Stoic Woobie

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
His life sucks, but he'll never complain.

"They'll realize that beneath your unfeeling exterior is a heart that's breaking. Silently, and in more pain than any of us can possibly understand, because that's what it is to be Vulcan!"

Star Trek: Voyager, "Muse"

This character needs a hug. Badly. Don't expect them to admit it, though. A subtrope of The Stoic, unlike other Woobie characters, they won't cry, angst, or outwardly show how much they're suffering at all. (Internally is another story). They don't want your pity, and in a great number of cases, will deny having emotions at all. Don't be fooled. The plot has heaped complication after complication on them, and silently, internally, they're suffering. They may inadvertently show their suffering for a moment, in which case they are Not So Stoic, or they may just have Bad Dreams. Sometimes, however if they are lucky they will find a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to comfort them and live happily ever after as a reward for their stoicism.

See also Jerkass Woobie and Iron Woobie. This character is often a Tin Man, Kuudere, Broken Bird, Emotionless Girl, Shell-Shocked Veteran, or Defrosting Ice Queen.

Polar opposite of Wangst, where a character overemotes at the most minor suffering. Compare Did You Think I Can't Feel? Also compare Mangst.

Examples of Stoic Woobie include:

Anime and Manga

  • Pictured above: Killy from Blame!, especially near the end when it is clear his mission is finally taking a toll on his nigh indestructible body.
  • Hei and Yin from Darker than Black are rather woobieish once their backstories come out. Hei was dragged into a war as a child while trying to protect his little sister, who he had to watch turn into a sociopathic killing machine. He was then (apparently) betrayed by the only other person he trusted, leaving him the sole survivor of his team, lost and alone with his sister's powers, no idea what happened to her, and the Syndicate basically holding a gun to his head to make sure he stays working as their assassin. Yin is an Emotionless Girl due to Mind Rape, is blind, and lost both her parents in tragic circumstances. Her father died in a plane crash, and shortly afterward, she realized her mother and piano tutor were in love and tried to run away; her mother had to sacrifice herself to save her from an oncoming truck after Little Yin ran into the road, and Yin holds herself responsible for this. No wonder Hei's a shell-shocked Stoic.
  • The Hero of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Setsuna F. Seiei, had been tricked by the bloody monster Ali Al-Saachez into murdering his own parents in the name of God. Throughout the entire series he openly shows the sadness and anger deep in him; he never laughs and almost never smiles - and the only thing that could probably heal him is Marina Ismail's song, Tomorrow.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Rei Ayanami, Extreme Doormat, Emotionless Girl, Woobie extraordinaire, and in some adaptations, woobie re-maker of world... I think?
  • Yuki Nagato from Suzumiya Haruhi (who, notably, is partly an Homage to the above mentioned Rei). Also woobie re-maker of world, although the remade world was considerably nicer, and she even left a reset button for the main character.
    • For those unfamiliar, Yuki is the only member of the cast who remembers every iteration of the Groundhog Day Loop where Haruhi put them through the last two weeks of summer vacation over and over again. We "only" had to watch it eight times; she experienced it for subjective centuries. Since she's an Emotionless Girl, though, there's absolutely no angst shown.
  • Serial Experiments Lain: The eponymous Lain, who may look like an Emotionless Girl but... well, isn't.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Scar, and nearly everyone in Colonel Mustang's group, particularly Riza Hawkeye and Roy himself.
    • Lust, from the first series.
  • Two examples stand out in Naruto:
    • When Itachi Uchiha was four he watched people die in a world war. As Tobi said: "For a child, war is hell." He grew up under the pressure of being the Uchiha Clan prodigy while trying to maintain peace. At the prospect of his clan causing a rebellion, he received orders to murder them to maintain peace. After that, he developed a terminal illness, and chose to make his own little brother hate him...and yet he still died with a smile on his face. Heck, death was probably the best thing that ever happened to that guy. And later, his little brother takes his eyes and he is resurrected as a zombie. Yes, even after he's dead, the Ninja world won't give him a break!
    • Kakashi Hatake. At about age 6, father commits suicide. He only recovers normal human emotions through second traumatic loss for which he blames himself. He also happens to be the sole survivor of his original team. One of the Genin he trained defected from the village and joined a terrorist organisation. To twist the knife further, said student was very similar to Kakashi and declared that he intended to kill everyone in their village, including his remaining students and Kakashi himself. Kakashi is continually late because of visiting the grave/memorial stone of his dead teammate, for whom he feels responsible. His only moments of on-screen angsting are at the Third Hokage's funeral and a scene in which he visits the memorial after the failure to retrieve Sasuke and asks the dead Obito how much he has changed. His face when he gets to the site of Naruto and Sasuke's fight at the Valley of the End, too late again, is pretty much a study in pain and self-hatred.
  • Sousuke Sagura from Full Metal Panic!. Especially after his childhood and backstory is shown in Kyokuhoku Kara no Koe. The poor kid suffered together with his beautiful single mother in the middle of ice cold mountains in a crashed airplane (where all other passengers died), saw his mother freaking die for him before his own eyes, temporarily went mute from shock while he was taken in by the Russian army, got sent away to the KGB to be raised as a child soldier and assassin, got taken in as a child soldier for the resistance in the middle of Afghanistan, the resistance ended up losing the war anyways, and he loses a bunch of his comrades and his kindly father figure... and that's just up until he was eleven years old. Of course, he's never shown to have ever complained or wangsted about any of it, and seems to take all of it in stride. There are very, very brief moments where his eyes are described to show loneliness, as well as moments where he's shown to have Bad Dreams about his mother dying. All of this contributes to him being regarded as a Badass and a Woobie.
