[[quoteright:337:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/waterhouseshalott4_8127.jpg]]

->'''Eponine''': He was never mine to lose.
-->-- ''Theatre/LesMiserables''

She is beautiful. She is sweet. She is sincere. So why can't she get the guy already? The Unrequited Tragic Maiden is (usually) a female character that seems to have all the perfect characteristics to make her the ideal romantic interest or even TheIngenue of the story, but alas, for some reason the object of her affections does not view her as such. Usually this is because she is [[OvershadowedbyAwesome overshadowed by another female character]] who has captivated the heart of the guy, placing the Unrequited Tragic Maiden on the sideline only to be seen as a [[JustFriends friend or ward]].

No matter how painful her yearning for love is, the Unrequited Tragic Maiden never truly achieves her happily ever after with the one she loves. She endures it all with a sad smile and is often reduced to a tragic fate. She is the poster child of {{Unrequited Love|Tropes}}. In the end she will often sacrifice herself or her happiness [[IWantMyBelovedtobeHappy to make sure her beloved is happy]].

Fan reactions to her tend to be mixed. Many fans will cheer and push for the Maiden's success, to the extent of calling TheHero an UngratefulBastard if he doesn't fall to the girl's feet (because the often ''never asked for'' pining and sacrifices are seen by fans [[EntitledToHaveYou as him owing her affection or sex no matter what he actually thinks or says]]) or SlutShaming any possible female love rival (because TheHero is seen as [[DoubleStandard a tool of women's validation]] and some think that women shouldn't act on their own romantic feelings if it interferes with others); and if the Maiden doesn't succeed, much bashing of ''the author'' shall be expected. On the other hand, others will turn against the Maiden and call her insulting names; this is especially obvious if either TheHero has another prospect love interest or female friend [[RealWomenDontWearDresses who's perceived as being "stronger" and "cooler"]] than the maiden herself, or the Maiden has a second prospect male love interest whose (canon or not) feelings she passes up on to favor TheHero.

(It should also be pointed out that, specially in modern times, several of these Maidens are also full-blooded characters with motivations, relationships, backstories and/or interests that go beyond their {{Unrequited Love}}s... and yet many fans will '''insist''' on [[NeverLiveItDown only focusing on their love woes]], either ignoring or refusing to see their non-romantic {{character depth}}s.)

Compare to HopelessSuitor and RomanticRunnerUp, who is the brother of this trope but usually with a less tragic end. May wind up becoming TheLostLenore after death if the person they loved grieves for them, blames themselves for her death or else only discovers that he loved her when it was too late. Contrast to GreenEyedMonster, in which the woman is more prone to sabotage and a devious nature unlike the docile nature of the UnrequitedTragicMaiden.

This is starting to become either a DiscreditedTrope as romantic portrayals of females become less dependent on the male characters, or a DeconstructedTrope to showcase a point-of-view of it being an unrealistic idea of romantic love.
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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]

