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Kikyo: I noticed that Inuyasha has changed. His eyes have a certain softness. Long ago, his eyes were much colder and he thought he could afford to place his trust in no-one.
Kaede: Kagome is a strange child. Little by little, she has been able to heal the wounds of his heart.
Kikyo: So, she is the one responsible. It was she who changed Inuyasha. Had I live, it is I who would have tended to the wounds in his soul.
The tendency for the brooding, angsty, loner boy to end up with a sweet, gentle girl who will patiently coax him out of his moods. While the appeal of the brooding boy probably has something to do with All Girls Want Bad Boys, the brooding boy isn't bad, he's just...moody. At worst, he'll be an Anti-Hero who has either put his bad boy past behind him or is still trying to. Maybe he has a Dark and Troubled Past. Maybe he's a Hurting Hero. Maybe he simply takes his responsibilities far more seriously than the rest of his teammates. Whatever the case, he's just waiting for someone to draw him out of his shell, and that person is the gentle girl. Unlike her kookier sister, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the gentle girl doesn't try to actively shake the brooding boy out of his moodiness. Instead, she patiently and persistently offers kind words, sweet smiles, companionship, and hope. Usually The Power of Love will eventually heal the brooding boy.
In the fandom, however, expect the gentle girl to be the victim of fans who think the brooding boy should be with a "stronger" character (or want the character free for themselves), or who accuse the gentle girl of being a Purity Sue. Though the boy won't be free of potshots either: he'll be accused of being merely Emo, or to be a Bastard Boyfriend to the gentle girl (whether he is, well, that's something else.)
On one hand, the trope has been criticized and accused of being rooted on sexist ideas about women and men; i.e. that women must be always supportive of guys even if said guys treat them badly. On the other hand, others consider it a sort-of power fantasy in which a gentle, sweet woman gets what others cannot: "taming" a man seen as dark and dangerous, and having him love her and submit emotionally to her. Gender-swapping the roles doesn't lessen the criticism, either. A gentle boy taking care of a Broken Bird can also lead to accusations of sexism, fans thinking the work believes women "need a man" to coddle and protect them and that this makes them "weak" and "antifeminist."
This dynamic can also show up in a lot of Boys Love Genre and Girls Love works. If one of the partners is really cheerful and sweet, the other partner is probably an angst-fest waiting to be unleashed.
Anime & Manga
- Several Shoujo and Josei type manga will have the main male and female pairing like this. Many Girls Love and Boys Love works will have same-sex versions.
- Inuyasha: Inuyasha and Kikyo would have been this, and sure enough she did manage to "plant the seeds" via teaching him the warmth of the human heart with her kindness. Unfortunately, they were turned against each other thanks to Naraku's deception, making any healing Kikyo managed to do to Inuyasha's wounded heart meaningless. Inuyasha and Kagome, on the other hand, play it straight once in a while, as Kagome helps Inuyasha recover from his wounds and insecurities and goes so far as to completely accept him for who he is. Kaede and the resurrected Kikyo discuss this (quoted above), with the latter lamenting that she would been the Gentle Girl had she not died.
- Ai Yori Aoshi: Kaoru Hanabishi and Aoi Sakuraba. Kaoru isn't exactly brooding, but he has serious emotional traumas from the abuse he suffered from his grandfather and the death of his mother. Aoi, being the perfect Yamato Nadeshiko that she is, slowly but easily heals his mental and emotional damage.
- Clannad: Massively deconstructed with Tomoya and Nagisa. ~After Story~ in particular goes to great lengths to show how much a Brooding Boy would suffer if he were to lose his Gentle Girl. At the beginning of the series, Tomoya Okazaki has many horrible memories of the town he lived in, most notably the death of his mother at an early age and living with an alcoholic, deeply troubled father. He couldn't wait to get away from his hometown, saying there was no place he would rather not go again. That is, until he meets the shy, gentle Nagisa Furukawa, who before he knows it becomes his sole reason for living and later his wife. (One of their most iconic moments as this provides the picture above: at some point poor Tomoya falls into an Heroic BSOD after his family problems prevent him from landing an excellent job, he starts punching a wall in frustration... so Nagisa goes into Yamato Nadeshiko mode and gives him a Cooldown Hug to bring him back.) So one can imagine Tomoya's despair when the Ill Girl Nagisa passes away after giving birth to their daughter, Ushio. He is sent into a whirlpool of depression, wishing that he had never met her and merely talking about her causes him to break down in tears. (And once he recovers enough to begin properly raising Ushio? She turns out to be an Ill Girl too, and as she dies, he falls victim to a Death by Despair.) Thankfully, Nagisa's death is undone at the end thanks to the Girl from the Illusionary World, making it a Reconstructed Trope.