  • Any sympathetic character, particularly Ichise in Texhnolyze. These characters show less emotion on average than a two-by-four, but damn are they ever hurting.
  • Rin Sohma from Fruits Basket, holy crap. The girl has been through LOTS of shit in her life, but once she meets the sweet and gentle Tohru, she despises herself for even wanting to cry on her shoulder.
  • Heero Yuy and Trowa Barton of Gundam Wing
  • Kuroo Hazama, aka Dr. Black Jack.
  • Fate Testarossa. You won't find a better example of this trope.
    • Except maybe Signum and, to a lesser degree, other Wolkenritter from season two. Fate has been through roughly a year of abuse by her maddened mother. The Wolkenritter are implied to have been through centuries of abuse by various masters who treated them like crap and whose orders they could not disobey.
  • Frederica Bernkastel of the When They Cry series goes through the ordeal of being murdered by her closest friends over and over. Once she's escaped that fate, an old enemy comes to torment her again, dragging her into a similar situation. She's obviously completely broken, but manages to hide it behind an Emotionless Girl facade. Subverted. She's a twisted psychopath, and the "old enemy" is in fact her just-as-nuts girlfriend; they've been setting up the fake rivalry to mess with everyone's heads.
  • C.C. from Code Geass combines this trope with Jerkass Woobie.
  • Keith Anyan from Toward the Terra hits this trope hard when he's at his most vulnerable. And then he tries to commit genocide.
  • Shinji Hirako of Bleach also fits the trope. He's been through two breakdowns, one in the past and one in the present, has seen his friends turned into monsters and has at one point or another been forced to fight them, had a soul-eating abomination implated into him by the Big Bad, and has seen the person he's closest to on the brink of death twice, with the second time leaving her chopped in half at the waist - yet every time we see him after those breakdowns, he's either smiling or emotionless.
  • Ciel from Black Butler... poor, poor Ciel.
  • Unsui Kongo from Eyeshield 21. Where to begin...
    • From the day he was born he's been compared to and completely overshadowed by his brother, who's better than him in every possible way without even trying.
    • He puts himself through Training from Hell, but no matter how hard he works he'll only be a "good" player who'll never be half as brilliant as his lazy brother.
    • Said brother, Agon, is a total jerk to him (and to everyone else) but gets away with it because he's just THAT special.
    • Yet despite having every reason to angst and despise Agon, he instead focuses all his energy into helping his brother live up to his full potential. On top of that, whenever someone starts to feel sorry for him, he tells them not to bother themselves with someone like him.
  • Pandora of Saint Seiya. Sweet merciful Athena, the girl's life has sucked ever since as a kid she released Hypnos and Thanatos and then she became Hades's adoptive sister, but she never ever complains.
  • Kaname Kuran from Vampire Knight. He's had just as much shit happen to him, if not more, than fellow Woobie Zero, it's just that he doesn't Wangst about it.
  • Kurama from Elfen Lied is a particularly excruciating case of this with moments of very justified Mangst.
  • Wolfwood from Trigun. Actually think about his life, and then think about his failure to ever complain about it. Ever. He has a really grim worldview and gets mad at Vash for optimism, but he doesn't seem to feel that he, personally, has a raw deal.
    • Excellent angst bait that he never even mentions in the privacy of his skull: the Super Soldier Formula treatments he was subjected to give him a Healing Factor and also make him age at a similarly accelerated rate. Of course, he probably knows he'd never make it to forty even if his body was capable of it, so what does it matter?
  • Ikuto Tsukiyomi from Shugo Chara. . . where do we begin, oh yeah! His dad walked out on his family because he didn't want to be the leader of the family company. His mom gets sick and he and his sister have to move in with old family friends. Said sister has a major stalkerish crush on him (Not so much woobie as comic relief but still) leaves his sister to go with the family friend to find their dad. Then he gets kidnapped by the family company, his mom gets remarried to the Evil Stepfather, said strepfather forces him into a contract, he has to crush the dreams of children, etc. When all he wants is to be free! Then, later in the series, he gets totally brainwashed and is thrown in the company jail cell thing . . . and he always stops what he's doing to protect the people he loves . . . DAWWW! Don't you just wanna give him a hug?
  • Yoite and Miharu from Nabari no Ou fit this trope. Both are stoic and aloof, yet do their best to hide their pain from everyone around them.
  • Inuyasha provides an unexpected example with Sesshoumaru. His entire journey through the manga takes him from being Inuyasha's enemy to a reconciled brother via a series of increasingly dark tests of character designed to bring him first to emotional breaking point and then to within an inch of his life. He feels like the outcast son, he gets his arm chopped off, he inherits the sword he hates instead of the one he covets, his potential love interest gets killed off, and the technique he obtains in her name can only be mastered through the death of his ward. The final straw is when he learns his sword is just a cast-off piece of the sword he coveted and that this technique was meant for Inuyasha all along instead of him, a revelation so shocking that even Inuyasha's friends can't believe how cruel Sesshoumaru's father has been. Now powerless, he's attacked by the Shikon no Tama itself, rescued by his brother, before at last being fatally wounded. What happens next leaves the entire cast speechless.
  • Madoka Magica has Homura Akemi, who also crosses the line as an Iron Woobie who has been through a lot.
    • Mami is another somewhat lesser example, as she isn't as stoic as the former.
  • Integra Hellsing.
    • Alucard for that matter when you take a look at his childhood.
  • Tekkaman Blade D-boy. Other than for convenience, there IS a reason why he pretend to be amnesiac.
  • Both Ritsuka and Soubi from Loveless could qualify when you look at their backgrounds, though Soubi is arguably more of a Stepford Smiler than legitimately stoic.
  • Chirico Cuvie in Armored Trooper VOTOMS.
  • The eponymous character in Black★Rock Shooter. She seems to be crushed with the weight of the world, and depending on the incarnation, might not even be able to speak. When |Black Rock Shooter Stella BRS breaks her stoicism and say what is in her heart, it's tears-inducing.
  • Major Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell.