* PlayedWith quite a bit in ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' - both TheHeroine Duck/Tutu ''and'' [[AntiVillain Anti Villainess]] Rue/Kraehe vie for this position. Considering that [[spoiler: Drosselmeyer was trying to write a tragedy]], it's not that surprising. And considering [[ScrewDestiny the theme of the show]], it's not surprising that [[spoiler: they both subvert this role]].
** Duck has an [[UnrequitedLove unrequited crush]] on [[PrinceCharming Mytho]], and at first she thinks that he'll take notice of her once she starts helping him as [[MagicalGirl Princess Tutu]], but soon she discovers that because she's Tutu, [[StarCrossedLovers she'll die if she ever confesses her love to him]]. Not to mention that although Mytho falls in love with Tutu, [[LovesMyAlterEgo he never finds out that Duck is Tutu]], and only thinks of her as a friend. Ultimately [[SubvertedTrope subverted]], though, when she realizes that [[spoiler: [[LovingAShadow she was never really in love with him to begin with]] - she ''does'' care greatly for Mytho, but more outta admiration than romantic love]]; therefore she refuses to give up hope as [[spoiler: [[MadArtist Drosselmeyer]]]] clearly intended her to, and [[spoiler: she falls in love with ''another'' man... Fakir, TheLancer to Mytho and the local KnightInSourArmor.]]
** [[DarkMagicalGirl Rue/Kraehe]] is set up as the hypotenuse of the LoveTriangle, TheVamp and temptress who wants to corrupt the heroic Prince. Once you discover [[DarkAndTroubledPast her very tragic reasons to be the way she is]], the massive pain she has gone through thanks to the BigBad and how she really ''does'' love Mytho underneath it all, though, she becomes more and more of [[AntiVillain a tragic character.]] Mytho starts out [[EmotionlessBoy indifferent]] to her despite Rue actually ''being his girlfriend'', and ends up [[spoiler: downright abusive once she contaminates what's left of his heart]], while he clearly develops feelings for Tutu. After Rue/Kraehe finally manages to express her love [[spoiler: via a mixture of AnguishedDeclarationOfLove and an HeroicSacrifice (and one that Duck/Tutu ''explicitely says that she would have NOT managed to pull off, were she in Rue/Kraehe's shoes'')]], however, [[spoiler: Mytho remembers their shared past]], [[spoiler: recognizes her love as well as his own love for her]], [[spoiler: rescues her from a cruel DeathTrap she's been put inside after her HeroicSacrifice]], and [[spoiler: [[HappilyEverAfter takes her as his princess]]]] at the end.
* [[spoiler: Sayaka Miki]] in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' is a {{deconstruction}} of the trope. She ''seems'' to play it straight at first sight [[spoiler: (she yearns for Kyousuke's love, but he shows no romantic interest in her and after Sayaka doesn't confess her love for him in time, he hooks up with Hitomi, who ''does'' come forward when she had the chance)]]... [[HiddenDepths but the truth is FAR more complex]]. [[spoiler: [[ShyblueHairedGirl Sayaka]] already had serious self-esteem problems ''before'' becoming a MagicalGirl, and when she's offered to become one and mentions that [[GreaterNeedThanMine she wanted to use her wish for Kyousuke's sake]], CoolBigSis Mami [[ArmorPiercingQuestion immediately questions her purpose.]] She makes her wish for him against Mami's warnings, since [[AFriendInNeed she sincerely believes it would still be worth it]]; only ''then'' Sayaka learns that being a MagicalGirl [[BlessedwithSuck is NOT as sparkly and beautiful as she thinks it is]], which clashes with her black and white view of the world ''and'' her emotional conflicts]]. While [[spoiler: losing in the LoveTriangle]] is a part of the reason why [[spoiler: [[DespairEventHorizon she fell]] [[FaceHeelTurn out of grace]] ]] , is not the '''''only''''' reason... but go tell that to [[FanDumb several of her "fans"]], who [[NeverLiveItDown peg the girl]] '''only''' as the local UnrequitedTragicMaiden and then make her a PossessionSue.
