Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
And to think she was the Shrinking Violet.
"All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy."

When a character is Not Himself, but for real, and (usually) permanently. In the course of a single episode, the character goes through something traumatic enough to change their personality forever (even Freak-Outs that are temporary have lasting effects on a character). It could be a Mind Rape or a really Awful Truth, but it has to be pretty nasty. Sometimes a Freak-Out is foreshadowed episodes in advance, but usually it just comes out of the blue.

A well-done Freak-Out makes the audience freak out as well, and provides more Character Development than an entire season could in the same. Sadly this is rare—all too often, it is used as a desperate gimmick to "re-vitalize" a show. Viewers should beware if a Freak-Out comes due to Executive Meddling, if it comes after several seasons, if it makes the character Darker and Edgier, or if it makes the character hornier. If all four happen at once, chances are high that the show is Jumping the Shark.

May double with a He's Back. If the character's Freak-Out turns them into a bad guy, it's also a Face Heel Turn. Can also be compared to Heroic BSOD (a milder and less permanent freak-out, usually resolved before the climax) and Laughing Mad. A villain doing this just as the tides turn against them is having a Villainous Breakdown. May overlap with Break the Cutie and Go Mad from the Revelation. Heroic Safe Mode is the mind's attempt to avoid this. May involve Broken Tears.

Examples of Freak-Out include:

Anime and Manga

  • Sasuke in Naruto has a massive one after finding out that Itachi killed their parents among many others, as well as when he gets put under Mind Rape. Arguably experienced a very controlled version when Madara revealed the cause of the Uchiha massacre, leading to Sasuke's new life goal.
    • Gaara suffered this twice in his life. The first time was when Yashimaru crushed all of Gaara's hopes and tried to kill him resulting in the homicidal maniac we all have vivid nightmares about. The second was when he saw his own blood after Sasuke injured him.
    • Naruto had one when he thought Sasuke had been killed by Haku, and an even worse one when he saw Pain, the man who had murdered his beloved mentor and blown up his village, stab Hinata with a giant spike just after she confessed her feelings. The Freak-Out was of such proportions that it allowed him to skip immediately to the six-tail form and left his will to continue so battered he nearly knowingly released the Kyuubi.
      • And before that, he'd gone into his four-tailed form when Orochimaru goaded him to breaking point.
  • Black Cat: Creed. Any time that Train is involved or even mentioned, or if someone gets in the way.
  • Outlaw Star: Being shot in the shoulder by Gene, sends Harry over the edge, well even more so than before. Also, anything involving Melfina has this affect on him as well.
  • Nina in Code Geass puts the "psycho" back in Psycho Lesbian after the "Euphinator" incident late in the first season. When she sees how many people her FLEIJA warhead killed in R2, she makes a similar but slightly less appalling face.
    • Then there's Suzaku after Euphemia's death and Lelouch when he kills his father the first time.
  • Death Note: Light towards the end of the anime, as well as after L's funeral (where he crawls on top of L's grave and screams at it), and after talking to L for the first time and learning his name.
    • Also in the Grand Finale, Mikami freaks out when he sees his god, Light, get arrested by Near, and starts makes crazy faces that outcrazy Nina's face above. In the anime, he even stabs himself in the heart with his pen and spews a fountain of blood until he dies.
    • Matsuda also has one when he sees Light trying to write Near's name in a hidden death note and shoots his hand, goes into a rage and shoots him some more, and tries to deliver the killing blow but he is stopped.
  • Eureka Seven: While brutally mutilating an enemy LFO in Episode 20, Renton hallucinates a blob that reflects his own face. If this subsequent scream doesn't count as losing one's sanity, nothing will.
  • Kish from Tokyo Mew Mew gets this way when Ichigo rejects him, or when someone else threatens to come between him and Ichigo.
  • School Days: Sekai, after Kotonoha and Makoto make out in front of her, and Kotonoha after she is raped by Makoto's best friend and then dumped by Makoto.
  • Keiichi from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has a truly epic one in the Satoko arc. He spends the majority of the arc having one of the most surreal experiences this side of David Lynch. When he finds out that he never killed Satoko's uncle, and he's been having paranoid delusions, he goes batshit crazy and tears up Satoko's house with a hatchet looking for him.
    • Except he really did kill Satoko's uncle. He only believes that he's still alive because Satoko told him that he was, not realizing that Satoko is approaching a mental breakdown of her own. The one who has a true Freak Out is Satoko herself, when she thinks Keiichi killed Rika. She ends up pushing him off a bridge.
    • Earlier in the same arc, Satoko herself has a spectacular Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-type Freak-Out after Keiichi simply shows her affection.
    • As this is a series known almost famously for its levels of Break the Cutie, several of the main characters go through one of these at least once, in at least one arc. Keiichi, then Shion, then Satoko -and- Keiichi, then Rena in the Atonement Arc, mirroring Keiichi's first, it gets to the point where we learn that even Takano Miyo, the cause of Rika's repeated deaths, actually had one or more of these as a child, preluding the entire series and showing the reason for her villainous tendencies.
  • This trope was perfected by the anime Paranoia Agent, where the entire theme of the show was about nervous breakdowns. Whenever the show had a Freak-Out, it would get deep inside the head of the victim, and about half the episodes ended with The Reveal that the victim had badly misunderstood the traumatic event.
    • Although we don't see it onscreen, Maniwa presumably has one of these after being fired, as the next time we see him he's gone from a reasonably open-minded good cop archetype to a delusional homeless person who believes he is a Superhero.
  • Smoothly and successfully executed in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX in the case of Kaiser Ryo's transformation to "Hell Kaiser."
  • Kai's first Face Heel Turn in Beyblade was the result of a Freak-Out.
  • A few Face Heel Turns in later episodes of My-HiME came about via Freak Outs. Getting stabbed in the eye or being rejected by a potential suitor can do that to a person.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji from episode 19 to the end of the series, The Movie included. Also Asuka in episode 22 and after her Mind Rape, Ritsuko, Misato, and everyone else.
    • End of Evangelion does this masterfully with Third Impact. Poor Shinji completely loses his sanity.
  • Gimmy from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann when Jougan and Balinbou sacrifice themselves to save him and Darry. In the next episode, when Kittan and Yoko are about to engage the Anti-Spirals that are trying to push the Chouginga Dai-Gurren into the depths where it will be crushed by pressure, he's actually on the verge of following Darry's example from the previous episode and breaking down in tears.
  • Elfen Lied: Happens on numerous occasions to several characters. Most notable are Kouta after witnessing his sister and father being slaughtered in front of him by Lucy; happens again later on after he starts to remember bits and pieces of his traumatic past, and again when he sees Lucy slaughter people in front of him. Lucy during the event where a particularly nasty group of bullies Kick the Dog that she had come to care for and beat it to death, forcing her to watch. Mayu after running away from home because of her stepfather's sexual abuse and her mother's refusal to believe that her own daughter is being raped because she's jealous of her. Mayu gets another in the manga when she's about to get raped by The Unknown Man, which is directly related to the aforementioned abuse.
  • Suzu after being raped in Peacemaker Kurogane and as soon as he finds his master lying motionless and in pieces on the ground, supposedly killed by his (best and only friend) Tetsunosuke. Ouch. Even though Okita was the one who killed Yoshida. Also, Tetsunosuke has massive freak outs throughout the series, most notably after Yoshida attempts to kill him a second time.
  • In Bokurano and Narutaru many of the characters are no stranger to this.
  • Akito from Fruits Basket often has violent, screaming fits on the least provocation.
  • SHUFFLE!: Kaede, after finding out that her mother died and after Rin starts spending more time with Asa.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Ed has at least two of these. The first is when he saw the failed attempt at resurrecting his mother as a child, and again (in the first anime) when he realizes that he has killed Greed.
    • In the manga, Greedling suffers one after he encounters the last surviving loyal chimera henchman of the previous Greed lurking under CentCom. He kills the chimera, and then the memories of the previous Greed all come rushing back.
