This is when one character makes a declaration of love to another. How it's done, and the reactions to it, will vary. It usually happens with a sense of drama, particularly with shy characters, who are mortified at the thought that they could be rejected by the object of their affection. It carries extra weight if the confessor has been a longtime admirer or has been carrying a secret crush. It's generally seen as a big risk with a guy confessing to a girl, but when a girl confesses to a guy it is seen as a triumphant moment. With all significant declarations there is The "I Love You" Stigma that follows, it's meant to be a big moment. Crush Blush may occur for either person, or both.
Unresolved Sexual Tension is often at the core of the confession, especially if the two parties are known for being Vitriolic Best Buds or Like Brother and Sister. The more dramatic reactions may be an Anguished Declaration of Love or a Dying Declaration of Love. The reaction may either accept the confessor's affection and reciprocating, or acknowledge the affection but turning it down. If the person is a Jerkass, expect it to be done in such a way for maximum humiliation.
In those harsh cases the end result is Did Not Get the Girl; yet the person being confessed to may say that they're Better as Friends or I Don't Want to Ruin Our Friendship, in order to spare the confessor's feelings. If the two parties have known each other since childhood and the confession is accepted and the love reciprocated, what you have is First Girl Wins and Victorious Childhood Friend.
Be careful, though—if the confession is refused (whether kindly or brutally) and the confessor is a bit unhinged, it may lead to an "If I Can't Have You..." situation.
Anime and Manga
- Mahou Sensei Negima demonstrates this trope in several variations.
- Nodoka confesses her love to Negi—unusually, it goes smoothly, without mispronunciation or interruption. It doesn't end in a First Kiss, Nodoka was satisfied just telling Negi her feelings. Negi, already under a lot of stress, suffered a Heroic BSOD.
- When Negi was preparing to ask Ku Fei to become his martial arts instructor, a lot of the class thought he was planning to confess to her. Hilarity Ensues.
- Asuna made several attempts to confess to Takamichi, finally succeeding during the Mahora Festival Arc.
- In chapter 269, there is an example of this as it usually occurs in Western stories, a dramatic mutual confession between Nagi and Arika (Negi's parents), followed by a proposal of marriage, accepted. In a minor role reversal, Arika is the one who has trouble both realizing Nagi is in love with her, and spitting it out after he confesses, having to keep her personal feelings leashed.
- Appears as a central plot point in School Rumble. We see one confession briefly at the beginning—Harima is about to confess to Tenma when a big burly "student" he had recently fought shows up and takes the credit for the note. This is actually good for Harima, since Tenma immediately tells him that her heart belongs to someone else.
- The love confession in Girls Saurus from Haruka to the Shingo occurs in the first few pages of the first chapter. However, because she's tremendously fat, he rejects her, and she beats him to a pulp in her rage. Fast forward a month later, where he's finally out of the hospital. She's worked out and dieted obsessively out of frustration and is struggling to accept that she still has feelings for him. He's absolutely terrified of women, especially her, after the incident. So, as far as Shingo's concerned, she hates him and he likes it that way.
- One happens in Toradora! in the second episode—and completely fails, even though the confessor was being about as blunt as possible. Why it fails is left very ambiguous—it is unclear whether the person being confessed to is actually misunderstanding the confession or is deliberately avoiding a clear and hurtful rejection.
- In Lucky Star, Kagami seems to be set up for one of these, but the guy turns out to only want the little collectible doll she bought.
- Ojamajo Doremi: This is Doremi's reason for why she became an Ojamajo. She achieves the goal at the end of Dokkan, but someone else makes one to her: Kotake.
- Densha Otoko revolved around one.
- Marmalade Boy actually had one go off without a hitch at one point, astonishingly enough.
- Ichigo One Hundred Percent: main character does chin-ups to confess to the Veronica.
- In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, chapter 319, Takeda uses the threat of a Love Confession to Miu to goad Kenichi into fighting him more tenaciously.
- D.N.Angel loves this. The series starts with Daisuke for Risa, Risa, for Dark, Daisuke for Riku, Friedert (sort of) for Daisuke, Satoshi for Daisuke, Wiz (accidentally) for pretty much everyone...
- Chobits has an important one at the end: Chii confessing love to Hideki.
- Kashimashi opens with Hazumu confessing to Yasuna, she rejects him, which sends the whole plot in motion.
- Shows up in Hajime no Ippo, with Ippo's seniors trying to coerce him into confessing to Kumi.