* Shirley Fenette from ''Anime/CodeGeass''. At first PlayedForLaughs, then for [[PlayedForDrama intense drama]] with a side dish of BreakTheCutie. [[spoiler: And right when it looks like she ''may'' have the chance to get Lelouch's love... BAM! Fatal injury to the gut, pool of her own blood, death in front of Lelouch.]]
* Played with in ''Anime/AnoHanaTheFlowerWeSawThatDay''. Meiko aka Menma suffers a tragic death right after hearing Jintan deny having a crush on her. In reality, he returned her feelings while she was alive, and still liked her even when she was a ghost.
* Kaede Fuyou from the ''{{Shuffle}}'' TV series is a rather unusual example, as she plays this straight first... and then dips into ''{{yandere}}''. [[spoiler: Though she gets better, and [[DarkAndTroubledPast she has pretty good reasons]] for her {{Yandere}} episode.]] In the original VisualNovel, whether Kaede is this or not... it actually depends on the player.
* There's one in MichiyoAkaishi's ''TenYoriMoHoshiYoriMo''. [[spoiler: It's ''not'' Mio Mizumori, who actually has her feelings for Shou requited very soon. It's actually Miyabi Fujiwara, the local {{Ojou}}, who falls for Shou at first, then is manipulated by Tadaomi due to her feelings... and ends up dying in a plane crash caused by Tadaomi in an attempto to kill Shou.]]
** Akaishi also fives us the ''very'' RareMaleExample: [[spoiler: Naozumi "Kotaka" Yatsuka]] from {{Amakusa 1637}}
* [[spoiler: Shirley Marks]] from CaptainTsubasa, to a degree. She loves [[spoiler: Stefan Levin]] deeply, can't tell him her feelings [[spoiler: because his dead fiancée Karen was her best friend]] and she clearly knows he simply can't love her back. This is [[LoveHurts a pretty sucky situation]], but the girl is somewhat [[GenreSavvy genre savvier]] than usual and she attempts to not wangst and complain about it.
* Openly defied in {{Inuyasha}}. [[spoiler: The Baby deals several and ''extremely'' cruel {{Breaking Lecture}}s to Kagome, telling her that she's pretty much condemned to be this to Inuyasha himself, due to his feelings for his ex-girlfriend (and Kagome's past self) Kikyou. Kagome is ''this'' close to give in and have a FaceHeelTurn, which is the Baby's purpose... but then she [[ShutUpHannibal snaps back at him]] via first admitting that yes, she ''is'' often [[ClingyJealousGirl jealous of Kikyou]], but then adding that these feelings are [[HumansAreFlawed proper of human beings]], and finally stating that she ''does'' love Inuyasha anyway.]] Such emotional honesty, and specially coming from [[spoiler: a {{Tsundere}} and self-admitted ClingyJealousGirl]], is VERY welcome and refreshing. [[spoiler: And even more so when [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome it keeps her from]] going the "LoveMakesYouEvil" way.]]
** In the anime, Princess Sara plays it straighter. [[spoiler: Her deal is [[BreakTheCutie much]] [[DespairEventHorizon more]] [[DealWithTheDevil complex]], though.]]
* Played with in ''Manga/DailyLifeWithMonsterGirl'', with Mero. She ''[[InvokedTrope wants]]'' to be the Unrequited Tragic Maiden to the man she harbors affection for, eagerly stepping on the sidelines and only wanting to be a tangential part of the protagonist's harem.
* In the MarmaladeBoy anime Anju Kitahara has more than one whiff of this, being a YamatoNadeshiko and loving her ChildhoodFriend Yuu, who already has a girlfriend named Miki by the time they meet again. She immediately [[GenreSavvy recognizes the trope]] and tells Miki that not only she will not step in between them but she'll support them as much as she can. [[spoiler: She ''does'' have a slim chance later when Yuu and Miki break up during a crisis, but since they hook up again later, Anju decides to step aside.]]
** Played much straighter with Ryoko Momoi, a local teacher who is this to her fellow teacher Shinichi Namura, who is in love with [[HotForStudent his student Meiko and is loved back]] [[StarCrossedLovers despite how everything is against them.]] [[spoiler: She gets better in the end, but not before much heartbreak.]]
* Several of these appear in DetectiveConan, with the most tragic case being [[spoiler: Shouko Utakura from the ''Seance's Double Locked Mystery Room Case''. Who ends up '''murdered''' by the guy she loves (Ryuuichi Mifune) because he mistakenly believes her to be involved in the death of his girlfriend Kira. (She sorta ''is'', but definitely NOT in the way he expected her to.)]]
