"You know, this is the part of the day that I look forward to most... when I know there's something bizarre out there. I just don't know what it is. It's like a grab bag of disturbing events, don't you think?"
The DreadedKillemall rises from the deep and stomps through Manhattan, squishing everything in its path! Alice starts to panic. Charlie braces himself for a futile last stand. And Bob is.... grinning like a loon?
"It's the rare Purple Killemall! I knew they existed! It can generate enough force per square foot to crush iron. How cool! It could destroy us and never even notice!"
Alice and Charlie exchange worried glances, terrified that their friend has gone off the deep end... but no. Bob has spent his lifetime researching Killemalls. Or he has the only copy of a book that describes them and has always wanted to see them. Or he risked his reputation on the fact that they exist and now is vindicated.
Never fear, viewers: Bob's fanboy trance will last only a moment and then he will swiftly come up with a plan to defeat the Killemall, or it will turn out that he knows its one weakness.
Obviously this trope can apply to more mundane threats, usually natural (like tornadoes, or sharks).
Compare Fluffy Tamer, Beetle Maniac; contrast Misaimed Fandom, Nightmare Fetishist, In Love with Your Carnage, Measuring the Marigolds, The Xenophile.
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Anime and Manga
A Filler scene in Dragon Ball Z has Ginyu (In Bulma's body) watching Freezer's last transformation and fighting with Goku, commenting on how great and powerful he was and confusing the hell out of Gohan, Krillin and Piccolo.
A in installment DoraemonThe Movie that takes part at the bottom of the ocean has this happen. Nobita, who up until that point has been ridiculed by his friends for telling them of the existence of giant octopus (and he did see it), is overjoyed when the monster appears and smash their undersea camp. The other kids lampshade his improper rejoicing.
Hellsing gives us the Doctor's reacting to Alucard summoning an army of hundreds of thousands of familiars with a combination of euphoria and excitement.
Claymore gives us Dae, who becomes obsessed with seeing Priscilla in all her glory after discovering her severed arm, which still held an insane amount of power. When he finally does find her, he spends the entire time gushing about her, creeping out his companion Rubel in the process.
Haiyore! Nyarko-san gives us Yoriko Yasaka, who treats the Lovecraftian deities living in her house as normal guests, and even considers their actions adorable, mainly because their job is to protect her beloved son Mahiro (and they've saved both his and her lives already). She even gives her approval to Nyarko (Nyarlathotep)'s romantic pursuit of Mahiro. However, she makes it VERYclear that if any lines are crossed, deities or not, the forks are coming out — and she has them scared shitless.
Hange Zoe from Attack on Titan has an unhealthy fascination with Titans and her response to seeing Eren's partially transformed arm is to beg to touch it.
In the The Adventures of Tintin story The Shooting Star, Prof. Hippolyte Calys is excited about the upcoming end-of-the-world meteor, saying such absurdities as "It will destroy the world tonight. Tomorrow, everyone will know my name for discovering it!"
Bishop displays this sort of behavior in Aliens when studying a Facehugger carcass, implying that he'll turn bad by drawing parallels to how Ash, the other synthetic person that once came into contact with the Aliens, reacted to the creature. It's a Red Herring; Bishop remains a good guy.
In the film and the Expanded Universe material, Ray Stantz of the Ghostbusters gets boyishly excited by a lot of the weird, gross, terrifying stuff they encounter.
Matt Hooper in Jaws when he talks about the shark: "...what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution." There are many quick lines like this in the boat with both Hooper and Quint marveling at this particular shark's incredible strength, tenacity, intelligence, and unpredictability.
Harrigan: You admire the damn thing. Keyes: Not for what it does, Harrigan. For what it is. For what we can learn from it.
Dr. Clayton Forrester from 1953's The War Of The Worlds could be one of the earliest modern examples. He says of the Fighting-Machine, "This is amazing!"
In Komodo, Oates expresses admiration for the komodos, calling them beautiful animals from a scientific standpoint.
Dr. Newton Geizsler in Pacific Rim has an absorbing love for kaiju as biological masterpieces. So gushing is his admiration that he refers to a kaiju as "twenty-five hundred tons of awesome" in front of a Jaegar pilot whose brother, as Newt is well aware, was killed by a kaiju. His lab partner, Dr. Hermann Gottlieb, refers to Newt as a "kaiju groupie", implying his attitude isn't actually that uncommon.
There's also at least one cult who worship the kaiju, even making their temple inside one's skull.
In the Ciaphas Cain novel Caves Of Ice, the Omnisiah worshipping enginseer who accompanies Cain when he discovers a Necron tomb while searching the mines below the processing plant his unit's guarding can't understand why Cain wants to blow up the entrance to it and call in the navy to bomb the place into oblivion. He changes his mind after he's the only survivor of a group of "Cogboys" who entered the tomb; he eventually gleefully helps drown the tomb in promethium.
In Dracula, according to Van Helsing, the Count "must indeed have been that Voivode Dracula who won his name against the Turk, over the great river on the very frontier of Turkey-land. If it be so, then was he no common man: for in that time, and for centuries after, he was spoken of as the cleverest and the most cunning, as well as the bravest of the sons of the 'land beyond the forest'"
Done by a biologist during a river cruise in one of The Witcher novels. Geralt tells him to name the creature after an annoying brat that traveled with them.
"What a specimen, what a specimen," Pitt quickly noted, thrilled no end. "Prehensile cephalic limbs, four pairs of chelae... Strong tail-fan... Sharp claws..."
Dragon expert Lady Sybil has this reaction to the Noble Dragon in Guards! Guards!.
Sybil: Do you realise we're very probably seeing something no-one has seen for centuries?
Vimes: Yes, it's a bloody flying alligator setting fire to my city!
