How would you feel if you were Trapped in Another World, and could never see your family again? And then it turned out you were The Chosen One and the world depended on you? And you team up with a band of quirky companions, and one by one, they all get killed by the Evil Minions? Except one, who turns out to be The Mole and gets you captured? How would it make you feel?
If you're a fictional character, the answer is probably "feel sad for five minutes, then forget about it." Angst? What angst?
The polar opposite of Wangst, this is when a character has every right to be depressed or Ax-Crazy, but isn't, and life goes on. They aren't The Stoic or the Determinator — they aren't supposed to be so strong-willed. And they are not expressing Don't You Dare Pity Me!. The number one example is children's adventure stories, where the young heroes rarely Freak Out about having to pilot a burning biplane into a T-Rex's mouth. They either don't react much, or they think it's a cool adventure and they wish it would never end. Most real children would react much worse. But it isn't fun for those real children to read about people like themselves screaming in terror as their lives fall apart, so the fictional children don't. Of course, Plot Armor probably helps. Not to mention There Are No Therapists to talk to anyway.
But it doesn't have to be an adventure story; any genre with horrible suffering will do it (except the ones that thrive on the characters angsting, like soap operas). Angst? What Angst? can lead to huge Fridge Logic moments, especially when the character who has survived killer bees and cancer throws a fit because somebody forgot their birthday.
In a variant, some stories rarely have the characters angst out loud, but make it clear that they're cracking on the inside and are just putting on a brave face. Other stories, using the Law of Disproportionate Response, have the characters deliberately overreact to small things and underreact to big things to show how unhinged they are.
This actually can be a bad trope, similar to Wangst. A character just shrugging off stuff that real people would shed tears at or have breakdowns over may be asking for a little too much Willing Suspension of Disbelief. It might give them the appearance of a sociopath when that couldn't even be the point of the character. Of course, similar to Wangst, this trope can be used for laughs as well.
Possibly Truth in Television for the more extreme cases. If you're fighting for your life, you don't have time to think about how awful it is. Except for the times when you crack and go shellshocked, maybe.
Compare Plot-Powered Stamina, where characters shrug off physical (rather than emotional) trauma and stress like it's nothing.
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Anime and Manga
Minorin in Toradora! lives by the principle that she shall always be happy, no matter what happens. Although she doesn't have any actual tragedy in her past, this still leaves her feeling a bit... hollow, at times. She might even fool herself, but she isn't fooling the viewers.
In Fruits Basket, Tohru is usually extremely cheerful and amiable, despite having a dead mother, working to pay for her own tuition and having been ostracised by her peers from an early age. She has a few lines, especially in the first couple of chapters, which reveal she's forcing herself to be strong because her mother wouldn't want her to be sad. As it turns out, it's a justified. She is hurting inside and had closed up everything in a box that she didn't want to open. She's continuously happy so she can make other people around her glad.
Even though the title character of Naruto has no family and everyone around him hates him just for existing, he doesn't seem to have any angst at all, and further displays this trope in regards to being the jinchuriki of the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox, expressing little angst over the matter after he initially found out. However, as to the former, the first arc where they actually do some fighting spells out that he'd gotten over it after angsting non-stop for several years, and one of Naruto's teachers steps up as a father-figure, mainly because he grew up in similar circumstances.
Fellow Jinchuuriki Killer Bee embodies this even more than Naruto. His relationship with his beast is actually quite friendly and his brother is protective and caring.
Naruto is an interesting case. We hear early on that everybody hates him, and there are plenty of flashbacks of nameless villagers being jerks to him. But, we also find out that Iruka's been a father figure for a while, and the Third Hokage was acting like a grandfather figure since he was born. Naruto definitely had it bad, but it wasn't truly horrible like Gaara. He even wonders if Gaara considers him weak because he not only did not endure as much, but did not have to do it alone.
The thing about Naruto that some fans find off-putting is that he's angsted about Sasuke'ssituation much more than he ever did about his own, despite himself Sasuke making it quite clear that he no longer cares about Naruto and trying to kill him on several occasions.
Probably the most shocking instance is in a recent arc where Naruto is confronted with the villain that's the direct reason he grew up an orphan and had the fox sealed inside of him. Considering his reaction when he had the chance to talk to his father about it, one would expect him to pissed, but he treats it the same as every other fight.
Meet Ayasaki Hayate from Hayate the Combat Butler. He's worked since he was eight years old to support his happily unemployed parents who enjoy: gambling, stealing his money to keep gambling and selling him to "very nice people" to pay off their gambling debts. He's also constantly plagued by the most ridiculous misfortunes and despite his best efforts things almost never go his way. If anyone has the right to whine about how unfair life is, one would think he does but he simply grins and bears it. Why? Because Santatold him to!
Or...his parents had already betrayed him in the worst possible way. Via flashback we find Hayate, when he was a child, used to love them and trust them. Take all of the good-naturedness he is now, and put that in the wide-eyed idealism of a child. He defended their honor when it was questioned by Athena and he bet a world of magic and wonder that they would return his faith. And his parents smiled, patted him on the head, and stole it from him to pawn for petty cash. There weren't enough tears in the world. the Messianic Archetype did not hate them. He just stopped loving them. And that chills to the bone far more than all the rage or hate or crying would accomplish.
In the Houshin Engi manga, Taikoubou hardly angsts about anything. Sure, Dakki throws a bunch of humans he was trying to protect into a pit filled with carnivorous alligators and snakes, and he feels a bit bad about that, but he gets over it within a few pages (in the anime, it took a bit longer - around maybe 10 minutes?). The closest thing to angsting was when his best friend Fugen Shinjin was killed, but even then, he quickly changes his attitude to becoming determined to immediately avenge his death (which he does quickly). In the end, when Jyoka causes him to start crumbling and dying, saying, "My last bit of selfishness... please vanish with me..." his reply is to look slightly irritated and calmly say, "Well, fine..." This might be partially because he is a Sennin immortal, and most of the horrible violence and happenings occur to humans that he doesn't empathize as much with. Considering that a large part of the series revolved around him doing his very best to keep the Sennin out of mortal affairs, even if it involved destroying both Sennin worlds in the process, this seems an unlikely motivation.
Slayers: Given that she belongs to a royal family that's full of members constantly at each other's throats and will do morally questionable things for the sake of power (especially with her cousin Alfred, who requests help from two members of an Always Chaotic Evil race of demons), Princess Amelia doesn't seem very phased by the tragedies that happened to her: when her uncle Randionel is killed in the first season after a botched act of treason, she moves on as if nothing happened. However, it's implied that the assassination of her mother and her sister's disappearance upset her greatly, but the angst implied behind it is appropriate and never exaggerated.
It's also implied that Gourry had a horrific family life; outside material notes that his family had a massive personal war over the Sword of Light. He runs off with it, meets a man who instills him with purpose (he was actually Lina's father), and from there, became the happy-go-lucky swordsman who strives for the future that he's known as.
One Piece: Every single Straw Hat Pirate has seriously angst-worthy moments in their pasts. However, you rarely see them angst about these issues in the present. The exceptions are the female members of the crew when their pasts caught up to them. But their crewmates' willingness to fight on their behalf turned them around.
Considering Nami's home was taken over by evil pirates who also killed her mother and basically enslaved her, and Robin's was flat out destroyed by the government along with everyone she ever knew. It's not surprising that they angst the most. Hell, Nami only became free 'after' the Straw Hats followed her to her home
Usopp, with some fans finding it quite odd that he harbors no resentment towards his father Yasopp whatsoever, even though the guy left to go be a pirate when his son was still very young without ever returning while his wife dies a couple years after he left. It probably helps that his wife told him to do it, and Usopp thinks being a pirate is the greatest thing in the world.
Unfortunately, averted with Zoro on at least one occasion. Something about Tashigi brings his issues roaring back, and he uncharacteristically runs away when he sees her. Although since this is a shonen manga, where running away from problems is often considered offensively cowardly no matter the circumstances, this will probably be eventually remedied.
Shanks. He takes his arm being bit off very well, being mainly glad that Luffy is safe.
Kagura Tsuchimiya from Ga-Rei. Even after her sister figure betrayed her and her peers, killed her father and became an evil spirit dead-set on destroying Tokyo, she still maintains an upbeat attitude and is a fun-loving girl, as Kensuke can attest.
Sakai Yuji from Shakugan no Shana definitely qualifies considering how he handle being a Torch/Mystes and fated to perish, he is more concerned of people he will leave behind and relieved no one will be sad because they will forget about him. Shana, Alastor and Lammie compliments him for staying sane from the revelation. Alastor even mentioned one Torch even go as far as committing suicide. Yuji even dare to donate his power of existence to help other people, while he is still unaware of his Midnight Lost Child.