- Fruits Basket: Kyo and Tohru start as a Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl match-up but evolve into this, especially later in the story.
- Hiro and Kisa fit to some extent as well.
- Also, Yuki and Machi manage to genderflip it.
- Hatsuharu and Rin gender-flip and explore the trope. They played it straight in the backstory, with Haru as one of the very few people who fully accepted Rin, but she was attacked by Akito for being Haru's girlfriend and then broke up with the guy to protect him, not telling him the reason why. And in the present, Haru has to be extremely persistent to reach for Rin again. . .
- In the sequel, Fruits Basket Another, Shiki and Sawa are another gender-inverted version.
- Yu-Gi-Oh has several:
- Priest Seto, the preincarnation of Seto Kaiba whose life pretty much sucked just as much the first time around, and Kisara.
- "Yami Yugi" and Anzu/Tea. Their "date" consisted of large amounts of Yami brooding over his mysterious past/ mysterious destiny and Tea trying to cheer him up via talking to him or taking him to arcades before going to the museum.
- Jack Atlas and Carly Nagisa of Yu-Gi-Oh 5 Ds.
- The manga Hana no Namae, "The Name Of The Flower", lives off this trope. The 'brooding boy' is Kei Mizushima, a famous writer of depressing, nihilistic works, who himself has a tragic past and struggles with deep depression; the 'gentle girl' is Chouko Mizushima, the distant relative he takes in after her parents die in a car accident, who grows flowers in his yard, is quiet, soft spoken and kind and in love with him. The story resolves around Chouko's desire to love and save him from his depression and Kei's feeling that he doesn't deserve it, or can never bring himself out of it enough to do anything but drag her down with him.
- Kaya and Kyouhei from Midnight Secretary. Kyouhei is the brooding, Jerkass, prideful vampire who always wears black suits. Kaya is his good-hearted secretary, who is kind, gentle and takes care of all his needs without complaint. After some Character Development on Kyouhei's part, her maturity and kindness reforms him (mostly).
- Revolutionary Girl Utena subverts this (like everything else) with Wakaba's crush on Saionji. It ends in massive tears: Saionji was a huge jerk to her and Utena entered the duels to punish him ("gaining" Anthy in the process), but later he was in a terrible slump and started being truly nice to Wakaba, showing a kinder side of his to her in exchange for her help... but then Mikage interferred and as a result, poor Wakaba almost went off the deep end.
- Utena and Anthy could be seen as a yuri example, with Utena as a more tomboyish gentle one and Anthy as the very feminine brooder. And then it's massively deconstructed, as Utena protected Anthy less outta genuine concern and more because it let her feel good about herself, whereas Anthy is not just brooding but deeply bitter and angry at the world after all the shit she's been through... and not to mention, their situation was staged by Anthy's Manipulative Bastard brother, Akio, who saw through Utena's psyche and set Anthy as Utena's Decoy Damsel. At the end this is reconstructed, but not without lots of work: after Utena finds out and almost crosses the Despair Event Horizon as a result, she decides to truly and selflessly give Anthy the chance to save herself; even when Utena herself disappears as a consequence, Anthy finally gets the courage to shake Akio's abusive influence off AND break the cycle of abuse, managing to start living her own life freely.
- Inverted in Freezing with Satellizer (a much abused and now very troubled Pandora) and Kazuya (her very gentle Limiter). Eventually played straight, gender-wise, later in the story, when Kazuya starts brooding over some traumatic revelations about his family and Satellizer, who's overcome her own issues, needs to comfort him.
