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"We're gonna fly to school each morning, we're gonna smile the entire time,
We're gonna be more happy, we're gonna finally be fine!
We're gonna get more calm and normal, we're gonna fix our state of mind,
We're gonna be less crazy, we're gonna finally be fine!"
The Different As Night and Day twin of Darker and Edgier, when something is Tone Shifted to be more kid friendly and frothy than the original source. This can either happen to a show over time, or it can be the result of Disneyfication. It may also be done purposefully if it's felt that the series has been getting overly dark. Thus, a Lighter And Softer installment may often follow one which made a point of being Darker And Edgier. Finally, if an adult or more serious TV show or movie has a spin-off aimed at children, this can be the result.
May result in Tastes Like Diabetes depending on quantity of sweetness and light.
Films -- Live-Action Edit
- This was done well in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Executive Meddling ensured the next film would be light-hearted as well. Suffice it to say that it didn't work quite as well the second time.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, following the Darker and Edgier Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.
- Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, also produced by George Lucas, was more kid-oriented than the well-received and Darker and Edgier The Empire Strikes Back, the previous film in the original trilogy. Interestingly enough, Lucas, who didn't direct either film, wanted The Empire Strikes Back to be Lighter and Softer, was eventually convinced to keep it in its current form, and ended up hiring a director for ROTJ whom Lucas would direct through.
- Arguably, the Ewoks and their antics are mostly responsible for the lighter tone. The scenes that don't involve them (Jabba's palace, the Emperor, etc) are still pretty dark.
- In the prequel trilogy, The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones are noticeably lighter in tone, particularly the former. In contrast, Revenge of the Sith was substantially Darker and Edgier. (For comparison: In Episode I, Anakin is a kid; in Episode III he murders several kids.)
- 1981 cult horror film The Evil Dead was generally nightmarish and horrifically gruesome. The sequel toned down all of this, and was deliberately goofier and somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it still had plenty of blood and gore. It was funnier, not lighter. Finally, Army of Darkness completely did away with all elements of being a horror movie and was more or less just a silly parody of fantasy adventure films.
- The third RoboCop intentionally toned down the extreme violence, profanity, and drug use of the first two in order to appeal to children. It bombed miserably.
- The travesty that was Robocop: The Series. Taking the third movie's approach and running with it, Robo now wasn't really allowed to kill people (instead using gadgets a la Batman to disable them), the humour was lightened to kiddie-friendly levels, and the plots took on a far more unrealistic and dopier slant.
- The Joel Schumacher-helmed Batman films were considerably lighter in tone and content than the Tim Burton installments that came before it, in part because of the parental outcry over how dark Batman Returns was. (Never mind it was rated PG-13.) This more child-friendly approach went hand-in-hand with The Merch, and contributed to the artistic catastrophe of Batman & Robin, which led to a reboot to start afresh.
- The Godzilla films of the 1960s-1970s were considerably more kid-friendly and light-hearted in tone compared to the very dark original 1954 film.
- When Gamera the Brave rebooted the series after the dark and critically acclaimed Heisei trilogy, it went back to the child-friendly tone of the 60's films using a younger Gamera.
- The original Dragonheart was about leading a revolution against a tyrant king. It featured countless war deaths, a boy getting run through by a stake, a man getting his eyes burnt out (offscreen) and a man getting slain with a battleaxe. The sequel, however, was about a boy raising a dragon and featured no actual violence (or real combat) whatsoever.
- The film adaptation of The Mask starring Jim Carrey already made things too light and soft for most fans of the über-violent original series to accept. Then (11 years later) came Son of the Mask, one of the most universally loathed movies ever, and kicked things down a notch, giving us a PG rating and sparing us the image of the Mask getting freaky with his wife. Although, let's be honest... none of us really wanted to see that.
- The Gremlins 2 is much lighter and comedic compared to the darker serious original, in the first film the gremlins were fairly serious for the most part, much more sinister, they killed many people, and they died in some of the goriest ways. In the sequel they are more silly than threatening, they party more than the first one, they only kill about two people, and the only gory death comes when one of them is stuffed into a paper shredder. And Hulk Hogan made a cameo. Considering the amount of Lampshade Hanging, Shout Outs, Take Thats, and Parodys, Lighter and Softer is the only way this movie could've gone.
- Other gory deaths in Gremlins 2 include a gremlin being burned ALIVE and the entire batch melting when they get electrocuted at the end of the movie.
- This was probably due to the backlash that occurred due to the violence in the original. Much hand-wringing by parents actually resulted in the creation of the PG-13 rating.
- Failed Lighter and Softer: Park Chan-Wook, director of Oldboy, said he wanted his most recent film I'm a Cyborg, But That's OK to appeal to younger audiences as well. It may not have worked out too well. The tone is arguably lighter than that of his Vengeance trilogy, but the movie still starts with a girl "charging herself" by slitting her wrist and jamming a mains lead into the wound, taping it up carefully before flicking the switch.
- In the first Critters the creatures were fairly serious killing machines but had a low body count, they grew when they ate, and some of them died in very violent ways; in the sequel they killed many more people and the creature have some violent deaths but they are pretty goofy and less intelligent than in the original. The other two films are pretty silly and the bodycounts are pretty low.
- The Film of the Book of And Then There Were None fits this trope. While the book doesn't go more than a few pages without using a (mild, all things considered) swear word, has oftentimes graphic depictions of most of the deaths, and kills 'em all, the movie tones down the language to be Hays Code-compliant, never shows more than the feet or hands of any dead person (if they're shown at all), and gives Vera and Lombard a happy ending.
- In contrast, the Russian version is Darker and Edgier: You get a seriously twisted sex scene between the two "heroes", no gory discretion shots, fan service with a creepy context behind it, a Flashback Nightmare for a character who cheerfully dismissed his crime in the book, and the characters slowly going insane one by one. It's the most faithful adaptation of the book; it just takes the book's darker themes and expands on them.
- Men in Black 2.
- The 5th Childs Play, Seed of Chucky.
- The Warriors: The book the movie is based on is considerably Darker and Edgier. Just for starters, the Warriors brutally gang rape and abandon a random girl. In the movie, Mercy, who is based on the girl in the novel, ends up pseudo-girlfriend to Swan.
- Well a Warriors remake is currently in the works, so those elements might be seen in the remake-especially considering that Tony Scott is slated to direct it.
- Oliver!, the 1968 musical adaptation of Oliver Twist. Granted, most musicals are Lighter and Softer by nature, but still, the original book is far more grim.
- Yeah, but by all accounts it's not saying much. Nancy is still killed-fairly graphically for a kids' movie.
- While they were still R-rated, each A Nightmare on Elm Street was more surreal and comedic than the one before it, peaking with Freddys Dead the Final Nightmare, which has Freddy doing a Wicked Witch of the West impression ("I'll get you my pretty, and your little soul too!") during the first few minutes.
- All of the sequels to The Howling save for Howling IV: The Original Nightmare (which was closest to the novel), and Howling: The Rebirth.
- Compare the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie with the second and third.
- American horror films usually gets accused of this in spite of the "Splatter Pack" directors. Although most of them are foreign directors.
- The 1982 film Conan the Barbarian is an R-rated fantasy epic that contained considerable amounts of violence and nudity. It also has a large following of fans who consider it one of the greatest fantasy films ever made. For the 1984 sequel Conan the Destroyer the studio decided they wanted a more family-friendly Conan. The result was a PG-rated, more lighthearted Conan adventure that was poorly received by fans of the original film.
- Battle for the Planet of the Apes, in contrast to the previous and very dark Conquest (and more so if you watch the version with the original, uncensored ending).
- John Carpenter's Big Trouble in Little China, compared to his other works.
- Spider-Man 2 toned down some of the violence of the first film and was given a PG by the British Board of Film Classification. This was after the first Spider-Man film was given a 12 rating by the BBFC and described it as one of the most violent films ever aimed at young children, saying that some scenes even warranted a 15. Many councils (who have the final word on film censorship in the UK) boycotted this decision, releasing it as PG or PG-12, but Spider-Man stayed in cinemas long enough for young children to be admitted more widely (under adult supervision) following the introduction of the 12A rating.