- In Kare Kano, Arima confesses his love in the first volume, and Miyazawa struggles to confess hers later on. Also, being called out to the cherry trees behind the school for a love confession causes Arima to realize his love for Miyazawa.
- In Fruits Basket, Yuki receives plenty of these. Oh yeah, and Kyo.
- The end of the manga has at least four of these.
- Hinata finally spits it out to Naruto in the Invasion of Pain Arc.
- Later on Sakura also gives one to him, but it's a subversion as she's doing it to make him give up on his promise to bring back Sasuke. Naruto saw right through her because of this.
- Darker than Black 2 starts with one as well. The relationship doesn't last the episode. Both of them get Killed Off for Real by the end of the season. It's that kind of show.
- Misaki from Junjou Romantica really, REALLY Cannot Spit It Out, but finally does in the end.
- In Full Metal Panic!, Sousuke is a consistent recipient of these. He blows off or misunderstands almost all of them. Of course, due to the desperation of many of his admirers, many of these Love Confessions turn into Anguished Declarations Of Love.
- Magic Knight Rayearth - Hikaru manages to finally get over her guilt and fear of rejection and confesses to Lantis just as she's about to be pulled back to her world. Cue Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when he confesses back.
- One episode of Inuyasha revolves around Kagome's little brother Sota working up the courage for a confession (something neither Kagome or Inuyasha had managed to do yet).
- One of the most memorable scenes in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is deliberately set up to look like this until Asakura drops the Wham! Line.
- Played for comedy in Gun X Sword. When Pricilla confesses her love to Van, he's the one who can't spit out his answer; instead he babbles incoherently. Given the conclusion of the series, it would seem that the answer was probably "Sorry, I'm not interested," but he never says this.
- Marin accidentally overhears one between two minor characters in Brigadoon Marin and Melan. Later, she makes one of her own to Melan, and follows it up with a kiss.
- Kind of messed up by Orihime in Bleach, considering Ichigo was asleep when she confessed, and she knew it. Granted, she thought it was just a final goodbye, but still.
- Chibi Vampire: The scene with Karin and Kenta on the ferris wheel
- In Wild Rose, as Kiri decides to leave Mikhail he finally confesses his feelings towards him.
"I...don't know how to fix what is already broken, but you, as you are, I love."
- Three different characters do this, with five seperate confessions in Hayate the Combat Butler. None of the characters are attached to anyone.
- Ayumu confesses, twice actually, the first time she's actually rejected, though it doesn't deter her affection.
- Ayumu eventually confesses a second time, actually at Hinagiku's insistance. Though initially she gives Hayate 'obligation' chocolate as part of Valentines' Day, Hinagiku insists she talk to Hayate again and give him the chocolate she made for him, telling him that he doesn't need to respond yet. Though he hasn't rejected her again, he has made it clear that he has some affection for her, making this the closest thing to an actual confession and acceptance.
- Hinagiku has attempted a confession-of-sorts when Hayate has taken her out on a date, but given her fear of loving someone, she does it just as a train passes by, and so he can't actually hear the words.
- Hayate does this as well, for his '10 years ago girlfriend', first in front of Hinagiku (again), and then directly to the girl he loves, and she responds in kind, but then sends him back to his master, which he takes as a rejection.
- As of a 300+ chapter, she actually states that she has no affection for him. What this means in light of earlier events hasn't been fully played out.
- Ayumu confesses, twice actually, the first time she's actually rejected, though it doesn't deter her affection.
- Several confessions have happened in Wandering Son. The first was Nitori confessing to Takatsuki. She got rejected by him. Not too long later, Chiba confesses her feelings to Nitori. She gets rejected, and that helps spark her characterization change. A random boy confessed to Takatsuki once, and he got rejected. Mako confessed to Nitori, and also got rejected. On the opposite side, Nitori confessed to Anna and they became a couple..Only to break up several chapters later due to the fact Anna was confused about dating a Transsexualism.
- Serial Experiments Lain : Lain to Alice at the end of the series.
- Fuyutoki for Takashiro in episode 20 of Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru.
- An interesting example happens in episode 8 of Season 2's Kore wa Zombie Desu ka?. Ayumu gets one from Kyouko, while also getting impaled by her sword at the same time.
- Hana no Mizo Shiru: Arikawa confesses to Misaki in Chapter 9. He ends by requesting, "Please love me more than anyone".
