Created By: Cyberbanjo on August 11, 2010 Last Edited By: Cyberbanjo on August 13, 2010

First Time Feeling

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"The smell was bad, but Kronski acted like he was dying. But what Holly did not grasp was the power of the doctor's awakened sense of smell. Imagine the joy of seeing for the first time, or the euphoria of a first step. Then square that feeling and make it negative. Take a ball of poison, dip it in thorns and manure, wrap it in a poultice of festering bandages, boil the whole lot in a cauldron of unspeakably vile excretions, and shove it up your nose. This is what Kronski could smell, and it was driving him out of his mind."

In real life, people will sometimes lose, or are born without, a certain sense. Fiction will take this a step further, giving characters little to no emotions whatsoever. Regardless of what exactly they cannot feel, if such a character suddenly gains whatever sense or emotion they were missing, they are often overwhelmed by it. Depending on the feeling, the character can experience incredible pain, confusion, an In-Universe Catharsis, or even Go Mad from the Revelation.

There is some Truth in Television, as recent studies have shown that formerly blind people who have their sight restored are often unable to process what they see for a long time, and will prefer to still rely on their senses they used whilst blind.

Contrast with That Makes Me Feel Angry, where a character experiences a certain emotion that they usually don't and Not So Stoic, where a seemingly serious person was actually just bottling their emotions up. Can overlap with What Is This Feeling? and What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?.


Anime and Manga
  • In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon discovers that Emotionless Girl Yuki Nagato set the whole plot in motion by developing emotions and, unable to deal with them, stole Haruhi's powers and remade the world. Kyon even reflects that the fact that she was designed without emotions made her reaction to developing them that much greater.

  • After John Preston goes off his meds in Equilibrium and starts experiencing emotions for the first time, he has a very difficult time keeping a stoic expression, and breaks down into tears the first time he hears music while not having his emotions suppressed.

  • In Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, villain Damon Kronski was born unable smell anything. So when Holly restores his sense in a particularly fowl smelling Souk, he is left writhing on the floor, clawing at his nose. (See page quote)

Web Original
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, Captain Hammer experiences pain for the first time, and promptly runs away crying.
    Captain Hammer: I'm in pain... I think this is what pain feels like!

Real Life
  • As stated above, reports have shown that that formerly blind people who have their sight restored are often unable to process what they see and are constantly confused by it.

Community Feedback Replies: 8
  • August 11, 2010
    Meet Joe Black: "Joe" has no experience with love whatsoever and so falling for Susan completely overwhelms him.
  • August 11, 2010
    • In Bleach, this actually gets Tousen killed. He's blind, so his new Hollow Resurrecion form grants him sight, he's so overwhelmed by it that he doesn't notice his opponent attacking from behind until it's too late.
  • August 11, 2010
    Would suddenly getting one's senses expanded count? For instance, Peter Parker has to deal with sensory overload and nearly goes insane before figuring out how to reign in his supersenses.
  • August 11, 2010
    See also Sense Freak.

    In an episode of Star Trek Voyager The Doctor's program is hidden in Seven, and he's overwhelmed by the taste of cheesecake.
  • August 12, 2010
    • Star Trek Generations. When Data's emotion chip is first installed, he experiences emotions more strongly than the humans around him. Eventually the chip overloads and his emotions become so intense that he collapses.
  • August 12, 2010
    • in the animorphs series, this happens to Ax every time he morphs to human.
  • August 12, 2010
    • In Kinnikuman Nisei, Checkmate underwent Training From Hell to make him completely suppress the ability to feel pain. This allowed him to push himself harder than he normally could...but, as he learned the hard way, not feeling pain isn't the same as not getting injured.
    • Another "pain" example in The Big Guy And Rusty, when Rusty is upgraded with alien technology that allows him to actually feel things instead of just detecting them. But the next time he enters battle and takes damage, he starts to say "No pain receptor--" then cries out in agony. He becomes terrified of getting hurt until he finds a way to rid himself of the alien tech.
  • August 13, 2010
    I feel like get senses expanded would apply, as it's essentially the same situation. However, the Kinnikuman Nisei example seems like it might be a different situation. I've never seen it, but it sounds like it's more about characters getting injured despite having trained oneself to not feel pain, while this is more about characters without a sense who regain it and don't know how to deal with it.

    Other thoughts?