- Speaking of Spidey, Spider Man Homecoming is not only lighter than the prior films, but also the lightest film in the MCU so far. Even the other two comedies released the same year had apocalyptic stakes, tear-jerking deaths of longtime supporting characters, horrifying monsters, and some of the cruelest and most powerful villains in the MCU. Homecoming's main villain is an Anti-Villain with much lower aspirations.
- The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy--the Galaxy is presented as more wondrous and grand than the dull, bureaucratic "Earth-society-but-bigger" version we tend to get, and the film ends with the new Earth being put in the place of the old one rather than being dismantled when construction shuts down as in the other versions.
- The Expendables 2, thanks to a combination of Chuck Norris' ego, Lionsgate's greed, and Sylvester Stallone's compromising too fast, will be rated PG-13. This is especially bad in contrast to the original, which was a throwback to the bloody, violent action films of the 80s and 90s. This has quickly resulted in furor across the Internet, with many criticizing the move to appeal to an audience that just doesn't care about this kind of film.
- The Dunk & Egg novels are a relatively Lighter and Softer prequels to the extremely dark A Song of Ice and Fire, but still not exactly "kid-friendly". Still, considering the main series, it's saying a lot.
- Most of the Warhammer 40000 novels focusing on the Imperial Guard portrays them as actual humans rather than statistics to Zerg Rush with. Perhaps taken to extreme with the Ciaphas Cain novels, which are distinctly comedic against the ridiculously GRIMDARK setting.
- Likewise, the Gaunts Ghosts novels, while still fairly dark, portrays the Imperium in general working order with a healthy dose optimism (a concept often completely unheard of in the 40K universe).
- The Earlier versions of codex was essentially one huge Satire, and then the American teenagers bought it into the GRIMDARK and well...it got darker.
- The spinoff trilogy of the Petaybee books, featuring Action Girl Yanaba Maddock's children, are far less dark than the originals.
- The original fairy tales of The Brothers Grimm were quite grim indeed. The versions published and told to children today are much lighter and less gory than the originals.
- Fate of the Jedi fits this trope. Yes, there's Force psychosis, an Eldritch Abomination, and attempts on the Solo family's lives in order to discredit not one but two heads of state, but when you consider Legacy of the Force had a teenage boy join the GFFA equivalent of the Hitler Youth, consider cannibalism, almost fall to The Dark Side, lose his mother (which drives his father into a deep depression, contemplating suicide), and be tortured, molested, and forced to watch his mentor figure die, yeah.
- Young Jedi Knights. Just ... Young Jedi Knights.
- The Dragons series has a series of spinoff novels, written for young readers. While the first book is quite soft and fluffy itself, the later books are much darker. The spinoffs focus on the dragons, and are simply fun.
- Chronicles is a rehashing of Books of Kings to highlight Israel's achievements and give hope to the Jewish exiles in Babylon.
- While not without their grim moments, Speaker for the Dead and its sequels are virtually rainbows and puppies compared to Ender's Game.
Live-Action TV Edit
- The E! True Hollywood Story used to be an incredibly depressing show that documented a certain celebrity's fall from grace or detailed their grisly murder or suicide. However, in recent years the show has shifted its focus to the latest hit reality show or celebrities who are at their current peak of popularity.
- The Sarah Jane Adventures is mostly this, but still retains some of the key 'scary' elements that Doctor Who has... it's just more likely to be off screen. Russell T. Davies has said "there's still death and despair" but added that there's "more hugs".
- Twice, Executive Meddling (in turn influenced by the deranged and censorious "Media Watchdog" Mary Whitehouse) stepped in to put an end to some of the more violent and frightening aspects of Doctor Who so beloved by teens.
- The second series of the spin-off series Torchwood actually airs in two versions, one for adults and one for all-ages. There is little difference in the broadcasts, apart from some removal of swearing and gore, such as Alan Dale's character being shot (the all-ages version omitted the squib going off) in "Reset".
- Newsround is essentially a simplified version of BBC News with more kid friendly language and some concepts adults would be familiar with more fully explained. It also tends to lack financial news and only goes into politics on rare occasions (around election time for example). It isn't afraid to report on death or depressing topics but is a bit more sensitive about it, they also might report something which seen as a story of high 'kid interest' that the adult news wouldn't bother with.
- Perhaps its greatest moment was breaking the news of the Challenger disaster in the United Kingdom.
- It was the go-to source for Harry Potter-related news in the UK, less so since internet access became all but universal.
- It is lighter on politics than it used to be. It was the first television programme that some kids saw Michael Howard MP, interviewed at the Rio Earth Summit by a Press Packer in 1992 as Environment Secretary.
- Stargate SG-1 has gradually taken this course over its ten seasons, getting closer and closer to self-parody in the process.
- Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer starts out with a much lighter mood than the dark, dark, Darker and Edgier Season 6 -- a deliberate move from the writers to give the audience a break from the doom and gloom.The season did take a noticeably grimmer tone as it progressed.
- Seasons 15-17 of Doctor Who. Just as the show had reached the height of its dark and intelligent phase it was inexplicably derailed and audiences were treated to three lighter and softer seasons that verged on comedy. As soon as Philip Hinchcliffe quit as producer, his replacement Graham Williams was called in by BBC executives and bluntly ordered to reduce the amount of graphic violence and horror, which had caused high-profile condemnations of the show by moral purity campaigners and the general press during the previous couple of seasons.
- Charmed increasingly took this direction with each passing season. First there were mermaids, then there were leprechauns, and finally a unicorn show up. Dwarves (from Snow White) showed up in a fairy tale based episode.
- All of which occurred in Season 5. But after the intense and continual darkness of Seasons 3 and 4 (ESPECIALLY season 4), Season 5 is more like a Breather Season.
- Season Four of House is much lighter than the depressingly dark third season. And then it immediately went back to dark and depressing when it was time for the finale.
- Gordon Ramsay in The F Word Is not as much of a bastard as he is in Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares. In fact, he is much more pleasant and enjoys cooking in this one rather than what happens in his other shows.
- You mean the US version of Kitchen Nightmares. The British version of KN also paints Ramsey in this light instead of the scream hound in the bombastic American adaptation. Even in the instances that he does lose his cool, it's easy to see that it comes from genuine frustration instead of exaggerated ranting.
- And in FOX's summer series of Master Chef, Ramsey was even more considerably friendly; in fact, he was the encouraging judge of the three. While he did show flashes of his usual temper and frustrated mannerisms, he oft-encouraged contestants, even sending one who screwed up on her audition to go home and bring back items from home to make a dish as her own (she went on to compete on the show). Justified in that unlike Hell's Kitchen, these are people not in the dining business to begin with, but normal Joes looking to broaden their love of cooking by becoming a chef.
- There was an interesting back-and-forth with The Addams Family across different media. The original single-panel cartoons depicted the characters as genuinely misanthropic monsters who killed random people for the lulz. The TV show, by contrast, depicted them as nice, arty bohemians whose square neighbours were frightened of them because of their weird lifestyle. The cinema films swung the pendulum back towards actual violence and death, but the animated kids-TV show spun off from the films went fluffier again.
- The Practice was a serious legal drama. The same cannot be said about its Spin-Off, Boston Legal.
- Star Trek the Next Generation, after its first season. The first season and a few lingering bits of it in the second featured (among other things), Picard as a grumpy asshole, Q as a sadistic monster, Riker constantly shouting when he wasn't giving a perverted or just plain cocky smirk, dimly lit sets, aliens with drug problems, a major character getting killed off for no reason, cannibalistic Ferengis, the topic of "sex" often feeling forced into episodes (as if somehow reveling in the idea that you can say a naughty word on TV?) rather than being handled organically, phaser beams that set people on fire, and one infamous episode in which a character has his head shot off and then his stomach explode outwards with alien parasites. The show got better right about the same time these bits went away, focusing a bit more on highbrow concepts and moral dilemmas. Then the Trek Verse got Darker and Edgier again, but without making it so cheesy.
- The Adventures of Superman was actually a hard-hitting and violent crime drama in its first season, and featured Phyllis Coates as an especially tough and strong-willed Lois Lane. For the second season, Noel Neill replaced Coates, and played a much softer and more traditionally feminine Lois. The show itself became less violent and more kid-oriented. By the third season, the show had become much more lighthearted and whimsical, with more science-fiction and fantasy elements and less violence.