Comic Books

  • Cyclops, leader of the X-Men. Even though some think he acts like a Knight Templar dick, you have to pity this guy. Starters he lost his family in a plane crash where he and his brother were the only known survivors; said brother would then be adopted and taken away from him, leaving him alone in a Crapsack of an orphanage where he was bullied by other children and tortured/experimented on by Mister Sinister. He can’t control his powers. His first two wives turned crazy and evil with one of them resurrecting and dying over and over. Not to mention he's been Mind Raped a number of times. Yet he never complains, ever.
  • Batman just embodies this trope. First his parents are killed before his eyes, and then his sidekick and ward, Jason Todd, is brutally murdered by none other than the Joker. But Batman never complains- If he did, he wouldn't be Batman.
  • Massively subverted with Superman. A lot of people think he's a poor beleaguered orphan who must be haunted by his destroyed planet and species, is probably horribly lonely and has no social life, is driven to save the world by serious guilt issues, and hides his broken heart behind his colorful costume. Actually, he's a jolly, happy-go-lucky guy who not only can't remember jack about his birth planet, but has actually never experienced any truly horrible personal tragedies, helps people for no reason whatsoever (other than the fact that it feels good) and is surrounded at all times by an awesome wife, a supportive family, loads of friends both hero and civilian, an adoring home city, and a highly enjoyable job that has won him Pulitzer prizes. So much for that whole dreamy tragic hero fantasy.
    • "Never experienced any truly horrible personal tragedies" would be false as most media adaptation will go with him losing his father. Though it happens when he is an adult. Still sad though.