  • Perfect Blue: Mima, coming home at the end of a particular traumatic day, finds her beloved pet fish dead, and loses control for a moment, trashing her apartment. The trauma was because of a rape scene, which may or may not have become genuine, as her screams got more and more convincing. She, as well as Rumi have numerous moments where they Freak-Out throughout the rest of the movie.
  • Ken in Digimon Adventure 02 had two. The first was a nervous breakdown when he realized the sins he'd committed were real—further increased by his partner dying, which brought back all his repressed memories of his brother's death. The second was during when he found himself at the Dark Ocean again.
    • Hikari had one, also when she returned to the black ocean, that she needed to be slapped out of it in a very Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! moment.
  • In the manga version of Chrono Crusade, it's revealed in a flashback that Aion had one of these after finding out that his mother was a human transformed into a demon, and she was pregnant with him and Chrono when it happened. It appears to be one of his underlying motivations for almost all of his actions in the series.
  • This seems to be the main reason why Tetsuo from Akira became a villain. Years of bullying had given him an inferiority complex, and when he crashed into a psychic and had experiments done to him by the military to unlock his own psychic abilities, when those powers awakened, they quickly drove him insane.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia suggests that Russia became Cute and Psycho after Bloody Sunday. Fandom speculation is that the execution of the Romanov dynasty is what drove him completely over the edge.
  • In a flashback of Muhyo and Roji, Enchu is introduced as working hard to become an Executor to support his sick mother. He is called away when his mother's condition turns critical, and while he is away, she dies and Muhyo is chosen as Executor over him. In another flashback, this happens to a mother when her daughter dies in a car accident; she becomes obsessed with making copies of the doll that her daughter had wanted.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, Sensui has one in the past after finding out about humans torturing demons, which challenged his belief that demons were evil and that he should protect humanity from them.
  • In Black Lagoon, Roberta is a clumsy maid by profession, but actually a retired FARC guerrilla with extensive knowledge in weaponry, combat tactics, and near inhuman physical abilities. And she admires her employer very much. So when said employer dies thanks to certain country operatives, she snaps.... And when she snaps, she really snaps.
  • Hitomi from Vision of Escaflowne has a few. Although they mostly occur after simple Tarot readings turn into Mind Rape.
  • Johan has one of these after reading a picture book.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: Anji Yukyuzan had these after the children under his care burned alive. Beware the Nice Ones, indeed
    • Seta Sojiro also has a small one, as he transitions from being emotionless to freak out.
  • In One Piece anime expanding off of a scene in the manga, Luffy suffers one of these after his entire crew is vanished by Kuma.
    • Luffy also suffers another one of these after his brother Ace is killed.
  • In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, c!Syaoran suffers one of these when he kills c!Sakura. This also when he (re)gained his own heart. Don't think so? the evidence is right here.
  • Faust VIII from Shaman King is usually calm (being a doctor), but when Yoh Asakura calls Faust's beloved Eliza (Eliza was Faust's wife who was brutally shot and killed, and now is Faust's spirit) a doll, he goes apeshit!
  • For 21 episodes of Lucky Channel, Minoru Shiraishi calmly endures the constant abuse and disrespect of his diva of a co-star, Akira Kogami. Then he gets roped into trekking two weeks through the wilderness to retrieve a fresh bottle of spring water for her, getting mauled by a bear in the process. When he returns to find himself replaced as co-star by Daisuke Ono and then has Akira throw the water back in his face for being too warm, he goes completely berserk. He tells off Akira, trashes the set, clobbers crew members who try to restrain him, attacks the cameraman, and is last seen chasing Akira off-stage with presumably murderous intent. He eventually calms down, but in the concluding episode he is a completely different character, much less overtly cheerful and with a bitter, cynical inside.
    • As aside, one can't help noting that his interactions with Akira in that last episode resemble the early phases of a Belligerent Sexual Tension plotline. The series ends before this can be explored very deeply. About damn time. For both the freakout, and the Sexual Tension.
  • Darcia from Wolf's Rain's bloody self-mutilation and Skyward Scream upon coming home to find that his lover, Hamona, has been murdered.
  • Ken Hidaka, at the very end of the Weiss Kreuz OAVs, goes from boy next door having a very bad day to Ax Crazy Blood Knight in the time it takes him to pull a shotgun trigger. And it shows.
  • In Fairy Tail, Elfman and Mirajane both went through one of these around two or three years before the start of the series due to the death of their youngest sibling, Lisanna. The former turned from a nice guy, domestic, overprotective crybaby kind of guy to a super MANLY... nice, domestic, overprotective secretly crybaby kind of guy. The latter turned from an Arrogant Kung Fu Guy delinquentish character into a full blown Yamato Nadeshiko.
  • Space Battleship Yamato. The scriptwriters love making Desslok freak. In season one, his home planet is Curb Stomped and he freaks. In The New Journey, his planet is utterly destroyed, so he freaks. Then his love interest kills herself. He completely loses it and begs Wildstar to destroy his ship.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica Mami in the third timeline undergoes this when she finds out the Awful Truth first hand and attempts mercy killing everyone else before Madoka stops her.
  • After the horrible, horrible events during the Eclipse in Berserk, and he awakens days later, Guts goes through a monumental freak out that consists of many tears, utter despair, bursts of rage, and finally an epic vow of revenge in the rain, the point at which Guts becomes a changed man. It's too bad that his lover, Casca, did not come out of the Eclipse no where near as intact as Guts (her mentally damaged state also provoked Guts' freak out).
  • Black Butler II episode 10. It begins with Hannah talking to Ciel and saying that she has something to show him. Then her mouth opens unnaturally wide to reveal this black abyss where the inside of a human mouth would be. The eye she stole from Alois Trancy is rooted in the back of her throat, and since Ciel's soul has been partially fused with Alois's at this point, he's staring at himself from inside her. Hannah watches calmly while Ciel suffers a severe nervous breakdown and screams before falling unconscious.
  • In Deadman Wonderland Ganta does this understandably as he's being forced to watch the Carnival of Corpses.
  • Black★Rock Shooter: Yomi Takanashi, over two episodes of the 2012 anime, goes from a sweet girl into having one of the most devastatingly epic psychological breaks in anime history. In the aftermath, though she mostly recovers, the damage was so severe that she completely forgot her best friend even existed.
  • In Bleach Rukia does this after Gin breaks her resolve with words.
  • Pandora Hearts: Leo's reaction to Elliot's death had a lot of sobbing and screaming. He went on with this as Pandora was interrogating him until Vincent came along.