- When the Argentinian Soap Opera "Floricienta" was adapted for Chilean viewers as "Floribella", some aspects of the show became this. In example, the original Evil Matriarch was portrayed as very malevolent, but in the Chilean version she's portrayed somewhat more comically. (It doesn't help that the Chilean actress is actually known for comical villain roles, which isn't the case with the Argentinian counterpart.)
- The Dukes of Hazzard, after the first season.
- Jeopardy!, to a degree. Until about the 1990s, the clues were often straightforward, and host Alex Trebek was rather stuffy and formal. Over time, the clues have become more whimsical and punny, with occasional pop culture references and Getting Crap Past the Radar (arguably without dumbing the show down). Trebek has also loosened up in the 2000s, as he now smiles and laughs more, and gets in plenty of Deadpan Snarker moments.
- This, along with Reconstruction, may explain the success behind Once Upon a Time. After years of sexed-up comedy shows, reality TV, Darker and Edgier dramas with Black and Gray Morality conflicts, and grisly police/medical/lawyer procedural shows, a straight up battle between good and evil with an intriguing mystery at the core feels so refreshing to audiences in comparison.
- Legend of the Seeker compared to its source material. When your source material includes (among other things) The Big Bad brainwashing a kid then killing him by pouring molten metal down his throat, his Dragon being a serial child molester and murderer, institutionalized gang-rape by the enemy army, and a Serial Killer severing a woman's spinal cord onscreen and then killing her in a manner which made a combat hardened general throw up, a Lighter and Softer Pragmatic Adaptation is the best you're going to get.
- Kidz Bop is a series of cover albums, the concept of which is turning hit songs into children's music, not neglecting songs about death, sex, or drugs. Hilarity Ensues.
- The departure of Rodger Waters from Pink Floyd was followed by a classic Lightening and Softening. From mental breakdowns rendered into music and harsh lyrics condemning modern life, Pink Floyd moved to David Gilmour's gentle dreamy soundscapes. Lyrically, the later albums tend to unfocused expressions of good will and an earnest appreciation for life. The remaining angst now seemed more of pose: a mere colour on the palette, not a raw daub of blood.
- Interestingly, the Waters-lead era (beginning with The Dark Side of the Moon) was itself a Darker and Edgier version Pink Floyd. Before this point, Floyd albums were known for being spacey and psychedelic rather than particularly dark. Indeed, their original Syd Barrett era was downright whimsical at times.
- In terms of singing style, In This Moment's second album The Dream, which placed a lot more emphasis on clean vocals than the Metal Screams of Beautiful Tragedy. This was because lead singer Maria Brink wanted to challenge herself with what she (personally) found a more difficult singing style.
- Devo 2.0.
- One could make a case for this happening to Joy Division after they changed their name to New Order. Not that New Order doesn't have a certain edge to their brand of pop.
- To be honest, this was going to happen with or without Ian Curtis at the helm.
- The Misfits in the 90s, sort of. The low-budget, dirty hardcore punk turned into cleanly-produced punk/metal. Profane lyrics about sex, rape, and chaotic violence stopped, but lyrics about violent horror movies remain.
- Hardcore Techno fans have a huge chip on their shoulder about its' lighter and softer cousins: Happy Hardcore and Hardstyle, which charted pretty heavily in the 90s (happy hardcore) and the early 00s (Hardstyle).
- The Tubes. The glitter-shock incarnation that did "White Punks On Dope" in the '70s were a far cry from the group that had a hit with "She's a Beauty" in the '80s. Singer Fee Waybill has acknowledged that this was done intentionally. His reason? "Nothing shocks anybody anymore."
- This happened to many pop-metal bands in the '70s and '80s as they gained commercial success. An example is REO Speedwagon. Their first album included tracks called "Five Men Were Killed Today" and "Dead At Last." Years later, they would have big hits with the power ballads "Keep On Lovin' You" and "Can't Fight This Feelin'."
- American Slang seems to be this for The Gaslight Anthem.
- The Velvet Underground have an interesting trajectory in this regard. Their first album--1967's The Velvet Underground & Nico--was a fairly eclectic mix of soft stuff, hard stuff, and hard stuff that sounds soft (consider "Sunday Morning," for instance). The next album, White Light/White Heat, took a definite turn for the experimental and Darker and Edgier (the title track is about amphetamines, and it gets more macabre--often humorously so--from there; John Cale stated that it was "consciously anti-beauty"). However, the third album, 1969's The Velvet Underground, is a a lot mellower (if nevertheless experimental) -- something the band occasionally attributed to having their equipment stolen before recording --, and finally 1970's Loaded (so called because the label wanted an album "loaded with hits"), which is much softer musically (but also just as experimental and ridiculously listenable, proving that Tropes Are Not Bad).
- The first two albums by Motley Crue, "Live Wire" and "Shout at the Devil", were dark and gritty Heavy Metal albums with lyrics that dealt with things like drug abuse and Satanism. Once they achieved mainstream popularity, however, they moved in a more MTV-friendly hard rock direction with rock anthems like "Girls, Girls, Girls" and ballads like "Home Sweet Home."
- In an intentional case of this trope, Prince's "Lovesexy" was released as a light and fluffy response to the zany, mean-spirited "Black Album," complete with a pink album cover with a flower on it.
- Gorillaz followed up his darkest and most depressive work on "Demon Days" with a flashy synthpop album, "Plastic Beach."
- VNV Nation's 2010 album, Of Faith, Power and Glory, was very depressive and cynical, but the follow-up, Automatic, is much brighter and more upbeat. The band in general are the trope codifiers of the Futurepop subgenre, the lighter and softer version of EBM.
- The Pierces had three dark-sounding, Femme Fatale-like albums out with very little success. Their fourth album, involving gentler songs reminiscent of The Bangles, got them breaking into the mainstream.
- A lot of Hip-Hop fans say this is what happened to mainstream rap music. The days of the weed smoking gangstas, and proud to be black Afrocentric political rappers with their gritty Justified crime tales, and socio-political street knowledge were long gone. Only to be replaced (circa early 00's) by champagne sipping pimps, and playas, who love to rap about wealth, cheesy love songs, and club anthems.
- This is also common when leveled at SPECIFIC artists within the genre. Primarily Hardcore Hip Hop rappers and type 1 & 3 Gangsta Rap variants. A good example would be 50Cent whom ironically built his image around being the anti-Ja Rule (whom also turned lighter), which to some made fiddy hypocritical. Then there's others like Snoop Dogg, Three Six Mafia, Jay-Z, Nas (circa Nastradamus), the later years of No Limit records, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony (fans thinking they're still trying to chase Tha Crossroads, or at least the record label is), Wu-Tang Clan circa Wu-Tang Forever (RZA saying it was a record for white people). As far as the whole genre goes it mostly boils down to Money, Dear Boy (or to be fair Executive Meddling in addition to radio/MusicVideo censorship towards Hip Hop especially Gangsta Rap, Political Rap, and Conscious Hip Hop)..for better or for worse.
- Synthpop duo Future Perfect's first album, Dirty Little Secrets, is dark, angsty, and depressing at times. Their second, Escape, looks to be headed in the upbeat and energetic direction, by the previews.
- Avenged Sevenfold, although their music is still dark-and-edgy by general music standards.
- Many thrash metal bands went in this direction around the time of the grunge explosion, partially to keep up with the times and partially because the bandmembers themselves were growing tired of the musical style they were playing. During the last decade, however, this has been subverted by many of these same bands.
- Testament subverted this trope after their "Lighter and Softer" The Ritual flopped. Demonic, in particular, borders on being a full-blown death metal album.
Newspaper Comics Edit
- Parodied in FoxTrot at the end of a 1997 storyline where Paige receives an evaluation copy of the upcoming sequel to Jason's favorite computer game:
Jason: What's that?
Paige: It's a letter from the President of Blizzerbund Software.
Jason: No way! What's it say? What's it say?
Paige: (reading letter) "Dear Ms. Fox, thank you for your evaluation of our Riviablo CD-ROM beta. Per your suggestions, the final version of the game will have less violence, cuter monsters, and significantly easier puzzles. P.S. Thanks especially for the great idea to change the game's title to Happy Town."
(A few seconds later)
Peter: I thought they sent you a form letter.
Paige: Oops. You're right. I must've misread it.
Andy: (offscreen) Jason, will you stop bawling long enough to tell me what's wrong?!
