View Full Version : Ugly Protagonists

01-22-2012, 12:18 AM
In another thread I was reminded that people are turned off by ugly characters but I'm a huge fan of them and I was wondering if anybody knew some examples of ugly (human) protagonists in comics or games.

Some examples I can think of are the father from nier

This bad boy of course

Akagi isn't exactly a looker

Oh and of course

01-22-2012, 12:44 AM

I don't find him ugly, but he does have very strong features (which is something that anime on this days try to evade).

01-22-2012, 09:08 AM
Reg agrees, but woe be to anyone who actually tries to swim against this.

Closest I can think of;


01-22-2012, 01:34 PM
Some Classics:

Okay he's not THAT ugly but he's not exactly pretty either.

01-22-2012, 02:48 PM


Lolno. This guy.


Raki from Claymore. He was actually kind of nice looking in the manga, but when I was watching the anime throughout the whole thing, I couldn't stop thinking "Damn, this guy's face annoys the crap out of me."

01-22-2012, 02:51 PM
Not too shabby, but eh.

01-22-2012, 03:29 PM
Oh oh oh, I forgot they could be from comic and others sources.

Sherlock Holmes

Cyrano de Bergerac

Don Quijote

01-22-2012, 04:42 PM
Idk how other people feel but I find frank west to be fugly.


01-22-2012, 04:49 PM

01-22-2012, 05:23 PM

01-23-2012, 01:57 PM
It's not a comic or game but Quasimodo from the Hunch Back of Notredam(sp?) is a pretty famous one. I think it's sad that our (particularly Western) culture leads to the favouring and rejection of based on physical appearance; an ingrained presumption that 'pretty people are better than ugly people'. Though I say this I know I'm being a hypocrite; I judge people based on apearance as much as anyone else,it is still regretable.

01-23-2012, 02:14 PM

Strangely enough looks way cooler after his death.


01-23-2012, 02:24 PM
Cyrano de Bergerac


01-24-2012, 02:20 AM
Actually Peteman I'd say there is a certain merit to being ugly. Sometimes grotesqueness can be construed as mystique and homeliness can be construed as manliness or ruggedness. For example, many of the creatures in popular video games are fucking gross and ugly, but generate a lot of interest because that grossness complements the cool and mysterious factor. And many of our larger, more manly protagonists tend to be ugly (as opposed to the hyper metrosexual Japanese protagonists), but it suggests a character who is born to fight, not born to model. They also tend to be bigger and tougher. Oppositely someone who is overly attractive or seems concentrated on their looks suggests fragility and a pampered no-action lifestyle.

This is a pretty obvious one:


01-24-2012, 02:39 AM

*or was this dude just a really confused anti-hero*

01-24-2012, 11:45 AM
@ CypressDhalia: I guess that's partly true, but when did you meat a hero thats unattractive and overweight (not a ripped muscular hunk of meat) and is human (therefore Shrek doesn't count, besides despite being green he's not actually that ugly). But I think this is more the case for women or heroines than it is for men. If anyone can find a popular heroine that is physically unattractive I'd be impressed and metaphorically eat my hat.

01-24-2012, 12:21 PM
Yeah, the double standard with women pisses Reg off to an additional level. Now, fair enough, fiction is supposed to be an idealised version of reality alot of the time. I'm also a guy, so I'm not going to pretend that appearances don't matter at all, either... But the idea that only painted-up barbie dolls are somehow the only memorable, relatable or worthwhile types of female character is pretty clearly bullshit. Flaws make a character.

The only mains I can think of that properly go whole-hog and bin the rulebook;

Elle from Shadow Skill

Sechs from Battle Angel Alita; Last Order

Olga from MGS2

01-24-2012, 01:18 PM
I think you just have to look in the right places. I'm surprised you didn't mention Big Boss from MGS, Reg. She's not much of a looker, but arguably the most powerful character in the entire MGS universe. Also, Peteman: there are plenty of overweight fighting game characters. E. Honda, for example. The thing about being overweight, though, is that unlike being attractive, being overweight can clash with the design of a character. Most game protagonists are fast, agile and strong. I can't imagine an overweight person fitting that profile. And I've never played a game where they made a game mechanic out of being slow and heavy, aside from mech sims and fighters. So it's not so much that fat people are underrepresented but that fat people can't play the imagined role of an action hero. Can you imagine Devil May Cry if Dante was overweight?

Porco Rosso
http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTNyAjF4UpBKOYpgxD7soj0YR6yQzEdB ggVjEsaX3p4KRVQTk6uWvDsF4QG

01-24-2012, 02:13 PM
Can you imagine Devil May Cry if Dante was overweight?

Best freaking idea ever.

01-24-2012, 02:20 PM
ya that'd be sweet

01-24-2012, 02:30 PM
Making it gonna call it devil may jiggle

01-24-2012, 02:57 PM
Making it gonna call it devil may jiggle


01-24-2012, 02:58 PM

01-24-2012, 06:28 PM
I think it's sad that our (particularly Western) culture leads to the favouring and rejection of based on physical appearance; an ingrained presumption that 'pretty people are better than ugly people'.