Comic Books

  • The Joker is a firm believer in this trope, once saying that all it takes to separate the sane from maniacs such as himself is "one bad day." The Killing Joke storyline features him trying to give Commissioner Gordon his Bad Day.
  • Batman is the poster comic of Freak Outs, with most Rogues' minds breaking at some point, creating the other selves which drive Batman's duality theme close to home.
    • Don't force a mousy botanist into a Pygmalion Plot by making her more fruitful or you'll get a man-hating Poison Ivy.
    • Let lonely German Mad Scientists save their Morality Pets from illness, or you'll end up with Mr. Freeze hating your guts.
    • Don't fire your enthusiastic psychology professor just because a few students wet themselves. A frightful encounter with the Scarecrow is sure to follow.
    • If you are going to kill your secretary, don't leave her in an alley full of stray cats...
    • Deformed children can still be loved and their admiration for birds, encouraged...
    • I believe in you, Harvey, but can you please get some skin grafts? . . . okay, okay, if it's heads. Yeesh.
      • Alternately, if you want to kill the DA there are better and faster ways than acid in the face.
      • But none you can smuggle into a courtroom!
    • Eddie, haven't you ever considered just suing the people that stole your inventions instead of proving you're smarter?
    • Mary, have you ever considered voice acting?
    • Batman himself, don't shoot a child's parents in front of him or he'll grow up to become...well...Batman.
  • When Green Lantern Hal Jordan suddenly lost his marbles and became the universe-destroying maniac Parallax in the 1990's, after his home city was destroyed by a Super Villain. Years later, it was later retconned that Hal was merely possessed by a giant yellow ancient embodiment-of-fear bug monster, and not evil after all. Um, sure, okay.
  • Hank Pym, of the Avengers, had a period where he thought he was someone else, and apparently went full on mad scientist, to the point of setting killer robots on a major city just so he could destroy them to look good. He eventually recovered, and how much this gets played up depends on the writer. Some have him as having become fairly well adjusted, others have him just a medication bottle away from another psychotic episode. And then there's Secret Invasion.
  • Scarlet. Witch. And when she snapped, the entire Marvelverse suffered.
  • Happens to Nuke from the Squadron Supreme after his parents died from radiation poisoning. Then again, he was probably not too stable to begin with, given that his attempt to solve the problem was asking a teammate to find a cure for cancer...

Fan Works

  • Happens to Kerrun, the Raleka leader, at the end of her Villainous Breakdown in With Strings Attached. She wasn't too stable to begin with, and the seeds are sown when she first realizes that the four are not on her side, as she'd originally thought. What really sends her over the cliff is when John is seen flying over the warehouse, having lured hundreds of skahs there. She completely cracks, screaming that all the skahs are actually Idris and that the Raleka should kill them all, and John if he reappears. This has the unintended effect of getting all the Raleka guarding the warehouse to focus on the skahs, who after all are mobbing the outside of the warehouse, and not to keep an eye out for John and Ringo, who are lurking about trying to sneak into the warehouse via the roof.


  • Star Wars: Anakin Skywalker's turn. Yeah, there was the thing with the Tusken Raiders, and the Warped Aesop that wanting someone you love to not die is bad, but the actual turn happens when Mace Windu gets handed the Idiot Ball and tries to rather un-Jedi-ishly execute Palpatine. After Anakin chops off his arm so that Windu can get blown out the window by Palpatine's lightning (snicker) he's suddenly a different person, from good with a lot of Wangst and a dislike of people who torture his mother to death to someone who is fully devoted to Palpatine, and thinks nothing of mass slaughter, even when it comes to children. Anakin did that because he knew that once he turned on Mace Windu (which he only did because he did not want the possibility of his wife's salvation to die along with Palpatine), he had gone too far—he would never be accepted back into the Jedi Order. At that point, allying himself to Palpatine was the only thing he felt he could do. It is commonly believed that Palpatine staged the whole event anyway, including feigning his own weakness at the hands of Mace Windu, as a test for Anakin to see if he was truly willing to do anything to save his wife, including being corrupted to the dark side. Little did Palpatine know that Anakin's protectiveness of his family would ultimately be his downfall—after over 2 decades of existing as Darth Vader, one of the most feared Sith Lords of the galaxy, the sight of his son Luke being tortured to death by Palpatine's Force lightning was the final catalyst for him to regain his former self and turn on his master, even sacrificing his own life to do it.
  • Mousy secretary Selina Kyle from Batman Returns, after almost being killed by her boss Max Shreck for knowing too much about a power plant that will ultimately hurt Gotham City, is in a very bad way. After being revived by her cat Miss Kitty and all of her feline friends, Selina returns to her apartment, repeating the words she said the last time she was there in a Creepy Monotone, and just manages to hold herself together until an ad on her answering machine that mentions "a candlelight staff meeting for two" with her boss proves to be the final straw that pushes Selina over the edge and drives her to trash her apartment and become the dark and dangerous Catwoman.
    • If the rumors are true, the next Catwoman's origin story is already in progress, and should be equally interesting.
  • The Descent. A year after being in a car crash that killed her husband and daughter [which itself caused a Freak-Out] Sarah goes on a caving trip with her friends. Then they get trapped down there. Then monsters arrive. Then she ends up alone and hiding about two feet from a group of monsters eating one of the other girls. Her long due full blown Freak-Out occurs when she grants her best friend's I Cannot Self-Terminate request, and she becomes a killing machine unable to feel emotions except for hate and bloodlust. By the end, she's so crazy that she murders one of her other friends, then hallucinates that either her daughter or her murdered friend is right beside her, depending which version of the ending you're watching.
    • Interestingly, Juno waffles back and forth on this trope. Alone, she starts down the same path as Sarah on the bloodlusty killing machine bit, but this stops once she finds two of the other girls. They die - bloodlusty killing machine time. Sarah meets up with her, and for a minute Juno is normal again, but Sarah herself being a bloodlusty killing machine causes Juno to follow suit again before being murdered herself.
    • An alternative interpretation is that virtually the entire film is a hallucination after Sarah goes Ax Crazy and kills her friends, inventing the monsters as a rationale.
  • Harvey Dent suffers one of these after losing half his face in every version, but it's especially pronounced in The Dark Knight, where he spends two thirds of the film as the "White Knight" before losing half of his face to a bomb planted by the Joker and it's hinted that he sustained brain damage in the accident. Also, the Hannibal Lecture afterwards couldn't have helped, especially since he had lost his girlfriend Rachel in the same Sadistic Choice that led to his own scarring...
    • In Batman Begins while in prison, Falcone tries to blackmail Crane into allowing him a part in the upcoming fear toxin project. Crane instead gasses him with the fear toxin, causing him to have a screaming fit.
  • Harry Osborn, Norman Osborn, Eddie Brock, and Doc Ock have this happen in the Spider-Man movies. As well as Peter after he finds his uncle dead on the ground, and anytime a villain kidnaps Mary Jane and threatens to kill her.
  • Lon Chaney Jr. has a truly impressive one in the film The Unknown (1927). He plays Alonzo, a criminal fugitive who's hidden out at a circus disguised as an armless knife-thrower (he has his arms, but also a distinctive and identifiable hand deformity); Nanon (Crawford), the circus owner's daughter, has a distaste for being touched by men due to some past trauma and becomes friendly with him. As his love for her grows, he takes the next step and has both his arms amputated—just in time for her to get over it thanks to the circus' handsome strong man... (Probably also qualifies as a Villainous Breakdown, given how quickly It Gets Worse.)
  • The infamous 'He's gonna pop' scene in the Matrix.
  • In Thor when Loki found out that he is really a Jotun, he then plans on using the Bifröst to destroy Jotunheim.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: Even the normally stoic Jessica is scared of "The Dip".