- Also, a later storyline has Andy forcing Peter and Jason to play Mothers Against Gory Games-approved versions of popular video games (such as Nice City) in an attempt to make them stop playing video games altogether.
- As shown above, Bucky from Get Fuzzy had an idea to remake famous films in this vein. Relevant strips begin here.
- Sir Orfeo, a Medieval poem by an unknown author (and translated by JRR Tolkien) is a much, much lighter retelling/reimagining of the story of Orpheus. His wife is simply kidnapped by The Fair Folk rather than dying, and, unlike in the source material, our hero is successful in rescuing her and bringing her back home. It's arguably the Ur Example of a Fix Fic.
Professional Wrestling Edit
- WWE shifted their free TV programming from a TV-14 rating to TV-PG starting in 2008; this was done to help distance the current product from the "anything goes" Attitude Era (especially in light of the Chris Benoit tragedy and the steroid scandals brought to light by a Sports Illustrated article in 2006 that named names), as well as to help attract new advertisers (and a younger demographic).
- It's also been speculated that the shift was to accommodate Linda McMahon's run for the US Senate; an attempt to portray her as a CEO of a "family-friendly" organization, even going so far as to attempt to block all videos on YouTube taken during the Attitude Era. Nevertheless, it doesn't seem to be working, and most WWE fans are hopeful that if this campaign fails, the company will revert back to a TV-14 product. While the campaign failed, it didn't result into the TV-14 rebound some IWC fans were hoping for. Which may or may not cast doubt on if this was ever really a factor at all. Now, it seems to have been a factor, thanks to the edgier turn WWE's been taking since 2010, arguably the worst of the Dork Age when the election was ongoing. Now that there's no need to portray themselves as a "family-friendly" company for the purposes of election politics (which in hindsight, seems to have been the deciding factor in switching to PG), the WWE is free to switch back to TV-14 (presumably in the next few months), and has started making subtle changes to foreshadow this. A new Attitude Era is promised by Stone Cold Steve Austin himself.
- In the mid 80's, WWF's Rock 'N' Wrestling evolved Pro Wrestling from male niche entertainment to family entertainment.
- The newly revived "ECW". It's used more as a launching platform for up and coming wrestlers and a place to dump useless ones (* cough* VLADIMIR KOZLOV * cough* ).
- John Cena's "FU" (a common internet acronym for "Fuck You") was renamed to the "Attitude Adjustment". Similarly, the STFU ("Shut The Fuck Up") was renamed to the "STF Crossface Combo".
John Cena: "I know that kids are watching my every move and there are a lot of parents know their kids look up to me and [...] I kind of live by the motto -- 'Hustle, Loyalty, Respect'. If someone is out of line, I think instead of giving them an FU, it's better to give them an attitude adjustment."
- The F-U was also a Take That to the F-5 finishing move of Brock Lesnar. Officially, one of the reasons for changing the name was that the reference was beyond outdated, as a lot of Cena's present fanbase wasn't even toilet-trained when Lesnar was wrestling.
- Curiously, they kept Five Knuckle Shuffle.
- When Mick Foley hit legitimate main event status in late 1998, he traded in a lot of the more sado-masochistic elements of his gimmick for a more humorous approach (which Triple H referred to as a "human muppet") that included a sock puppet and a more child-like demeanor. He, however, still retained bits of his Crazy Awesome tolerance for pain which, combined with his new more innocent behavior turned into The Woobie of the WWF.
- Prior to coming to the WWF, the Sheepherders were one of the most hardcore tag teams in pro wrestling. Upon their arrival, Butch Miller and Luke Williams changed their name to the Bushwhackers, became faces, and played their brawling style more for laughs than for heat.
- The entire CHIKARA wrestling league is built around this. Television production is broken into distinct "seasons", with each season's DVD release being designed as a comic book cover. Several wrestlers are based on video game and comic book characters. There is no swearing whatsoever, to the point where attempts to start a swearing chant by the crowd are shouted down by the rest of the audience. Rule of Funny holds sway, with stunts like holding the first minute or so of a match in slow motion, while another has a wrestler who doesn't like where the match is going, so he pauses and rewinds the match several seconds, starts again, and this time reverses a move he now sees coming.
Tabletop Games Edit
- Magic the Gathering has "Lorwyn," a plane which by its design was meant to be Lighter and Softer, until you looked closer. Its Darker and Edgier counterpart is "Shadowmoor." Which is appropriate, considering that the two sets' inspiration were fairy tales and their older folk tale counterparts respectively.
- Lorwyn was something of an inversion of the way worlds usually work in Magic: the Gathering. Goblins and faeries were both the same as they always are, but the world is so much Lighter and Softer than usual that their traditional mischief and hedonism is close enough to true evil to be aligned with black mana. Merfolk, generally xenophobic and hostile to surface-dwellers, got hit with true Disneyfication and became sociable, lounging out of wells and on riverbanks chatting with townfolk. Elves were the biggest reversal; in normal Magic settings they are definitively from forests and green mana, but generally leaning towards white mana on the side, indicating a preference for order and the status quo versus whatever maniac was trying to conquer the world in the storyline of this expansion. With no world-ending threat to Lorwyn, though, they are still green but their pride and disdain for everything else is sufficient to make them the closest thing to a Big Bad. And then Shadowmoor came along and partially inverted it in a few more ways all over again.
- Wraith: The Oblivion was considered to be by far the darkest game of the Old World of Darkness line, which is really saying something. Characters spent their undead days in a decaying afterlife, trying to avoid the machinations of the power-hungry Hierarchy and the insatiable Oblivion while trying to hold on to their ties to life and fighting off the dark voices in their head. Now comes the Spiritual Successor, Geist: The Sin Eaters, where the characters have returned from the brink of death with a ghostly passenger and superpowers, and a major component of their culture is celebrating another day of life.
- Geist also tends to be Lighter And Softer compared to the New World of Darkness in general. It's not exactly a bag of kittens, but it's generally optimistic -- the Bound got a second chance at life, and intend to use it to the fullest, whether that means saving people, helping innocent ghosts, destroying malevolent ghosts, killing villainous people, or just making their lives comfortable. After previous games have been the likes of Promethean: The Created, Changeling: The Lost, or even Hunter: The Vigil, it's a bit of a shock to see a game that falls closer to Mage: The Ascension on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
- Warhammer 40000. During 3e , there were chaos cultists on Terra, the Imperium was losing worlds by the hundreds and High Lords did not care, in fact most of them had been driven insane by imperfect deageing treatments. This was before the Horus Heresy, before the Imperium's methods were justified by dozens of books. There was no Ciaphas Cain, no likable or sane character to be found. The Sisters of Battle fielded suicide bomber cadres, the Space Marines were a shadow of their power in later editions, and more insane: imperfections in their half forgotten surgical techniques rendered 9 out of 10 recruits dead and the survivors deranged. The Religious Horror was at its peak, the artwork like of things that can barely be called human hugging and kissing undetonated artillery shells, begging the gods of war for salvation has never been reprinted, the forces of Chaos, later Ultimate Evil, were simply presented as an alternate form of insanity to that of the Imperium's. By 5e, Warhammer shows an Age of War where humanity's survival hangs in the balance. 3e showed an Age of Insanity where the spirit of man was long dead. The reason for this is because Games Workshop realized that almost everyone saw the storyline as a huge joke because it was too Grimdark.
- Little Fears Nightmare Edition as compared to the original. The constant pall of child abuse is gone, and it's actually fairly well-suited to running a relatively light-hearted Kids Vs. Monsters adventure in the vein of The Monster Squad. It has suggested rules modifications for taking it even further in the Lighter and Softer direction with the Dark Fairy Tales playmode (think Coraline -- or your choice of children's fairy stories with a dark cast to them, if that one scared you too much)... or, alternately, darkening it to the point that it's more in line with the original game.
- Mutant Chronicles can be considered a lighter and softer take on Warhammer 40000. There are a lot of similar elements and the feel is much the same, but in Mutant Chronicles, human life is considered precious and humanity still has a fighting chance.
- Wicked became a kid-friendly preteen-girl-targeted musical, in sharp contrast to the rape and murder filled original book.
- The Phantom of the Opera, although it still retains some of the darker themes of the original novel, is ultimately far less tragic than the original novel, which was written more as a crime thriller and had a lot more Unfortunate Implications.
