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"People've been telling me how things work down here - telling me the rules. You know what? Your rules suck."

"I aim to misbehave."
Malcolm Reynolds, Serenity

The Rebellious Spirit is an individual who has a beef with society. A large one. One large enough to make that person want to break all the rules, just because.

Rebellious Spirits go beyond the stereotypical "rebellious teen" and include people who flagrantly violate rules and social norms, act eccentric or weird, and often don't care what people think about them. Sometimes they even lack normal friends and usually lack good posture. They may be Chaotic Good, Chaotic Neutral, or Chaotic Evil, but they are always chaotic.

Sometimes, this person is the Anti-Hero or even The Unfettered. Can often prove to be a Combat Pragmatist when the fighting starts. May feature in an All Girls Want Bad Boys plot.

Examples of Rebellious Spirit include:

Anime and Manga

  • Yusuke Urameshi from Yu Yu Hakusho fits this trope to a T at first. Since Loners Are Freaks he eventually changes to fit a more heroic archetype.
  • Mugen from Samurai Champloo. A true Chaotic Neutral, it helps he comes from Ryukyu (think: seediest place of the Edo period) and did all his surviving on the streets. He basically lives to break stereotypes, making him he logical foil to Lawful Neutral Stoic Samurai Jin.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya can be seen as a Rebellious Spirit, being eccentric, egocentric and borderline sociopathic as she is, she screws the rules and social norms on an everyday basis. If it's because she hates rules, hates those rules or just doesn't care about them is arguable.
    • Please note that we might not be talking about laws and regulations of a society, we might be talking about laws of nature.
  • Naruto Uzumaki hated the fact that his village ignored him. So what does he do? Defy all the rules and uses his ninja skills to play pranks on unsuspecting villagers/ninja(including the Hokage), his worst prank being when he defiled the somewhat sacred Hokage monument. Of course he got more heroic as the series went on, but he still has a problem with authority, preferring to do things his own way instead of listening to his superiors.
    • Considering his early experiences with adults, he can't really be blamed.
  • Treecko/Grovyle/Sceptile from the Pokémon anime.
  • Azaka Kokutou from Kara no Kyoukai: is this explicitly,[1] thanks in no small part to her origin being taboo.

Comic Books


  • Lawn Dogs has two of these as its main characters. Adult Trent and kid Devon both have no friends their age. Trent does crazy things like holding up traffic just so he can skinny-dip off of a bridge. Devon is even crazier. She violates rules frequently, such as leaving town when told specifically not to, and even breaks the law and steals chickens for fun. She has many weird eccentricities as well.
  • Literary / Film / Truth in Television example: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas features two characters (Raoul Duke and his attorney Doctor Gonzo) who run a two-week, Sixties-style drug binge through the streets, hotels and convention centers of early-Seventies Las Vegas, with no real motivation beyond seeing how much they can get away with. And they get away with a lot: showing up stoned at an anti-drug convention, chasing motorists down the Strip, trashing two hotel rooms, racking up several hundred dollars in room-service charges and never paying... Truth in Television part comes in when you realize that this novel is based on two real-life wild weekends spent in Vegas by Hunter Thompson and Oscar Acosta.
    • Thompson also viciously pranked friends and strangers alike, set out to spraypaint "Fuck the Pope" on a yacht due to compete in the America's Cup the next day, chronically missed speaking engagements just because they were scheduled, and, decades before Sascha Baron Cohen, constantly reported people instantly willing to believe vicious and absurd rumours he'd just invented.
      • He's Crazy Awesome because of this behavior, although you may not like the overall lack of ethics.
  • Ace Ventura. C'mon. Just...AceVentura.
  • Harpo Marx of the Marx brothers.
  • Charlie of Dead Poets Society drifts into this sometimes; it's not as clear at the beginning, but by the time he nearly gets himself expelled for a prank he is showing more traits of this. When he actually does get expelled, though, it's a much more principled matter.


  • The Steel General, from Roger Zelazny's Creatures of Light and Darkness, is an immortal cyborg who has dedicated himself to supporting insurrections across the universe, coming to be known as "The Prince of Revolution". He plays a mean banjo, too.
  • Lisbeth Salander of The Millennium Trilogy. She is not only this, but borderline-insane.
  • Jack Random of the Deathstalker series is literally described as a "professional rebel." The same establishment has been his enemy through all his insurrections, but he takes it as his entire role in life.
    • Eventually he successfully brought down his enemy and became a key leader in society's reformation... only to discover that the changes were too limited for his tastes. So he created an insurrection against the government he just helped found. His reasoning was that there should always be somebody to oppose the government lest it fall to evil.
  • In Discworld, the entire race of gnomes is reportedly made of this trope, happily trouncing all over even those rules which go without saying in normal society, like "Do not attempt to eat this giraffe".
    • Despite being Lawful Good in the extreme, Sam Vimes shows tendencies in this direction as well, even after becoming a Duke. This is probably why he employs at least one gnome in the Watch.
  • The Stainless Steel Rat: an almost childishly rebellious hyperactive action hero. Slippery Jim is at war with normal society as much as the villains, and his greatest weapon is his willingness to transgress the bounds, rules and world-view of other people. That said, he's also The Fettered, being an Actual Pacifist.
  • Howard Roark, Equality 7-2521, Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden, John Galt.

Live Action TV


  • The Minmatar in EVE Online are characterised as loving freedom so much after having been enslaved by the Amarr for a thousand years that a large number of them can't even live comfortably with the government they themselves formed.

Professional Wrestling

Tabletop Games

  • The Orks of Warhammer 40,000 invert this: "Yoofs" who have difficulties fitting in with an Exclusively Evil society may get tired of being told to do whatever they feel like. Some of these malcontents run off to join the Stormboyz, Orks obsessed with military discipline, marching, and uniforms. Since they make good Jet Pack-equipped assault infantry, the rest of the Orks put up with their deviant behavior.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender, in spite of—or because of—her upper-class background and upbringing.
  • In the episode "Mona Leaves-A," Lisa Simpson of The Simpsons inherits her late grandmother's "rebellious spirit." This later turns out to be part of Mona's posthumous plan as she and the rest of her family use their inheritance to help Homer escape from Mr. Burns.