Not So Stoic

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Maybe he's down about his parents being dead.

"I do have feelings -- I merely refrain from expressing them at the drop of a hat."

The Stoic is a varied character trope, coming in many shapes, sizes, and colors. They can be male or female, young or old, hero or villain, etc. They can be regular old Stoics or they can be one, maybe even more, of its many subtypes -- Emotionless Girl, The Spock, Badass Longcoat, to name a few. But one thing, no matter their gender, age, race, etc., is certain: they will never show emotion. Ever.

Well... except for that one time. Maybe two. Hell, even three!

Not So Stoic is what happens when a Stoic is pushed to the edge, and falls off. This is when The Stoic loses his/her façade and shows the world (or maybe just their True Companions) that they aren't an emotionless automaton. They may be good at hiding it, but they certainly feel just as much as the rest of us. Likely to be very heartwrenching or extremely terrifying. (Or possibly both)

In order to qualify, the show of emotion must be a significant one, not just a small smile or subtle frown. This emotion need not be a "negative" one: Manly Tears over the death of a teammate are certainly un-stoic, but so is unfettered joy over their improbable return.

These outpourings of emotion usually happen only a few times throughout the series—if the stoic is showing emotion every other episode in every season, then they aren't really much of a stoic. However, these moments can also be used to illustrate a character's growth away from prior stoic characterization, in which case displays of emotion—overt and subtle—would become more frequent over time.

The Kuudere is this trope embodied.

Contrast with Bad Dreams (where The Stoic really can keep it buttoned up—while awake), Rage Breaking Point.

Compare with Not So Above It All, OOC Is Serious Business.

WARNING! There are unmarked Spoilers ahead. Beware.

Examples of Not So Stoic include:

Anime and Manga

  • In The Movie version of Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, Yuki Ret Cons the world to let Kyon choose whether he really wants Haruhi. One of the things she changed was to make herself less stoic, while putting everybody else in the SOS Brigade on a bus. Several scenes filled cinemas with Squee by turning The Stoic turned Up to Eleven into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, who's just shy. The scene where she (non-verbally) begs Kyon to stay for dinner is just moe!
  • Just one chapter in the Black Jack manga, but the "Black Queen", a female surgeon known for her cool, unemotional efficiency in amputations. Even her fiance is freaked out by how cold she is about her work. But then she has a drunken emotional outburst all over Black Jack—and later learns that she'll have to amputate her lover's leg, which sends the woman into complete emotional collapse. Black Jack sedates her and manages to save the leg.
  • Jo from Burst Angel starts the first few chapters deeply troubled by one of Meg's frequent kidnappings. And then we also have the manga's Les Yay subtext...
  • L from Death Note who is usually even talking without any emotion, freaks out when he watches the 2nd Kira's video tape mentioning shinigami. Also, the one instance he actually smiles...
  • Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist hits this trope hard when she thinks Roy is dead.
  • One Piece: Robin, after seeing her companions declare war on the World Government for her sake, tearfully screams "I WANT TO LIVE!"
    • Zoro only cries about three times in about 10 years worth of story, and two of them were when he was a kid. But just... GAWD do they sting.
      • Of course, this is because Zoro is SO STOIC that he can make a Tear Jerker out of standing there, staring off into the distance, and saying "Nothing happened!" While covered in blood.
    • Marco, the first Commander of the Whitebeard Pirates, usually maintained a stoic reaction throughout the battle. However, he visibly lost his cool when Whitebeard was stabbed by one of their allies, when Ace dies and when Whitebeard himself dies.
    • Jimbei is usually one of the most focused characters in the series. But he lost his cool in regards to Ace's death and cried Manly Tears when Nami forgave him. On a lighter note, he got a face fault when he saw Shirahoishi and an injured Hachi with Luffy.
      • He got another face fault when Luffy is more concerned about food than the important information Jinbe was telling him. After getting angry with Luffy who cheerfully tells him that he likes to leaves things to chance, Jinbe then goes into a minor depression.
  • A particularly heart-wrenching example in Wolf's Rain, when resident tough guy Tsume breaks down and openly weeps after Toboe's death.
    • In the same series we also have Darcia, the cool, quiet and enigmatic noble who completely loses it when he returns home with Cheza, (she of the Healing Hands) to save his Ill Girl fiancee, only to find that his fiancee was murdered shortly before his return. He doesn't take it well.
  • Victor of Medabots prided himself on his totally professional, detached approach to battling and expressed little save cold distaste for the rest of the world. He managed to keep this up when the family of one of his opponents invited him round for dinner but we get to hear his internal monologue for the first time, and during their actual match he completely loses it when his opponent refuses to give up. At the end of the series his Medabot is destroyed protecting him and his mask breaks noticeably, leading to him actually giving the main character a smile at the end.
  • Vicious from Cowboy Bebop usually seems stoic and composed. But in combat, he is very prone to slasher smiling. Lord, is he ever.
    • Faye Valentine appears at first to be calm, collected, and manipulative. However, seeing a tape she made as a child (which she can't remember) and not having a home anymore clearly affected her deeply. The last we see of her is her crying her eyes out after Spike has gone to fight Vicious.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 00 gives us The Stoic hero Setsuna F. Seiei screaming his lungs out of grief over a certain comrade "LOCKOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNN!!!!!"
  • Rei of Neon Genesis Evangelion is heavily implied to have fallen in love with Shinji by the end. Either that, or developed motherly feelings for him since she's partially a clone of his mother.
    • This is a very likely scenario seeing as she chooses Shinji over his father Gendou to become the "Messiah" of instrumentality in End. And she sacrifices herself to protect Shinji against the 16th angel by self-destructing Unit 00 when it's being fused with the angel.
      • That self-destruct doesn't count. Even if she was completely emotionless, she would've done the same thing for the sake of her mission.
        • She explicitly stated that she was doing it for Shinji's sake.
    • Gendo himself does this twice in the series. The first is when Rei's Eva goes berserk, and he severely burns his hands in his rush to get to her afterwards (opening the superheated release mechanism for her entry plug). The second time is when he orders the activation of Unit-01's dummy plug (autopilot) when his son's life (as well as the Eva, which contained the soul of his wife) was threatened by the 13th Angel. The look on his face shows it in the Japanese version, but the English dub actually has him swearing and yelling at his subordinates.
      • And in his final scene in End of Evangelion, he flat out states that the reason he has been so distant to Shinji is because he was afraid he'd only hurt him.
    • Let's not forget Ritsuko's breakdown in the Dummy Plug Plant, where she starts screaming and crying for her mother. Bear in mind she's somewhere between Rei and Gendo on the scale of stoic-ness.
  • Non-dramatic example: Chrono in the second Sound Stage of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, whose usual stoic expression of professionalism gave way to a lot of spluttering, spatial disorientation, and general bewilderment when going-to-be-adopted Fate blind-sides him with an awkward attempt to address him as "Onii-chan (brother)". And lo, did the Chrono/Fate shippers Squee.
    • At the end of Season 1, he turns purple after Nanoha suggests that he's quite nice despite his stoic exterior for suggesting that the TSAB will be lenient with Fate by taking her circumstances into account, and immediately claims that what he said isn't necessarily his opinion.
      • Heck, Chrono does this several times in the first season and a few times in the second. The kid acts stoic, but the second a cute girl smiles at him (or a cute catgirl shoves him into Marshmallow Hell...) the facade falls to pieces. He's even shocked enough to call Lindy, his mother and superior officer, "Mom" while on duty (before correcting himself) when she allows Nanoha and Yuuno to help them recover the Jewel Seeds.
    • Signum gives us two more examples from the same season:
      • She loses her cool and punches the wall when the Wolkenritter find out that Hayate's illness is life-threatening.
      • She sheds a tear after this exchange:

Signum: "Had we not met like this... we may have been really good friends."
Fate: "There's still time for that!"