  • Ivan's manic episode in The Brothers Karamazov took its time in developing. You can see him start to go insane from very early on in the book. It becomes obvious to us when he starts to talk to the devil. But he finally has his Freak-Out moment at Dmitri's trial, when he confesses that he killed his father through Smerdyakov, who has conveniently committed suicide which would sound ridiculous even to us if we didn't know it was the truth. When the people in the courtroom voice further doubt, Ivan loses it. Spectacularly.
  • Done in Ender's Game when Ender decided that if the people who run the games won't be fair, then he won't play the game.
  • In book 8 of The Pendragon Adventure, Bobby hears Twig say that they should go back to Ibara, which confuses him because he was on the territory of Ibara. This leads to him freaking out while asking why Twig said this. The explanation that Ibara is the name of the island only made things worse. This climaxed with Bobby asking what the name of the planet was and being told that the planet's name was "Veelox". Veelox being the first Territory he had failed to save. So apparently he's been on a far future version of the planet this entire time and realized just how badly he'd been played by the Big Bad
  • In the Dexter series of novels, it is revealed that Dexter and his brother had their freak out early on, when they saw their mom killed with a chainsaw and were hiding partially submerged in blood for hours. Clearly this was a defining event for both of their lives.
  • In the steampunk science-fiction novel The Woman Between The Worlds by F/Gwynplaine Macintyre, the narrator experiences horrifying encounters and wonders if he is insane, then realizes that only a sane man would question his own sanity. Near the end of the novel, the narrator no longer questions his sanity, not realizing that he has indeed become unbalanced by his ordeal.
  • Happens tragically to Xinemus in Second Apocalypse, as well as Achamian. The former becomes a broken shadow of his former self, while the latter is hardened by his ordeal.
  • Happens to Bryce in the Donald E. Westlake book, The Hook, where, after Wayne kills his wife Lucie, who he is going through a very long and bitter divorce with, in a deal to get Bryce to credit Wayne's (who can't get publishers to publish his work) manuscript to him and get half of the money. After the murder, Bryce begins to gradually go insane, kicked off by his love interest leaving him, and him becoming isolated in his house in Connecticut. He is unable to write anything but worthless nonsense. In an interview, all of his answers are complete nonsense. He becomes obsessed with how it was like to murder his wife, having constant dreams of violently murdering his wife, but being angered because he can never see here face, and wishes that he was the one that did it, even following a woman who wanted his autograph to her house and almost attempting to kill her. At the end, it is implied that he murders Wayne's wife Susan in the last passage of the book.

Bryce: The thing is, I just have to know what it was like, Lucie.
Susan: My name is Susan.
Bryce: Not anymore.

  • A Storm of Swords: Catelyn Stark has hers at the Red Wedding. With her husband executed, one of her daughters held a political hostage, the other missing, and two of her sons believed dead, Catelyn only really has Robb left as her family. Then Robb is killed by one of her turncoat bannerman. She starts laughing hysterically, claws at her face, and as her enemies move to slit her throat, all she can think is she hopes they don't cut her hair, as her husband loves her hair. The Freak-Out then continues after she comes back from the dead...
  • In the second book of the second Well World series, a fairly subdued version happens to Julian Alowi, as she insists on being called from then on out when she's afraid that her husband is dying and realizes that she loves him. The fact that she'd been male (and very straight) until not long before the wedding played into that as well.
  • After gradual Sanity Slippage throughout the book, Dwayne Hoover finally loses it entirely in Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions and starts physically assaulting everybody unfortunate enough to be near him.