In the Black Cat manga, interestingly enough, the series depicts Train's progress of maturity to be going from wangsting about the past to becoming very carefree. In the second half of the series, Train gets over Saya's death and stops stressing about a lot of things (most of which are pretty important and angst-worthy). For example, when shot accidentally by Creed with the Lucifer bullet, while everyone else (including Creed) panics and tells Train that he'll transform into a monster, Train just brushes it off and says he'll handle that when it comes. When Train turns into a kid, everyone stresses about it while he actually thinks it's kind of fun (his more immediate thoughts being whether they can save money on kid's meal and metro ticket prices). This is even lampshaded later by one of his past Chronos superiors, who asks him if he even cares that Creed is trying to bring about the End of the World as We Know It. Train's answer is no, and that he only cares about what's for lunch tomorrow.
Miaka Yuuki of Fushigi Yuugi shows remarkably few psychological aftereffects from the multiple sexual assaults she endures over the course of the series, although one could argue she expends enough angst over Tamahome that she doesn't have any left to spare.
It's especially jarring compared to her best friend Yui, who spends half the series thinking she's been gang-raped, and becomes a something of a scrappy from the resulting Angst Dissonance... while Miaka is something of a scrappy because of her aforementioned lack of angst! Confusing, isn't it?
In Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ, Judau Ashta goes through hell. First of all, he inherits a battle he never had any interest in. Second, he seemingly loses his little sister even when one of his friends promised to keep her alive. Third, nearly every attempt he has at keeping his enemies from throwing their lives away fails miserably. Fourth, his primary love interest is the leader of the enemy faction and he has to not only kill her, but also the fact she deliberately threw the duel. Fifth, he is appalled by the sheer lethargy the Federation suffers from when they had a genuine chance to attack Zeon. He does a very good job getting over the various problems with only short instances of depression, but in the end he finally his the breaking point. Bright Noah uses a reverse Brightslap to get him out of it.
Alternate Character Interpretation: Judau's simply very good at hiding his angst and not letting it affect those around him. Note his actions at the end of the series: rather than go back to his beloved home colony of Shangri-La, he hightails it to Jupiter, as far away from Earth as humanly possible.
Tobia Arronax continues the tradition in the UC 0130s, being one of the more well-adjusted characters in the Universal Century. As an interesting sidenote, Judau as Grey Stoke also makes an appearance around this time period and seemingly unchanged from his ZZ days, although there are signs that he hasn't quite gotten over some of the trauma.
Paula Sis of After War Gundam X. For context, she lost her parents when so young that she cannot remember their faces, and has been raised by what amounts to an armed rebel group. After this group is wiped out, she sheds a few tears, but almost instantly bounces back to her usual cheery self. One would think she would react a bit more strongly to the loss of everyone she had ever held dear in her life.
Edward of Fullmetal Alchemist fame has relatively little angst given that at age 11 he lost 2 limbs and was exposed to Things Man Was Not Meant to Know in an effort to bring one of his parents back to life, which comes out wrong. He half-believes that he has condemned his brother to a Fate Worse than Death, and in order to correct this joins the military, despite knowing that they previously used people with powers like his to commit genocide. That's all in the prologue. Someone like that should be worrying less about angst and more about if they have any sanity points left.
His brother as well. To sum up: His father leaves, mother dies, and they decide to bring her back. This fails, and he's temporarily trapped in the screwed up body that they ended up making and loses his body to the Truth. Al then blocks the Truth from his memory out of shock, taking away the good (clappable transmutation) that was supposed to come with the bad. His brother manages to bring back his soul and attach it to a suit of armor, leaving him unable to sleep, eat, feel, and all around keeping him from leading a normal life. Al blames himself for all of this. Now, once we start on the main storyline, well, let's just say that things didn't get any better from there.
One of the most significant changes to the 2003 anime version was throwing out this trope, much to the chagrin of many manga purists. To this day, the prospect of whether or not this change was good or bad remains a staple of any discussion between the two camps.
Saito of Zero no Tsukaima. He is trapped in a world which is the complete opposite of his own, demoted to something akin to a dog, whipped and beaten by his tsundere mistress Louise, for who he gave up his only chance to return to Earth. His reaction? To drool over other girls' tits, even though he's been beaten black and blue for it.
This is eventually, partially,Justified in the light novel: the familiar's seal Saito was given suppressed his inclination for homesickness (which makes sense ...). When Tifania removes the seal, his reaction was all the Angst bottled up for about a year. He does get better.
Gohan of Dragon Ball Z. Four years old, kidnapped by screaming crazies twice in one day, learning second-hand that his father was dead, gets abandoned in the wilderness for months, then goes through Training from Hell until he develops what a particularly cruel critic might identify as Stockholm Syndrome. He then loses a father figure in a hideous battle against space aliens, battles some more space aliens in an attempt to revive him, loses biological father again when he gets lost in space and won't come home and doesn't tell anyone why. Biological father finally comes home a year and a half later, they go through three more years of Training from Hell (four, if you count the time chamber) and then Dad dies again and decides to stay dead. This is six or seven years of consistent, repeated emotional trauma, yet Gohan never stops acting like a happy, well-adjusted little nerd boy. ...Except for that whole "Saiyaman" phase...
Vegeta counts as well, at least in the beginning. When he first hears of his home world's demise and near-extinction of his race as a child in the Bardock special, he brushes off the message and continues eating from one of the corpses he killed. And then there's his reaction to Raditz's death, where he says "Meh. He deserved it." However this might be a subversion: when he first dies at the hands of Freeza he begs Goku to avenge their race, meaning that deep down he might have cared about the Saiyans' demise.
Goku himself counts in the early chapters of the original Dragon Ball. He doesn't appear overly concerned that the adopted grandfather who raised him got squashed flat by a weremonkey, leaving him, a small child, alone in the woods without human companionship until Bulma comes by.
Borderline case: Allen Walker of D.Gray-Man. The universe has put him through an incredible amount of crap, including Parental Abandonment, the death of his surrogate father, his turning said surrogate father into an Akuma because he didn't know any better, his freaky left arm going berserk and re-killing Akuma!Mana after he got his face slashed up, getting adopted by an abusive Trickster Mentor who smacks him around and leaves him to pay debts upward of tens of thousands of dollars, and then having to find the Black Order headquarters with absolutely no clue where it was, and no help from Cross, who knocked him out and left so he wouldn't have to report back to his bosses. And that's just the backstory. Despite all this, and the fact that his disfigured left eye makes him see the tortured soul of every Akuma he comes across, he's cute and perpetually cheerful, and while he does get upset about some of what happens during the series, he always defaults back to his usual Wide-Eyed Idealist self eventually.
The whole Fourteenth Noah thing and all the crap he got out of that, as well as what happened when he stabbed himself in the chest with his BFS.(It Makes Sense in Context, we swear.) Also nearly dying about... what? 10 times?
Subverted with Lenalee. She seems to be a Pollyanna on par with Allen at first... and then we find out that she's a Stepford Smiler who hates and resents the Black Order for ruining her life. The only reason she fights is to protect her friends.
Now and Then, Here and There takes this to its logically absurd extreme, but probably for the better. Shu is quickly abducted from his world and his main beef with the new world is its war. For eleven episodes, his abduction doesn't faze him in the least and any mention of "Earth" is mere background information or due to the introduction of Sara Ringwalt. He returns to Earth in episode thirteen and—that's all. Fortunately, almost everyone else in the show balances out his vacuous optimism.
Characters on Yu-Gi-Oh 5Ds who have lived most if not all their lives on the poverty-stricken streets of Satellite claim they've gotten used to dealing with pain and hardship, explaining why they spend less time angsting than you'd expect.
Fate of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, rather than being emotionally devastated by her mentor and mother figure, Linith, disappearing as a result of fulfilling her contract with Precia, feels mostly gratitude toward her, and Fate only regrets that her training was the only thing Linith could do for Precia. Unfortunately, this marks the point where Precia goes from being cold and distant to actually physically and emotionally abusive.
This is one of the more notable traits of the series in general. Several protagonists have Dark And Troubled Pasts, but they tend to have very little angst in the present. Dark Magical Girls like Fate and Lutecia overcome their tragic circumstances and become much happier after being befriended. Nanoha herself loves being a magical girl, despite how dangerous and difficult it is. No matter how daunting the opposition, she never once wavers or bemoans her situation, and the only time in the series she broke down was when Vivio was kidnapped. Even then, she didn't let it affect her performance. All in all, Nanoha is refreshingly light on angst. Well, up until Force, anyway.
Arguably Ichise from Texhnolyze. He grows up as an ostracized outsider, works as a fighter in an underground ring, has his limbs cut off, has to go through the agonising pain of learning to use new limbs, watches his entire world deteriorate, realizes that the entire human race is effectively dead, and then watches the only human he actually has a connection to have their head stuck on the body of his enemy. He goes a little insane in the very last episode, but apart from that, he copes a little too well...
That said, in context of his character, irreversible mental scarring would only show as more stoic expressionlessness. Still, seriously, dude...
When he and his mother discovered his father's dead body he didn't show any emotion and looked surprised when he saw his mother crying at the sight.