  • How come Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic! hasn't been mentioned yet? After being a nigh-perfect Stoic for the entire first season, he is subjected to a Not So Different Hannibal Lecture by Gauron, beats him up and finally snaps. And how.
    • He also had a truly epic one throughout a good portion of The Second Raid. Beginning when he was ordered to immediately cease guarding Kaname and ending with another Hannibal Lecture from Gauron, he spiralled downhill into a Ten-Minute Retirement and a full-blown Heroic BSOD.
    • Interestingly enough, in the anime, he never cries. However, in the novel, he actually does break down crying and showing vulnerability... not over Kaname, not over any of his comrades dying... but over his shame and hurt pride that the hostage situation (during the Behemoth Arc) failed to go the way he planned.
    • On a smaller scale, he also unintentionally breaks his stoic image by, amazingly enough, acting like a Tsundere in regard to Kaname. During the party on the Tuatha De Dannan, Kurz tells Sousuke, "She's pretty, cute, and has a nice sense of style. Any man would fall for her in an instant." Sousuke quickly and coldly responds, "I wouldn't know. I'm not interested." Certainly a response very unlike his normal stoic, clueless attitude.
    • Fumoffu? has several examples, Played for Laughs. Sousuke's immediate reaction on realizing he's forgotten Kaname's notes at home spring to mind, as does his entire Drill Sergeant Nasty persona during the Rugby episode, complete with an extremely Hot-Blooded Rousing Speech.
      • To be fair, he had no idea what he was saying to the rugby players. He was just repeating what he read in the book that Mao gave him.
  • Ulquiorra Schiffer from Bleach fits this trope as he becomes more and more infuriated with Ichigo during their battle in Hueco Mundo, to the point where he actually starts to yell. And let's not forget his little "heart" thing he had with Orihime as he's disintegrating.
    • Aizen himself when Gin backstabs him.
  • Genichirou Sanada from The Prince of Tennis tries to act as The Stoic leader of his team, but he loses his temper far too often.
  • Ghost in the Shell: SAC 2nd Gig. Batou is riding in a vehicle with Gohda when the latter starts questioning Batou about his relationship with the Major, openly asking if he's in love with her. Batou (who clearly is in Unrequited Love with his female superior) keeps his usual stoic expression until Gohda turns to look out the window, whereupon Batou's face twists with anger and he snarls over his comlink: "This guy's a real comedian!"
    • The Major herself falls into this category as well. She usually is a complete hardened super-woman with a rather dark sense of humour, but she can and WILL break face if you push her far enough. She goes into a murderous rampage against a mech-operator in season one after he nearly broke her body and cries at certain points in season two, mostly involving her feelings towards Kuze.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club when Kyoya first meets Idiot Hero Tamaki he takes all of his strange antics and outbursts relatively well. Until he blows up at Tamaki and unloads all of the pent up rage and insults he had been keeping inside. As usual for anime they are still friends, sort of, but Kyoya still occasionally tells Tamaki how stupid he is. Not that Tamaki really cares since more or less everyone else does too.
    • Mori is also quite stoic, but when the moments where he truly Face Faults are few and far in between, but when he freaks, he freaks.
  • Tooya from Ayashi no Ceres, who even took the Badass Longcoat to stride, breaks away from his poker face for the first time when the subject of his relationship with Aya is brought up.
    • Taken even further in one episode where he cries, fearing Aya may die.
    • And taken even further than that towards the end of the series when he learns that Aya is carrying his child, and he cries again. This time, fangirls swoon.
  • Hotaru from Samurai Deeper Kyo possesses an aloof demeanor that often breaks when an interesting fight or opponent stirs his inner Blood Knight.
  • Johan loses his Dissonant Serenity exactly two times in the entire course of the series. Both times become memorably creepy for it.
  • In Soul Eater, this is used to comedic effect. Normally, Death the Kid is a quiet, observant and intelligent young man. That is, until he notices something that isn't symmetrical.
    • The Shinigami/Reaper is a quirky example. While not exactly stoic, he usually brushes off any and all situations by being/looking/talking/acting goofy, putting him firmly in comic relief territory. That is, until the Kishin gets loose. Just as the Big Bad is about to flee outright, the Reaper shows up. There's some brief banter, where the Kishin calls the Reaper out on his goofiness, to which the Reaper offers some terse explanation and cuts loose. His voice drops to a low growl, his goofy mask takes on a thoroughly pissed off expression (which is actually more effective than his previous "scary face"), he actually starts swearing at the Kishin and shows everyone exactly why he's the boss.
    • To be reminded that the Cloudcuckoolander and the usually low-key boy are father and son, just point out something (significant) which goes against their sense of order. Kid also counts for the moments when his calm, matter-of-fact attitude towards being a god is broken by his occasionally hysterical concerns over not being a ''good enough god.
  • Deneve, Clare, and Miria from Claymore were all devotedly stoic up until the Pieta battle, when all three experienced emotional breakdowns over the deaths of their comrades.
  • Thorfinn of Vinland Saga tries to be The Stoic, but the mask slips more often then not.
  • World Champion Most from Monster Rancher is almost a Warrior Poet, with a Jedi like detachment and calm. Although the heroes are forced to fight him in order to win the cup he doesn't hold this against them, actually helping his rival Mocchi improve his skills and trying to persuade him to forfeit the match as Most was worried about hurting him. This last scene subtly displays a patronising and arrogant side, and indeed when Mocchi actually knocks him down he clearly loses his temper and roughly shoves the referee aside as he starts to count. He quickly recovers his composure but seeing a character who had never even raised his voice before so rattled was possibly a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Mocchi.
  • Karasu from the Dark Tournament saga of Yu Yu Hakusho initially seems to be the calmest and most reserved member of Team Toguro. During his battle with Kurama however, he turns out to be much more malicious and brutal than expected.
    • Kurama tends to be calm most of the time, but after winning a game against Amanuma/Game Master that costs the poor kid his life, he becomes enraged under his stoic facade, instantly decapitating Makihara/Gourmet with his Rose Whip and setting up a plan to defeat Elder Toguro (who was controlling Makihara's body after killing him) while he is still unable to read his thoughts through his rage. Hoo Lee Shit.
  • Berg Katse from Ai no Kusabi was The Stoic, until Riki and Isaon are Together in Death. Then, he broke down crying for them.
  • All over the place in Darker than Black, since while Contractors are generally pragmatic sociopaths, they're perceived as emotionless. Thus, they act Stoic most of the the time, but there's usually that one thing that gets a rise out of them. Particularly memorable moments included Hei completely flipping out at the mention of his sister and the time when Yin started crying.
    • Hei's character tends to play around with this trope. Compared to other contractors, he's extremely empathetic towards the people around him, and is known to act irrationally based on his feelings.
    • For a human example, Kirihara starts crying when she hears her team laughing and talking about how they'll support the chief and catch the villain without realizing that their section has been disbanded.
  • Princess Arika of Mahou Sensei Negima mostly acts like The Stoic, but finally shows some emotion after Nagi rescues her from execution and tells her he loves her.
    • In a Lotus Eater Machine that showed Negi what life would have been with his parents, Arika remains extremely distant and aloof even to her own son. It is very obvious that she cares about him though, and when she holds his hand while walking down the street with him and Nagi counted as a serious Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
      • Rather than "distant and aloof", she was more nervous and awkward having absolutely no idea how to treat her own child. Regardless, this still underlines her graduation from The Stoic.
    • Also, Tsukuyomi managed to sends Fate in a fit of rage by threatening to "steal his kill".
  • Silver from Pokémon Special. Cool and composed, except for the one time he got a Heroic BSOD when he found out who daddy was. The one moment that really sticks out though, is when he falls over when he sees his wanted poster.
  • Throughout 90% of Kino's Journey, Kino was the definition of The Stoic. Then, in the last episode (which takes place before the first) she stops in a town, befriends an adorable little girl and is welcomed warmly by the rest of the people. She comes to love it so much that she considers settling down and living there. Eventually, however, the townspeople begin insisting that she leaves, to the point that they all but force her to. Reluctantly, she complies, only to end up watching from a safe distance as a volcano erupts, completely destroying the town and killing everyone in it...including the aforementioned adorable girl. Made even worse when a letter she was given before she left reveals that they knew it was going to happen, but loved their town so much they decided to stay regardless. Quite understandably, Kino flipped out.
  • Miharu is adorable, and loves to use his sweet smiles and ability to blush at will to his advantage; still, unless it's just to mess with someone, he's extremely apathetic towards basically everything. ...And then he meets Yoite, whom Miharu finds impossible to not care about. Miharu has a few good outbursts here and there concerning Yoite, and even laughs genuinely, but the turning point is his not so stoic breakdown, which leaves him openly sobbing. It's... yeah.
  • Used in Naruto to the point where pretty much every developed character who tries to being emotionless (as Ninja are expected to be) fails at some point. Shino tries to be cool and calm, but on several occasions is irritated by being left out or unrecognized. Zabuza spent the entire Story Arc priding himself on being an emotionless killing machine, but in-spite of himself flat-out cried when Haku died. Danzo's policy is that emotion just cause trouble, but he outright flies into a rage when it's suggested Kakashi be promoted to 6th Hokage ahead of him. Itachi gives what appears to be a raging Villainous Breakdown but states that is really how he always feels then it turned out he was actually a former pacifist feeling so horrible for his Necessary Evil that he's rather happy when he thinks it's all over. Sasori claimed to be as emotionless as his puppets, but at several point when fighting seemed anything but calm. During the present storyline Konan is avoids expressing herself even the entire time she fought her former master, but is vocally upset several time when Nagato starts pushing his body beyond its limits. I think I'm sensing a theme.
    • Gaara gets a special mention. When he's first introduced, he speaks in a dull monotone and barely shows any reaction to, well, anything. This seemingly impenetrable stoicism is shattered absolutely spectacularly when he wakes up Shukaku for his fight with Rock Lee, and, later, Sasuke and Naruto; and also when he tries to deal with Might Guy's defense of Rock Lee and his horrible emotional background (thank you, Yashamaru). Sasuke making him bleed for the first time got quite the reaction.
    • And Pain in episode 167 of Shippuden, what with some of the bizarre facial expressions he pulled.
    • Let's not forget Sasuke. He is calm and cool in almost any sitution, even when all the other characters are panicking, laughing uncontrollably, or cheering. But push his Berserk Button and look out.
    • Kakashi is for the most part very stoic, never really shedding tears at the mention of his dead father and closest friends, but read/watch the Kakashi Gaiden special, especially the end where he breaks down crying at the death of Obito. It's truly heatbreaking to see that.
    • Can't leave Hiashi out either- beneath that icy demeanor is a man who will get on his knees to beg his nephew to reconcile with him.
    • Chapter 518 has Sai finally lose his ever-present control over his emotions and fly into a rage when Zombie!Deidara blows up Sai's zombified older brother, threatens to do it again and again after the guy reforms, and insults Sai's art.
  • Haguro Dou from Wolfen Crest is an unsmiling and absolutely gigantic middle-schooler who, as the violent son of a Yakuza boss, serves as werewolf protagonist Inugami's main enemy for the first arc. When Inugami shows him just how powerless he really is, Haguro starts busting out Slasher Smiles like nobody's business and goes on a psychopathic rampage that still shows no signs of stopping, all to regain his original image as a "monster."
  • In School Rumble's later chapters, we learn that Karasuma's lack of facial expressions was all an act. Once he does start showing emotions, he becomes almost unrecognizable.
  • Mai from Kanon is very much The Stoic at first, and seems pretty much emotionless up until the middle of her story arc. Sayuri gets attacked when Mai is not around, and Mai's reaction to this is absolutely heart-wrenching. She first collapses in shock at the sight of the wounded Sayuri. Once Sayuri is admitted to the hospital, Mai then tries to kill herself, feeling guilty for not having been able to protect her friend. When her suicide attempt is foiled by Yuuichi, she breaks down into tears.
    • And if at first you don't succeed...
  • In Code Geass C.C. is generally a rather stoic character, but the facade is broken when Lelouch calls her real name and she smiles happily.
  • Paul in Pokémon normally has a scowl as his trademark expression with a condescending smirk or intense concentration thrown in during a few battles. The one time that he has ever flipped out completely is in A Pyramiding Rage! when he battled Brandon and Brandon kept knocking out his Pokemon with no sign of his even taking damage.
    • Nando the Pokemon minstrel, in his early appearances, was so calm and polite that even getting arrested and framed for robbery failed to rile him. Then came the Grand Festival, where when Zoey begins shutting down his combinations, he drops the facade and gets even more intense than she is.
    • Hun from The Legend of Thunder likewise. Usually he remains calm and blah, including telling his partner to stop joking around. Then the fighting starts and he gets, shall we say, into it.
  • Van of Gun X Sword has a sort of breakdown after facing a particularly powerful enemy. Not only does he show real fear for what may be the only time in the series, but the breakdown leads him to finally talk to his closest companion about his horrible past and his love for his dead fiancee. During this conversation, his voice shakes, his hand trembles, and he covers his face in a gesture more heart-wrenching than tears would have been.
  • Ai Emna of Hell Girl is usually the picture of stoic, bordering on being emotionless. Then the season one finale rolls around, when she confronts Hajime and his daughter about being descendants of the boy who betrayed her, and got her killed. Lets just say an angry Ai is something you definitely don't wanna meet.
  • Haku from Spirited Away is normally calm and emotionless, even when Yubaba was breathing fire inches away from his face and wrapping her hair around his neck and body. But when he is around Chihiro, he reveals many more emotions, such as concern, a hint of snarkiness and happiness.
  • Takayama from Witchblade kisses Masane after she visits him following his forced resignation from Doji.
  • The Major normally shoots once to incapacitate and kill, dealing with her missions calmly and coolly. At least, until she meets the guy who shot Togusa and damaged her body. Then she got scary.