Live Action TV

  • iCarly: Carly is quite susceptible, most notably in iThink They Kissed and iSpace Out. Minor variations are the instances where she delivers long rants like in iSaw Him First and iDate a Bad Boy. Also, Mrs. Benson will freak out of anything, usually hauling Freddie off for a tick bath, like in iFence.
  • Every now and then, River Tam will have some sort of freak out, some worse than others. The one in Objects In Space takes the cake for the series (but the movie outdoes it) with her feeling some people's emotions and reading others' minds. This freak out also gave us many peoples favorite scene, River rubbing herself (though not there, If You Know What I Mean) while watching Zoe and Wash have sex.
  • On Ally McBeal, Billy started out as the straight man of the cast. Later, he suddenly dyed his hair blonde, and turned into a sexist, smug jerk (with an occasional flash of remorse). This was later explained as a brain tumor, which killed him.
  • In early Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel had a Freak-Out several times, due to Applied Phlebotinum. Each Freak-Out was played as a metaphor for sudden changes in a boyfriend's behavior.
    • If you're going to come back to your arch-nemesis' place with a gun, be careful where you point that thing...
      • Unless the last thing you want to hear before before being deprived of your epidermis is "Bored Now".
    • After the accidental killing of the deputy mayor, Faith reacts by becoming simply and utterly psychotically monsterous. After something of a reformation, she does it again after the death of her father figure. The second (and possibly the first) time is because she is attempting suicide by whomever she can anger enough into killing her.
    • Exemplified by Dark Willow. When Tara is gunned down in cold blood, Willow utterly loses it and in the space of the next 24 hours or so manages to kill Sunnydale's most powerful magic user, smack down the combined powers of the UK's strongest wiccans, effortlessly murder the season's Big Bad up to that point, beat the stuffing out of the Slayer, and nearly blow up the world.
  • Manny on Degrassi the Next Generation started out as a cute, giggly girl who acted about half her real age. In a single episode, she finally realized that people didn't take her seriously—and instantly transformed into a manipulative, sex-crazed attention hogger. She got worse.
  • In Doctor Who, the Doctor, during the transition from his Tenth to Eleventh incarnation was extremely reluctant and panicked when undergoing the regeneration process. The eventual energy release blew apart portions of the TARDIS bridge.
    • Seven freaked out prior to becoming Eight, but for different reasons. He regenerated because the doctor trying to save his life was actually killing him due to her ignorance of his alien physiology.
    • Lesterson from The Power of the Daleks lost his marbles when he learned that the Doctor was right about the Daleks all along.
  • Ryan on the US The Office in the season 5. After years of working at the surreal Dunder Mifflin, constant sexual harassment from Michael Scott, the horror of actually having a relationship with the vapid Kelly, getting promoted during a recession, getting addicted to cocaine (Truth in Television - it turns you into an asshole), running a massive fraud, and getting busted and fired, then starting all over again as a temp at Dunder Miflin, Ryan now carries a notebook filled with the names of people who piss him off. So he can "get back on them once I'm on the top again".
  • In the last season of Battlestar Galactica, Felix Gaeta loses it big time after fellow Bridge Bunny Dee shoots herself dead, being unable to cope with the consequences of the latest Wham! Episode. It had actually been building for some time, but the change in his demeanor and attitude after this particular incident was quite drastic. Getting shot in the leg by Anders and then losing said leg didn't help much either, nor did finding out that the afforementioned Anders and the XO are Cylons and discovering that as he half-suspected but was in denial about, he was involved in the deaths of several innocent people on New Caprica thanks to Cylon treachery. And He was nearly airlocked as a Cylon collaborator... And half the people who were about to kill him turned out to be Cylons. That can't be good for the sanity.
  • Buck Compton from Band of Brothers showed signs of a Heroic BSOD after he got shot in the Netherlands, then he finally freaked out after seeing two of his friends get hit with artillery fire near Foy.
  • On Deep Space Nine, Sisko breaks through Gul Dukat's wall of denial and makes him acknowledge that he really had been a Complete Monster to the Bajorans when he was in charge of the planet. Dukat then suffers an epic Freak-Out, and decides that from then on, he's going to be outright openly evil and damn well enjoy it. Which could be seen as a Nice Job Breaking It, Hero moment, considering what he would go on to do.
  • In Big Time Rush the band and Gustavo are ordered to make 3 christmas songs by their stuck up manager by the end of the day, forcing Gustavo and Kelly to delay their vaction to Fiji. But after already making 3 songs, the manger orders them to make one more song, Gustavo finally snaps and starts smashing instruments in the studio.


  • "Freak Out!" (1966) is the name of Frank Zappa's debut album. And it lives up to its name during "Help, I'm A Rock", "It Can't Happen Here", and "The Return Of The Son Of Monster Magnet".