- Inverted with Shiki Ryougi and Mikiya Kokutou from Kara no Kyoukai. Shiki is, to say the least, highly brooding and unstable, but Mikiya is incredibly kind and patient with her and doesn't stop hanging out with her even after she makes it clear she doesn't want to get close to anyone.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura Akemi and Madoka Kaname are both girls, but otherwise fit this trope to a T. Homura is a stoic, highly troubled Byronic Heroine Broken Bird, while the Messianic Archetype Madoka is a kind-hearted and innocent All-Loving Heroine. Madoka is the only one able to get close to Homura and get her to express her deeply buried emotions, and Madoka's kindness is the source of Homura's devotion to her. And the movie The Rebellion Story takes things to the point of deconstruction: Homura cannot fully accept Madoka's Heroic Sacrifice that took place at the end of the TV series, and ultimately is so desperate to save her that she has a Face-Heel Turn so she can become a Goddess and then save Madoka definitely (read: undo said sacrifice and fully have her for herself).
- Kamisama Kiss features Tomoe (boy despite having a girl's name), who is a introverted Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and Nanami, an extroverted Tsundere.
- Ranma ½: Akari is the Yamato Nadeshiko to Ryoga's angster.
- Played with in Shakugan no Shana. Yuji and Shana initially seem like they're going to be an inversion of the trope, with Yuji being the Nice Guy who helps Tyke Bomb Shana learn the meaning of love. However, it soon becomes clear that Yuji has next to no patience for Shana's less desirable traits, and more often than not attempts to beat them out of her (verbally, not physically). He's also Innocently Insensitive personified, having a really bad habit of hurting Shana's feelings without even meaning to, usually by spending time with another girl. Ultimately, Shana ends up resolving many of her issues herself, with Yuji often being none the wiser. By season 3, all of Yuji's gentleness has disappeared and he brutally strips Shana of her powers and attempts to create a perfect world regardless of means. By the end, however, Yuji feels deep remorse over everything he's done, believing he doesn't deserve to be with Shana. Shana, however, assures him that she forgives him, she still loves him and promises to help and comfort him whenever he's suffering, so in the end the trope is played completely straight.
- Fate/Zero: Kiritsugu Emiya and Irisviel "Iri" von Eizenbern fit this perfectly. He's a notorious mercenary with a Dark and Troubled Past whose heart has been deeply wounded as a result. She's an Artificial Human with the sweetness and innocence of a child, and needless to say they're a match made in Heaven (he rejects her at first, but when she's also rejected by her creator/father, he changes his mind and saves her, then nurses her back to health, and they fall in love). Unfortunately, like Tomoya and Nagisa above, their relationship is a deconstruction, as Kiritsugu is supposed to sacrifice Iri to make his dream of a peaceful world a reality (this is very first thing he discusses with her after their daughter Illya is born). While he keeps telling himself it has to be done, as The Needs of the Many is a philosophy he's been living by for most of his life, it's clear that he isn't fine with it at all, once expressing his desire to run away from the Holy Grail War with the two of them. When Iri's death proves to be for nothing, he wobbles off the deep end and would have died inside, had he not found Shirou and taken care of him until his own death. In the end all he needed was a loved one, and it took the death of his wife, never being able to see his daughter again, and taking the orphaned Shirou under his wing for him to finally realise that. The series seems to go out of its way to say that some wounds are just too deep to heal, and sometimes one doesn't realise what they have until it's gone.
- Vampire Knight: Zero Kiryuu and Yuuki Cross.
- In The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird Katori/Fighbird and Dr. Yoshiko tend to be a genderflipped version of Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, but towards the end they briefly play the trope straight as his True Companions run away from the group so they can face the Big Bad on their own.. At that moment he angsts quite a bit and confides his fears on her, and she patiently listens to his woes before he hears that they have been captured (as he was sure they'd be) and decides to fight said Big Bad anyway..
- The Brave Express Might Gaine has Sally Yoshinaga as the Gentle Girl to none other than Joe Rival's Brooding Boy. He may not be her Love Interest (that's Might, The Hero), but she still tries to help and soothe him after he saves her life.