  • Shows in small pieces earlier, but in episode 8 of Madoka Magica Homura breaks down crying over how Madoka refuses to understand that others like her the way she is.
    • Episode 10 puts all of that into heartbreaking perspective. Homura was once an Adorkable glasses wearing Shrinking Violet. Four timeloops of seeing Madoka die or turn into a witch (one of which involved killing Madoka herself) later... It's clear that she's crying on the inside.
    • A lesser example, also from episode 10. Mami, who is second only to Homura in the stoic department, snaps into a sobbing mess when the Sayaka of that time line turns into a witch. She so breaks from the revelation that they'll all eventually become witches, that she shoots Kyoko's soul gem, killing her, and would have killed Homura too, had Madoka not killed her first.
  • Barnaby of Tiger and Bunny is normally a very restrained individual, but after the discovery and subsequent loss of a lead on the organization responsible for his parents' murder he completely loses it—physically attacking his partner Kotetsu, snapping at everyone who talks to him, and briefly going AWOL before his mentor manages to get a hold of him and calm him down. Likewise, any mention of his parents' killer makes him almost unrecognizable in his fury.
    • From episode 18 onwards the story is littered with such moments on Barnaby's part—so much so that it counts as a complete subversion of the Stoic Spectacles archetype he previously represented; the screaming in The Stinger of ep.18, a number of crying (nay, sobbing) scenes in ep. 19, and the Tender Tears in ep.s 20, 24 & 25.
  • Ken Washio on Science Ninja Team Gatchaman is extremely controlled. Except when it involves his father. Who was undercover for most of Ken's life. Then killed for real before the two could develop any sort of relationship. And angered Ken enough that he dragged the entire team into an enemy trap.
  • Guts is stoic to point of lacking emotions in Berserk, until he becomes a member of the Band of the Hawk. He finally begins to open up, but his emotions are mainly limited to mirth and anger, never showing anything tender. Then, during a touching scene when he and Casca make love, he breaks down completely and despairs over his abusive relationship with his stepfather. The following night, he has another Not So Stoic moment when he finds Griffith in the dungeon and sees the horrible suffering that had been inflicted on his friend.
  • Although Holo from Spice and Wolf may not seem stoic at first glance, her trickster and teasing antics cover serious issues. It's almost impossible to tell what she's really thinking... unless she's shocked into dropping her act, and as Lawrence quickly learns, what's she's usually thinking is something like "Please Don't Leave Me."
  • Erza from Fairy Tail has had quite a few moments, both comedic (the play episode) and dramatic (the Tower of Heaven arc, anyone?).
  • Kurama from Elfen Lied spends his early appearances as a professional, buisnessman, and Benevolent Boss. After chasing Lucy for a while, his facade breaks down, as she starts to destroy his life, dismembering his adopted daughter, and getting his biological daughter killed, and several members of his staff. By the end of this, his mind snaps, he grows a Beard of Sorrow, and lives disheveled in a hut on the beach with one of his hitmen. His mind continues to break down after seeing the dying clone of his biological daughter, and being taunted by Lucy over it. he eventually recovers.
    • The Agent is also a stoic character, hanging around in the background, and fighting off numerous Diicoloni while keeping a calm demeanor. She saves a scientist from an Army of them, and sacrifices herself to get her to safety. Once the scientist is gone, she begins crying, afraid to die, as the creatures advance towards her.