- In Robin, Tim Drake lets slip to the mysterious person dressed as the deceased Spoiler who really is Spoiler, Stephanie Brown that he loved the original Spoiler. Whilst he is beating her up. When later they simultaneously confront each other, she mostly berates his idiocy in not considering she was alive
- Actually, he had already confessed his love to Spoiler way back when Batman gave away Tim's real identity to her. In a fit of rage, he told Batman that he felt betrayed that Batman gave away his identity so easily (while all the time he hid the secret for Batman's sake), and it affected their relationship because they were in love. It so happened that Spoiler was standing right next to Batman and she was startled by this sudden confession from Tim.
- Elin does this to Agnes at the end of Swedish lesbian movie Show Me Love in an adorably awkward babble that can basically be summarized as "Viktoria said that you loved me. Is that true, because if it is then I do too, in you I mean?" to which Agnes responds with a glowing smile and a nod
- In the climactic end of Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, David and Agnes finally confess their love for one another, after decades of being just close friends.
- In the third Anne of Green Gables book, Gilbert finally confesses his love to Anne and asks her to marry him (someday). Anne basically tells him she can never love him and crushes his heart to bits.
Live Action TV
- Early in season six of The X-Files, Mulder professed his love for Scully after a harrowing Wizard of Oz-like dream sequence involving Nazis and a World War II ship. However, he is on pain medication, so whether or not that influenced it is up for viewer interpretation. Scully's reaction is still funny, since she subscribes to his being a little loopy on pain meds:
Mulder: Hey, Scully.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike confessing his love to Buffy in a moment of quiet and fear (7x20 Touched):
Spike: A hundred plus years, and there's only one thing I've ever been sure of. You. Hey, look at me. I'm not asking you for anything. When I say I love you, it's not because I want you, or because I can't have you -- it has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try... I've seen your kindness, and your strength, I've seen the best and the worst of you and I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You're a hell of a woman. You're the one, Buffy.
- Xander to Anya, after seeing how Poor Communication Kills the Buffy/Riley relationship ("Into The Woods")
I've gotta say something... 'Cause ... I don't think I've made it clear. I'm in love with you. Powerfully, painfully in love. The things you do ... the way you think ... the way you move ... I get excited every time I'm about to see you. You make me feel like I've never felt before in my life. Like a man. I just thought you might wanna know.
- Brutally subverted with Anya's wedding vow in "Hells Bells", which she rehearses over a shot of Xander walking in the rain, having decided to call off the marriage.
Okay. For the last time. 'I, Anya, want to marry you, Xander, because... I love you and I'll always love you. And... before I knew you, I was like a completely different person. Not even a person, really... and I had seen what love could do to people, and it was... hurt and sadness. Alone was better. And then, suddenly there was you, and... you knew me. You saw me, and it was this... thing. You make me feel safe and warm. So, I get it now. I finally get love, Xander. I really do.'
- Tara's song to Willow "Under Your Spell" in the Musical Episode "Once More With Feeling". Also subverted in that Tara is unaware that she is literally under Willow's spell, and that her discovery of this fact will cause them to break up.
- Also subverted in "Passion" when Jenny Calender admits that she loves Giles. That night Giles comes home to find a bottle of champagne waiting and a trail of roses leading upstairs...to Jenny's body.
- Done with a lot less words, but no less CMOH, in "New Moon Rising" when Tara assumes Willow has decided to go back to her ex-boyfriend Oz.
Tara: No, I-I understand. You have to be with the person you l-love.
- In Angel: Wesley, who tells Fred he has been in love with her basically his whole life, with her being the part that had always been missing.
Fred: Would you have loved me?
- One episode of The OC deals with the first 'I love you' between Marissa and Ryan. It is played for laughs and drama at first, but works out eventually.
Marissa: I love you.
- At least he was being polite.
- When Ted and Robin finally began dating at the end of season 2, their relationship progressed steadily and even took the two to 'I love you' land, but their first visit doesn't go that well:
- Also in the first episode, Ted confesses his love for Robin after their first date. She was not pleased.
- She tries again later on in the episode and is happy for doing it.
- In the Community episode "Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design" Annie get one out during the Gambit Pileup. It is unclear if Jeff thinks it is real or that she is just acting.
- Psych has Shawn confess his feelings to Juliet though in an ADHD way as it started with a rant about how much he loves his motorcycle.
