Heartbroken Badass

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Sometimes a Badass, usually The Lancer (though not necessarily), falls head over heels in love. Usually, the lucky one is a sweet girl who may be just a little naive (perhaps a Damsel in Distress, a Yamato Nadeshiko, Proper Lady an Ojou or is a Defrosting Ice Queen).

Since Love Hurts, their hearts are often broken, sometimes because their love interest outright rejects them, sometimes because they fall upon an unknown type 4 love triangle, and the object of their affections falls in love or is already in a relationship with another, who may or may not be the Romantic False Lead or worse dead, or some other tragic event happens that denies the badass the affections of the love interest. Occasionally, after this direct or indirect rejection, the badass will fall victim to Heroic BSOD.

But the worst case scenario by far is when their love interest is killed off. Hell befalls the person who pulled that trigger... Yeek.

The trope does not only apply to love interests, but also to friends and family members. See also You Killed My Father.

Examples of Heartbroken Badass include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Kenshiro is heartbroken when Yuria fails to recognize him when he faces Shin in Fist of the North Star. Subverted, in that it wasn't Yuria at all, it was a doll that looked like her...
  • Happens with alarming frequency to Joe Asakura in Gatchaman / Battle of the Planets.
  • In Pokémon the most notable example is when Ash's Grovyle fell in love but was rejected; he had a Heroic BSOD just after. It Got Worse, as he evolved into Sceptile immediately afterward, and the shock of rejection made him unable to use his attacks!
    • The Team Rocket trio's Meowth in "Go West, Young Meowth". (Note that he's not usually particularly badass, but he did wear a Badass Longcoat in that episode.) Meowzy rejected him even before she hooked up with the Persian Meowth had just fought.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
  • All the women Black Jack’s even come close to loving at this point have been already married, enveloped in their careers or more or less turned into a man.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has Yami, after Yugi's soul is taken in the second half of season 4 (Atlantis/Doma arc)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh 5D's has Jack Atlus falling in love with Carly, which leads to problems when she is killed and revived as a Dark Signer, one of the people Jack is meant to fight against. And then she dies in his arms. And gets better..
  • Seiji from Midori Days.
  • Harima Kenji from School Rumble.
  • Guts from Berserk fits this big time. The romance that he had with Casca was cut tragically short by Griffith's actions during the Eclipse, which served to drive her completely insane. Casca's unfortunate condition has completely deprived Guts of the affection he wants from her so badly. And even worse, ever since his personal Beast almost got him to rape her, she wants nothing to do with him anymore, which only further frustrates him. Still, this might change if the quest to Elfhelm is successful. In the meantime, all that Guts really has left to hang onto are the memories from the old days.
  • Terry Bogard from the Fatal Fury anime.
  • Shogo Kawada from Battle Royale.
  • The first time we actually get to see Jigen have a life, and she turns out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing using Jigen to get rid of Lupin. Jigen gets over it pretty quickly though.
  • Shizuo Heiwajima of Durarara!! learned the hard way that schoolboy crushes and uncontrollable rage disorders do not mix. In his words, "I screwed up."
  • Suzaku Kururugi of Code Geass after Euphemia’s death.
    • A different kind of badass, but Lelouch after Shirley is killed.
  • Spike from Cowboy Bebop is pretty much a perfect example of this trope. He loses his love Julia, spends a large part of the series searching for her in vain, and is finally reunited with her in the finale... just in time for her to be shot. This leads to an epic Storming the Castle moment which results in an uncertain fate for Spike, with a pretty large chance that he's dead.
  • Kenshin in the first OVA. Especially the fact that he inadvertently killed Tomoe.
  • Kazuma Yagami of Kaze no Stigma.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura was originally a Moe Moe Shrinking Violet with no friends. Then she met Madoka, who showed her kindness and became her Only Friend. So, when Madoka ultimately ended up dying to defeat Walpurgis, Homura became a Magical Girl to turn back time and protect her. The more times she is forced to turn back time, the more determined she becomes that Madoka not die this time, and the more badass she is.
  • Issei Hyoudou in High School DxD when it's revealed that his heart was still broken when his ex-girlfriend killed him on his first date with her back in volume 1. It took him 6 months (9 volumes in Real Life) to even be able to move on and confess to Rias.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Bruce Wayne/Batman, often. Most notably in The Dark Knight.
  • Wolverine. Love tends to go badly for him.
  • Hamato Yoshi of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in various continuities, including the second animated series.
  • Marv of Sin City. His only starring role in a full length story starts with him discovering the first woman to ever sleep with him has been murdered. Seeing how he normally responds to violence against women and violence against friends.... you get the idea.
  • Spider-Man lost Gwen Stacy to the Green Goblin. It's one of the most iconic moments in his history but damn, poor Peter. Meanwhile, in stories set in the Alternate Universes/What Ifs, it’s common for his most famous love interest, Mary Jane Watson, to die or disappear.
  • Cyclops from X-Men has lost Jean twice. He's often Misblamed for her loss the second time around.
  • Spawn. He made a Deal with the Devil just so he could go back to earth to see his wife Wanda again, and what does he get to see? Wanda - happily married to his best friend in life and with a daughter. Ouch.