** The reason why [[ShippingTorpedo Sonoko]] dislikes Shinichi is because she thinks Ran will end up as Shinichi's UTM. For all that she knows, he's out there resolving cases while she pines endlessly for him! (Little do the girls know that Shinichi is the titular Conan, however.) [[spoiler: Sadly, the ''Stranger of Ten Years'' OAV implies that were Shinichi not to return to normal, ''[[IWillWaitForYou Ran would be very likely to play the trope straight]]''. .]]
* In CandyCandy, [[spoiler: Annie Brighton]] ''believes'' that she is this to her beloved [[spoiler: Archibald "Archie" Cornwell]] in the BoardingSchool arc, which does ''not'' mixes well with her strong self-esteem issues coming from both [[spoiler: her background as an orphan]] and [[spoiler: her secret jealousy of the titular Candy, the girl whom Archie seems to crush on]]. It turns out that [[spoiler: Annie's love for Archie ''is'' requited in the end, as he realizes that while he ''does'' care for Candy, [[SecondLove Annie is the girl he actually loves]]. And Candy is a ShipperOnDeck [[LoveHurts with her own romantic woes]], anyway.]]
** Also subverted with [[spoiler: Susanna Marlowe.]] [[spoiler: She has ALL the signs of being Terry Granchester's tragic maiden -- but he ultimately decides to stay by her side after she falls victim to BreakTheCutie.]]
* In ''ProjectARMS'', Yugo is clearly in love with Ryo, but knows he loves Katsumi and thus does everything in her power to help rescue her. [[spoiler:She eventually dies saving him and everyone else from the Jabberwocky.]]
* Subverted by Youko Nakagawa in the anime of Manga/CardCaptorSakura. She pines for Touya Kinomoto who (unbeknownst to her) is starting to develop feelings for [[HoYay Yukito Tsukishiro]], and plans to tell him about her love in the SchoolFestival. She does cry when Touya politely turns her affections down at the end of the episode she's featured in, but she actually apologizes for crying and tells him she'll be okay. Her only request is for him to dance with her around the bonfire.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* In the original story of Creator/HansChristianAndersen's fairy tale, "Literature/TheLittleMermaid", the mermaid rescues and falls in love with a prince. He marries a different girl whom he believes had rescued him, and who actually ''did'' help in his rescue (and in some versions she ''was'' actually his bethrothed from before the mermaid incident happened). Because she was unsuccesful in making the prince fall in love with her, the mermaid turns to sea foam, choosing his happiness over her own life. In some versions she is rewarded for her sacrifice with a new life as an air sprite, during which time she will earn a soul (mermaids don't naturally have them) and go to Heaven.
* ''The Lady Of Shalott'' (the page image) from Alfred Lord Tennyson's poem of the same name which is based on the ArthurianLegend character Elaine of Astolat, who pined after Lancelot (who, of course, only had eyes for Guenivere) and eventually died of a broken heart.
* Rebecca of York to Literature/{{Ivanhoe}}, due entirely to the fact that she's [[ValuesDissonance Jewish]]. She warns Ivanhoe not to fall for her at their first meeting and does a graceful IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy bow out at the end allowing [[FirstGirlWins Rowena]] and Ivanhoe to be together and devotes the rest of her life to doing good works. Notable in that even the ''author'' [[FanPreferredCouple preferred]] Rebecca and Ivanhoe, but couldn't pair them up due to MoralGuardians.
* Actually subverted in the original ''Literature/LesMiserables'' with Eponine - she's more pitiful than tragic, and [[{{Yandere}} far from selfless]]. She despairs when he falls in love with [[TheIngenue Cosette]], so she figures [[IfICantHaveYou she'll just have him die with her]].