07-Ghost: After having had his country invaded and everyone he knew, including his adoptive father, murdered while still a small child, being made a combat slave and forced to kill people daily for training during years and seeing his only friend die after having been possessed by the man who killed his father Teito Klein holds himself remarkably well. He still angsts once in a while, but who wouldn't in his place?
Seras Victoria from Hellsing. She's unnaturally cheerful, upbeat, and goofy for someone who's had all of her police partners killed, was nearly raped and killed by a vampire and then is actually turned into one. Also, during her childhood her father was murdered by burglars, her mother hiding her in a cupboard to protect her, and her mother was immediately murdered by the same burglars. Seras tries to exact revenge by stabbing one of the guys in the eye with a fork. She gets shot for her trouble and one of the perpetrators proceed to rape her mother's corpse, due to it being "still warm". In full view of Seras who lies on the ground bleeding profusely watching it happen and unable to do anything to stop it.
It was actually because of this that Alucard had the interest in turning her into a Vampire, that she would still wish to live even after being through all of that.
Oz Vessalius from Pandora Hearts seems to be perky and optimistic no matter what life throws at him. And said life keeps a good record by hurling issues of Parental Hate, a tick tock of death, and being the barrier lad at him. Even after stabbing his best friend, being sent into the Abyss, and being attacked by Chains, Oz is able to joke around and happily eat cookies.
Oz is really more of a Stepford Smiler. In flashbacks we see that he borderline hates himself, and has many deep seated emotional issues stemming from his father's neglect and derision that he just covers up with a smile. That's actually why none of the horrible events in the series really get to him (unless it hurts Alice) at this point he just doesn't care anymore. One time his control snaps and he just takes all of the B-Rabbit's power and begins wandering around arbitrarily destroying things and laughing.
Deconstructed with Elmer Albatross from Baccano!!, whose perpetually cheery attitude in the face of everything and blithe expectation that everyone else will act the same comes across to other characters as callous and sometimes downright creepy.
The light novels also subvert it with Firo. While he initially seems pretty chill about aquiring the Ghost Memory of a 300-year-old villain, the mask eventually cracks after a couple of years and he admits that he's not only confused and disgusted by some of the things that he remembers, but also terrified that Szilard's sadism will eventually become his own.
In Sailor Moon, a lot of the characters have Parental Abandonment issues. Makoto was orphaned at a young age when her parents both died in a plane crash, and a car crash took Mamoru's. Neither of them are seen angsting about that, though Mamoru does have some outstanding issues with the amnesia it left him with that are resolved as part of the first story arc. In the anime, Rei's apparently missing parents aren't explained, though in the manga, she's an exception - her Married to the Job father is much hated by her for letting her mother wither away and die while he was on a business trip.
The manga does have a side story which shows that Makoto still has issues from her parents' deaths, namely that she panics and hides behind the curtains if she even sees an airplane on the television. At one point in the story, she passionately declares that having her friends at her house for dinner makes her so happy, given how her own parents died and left her alone so much. (Given the artwork and reactions though, it's partially played for laughs).
Usagi herself doesn't seem to angst much when confronting the first Big BadQueen Metalia, who was responsible for the death of her and everyone she cared about in her previous life. In fact, in either version, the only one of the Senshi that displays any anger towards Metalia or Beryl is Minako, the case with the latter is justified since she's the only one of the senshi when they confront Beryl in the manga that regained her memories from their previous life. Everyone else, in both versions, there's no excuse.
In the anime, Naru experiences the death of her first love as he is impaled in front of her and bleeds to death in her arms. Furthermore, because he wasn't even human and his body apparently disintegrated on death, she can't confide in pretty much anyone (including her family). While she clearly reacts to this in the episode itself and two episodes later its shown she was out of school to grieve, she resolves it rather quickly at the end of that episode and is pretty much her old self again.
Furthermore, considering Naru is such a common monster victim that even the show mocked it, that she's not in an insane asylum is impressive.
Juudai/Jaden Yuki from Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. That kid is insane. Until season 3, he laughs at everything. At the end of season 2, while he's fighting the epitome of evil, with nothing but a children's card game standing in the way of the destruction of the universe, he still tries to convince Evil Sartorius that card games are all about fun.
In the manga, however, he's never quite as innocent as in the early anime, but he never gets as broken as in the late anime. He's seen his friend and dueling idol, Koyo, go into a coma, had to once fight a duel with Sho/Syrus in which either he would lose his deck or Sho would get expelled, and has had to fight several Shadow Duels over the course of the series. He angsts over his issues when he takes the time to reflect on them.
Yokaiden takes this trope Up to Eleven. The main character, Hamachi, had his parents die when he was just a little kid and was sent to live with his Grandma, who appeared to hate Hamachi and calls him demon-spawn. A creature whose life he saved then kills his Grandma, so Hamachi goes on a quest to track down the creature. How does he deal with all this? By cheerfully treating it like one big adventure.
The manga version of Kanamemo starts with Kana's grandmother dying and her running away thinking she is going to be taken away like the furniture. After the first chapter it doesn't really get mentioned again. The anime throws a realistic amount in though.
It seems that every high school student and elementary school kid in Detective Conan is completely unfazed by witnessing grisly murder scenes almost every day.
Even bystanders and single-arc characters who would logically be less desensitized to trauma have often just lost someone and tend to describe horrific personal events with uniform slightly worried faces.
Sera: "That reminds me, you said that the victim had a lot of things going on earlier. What did you mean by that?"
Most of the cyborgs of Gunslinger Girl have their memories or their pre-Agency lives erased in order to remove the pain of past traumas (or make them easier to control, if you're cynical). Rico is unique in that she has full recollection of her time before she was given over to the Agency - which was not in itself a happy experience, with years crippled by birth defects and beset by quarrelling parents - and is not at all troubled by years wasted in a hospital bed or being possessed by the Agency and used as a killing machine.
In SHUFFLE!, Rin hardly reacts at all to both his parents dying, in contrast to Kaede, who went into a Heroic BSOD and nearly died after losing her mother in the same car accident.
Justified for being Played for Laughs, but the nations of Axis Powers Hetalia shrug off being shot in the head, tortured, abducted, and having the shit beat out of them pretty well. It's pretty heavily averted with the depiction of the American Revolution (both England and America were very upset by it, and it's implied that they still are) and the webcomic's depiction of the first Sino-Japanese War (after Japan attacks China, China is seen crying in a bar, telling Russia how much he misses Japan). This trope is played very straight in Paint It, White!, where the nations are clearly upset at the sight of their major landmarks being attacked by the aliens, but promptly begin bickering when they try to fight together. Also, while they were all very panicked and upset while being turned into Noppera, upon being turned back, they act like the entire thing never happened.
In "Black Butler", Finny's backstory includes him being locked in a stone room and experimented on for an undetermined amount of time. The amount of times he complains about this? ZERO. Every character with a Dark and Troubled Past is subject for this except for Ciel. Ciel's other servants are a mild example, as well as Madam Red and the circus kids.
Grell as well, to some. She's a M-t-F transsexual and everyone in the series is rude towards her (including using male pronouns constantly). She doesn't seem to care at all, though.
Subverted with Mikasa in Attack on Titan: when it looks like Eren was devoured by a Titan, everybody expects her to freak out (knowing how close they are), but instead, she quickly collects herself and rallies the surviving soldiers to a counterattack against the Titans. Very soon, however, it becomes obvious that far from shrugging it off, Mikasa instead went straight to the Death Seeker stage of grief and her "counterattack" is basically a Self Destructive Charge in order to at least die fighting.
A story in X-Men featured a villain trying to psychically possess Jean Grey's corpse. To stop her, Cyclops secretly had Jean's body dug up and replaced with somebody else's. Oddly, despite all the truckloads of Wangst that Cyke has had about Jean's death over the years, digging up her corpse didn't seem to disturb him that much. He got over it in about two pages.
In Runaways, six teenagers discover that their parents are supervillains and have to go on the run. They handle it remarkably well, barely complaining about being betrayed. But there are hints dropped that they've been traumatized like real teenage runaways — they just show it less. (Their motto is that no adult, ever, is to be trusted, and some of the kids — especially Karolina and Molly — approach Stepford Smiler territory in the early issues.)
The use of this in comics was lampshaded by Karolina and Xavin when the team is indulging in some (mostly appropriate) angst after Gert's death where Xavin points out that Karolina's homeworld and at least one Skrull colony world have all but been destroyed in a war the two of them failed to stop and everyone is angsting more about the death of one girl instead of two whole worlds.
The reactions actually vary. In one Tear Jerker moment, it is shown that Molly has dreams about the entire series being All Just a Dream and that her parents are alive and good. Gert suspected from a young age that her parents were capable of sinister things. Nico goes into shock after seeing her parents are dark magicians and Alex has to snap her out of it. Karolina and Molly flat out refuse to believe it at first as does Chase though his case might have something to do with taking the blame for his dad's abusive treatment to him.