Comic Books

  • In Watchmen, Rorschach's face never registers emotion—with two notable exceptions. He goes into a screaming frenzy when the cops take off his mask, and at the very end, he rips off his mask, showing Dr. Manhattan that he's been weeping uncontrollably since finding out the extent of Ozymandias' plan.
  • Batman's biggest weak points as far as emotion goes are his children, but especially Dick. At one point, when exposed to the Scarecrow's fear toxin, he runs through his worst fears checklist in an almost bored manner, with everyone close to him dying. Then it comes to Dick, and Batman's only response is a very determined "No."
    • In one instance, Batman was talking with Catwoman after the Gang War storyline, which devastated the city and left two of his allies dead. Angry at his casual reaction to it, Catwoman starts holding him, yelling "Feel! Feel something, damn it!". Bruce just pulls her into a hug and says "Selina... I feel everything". Not a big show of emotion, but it certainly illustrates the point.
    • In "Mad Love", Batman apparently bursts out in hysterical laughter at the thought of Harley Quinn actually winning the love of the Joker. In this case, he was deliberately doing it to play on Harley's insecurities. It worked, too.
  • Mr Freeze is usually very grim and without empathy. However, bring up his beloved Nora and he will breakdown, either in rage or sorrow. Depends on the writer, as some write Freeze to be more openly emotional to the point where the trope wouldn't apply.
  • Desire in The Sandman just seems amused most of the time. Even when its plans fail, it just shrugs it off. The exception: getting one-upped by Dream during "Three Septembers and a January", when Joshua Norton rejects its offer out of hand. It's the only time Desire gets angry.
    • When Morpheus himself get confronted by the insane Hector Hall and learns that he calls himself "The Sandman", it's the first and only time on the whole series that he laughs (although his head is hidden behind his helmet at the time).
  • James-Michael is The Stoic in Omega the Unknown due to having been raised by robots, but begins to react more emotionally as time goes on, even shedding a tear when one of his friends is beaten to death by bullies, though in truth he's more enraged than sad.
  • Damage Control Comptroller Albert Cleary normally has Nerves of Steel, but he loses control after he's been turned into an Uncle Tomfoolery caricature in a movie based on the company.
  • Cyclops has done this a few times, notably in the X-Men First Class two parter Catalyst. As everyone wakes up to find their powers are gone, they feel either intrigued, shocked, or depressed; Scott however is dancing with joy, happier than ever before as he can finally open his eyes without killing everything. Then when they regain their powers they're ten times stronger, with Scott now having full control. However, Xavier realizes they have to give up their new level of power because its making them too God like, Scott is the only one who isn't now a physical God, but willingly gives it up, but not after a panel or two of looking like hell.

Fan Works

  • Suyou in Kyon: Big Damn Hero shows satisfaction when Kyon takes one of the reprogrammed Morph Weapons from her. She also wishes him good luck, which he promptly needs.
  • Halo: Finishing The Fight The Chief stays the same calm, composed soldier for the entire story, even when facing legions and Orcs, Dark Elves, Demons and even the Demogorgan. But after he has finally killed the Demogorgan thanks to Cortana's Heroic Sacrifice, this happens:

He grit his teeth again, and redoubled his efforts to keep moving. Cortana had bought this victory with her life. He silently swore to make that sacrifice count for something beyond what it already had. Right arm out, dig in a bit, pull, repeat. He chanted the mantra over and over again in his mind as he slowly dragged himself towards the faint, now blurring, light ahead. He attributed the blurring to more malfunctions and failing systems, never realizing that the cause was the tears filling his eyes.

  • Snape in Arc of Sacrifices, big time. After being his usual snarky-git self for pretty much the entire series, he goes absolutely insane when Regulus Black dies in the seventh book.
  • This occurs in Clouded Sky with Igneous, the protagonist's normally very stoic Magmar. During a Pokémon battle, an enemy Girafarig forces him to accidentally injure one of his allies and, due to his constant fear of unintentionally hurting those close to him, he flies into a rage and starts mercilessly pummeling Girafarig, completely ignoring his trainer's commands.


  • Silent Bob's outburst in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.
    • And before that, when he wept (silently but heart-rendingly) over Bethany's death in Dogma.
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. When the killer turns out to be a protege of Spock's, he smashes the phaser out of her hand in a brief burst of anger after she refuses to shoot him. The feelings of pain and betrayal are written all over Spock's face.
    • There's also the fact that she refuses to do the logical action and kill him.
  • In the 2009 Star Trek movie, Spock proves to be Not So Stoic after this is a big one, you may not want it spoiled [1].
    • ...And even then, he's still pretty composed. It's not until Kirk says he didn't love his now-dead mother that he shows emotion FLIPS HIS SHIT
  • Matt King in The Descendants is usually completely stoic, especially around his kids. It makes the few moments when he breaks and finally gets angry or cries extremely effective.
  • In Bridge to Terabithia (the Film of the Book), Mrs. Meyer is the typical Stern Teacher, very uptight and severe. She breaks into sobs while she explains to Jess and that she understands how he feels because of Leslie's death since she had a very harsh time after her husband's death.
  • In Inglourious Basterds, Nazi colonel Hans Landa has a cordial talk with a French farmer about the Jews he's hunting. The farmer is hiding said Jews beneath his floorboards, but keeps up an admirable poker face throughout, until Landa reveals that he already knows about them, at which point tears start streaming down the poor man's face.
    • Even then his voice never wavers. He just looks utterly haunted as he continues to levelly answer Landa's questions.
    • Another, slightly more disturbing example is Landa himself. Throughout most of the movie, he is Affably Evil, almost never wavering in his soft-spoken cordiality...until he calls out Von Hammersmark on being a spy for the Allies, then strangles her to death.
      • And then becomes a traitor himself, which makes his murder of the actress a little strange.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes vs Jack the Ripper movie, Murder By Decree. In it Holmes (played by Christopher Plummer), who remains characteristically Stoic after watching the first four corpses the Ripper leaves behind, starts to show signs of this when he sees what the Ripper did to Mary Kelly, whom he swore to protect moments before her death and finally breaks down in front of Watson over the realization that even though he has figured it all out, the cold bastards behind it will never be punished and all the people they have wronged will keep suffering.
  • Forms part of the plot of The Invisible: Nick resented his mother's stoicism, especially after his father died, thinking she had no actual feelings. While he's missing and presumed dead, he finds her still keeping the facade and rants furiously (and uselessly) at her. She can't see or hear him. Then she upsets a teacup, and abruptly breaks down sobbing...
  • Harmonica in Once Upon a Time in the West remains calm for the most part, and even when he is annoyed it comes off as mild. But he's crying in the flashback of his brother's death.
  • Zus Belieski in Defiance is a cold hearted bastard. When his younger brother was sobbing helplessly over the recent deaths of their parents, Zus shook him roughly and shouted at him to stop crying. The one heartwrenching moment when his armor cracks comes after he learns that the wife and son he'd left in a then-safe city had been killed by the Germans.
  • The famous scene from Schindler's List when Oskar Schindler breaks down in front of all of the Jews that he saved. As the Tear Jerker page will attest, many tropers found this moment to be more than they could bear.
  • Eomer in the The Lord of the Rings films is a mix between The Stoic and The Berserker, depending on whether he's in battle or not. But in the extended edition of Return of the King when he finds Theoden nearly dead and Eowen mortally wounded, he runs over to them screaming wordlessly in horror and grief. It's so at odds with his normal persona it's actually quite effective.
  • Done in a particular heartwrenching way in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 during Snape's flashback sequence. first he's weeping when asking Dumbledore to protect Lily, then he's bawling as he cradles her dead body.
  • A disturbing example in Sherlock Holmes A Game of Shadows is Moriarty cheerfully enjoying his chilling torture of Holmes.