- Lego's Hero Factory, when compared to its predecessor Bionicle. Bionicle had plenty of Nightmare Fuel and some death, while Hero Factory has a more comedic feel to it and is made to appeal to little kids.This is one of the main reasons fans have bashed at Hero Factory.
- Their next constraction theme, Mixels, was even lighter than Hero Factory. While Hero Factory was no stranger to fairly intimidating villains, tragic pasts, and subterfuge, Mixels has none of that, and the Mixels are just going about their lives in a fully comedic storyline. It is by far the most light-hearted of all constraction themes.
- In American Mcgees Grimm the story of Little Red Riding Hood (save for a few curse words) actually manages to be slightly more tame in that the wolf was given a quick mercy killing via ax to the stomach. All in all this is a far better fate than say starving to death or having your belly get filled with rocks and drown like in some versions.
- If American McGee REALLY wanted to be Darker and Edgier then he should have stuck with the original ending: no friendly woodsman and Red and Granny don't get eaten whole. Lampshaded in the game -- in the "original story" telling of it, Grimm mentions this about older versions... but comments that he couldn't go with that for his corrupted version while he's telling it -- presumably because it'd be straying too far from the well-known story.
- My Sims is a lighter and softer version of The Sims with chibis, no child-rearing or romance, and very few actual social aspects from The Sims. It's a very fun game, but it is more like Animal Crossing for people who don't like being bossed about by a tanuki.
- In other words, if the only thing you liked about The Sims was killing them in various and evil ways...My Sims might not be for you. There are no swimming pools, eating is something that happens because they happen to encounter a table and chair, and you can't block doorways with furniture (and if you could, you'd be stuck until you removed it). The worst you can do is Be Mean, which seems to range from insults and hitting them with water balloons to stepping on their feet and getting into dust-ups, complete with dust cloud. If you were that kind of person, you don't deserve to have something marketed to you.
- Every Final Fantasy spinoff, excepting Tactics, and apparently Final Fantasy XIII-2, to varying extents. Final Fantasy IX is accused of this, but it only really applies to the visual style, especially as the plot focuses heavily on themes such as genocide.
- Final Fantasy Tactics, a game about murder, betrayal, class warfare and the evils of organized religion had a spinoff in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, a kid-friendly, if poorly written aesop against escapism.
- Compared to its story and angst-heavy predecessor and successor, Final Fantasy V can come off as humorous, even borderline parodic; however, the theme of planet-level destruction and Heroic Sacrifices is still present.
- Final Fantasy X 2 is this, big time. The body count is almost non-existent. Everything is more cheerful. The music is upbeat. Hey, the end of Final Fantasy X had an ultimate force of death and destruction wiped off the plane of existence, it's needed.
- After the fanbase displeasure about the Darker and Edgier Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, Ubisoft made The Two Thrones less immaturely outrageous, although still a M-rated game. The hero even apologizes for his foul mood in the previous game. The 2008 iteration dialed it back to a Teen rating, aiming for a fantastical, exotic, magical atmosphere reminiscent of Sands of Time.
- Command and Conquer Red Alert 2 was much lighter and softer than its predecessors. Red Alert 1 was a game where Einstein went back in time and killed Adolf Hitler, allowing a power hungry Stalin to invade Europe. Red Alert 2 was a game where the Soviet Union invaded the USA with blimps and mind-controlled squid. This was a reaction to the Darker and Edgier Tiberium Sun, which most fans of the C&C series didn't like.
- Red Alert 3 is an interesting case: the storylines and general content are actually quite a bit darker than its predecessors (the Empire of the Rising Sun in general is the source of this), but between the mandatory ham injections for all the actors, sheer balls-to-the-wall craziness in unit design, and general nuttiness, it comes off as the lightest and fluffiest installment yet.
- Nintendo's porting of Mortal Kombat to the SNES fell victim to this trope, what with removing the blood and some of the more graphic "fatalities". Unsurprisingly, this displeased many fans of the arcade version.
- The Lego Star Wars games are a lot more light-hearted and less self-serious than the various source material.
- That goes for the other Lego games as well.
- Diablo II comes off as significantly lighter and softer than its predecessor. This mostly has to do with the outside levels and there being a day/night cycle. A jungle (and a desert in all it's sun-baked brightness, for that matter) during the day is just not as creepy as an underground crypt or a perpetually night time village. On the other hand, Act 4 is more creepy then the original game.
- This trope is what some of the... more easily agitated fans feared Blizzard had done with Diablo 3. Blizzard took the opportunity to play the accusations for laughs, and made the image you see at the top of the page.
- And then they made a Lighter and Softer level and included it as a secret bonus in the actual game.
- This trope is what some of the... more easily agitated fans feared Blizzard had done with Diablo 3. Blizzard took the opportunity to play the accusations for laughs, and made the image you see at the top of the page.
- Higurashi Daybreak, the doujin game that the creators added to the canon, has no murder or horror - just fun. Fun with baseball bats and billhooks, but not gory like the original series.
- After the unexpectedly dark Majora's Mask, The Legend of Zelda series went significantly lighter and softer with Wind Waker, sporting a colourful, cel-shaded look and humorous characters and dialogue. Broken Base ensued. This hate has died out in recent years due in part to the shockingly dark backstory and actions that happen throughout the game.
- The portable games are all significantly Lighter and Softer as well, except for Link's Awakening and A Link Between Worlds. The Oracle games weren't that bright either.
- The first 2 CD-i games are also much lighter, with goofy character designs, whimsical villains, and nary a Tear Jerker in sight.
- Triforce Heroes manages to exceed all prior Zelda games in lightness to the point it feels more Mario than Zelda. Even the CD-i games felt a bit darker in a "fever dream" sense.
- Saints Row 2 can be seen as a softer version of Grand Theft Auto 4 with more over-the-top and braindead-stupid entertainment elements. The plot isn't any less softer but the game's overall theme is quite colourful and funny.
- While the Saints Row 2 main character is much, much more cruel, vicious, and just plain evil than the latest GTA protagonists (CJ and Niko), the ways in which the SR2 guy (or girl) carries out his various murders are so over the top it's impossible to take any of it seriously: you get to be a cop and break up domestic disputes with a chainsaw, or a bodyguard and remove annoying paparazzi by stuffing them into a jet engine. It seems every single named character is in on the joke and lives only to see wanton ultraviolence, except the few sympathetic characters that get shot to pieces in short order.
- The arcade racing game Wangan Midnight R uses dark visuals with lots of grays, whites, and orange and a soundtrack that sounds like something out of a chase scene in an older film. Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune is, in comparison, substantially more colorful (both in scenery and interface), has any number of Joke Cars (A Corolla and a HiAce van in a racing game full of cars that have 280 stock horsepower?), and uses a surreal trance soundtrack.
- The Halo series has partially fallen into this, with the amount of blood sprayed around being reduced from enough to paint the walls purple (or blue, or orange, or red) to barely enough to fill a shot glass. Averted in that the storyline maintains its position half-way down the cynicism side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism.
- Persona 4 is a considerably more cheerful game compared to its predecessors. Not necessarily a bad thing, as it has scored more sales than any other game in the series, and many even consider it to be the high point of the series. However, there's also plenty of people who consider it to be the low point of the series, so YMMV.
- It also makes for a nice change after the seriously Downer Ending of Persona 3, and though it has a lighter feeling to it, it still contains some really dark subject matter. It also helped that it didn't seem as forced with kids using "guns" to shoot themselves in the head.
- The game is about tracking down a serial murderer while being confronted with the party's darkest secrets and deepest fears. It just has a very good attitude about the whole thing.
- In the bigger picture, that is, the Megaten franchise as a whole, the Devil Children/Demi Kids series is Lighter and Softer than... well, everything else. The demons are cuter, the characters are bright and colorful children, we have the usual friendship messages etc. It was actually pretty successful in Japan, spawning two anime series plus manga and other merchandising. Its run in the U.S. was less fortunate, as Book of Light/Dark didn't impress.
- When you look at it at one way, God of War is really a Lighter and Softer take on Greek myth heroes. Their idealized hero is a guy who raids and pillages non-Greek villages, taking slaves and plunder... who kills dozens of men for daring to seek his wife's hand when he's been considered legally dead for years... and who hangs all the servant-girls who have been taken advantage of by said men, just because. Kratos? He kills a few people, but mostly just chops up monsters. Doesn't even have a single known case of rape to his name.