Lady Blackhawk of Birds of Prey is mind controlled in a squick-inducing fashion by a villain. When one of her teammate later suggests that she should seek therapy, Lady Blackhawk responds that breaking the villain's face was all the therapy she needed.
Beast Boy/Changeling (DC Comics) spent most of his life as a glutton for punishment. Details aside, most people tend to assume he's miserable and pity him. In Geoff Johns' Teen Titans, he makes it clear that the problems in his life don't bother him nearly as much as they think; but what he can't stand is when people feel sorry for him.
Strong Guy of X-Factor is one of the "hurts on the inside" variety. He's always cracking jokes, despite emotional pain and physical pain (because of the way his powers warped his body).
Static of the Milestone Comics was created in an attempt of capturing a more modern interpretation of Spider-Man. Virgil carries similarly wit and banter but none of the angst. He becomes a Super Hero, not because of dead parents or to follow in his mentor's footsteps. He does it just because he knows right from wrong.
The animated series plays with it a bit more. Virgil still is a superhero because of a sense of justice, but he also occasionally angsts over his dead mother, who he only just remembers and misses, at least until a Time Travel episode.
In Superman Family #165, Krypto the Superdog travels through time and emerges in the past, almost immediately transformed into a cow (thanks to some Red Kryptonite). He finds himself milked, and he gets so upset over his situation he knocks a lamp over, causing a fire. Krypto soon turns back to normal and leaves the farm, only to overhear the farmer calling for Mrs. O'Leary. It is that moment that Krypto realises that he traveled to the beginning of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. Krypto's reaction upon realising that he's the one who caused the greatest fire in history? "Well, I'll fly back to my own time-era!"
In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW) the Cutie Mark Crusaders don't seem to think being fillynapped by a monstrous Queen is a big deal. Also Fluttershy is gleefully fascinated by two creatures fighting over the right to eat her and her friends.
in Green Lantern: New Guardians, Glomulus is essentially a living construct made my Larfleeze. As in he can dispersed whenever Larfleeze feels like it. Kyle Rayner asks if Glomulus is truly alive or not. Glommy's response? "Glomulus is Glomulus." It's kind of endearing that he can brush off something like that.
Captain Marvel was made of this trope. Billy Batson had his parents murdered when he was around 8 years old, lost his sister, and was given over to his uncle Ebenezer Batson, who was his only living blood relative. Ebenezer only kept Billy around long enough to legally secure the boy's inheritance as his own, and then threw Billy out onto the street, leaving him homeless. But instead of becoming bitter about his circumstances, Billy instead became more empathic to the suffering of others, maintained his positive outlook, and refused to let his bad situation ruin his ideals or his sense of wonder and hope. It was precisely these qualities that made him worthy to wield the power the wizard Shazam bestowed upon him. It's also one reason why many fans dislike the Nu-52 Billy Batson, who has done a complete 180 and is an angry, petulant little brat consumed by Wangst.
In thisGirls und Panzer, fan comic, Miho's reaction to hearing from her mother, Shiho, about her being disinherited (something she has not heard about in canon, even assuming Shiho didn't change her mind in the last episode) is to get somewhat annoyed at Maho and Shiho sneaking onto campus, although the entire issue is Played for Laughs.
Miho: Why are you two here?
Shiho: To tell you about your disinheritance
Miho: Just give it to me and go home already.
Escape from the Hokage's Hat: Naruto like in canon is like this. At least until he realizes the village had multiple blood seals placed on him by the village ninja to limit his growth (mental and physical). Then he ever so slowly comes to the realization of how bad his life is.
"Now while he was embarrassed, Naruto found that he rather enjoyed being tickled by Tsunade. In all honesty this was the most human contact he'd had in his entire life. He promptly shoved that thought aside as it sounded too morbid."
In the Girls und Panzer fic "Of Blood And Steel", this is zig-zagged. Erwin doesn't feel much angst over her father's death from liver failure two years ago, saying that "the pain is largely gone", but is quite bitter over having to move as a result of her mother getting a new job in America. Henrietta's lack of reaction to being ostracized due to being the daughter of a Private Military Contractor is similar to Erwin's glossing over her father's death, saying that she's dealt with it for long enough.
Subverted in A Spark of Genius. Xander doesn't seem terribly bothered about being ripped out of his home dimension and being prevented from returning most of the time, but this is shown to be because he keeps himself too busy to think about it. After his friends manage to contact him (but still can't bring him home), Xander breaks down crying from being reminded of what he's lost. He's broken down a few times since, mostly after a spectacularly bad day or when he's left alone to his thoughts and can't invent something to take his mind off things.
Film - Animated
In Rise of the Guardians, when Jack regains his memories, he learns that he drowned in a frozen pond whilst saving his sister. He proceeds to focus on the fact that he saved his sister, rather than the fact that he died. In one way it makes sense, considering that Jack's purpose is to literally be Fun Personified.
In An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, Fievel's parents really don't seem sad or concerned enough when Fievel falls off the train on their "way out west", leaving him stranded in the middle of the desert and possibly gravely injured. When they get to the town of Green River they're more concerned about where they're going to be living than the whereabouts of their son, handwaving it with something like "He'll find his way here on his own". And when Fievel finally is reunited with them, they're happy, but they don't make a big deal out of it. It's like "Oh, Fievel's lost. It must be Tuesday again." This is probably because executives wanted Fievel Goes West to be Lighter and Softer than the first movie, which had more than enough angst to go around after Fievel got lost.
In Aladdin, the genie says he's been trapped in his lamp for 10,000 years, a fate that would have driven any of us insane with boredom. But he seems fine apart from a "crick in the neck." Although, being a genie, maybe he has ways to amuse himself that we don't. The number of anachronistic jokes he makes over the course of the movie would indicate that at the very least, he doesn't perceive time and space the same way we do.
In Gnomeo and Juliet, Featherstone the flamingo just instantly dives out of his shed and goes bananas with happiness upon being released. He was trapped inside for 20 years. And separated from his lover for all that time.
In Treasure Planet, Silver gives one of the best lines that describes this trope After he left almost all of the treasure behind to save Jim
Silver: "Just a lifelong obsession, Jim. I'll get over it."
Given his expression, he did seem to be internally angsting. The fact that the planet was about to blow up probably contributed to quashing any angst opportunities, as well.
Guard: Um, I've been turned into a cow. Can I go home?
Yzma: You're excused. Anyone else?
Other guards: No, we're good.
Film - Live Action
The Mask of Zorro: Elena quickly getting over how easily Zorro stripped her could count.
In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, we see Sirius die, in a super dramatic, Tear Jerking, gut-wrenching scene. Then we finish the battle. Then we see Harry and Dumbledore have less than a five minute conversation. Harry barely looks upset. That's it for the rest of the series. In the book however, Harry trashes Dumbledore's office and yells at him. He then spends most of the remainder of the year in solitude, until Luna comforts him.
In Goblet of Fire, Barty Crouch is found dead in the woods and... no one cares. It's never mentioned again. Not that his death should inspire all that much angst, but it's a fairly important plot point in the book, and besides, a Ministry official showed up dead in the forest. Someone want to... look into that?
To be fair, side characters don't get to angst about anything at all. Ginny Weasley was possessed by Voldemort multiple times and nearly killed. After that ordeal? Sent back home, not even a checkup with the doctor. Katie Bell was also nearly murdered. Who cares about her? And, of course, Harry himself. kills Quirrel in self-defense at the tender age of eleven. Not a problem.
in a slightly longer time frame, Harry gets over it in less than two months. In both the books and the movies, after finding out that he risked his and his friends' lives and lost Sirius while protecting information that Dumbledore had all along, Harry's back to being all chipper, friendly, and 100% trusting of the Headmaster at the beginning of the following book/film.
Basically, a lot of characters, major and minor, both in the books and the films seem to have no trouble getting over accidents, mutations and near death experiences that should have traumatized them for life or for a very lengthy period of time that would have required a lot of counseling for most people.
In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur Dent watches as everyone he ever loved or cared about (except Trillian) plus the human race destroyed right before his eyes. He is half of the existing human race, with absolutely no hope (at that point) of rebuilding the species or ever going home. All over a bureaucratic snafu by an uncaring galactic government, and he receives absolutely no sympathy from other characters for the genocide of his race. And this is played for laughs. The story rolls on, Dent doesn't seem too broken up about it (it might not have even happened as far as Trillian is concerned) and its all Hand Waved at the end.
The Horror of Party Beach. Less than a month after his girlfriend gets killed by a monster, Hank returns to the very beach she died on and comments to a band member, "Pretty dead tonight, huh, Ron?" They play a spritely tune to get the moods up.
Luke Skywalker of Star Wars, in A New Hope regarding the deaths of his family. What's that you say? He certainly did wangst about Obi-Wan and Darth Vader? No, I don't mean them. I mean Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen. You know, the people who raised him from a baby. Okay, he grieved for them for... 15 seconds screen time? He seemed over it by the time they reached Mos Eisley.