  • "Curious George Goes to the Hospital": A sad little girl, hospitalized for the first time with an undisclosed illness, is very stoic ... until George snaps her out of her depression with his antics. At first, it is gradual ... but the real breakthrough comes near the end of the story, when George takes another young boy's wheelchair for a wild ride. (The boy, whose leg had been broken in a car accident, was undergoing physical therapy when George decides to take the wheelchair for a ride.)
  • Sherlock Holmes, when Watson is wounded in the story The Three Garridebs—one of the most touching moments in the entire canon.
  • In China Mieville's The Scar, sequel to Perdido Street Station, the main character Bellis hardly ever shows any outward emotion, except for the scene where she suddenly breaks down and starts crying upon the realization that she won't be able to get a message to her home warning them of an invasion, much less be able to return there. The character who discovers her breakdown is completely stunned.
  • The only time Yuki Nagato showed a significant emotion was in the Alternate Universe she created, where she was a normal girl. She gave a definite smile to Kyon, which dazzled him quite a bit.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel The Flight of the Eisenstein, Sendek has a not-so-stoic moment of sheer surprise at The Reveal.
    • One of Dan Abnett's contributions, Know No Fear, had the otherwise controlled Roboute Guilliman react to Lorgar's betrayal with fury, vowing to rip the Word Bearers primarch apart and throw the pieces into hell.
  • In the second book of the Artemis Fowl series, the usually stoic protagonist has a small emotional breakdown after hearing that his father is still alive.
  • In James Swallow's novel Deus Encarmine, Arkio accuses his dispirited companions of being afraid. Producing a moment where they confess, passionately, to their fear: they had seen most of their comrades attacked by witchery and turned into berserkers who had fallen on each other and perished miserably. Sachiel tries to rebuke them—it had been a honor to die for the Emperor - but Arkio agrees—what would they be, to see that and feel nothing?
  • Sense and Sensibility: Elinor Dashwood is calm, sensible, and levelheaded no matter what turmoil is going on in her personal life—until Edward informs her that no, he did not marry Lucy Steele, and would really quite like to marry her, thank you very much. At which point she loses it. Spectacularly. See Hattie Morahan in the 2008 version or Emma Thompson in the 1995 version to see how it's done.
  • Happens to Griboyedov in The Death of the Vazir Mukhtar, as he does sometimes confide some of his many worries and anxieties to particularly close friends.
  • Severus Snape has four during the series: When Sirius whom Snape believes betrayed Lily to Voldemort escapes, when Harry accidentally dives into his memories, "DON'T CALL ME COWARD!", and his reaction to the news of Lily's death. Other than that, he's just another teacher with a sadistic slant.

"Give me a reason to do it, Black. Give me a reason and I swear I will."

    • Basically, the main shtick of Professor McGonagall, who spends most of her time being a stoic Stern Teacher and the rest weeping unashamedly.
  • Zal of Quantum Gravity manages to do this despite being...NotSoStoic. He is completely cool in battle situations, and can keep that together for as long as he needs to...usually. Then he hears that/how Dar died and can't keep it together.
  • In The Westing Game, Judge J.J. Ford consciously decided to stop smiling when she began her law career, the better to maintain a serious, dignified demeanor, conserving her upbeat facial expressions for when they were really needed. It worked, too: she's so good at appearing as The Stoic that when she realizes a mistake she's made and starts chiding herself aloud, everyone present is shocked at this out-of-character display of emotion.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Phoenix on the Sword", Thoth-amon has one, bursting out with the truth to Dion—who isn't listening.

For all his iron-self-control, he was near bursting with long pent-up shame, hate and rage, ready to take any sort of a desperate chance.

  • Jane Eyre wasn't stoic as a child, but by the time she gets to Thornfield she is pretty emotionally reserved until Rochester threatens to send her away to Ireland once he has married Blanche Ingram. In fact, Rochester is trying to elicit this trope from Jane.
  • In World War Z, Todd Wainios tells a story about one of the biggest badasses on his team (an enormous ex-pro-wrestler who once used a zombie to beat other zombies into non-existence) be reduced to an inconsolable sobbing heap by the scent of cheap perfume on the wind.
  • Aaron in The Fire's Stone by Tanya Huff. He's so scarred by his lover's death that he forces himself to feel nothing. It's not until the last third of the novel that he finally breaks down and cries.
  • In Fate/Zero, Kiritsugu displays two personalities: loving father and husband, and remorseless Combat Pragmatist. As he had sunk into the latter, much to his wife Irisviel's dismay, she can't help but wonder about him. While she ponders, Kiritsugu breaks down and offers to give up his dream and run away, world be damned. He thought that if they participated in the Grail War any longer, they would quickly reach the point of no return. Of course, since Fate/Zero is a prequel to the original series, the point of no return is long past.
  • Dally from The Outsiders hardly cares about anyone or anything. But when Johnny dies, he visibly loses it.

Live Action TV

  • Dallas: The Season 7 episode "Swan Song" was supposed to be Patrick Duffy's swan song in the series, for good, when Bobby Ewing is struck by a speeding car (driven by the homicial maniac Katherine Wentworth). At the hospital – in one of the cheesiest-in-retrospect "death scenes" in TV history – the entire cast is in tears ... including Bobby's older brother, that Complete Monster J.R.! (Incidentally, tears are seen rolling down J.R.'s cheek, but otherwise shows very little emotion in the final scene, where everyone is gathered around Bobby's bedside as he mumbles his final words.)
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Despite their villianous ways, Boss Hogg grows geniunely worried every time Lulu or even his avowed enemies from the Duke family are in serious trouble. However, Rosco has outright cried when Boss, the Duke boys or his beloved basset hound Flash were in trouble. (Rosco's emotions are spelled out perfectly in the Season 2 episode "Granny Annie" and the final episode, "Opening Night at the Boar's Nest" – both times, when Boss was in serious trouble and the villians had every intent to kill him.)
  • The classic Star Trek: The Original Series example would be "Amok Time", where S.P.O.C.K showed his relief that Kirk wasn't Killed Off for Real. "Jim!"
    • Spock again in "The Naked Time". At least he was able to duck into a room before he fell to pieces.
    • Vulcans developed their culture of tightly controlled emotions to deal with the fact that they are really very emotional, and without strict discipline, they tend to overreact to everything.
      • They also get really violent and horny during Pon Farr, basically Vulcans in heat. Also, Spock is only half-Vulcan, as his mother was human, of course how the hell a human and an alien could possibly reproduce is beyond me.
        • If you want to imagine what Vulcans would be like if they gave into their emotions, one need look no further than the the highly paranoid and extremely dangerous Romulan Empire which spawned at least one planet-destroying, truly Axe Crazy psychopath, Nero.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation. Data's lack of emotion is a frequent plot point in the series. With a few notable exceptions. One episode where he was almost driven to murder (and then lied about it to his commanding officer) and again when manipulated by his more emotional brother, causing him to kill a Borg drone in rage. Even he seems rather bewildered by this just afterward: "I got angry."
    • One of the subplots of The Movie is Data deciding to reinstall the emotion chip given to him in the above episode, and dealing with the resulting outbursts. At the end, he discovers that his pet cat is still alive and begins to cry, which he assumes must be a malfunction of the chip. Troi assures him with a smile that "it's working just fine."
    • The episode "Sarek" dealt with this with the eponymous character (Spock's father, of course), whose emotional control was breaking down due to a rare illness. Determined to finish his last mission, he melds with Picard, who is normally very emotionally controlled in his own right, allowing Sarek to be himself again long enough to finish the negotiations. But we also see the effects of Sarek's illness in Picard during the meld in what can arguably be described as a Crowning Moment Of Heartbreaking.
      • Look at Sarek in The Search for Spock. He's downright pissed off when he thinks Kirk has Spock's katra and screwed up by leaving Spock's body on Genesis. He's so overtly emotional it seems to surprise Kirk quite a bit.
    • Picard has his moments as well, particularly in "Family", Generations and First Contact. "Chain of Command, Part II" could be a case of Breaking The Stoic.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite," the crew successfully demonstrate that Captain Solok is definitely Not So Stoic.
    • A more frequent example might come from the character Odo, particularly concerning his initially unrequited love for Kira.
  • Captain Jack in Torchwood, especially when you realise the happy go lucky flirt schtick is a defence mechanism and a mask for his true feelings. The major moments are when Ianto and Steven die.
  • Bree van de Kamp from Desperate Housewives shows her emotions very rarely, but when she does that, she usually breaks into painful sobs ( like when her husband Rex dies) or has sudden bursts of anger.
  • Teal'c from Stargate SG-1 had a couple of moments where he showed big emotions (example: 6x01 "Redemption Part 1"), despite normally being The Stoic.

Teal'c: If you are to die, Daniel Jackson, I wish you to know that I believe that the fight against the Goa'uld will have lost one of its greatest warriors. And I will have lost one of my greatest friends.

      • Even better when you realize it also illustrates his Character Development. He gives Daniel one of the highest compliments he can both in his own culture ("one of its greatest warriors") and in his adopted one ("one of my greatest friends").
    • And it continues into the next episode with this exchange:

Carter: We were a team, Teal'c. No one can even begin to understand what we went through together, what we mean to each other. So maybe Daniel has achieved something of great cosmic significance, I don't know. And to be honest with you, right now, I don't really care. I'd rather have him back.
Teal'c: [with obvious emotion] As would I.