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[[folder: Films--Animated]]

* Emily from Tim Burton's ''WesternAnimation/CorpseBride'' could qualify as one of these. A beautiful young woman murdered on the night of her elopement [[spoiler: by who she THOUGHT was her true love]], she who spent her afterlife heartbroken and longing to experience real true love. When she found it in Victor, he was already betrothed to a woman named Victoria, [[PerfectlyArrangedMarriage with whom he sincerely was in love.]] Albeit Emily initially insisted that Victor keep a promise to marry and spend eternity with her [[AccidentalMarriage that he made unwittingly]], in the end she was willing to let him go and spend his life with his own true love, rather than keeping him to herself ''and'' causing Victoria a pain that wasn't much different from the one she felt. Once this was said and done, Emily was finally free from her pain and was able to ascend to Heaven, [[ButterflyOfDeathAndRebirth her undead body turning into butterflies that peacefully flew away.]]

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[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* In ''{{Smallville}}'', Chloe is solidly pining after Clark for the first five seasons, and even after [[spoiler:getting together with Jimmy]] for season six and seven, it is pretty obvious that she would be with Clark if she gets to choose. Not to mention an AnguishedDeclarationOfLove in late season seven. Subverted when [[spoiler:she seems to be HappilyMarried with Jimmy]]. Double subverted when [[spoiler:Jimmy divorced her for always taking Clark's or Davis' side]]. ''Triple'' subverted when [[spoiler:she ends up with Oliver. Although that probably counts as being StrangledByTheRedString.]]
* Willow on ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' was this for a while, pining away for Xander, until she [[spoiler:got a boyfriend of her own. And then became (or realized she was) a lesbian or a lesbian-leaning bi.]]
* Emma on "Series/BatesMotel" seems to be one of these. She is every bit as hot as Bradley, but Norman just likes Bradley better.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theater ]]