Film[edit | hide]


Literature[edit | hide]

  • F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby, a genius from a humble background who, after returning from WWI to find his teenage crush married to a wealthier and hunkier man, turns himself into the richest and most popular playboy-gangster around. But of course, all he ever wanted was her.
  • Since Stephen King's The Dark Tower contains pretty much every other Badass-related trope, it's not entirely surprising that they've got this one as well. Most of Wizard and Glass is spent exploring Roland's Heartbroken Badass past.
  • Sir Pelleas in Le Morte Darthur. Sir Gawain promises to help him win the heart of Ettarde, who finds him weak and doesn't return his feelings. Upon meeting her, Sir Gawain forgets his vow to Pelleas and ends up falling in love with her. Some time later, Pelleas comes across the two sleeping together and he struggles with himself whether to kill them. He decides against it and goes off, heartbroken. It's also implied that he subsequently becomes the Red Knight of the North, who ends up horribly mutilating a peasant, among other things.
  • Surprisingly, Nick Chopper in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He's by far the best fighter in the party, and positively deadly with the axe when Baum still had death as part of Oz. Still, the whole reason he wants a heart? He wants to return to his girlfriend and be a proper husband for her. When he does find her again? It doesn't end well for Nick. One of his live-action counterparts had equally bad luck.
  • In J.R. Ward's third entry in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, Lover Awakened, Tohrment falls victim to this once he learns his most cherished wife, Weslie, and their unborn child, were viciously murdered.
  • In Ed McBain's 87th Precinct novel Lady, Lady I Did It! Bert Kling is completely broken by murder of his girlfriend Claire Townsend. It turns him not only to mere Heartbroken Badass, but to real Incompetent Cop. Despite of his recovery from this, McBain have made him constantly heartbroken because of he is repeatedly kicked, cheated and betrayed by his girlfriends and wives.
  • Vampire Hunter Aeneas in Midnight World, after losing his wife. It took him more than 2 months to recover from Heroic BSOD, and 2 years to start a new romance... which caused a new heartbreak.
  • Harry Potter gives us Albus Dumbledore, who many decades ago had to defeat and help imprison the love of his young life, Grindlewald. Also, Severus Snape, whose Heel Face Turn and subsequent badassery were driven by the death of his childhood best friend, Lily..
    • The supplementary website, Pottermore, has also revealed that Professor McGonagall is one. She abandoned her Muggle fiancé because she couldn't part with the Wizarding World; something that her mother had done before her.
  • Dresden Files: What Murphy has become in Ghost Story following Harry's death. A rare genderswapped version.
    • This happens often to Harry, Susan being the cause on at least on occasion.
  • Herald Vanyel in the Heralds of Valdemar series. The love of his life commits suicide shortly after the near-fatal accident that turned Vanyel into a mage. He goes on to become one of the most powerful Herald-Mages adepts ever to live, yet to a large extent lives most of his life in mourning.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The Doctor from Doctor Who can fall into this. His longevity and lifestyle means that he manages to out live most of his friends, family and loved ones. Although he rarely breaks down visibly, many an episode has ended with him standing in the TARDIS, alone, the pain clearly on his face.
  • Most of the cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer could sometimes or often be described as a heartbroken Badass, including Buffy, Angel, Spike, Willow, Anya, and Giles. Some of them suffered Badass Decay as a result, especially Spike and Angel.
    • And let's not forget Mr. Wyndam-Pryce. He was heartbroken before he Took a Level in Badass, but every appearance of his in Angel's fourth season just SCREAMS Heartbroken Badass.
      • It gets topped in Angel's fifth season, where he finally gets together with his love interest Fred, only for her to be killed off the next episode.
  • The main character in Boys Before Flowers, has Jun Pyo collapsing to the floor in his Armani suit after his love interest told him to take a hike.
  • Echo, after Paul becomes brain dead, and later after he is shot.
  • On The Vampire Diaries, Damon has been in love with Katherine for over a century. It really didn't go well.
  • Sayid Jarrah of Lost, particularly in the episode 'Sundown'.
  • Chuck Bass falling for Blair Waldorf on "Gossip Girl".
  • Wyatt freakin' Cain from Tin Man - like his metallic counterpart in the literature section, he's arguably the best fighter in the party (though Glitch can be pretty scary if he sets his half a mind to doing so), but he's pretty much a broken man at the start, having endured eight years of being Forced to Watch a holographic playback of his wife and son being tortured and drug away by the Sorceress's Mooks.
  • Jen in Power Rangers Time Force seeing her boyfriend being killed before her very eyes, causing her to become The Stoic and disapproving of Wes who physically resembles Alex.
  • Marcus Cole and Lennier in Babylon 5.


