Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The tendency for the brooding, angsty, loner boy to end up with a sweet, gentle girl who will patiently coax him out of his moods. While the appeal of the brooding boy probably has something to do with All Girls Want Bad Boys, the brooding boy isn't bad, he's just...moody. At worst, he'll be an Anti-Hero who's put his bad boy past behind him. Maybe he has a Dark and Troubled Past. Maybe he's a Hurting Hero. Maybe he simply takes his responsibilities far more seriously than the rest of his teammates. Whatever the case, he's just waiting for someone to draw him out of his shell, and that person is the gentle girl. Unlike her kookier sister, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the gentle girl doesn't try to actively shake the brooding boy out of his moodiness. Instead, she patiently and persistently offers kind words, shy smiles, companionship, and hope. Usually The Power of Love will eventually heal the brooding boy.

In the fandom, however, expect the gentle girl to be the victim of fans who think the brooding boy should be with a "stronger" character (or want the character free for themselves), or who accuse the gentle girl of being a Purity Sue. Though the boy won't be free of potshots either: he'll be accused of being merely Emo, or to be a Bastard Boyfriend to the gentle girl (whether he is, well, that's something else.)

This dynamic can also show up in a lot of Boys Love Genre works. If one of the partners is really cheerful and sweet, the other partner is probably an angst-fest waiting to be unleashed.

This relationship tends to be the focus of a Hurt/Comfort Fic. For a related couples trope based on personality dynamics, see Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, Beast and Beauty, Ugly Guy, Hot Wife.

Examples of Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl include:

Anime & Manga

  • Several Shoujo type manga will have the main male and female pairing like this. Not every single one, mind you.
  • Clannad: Tomoya and Nagisa.
  • Fruits Basket: Kyo and Tohru. Hiro and Kisa fit to some extent as well.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh has several:
    • Priest Seto, the preincarnation of Seto Kaiba whose life pretty much sucked just as much the first time around, and Kisara.
    • "Yami Yugi" and Anzu/Tea. Their "date" consisted of large amounts of Yami brooding over his mysterious past/ mysterious destiny and Tea trying to cheer him up via talking to him or taking him to arcades before going to the museum.
    • Jack Atlas and Carly Nagisa of Yu-Gi-Oh 5 Ds.
  • The manga Hana no Namae, "The Name Of The Flower", lives off this trope: the 'brooding boy' being a famous writer of depressing, nihilistic works, who himself has a tragic past and struggles with deep depression, the 'gentle girl' being the distant relative he takes in after her parents die in a car accident, who grows flowers in his yard, is quiet, soft spoken and kind and in love with him. The story resolves around her desire to love and save him from his depression and his feeling that he doesn't deserve it, or can never bring himself out of it enough to do anything but drag her down with him.
  • Kaya and Kyouhei from Midnight Secretary. Kyouhei is the brooding, Jerkass, prideful vampire who always wears black suits. Kaya is his good-hearted secretary, who is kind, gentle and takes care of all his needs without complaint. After some Character Development on Kyouhei's part, her maturity and kindness reforms him (mostly).
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena subverts this (like everything else) with Wakaba's crush on Saionji. It ends in massive tears.
  • What the main couples in Mayu Shinjo mangas are supposed to come up as. Bad thing, the "Brooding Boy" ends up as a Bastard Boyfriend and the "Gentle Girl" is almost always a Love Martyr.
  • Gender inverted in Freezing with Satellizer and Kazuya.
  • Ranma ½: Akari is the Yamato Nadeshiko (and for some, Relationship Sue) to Ryoga's angster.


  • Twilight: Edward "This is the skin of a KILLER!" Cullen and Bella. In New Moon, however, gender-flipping this is what kicks off the Jacob/Bella relationship, with him being the gentle guy to Bella's "My boyfriend dumped me so my life is over" brooding.
  • Mara Daughter of the Nile: Thutmose and Inanni would be this if Thutmose was the least bit interested in going through with their Arranged Marriage. Inanni even has an Internal Monologue about how she "would be a good wife to him and comfort him when his headached" (She has been led to believe that severe headaches are the reason he is a Mood Swinger.)
  • Leafpool and Crowfeather of Warrior Cats are this; as is Crowfeather's first relationship with Feathertail.
  • Ashley and Melanie in Gone with the Wind. Ashley, although respected by his community, is not quite one of them—he's more bookish and intellectual and less inclined towards the hunting and carousing his friends and neighbors enjoy. Then, after the horrors of the Civil War, he becomes even more withdrawn and brooding. He describes Melanie as the "gentlest of dreams".

Live-Action TV

  • Clare and Eli from Degrassi are like this. Clare is a sweet, mostly innocent Christian girl, and Eli drives a hearse.
  • Angel occasionally moved in this direction. Fred played "Gentle Girl" to both Gunn and Wesley. In Season 5, Angel's "Gentle Girl" was a werewolf. No, it never worked out happily.
    • Well, when Gunn and Fred began expressing interest in each other, neither were particularly broody. Wesley on the other hand...
    • Connor and Not-Cordelia. With a twist in that the Gentle Girl is evil, is only gentle while he's watching, and is manipulating him into serving as her Dragon.
    • For that matter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer would play this role to Angel, and later Faith would step up after the events in the comic series.
  • Arthur and Guinevere can be this at times on Merlin.
  • Dillon and Summer on Power Rangers RPM.
  • John Sheridan and Delenn on Babylon 5—he doesn't want to burden her with his problems and thinks he has to do it all himself. She disabuses him of that notion rather quickly.


  • Hamlet and Ophelia from Hamlet could be seen as deconstruction of the pairing. It is suggested that they were quite close and affectionate before Hamlet's father died. Then, when Hamlet's stress of seeing the ghost of his father gets to him, Ophelia is stunned and has no idea how to help him. From then on he's acting mad, and his next scene with her has him denying their relationship ever happened.

Video Games



"I should warn you. My shit is way tormented."
"I still love you. Even though you're so cool and rad."


Western Animation

  • Robin and Starfire in Teen Titans.
    • Kid Flash and Jinx are a Gender Flipped version (at least in many fandom portrayals, as their relationship didn't get a lot of screentime).
    • Beast Boy and Raven are another gender-flip. Even though they never have an official relationship on the show, the popularity of this Fan Preferred Pairing led to them getting together in the comics.
  • Superboy and M'ggan in Young Justice.
  • Lance and Ilana from Sym-Bionic Titan, although their relationship isn more familial and platonic than romantic.
  • Although Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender begins as a Pollyanna, trials and trauma slowly wear down his optimism and joy, to where in Season Three, he's a Badass who angsts that can rival even Zuko. His true love Katara can always cheer him up with a Cooldown Hug or kind words, though she also has her own brooding problems.
    • Speaking of Zuko, his relationship with Mai is both a straight and Gender Flipped portrayal of this. Zuko is only slightly less broody than Mai, but they both do their best to be there and cheer each other up when one of them gets all angsty.
  • Disney Animated Canon's Beauty and the Beast.