Fan Works

Films -- Animation

  • Chuckles the Clown from Toy Story 3, a perpetually frowning clown doll who used to be friends with Lotso the bear and Big Baby, before they were accidentally abandoned by their owner. Chuckles was fortunate enough to be taken in by a new kid, but feels sorry for the embittered shell his former friend Lotso has become.
    • At the end, when he sees a picture Bonnie (the girl he belongs to) drew of him, he smiles for the first time, realizing that he is indeed loved.

Films -- Live Action

  • As of Star Trek, both versions of Spock.
  • The Sound of Music: Captain Von Trapp.
  • After Wash's death in Serenity, Zoe becomes this (even in-universe, look at Kaylee's face when Zoe says Wash isn't coming). Until the Reavers arrive, and then she goes into creepy Tranquil Fury mode and engages them in hand-to-hand combat, almost getting herself killed in the process, which horrifies even Jayne with the sheer death wish of the move.
  • Aicha in Fighter. Despite everything, she tries to keep her traditional place in the family.
  • Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars.


  • Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings. Family? Dead. The culture of his birthright? Declining steeply. Hope of success? Virtually zero. Chances of marrying his true love? As low as previous, because his success would itself be bride-price. Complaints? None.
    • The hobbits are also written this way, always keeping a cheerful face for everyone despite the fact that they are all in way over their heads.
  • Tycho Celchu. For all that's happened to him, he's incredibly stoic and reserved, not to mention insanely patient.
  • Araris Valerian in the Codex Alera. For someone made of solid Badass and Implausible Fencing Powers, he takes a ton of abuse, and he has very sympathetic motivations. Yet he's so Stoic even Isana, one of the most powerful empaths in the setting, usually can't tell what he's feeling.
  • Jane Austen loves this trope:
    • Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility.
    • Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, probably the most extreme of the 3.
    • Anne Elliot of Persuasion, commonly considered her best example, meaning Austen theoretically got better at writing this character over time.
  • David, from Edmond Hamilton's "He That Hath Wings." Until the end, anyway. Ruth so wasn't worth it...
  • Itkovian from The Malazan Book of the Fallen definitely qualifies as one.
  • Roiben from Modern Faerie Tales, many many times over.
  • Catelyn Stark of A Song of Ice and Fire. Readers see her inner turmoil, but her own son wonders if she even remembers her losses. Won't show her pain to Jaime Lannister or Jon Snow. Arguably puts on a mask as a response to expectations of stoicism from her environment, so she actually can admit when she needs a hug.
  • Bran in The Sevenwaters Trilogy
    • Also Faolan in The Bridei Chronicles. Juliet Marillier is a big fan of this trope—she has a number of other characters who could fit here as well.
  • Elphaba in Wicked. Due to her skin's acidic reaction to water, she can't even allow herself to cry, because it would burn her.
  • Precious in Push. Even though she has two children by her father, one of which has Down's Syndrome, and she is repeatedly raped by her mother as well, she rarely shows much emotion. In fact there is only one scene in the book when she truly breaks down and can't take it anymore.
  • Snape in Harry Potter. Think about it. He was in love with Lily Potter, had to see her eyes on the face of the man she chose over him, and died thinking well in advance that the only thing he'd been living for was going to be ultimately worthless.
    • Also Luna Lovegood, who always manages to stay cheerful and happy in spite of being the main target of bullying along with Neville.
  • Huckleberry Finn in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The kid acts pretty chill about the fact that his mother is dead, his father is an abusive drunkard, and he constantly sleeps out on the streets, even when there are deranged criminals on the loose. That's because he's never known anything else.