"Let it come closer for a while," Hagbard said. "I want to get a good close look. I've never had a chance like this before, and I may never see this creature again."
"You'll be seeing it from the inside with that attitude," said Dillinger.
In Momo, when the kids play explorers in the South Pacific. The smart boy playing the professor does this with the "schum-schum gummilastikum" (as it's called in the original German text) and protests when the captain wants to shoot it. Someone knows his tropes.
In Meg, almost everyone who encounters the Megalodon has a mix of this and gut-wrenching fear. The fear usually becomes dominant since being that close to the Meg usually means it's going to try to eat you.
The late Steve Irwin (aka The Crocodile Hunter) always reacted to wild animals, particularly the very dangerous ones, with a blend of respect and boyish glee. Ironically, he was killed by a creature that's largely harmless.
In a similar vein, Jeff Corwin clearly has a lot of respect and admiration for venomous snakes and dangerous reptiles. However, despite displaying a similar level of Man Child glee, Jeff also tended to be much more cautious than Steve Irwin when it came to the overall handling of certain animals or situations.
Doctor Who does this practically Once an Episode - the Doctor is sort of an intergalactic Crocodile Hunter. This is deconstructed in the episode "Tooth and Claw" when Queen Victoria (It Makes Sense in Context) declares The Doctor to be persona non grata in England due to his flippant treatment of horrible monsters.
In the old series story "The Green Death," after he kills the giant insect that the giant maggot has evolved into, he says that it's beautiful.
In "Asylum of the Daleks" the leader of the Daleks explains that they don't simply destroy the aberrant (and therefore imperfect) Daleks because they find the hatred born of their insanity to be beautiful.
Buffy: I know you meant to say "gross and disturbing."
Giles: ...Yes, yes, yes of course. Uh, terrible thing. Must... must put a stop to it. Damn it.
A big part of Walter Bishop's character in Fringe.
An episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation featured a Mad ArtistSerial Killer that killed people and used rigor mortis to pose their corpses. At one point the team interrogate another artist played by Jeffrey Tambor who had met the killer at some point. While he thought the killer's regular sketches were trash, when he is shown the photos of the corpses he is in awe at their artistic value. Never the less, he helps them catch the killer.
Urza from Magic The Gathering spent millenia preparing for the war against Phyrexia. But the longer he fought them, the more his methods began to emulate Phyrexia's and the more he came to admire Phyrexian technology. This eventually reached a head when he and his allies ventured into Phyrexia itself to destroy it. As they ventured deeper into Phyrexia, Urza realized that it embodied everything he ever wanted the world to be. When Urza finally entered the heart of Phyrexia, Yawgmoth asked him what he desired. Urxa then betrayed his allies and everything he once fought for by bowing down to Yawgmoth, claiming that he only wished to stand by his side.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game has Egon admiring Ivo Shandor's work from time to time. He's quick to add that he was completely evil. Ray reminds Egon to "stick to the Light Side." "It's hard."
Mass Effect 1 has both Liara and Shiala expressing regret over the destruction of the Thorian as it was an unique and ancient life-form.
In Mass Effect 2, The Illusive Man wants you to preserve the Collector Base for Cerberus, in order to study its technology. A base that was liquefying kidnapped humans to turn into a Reaper. One of your followup dialogue options reads 'This place is an abomination'.
Similarly, the turian primarch remarks to Shepard that the soldier in him admires the Reapers' proficiency at warfare (in particular, that they're better at turian tactics than the turians are). The turian in him knows he's watching the death of 14,000 years of civilization.
Most of Paragon Shepard's teammates repeatedly think that they must have gone off their rocker, since Shepard seems to have a consistant need to seek out, befriend and then earn the loyalty of every ridiculously scary alien race in the Galaxy. Highlights include having a Geth wearing part of Shepard's former armour as a tribute to them, having an Odd Friendship with the Rachni Queen and semi-adopting a teenage Krogan.
Inverted with the Reapers, who freely acknowledge that they have come to admire Shepard's uncanny knack of being able to repeatedly thwart them. In the second game, after Shepard was temporarily killed, the Reapers even ordered that Collectors to try to retrieve their body for study, simply because they couldn't fathom how a single human could be so utterly dangerous!
A more straightforward inversion comes in the form of the Leviathans, an Eldritch Abomination race that admires Shepard for being the first thing in any cycle to scare the Reapers. It is due to this that they agree to help them in this cycle.
Crysis 2 has Jacob Hargreave admiring the Ceph bioweapon currently decimating humanity:
Hargreave: Cleaning up - it's ingenious, isn't it. Think of the Argentine Cattle Crisis two years ago. Or the British BSE outbreak in the last century. The issue was not slaughtering the animals, that was easily done. The problem was disposal. What do you do with the millions of rotting corpses? Well, there you see the answer the Ceph have evolved. They wipe us out, they break us down, they reduce the environmental impact almost to zero. Exemplary.
While she's not studying a monster per se, Merrill in Dragon Age II has a moment in the Legacy DLC where she expresses fascination over the magical powers of an altar dedicated to the Old God Dumat. Keep in mind that Merrill is a Dalish elf and the Old Gods were the deities of the Tevinter Imperium, which once crushed the elven civilization of Arlathan and turned them into slaves.
General Castor of Dawn of War 2: Retribution openly admires the Tyranid Hive Tyrant, mostly because its head will look perfect on his trophy wall.
Castor: Aim low.
From XKCD: Okay, never mind, what's wrong with scientists is that you do see wonder and beauty in everything. Oh god, it's moving!
Girl Genius Sparks are known to do things like open city gates so they can take a closer look at the enemy war machines/mutants/etc. that are attacking them at the time.