Earlier, Leia watched her entire planet get blown to smithereens before her eyes. Leia's only subsequent (onscreen) comment on the destruction of her home, her family, most of the people she's ever known, everyone she's never known, all that history, all that culture, all those people is "We have no time for our sorrows." Granted, Leia already had a certain amount of time to grieve in her cell, and maybe force herself to put the matter aside for the time being.
She felt the emotions well, felt them threaten to spill out in tears, but she fought it. She was Leia Organa, Princess of the Royal Family of Alderaan, elected to the Imperial Senate, a worker in the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Alderaan was gone, destroyed by Vader and the Death Star; the Imperial Senate was disbanded; the Alliance was outmanned and outgunned ten thousand to one, but she was who she was. She would not cry. She would not cry. She would get even.
There's also a moment in Allegiance when Han, feeling annoyed by Leia and Luke, reminds himself that
Leia had been too busy right then to react much, but ever since Yavin she'd had more than enough time for the grief and horror of her world's destruction to start weighing in. And if it came to that, Luke had had a couple of recent kicks in the teeth, too, what with first losing his aunt and uncle and then watching old man Kenobi get killed right in front of him. The least Han could do was cut them some slack. Both of them.
In Star Wars: Legacy, Luke finally talks about his Aunt and Uncle's deaths to Cade who's in their old home. More or less, at first he wanted to make the Empire pay but knew he couldn't stop and angst about it. Later, when he become a Jedi, he accepted their deaths and knew they're part of the Living Force now, which they are.
In the live-action Transformers movies, Optimus Prime has been criticized by fans for practically not giving a crap when Jazz dies.
In Rebel Without a Cause, Judy falls in love with Jim and seems to forget that her boyfriend died in a horrific car accident not even two hours beforehand.
They Live!. The hero learns that the world is a vast lie created by aliens in human guise that live among us. So he stares one of them in the face and says, "you look like your face fell in the cheese dip back in 1957!"
Also a case of Too Dumb to Live, since he keeps pointing out the aliens, they all start communicating, "I've got one here that can see." Well, at least judging by the ending, we know he's Too Dumb To Live.
Also the time when he ran out of gum...
Subverted in the TV movie of A Wrinkle in Time. Upon getting home, the protagonist is terrified that her mother is more interested in talking about proper nutrition for kids rather than the fact that her children have disappeared for days to fight evil disembodied brains in another dimension. It's also what makes her realize she's just in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
By the end of Face/Off, Eve Archer has been effectively sleeping with Castor Troy (wearing Sean Archer's face), and Jamie has stabbed Castor in the leg - an act which rarely leaves people unscarred in Real Life. This family really should be falling apart any second now - but we are asked to accept this as a Happy Ending.
In Zombieland, Columbus shoots and kills Bill Murray by mistake. He suffers no angst at all about this, but in fairness Bill Murray himself takes it pretty well all things considered. Tallahassee, on the other hand, is in tears.
A minor problem with Mars Attacks!, as the President's daughter is seen at the end, only days after her parents have been killed, presenting Richie with his medal and seems unaffected. She even starts to ask him out. Arguably, Richie himself, who is only briefly affected by the death of his brother.
In 2012, given that something like 99.995% of the world's population died less than a month ago everyone on the arks seems to have got over it rather quickly. Adrian and the President's daughter deserve special mention, flirting carefree just after both their fathers (and presumably the rest of their families) died.
Diamonds Are Forever. The film opens with Bond hunting down his wife's murderer, Big Bad Ernst Stavro Blofeld, with the permission and support of MI6 and apparently getting his revenge by making Blofeld drown headfirst into superheated mud. While that should have given him some satisfaction to help him recover, the fact remains that his wife has just been killed on their wedding day, and yet he's back to his old womanizing and deadpanning days in an instant, even laughing at a few cracks Miss Moneypenny makes about engagement rings. This could be due to the Negative Continuity of the series.
Craig's turn as Bond averts this in a similar situation, however, with Vesper's death at the end of Casino Royale affecting him to a severe extent throughout Quantum of Solace. Bond doesn't sleep, is drinking heavily, and M several times calls him out on his rage over it, before finally letting go at the end of the film.
At the beginning of Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Austin's new wife and heroine of the previous film Vanessa Kensington is almost immediately revealed as a fembot who tries to kill him before Austin soon subdues her. He is initially heartbroken, reflecting on the loss of his first true monogamous love, before realizing he is once more single and free to womanize in a recovery so sudden it's somewhat lampshaded.
Austin: I can't believe Vanessa, my bride, my one true love, the woman who taught me the beauty of monogamy, was a fembot all along...wait a tick. That means I'm single again! OH BEHAVE!
The Room: "I got the results of the test back... I definitely have breast cancer". This is never mentioned again, leading many to just assume the woman is straight-up lying.
In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Elsa is severely traumatized, screaming her head off, as Donovan dies right in front of her eyes due to something she delibarately did, and yet in the next scene she acts as if nothing happened.
In Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Percy's mother is killed right in front of him by a Minotaur. It's later revealed that she's not really dead and is eventually brought back, but during the time he thinks she's really gone, Percy is remarkably blasé about it and just throws himself into learning about his powers and his sea-god father. Admittedly, it's a kids' movie, and a boy breaking down in grief over his mother's death wouldn't be too friendly, but come on.
This trope is half the reason it's considered an In Name Only adaptation by most of the fans, as Percy's entire Character Development in the book involved him mourning his mother, hating the gods for getting her caught up in this, and then gradually coming to accept that there was a bigger picture here and leaving his mother in the underworld because he needs to stop the Olympian War.. Way to miss the point, movie.
Lampshaded and subverted in Last Action Hero when Jack Slater (whose onscreen character plays this trope straight) confides in Daniel: "Let's throw his son off a building. Oh sure, it will give you nightmares for the rest of your life, but you're fiction, so who cares?"
Well, that about does it. I killed my cousin, my heart is broken, my sister's dead. Dammit, I love this job.
Even though the message of Star Trek: Generations was to move on with your life after past failures/tragedies, Picard seems unusually subdued about the fact that the Enterprise was destroyed in his absence. He even picks up a priceless artifact he got from a friend during the series that was completely ruined and sets it aside as if it meant nothing.
It's pretty much justified in that he's The Captain of a military vessel, where this type of event is always a possibility and that he needs to consider his crew's morale.
In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, Robin returns from the Crusades to find his family home repossessed and all his loved ones dead (including his pets). He gets a distressed expression for a second or two and then is off to his life of adventure.
The eponimous heroine of a Danish film "Katja and the falcon" is a 10 years old Danish girl who gets stranded in Rome with no money, no acquaintances, and no knowledge of Italian language. She never reminiscences on her predicament, instead quickly bonding with a bunch of local kids and concentrating on freeing the titular falcon.
In Skyfall, Bond doesn't seem too concerned when Severine was shot, despite saying he would protect her.
Eve was broken up when she initially "killed" Bond but by the time he comes back, she had gotten over it.
Well, Bond had been gone several weeks and Eve was a professional superspy/assassin. It's tough to lose a comrade in arms, but considering the nature of her work, Bond may not have been the first to die with her on the job, and there is some good therapy for people in that line of work simply because it can be so traumatizing at times. It's also worth noting that Eve had taken up a desk job afterwards, meaning she may have been deemed psychologically unfit for field work following the incident.
In "World War Z, a small boy sees both his parent get turned into zombies, try to attack him, and then get gunned down by the military. Despite this he seems mostly unfazed.
Meursault's lack of angst over his mother's death is a major plot point in The Stranger. Plus his lack of angst over his own impending execution.
This was the gimmick of Pollyanna, and is the one thing the book is best remembered for, as witnessed by it lending its name to the term The Pollyanna.
The Outsiders — A gang of boys who get into fights for their life with a rival gang of spoiled rich kids on a daily basis, with no parents, no money, and no angsting allowed. When Ponyboy starts complaining once, Two-Bit tells him to shut up because life isn't fair.
And they could angst outside the scope of the story, since we only see what Ponyboy does. Or they could've just gotten used to how badly life sucks, like the other guy said.
The Picture of Dorian Gray: Gray's fiancée commits suicide. Later that day, he enjoys the opera with his friend. The next day, he claims that he was simply in control of his emotions and, after he had been done with the emotion of sadness, he simply moved on. Leads to a funny conversation with Basil when he accuses him of being kind enough to console him, but showing frustration that he is already consoled.
Peter Pan is legendary for this. Pirates and Indians are fun to read about, and some children would want to have adventures with them. But most children would decide enough was enough after the third time they nearly get killed. The Darlings, by contrast, are having the time of their lives in Neverland, and never wanted to go home until they realized their mother was feeling awful. Not everybody would want to be a kid forever, either — the ending suggests that being eternally young isn't all it's cracked up to be.