Live Action TV

  • Nathan in Misfits.
  • Simon Tam in Firefly. His sister, on the other hand, is too Ax Crazy to be Stoic.
  • Aeryn Sun in Farscape.
    • "I stand corrected."
  • Olivia Dunham in Fringe. She's a tough FBI agent; she's not allowed to cry. That, and she cares about other people's feelings too much to dump her own on them.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: Malcolm Reed, who has been repeatedly shot, concussed, nearly frozen/suffocated to death, made to believe his entire ship had been blown up, pinned to the hull of said ship by a Romulan mine via a metal spike through the leg, almost hanged, crushed under rocks... and that's just in the first couple of seasons. And he never once complains about it, taking the attitude that as The Security Officer, it's his job to die to save the ship and her crew. Oh, Malcolm...
    • Spock had his moments in TOS as well.
      • So, believe it or not, did Kirk.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard has a moment at the end of the now famous two-parte episode "The Best of Both Worlds" that reveals him as this. He had just been rescued from the Borg who had forcibly abducted him, implanted him with cybernetic parts and made him part of their collective consciousness in order to conquer earth. They used his knowledge and experience to kill thousands of people before he was finally rescued. At the end of the episode, Picard has almost completely physically recovered and is chatting away with his officers as if he were completely fine before they leave his office. He then undergoes an incredibly subtle Heroic BSOD.
  • After season five and the Reaper arc? Half the fanbase and nearly all the main characters of Criminal Minds want to tuck Aaron Hotchner (and his son) up in blankets somewhere and shoot anyone who tries to drag them back out.
    • To elaborate: Despite having been abused as a child, almost blown up (suffering hearing damage as well as having to treat a friend as she lay dying in the immediate aftermath), being psychologically tortured and later stabbed nine times by the Reaper, he rarely ever does more than wince and/or collapse, and almost never raises his voice. The only time he ever loses it is when the Reaper kidnaps his ex-wife and forces him to listen to her murder, before threatening to kill his son.
    • Reid, anyone? Crazy mom, disappeared dad, shot, blown up, captured, tortured, bullied, and addicted to dilaudid. NEVER COMPLAINS.
  • Castiel on Supernatural. He rebelled, was hunted by his brothers, saw his friends die, discovered God had abandoned the world, is caught in the middle of a Heavenly civil war, has had no discernible success in convincing his fellow angels to respect humanity, has to deal with those whiny Winchesters who expect him to be at their beck and call and do anything they ask with never a word of thanks and the closest thing he has to a friend is a hedonistic asshole of an angel who ran away during the apocalypse and left him to deal with it all on his own, then had the gall to say he was following Castiel's example. To cap it all off, he's been blown up twice. Fans would give anything to see him get that damn hug, but at this point most of them would settle for someone, anyone, showing him some genuine gratitude.
    • And Sam denies him a hug in 'Like a Virgin', not so subtly sitting down as soon as Castiel opened his arms.
    • Comes to a heartbreaking head in The Man Who Would Be King Castiel finally gets his gratitude from Bobby, Sam and especially Dean. To bad it's 1. Not (knowingly) to his face and 2. to little to late. Castiel made a deal with Crowley and choose to keep fighting alone rather then go to the Winchesters for help in order to protect them and it seemed like the best plan at the time. When this gets found out the boys are quick to judge and quicker to claim had Cas come to them for help they could have fixed it. It's clear from the conversations that follow and from Castiel's surprise at being told he's like family to them, Castiel had no idea he meant that much to them. And with the way they treated him during the season he had no reason to think it.
  • In the JAG episode Each Of Us Angels the actor normally playing Bud's brother plays a Medic who has his eye shot out and instead of accepting his fate, insists on helping the nurses aboard a hospital ship while constantly Deadpan Snarking about his eye.
  • Scully does this a lot in The X-Files, often saying "I'm fine" even when she's not. In the episode "Irresistible", after being kidnapped and almost killed by a death fetishist, Mulder non-verbally calls her on it, which leads a cute comforting moment between the two.
