacement as Buffy and Faith's Watcher - a pompous, cowardly, self-important, incompetent irritant. By the end of Angel, he's gone from comic relief, to a serious, hardened man who is much more pragmatic and ruthless.
- Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer): She starts out as Buffy's shy, awkward, unpopular best friend with a hopeless crush on her best friend Xander. As she learns magic, she becomes a witch and the most powerful character in the show, gaining confidence along the way. She also became a lesbian.
- Sheriff Woody: Starts off as selfish and envious towards Buzz. But after they get stuck at Sid's house, he realizes the error of his ways and works with Buzz to get them home.
- Yang Xiao Long (RWBY): Started off as thrill-seeking and reckless, but eventually realized that being a Huntress is much more serious than she thought and lets go of her selfish motives for attending Beacon and prioritizes protecting innocent people.
- Yusuke Urameshi (YuYu Hakusho)ː Started off as a rude, immature, vicious and aggresive teenager who everyone hated. After he sacrificed himself to save a toddler from getting hit by a car, he became a spirit detective and realized that not all people hated him (Keiko, his mom, the toddler, Kuwabara, his principal). There, he became nicer and more started protecting the world from evil demons and thieves.
- Zane (LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu): He was an emotionless teenager who sometimes makes corny ice puns, but after realizing that he's a robot, he uses his emotions, even more, becomes more human than machine, and learning to love.