Video Games

  • In Bastion, Zulf has one of these after he reads Venn's Journal. The second half of the game revolves around stopping what he does afterwards...
  • Manah, the Big Bad of Drakengard, has one of these after being finally defeated when the Anti-Hero refuses to kill her. It becomes clear that she wasn't only possessed but was genuinely insane. And in the sequel, she represses all those memories and joins your party. The moment she sees Caim, she screams for her mum and goes fetal. Can't blame her.
  • Sephiroth started out as a good soldier seemingly admirable guy, but once he figured out who he was, he went insane. Absolutely. Freakin'. Insane. In fact, since Crisis Core's release, we've learned that Sephiroth was the consummate SOLDIER. Powerful yet restrained, aloof yet compassionate, and considerate of others. Which just made his Face Heel Turn all the more dramatic when Zack confronts him and they beat the shit out of each other. Even though it's really not the focus of the story.
  • Final Fantasy VIII includes a couple of these as Squall is forced to gradually open up. The first is after losing Ellone once more, when he realizes that even though he doesn't want to rely on anyone else that he could lose, he doesn't know how to keep going without someone else's help - he even asks himself whether anyone knows how to live for themselves before realizing that even that means he'd be asking for someone else to help him with his problems. Revelation after revelation breaks his normal, stoic demeanor and he slowly changes, culminating in his reaction to Rinoa's collapse after Edea's defeat, where he decides he absolutely will not let anyone else be taken away from him and ends up dragging Rinoa across a bridge that spans the length of a continent just to get to somebody who might be able to help and admits that he needs help from others to get what he wants. There's also another, minor one when Rinoa turns out to be a sorceress and is taken away by Esthar, where Squall nearly admits defeat before deciding he'll defend her to the very end with a little prodding from his friends, leading him to finally take command and open up to his team.
  • "Your sons, Atrus. Do you know what they did?"
  • Hello Saber. Goodbye Saber. Hello Saber Alter.
  • Princess Zelda turned into a creepy, screaming bitch for one whole cutscene in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks, when Anjean revealed to her that a male demon was going to take over her body soon. She even scared Link while telling him that HE needs to GO OUT and BRING BACK HER BODY while SHE waits in the Tower like A GOOD PRINCESS. It's played for laughs, still, the change was so frightening that not only was Link understandably scared to death, a good percentage of the players were as well. She snapped out of it rather quickly, when Anjean told her that she couldn't force Link to do it alone (like usually), since several traps in the Tower of Spirits needed teamwork to be survived.
  • Keisuke from Devil Survivor after finding out that the girl he was trying to protect Midori would be killed not by the demons she was slaying but by the people she was trying to protect.
  • In Arc Rise Fantasia, Adele did not take being an Unlucky Childhood Friend well. She jumped off the slippery slope so fast she has skid marks, and she landed right in the first-class cabin of the crazy train.
  • Happened to all the serial killers in Kara no Shoujo. The most sympathetic of the three described involved rape, parental incest, involuntary manslaughter on their part and a beautiful work of art about their mother.
  • A lot of witnesses in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney most likely the final villain, give EPIC breakdowns when you start pulling the thread and back them into a corner, usually backed up with Crowning Music of Awesome.
  • Deadly Premonition: Thomas. It just wasn't his week.

Web Original

Web Comics

  • In the webcomic Loserz, one of the protagonists (Jodie) has a temporary Freak-Out after being isolated too long from her friends, starting with this strip.
  • The eponymous character of Dominic Deegan suffered one of these just before the breather arc where he and Luna take a cruise around the world. A list of grievances include losing his teaching job because no one signed up for his class the next semester, planning his upcoming wedding, one of his students becoming drastically ill, another teacher locking himself in his office, learning his longtime childhood comic book hero is getting a Darker and Edgier makeover and for the final straw, The stores in his area stop carrying his favorite type of candy.
    • He was very lucky it wasn't a lot worse, as the reader learns later on in the aforementioned breather arc: It's possible for a powerful seer under sufficient stress to undergo "mindbreak", which tends to result in significant collateral damage. And Dominic is a very powerful seer indeed.
  • Happens in Narbonic when a character finally manifests the Science-Related Memetic Disorder. Especially the main character Dave.
  • Mischievous and chummy Jack from Gunnerkrigg Court gets locked in a Dark World and becomes suspicious and frustrated about the supernatural and Antimony, the main character. It's implied that the mean streak may have been there all along.
    • Nope, it's a case of Possession By Demonic Mind-Spider From The Depths of Zimmy's Twisted Mind-F*ck of A Subconscious.
    • Yep. Jack has appeared in some of the comic's more recent storylines, now Demonic Mind-Spider free. He seems to be perfectly nice guy who is nursing a crush on... Zimmy.
  • Reverend Joeb Kim CPA, a priest/accountant has a mental breakdown at work. But then again, it hasn't happened yet.God(tm)
  • Sal from It's Walky! is always full of Wangst, especially after when her parents were threatened, she told the villian she didn't care if they died, and he recorded her saying it, murdered her parents and taunted her with the recording. She a complete Freak-Out after having glass caskets holding the decayed corpses of her parents dropped right in front of her.
  • The Meek. This happens to Luca when his wife is killed.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan, a feminist, wasn't amused to discover her efforts to punish men for insulting women were actually encouraging them and the method she was using was created with this in mind as a joke.
  • Homestuck
    • Gamzee has one of these shortly after Dave shows him ICP.
    • Rose has two within a very short time-frame: first after she found out Jack killed her mother, and the second when she asked an omniscient fortune-telling device whether or not the Gods of the Furthest Ring were evil. The answer appears to have turned her into a Humanoid Abomination.
    • You can tell when a First Guardian goes through one of these: their text becomes huge and crackles with energy. Examples: Doc Scratch and Jadesprite.
  • The Order of the Stick has the cocky and condescending Vaarsuvius reduced to a shriveling mess upon discovering the true consequences of carelessly using powerful magic during a serious power trip under the effects of soul splices. This experience was the main catalyst for V's Character Development into a more humble and cooperative wizard.