    • Also notable for being one of the very rare times Scully actually cries.
  • Cameron of The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes it quite abundantly clear that she doesn't feel emotions. This makes all the bad stuff she goes through over the course of the series even more apparent - it's quite clear that she's confused and concerned (we would say afraid, but as noted, she can't feel fear) about her conflicting programming, her inability to empathize with humans she is quite clearly concerned for, and the danger she represents to the very people she's trying to protect - especially when they hold her in scorn, suspicion, or distrust. And that's a good thing for her, too, since if she was human and could feel emotions, Cameron would probably be a gibbering, half-insane wreck due to all these issues.
    • Cameron's issues can best be summed up by a single line she speaks to John when he asks her if she can't be "more happy." She tells him that she literally cannot be happy.
  • Doctor Cox from Scrubs.
  • Chuck Bass on Gossip Girl.
  • Doctor Who:: The Fifth Doctor after the death of Adric.
    • The Eleventh Doctor, like his predecessor the Tenth, has just enough quick flashes of sadness that his Cloudcuckoolander personality comes across as more of a defense mechanism than anything else. The real turning point for this is probably when Fridge Horror kicks in after "Amy's Choice" and you realize what he meant by his offhand comment about how "There's only one person who hates me as much as you do.". His immediate predecessor, while equally woobieish, was a lot more obvious about it and got downright self-indulgent a few times.
      • Lampshaded in a recent episode when he calls for a voice interface avatar in the Tardis to talk to and is faced with an image of himself and he shouts "No! Show me somebody I LIKE!"
      • Of course by the end of his tenth life, the Doctor had condemned his entire race to death not just once, but twice with the survival of all reality on the line.
      • Arguably River Song, who tends to hide her feelings behind flirting and badassery, and whenever she's asked something she doesn't like, claims "Spoilers!"
    • The Ninth Doctor is almost entirely this. He's full of PTSD and survivor's guilt about the recent war, yet he hides it all behind a stoic, Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality.
  • Jack Harkness of Torchwood. Being alive for over 2000 years, watching friends and lovers die is definitely not a healthy thing to live through. Not to mention being buried alive by his own brother and being murdered over in a butcher shop because the public think his blood has magic properties. It doesn't.
  • Nick Cutter from Primeval. Where to begin? Having his wife disappear for eight years, return as a Manipulative Bastard Nietzsche Wannabe hellbent on wiping all humanity from exitence and who turns his best friend against him. And just when he's found someone else to love, she's erased from existence. And then just as he's beginning to get along with her alternate self he gets shot - by his wife!
  • Parker of Leverage, despite the Woobieness being almost entirely in her Backstory. Although she hides it well by being extremely good at her job and eternally chipper, there are some serious wounds in her past. She does, however, break down in "The Future Job" when a psychic correctly deduces that her brother was hit by a car when they were young.
    • It's implied that Eliot is this, too, but he's too damn stoic for even the audience to be sure.
  • Degrassi the Next Generation: Liberty, particularly right after JT's death.
  • Dr. K from Power Rangers RPM. She hardly shows any emotion at all and rarely, if ever, mentions her life growing up in the government think tank named Alphabet Soup. Although she does begin showing emotion, she typically remains deadpan, even when she confesses to her Series Operators that she created and accidentally released the Venjix computer virus responsible for destroying nearly all of humanity.
  • Horatio Hornblower. Not particularly demonstrative of outward emotion (with a few exceptions, notably at the end of "The Wrong War/The Frogs and the Lobsters") but beneath the surface he's plagued by self-doubt and constantly berating himself for what he sees as his failures, despite his considerable skill and the admiration of his men.
  • Both Anton Mercer and Tommy Oliver of Power Rangers Dino Thunder.