It's not a cultural thing. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halo_effect) Cognitive biases are beautiful.

01-24-2012, 09:41 PM
Syrux asked me to post his shepard as an example idk
spoilers cuz it's p huge

01-24-2012, 10:08 PM
hes not even ugly...

01-24-2012, 10:10 PM
That's what I said man

01-25-2012, 11:37 AM
They should put a thing in the next Metroid where Samus' apperance is completely based on your score.

So, it's like, at the end of the game, she takes her helmet off and... (Pick one!)


01-25-2012, 12:28 PM
I think Samus is one of the few heroines where it's excusable that she's not somewhat muscular and simply just slender because the chozo armor does like 99% of the work for her, I'm sure.

01-25-2012, 05:50 PM
She was given Chozo DNA though, IIRC. Plus training. It is mentioned that she's like 6'1" or so without the armor, IIRC, and most of the art from the not-shit games do show her as fairly toned. She's supposed to be a badass action heroine without the armor, and an unstoppable engine of death with the armor.

01-25-2012, 06:43 PM
I'm talking about like Street Fighter IV Cammy muscular, not like "I go to the gym every once in a while" muscular.

01-25-2012, 08:38 PM
O.o yeeeeaaahh, Cammy's muscularity is kind of disgusting. Samus' frame is exceptable. And for other characters that have awfully creepy female muscular frame....yeah lets not go there....

EDIT: Oh wait, they already went there.

01-25-2012, 10:05 PM
Way to miss the entire point of the thread there, man. -_-

Honestly, there is alot of terrible, terrible 'beefcake' art of muscular women out there, but hot amazon and valkyrie type characters make alot more sence than 90% of the bullshit every action story with women in it pumps out... If you can't find attraction in that because it's not loli or big titted barbie dolls, boo goddamn whoo.

01-25-2012, 10:47 PM
yeah I generally like girls with a sensible amount of meat. Chun Li is one of my favorite characters by far. I think what he's talking about are like female body-builder types, which is an unnatural amount of muscle considering body building is the deliberate inflation of muscle mass look as opposed to the "refined with use" look that, say, athletes have. You have to admit, Street Fighter IV did a crappy job of modeling female bodies. They look like body builders as oppose to athletes.

Cuz even if you did strenuous activities only a daily basis, you would not look like a body builder unless you deliberately kept a strict diet and work out regimen. I would know I was a breakdance instructor for three years.

01-26-2012, 05:28 AM
Lol, yeah, because Zangief is a great reprosentation of the male form! Seriously through, SFVI's character models are basically cheesy cartoons at this point. Suprised you didn't bring up Sakura's tree trunk legs and elephant ears. If I didn't know Capcom better I could almost believe they were intentionally going for ugly cute (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/UglyCute) with that one. XD

01-26-2012, 10:53 AM
Hahaha yeah. I was like SAKURA NOOOO~

And yeah Gief is just something rofl. Speaking of, he would make a good ugly protagonist since he's always a good guy nationalist in all of his storylines. "FOR MOTHER RUSSIA"

01-26-2012, 03:29 PM

Most female video game characters who are super burly are unrealistic

Unless they're benching trucks or some shit

01-26-2012, 04:05 PM
Zangeif should have a wrestling platformer. Like, super campy mario style. "I'm sorry comrade, but brother Stalin is in another castle!"

As for burly female characters... Might be an outgrowth of the 'boobs of steel' trope, maybe? I've seen female cage fighters far more shoulder and waist heavy than the video above, but what the artists of SFIV seemed to be going for was just taking a standard 'volumptous' female body and making all of the curves out of muscle instead of fat like it's supposed to be. :p

01-26-2012, 04:15 PM
I think Arkham City/Arkham Asylum is the worst for that. All the characters look like they are sausage golems or some shit. Arkham City wasn't as bad about it with the chicks as Arkham Asylum as. Harley was fucking terrifying in AA.

01-26-2012, 04:22 PM
It was made with the modern day Unreal Engine, that explains 80% of the beefiness.

01-26-2012, 04:50 PM
Yes, but so was Bioshock IIRC. And other games. Hell, look at Unreal 3 itself. The women in Unreal 3 are not half as off-looking as Harley in AA was, and with a few exceptions, the men aren't half as beef as the meat golems in AA/AC.

01-26-2012, 07:16 PM
The thing with women is, if you're just working out for practical purposes, or if you're an athlete the basic physiology doesn't change that much. The girls who can tear you limb from limb with out so much as a second thought tend to look roughly the same as the girls with average strength and fitness because girls don't bulk up naturally like men do. They get to a certain point and just get more and more dense from there on.
I feel like male game designers/comic book artists often don't know this.

01-26-2012, 10:04 PM
Well for what it's worth, as luck would have it a /tg/ thread this morning about Risk somehow turned into a picture dump of musclegirls. This girl, here, is apparently an MMA fighter with a good win record.
She's pretty bulky. Not the same way some men are, sure, but she's clearly a lot bulkier then the girl Del posted.