    • It is very subtle, but in "Cor-Ai", when Teal'c and Jack are arguing over whether or not he should defend himself while being tried for the many horrible things he did for the Goa'uld, you can see Teal'c's jaw trembling with suppressed anger at himself.
  • Mark Antony warns Vorenus about this in Rome

Antony :You wont turn to drink will you? You stoic types often do when disappointed in life

    • Averted as Vorenus being the stonewall man is the only one who does not turn to debauchery and stays true roman in the Egyptian Palace
  • Dexter very rarely shows emotion, genuine or otherwise. This makes the very rare outburst all the more interesting.
    • Particularly shocking was in the Season 5 premiere, when while grieving Rita's murder, he flies into a rage and savagely beats a man to death in a restroom. Much like the example with Vulcans in Star Trek, this is a small glimpse into what he would be like without the careful control provided by the Harry Code.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Cameron is almost always an emotionless and cold machines, except in a very few select moments where she does show hints of anger or fear. In particular, one scene in the episode "Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today" shows her moving through a police station, frantically (in a disturbingly calm way) looking for John, or her pleading for her life in "Samson & Delilah".
    • And then it gets completely flipped in "Allison From Palmdale," where she is shown crying, acting terrified, and in one scene being very angry, very calmly.
    • Then there's Derek, Deadpan Snarker and seen-it-all cynic. Stone cold, to the point of having more in common with a machine like Cameron than either would be comfortable to admit. ...And then moved to Manly Tears at the sight of her doing ballet by herself.
  • Takeru of Samurai Sentai Shinkenger has such a moment in episode 18, when he's reunited with his old friend, Genta, and has to step out of the room to make sure his "retainers" can't see him when he starts cracking up at Genta's antics.
  • Taken has Jacob, a quiet, bookish kid with incredible psychic powers. He reacts to everything, from being kidnapped to being bullied with calm logic. When he has to live away from his mother, he breaks down crying.
  • Juliet Burke from Lost, originally of the Others, was first seen as having a cold and expressionless demeanor and carried out her orders from Ben. She even aimed a gun at Kate's head when Sawyer didn't do what she asked. Sawyer commented that she would have actually shot Kate "No problem." Then another one of the Others was shot and Juliet rushed to save her life with Jack, which sparked her Not So Stoic persona. Juliet panicked the whole time when she and Jack were removing the bullet and trying to stitch her up. When they failed in saving her, Juliet broke down in tears and explained that being a fertility doctor she still hasn't gotten used to death. Which, based off her flashbacks of her work with the Others, is quite surprising.
    • Actually it has been shown that any time Juliet deals with death or her sister she gets very emotional. The rest of the time she's the token Stoic.
    • This comes to define her in the end of Season 5. Throughout the finale, she acts as though she has a strategy in place regarding the Jughead and the Island, until she breaks down completely and confesses that she's only going along with Jack's plan because she can't bear to lose Sawyer.
  • Farscape: Aeryn Sun, though originally The Stoic on Moya, gradually moves away from this as her relationship with Crichton blossoms. When she and Crichton are fighting for whatever reason, she usually reverts to The Stoic as a defense mechanism.
    • In an episode, this gets flipped, when they are on break from their relationship. Crichton seemingly takes something that Noranti gives him for pain and is very cold and uncaring towards Aeryn, while she is the one who is pleading with him. It turns out to be an act to prevent Scorpius from using Aeryn against him. It fails.
    • Scorpius himself has a few of these moments, most of them revealing that he has a downright vicious temper underneath his cool, calm exterior.
  • After JT is Killed Off for Real on Degrassi the Next Generation, the usually stoic Liberty is in shock at first and Mia even calls her a robot because she had yet to shed any tears. She finally breaks down at the school's memorial service for JT (which just happened to be right after she learned that he still had feelings for her and was on his way to tell her when he was killed).
  • In the BBC's mini-series, Sherlock the title character doesn't show any remorse over the murder of several characters, but when John is strapped to a bomb, he freaks out, although he waits for the Big Bad to leave first. Compare the example from the original book series in the Literature folder.
    • And in series two, Sherlock descends into complete panic and borderline begging when a gun is held to John's head.
  • Castiel in Supernatural starts off completely unemotional, and while he gradually picks some up from Dean and Sam he stays as the calm, stoic, Comically Serious Straight Man. When he catches up with Dean after Dean angel-sigils him and goes to say 'yes' to Michael, it comes as quite a surprise.
  • While not exactly stoic per se, Joel of Mystery Science Theater 3000 always took his captivity with a certain laid back good-naturedness. Manos: The Hands of Fate was one of the very few movies that made him noticeably angry, to the point of him snapping at the screen.


  • Aaron Hotchner of Criminal Minds is usually the embodiment of stoicism, which make the events of the episode "100" all the more heart-wrenching.
  • Prince Arthur from Merlin is quite good at keeping his cool, save on two occasions: once when he learnt the truth about his mother's death (his father was responsible) and again when his father sentences his beloved Guinvere to be burnt at the stake.
  • Temperance "Bones" Brennan is sometimes accused of being an Ice Queen, due to her emotionally distant manner and lack of social skills. When Tempe loses it, you get to see the Broken Bird inside.
    • In one of the early episodes her uncaring attitude was being used against her in a court case. Booth had the attorney bring up her vanished parents in order to show this trope to the jury.

Brennan: How I feel doesn't matter. My job doesn't depend on it.
Levitt: But it's informed by it. Or are you as cold and unfeeling as you seem?
Brennan: [in a raw emotional tone] I see a face on every skull. I can look at their bones and tell you how they walked, where they hurt. Maggie Schilling is real to me. The pain she suffered was real. Her hip was being eaten away by infection from lying on her side. Sure, like Dr. Stires said, the disease could contribute to that if you take it out of context; but you can’t break Maggie Schilling down into little pieces. She was a whole person who fought to free herself. Her wrists were broken from struggling against the handcuffs. The bones in her ankles were ground together because her feet were tied. And her side, her hip and her shoulder were being eaten away by infection. And the more she struggled, the more pain she was in. So they gave her those drugs to keep her quiet. They gave her so much it killed her. These facts can't be ignored or dismissed because you think I'm boring or obnoxious, because I don't matter. What I feel doesn’t matter. Only she matters; only Maggie.

    • It's especially jarring in an episode where she begins to associate herself with a dead woman who was, like her, a loner with no friends outside of work and a Love Interest she spurned. She even keeps hearing the woman's recorded voice as her own and seeing herself in all the pictures of the victim. She realizes that she has screwed up her one chance to be happy with Booth. This episode is all about her stoicism slowly slipping.
  • The X-Files' Scully was always portrayed as the stoic, especially compared to Mulder, who freely showed his feelings and wasn't afraid to cry. Very few times does she break down, until season 8. She is pregnant and alone, Mulder having been abducted by aliens. Add to that the fact that she is reassigned to an agent who thinks Mulder is insane and for the life of him cannot see that Mulder and Scully were so much more than work partners, having to train said partner, having to head a taskforce to find Mulder pretty much on her own, then finding Mulder dead and having to bury him, having him come back to life and be distant from her, it was pretty much a stress-filled, non-stoic season for Scully. And never was there anyone more entitled to break down.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Oz is famed for his utter lack of emotional response to pretty much any intense situation, reacting to both realizing he's a werewolf and finding a submarine on his doorstep with a mere "huh". Push him over the edge, though, and things will get broken. Or beaten up. Or possibly killed. For most seasons, this Berserk Button consisted of Willow—either seeing her threatened, hurt or faced with the prospect of losing her. And after he did lose her, there were tears. Both times. Later on this focus shifts to his wife and son.
  • In The Wire's later seasons, Marlo Stanfield is the ruthless kingpin of the entire Baltimore drug market. He and his team kill people at whim and 'disappear' them, hiding the bodies in disused vacants, so as to avoid police attention. Marlo is completely professional at all times - even when he and his team have been arrested and he faces a lengthy prison term he barely seems to care. However, when he learns that a stick-up artist has been insulting and challenging Marlo on the street, he shows true emotion for the first time in the series. "My name is my name!"
    • He shows emotion for the second, and final time, in his last ever scene. After taking back a corner single-handedly, he expresses genuine happiness.

New Media

  • In Descendant of a Demon Lord, Celes always talks in a monotone and in general doesn't seem to be as emotional as most people. However after 'Pride Jr.' removed part of Ivy's leg, Celes wanted to kill Pride Jr. and tried to pursue her even ignoring her tenuous ally's plea for medical attention. When Celes couldn't find Pride Jr. Celes went back and screamed at said ally till Celes lost her voice.