Video Games

  • Solid Snake in the Metal Gear Solid games. Also, arguably the majority of the cast, who wait until their "I'm dying" speech before they angst, and invariably reveal an insane amount of misery in their backstories before passing away.
    • In 3, The Boss. She lost her son on the beaches of Normandy when the Philosophers kidnapped him. She was subjected to high levels of radiation from atomic tests, was sent into space in a highly dangerous test launch of a prototype spacecraft but treated badly because she wasn't the 'official' first in space. She was seperated for years from the man she trained and was a surrogate son to her. During the seperation she was sent on a mission to kill the father of her child. The next time she met the man she trained she knew that she would have to defect and break his heart, even though the defection was a ruse planned by the US Government to get their hands on a fortune to fund their war. During the mission she is blamed for an atomic explosion caused by the insane general she was supposedly defecting to, accepting the blame to stop all-out nuclear war. She knows that she has to be killed by the man who was like a son to her, and can never reveal that she didn't betray him or her country. Finally, she would go to her grave in silence, knowing that future generations would believe her to be a Complete Monster who would have allowed the world to burn in nuclear fire. But not once did she break down or abandon the mission. "A normal person would have broken under the pressure" indeed.
    • Ocelot, is this too. He grew up as a child soldier after being kidnapped by The Philosophers, his best friend and mentor Big Boss gets effectively killed, His arm gets cut off as part of the plan to revive Big Boss, He gets labelled a terrorist and traitor by everyone (even people on his own side), has hypnotherapy and nano-machines to convince The Patriots he's Liquid knowing that it will lead to his death and he has to play the bad guy to motivate Snake. All to resurrect his best friend (and crush) Big Boss, who he knew he would never get to see again as the plan would lead to his (Ocelot's) death. He suffers everyone on the entire planet Earth thinking that he's pure evil, even though he's trying to free them from The Patriots control and not once does he break down, just grimly continues playing the bad guy until his death at the hands of his best friend's son.
  • Miles Edgeworth from the Ace Attorney series.
    • Lana Skye, Adrian Andrews (at first), (presumably) Celeste Inpax and Vera Misham are female examples.
  • Setsumi in Narcissu, although she becomes slightly less stoic as the story progresses.
  • Anti-Hero Cloud Strife and Badass Longcoat Vincent Valentine from Final Fantasy VII arguably fit this trope. They are both haunted by a Dark and Troubled Past of which they dislike to speak, probably because they feel they have no one but themselves to blame for it.
  • Soren from Fire Emblem Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn fits this very well, though he sometimes borders on Jerkass Woobie territory. He comes off as being cold and unkind, and is the Greil Mercenaries' resident Spock. You'd never guess that he has a Tear Jerker past...but does he ever. Thing is, though, this past is revealed through support conversations and other bits of the story that are easy to miss, so even the player might not realize it.
  • Ledah in Riviera: The Promised Land.
  • Gorath from Betrayal at Krondor: His decision to do the right and very difficult thing - trying to bring peace between two nations that have been warring since forever and fully intend to keep doing so - has literally cost him everything, but don't expect to ever hear anything about it from him.
  • Blackiris in True Remembrance. This is a major plot point.
  • Ange Ushiromiya. The poor girl grew up in a Bad Future where one entire side of her family (including the half-brother she hero-worshipped) died, with the exception of a now Ax Crazy aunt, who loathes and resents her for still being alive while her child died on Rokkenjima (And later it turns out it's not true, and said truth that her "crazy" aunt hid from her is FAR worse). She got sent Off to Boarding School, where she was bullied and treated like a freak, and her only remaining relative on the other side of the family is an even more Ax Crazy aunt who actively tried to kill her. And as icing on the angst-cake, Bernkastel manipulated all of these events specifically so she could bring Ange back in time with the false hope of fixing her world and then kill her, purely to torment the aforementioned brother, himself an Iron Woobie. You wouldn't know any of this from talking to her, though; she's a Deadpan Snarker who keeps to herself and rarely shows any expression except for a vague frown.
  • Shinjiro Aragaki in Persona 3. Let's go over his life: First of all, he's an orphan. Second, one of his childhood friends died in a fire. Third, two years prior to the beginning of the series, he lost control of his Persona and accidentally killed a woman, orphaning her son. As a result, he left SEES and began living as an outcast. During those two years, he began taking drugs to help control his Persona. Said drugs are slowly killing him. When he learns that Ken, the boy he orphaned has joined SEES, he decides to rejoin. During that time, he tries to maintain a distance between himself and the others. He has his own Social Link with the female protagonist where it becomes painfully clear that he really is a nice guy, and he slowly falls in love with her. However, Shinjiro is certain that he doesn't have much time left and is extremely reluctant to pursue those feelings, especially since he realizes that Ken joined SEES in order to seek revenge on him. Shinjiro ultimately either dies at Takaya's hands or falls into a coma, waking up just in time to see the girl he loves die. Despite everything, he never complains or gives any indication that he's suffering.
  • Joshua in The World Ends With You. It might not seem that way, but after the stinger ending, it's hard to see him as anything but.
  • Atsuki Saijo/Saijou from Lux-Pain, particularly after finding out what happened to his family and yet, still use his stoic mask to hide it.
  • Mass Effect has several of them:
    • Kaidan Alenko. He joins the Alliance Navy to do good, despite the abuse he suffered as teenager in an Alliance program, and he refuses to dwell on it. Or at least, so he says, in the conversations with him he dwells quite a lot on it, especially if your Shepard is female. It still seems to affect him, but he insists it does not:

Kaidan: "I've put my personal demons to rest long ago."