The books lay out that part of why Peter is the one child who will never grow up is because of his immaturity. When an older Wendy asks him what happened to Tinker Bell, he has absolutely no memory of her although the Fairy was a loyal companion. She died seasons ago, and faded from Peter's mind to protect him from growing up. Similarly, the longer the Darlings stay in Neverland the harder it gets for them to want to remember their old lives, thus explaining the missing angst. By having Peter avoid getting too angst-filled, it sure does invoke it in the reader.
Teen Angst? Nah... by Ned Vizzini. Sums it up right in the title
She does angst, one time. That one time results in her tears flooding the hallway and her having to swim to safety. Can't blame her for trying to avoid that again.
Eragon of Inheritance Cycle exhibits this in the second book Eldest. It is revealed to him that his father was The Dragon to the Big Bad, and to put it lightly, not a nice person. He gets over this in three paragraphs. He does, however, angst when his uncle dies (for a few chapters, after which he gets over it), when he is told that his father was really his mentor, Brom, and when Murtagh joins the enemy.
There's also Arya, in the first book: in spite of having been, by her own admission, beaten, tortured, and very nearly raped for weeks on end, the biggest reaction we get out of her thereafter is a paragraph of her clenching her jaw a bit as she recounts the events... and after that everything's just peachy.
While Bella Swan of the Twilight series is wangst incarnate, whining about absolutely everything, angsting on how she doesn't deserve to be with someone like Edward or to have a friend like Jacob and gets incredibly depressed whenever Edward leaves her or tries to, she's this in the areas where she really should be. She barely gives a thought to the fact that Edward's a blood-sucking vampire who constantly warns her that her life could be in danger if she gets close to him, or the very real consequences that come with becoming a vampire. Uncontrollable hunger for blood? Loss of human emotions? Who cares? All she wants is to be with Edward forever! (It turns out that she doesn't suffer from the drawbacks of becoming a vampire...for some reason.)
Bella also has a grand total of maybe one or two misgivings about leaving her human family to be with Edward. Considering how she's set up as a loving, sweet daughter who is her mother's best friend and her father's only hope for normalcy, it seems odd that she's willing to live forever without them after they die a mere month or two after meeting Edward. Then again, it quickly becomes evident that she lies to and patronizes her mother every chance she gets.
Bella's father Charlie also seems pretty nonchalant for a guy who's daughter changed overnight from a clumsy, fairly pretty everygirl to a ravishing, completely-in-control model.
In Breaking Dawn, Irina, one of the few vegetarian vampires in the world and an old friend of the Cullens, is brutally murdered by the Volturi, right in front of Bella, and in the name of defending Bella's daughter. Bella spares exactly two thoughts on this sacrifice in the remaining chapters, one of which is on how Irina's sisters must be really depressed about it, and the other on how the day ended perfectly, barring that pesky fact that Irina was brutally murdered.
As we see in Breaking Dawn, imprinting is enough to get a guy to not care that the former love of his life and mother of his new love interest just died violently and bloodily not minutes prior, nor that she is now what he used to consider a soulless monster, nor that she has definitely left him for another man. Never mind that he wanted to kill the girl a minute earlier, nor that she is a newborn baby.
The children in Stephen King's It are much more capable of dealing with supernatural horror than adults; for example, after defeating the Eldritch Abomination in the sewers, Bill, the main character goes home: "After a block or two he begins to walk faster, thinking of supper... and a block or two after that, he begins to whistle." As adults, they're no longer that good in that, so a benevolevent force wipes their memories. A good portion of the novel follows the main characters as adults trying to remember what they did to stop It. When one of the kids, as an adult does remember the full horror of IT, he commits suicide in the bathtub.
This seems to be what King believes kids do all the time with painful memories. In one of his short stories he had a boy trying to get over the fact that one of his friends and his teacher had just been eaten by a tiger in the school toilet in the span of time it took to walk down the hallway. The reader is shown the process, which mostly consists on focusing on all the trivial posters on the walls. There was also the Library Policeman's protagonist, though it was made pretty clear the angst from getting raped as a kid left its marks on his adult self.
In the universe of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Hobbits have this quality, mental resiliency. Their ability to shake their troubles and get past horrible experiences is often mentioned. One example is Merry and Pippin strolling around in Fangorn forest being curious about their surroundings and seemingly with hardly a care in the world. This after they've been abducted for the purpose of torture (and watched their friend die trying to save them), been handled roughly to say the least by the uruk-hai, and nearly been killed in a battle.
It seems like Aragorn is referencing this trope (and not just the one about hobbits being Big Eaters) when he finds the site of their escape a few days later, figures out that whoever escaped stopped in the middle of a battlefield to have a snack before making their move, and says something along the lines of, "Welp, I'm going to go ahead and say it was hobbits."
One could argue that the expression of emotional turmoil is written between the lines, more so in the context of their actions than anything else. This sorta hits home once you read "The Sea-Bell" and realise Frodo is still suffering years after he returned to the shire. Frodo is probably one of the best written examples of a Hurting Hero.
During Merry's healing in Return of the King, Merry indeed mentions that hobbits deal with turnoil by trying to react as if all is mostly well. Given his conversation with Aragorn, it works.
In another Lord of the Rings example, King Théoden is as calm about the recent death of his son Théodred as if it had happened years ago. The fact that The Movie adds a scene of him heart-breakingly mourning his son is considered Adaptation Distillation by some.
Also, the Rohirrim tend to be kinda Viking about the whole 'death in battle' thing. "Hail the victorious dead!" is again movie continuity only, but it's definitely true to the essence of the culture.
Similarly, in Watership Down it is noted that the rabbits, like humanity, are well suited to weathering disaster and moving on quickly. (As they should be. Rabbits are prey animals. Getting eaten is what they do.)
In Treasure Island, Jim Hawkins's father dies in about the second chapter. This is the last mention of him; from then on Jim's too busy having an adventure to grieve.
The Pevensies had a rather severe case of this trope. Their home is being bombed, and they're living with a stranger to get away from the fighting. They've stumbled upon another world, and Lucy's friend there has been kidnapped. They then find out that they're part of an ancient prophecy that involves going back into a warzone. Their first response is essentially a cheery, "Great, where do we sign up?"
Then, in Prince Caspian, the once-kings-now-kids seem to have had no trouble readjusting to being children in London after spending (at least) fifteen years as royalty in a magic land. Once they are transported back, they seem none the worse after figuring out that its been a thousand years in Narnia and all their old friends are dead. And once they rescue Trumpkin and find out what's happening, they rush off to help rescue Caspian, with no thought of getting their old thrones back.
The recent movies dealt with these issues much more realistically. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, they initially try to get out of the prophesied roles, but are forced to stay when Edmund goes missing and are hesitant to accept the positions for a long time. In Prince Caspian, they are still angsting about being treated as kids again (Peter being the worst), and when Caspian does summon them, Peter immediately tries to fill his old role again, clashing with Caspian.
Lucy and Susan also cry a lot in the scenes in which Aslan is murdered and they see Mr. Tumnus has been turned to stone (both are quite understandable, especially the death scene). The first scene was from the book, where we are told that the girls cry while watching, but the second scene in the book is very cheerful, with Mr. Tumnus being found when there is no question that Aslan can revive him.
Arguably the use of the White Witch reappearing in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as Edmund's worst fear qualifies, seeing as the kid's still haunted by his experiences in the first movie (which include being drugged, tricked, kidnapped, tied up, nearly murdered, being stabbed in the stomach by the White Witch, and going through the whole thing knowing that it was because of his greed and selfishness that he was in the mess to begin with, putting himself, his family, and Narnia all in danger). Eustace, on the other hand, handles being turned into a dragon and back remarkably well. The movie has him that way for longer which could possibly justify him being used to it, but then he goes through even more traumatic things that way, such as being impaled with a sword and fighting a sea serpent.
Played with in The Magician's Nephew. While Diggory spends much of the book justifiably angsting over his sick and dying mother, he takes traveling to new worlds and fighting a witch pretty well. Uncle Andrew subverts this when he's thrown into the world of magic, and it's played for laughs.
Subverted in The Silver Chair, when we see that for the brief periods of time he becomes sane and free of his enchantment, Prince Rilian does nothing but try to free himself and cry over his memories of Narnia. When he sees an opportunity to escape via Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum, he's so desperate that he resorts to violent threats.
For a completely realistic, thoughtful and adult portrayal of how humans deal with life-threatening danger, try Lewis' Space Trilogy, ironically written prior to Narnia. C. S. Lewis was a veteran of World War I.
Jeb Batchelder in Maximum Ride has every reason to angst — his son dies, twice, once practically in his arms, his daughter would gladly kill him if given the chance, and he regularly gets slapped around by his superiors — and yet he never says a word.
It could be that he just can't, given that he's working with insane scientists who would probably do all sorts of nasty stuff to him. He does get really upset during both of the times when Ari dies and it was mentioned that the clone of Max makes him very upset.