Western Animation

  • Teen Titans: Happens to Raven in her numerous appearances, most notably after her Mind Rape at the hands of Slade. The episode "Haunted" is devoted to one massive Freak-Out after another that Robin endures when Slade supposedly returns from the dead.
  • Everyone in SpongeBob SquarePants had done this at least once.
  • Danny Phantom: Vlad after his beloved clone of Danny is destroyed. He almost was this close to killing off two half ghosts if not for a timely intervene by Danny's friends. But he spent the rest of the series tormenting Danny. One could say that Vlad's Freak-Out in that episode intentionally led into his different motives in the next season...or it could just be Motive Decay as a result of different writers handling the show. The Freak-Out did lead to Vlad having different motives at the start of season 3 (tormenting Danny), which was written by Marmel. After that, though, the newer writers led to Motive Decay and made Vlad a run-of-the-mill villain who wanted to take over the world.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • Aang goes into an Unstoppable Rage multiple times in the show whenever he suspects his friends to be in danger, when Appa goes missing, or when he finds Monk Gyatso, who was like a father to him, dead. Azula has a permanent one and goes insane. But she was shipped off to a mental health facility and, according to Word of God, will possibly make a recovery in the future.
    • Aang could be viewed as having undergone a Freak-Out upon learning of the genocide of his race that lasted most of the first season, and then on and off until he finds peace in the Grand Finale. In the flashbacks with Gyatso and Bumi he's earnest but calm and somewhat reticent, and his hyperactivity might just be a way of trying to distract himself from the horror.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Electro's Face Heel Turn is the result of an inability to cope with the Power Incontinence and loss of humanity that accompany the electrical powers he gained in a Freak Lab Accident. Doctor Octopus' is a result of the massive, traumatic electromagnetic shock that fused his harness to his spine and changed him from meek to megalomaniacal.
  • Kenai does this in Brother Bear when he realizes he turned into a bear.
  • Being a failed science experiment with more mental issues than even the most skilled therapist could count, Adventure Time's Lemongrab is CONSTANTLY in the midst of a freak-out.
  • Fry from Futurama suffers a Freak-Out after being erroneously sent to an insane asylum for robots. Obviously, the staff (all robots) don't notice this simple detail, and continue to treat him as such. He would be released weeks later when he, as described by the doctor, "no longer suffers delusions of humanity."
  • The Simpsons: Hurricane Ned.

Ned: Calm down, Neddly diddily diddily diddily, doodily. They did their best shodaiddily iddily iddily diddily diddily. Gotta be nice, hostidididildilidilly ah HELL diddily ding dong crap! Can't you morons do anything RIGHT!?
[shocked gasps]

  • In The Batman, Officer Bennet suffers a Freak-Out when he gets captured and mentally tortured by the Joker, followed by getting exposed to chemicals that turn his body into morphable clay. After spending two seasons as the good friend of main character Bruce Wayne, Bennet becomes the villain Clayface after the two-part season finale that focuses around this event.
  • Daffy Duck's Freak-Out in Duck Amuck is the stuff of legends.
  • The Ren and Stimpy Show
    • Ren is prone to these.
    • Stimpy's "I Like Darren!" rant from "Mad Dog Höek". Especially towards the end, where he's screaming his lines out like a madman, his voice has an echo effect, and the music is all crazy.
  • Happens to Twilight Sparkle in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Lesson Zero". When she realizes she doesn't have a weekly friendship lesson to present to Princess Celestia, she grows increasingly crazy trying to find one, culminating in a fully-loaded Freak Out the likes of which have never been seen on the show before (which is saying something, given the show's other examples).
    • "The Best Night Ever": Fluttershy tries to befriend the animals in the Canterlot gardens, but when they keep avoiding her she starts becoming frustrated just to get her hooves at them, and it all climaxes with her shouting "YOU'RE. GOING. TO LOVE MEEEE!".
    • In "Party of One", Pinkie Pie gets it into her head that her friends don't like her parties any more, so she starts throwing parties with her new friends - a bag of flour, a bucket of turnips, a pile of rocks, and a collection of lint - all of which she's named and given voices. Then she starts imagining they really are talking to her...
    • These freak outs have been classified by fanon as "Cutie-Mark Failure Insanity Syndrome" a condition that causes ponies to lose control and over-react to situations that cause them to doubt the purpose in life they found when they received their cutie-mark.
  • Lois of Family Guy when they ran out of paper towels on Christmas.
  • Donald Duck's hunger-induced nervous breakdown in Mickey and the Beanstalk.
  • Stu of Rugrats has one when Angelica starts to wear on him after she pretends to have broken her leg.


  • Blanche has a permanent one in A Streetcar Named Desire after she is raped by Stanley and after Stanley tears off the paper lantern.