    • Thane Krios, the Atoner who's dying of a disease. Was forced into assassin training at age 6, thus had no formal education in anything else and had to continue the job to win money for his family, his wife was killed by people trying to go after him and his son hates him for having left afterwards. Nonetheless, he remains the quiet and calm individual he is, only shedding Manly Tears when the situation warrants it.
    • Tali'Zorah has aspects of it. Not an example of having no emotions, of course, but she nonetheless sees no reason in pity or resentment about what happens to her:

Tali:"I don't think life is about what you deserve."

  • Likewise, it is entirely possible to interpret the Grey Warden from Dragon Age Origins as this. Even more so since the Warden's facial expression is rarely ever anything but The Stoic. One notable exception occurs in the Human Noble Origin after finding the Warden's murdered nephew and sister-in-law.
    • Also one of the possible interpretations of Hawke from the second game, if he/she isn't a Sad Clown.
    • Each and every Tranquil mage.
  • Princess Zelda gets this treatment in The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, which gives her a personality of The High Queen. She's suffering deeply for the tragedies inflicted on her people and her kingdom, but she doesn't dare show it because the enemy could easily exploit any perceived weakness.
  • Shadow from Final Fantasy VI is a perfect example of this trope (though some might say that he doubles as a Jerkass Woobie).
  • Cyrus from Pokémon. When you get down to it, his entire motivation is his unhappiness with his own life and his failure to live up to his parents' perfect standards, to the point where he refuses to let himself feel anything—and thinks the entire world would be better off not feeling anything either. Of course, you don't hear any of this from him, or even while he's still in the game. You don't hear a whisper of his backstory until he's either run off in shame or gone into self-imposed exile (depending on version).
  • Cammy White, when she's mid-awakening from Killer Bee to human being and starting to question her actions and orders.
  • When you look at his personality, his goals, and his motive for fighting in the 2nd Maverick Wars never mind him being on the wrong side of said war, Harpuia is quite a complex, tragic character, and people love him for it.
  • Leon is this in Resident Evil. On his first day as a police officer he's forced into the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, during which he's shot and led to believe his Love Interest died, and after he escapes he's blackmailed into working for the government lest they experiment on the young girl he and Claire were trying to save. He's sent to investigate a drug lord where he meets Manuela, an innocent girl he sets out to protect who either dies in the bad ending or is taken in by the government in the good. Oh, and his friend Krauser resents the role he was blackmailed into doing and as such becomes his enemy. Then he's sent to rescue the president's daughter, in the process getting beaten up a ridiculous amount by the bad guys, injected with a mind controlling parasite that causes him a lot of physical pain and nearly leads him to kill the Back from the Dead Love Interest, and having to watch anyone who tries to help him die. Apart from the occasional instance of Say My Name when a comrade dies you never hear him angsting over it, despite having good reason to.
  • Fear Effect. Royce Glas is very much this.
  • The point Man in F.E.A.R., especially in the third game, when we see firsthand what he went through as a child.

Web Comics

  • Vaarsuvius from Order of the Stick fits this trope to a "T", considering recent events.
  • In Cuanta Vida, Sniper's been suffering a lot lately...
  • The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob: As The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, Princess Voluptua tries to keep her fears and pains to herself. She always comes across in public looking very strong, but her thought bubbles, as well as her facial expressions when she thinks no one is looking, show her personal vulnerabilities.
  • Susan of El Goonish Shive seems to fit quite well. She rarely shows any emotion or talks about her problems despite the fact that both she and her mother have been rather messed up after her parents went through a nasty divorce because her dad was cheating. On top of that, Susan discovered the cheating by walking in on her dad at a rather young age. And if that wasn't bad enough she had to kill a very human-like monster at the age of 14.
  • Aradia Megido from Homestuck, who is far more traumatized than her demeanor indicates. Starting with being dead, which is only the beginning of her tribulations.

Western Animation

  • Teen Titans' Raven, at times.
  • Samurai Jack is the epitome of Stoic. And with all the trials and near-victories he endures, who doesn't wanna buy the guy a beer? One episode even deals with him controlling the very justified emotional turmoil he experiences on a regular basis.
  • Deadpan Snarker Noah from Total Drama World Tour definitely qualifies, he gets severely injured in almost every episode he appears in, has a HUGE family in which he's the youngest kid, is generally ignored and made fun of, and yet never complains about it.
  • Ferb comes off this way any time you get the feeling he's sad.

Phineas: Hey, Ferb, where's Vanessa?
Ferb: She left me for someone else.