Theater[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Any of the love interests from Mass Effect go through this in the timeskip between ME 1 and Mass Effect 2 (or even during, in Liara's case) after Shepard's death (s/he gets better). Shepard and Liara dealing with this trope is a significant aspect of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC if that relationship exists. And Liara takes this trope to its ultimate conclusion when she obliterates the Shadow Broker with extreme prejudice at the end of the DLC...
    • Poor Female Shepard, two of her three possible love interests in Mass Effect 2 will wind up dead or breaks up with her (save for Garrus. Male Shepard has only slightly better luck, in that the deaths of all his love interests are preventable, but can easily become this as well.
  • Kain Highwind from Final Fantasy IV; with Porom's "Cry" augment.
  • Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy VII.
    • Also, Rude. His entire reason for being uncomfortable talking to people is because the girl he fell in love with was a terrorist who was only using him for information.
    • Cloud Strife spends most of Advent Children beating himself up over not being able to save Aerith.
  • Locke and Cyan from Final Fantasy VI (Fiancée killed by The Empire, wife and son poisoned by the same, respectively), Lulu from Final Fantasy X (boyfriend killed by the local Eldritch Abomination), Ashe from Final Fantasy XII (widowed by The Empire), in each case, the death of their loved one serves as their motivation to go after the Big Bad (Ashe comes pretty close to starting a genocide against the Empire).
  • Kratos Aurion and Regal Bryant from Tales of Symphonia, both of whom have unintentionally killed their lovers. Kratos had the added layer of thinking his son was dead, until he meets up with your party.
  • Yuri Lowell from Tales of Vesperia also has shades of this when faced with the possibility that he will likely have to kill Estelle for the greater good.
  • Zero from Mega Man X. In this case, however, Iris, the girl he had feelings for, attacked him because he killed her brother The Colonel in a war and was forced to fight back in self-defense. Suffering from her injuries, she said all she wanted was to live happily with him before dying in his arms. Cue Zero's scream of grief.