Professional Wrestling

  • On the WWF Monday Night Raw episode following Owen Hart's death in May 1999, several of the normally ranting, raving, dastardly villians were offering genuine, heartfelt thoughts and condolances to the Hart family ... many of them through very real tears.
  • Hulk Hogan was shown on very rare occasion to get emotional (in kayfabe), the most notable experience being on the February 3, 1989 episode of The Main Event, where Hogan and Randy Savage were facing the Twin Towers (Akeem and Big Bossman) in a tag team match. Midway through the match, Akeem threw Savage onto his beautiful valet, Miss Elizabeth, and Elizabeth crumpled to the floor in an unconscious heap. Hogan immediately ran to Liz's side (as a woozy Savage struggled to regain his bearings) and immediately lost his composure. In tears, he cried, fearing that Elizabeth had been killed ... or worse! Hogan's decision to leave Savage at ringside and instead be at Elizabeth's bedside (prepared for when the medic would give the official word that Elizabeth was ... DUM-DUH-DAAAA!!! ... DEAD!!!) ... set off a series of events later in the match that led to Savage turning on Hogan and a match set up for WrestleMania V, in which Hogan defeated Savage to reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship.


  • Toa of Ice characters from Bionicle tend to be both the quiet ones and stoic, until Character Development kicks in, the most famous example being Kopaka. When not making all sorts of nasty, sarcastic remarks to people that annoy him (as in, people who express emotions freely), he keeps his thoughts to himself, and would like to finish his duties as quickly as possible. But when his friend Pohatu recovered from a Disney Death, he softened up quite a bit. Later, in another story, after having been beaten, weakened and looted, a group of innocent villagers mistook him and his team for a bunch of villains, and attacked them. This angered Kopaka so much that he lashed out with what little power he had left, with the intention of killing the villagers!

Video Games

  • Jon Irenicus in Baldur's Gate II remains stoic for most of the plot, at most displaying a kind of icy annoyance... Until a scene right before the end when he finally cracks.

Jon Irenicus: "Once my lust for power was everything but now I hunger ONLY for revenge! AND I. SHALL. HAVE IT!"

  • The G-Man in Half-Life 2: Episode One. He's been completely in control for everything so far, but the Vortiguants preventing him from taking Gordon causes him to become very angry. Even so, the only emotion he displays is slightly annoyed, "We'll see about that."
  • Knights of the Old Republic 2 has the Handmaiden, who is calm almost to the point of being icy until you approach her about the possibility of training her as a Jedi.
  • Morrigan of Dragon Age is one of the calmest and most collected individuals you will ever meet, except for a few scenes during her romance arc.
    • Sten: calm, stoic, sarcastic...then complete his personal mission, and you get to see him crack a smile.
  • Agent 47 in Hitman: Blood Money. Diana's apparent betrayal causes him to become visibly angry, and even prompts his first, and so far only, outburst of verbal aggression.

Agent 47: "Bitch!"

    • Also in the supplemental material, the young 47, normally just as cold as his adult self, starts crying when a runaway lab rabbit, he adopted as a pet, died and was buried, much to Dr. Ort-Meyer's surprise.
  • Konishi the "Iron Maiden" from The World Ends With You hides in Beat's shadow for a week. When she decides he's even more stupid and unpredictable then she already thought, she flips out.
  • Gears of War 2 has several moments where Marcus Fenix shows some form of emotion other than seething, barely-contained fury. In particular, when Dom has to euthanize Maria, he looks like he's going to break down into tears - for just a moment.
    • Also exhibited when Ben Carmine dies, as it seemed that he was developing a certain amount of respect and attachment to the rookie.
  • Kyosuke Nanbu is generally the mascot for Mr. Grumpy amongst his peers. Even when he's completely mad when his girlfriend Excellen is being threatened to death, all that comes out was a Tranquil Fury. But this man literally broke down to tears when he thought that it was his fault that his other friend (read: OTHER FRIEND, not girlfriend) Lamia is dead (turns out she didn't, quite). Likewise, although he doesn't jump up and down in joy when his rival turn good Axel eventually saved her, he was expressive enough to let out a genuine, grateful smile.
    • Also from Super Robot Wars is Raidese F. Branstein, he usually plays the cool lancer to hot head Ryusei but when he comes across Archibald Grims, the man responsible for the terrorist incident where his adored sister in law was killed, he goes completely berserk and gets shot down (and almost killed)) for his trouble.
  • Roxas from Kingdom Hearts II is shown to have been pretty darn stoic, even for an Organization 13 member. And then you later see him going batshit insane on machinery because he's incredibly pissed off at being manipulated, and even see him crying and yelling at DiZ that he hates him.
    • Also, Saix is very stoic and unemotional for the most part. But then, like a freaking werewolf, he goes apeshit when the moon shines down ("BE GONE!" "MOVE ASIDE!" "ALL SHALL BE LOST TO YOU!")
      • More traditionally with Saix, as he fades away after being defeated, his last words have him reaching out towards Kingdom Hearts muttering "Kingdom Hearts...where is...MY heart?"
  • Persona4 has Naoto Shirogane, a young genius hired by police to assist in finding Inaba's serial killer. He maintains a cool, confident air most of the time, but once confronted with his Shadow, it starts to become extremely difficult for him to remain calm...
  • Jin Kisaragi from BlazBlue is mostly a stoic asshole. However... if he ever comes across with Noel Vermillion (through recent development), his stoicness kinda fades and he becomes a screaming lunatic hell bent to kill Noel. And if he meets Ragna The Bloodedge, the stoicness transforms into something... uh... more questionable.
    • Likewise with Nu-13, a Robot Girl who speaks in a mechanical monotone...except when she's squaring off against Ragna. Then she goes full Yandere.
  • ADA in Zone of the Enders is an emotionless computer, and at one point Leo even calls out her attempts to show emotion as being proof that she doesn't feel anything at all. However, she has a very tender moment with Leo after Celvice gets shot, and, right at the end, her voice cracks as if she is crying while she tells Leo, "This is what we live for - those of us who have no life".
  • JC Denton from Deus Ex isn't completely emotionless, but certainly very stoic. There are a few times his voice breaks, however, such as when he meets his brother Paul after the latter had defected from UNATCO and who was dying. Unfortunately, his most emotional outburst is a very narmy cry of "A BOMB!" when Jock discovers a bomb on his helicopter.
  • In Tales of Symphonia, Kratos Aurion rarely shows anything beyond mild annoyance in the time you spend traveling with him. This makes it rather startling when Kvar starts badmouthing Anna, Lloyd's mother and Kratos' dead wife, and it's Kratos who angrily snaps at him not to speak ill of the dead.
  • Vergil from Devil May Cry is pretty cold for most of the third game...except when his attempt to fully open Temen-Ni-Gru doesn't work (Arkham deliberately left out a few steps). Then he gets pissy: "Why isn't this working?!?"
  • In Mass Effect, there's Wrex, who is cynical and almost devoid of emotion the entire game, until he nearly suffers his Heroic BSOD when he learns that the villain, Saren, is making a cure for a sterility plague infecting his people and it has to be destroyed.
    • And in Mass Effect 2, should Wrex survive Virmire he greets Commander Shepard with a hearty greeting, some suspicious-sounding throat-clearing noises, and a heartfelt "Shepard! My friend!" before going back to his normal Deadpan Snarker self.
    • The Geth teammate Legion also has shades of this. Occasionally, his "I'm an emotionless robot" facade cracks, such as when confronted with betrayal or unpleasant revelations, when asked pointed questions about his illogical behavior, or when playing Galaxy of Fantasy.
    • When you have a drink with Liara at the end of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, she asks you how you're really doing. One of the options is to admit that you're just as worried and afraid as everyone else.
    • Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 3 is the definition of a Hurting Hero. For the first two games s/he kept his/her emotions subdued but they are really shown here with dreams showing extreme Survivor Guilt and even becoming a borderline Death Seeker.
      • In the ending of the Tuchanka arc, when Mordin is confronted about trying to cure the Genophage despite having formerly upgraded it, he will loudly exclaim:

"I made a MISTAKE"