- A Whole-Episode Flashback reveals that Uryuu Ishida's parents, Ryuuken Ishida and Kanae Katagiri, were the perfect example of this trope. Brooding Boy Ryuuken was among the last pure Quincies and, while he did his best to uphold the responsabilities coming from that, he was stiffled and almost crushed underneath it all, and deep down longed to find love; Kanae, the Gentle Girl, was a half-Quincy Yamato Nadeshiko entrusted with his safety, who listened to his pained words and supported him as much as she could. And what makes him fall in love with her is the time when he felt that he had failed in unforgiveable ways after he couldn't help his cousin and arranged girlfriend Masaki, and Kanae was there to comfort him and tell him to go back home with her.. Bad thing, the horrible incident that took Masaki's life away wears later... it also killed Kanae, and Ryuuken is all but said to have never gotten over it.
- Ichigo Kurosaki and Orihime Inoue fit in surprisingly well once in a while, even when they tend to go into Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl most of the time. When Ichigo was depressed after Rukia was taken away for execution, Orihime immediately came to help him and came up with the idea of going to rescue her. When Orihime was traumatized by seeing his Hollow mask during his fight with Grimmjow due to her Dark and Troubled Past, Ichigo was depressed again and almost lost - but the moment she tearfully begged him not to lose, he smiled confidently and completely curb-stomped Grimmjow.
- Saliphie and the Beast King, the main couple of Niehime to Kemono no Ou. The King is a massive brooder with many issues and a secret human heritage, Saliphie is a young woman whose kindness and lack of fear are key to the plot itself.
- Sakura Gari has a same sex example, with Souma Saiki as the Brooding Boy and Masataka Tagami as the Gentle Guy. But their obstacles are far, FAR bigger than normal—especially because Souma is a Bastard Boyfriend AND the two have Dark and Troubled Pasts.
- Yuri!!! On Ice has Yuuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov. The Brooding Boy Yuuri is a talented skater who begins the series in a particularly low point of his career, and the Gentle Guy Victor is determined to bring him back into shape and help him reach the top.
- In Kyojin no Hoshi, a flashback in episode 94 shows that Akiko and Hyuuma Hoshi's parents were this to a letter. Mrs. Hoshi's death is implied to be one of the biggest reasons why her already alcoholic and heavily depressed husband, who was a seemingly normal dad before losing his baseball career due to injuries suffered in World War II, became... well, who he is.
- Demon City Shinjuku has the cynical Anti-Hero Kyouya Izayoi and the Yamato Nadeshiko Sayaka Rama.
- Tekken the Motion Picture portrayed Kazuya Mishima and Jun Kazama as such. In this continuity Jun and Kazuya briefly met as kids and in the present she recalls how kind he was, so when they meet again as adults she can barely believe how cold and cruel he has become (and senses the presence of Devil in him) and is determined to find out what exactly happened and how to help him. She only succeeds at the very end, and the watcher likely knows how things won't ACTUALLY end well for them.
- Shinya Kogami and Akane Tsunemori from Psycho Pass are pretty much a textbook example, with him as a rough and blunt but deep down kind Enforcer and her as the gentle, sweet but also plucky Inspector. Though at times Akane also angsts heavily over whether she's qualified enough or not for her position, and when that happens Shinya shows his kinda brusque but gentle side to her as he reassures her. At the end of Season 1, however, while he greatly appreciates her kindness and her efforts to help him catch the Big Bad Makishima without killing him... he still kills Makishima, since he sincerely believes it's the only way to stop someone like him.
Films — Animation
- Beauty and the Beast: The title characters themselves, though notably they only started resembling the trope after Beast did something else than brooding and yelling at Belle (read: saved her from a pack of wild wolves.) From then on Belle realised that there was more to Beast than cruelty, tended to his wounds, and started helping him to become a better man… well, man-beast.
- Hercules has a gender-flipped version with Megara (Brooding Girl) and Hercules (Gentle Boy). Megara was hurting badly after she made a Deal with the Devil with Hades that backfired badly on her, so she was set as a Honey Trap for the super-strong Hercules… but Herc's cheerful approach to life and genuine care for people made Megara actually fall In Love with the Mark.
- Mara Daughter of the Nile: Thutmose and Inanni would be this if Thutmose was the least bit interested in going through with their Arranged Marriage. Inanni even has an Inner Monologue about how she "would be a good wife to him and comfort him when his headached" (She has been led to believe that severe headaches are the reason he is a Mood Swinger.)
- Leafpool and Crowfeather of Warrior Cats are this; as is Crowfeather's first relationship with Feathertail.