Point is: People vary.

01-26-2012, 10:07 PM
Not gonna lie, I think overly muscular women has become somewhat of a fetish in itself.

01-26-2012, 10:07 PM
I find that woman incredibly attractive.


01-26-2012, 10:12 PM
Not gonna lie, I think overly muscular women has become somewhat of a fetish in itself.
It is. But there is a fetish for everything. Standards of beauty vary. I personally am not attracted to small chested women, but lots of guys are. Other guys find anything over a D gross. Some people like chubby women, some like very chubby women. Some guys like guys.

Point is there's a fetish for everything and nobody is ever really objectively ugly because I guareuntee you there are people who are sexually aroused by burn victims or whatever else.

I find that woman incredibly attractive.

Yes, I agree. I was making a point about female bodies in regards to muscle, not about that chick's attractiveness.

01-26-2012, 10:16 PM
I actually think it could be steroids in alot of cases, skewing our opinions. It's difficult to even know what a man is supposed to look like when you factor that in; How do we know that ancient paintings and whatnot of heroic men are not simply exaggerated?... How do we even know that our perceptions are not altered because people choose the 'slightly favorable' looking ones to take pictures of even in modern times? I've also seen female american cage fighters with that sort of build, if not broader backed.

*ahem* Yeah, my overall point is, if the artist doesn't feel like depicting any body fat, it's pretty much at that point in which all bets are off and it just becomes stylistic, male or female.

01-26-2012, 10:16 PM
Only uglies in this thread

01-26-2012, 10:25 PM

01-26-2012, 10:35 PM

02-05-2012, 04:18 AM

02-05-2012, 04:21 AM
u know he is p good looking for a worm

02-07-2012, 10:22 PM
Idunno this subject is kind of hard to think about. Even some of the people you guys posted still have like nice bodies and/or male model facial structures, they just have odd characteristics.

When I think of an ugly protagonist, I think of someone who goes against the expectations of what the protagonist should be, if that makes sense. For example, say it's a serious game about trying to save the world, but the protagonist is actually a fat dude who you'd think would be a supporting character or at least an unimportant character, but isn't.

1984's protagonist wasn't portrayed as attractive. In fact I think the main character himself said it, but I don't really remember that well. Also, in games where you can make your character, you can make them ugly as hell.



02-07-2012, 11:07 PM

02-07-2012, 11:19 PM
I have a problem with alien characters or not-humans. The fact that they are not human in first place makes my impossible to say if its ugly or not.

02-07-2012, 11:35 PM
yeah, but aren't we judging this based on human standards since we don't know any aliens or non-humans that play games...

02-07-2012, 11:41 PM
But then why don't we judge them in a design stand point? I think is unfair to judge them from human standards, because we are assuming that everything not human is ugly, which would make that a cat, a dog or any other animal or living thing that doesn't look human is ugly.

02-08-2012, 12:12 AM
Actually, by human standards I believe most people would say cats and dogs are pretty cute.

02-08-2012, 12:35 AM

02-08-2012, 12:49 AM
Humans. Think. Dogs. And. Cats. Are. Cute.

"standard" does not necessarily imply that we're comparing them to humans, but simply comparing them to the general opinions of humans.

02-08-2012, 01:02 AM
If we take a person who have never seen a dog, to look at it I believe his last thought will be "cute". The same is for use looking at a non-human thing we see at first time.

02-08-2012, 05:04 AM
I dunno dude, a lot of infants love household animals. They have features that humans find naturally attractive. Soft fur, for example. General friendliness. The same way infants love stuffed animals, even if they've never seen their real-life counterparts. Even though they look nothing like humans, they present a different set of likeable features.

02-08-2012, 05:32 AM
People tend to think animals and such are cute because we're good at empathising, even if the thing we are looking at has no emotions. Even an inanimate object can be looked at by a human and thought of as having feelings and thoughts that we empathise with. So if there is a soft toy that looks to a human like it is smiling and has happy eyes humans will think it is cute and happy looking because they imagine it has those traits. An interesting thing to think about is that domesticated dogs have a much broader range of facial expression than wild wolves, supposedly to make them more endearing and engaging to humans.

02-08-2012, 07:34 AM
That's also a good point.

02-08-2012, 12:32 PM
Uncanney valley might also have something to do with it; The human brain is basically hardwired to find 'defective' traits in potential mates. A dog, cat or a monkey isn't human enough to set it off, but something almost human, like, say, a neanderthal, is.

Anothering way of looking at it; Think about how a chibi character can look adorable, but if you actually saw a person that bug-eyed and malformed in real life, you'd probally be mentally scarred. They'd be too human. :p

That's reg's two bits anyway.

The dogs having broader range of expression thing, through... How did they even go about testing that? >_>

02-08-2012, 08:11 PM
I like to think that they got come wolves and showed them funny pictures.