  • Cyrus, no matter how emotionless he claims to be, gets pretty pissed off in the Distortion World in Pokémon Platinum. And earlier, when he first told you that he'd rid himself of emotions, he does so during a fairly intense rant, complete with many exclaimation points.
  • Professor Layton is usually the very definition of Stiff Upper Lip, but in Unwound Future when he discovers that the woman he loved was not killed but rather thrust forward into the future, and has to return and die to preserve their timeline, he breaks into tears and begs her to stay - even going so far as to remove his hat!
    • And earlier in the same game, we saw him get angry for the first time ever.
  • Final Fantasy VII had Barret, who comes across as a grumpy, cantankerous bully, but is reduced to sobbing and punching the rubble after Biggs, Jessie and Wedge are killed in the Plate Collapse.
    • Judging from his character, he wouldn't be a stoic in the first place. Cloud probably fit more, if not the most of the casts, with his mind world plus behavioral and mental problems he has being near Sephiroth.
  • Richard of Tales of Graces is usually quite a calm, stoic man, even when he was younger. In the main part of the story though, he has the tendency to go batshit insane over rather minor things. While his sudden violent outbursts could be viewed as rather Narm at times, Asbel is usually left gaping in disbelief at him.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Raiden appears to become very much The Stoic... until his tearjerking breakdown in the latter part of the game, when Raiden declares he has NOTHING left to live for except for following Snake and his vision for freedom for themselves. Snake, knowing he'll die soon tries to discourage Raiden from following him, but the badly injured Raiden drags himself along the floor and desperately clutches Snake's leg, begging him not to leave him alone after having lost his parents, his innocence due to his child soldier days, his love and his child.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, Squall Leonhart starts out as The Stoic, but his stoicism breaks down spectactularly as his coping mechanisms prove increasingly inadequate, starting with the short meltdown he has over the way people talk about Seifer after his supposed death.
    • When Rinoa ends up in a coma, he breaks down completely.
  • Agent Superball in the Sam and Max Telltale Games is an unflappable Secret Service agent who spends the whole series speaking in a flat monotone (except for one impromptu musical number). However, at the end of the series, the death of Max is too much for him.

Superball: (still deadpan) I'd just like to offer my- I can't do this now. I just can't. *runs off sobbing*

  • The Arishok in Dragon Age II. In most of his appearances he is The Stoic, but it's pretty obvious that being stuck in Kirkwall is getting on his nerves. In the aftermath of "Blackpowder Courtesy" when confronted by Hawke about why he doesn't just leave the city, he reveals, with barely contained fury, that it's because someone stole a Qunari relic and was last seen in Kirkwall. He calms down after this rant, but as Varric notes, he's like an ox waiting to charge. And at the end of Act II, he does.

Arishok: Let them rot. Filth stole from us. Not now, not the saar qamek. Years ago. A simple act of greed has bound me. We are all denied Par Vollen until I alone recover what was lost under my command! That is why this elf and her shadows are unimportant. That is why I don't simply walk away from this pustule of a city! Fixing your mess is not the demand of the Qun! AND YOU SHOULD ALL BE GRATEFUL!

  • In Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, Fenrich usually serves as the calculating, Tall, Dark and Snarky Chessmaster who's usually one step ahead of his enemies and even his own allies. However, slighting his master Valvatorez proves to be an effective Berserk Button, and when Judge Nemo reveals that he's taken steps to blow up the moon, both a source of power for werewolves and a symbol for the oath Fenrich swore to Valvatorez, Fenrich loses any semblance of composure and spends the entire chapter in a frothing rage.

Web Comics

  • Chapter 6 of Gunnerkrigg Court, where, seemingly out of nowhere, Emotionless Girl Antimony starts bawling her eyes out over her mother's death. This marked a turning point for Antimony—since then, she's opened up to her close friends, while maintaining a stoic façade to the rest of the world.
    • She also loses her cool near the end of chapter 19, when "Kat" is disintegrated by Gamma.
    • The stoicism seems to be slipping away entirely in recent arcs, she's become almost normal.
      • A weakness isn't normal, child. That Place poisons you.
    • Anthony, if we'll believe Annie's flashbacky dream.
    • At the start of Chapter 37, we get Antimony's emotionless monologue as everyone worries over her - and, then, after ushering everyone out of the room, Kat's dad offers her a glass of water...
  • Ozy from Ozy and Millie nearly breaks down upon hearing about his birth mom.
  • Naal'suul of Drowtales is The Woobie extraordinaire and surprises people by even being alive after being tainted so badly (and acknowledges that she doesn't have much time left), but has a stoic demeanor until this scene where she finally breaks down in a particularly heartrending moment.
  • Higgs from Girl Genius, when Zeetha is wounded.
  • Dave Strider from Homestuck. He does not take his friends and family dying well.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • On his earliest cartoons, the typically unemotional Droopy would suddenly explode in an exuberant display of emotion at the end, only to revert to his usual composure and calmly state "I'm happy."
  • Mai, the Emotionless Girl of Avatar: The Last Airbender when she saves Zuko in "The Boiling Rock"
    • Actually, she remains looking emotionless throughout the entire sequence. A better example would be in "The Beach" where she actually shouts.
  • Raven of Teen Titans strives for utter calm and control over her emotions—making it that much more frightening when she lets her temper show. The episode "Nevermore" begins with Raven torturing a villain, and the fourth season's Trigon arc features her angrily attacking and yelling at both Slade and Trigon.
    • Justified, though, because it was mentioned once in a Freaky Friday Flip episode that her powers are controlled by her emotions. Cue Starfire exploding things without noticing when she had Raven's body, or Raven accidentally kidnapping all other Titans and creating an army of monsters when she was scared by a horror movie.
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Mandy is normally emotionless, but in the episode featuring Pandora's Box, upon realizing that she had unleashed it, she is overwhelmed with fear/shock. Also, the episode when her nerve is stolen from her.
    • And the episode "Heartburn," when she finds out she may actually like Irwin. Also: "Billy And Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure." The Boogey man has Mandy (asleep) observing her greatest fears, and later she brushes tears from her eyes when she thinks the Kraken has eaten Billy.
  • Very few things can make Prowl of Transformers Animated lose his composure. Unfortunately for Prowl, one of those things is his annoying teammate Bumblebee, who can provoke uncharacteristic displays of frustration in Prowl without even trying.
  • In the Batman Beyond film Return of the Joker, what the Clown Prince does to Tim Drake and the resulting retaliation taint the entire Bat Family's demeanors forever.
  • Zachary is a very quiet, steady, and stoic fellow, especially in contrast with the more colorful crew he's commanding. It makes it all the more powerful when it slips.
  • In Total Drama Island Noah was an emotionless, sarcastic Deadpan Snarker, however, in World Tour he gets some Character Development and focus that reveals that he's quite enthusiastic and friendly when he wants to be.
  • A comedic example during the Family Guy DVD special, "Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story." Tricia Takanawa, Token Minority news reporter for Channel 5 goes to interview David Bowie on the red carpet. It takes one sentence from Bowie to turn Tricia from deadpan reporter, to shrieking, leg humping fangirl.

Tricia: Oh, make love to me Zigggy Stardust! I take you home, I make you fishball soup! Fishball!
Tom: (Beat) Thank you, Tricia, for successfully setting your people back 1000 years.

  • As mentioned in the quote, this applies to Wind-Whistler from My Little Pony. The line in question comes from Crunch the Rock Dog.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Ferb is one of the most stoic cartoon guys you ever hope to meet. The look on his face is 99% of the time, entirely blank, and he speaks, on average, once an episode. He does, occasionally, get moments of emotion, but his first true Not So Stoic moment happened in his first movie: When he and his brother meet their other-dimension counterparts, the alternate Phineas sees Perry and immediately hugs him, thinking he's their Perry, finally come home. When Phineas tells him that it's the wrong Perry, he then asks "Wait...can I hold him a little longer?". Cut to Ferb, along with his other dimension counterpart, shedding a single, small tear.

Real Life

  • Newscasters are supposed to be stoic, and Dan Rather has been exceptional in this regard, reporting on everything from the assassination of John F. Kennedy (as CBS's Dallas correspondent) up to the events of 9/11—at least in his own newscast. However, he was very humanly emotional when he was David Letterman's first guest when Letterman's show returned after 9/11.
  • The Trope Codifier for Oh, the Humanity! is an earlier case of this. After calmly narrating the Hindenburg's approach to the mooring tower, newsreel announcer Herbert Morrison was horrified and at a loss for words when it caught fire.
  • Walter Cronkite briefly lost his composure on the air when he reported the official statement that John F Kennedy had died. ( Video here, the composure slip starts at just about 5:00)
  • Hideo Kojima's reaction to the question of whether Uwe Boll be making a Metal Gear movie was supposedly... spirited, to say the least.
  1. Vulcan is destroyed