- Ashley and Melanie in Gone with the Wind. Ashley, although respected by his community, is not quite one of them—he's more bookish and intellectual and less inclined towards the hunting and carousing his friends and neighbors enjoy. Then, after the horrors of the Civil War, he becomes even more withdrawn and brooding. He describes Melanie as the "gentlest of dreams".
- Angel occasionally moved in this direction. Fred played "Gentle Girl" to both Gunn and Wesley. In Season 5, Angel's "Gentle Girl" was a werewolf. No, it never worked out happily.
- Well, when Gunn and Fred began expressing interest in each other, neither were particularly broody. Wesley on the other hand...
- Connor and Not-Cordelia. With a twist in that the Gentle Girl is evil, is only gentle while he's watching, and is manipulating him into serving as her Dragon.
- For that matter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer would play this role to Angel, and later Faith would step up after the events in the comic series.
- Babylon 5: John Sheridan and Delenn — he doesn't want to burden her with his problems and thinks he has to do it all himself. She disabuses him of that notion rather quickly.
- Beverly Hills, 90210: Brenda and Dylan basically created the template for the teen drama variety of this trope, although Brenda evolved into a very different kind of character.
- Much later, Toni and Dylan also followed this script.
- Degrassi: Clare and Eli are like this. Clare is a sweet, mostly innocent Christian girl, and Eli drives a hearse.
- Gilmore Girls: Jess and Rory
- Merlin: Arthur and Guinevere can be this at times.
- Power Rangers RPM: Dillon and Summer.
- Roswell: Max and Liz.
- The Vampire Diaries: Stefan and Elena. Stefan is the mysterious, brooding vampire who falls in love with Elena, the sweet, cheerful girl next door, who often makes Stefan crack a smile.
- When Damon takes a break from being the Deadpan Snarker to rival his brother for the brooding championship, Elena plays this to him as well.
- Anna and Jeremy definitely fit here. While she is more of an Abhorrent Admirer a first, their eventual dynamic, especially after her death fits this trope down to a T.
- Hamlet and Ophelia from Hamlet could be seen as deconstruction of the pairing. It is suggested that they were quite close and affectionate before Hamlet's father died. Then, when Hamlet's stress of seeing the ghost of his father gets to him, Ophelia is stunned and has no idea how to help him. From then on he's acting mad, and his next scene with her has him denying their relationship ever happened.
- Kyosuke Nanbu and Excellen Browning from Super Robot Wars Compact 2. Note, however, that Excellen is not gentle per se (she's a certified Manic Pixie Dream Girl, more Genki Girl and teasing), which should be a subversion of this trope, but she's genuinely sweet, patiently loves him and provides the emotional support and companionship he needs.
- While in King's Quest VI: Heir Today Gone Tomorrow Prince Alexander just comes off as at most maybe slightly too serious and reserved, the Fan Sequel The Silver Lining seems to portray his and Cassima's relationship as being more heavily this trope.
- Any relationship with Fenris in Dragon Age II will have tones of this. Even at his most charming, he's still rather dry and bleak.
- A relationship with Anders has tones of this as well.
- Final Fantasy VII: To an extent, Girl Next Door Tifa Lockhart is this towards brooding main protagonist Cloud Strife. The biggest example is Tifa's Journey to the Center of the Mind in Cloud's psyche, where after he goes through a massive Trauma Conga Line, she's the one who gently helps him pick up the pieces of his shattered psyche so he can bring himself back.
- Subverted by Cloud and Aerith Gainsborough, who looked very much like the trope; but since Aerith was sassier, more cheerful and more outspoken than the average Gentle Girl, they fell more into Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl.
- Final Fantasy VIII: Squall and Rinoa, full stop. It's ultimately Rinoa's love for Squall that quite literally redeems him from being lost forever in the timestream.
- Mass Effect: Tali arguably plays the Gentle Girl to Male!Shepard's Brooding Boy, especially in the third game, when Shepard has become a Shell-Shocked Veteran as the result of The Chains of Commanding. A great example is when you talk to her after the failed mission on Thessia.
Tali: Shepard, this wasn't your fault.
- Persona 3 Portable's Moon Arcana S.Link between the Female Main Character and Shinjiro. They're the very definition of this.