- And, in the following season Shawn actually says that he loves her. While hooked up to a polygraph. Everyone (Shawn included) immediately looked at the readout to see if he was telling the truth.
- River Song confesses her love for the Doctor - by unraveling reality, creating a distress beacon that broadcasts to all points of space and time simultaneously, and getting a million million voices to cry out their love for the Doctor with her, simply so he wouldn't die without knowing that he was loved, and by no one more than her. As love confessions go, that one is pretty spectacular.
- John Sheridan, to Delenn, in "Ceremonies of Light and Dark".
Sheridan: I think it's time you knew that I can no longer imagine my world without you in it. I don't know exactly when or how it happened, but I'm glad it did.
- Castle has two very powerful ones. The first is an Anguished Declaration of Love, from Castle to Beckett as she lies on the ground, having just been shot. The second one is from Beckett to Castle as she confesses that she nearly died, and yet the only thing she could think about was him.
- This is the main goal to attain in non-H Dating Sims.
- The Tokimeki Memorial series is the most notable example, and it's even more Serious Business than standard for its characters, since each of the schools in the series have a place of legend where couples confessing their feelings there on Graduation Day will grant them eternal happiness in their relationship.
- Towards the end of Inazuma Eleven 3, you're given a choice of whether to talk to Natsumi, Aki, or Fuyuka. If you choose Natsumi, a cutscene occurs where Endou asks her why she went to all that trouble. Natsumi being her usual Tsundere self, she responds by stammering a bit then blurting out that she did it out of love, indirectly admitting that she has feelings for him. Endou being Endou, he immediately jumps to the conclusion that his love for soccer has rubbed off on Natsumi. It wasn't all for naught though, as they end up Happily Married in Inazuma Eleven GO.
- In Shin Megami Tensei I, Yuriko who is really Lilith makes it quite clear in the beginning of the game to your protagonist that she's in love with you. Finding out he doesn't feel the same does not result in her getting over it very well, unless you pick the Chaos path.
- Katawa Shoujo starts off with one of these. It literally gives Hisao (our main character) a heart attack, and our story begins. To make matters worse, the confessor gives up on trying again and later sends him a "Dear John" Letter
- In Lilly's route, after Hisao suffers a near-heart attack, Lilly confesses to him
- In Emi's route, after the argument at Emi's house, Hisao will tell Emi that he is not trying to help her out of pity, but because he loves her.
- In Hanako's route, Toward the end, Hanako and Hisao confess their love for each other the day after their first time having sex.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob, Jean and Bob's mutual confession of love for each other comes off as a bit rushed (because, in the original print run of the strip, it was going to be the last episode), but no less heart-felt for that (though it's ruined a bit when Voluptua abruptly plants a big goodbye kiss on his face. The inappropriateness of this is lampshaded in the next strip when the comic has been revived.). Bob gives Jean a longer, more proper confession of love years later, when she's afraid that she's losing him to Voluptua. Voluptua, meanwhile, never actually tells Bob how she feels, but she does reluctantly tell Jean how she feels about Bob, much to Jean's consternation.
- With its usual Lampshading of these kind of tropes, this is naturally played to the hilt in Order of the Stick. Haley's refusal to admit her feelings for Elan causes a brain growth that makes her The Unintelligible, and she figures out that the only way to speak normally again is to confess her love. She keeps chickening out on this, until finally, after getting caught by Elan in a compromising position with Elan's Evil Twin Nale (who has been masquerading as Elan), Nale tells Elan that Haley knew who Nale was all along, and is evil, a demon speaking in tongues, a slut, and The Mole who has been selling out the True Companions, all in a Brainwashing-supplemented Break the Cutie speech mocking Elan's noble stupidity, which Haley is incapable of rebutting, and nearly drives Elan to kill her. At the last second however, Haley finally blurts out that she loves Elan, destroying both her speech impediment and Nale's spell.
- Technically an inversion, but Karkat of Homestuck confesses his romantic inclinations: It makes a lot more sense in context
- In Sinfest, Slick's first attempt suffers a Gibberish of Love failure, and then Monique gets philosophical.
- In KaBlam!, June confesses her love to Henry by giving him a kiss.
- The original Grand Finale for Kim Possible had one that went like this:
Kim: Do you really think there's a guy out there for me?
- Avatar: The Last Airbender. Played for laughs in Nightmares and Daydreams, but played seriously in Day of Black Sun: Part 1.