In The Dresden Files novel Small Favor, Murphy points out that Harry is a basket case for good reason — Lash's Heroic Sacrifice, taking a bullet for him, would be tramatic — and he shouldn't expect to live up to this trope.
Harry does show regret for what happened to Lash; he talks to Michael about it several months later. Also, Susan's being almost turned into a vampire shocks Harry so badly he's a complete mess for a whole year before he tries putting his life in order again.
In Holly Lisle's Fire in the Mist, Faia (the main character) leaves town for a bit and soon returns to find that everyone she ever knew is dead, from plague. She promptly freaks out and nukes the entire town with her latent magic abilities. About three days later she considers suicide. So it's a subversion, right? Wrong. About one day later, we find this quote: "And indeed, she felt happy. Or, if not exactly happy, then free at last of the dark burden of [her hometown's] annihilation." After that, the horrible events are never ever mentioned again, and Faia never angsts or even thinks about it. So Lisle was smart enough to give Faia some real pain, but then she erased that pain pretty quickly. Ask anyone: emotional pain of that scale doesn't heal in just a couple days.
Beautifully lampshaded and Justified in The Death of the Vazir Mukhtar, when, after a fair share of Wangst prior to the departure from St. Petersburg, Griboyedov, the main character, first calms down and then stops at a small hut on his way to Tiflis. He suddenly realizes that he is happy - because a man can't really be unhappy all the time and that there is more to a person than just grandiose plans, love and misery.
Berry, the adopted daughter of Anton Zilwicki in Honor Harrington has this as a defining character trait. So much so that virtually every person she knows comments on how 'intrinsically sane' she is in the face of the horrors she's been through.
"They might rape me? Well, I've been raped before."
In the fourth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the character Phil remains quite upbeat for a guy who is working in a lumbermill, is paid with coupons, and has gum for lunch every day. When his leg is crushed, he says, "Well, this isn't too bad. My left leg is broken, but at least I'm right-legged." Somebody comments, "Gee, I thought he'd say something more along the lines of 'Aaaaah! My leg! My leg!'"
On the other hand, subverted with the protagonists. Also subverted with the Quagmires, who are clearly screwed up after being held captive by Olaf for some time.
Subverted by a number of other characters (Olivia, Kit Snicket, Fiona, etc) who clearly are suffering from various incidents and circumstances, a good many of which are unknown to the protagonists and the readers. The narrator himself spends a good portion of the books angsting about various things that have happened to him.
Arthur Dent in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as mentioned above. He has an even worse time of things in the the books than the movie; Earth is destroyed more than once. Admittedly, in the books his feelings on all the terrible things that seem to happen to him are explored a bit more fully, and he does occasionally get something like impatient sympathy from Trillian or Ford. But mostly, everything that happens seems to be nothing but a big joke at his expense.
There's a sequence that plays with this right after he hears the news. It seems trying to imagine everyone on earth is gone is just too big a thought for his head to contain. Instead he worries about little things like Nelson's Column and the permanent end of the US dollar. When he realizes there are no more McDonald's hamburgers, he passes out and wakes up sobbing for his mother.
Speaking of Ford... Let's see. His father died of shame because he (Ford) never learned to pronounce his own real name. This is explained in a footnote. He spends fifteen years trapped on Earth, one of the most boring places in the universe for a traveler to be, kept away from everyone and everything he knows and loves. He regularly gets drunk and staggers around outside looking for spaceships and saying "I'm trying, I'm trying" to people who tell him to go home. Arthur was probably the only real friend he made and kept during this time, as he was the only person he bothered to rescue from the Vogons. Not much is made of any of this.
Imagine that every child in the world and a not-insignificant chunk of the adult population vanishes in a single instant. This being a billion or so people (not counting the collateral deaths) with no plausible explanation, you'd probably be terrified, shell-shocked, if not suicidal. It's unusual then, that in Left Behind everyone manages to continue running the world so quickly afterward — with governments and airlines and such remaining unaffected.
Also, the phone company endures all that and the onset of nuclear war, maintaining flawless cellular reception to a degree they can barely manage in reality.
It's fairly well justified by Huck's outlook on life. He thinks he's going to hell, he's never known his mother, and he seems to treat his father with a kind of patronizing forbearance. It's also worth noting he keeps a careful distance from most adults, but immediately latches on tightly to Jim, a common occurrence with children of his background.
"Now my dears," said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, "you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor."
In Sharon Creech's The Wanderer Sophie, a 13 years old girl is sailing in a small boat across the Atlantic, with her two cousins (both also 13) and three uncles. The story is given to us as her and Cody's (one of the cousins) diaries. When they are caught by a nasty storm, Cody whines in his diary about how he was a bad son and how hopeless their situation is. Sophia whines... about how the uncles won't let her do a real job, like climbing masts during the storm. Then this gets Double Subverted when Cody reveals Sophhie has regular nightmares, which she doesn't mention in her diary. However, they aren't about their current predicament, which Sophie describes (and sees) purely matter-of-factly. She is flashing back to another such storm that she survived, but which killed her biological parents, though Sophie has no conscious memory of this. It is THAT storm that scares Sophie, not the current danger.
In Those nearby by A. Afanas'ev, Sofa, an alien girl with psychic powers, is Brought Down to Normal and captured by the Big Bad, along with the main protagonist. When they are interrogated, Sofa's snarky comments drive the Big Bad nuts. His threats of violence (including thinly veiled torture threats) have no effect on her, even though she clearly takes them for real. She even misses her chance to escape when doing so would leave the protagonist alone.
Ninevah "Nin" Redstone From Caro King's Seven Sorcerers series is a glaring example. Sure, she shows lots of fear when things are actually threatening... but the moment the danger is gone, she immediately reverts to being a cheerful and carefree Plucky Girl.
Mistress Commander Angharad Godkin in Flight of the Godkin Griffin gets beaten nearly to death and gang raped by half-human monsters and her only reaction is to get mildly irritated about a potential pregnancy screwing up her family bloodlines. Oh, and she utterly wipes out the mountain pards responsible for creating their monster children
Played with in the case of Lisbeth Salander. On the one hand, she has been deeply marked by her terrible childhood experiences, but on the other hand, this has made her pretty much impervious to any later trauma. Her reaction to being brutally raped and tortured for an entire night is to very calmly get revenge, and then move on without any sign of being hurt by it. Her reaction to being shot in the head and buried alive is likewise to get revenge, and then function pretty much exactly as she has always done. Then again, she spends most of the series borderline insane, so...
Averted in the case of Miriam Wu, who suffered from nightmares after being kidnapped and threatened with a chainsaw by Ronald Niedermann.
Other characters seem to have reasonable immediate reactions to trauma, and go into shock or have delayed reactions quite realistically, but do not seem to have any permanent mental scars from their experiences. Considering everything Mikael has gone through by the end of the trilogy, this is quite extraordinary.
The main heroine of Luise Indiewelt is an 11 years old girl who, true to her name (which means "In the world"), travels the world in search of her father, and is not stopped by things like being kidnapped or having no money left.
The only thing that seems to make Peeta Mellark angst in The Hunger Games is being hijacked by the Capitol. And even that is the result of brainwashing targeted to make people frightened and anguished. The list of things he shows no signs of angsting over include having killer wasps dropped on him while sleeping, taking a sword to the leg, nearly dying of sepsis, being forced to listen to someone being slowly chewed to death over several hours, having his leg amputated and finding out the girl he loves only pretended to love him back. And that's just from the first book. By the end of the series the list also includes having to go back in the arena, nearly dying from electrocution, killing people, losing his entire family in a bomb raid, being tortured, being forced to watch and listen to others being tortured, deciding to give up his own life so that the girl he loves can be with another guy, and being severely burned. Even his nightmares are mostly about losing Katniss and not about the horrors he's lived through.
Not to mention getting reaped in the first place. Katniss angsts quite a bit over having to participate in the Games while Peeta seems perfectly okay, aside from shedding a few tears while saying goodbye to his family.
Gale doesn't spend much time angsting either. Not even when he's been flogged within an inch of his life.
In The Will of the Empress, Sandry annuls the marriage of an abused woman named Gudruny who was forced into marriage many years ago, and who was so desperate she risked hiding in Sandry's wardrobe to beg for release. In Real Life, long-term abuse survivors have a lot of emotional problems to work through after they escape, but Gudruny turns from "battered wife" to "motherly dispenser of wisdom" almost overnight, with no apparent ill effects.note Although the setting does have "mind healers" who seem able to magically treat emotional problems and some mental illness, there is no mention of Gudruny ever visiting one.
At the start of A Clash of Kings, Tyrion offers his condolences to Joffrey over the loss of his supposed father. Joffrey has to be reminded of the loss. Justified in that Joffrey is a sociopath, was never close to his father, and the death of Robert led to his ascension as king, which he is thrilled about. It's hinted that he may have seen the Hound as something of a surrogate father figure, albeit still an emotionally distant one and one that Joffrey could casually abuse. He doesn't show much grief when the Hound takes off without a word (other than "fuck the king") either, though.