- As the page quote indicates, Mega Man Star Force can't decide if it wants to be this or Darker and Edgier than its predecessor, Mega Man Battle Network. This is especially bad in the anime, which adds disturbing scenes not in the game (the plot arc suggesting Mega murdered Geo's father, the FMians' deaths ) but also adds typical overly-light-hearted anime Filler.
- The Mega Man ZX series is Lighter and Softer compared to the previous series, Mega Man Zero, which is the darkest chapter in the series. It doesn't mean that ZX is actually kid-friendly; it's just that Zero is too pitch...
- Mega Man Powered Up could be considered a Lighter and Softer version of the original game, with the brighter graphics, the cutesy voices, the Super Deformed art style, and the lowered difficulty.
- Mega Man Legends is also much lighter than the prior series in the timeline bar possibly Classic. The second game is a lot darker however.
- A well-received mod for the sombre nuclear war simulator DEFCON exchanged Mutually Assured Destruction for Christmas and Santa Claus: the silos become Christmas trees, the ICBMs are presents, the bombers are reindeer-pulled sleighs, and the megadeath casualties become millions of happy children.
- This is Tycho's opinion of The Lord of the Rings: Aragorn's Quest.
- The House of the Dead EX takes this to an extreme. The story consists of Cute Zombie Girl Zobiko and her love interest Zobio breaking out of a lab and escaping a zombie invasion through minigames such as catching apples, battling a zombie sumo wrestler, and encountering the first boss of The House of the Dead 4 and shooting out his bad teeth. Yes, this game exists. Yes, it has a Western release.
- The Typing Of The Dead spoofs up the whole thing in The House of the Dead 2 to the extreme. After finishing the Emperor, you are asked about how you want to execute Goldman; depending on how you answer the questions, one of the three funny endings would be played.
- House of the Dead Overkill was not only less Bloodier and Gorier (relative to previous entries in the franchise), it had loads of Camp elements and humour.
- Academy of Champions: Soccer is a kid-targeted soccer game for the Wii. It in itself is not a Lighter and Softer version of any extant franchise, but it's published by Ubisoft, and contains a special team composed of characters from other Ubisoft franchises. What does that mean? Cute and cuddly, brightly-colored Fun Size versions of Altaiir, Sam Fisher, Jade, and the Prince footying along with the game's Kid Heroes.
- Wii Ware game Water Warfare is a Lighter and Softer version of the entire "FPS Deathmatch" genre. While it plays much the same as other multiplayer FPSes, with multiple weapons and areas, deathmatches, Capture the Flag games, and the like, it's entirely nonviolent--all the weapons are squirt guns and water balloons, and the worst that ever happens to anyone is that they get wet.
- The first game in the Shadow Hearts RPG series was M-rated, gloomy, and fairly gory; the second game scored a T-rating and abandoned most of the gore for oddball humor, but kept the grim atmosphere fairly intact; and the third game, also rated T, was so goofy and light-hearted in comparison that it threw some fans off. The Lighter and Softer trend is even more obvious if Koudelka, the Survival-Horror semi-prequel to the original, is considered.
- Electronic Arts' First-Person Shooter games are the softer version of the current generation of shooters. Mercenaries, Army of Two, Battlefield: Bad Company all had comparatively "lighter and fluffier" storylines and endings. No Downer Ending to create a Sequel Hook for instance.
- And then came the sequels... (though not so much Mercenaries 2)
- Death Smiles, a shooter by CAVE while not too dark, reduced a bit of its horror elements with a lighter style where the girls stops an evil Santa Claus to find several MacGuffins to wake up their benefactor who saves them from certain death.
- Godzilla for Game Boy features the title monster in a puzzle platformer game portraying Godzilla and the enemy monsters as mini-sized cutesy creatures. Godzilla in particular resembles the protagonists of Bubble Bobble. It has to be seen to be believed.
- Tetris the Grand Master 4 - The Masters of Round is looking to drop the serious-looking backgrounds in favor of flowers and prettiness.
- Hey You Pikachu and Pokémon Channel to the mainline Pokémon series. You just take care of a wild Pikachu and with time, you become good friends. The latter half is the same as the prequel, but while you both watch T.V.
- The sixth generation, as a stop-gap between the much darker fifth and seventh generations.
- Illusion's H-game library started off as dark sci-fi and fantasy style H-Games, as they gotten newer 3D technology, it has soften a bit compared to its past games. Compare Rapelay to Sexy Beach 3, Illusion characters are now more or less Adult Video Actresses.
- Chaos;Head was a suspense/mystery story that blurred the lines between fantasy and reality. Chaos;Head Love Chu Chu is an Unwanted Harem romantic comedy. For one entry, at least, the series fully embraces that aspect of itself.
- 5pb. repeats the process with Steins;Gate Hiyoku Renri no Darling, which eschews the time travel and conspiracies in favor of fanservice and fun.
- The Baldurs Gate spinoff series Dark Alliance does this to the Harpers. In DA, they're a benevolent organization that genuinely seeks to protect the world, while in the actual Forgotten Realms series (including the original Baldur's Gate games), they're totalitarian, borderline-fascist Knight Templar who are more than willing to murder innocent people for what they believe to be the greater good.
- In the tabletop game setting the Harpers are described as good guys. On the other hand, there are always those in an organisation that want to go further than the others...
- The darker view of the Harpers usually comes from the schism, even then, they get along better with the "traitors" that left the Harpers to form their own organization than most other factions get along with other members of the same faction. On a superficial level, the Harpers sound like Knight Templars for calling the Moonstars "traitors," but their actions are very different. They get along very well with them for the most part and can and have worked together, since they still have the same goals, just different views on how to approach them, this is nowhere near how a "totalitarian, borderline-fascist Knight Templar" organization should act. They just happen to not mince words.
- The twelfth Touhou game Undefined Fantastic Object was made with this trope, in an attempt to stop to escalating villain threats of the previous several games. Considering the elements of Fantastic Racism, it may not have been successful.
- The series in general moved this way. Embodiment of Scarlet Devil and Perfect Cherry Blossom were fairly dark, with the implication that the bosses were killed, and people getting eaten in the backstory. Imperishable Night lightened things a bit, with only the weak bosses talking about killing people. Then ZUN actually started writing the setting details, and established all the fights as non-lethal, the Mooks as having resurrective immortality, and people getting eaten as largely a thing of the past.
- As s whole, Touhou gives a Lighter and Softer version of various elements in Japanese mythologies and folklores. Everyone is a little girl, to boot.
- Epic Mickey is admittedly Darker and Edgier for a Mickey Mouse game, but it's actually lighter and softer for a game by Warren Spector. As he put it, "I want people to smile when they’re playing, not get all scrunched up with adrenaline."
- Day of the Tentacle is more purely a comedy, as opposed to its predecessor, Maniac Mansion, which was a horror/sci-fi game with some funny bits.
- Also, unlike the first game, DotT has no unwinnable scenarios or time limits.
- For the Sonic the Hedgehog series, this started with Sonic Heroes, while Sonic Unleashed, the Sonic Storybook Series, and more recently Sonic Colors take it back (in Colors's case even further than the previous two) in this direction after the Darker and Edgier Shadow the Hedgehog and the infamous Sonic '06. Given the all-around Fan Dumb complaining of the latter games, this was probably needed.
- Unfortunately, Sonic Lost World took this to an uncomfortable extreme, hence why Rise of Lyric would backpedal to the tone of the SEGA Genesis games, with things being taken even further with Sonic Forces.
- Sonic Mania is a fair bit lighter than the original classic games from which it was inspired by, but moreso Denser and Wackier. It was also released in the same year as the aforementioned Forces, and is the prequel to that game.
- Skies of Arcadia compared to RPGs in general at the time of its release (originally in 2000 on the Dreamcast, then ported in 2003 for the Nintendo Gamecube) was lighter and softer in its impossibly optimistic and clean-cut protagonist Vyse, as opposed to the more (at the time) recent cynical brooding heroes Cloud Strife and Squall Leonhart, a not-too-overly-complicated plot (it had its dark moments, but even so), and rather simplistic battle system. Because of the amounts of darkness and cynicism that began to dominate, however, this was well-received.