- While it was more of a brother and sister relationship, Shadow from Sonic the Hedgehog had this kind of dynamic with Maria - he's a brooding Anti-Hero, while she was the Littlest Cancer Patient and The Pollyanna. It Got Worse for them, however, as she died and Shadow almost became a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. This is also what causes many to ship him with Amy (who sometimes reminds him of Maria) or Tikal.
- Fire Emblem, as one of the Long Runners, has MANY of these, whether romantic or platonic. Many are also gender-inverted or same-sex, even:
- Jugdral games: Princess Lachesis and Finn (especially in the Oosawa manga), Edain or Brigid and Jamke or Midir.
- Elibe games: Elen and Chad (Binding Blade); Kent and Lyndis, Ninian and Eliwood (gender inverted), Jaffar and Nino, Erk and Priscilla, Raven and Lucius (one feet in platonic, another in Ho Yay) (Blazing Blade).
- Sacred Stones: Cormag and Princess Tana, Knoll/Natasha. Lyon and Eirika are a onesided and tragic example; she was one of his best friends and always willing to comfort him, but he was in love with her and never had the courage to say so, and it didn't end well.
- Tellius games: Pelleas and Micaiah (platonic, but still highly liked by fans), Ike and Soren
- Awakening: Lon'qu/near everyone he can marry, Tharja/Kellam, Cordelia/Stahl or Gregor (first generation); Gerome/Noire or Lucina, Brady/Noire, Noire/Severa (Romantic Two-Girl Friendship version), Laurent/Lucina, Laurent/Gerome (again, technically platonic but with lots of Ho Yay), Lucina/Male Avatar (genderflipped) (second generation). Subverted with Tharja and Libra, since Tharja would be a good Brooding Babe but she's shell-shocked when she realizes that her Gentle Guy is a massive Stepford Smiler.
- Fates: Female Avatar/Xander or Takumi (straight up examples); Azura/Niles or Takumi, Subaki/Sakura, Saizo/Sakura or Mozu (traditional examples); Male Avatar/Oboro, Beruka/Silas, Jakob/Mozu, Rhajat/Forrest or Shigure, Nyx/Leo, Kaze or Subaki (gender inverted); Takumi/Leo, Niles/Leo, Female Avatar/Azura (same-sex, no shared endings); Male Avatar/Niles, Female Avatar/Rhajat (same sex, with shared ending since the Avatar is Bi the Way). The Male Avatar and Azura are an odd example since their exact dynamics depend on which route is being played: they play it straight in Conquest, whereas in Birthright and the Golden Path they gender-invert it.
- Gaiden: The remake, FE Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, has Prince Berkut and Lady Rinea. It's also implied that Gray and Clair become this for some time if they both survive the game but Gray's best friend Tobin dies. Zeke and Tatiana genderflip it towards the end of their supports.
- May or may not be the case with Líf and Princess Eir in Fire Emblem: Heroes.
- Three Houses: Dimitri and either Byleth (though he can only marry the Female one), Mercedes, Marianne (if she transfers to the Blue Lions), and to a smaller degree Hapi (if she's recruited).
- Edelgard and the Byleths, too... and she can marry either of them.
- Marianne can gender-invert it with some of her other boyfriends, like Claude.
- Guilty Gear genderflips it with Anji and Baiken, then has Dizzy play it straight with Testament (early games) and later Ky Kiske (especially in REV 2)
- Mega Man Zero has a textbook example between Zero and Ciel.
- Jin Kazama and Ling Xiaoyu from Tekken tend to be more of a Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl duo, but judging from Xiaoyu's ending in Tekken 6, she actually wants to be this to him.
- Almost all the Katawa Shoujo routes have elements of this and will bring up three big-ass deconstructions of the concept:
- Hisao/Lilly: He broods because he has just found out that he has a severe heart condition and has just arrived to a totally different world, she's gentle and an Onee-sama despite her blindness. Their relationship helps Hisao open up and become happier, but doesn't do the same for Lilly since she still represses her feelings even after their Love Confession. This, and Hisao's overdependence on her, nearly destroys their relationship- he is reluctant to voice his objections to her leaving for Scotland despite how it will make both of them unhappy and she really doesn't want to leave, and "trusting Lilly's judgement" on it will tear them apart. It gets reconstructed in Lilly's Good Ending, when she goes straight back to comforting him after he near gives himself a heart attack (literally) to reach for her before she leaves, which lets her act on her actual feelings and convinces her to stay with him in Japan.