"This isn't happening! There's no reason for me to go on! What...what am I FIGHTING FOOOOOOOOOOOOOR?!

    • And later he gets to break the heart of two other girls...Geez...
  • The Branstein family and anyone remotely related, plus Latooni and her adoptive brother and sister from Super Robot Wars Original Generation. And HOW!
  • Johnny Vincent of Bully. For some inexplicable reason, he's head over heals for Lola, and even he admits what a slut she is.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, if the Warden romances Zevran and then dies fighting the Archdemon, the epilogue shows him becoming one of these.
  • Elc from Arc the Lad II: after what happens to his first love, it is no wonder he chooses to side with internationally wanted terrorists
  • The Xeno series has a lot of them: the most famous are Fei in Xenogears, watching his loved one getting killed repeatedly throught the centuries did not help his mental stability, Shion, Junior and Ziggy in Xenosaga. And, of course, thanks to a couple of Crazy Awesome scenes in the end of the third game, Allen, of all people, proves to be one of them.
  • Heartbreak One, about fifteen years ago in his backstory. His Ex still likes him enough to spring him from jail, though.
  • Flint from Mother 3 when his wife is murdered by a robotic dinosaur and his son goes missing. His single-minded quest to find the latter causes him to neglect his surviving child.
  • Elisabeth Blanctorche. Spends most of the saga trying to stop the schemes of someone she called her brother (Ash Crimson), the only one who remained from her past... only to find out that he planed on sacrificing himself to stop an evil organization -- to save *her*. Her reaction is something that most people would expect.
  • Princess Kitana of Edenia. After her romantic relationship with Liu Kang was ported over from the movies, Mortal Kombat 4 had Kitana outright propose to him in his ending. Liu Kang reluctantly declines, as due to his status as Champion of Mortal Kombat, his place is in Earthrealm, not in Edenia by Kitana's side. Come Deadly Alliance, Shang Tsung gets a jump on him, and with the help of Quan Chi, ultimately kills Liu Kang. A grieving Kitana subsequently joins Raiden and several other Earthrealm warriors to combat the villainous duo, presumably to enact revenge. Kitana's ending in DA has the princess mourning over her beloved as she holds a silent funeral in his honor, wishing that he took her up on her offer to rule as King and Queen of Edenia.
  • Professor Layton and The Lost Future reveals that Don Paolo's descent into evil started when Layton starting dating Claire, who Paolo was infatuated with. The cutscene that shows his heart being broken is not very sympathetic towards him in the slightest.
  • In Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations, this is Godot's motivation. He was driven to change his name and seek revenge against Phoenix upon learning that his girlfriend, Mia Fey, was murdered while he was comatose.
  • In Assassin's Creed, at some point of their life. Ezio and Altair lose someone close to them and state how it felt like a part of them withered away. Ezio's situation was so bad that it became a repressed memory. Altair has to suffer this twice.
  • Asura from Asura's Wrath, both when his wife is killed and his daughter is taken from him, and when The little girl that looked like his daughter is bombed to death with her village.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic's darker counterpart Shadow the Hedgehog lost his surrogate-sister Maria during a raid of his home on the Space Colony ARK. He spends about three games dwelling on it before deciding to let it go by his most recent appearances.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • This has happened to Brooklyn from Gargoyles three times, two in the canon TV episodes and once in the canon comic book. He finally finds his true love on his Timedancer adventures, Katana, and starts a family by the time he gets to his home time period.
    • It is hard to call him heartbroken when he merely had crushes on those others.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Supposedly T.E. Lawrence aka "Lawrence of Arabia" aka "Emir Dynamite" loved Janet Laurie who rejected him.