- Taken somewhat further in the U.S Dreamcast release when situations involving drunkenness and a particular near-rape scene involving one of the female protagonists was edited out.
- Kingdom Hearts Coded is probably the cheeriest game in the entire series. The plot is light--"let's make a data-Sora and have a nostalgic romp through a bunch of worlds from the first game while he fixes some inconsistencies in Jiminy's Journal!"--and there's a bigger focus on fun gameplay than in other installments of the series. The game has its sad and scary parts, for sure, but it's still more optimistic than its contemporaries, Birth by Sleep and 358/2 Days.
- From Software developed the Armored Core series; a series of mecha games set in post-apocalyptic futures and generally being full of War Is Hell, cynical rebellions, Real Is Brown, and all the ensuing tragedy and horror. Then, in 2004, the developer decided to use Armored Core's engine and gameplay to make a Spiritual Successor robot game. Said game, called Metal Wolf Chaos, is about the President of the United States using a Mini-Mecha to fight off a coup d'etat by his evil Vice President (who is also in a mecha), while sprouting phrases like "EAT MY FLAME OF JUSTICE!" and "Nothing is pointless! And the reason is: Because I'm the president of the Great United States of America! YEAH!". Needless to say it falls under this.
- Red Faction 1 and 2, despite being in the same series, barely resemble each other in many ways, especially overall tone. The first game mostly took place in Mars within many dark tunnels, and you're part of a miner rebellion to fight off an evil corporation. In short, it was Total Recall as a first person shooter. The following game? Yeah, you're part of a super solider squad overthrowing a Hitler Expy dictator, and yeah, it's still violent, but the game's direction is nowhere near as grim and desperate. When enemies nearly get shot dead on the first game, they're screaming for help. On the second one, they jokingly flee, saying they need to think of a new strategy. No, that part's not a joke.
- Against the ongoing tide of Mature Dark Role Playing Games, Divinity 2 serves as being much notably lighter in tone and setting than most current Western RPGs out at the moment.
- The endings in the Twisted Metal games made by 989 Studios (Twisted Metal III and Twisted Metal 4) tend to be much less darker and sometimes downright comedic when compared to their predecessors.
- Fallout 2, is Lighter and Softer compare to the rest of the Fallout games its full of humor and pop culture jokes and the main villains are cartoonly evil rather than the anti-villains the last game had.
- Oddly, the game is also horrifically dark compared to the old game. Genocide, prostitution, organized crime, corruption, political subversion, and slavery were far more prominent. In addition, the first time you see the Enclave, they murder a family with a minigun over a perceived slight. The Super Mutants in the first game never are shown to visibly do anything similar. Then again Fallout has always been a Black Comedy, so its naturally the funniest of the games as well as one of the darkest.
- Drakengard 2 might be considered pretty dark compared to other JRPGs, but it is incredibly lighter than its predecessor. The main character isn't a complete kill-happy sociopath, has a chance to have a love interest that doesn't end horribly, and the game actually includes one ending where the world and the main characters are not doomed to suffer and/or die in various terrible ways.
- Yoshi's Story is much Lighter and Softer than Yoshi's Island in that it is generally much easier and it excises the Nightmare Fuel from the original. Yeah, that's right, they managed to make an already light game even lighter.
- Driver San Francisco is definitely a lot softer then its disastrous predecessor Driv3r.
- Bet you never thought you'd see the day Postal 2 got called Lighter and Softer. But the second game took the series' ultraviolence into near cartoonish levels and played all of its depravity for laughs. But while Postal 2 was a dark comedy, Postal 1 was just... dark.
- Invoked in Mass Effect 3. Jack had become an instructor and no longer swears like she used to. In fact the worst she does is punch Shepard in the face, before kissing him if romanced. Lampshaded when she tells her students to cover their ears, before telling Joker f...
- World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria has received the Diablo 3 treatment, with fanboy screams of "Care Bears", and the series being Ruined FOREVER. After Cataclysm's Old God corrupted dragon attempting an Azeroth Shattering Kaboom, it's a little hard to not come off as Lighter and Softer.
- A rather bizarre example occurs with the video game adaptation of Adventures In Dinosaur City. The main characters of the film are fans of a cartoon series, of which we only see the intro, before being sucked into it's Darker and Edgier real version. However the game based it's asthetic more on said cartoon, thereby being Lighter and Softer then the film, but also truer to the fictitious source material.
- Donkey Kong 64 was a lot lighter and sillier than the SNES classics.
- Freedom Planet, while darker than (most of) the contemporary Sonic games at the time of its release, is lighter than several of the previous ones. The main characters are much cuter, there's a great deal of comic relief, and a fair share of Sonic's heavier themes are missing, and even Milla only ends up with a Disney Death. The sequel seems to hedge a little bit darker, with more emotional turmoil between the cast.
- Dave Kelly, known for webcomics such as Purple Pussy, Living In Greytown, and his animations on Something Awful, also made a webcomic called Lizard. Unlike everything he's ever made ever, it didn't involve extreme profanity, massive violence, people getting killed off, or nudity. In fact, it was downright sickeningly sweet.
- In fact, Living In Greytown itself was made lighter and softer midway through the comic's life. The wacky vulgarity and silly deaths started being played for drama, and the comic was literally made lighter and softer by being drawn in colored pencils in bright soft colors, and culminating with a heartwarming ending.
- Zeus and Sons is lighter and softer than the Greek mythology that it parodies, turning even the most horrible acts of the Greek gods into comical mishaps.
- In El Goonish Shive, after several very dramatic arcs in a row, "New and Old Flames" is...well, something else entirely.
- Sinfest is a webcomic that used to be extremely cynical and celebrated the sinful lives of the main characters. Nowadays, the overall tone of the strip is very optimistic and deals with how the very human characters deal with the temptation of sin while exploring the connections they have with each other. It's hard to point out exactly where the shift occurred, but consensus says it became official during the Love Redeems storyline between one of the succubi and the nerdy bookworm.
- Fluffy Bunny Domination lives and breaths a Lighter and Softer version of BDSM.
- In Homestuck, the alien trolls are violent, amoral, and unstable. In their previous incarnation they were peaceful, kind, and so weak they couldn't play the game that would create a new universe so they had to reboot it and be manipulated into something more aggressive.
Web Originals Edit
- Neopets was made by, and for college kids when it first started. The early plots all were filled with black comedy, where the staff members (fictionally) were killed off one by one (the players got to vote on who died). The site was made kid friendly after two years, but the old pages from early plots still exist, which are all Nightmare Fuel.
- This trope is parodied here, with an attempt to make Watchmen Lighter and Softer. It's a parody of the animated cartoon versions of films geared towards adult audiences (see Western Animation below). In particular, Rorschach describes himself as "nutty" (he's relegated to comic relief) and the Comedian... has a crush on Silk Spectre.
- And, there's this comic. Be sure to read the rest of the chapters as well!
- After the Incarnates arc in We Are Our Avatars, which is chockfull of Grimdark, many of the Arcs started to get lighter, although many exceptions have applied.
- Tobuscus started out his vlogging career with a very gritty, profanity-laced style, clearly going for a "bad boy" vibe. Around 2010, however, his popularity started to really grow, his sponsorships took off, and his teenage niece, Ciara, started appearing in his videos -- and suddenly the grittiness was gone, replaced by a Toby who never swears, pretends to be oblivious to things like sex and alcohol, and is almost entirely comedic. His niece aside, this was almost certainly a calculated career move to broaden his appeal, although there are still occasional comments on his videos expressing longing for the "old Toby".
Western Animation Edit
- In Highlander the Animated Series, immortals don't behead each other. They choose to pass on the knowledge by handing their sword over to the other Immortal, giving them everything the other immortal experienced through their lives.
- The heroes do this. The villain, however, opts for the classic decapitation (though it's off screen).
- They also offhandedly mention that he killed Connor McLeod.
- The cartoon show based on Beetlejuice uses this trope. It was actually pretty enjoyable - even for adults.
- Due in no small part to the fact that it was excellent at Getting Crap Past the Radar.
- As well as The Mask, which was itself based on a movie that itself was a lighter, softer version of a quite grimdark comic book.
- And also any kid-oriented Animated Series based on a property originally for adults. More examples: Rambo, RoboCop, Police Academy, and (to a lesser extent than the others) The Real Ghostbusters.