* ''{{Giselle}}'' from the ballet of the same name. In some versions, Giselle falls in love with Albretch, but Albretch is engaged to Bathilde. After dying of a broken heart ([[IllGirl perhaps]] [[HeartTrauma literally]]), Giselle becomes TheLostLenore.
* Ophelia from ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' might be seen as one. Against the warning of her father, she's fallen in love with the Prince, and as soon as Hamlet begins to feign madness, the first thing he does is try to break off his relationship with Ophelia. [[BreakTheCutie She doesn't take it well]], and then things go FromBadToWorse. At her funeral, Hamlet sobs profusely for his love for her.
* Viola describes herself like this (although she claims to be talking about her sister) in the middle of "Twelfth Night", trying to explain to Orsino that sometimes you don't end up with the person you want and there's nothing you can do about it.
-->'''Viola''': My father had a daughter loved a man, as it might be, perhaps, were I a woman, I should your lordship.
-->'''Orsino''': And what's her history?
--> '''Viola''': A blank, my lord. She never told her love, but let concealment, like a worm i' the bud, feed on her damask cheek: she pined in thought, and with a green and yellow melancholy she sat like patience on a monument, smiling at grief.
** She does get the guy at the end of the play, though.
* Eponine from ''Theatre/LesMiserables'' is in love with Marius and does everything she can to help him, even though he is in love with Cosette and only views Eponine as a friend. This portrayal contrasts with the one she has in the original [[Literature/LesMiserables book]], where she's more of a StalkerWithACrush.
* Helen Chao from "Flower Drum Song" is one of these. Like Eponine, she gets one of the arguably better songs in the show and does everything she can to be a supportive friend to Ta. He first rejects her by chasing the wrong love object before again passing her over.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Namine from ''VideoGame/KingdomHearts'' is drawn to Sora and wishes she were Kairi. In the end, [[spoiler: she wants Sora and Kairi to be happy and merges with Kairi thus destroying her own identity and existence in some ways.]]
* ''Franchise/FireEmblem'' has a few of these [[LauncherOfAThousandShips due to most characters being given multiple romantic partners]].
** The {{Trope codifier}}s for FireEmblem come from [[FireEmblemAkaneia from the Archanea continent]]. Not only that, but they're sisters: the LadyOfWar and the eldest of the Pegasus Knights sisters, Palla, is in love with the cavalier Abel [[spoiler: who marries her youngest sister Est]], while her second sister Catria has feelings for Marth [[ChildhoodFriendRomance who is already in love with Princess Caeda.]]
** [[spoiler: Princess]] Julia from ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemJugdral Geneaology of the Holy War]]''. She falls in love with [[spoiler: her half-brother]] Seliph, but cannot pair with him... [[GoodBadBugs without glitches and lots of patience in the player's part]]. (And it's even lampshaded in-game, with Seliph's potential love interest [[CoolBigSis Lana]] actually ''feeling guilty'' upon having '''her''' feelings requited.) Averted in the Oosawa manga, where the ending strongly hints at them ending up together even after finding out that [[spoiler: they're half-siblings]], and [[spoiler: Lana's feelings seem to be geared towards Larcei's twin brother Ulster.]]
*** Sylvia also is this in the Oosawa manga. She fell in love with Lewyn [[BecauseYouWereNiceToMe after he showed her the kindness nobody else would]] and proclaims her feelings for him more than once. However, Lewyn already has feelings for Ferry, whom he professes his love to during the Silessa arc, after apologizing to Sylvia due to being unable to like her back. When she confronts Ferry about it, Sylvia explains her backstory and then runs away crying.
** [[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Blazing Sword]] has a DoubleSubversion in [[WhiteMagicianGirl Priscilla]]. She ''does'' have a number of possible lovers she can Support with, but due to her status as nobility, she ultimately ends up in a StarCrossedLovers situation -- with all but one of them [[spoiler:the magician Erk, who has peerage only due to his tutelage under Pent, the Count of Reglay]].
*** Also, if Eliwood reaches an A support with anyone but Ninian, she will become this since her romantic feelings for Eliwood are set in stone regardless of support levels [[spoiler: and she must return with her brother Nils to the land beyond the Dragon's Gate anyway.]] Though [[BreakTheCutie she also has]] [[SurvivorsGuilt several other reasons]] [[HeroicSelfDeprecation to be depressed]], [[spoiler: and if she has to leave for the Dragon Gate lands, she is able to tell Eliwood goodbye without crying a single tear, [[SilkHidingSteel having recovered]] [[BreakTheCutie from her former trauma]].]]
** FireEmblemTheSacredStones gives us the VERY {{rare male example}}: [[spoiler: Prince Lyon of Grado, who has always had feelings for Princess Eirika and a very complicated bond with Prince Ephraim. Then it all goes FromBadToWorse...]]
** ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemTellius Path of Radiance]]'' has [[LadyOfWar Titania]], second-in-command and TeamMom of the Greil Mercenaries. It's revealed in her Supports with Ike that she grew close to and became enamored with Ike's father Greil while training under him, but [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy she pushed away her feelings for Greil]] when she discovered that he was already married with children. It should be no surprise that she (along with Ike and Mist) is hit the hardest by his death at the hands of the Black Knight (to the point that she breaks down into tears in their A Support when Ike thanks her for taking care of his father in his final years). She ''does'' have ShipTease with Ike, Boyd, and Rhys in ''Radiance'', but ultimately ends up single by the end of ''Dawn''.
** Cordelia in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' is in love with Chrom and is hurting ''badly'' over it, but will never say anything because she's sure it'll never work out. The game mechanics don't even let you pair them! Sadly, while this aspect ''is'' a prominent part of Cordelia's character, the FanDumb ignore her ''[[BrokenAce other]]'' [[SurvivorGuilt reasons]] [[ThePerfectionist to be depressed]] and in the process completely '' [[NeverLiveItDown flatten]]'' [[NeverLiveItDown her]] into either a Chrom-dependent weepy maiden who "deserves" his affection better than any of his other prospect girlfriends, or a creepy StalkerWithACrush who thinks she's entitled to Chrom and will throw everything away for him. And that, in a further subversion, [[SecondLove she can be romanced by other male characters]] -- including ''yours'', [[PlayerCharacter should you make the Avatar a male]]).
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'': Potentially Bianca, provided the hero chooses to marry Flora instead. She helps him complete his EngagementChallenge, gets her hopes briefly raised, then dashed, and proceeds to get bodyslammed by a load of extra angst just to drive home to the player [[GuiltBasedGaming they made the wrong choice]]. At least the remakes dial it back.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Visual Novels ]]
* [[spoiler:Beatrice]] from ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi'' may qualify, depending on [[MindScrew which versions of reality you believe]].
* Subverted during [[spoiler: Shizune]]'s path in ''KatawaShoujo''. [[spoiler: Misha]] fits in this trope well... but [[spoiler: the person she's hopelessly in love with is ''Shizune'', not Hisao.]] Which also makes her the very rare [[spoiler: LesYay[=/=]SchoolgirlLesbians]] version of the trope.
* You Tsukuba from ''VisualNovel/SayaNoUta'', in UnrequitedLove with Fuminori and totally outclassed by Saya. [[spoiler: Since theirs is a CrapsackWorld, [[BreakTheCutie it]] [[ButtMonkey does]] [[RapeAsDrama NOT]] [[SexSlave end]] [[KillTheCutie well]].]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder: WesternAnimation]]
* Up to episode 50, this seemed to be Daphne on ''ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated''. And that was mainly because Freddy was acutely clueless about Daphne's love for him.
[[/folder]]
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