- Hisao/Hanako: A genderflipped example, where Hisao tries to support Hanako since she not only is a Shrinking Violet, but has very serious self-image issues due to being Covered in Scars. If Hisao goes overboard, he'll go from Gentle Guy to "white knight", and since Hanako also has issues with being pitied, she will end up screaming at him in their Bad Ending, calling him out on what she views as Hisao "using" her to make himself look good. To reach the Good Ending he will have to learn to see her as a person with pros and cons, rather than as a "prop" to whiteknight for.
- Hisao/Rin: Another genderflipped example, with Hisao playing the part of the Cloudcuckoolander's Minder to Rin's Cloudcuckoolander/Mad Artist. Taking care of a person with serious emotional and mental issues, and one who's under heavy pressure as well, can be incredibly draining; one small mistake can either make the "caretaker" give up after the first fight or not be able to stop the other person from destroying themselves.
- The Player Character of Shall We Date?: Ninja Shadow is an Action Survivor and Nice Girl who has several different prospect love interests, with some of them fitting perfectly as Brooding Boys for their Dark and Troubled Pasts: Kagura (who has severe self-esteem problems and an even more troubled Split Personality coming from an horrible incident), Tsubaki (a very cynical Magnificent Bastard who was badly abused for being half-Dutch and the son of a prostitute), Okita (a Stepford Smiler who isn't expected to live for too long due to an illness), and especially Oboro (a very heavily depressed traveler and bodyguard who is the (rather unwilling) carrier of an Evil Weapon and, due to such things, hates himself to the point of being a huge Death Seeker) and Kasumi (an Artificial Human who was deeply hurt by the humans around him and has become a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
- Common in the Danganronpa franchise. Shuichi Saihara and Kaede Akamatsu from V3, in particular, is contrasted with the inversions of Kaito Momota and Maki Harukawa, and K1-B0 and Miu Iruma.
- Also gender-inverted in the first game, with the sweet and hopeful Makoto and the serious, brooding Kyouko.
- Spoofed in this Penny Arcade strip.
"I should warn you. My shit is way tormented."
- Silverbolt and Blackarachnia in the Beast Wars's spin-off Beast Machines. This is a reversal of how their relationship started: he was a painfully earnest Knight in Shining Armor, she was a snarky Dark Action Girl. In the sequel series, however, he gets brainwashed into being a sadistic villain and is pretty traumatized by it when he's finally freed. He doesn't act like his old self again until the Grand Finale.
- Teen Titans: Robin and Starfire, particularly whenever Robin gets laser-focused on stopping Slade.
- Kid Flash and Jinx are a Gender Flipped version, first in fanon and later in the series itself - when she starts attempting to pull a Heel-Face Turn and gets hit with bad luck, he does his best to help out.
- Beast Boy and Raven are another gender-flip. Even though they never have an official relationship on the show, the popularity of this Fan-Preferred Couple led to them getting together in the comics.
- Superboy and Miss Martian in Young Justice start as this, though as time passes it's seen that M'gann is more of a Stepford Smiler than actually gentle. As both get some Character Development, Conner adquires a better hold on his temper whereas M'gann becomes more blunt and honest about herself, and thus they evolve past this.
- Lance and Ilana from Sym-Bionic Titan, although their relationship is more familial and platonic than romantic.
- Gender-flipped and zig zagged with Arnold and Helga in Hey Arnold!. Helga is a Broken Bird who acts as a bully to hide her insecurities and vulnerable side; Arnold is an All-Loving Hero who gives emotional advice and support to others (including Helga) when they are in some personal crisis. However, because the former acts as if she hates the latter, they hardly make any development in their relationship resulting in more friction. Until the Jungle Movie.
- It's not hard to see Keith and Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane from Voltron: Legendary Defender as a (mostly) platonic example. Keith is an orphaned Ace Pilot who has lived a harsh life and has quite the issues, but there's one person that he completely trusts and holds an Undying Loyalty to: Shiro, who was unfailingly kind to him when few others would.