- Static Shock is an animated version of a much more mature comic, straying further from the source as time went on.
- Both the Conan the Barbarian cartoon series (or Conan the Adventurer as it was called), and the live-action TV series Conan the Adventurer.
- Toxic Crusaders, a spinoff of the definitely-not-for-kids The Toxic Avenger films. A similarly "kiddie" spin was put on the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes cartoon.
- Teen Titans was definitely lighter and fluffier than the comic. Much retooling was needed to cover some storylines, such as how in the comic, Terra was having an affair with Slade (aka Deathstroke the Terminator) while being his mole; Raven's father Trigon raped her mother; and Brother Blood is a cult-leading sorcerer who practices magick through bloodletting.
- Nearly all film and TV adaptations of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are Lighter and Softer than the brutal comic book that inspired them.
- The 2003 cartoon came closer to the original comic books, until Season 6, Fast Forward, which is considerately lighter and more laughable than all the five seasons before it. It doesn't even feature any deaths, save for Sh'Okanabo's at the end of the penultimate episode when he gets killed by a light grenade batted into his mouth by Donatello. Season 7 kept this light tone.
- Nick's take manages to return to the lighter tone of the 1980s series, but is still darker due to some heavier themes and a penchant for grotesque, gruesome visuals.
- The third season of The Animals of Farthing Wood is much lighter and there are fewer deaths and tragic events than the first two seasons.
- The Mortal Kombat games were a Hong Kong pastiche with a fetish for viscera. Mortal Kombat Defenders of the Realm was a bunch of superheroes that fought space ninjas, lived in a cave, and had trauma about being fat when they were kids.
- Batman the Brave And The Bold, especially compared to that other recent Batman adaptation as well as previous cartoons featuring the Batman.
- Ironically, it managed to make Batman's origin darker than the original.
- "To be sure, this is a lighter incarnation, but it's certainly no less valid and true to the character's roots than the tortured avenger crying out for mommy and daddy."
- And it's 'still Darker and Edgier then 60's Batman and that's hard to do.
- Slimer! And the Real Ghostbusters was a Lighter and Softer version of The Real Ghostbusters.
- Catscratch is an adaptation of a comic book. The original comic, called Gear, centers on a war between anthropomorphic species, fought on giant robots, and doesn't shy away from depicting murders, genocide, body horror and torture. The cartoon not only didn't have one of the main characters, who died, but didn't let another character suffer his Fate Worse Than Death.
- Beast Machines is about planetary genocide, religious fanaticism and unceasing, torrential whining. Transformers Robots in Disguise is about the wacky adventures of a put-upon space shark and the delightful things he does. That's something of a simplification, but the fact remains: Transformers has never gotten quite so dark as Beast Machines since,  if only because presumably Hasbro have decided they'd quite like people to actually buy their toys.
- The short lived cult series Cybersix was waaaay Lighter and Softer than the original comic it was based on: All the nazi Backstory of Von Reichter becomes subtext; when defeated the Fixed Ideas evaporate videogame-style leaving behind a pile of clothes & a "Sustenance" health powerup for Cybersix so she didn't need to bite them like a vampire as in the comic; and nothing of all the high sexual content of the original.
- Although Nickelodeon isn't one for "dark" shows (except ZIM) and Avatar: The Last Airbender), Chalk Zone seems to be Nick's attempt at making a very soft, light, and fluffy cartoon (most likely to recover younger viewers from the Nightmare Fuel-filled Invader Zim (already mentioned). Despite being adorable, it made many viewers sick. Well, that's what happens when you have too much sugar.
- Also, when Nickelodeon's CBS block featured non-Jr. shows from 2002-2005, due to having to comply to the E/I guidelines, the two most popular Nicktoons of the time, SpongeBob SquarePants and The Fairly Odd Parents, were off-limits for the CBS block, therefore Nick had to rely on less-popular Nicktoons to fill the roster, like All Grown Up, As Told by Ginger, and the aforementioned Chalk Zone.
- The Superhero Squad Show, like the toyline it comes from, manages to include The Punisher. How does that work, you ask? Like this.
- Batman Beyond's spin off show The Zeta Project is much cuter and softer than what it was spun off from. MUCH. They also redesigned Zeta to be much more human-looking without even a Hand Wave. When Batman shows up in a Crossover episode, he doesn't mention that Zeta looks different than he remembers.
- Due to Executive Meddling, Spider-Man: The Animated Series. In addition to characters like Carnage, Morbius, and Blade, Wikipedia lists other differences.
- During production, the crew behind Robotomy had to constantly be reminded that the show was airing in primetime, and so not to go too much toward Adult Swim content.
- G1 My Little Pony could be summed up as "Disney Princesses visit Sunnydale", as it featured very cutesy pastel-colored pony girls getting routinely threatened by horrible monsters. Follow-up Series My Little Pony Tales dropped the monsters and the magic, and turned it into a teen drama/comedy set in a quaint little town of near-anthropomorphic ponies. The G3 series, however, goes full-blown Sugar Bowl, to the point of Tastes Like Diabetes sickening sweetness. The new My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic series thankfully dials it back a bit, finding a happy medium between cute slice-of-life comedy and adventure and danger.
- Most people ignore that "Rescue from Midnight Castle" aka the 1984 pilot is considered the darkest and edgier incarnation of the entire franchise, featuring creepy characters, real death situations, competent henchmen and the infamous Big Bad Tirec, who was a genocidal (and hyper competent) villain who used physical violence, death threats and even burned four ponies alive, to make them reborn from their ashes as monsters. Without menctioning how the original incarnation of Megan was a rough cowgirl who ended up graphically killing Tirec by ripping him into shreds with the power of her Rainbow of Light (and then finishing him off by destroying what was left of Tirec in a big explosion.)
- Played with in Family Guy where Brian and Stewie get teleported into an alternate dimension which is Disneyfied. All the characters are friendlier and burst into impromptu song and dance routines... this is all ruined when they notice the rampant xenophobia and racism in this dimension.
- The Image comic book Wild CATS is very violent, dark and cynical. By contrast, the Wild CATS cartoon is more standard superhero fare.
- The second season of Superjail at least compared to the first. Characters are more humanized and sympathetic and less wantonly cruel, and this includes the inmates. Make no mistake that it's still a Gorn series, but less randomly cruel than in the first season.
- The Problem Solverz was originally pitched to Adult Swim and was much more random and surreal than the Cartoon Network series. Now the show is quite toned down and focuses more on the episode plots instead of arbitrary BLAMs.
- Little Shop of Horrors had an animated series, where the killer, man-eating plant was now friendly and tried to help the main character, and the psychotic sadistic dentist was a school yard bully who stole lunch money and food from Seymour.
- Baby Looney Tunes, being a Spinoff Babies version of Looney Tunes, is built on this.
- Later episodes of Rugrats. While the show was already about babies going on adventures, the later seasons dumbed down the baby talk and almost all of the parental bonuses were removed.
- Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade was a more subtle example. The gang's crazy schemes were nowhere near as epic as they were in the show itself (aside from T.J.'s boycott against school in the beginning), and became more Slice of Life.
- Beavis and Butthead, in comparision to other adult sitcoms, like Family Guy or South Park. While the series itself is not kid-friendly and full of dirty jokes about sex and bodily functions and has some violent moments, it is still looks light compare to other adults sitcoms, who are full of Nausea Fuel, Squick, Nightmare Fuel, on-screen sexual moments and extremely violent moments. In addition, Beavis and Butthead is more realistic and doesn't focuse on over the top Comedic Sociopathy and the most violent moments in the show look child friendly compared to violence in other sitcoms..Try watching Family Guy and then watch Beavis and Butthead. There is a clear difference.
Real Life Edit
- Major League Baseball opened the 1998 season with two new teams, both named after incredibly deadly animals - the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. While the Diamondbacks are much less threatening than their name implies, the Devil Rays changed their name to the Rays in 2007, the name now describing rays of sunshine rather than dangerous marine life. Oddly, ever since then they've been extremely good.
- It was also changed due to Moral Guardians (and reportedly former Ray Josh Hamilton, who became a born-again Christian after kicking drug addiction) thinking that the name promoted Satanism.
- Aerogel, if you want to take this trope literally. It's the lightest known solid and has the consistency of styrofoam.