In Dinoverse Janine and Patience are the two characters who react to being torn away from their bodies and becoming very inhuman dinosaurs with basically acceptance and no regret or worry about it, in strict contrast with their companions.
Live Action TV
Star Trek tends to have this as a result of the Reset Button. In a typical episode, Picard experiences the planet he grew up on destroyed and everyone he loved killed via implanted memories. There's a brief shot at the end when he looks sad, but then it's like it never happened.
Ronald Moore said that the episode was sort of an accident. They were just concerned with making a good hour long story (and it is considered one of the best of the series) and didn't realize until it aired just how traumatized Picard should have been afterwards. They resolved to make a few continuity nods and then just continue.
Captain Kirk was pretty bad about this, too. The most grating example had to be in "Operation: Annihilate" where Kirk's only brother and his sister-in-law died horribly, leaving their young son an orphan, only a week after Edith Keener's death. Not only does the episode end with on a bright, chipper note but we never even find out what happened to Kirk's nephew.
Some of this could go down to his being The Captain who has a job to do. He simply can't let his personal feelings show to his crew or interfere with his duty. However, the fact that Spock being blinded seemed to upset him more than the death of his brother certainly qualifies.
The whole crew is like this. Over the seasons, various members have been mindwiped, tortured, killed, mind raped, and so on. None of it ever gets mentioned later.
In an alternate future episode, Earth has been destroyed by the Xindi, but everyone seems fine with it. Archer feels sad for about a minute.
Interestingly, Soval, despite being a Vulcan, seems genuinly sad about Admiral Forrest's death. For about an episode. Of course as a Vulcan, the fact that it lasted that long is really saying something.
Hoshi is Mind Raped by the Xindi Reptilians but suffers for no more than an episode after this.
Robert: You're going to have to live with this a long, long time, Jean-Luc.
The TNG episode "The Wounded" introduced Chief O'Brien's former CO, Captain Maxwell, whose wife and children were killed During the War with the Cardassians. Picard believes Maxwell's current unauthorized attacks on Cardassian ships are motivated by vengeance, but O'Brien insists Maxwell remained stoic and in good humour after his family's deaths and he must have a good reason for attacking the Cardassians. Turns out they're both right.
Averted, though, in Star Trek: Voyager, at least with the overall premise of the series — Janeway, in particular, suffers from Break the Cutie syndrome through most of the series' run, going from a wide-eyed scientist to a hardened warrior in mind-bogglingly short order.
In the second episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Xander and Willow's so-called best friend gets turned into a vampire, and Xander is forced to slay him. Neither Xander nor Willow seem that affected by this event, especially over the long term. Said friend is never mentioned again; in fact some people (like the original writer of this entry) couldn't even remember his name (it's Jesse). Worse, this was their first exposure to the fact that vampires are real. The situation might have been different if the development plans for Jesse had come through, since a proposed line was for him to become a recurring, unapologetic vampire opponent (like vamp!Xander and vamp!Willow in the Wishverse).
It does affect Xander, if slightly. He never admits it, but it's there. He has a larger hate-on for vampires than the rest of the cast, even hating the good ones (Angel and later Spike). He is much more kill-it-now with vamps as well.
While there is plenty of angst throughout both Buffy and Angel, mostly from the two title characters, the usage of this trope is about equal to those instances; everyone is almost indifferent to anything less than an Apocalypse, most commonly reacting to endless threats against their lives and the lives of everyone around them with bad jokes. This is also probably a major reason why Season 6 of Buffy was so despised, as Xander leaving Anya and Dawn shoplifting were given more attention and handringing from The Scoobies than mass murder and mayhem.
Companions in Doctor Who run the gamut in how well they cope with their adventures, from Action Girl to The Scream. The companions who freak when they're running from homicidal Daleks would seem to be more realistic than the ones who stand and fight (not to mention saner), but the fans always prefer the ones who don't angst. Realistic or not, which one do you want to spend a half-hour watching?
Matthew Waterhouse (Adric) thinks this was the reason the show treated much of the universe as a Throw-Away Country after its destruction in "Logopolis" - there was no way to deal with the implications of what had happened, and the characters' participation (however unwitting) in it, without derailing the show. (The third option would have been not to have such a huge catastrophe in the first place.)
Nyssa, who was from that part of the universe, is visibly choked up, her voice breaking (or shaking with suppressed rage, its hard to tell which) when watching Traken's destruction. After that, events moved with enough speed and desperation that she wouldn't have had a chance to emotionally break down until the end of the story arc, at which point she presumably did her mourning offstage in the time gap between episodes. It's also entirely in-character for Nyssa to not go around emotionally freaking out... unlike some of the more higher-strung Companions, Nyssa's hat was being the calm and intelligent one.
Series 5 falls victim to this - Amy displays a blase attitude towards adventuring, danger, and her fiancé's safety. This is especially blatant after the previous regime's more realistic depiction of extreme trauma. On the other hand, the actress describes Amy as a Stepford Smiler, so she just isn't showing it.
Played straight in a Justified and horrible way towards the end of the season, when Amy almost instantly forgets not only that Rory died, but that he even existed. It was because he was shot in front of her and his body was sucked into a crack in space and time, erasing him from all of existence. Even so, the next few episodes hint that some part of her does remember, and she remembers everything and angsts appropriately when he returns.
Seemingly subverted at the end of the first half of the series 6, when Amy is trapped on Demon's Run, where her month-old baby has been taken away to be made into a human weapon. She escapes and hides with the baby, only for it to be revealed that the real baby was elsewhere and the daughter she was holding was a living "flesh" replica. Cue Amy screaming, shaking, and crying for the rest of the episode after her baby melts into a puddle of goo in her arms, but ultimately played painfully straight in the aftermath.
The Doctor himself has gone back and forth on this. Often serials would have a very Bittersweet Ending with a high body count, and the Doctor mourning the senseless tragedy of it all. Next serial he'd be up for a bit more fun sightseeing, even when it's made clear that little time has past between stories. When the show came back in 2005, it got better about explaining this; the Doctor feels the angst all too much (especially the destruction of his own people between the original show and the revival), but must keep running. To dwell on all the horror he has faced would mean a one way trip across the Despair Event Horizon.
The first companion to leave in the whole show is Susan, the Doctor's own granddaughter. He quietly misses her for a few moments during "The Rescue", but then he picks up Vicki, a Replacement Goldfish granddaughter who, unlike Susan, tends to be the Doctor's chirpy sidekick instead of the Screaming Woman. Fans generally find Vicki a significant improvement on Susan as she's a lot more fun, but it appears that so does the Doctor, as he's a lot nicer to her than he was to his actual granddaughter. This suits the Doctor's selfishness and Blue and Orange Morality, but isn't exactly sympathetic to consider in any depth. The Expanded Universe even suggests that the Doctor even forgot all about Susan, but the revival series has both the Ninth and Tenth Doctor mention being a grandparent in a far more angsty way.
Director Ben Wheatley cited this trope as the reason why he found Fourth Doctor stuff so dark:
If you look at the Tom Baker stuff, it's especially dark. When he leaves Leela — who's a very beloved assistant — he just laughs after it. There's none of the [breaking down and crying]. He just laughs, and "on to the next one," you know.
Claire on LOST, after Charlie's death. Admittedly, this is an ensemble show, and there are time issues, but still...
Not surprising. By then Claire's figured out that reality on the island is very fluid. Plus, no body. Is she becoming Genre Savvy?
Fawlty Towers lost a good joke because of John Cleese's unwillingness to do this. In an episode where a guest dies and Basil and Manuel have to carry the body around without anyone noticing, the original ending was that the guest's twin brother arrived, greatly upsetting Basil who thought he was the guest and had been pranking him. Cleese realized that at some point the man would have to catch on that his brother was dead, which would ruin any comedy.
Niki in Heroes does not show much angst about being responsible for her husband's death.
On Top Gear, the three presenters allegedly have a pact that, should any of them die while filming the show, the remaining pair would appear at the beginning of the next episode, make a mournful comment, pause for a moment of silence, and then say "Anyway," and cheerily continue with the show.
When Richard Hammond was seriously injured in 2006, Jeremy Clarkson commented that the joke didn't seem funny anymore, but now that he's recovered the pact seems to be back on.
Being that they're British, I just can't see them doing that without tea on hand.
A few of the characters of Degrassi The Next Generation have this, but Toby especially. He is consistently picked on, ignored by his unrequited crushes, and has two of his only friends killed by school violence, but seems no worse for wear by the next episode he's in.
The Dolls in Dollhouse seem to be like this on the surface. When not programmed, they are essentially childlike and complacent to those in authority over them, with not much will outside that, to a dangerous degree. For instance, Sierra seems to be able to shake off being repeatedly raped by her handler pretty well.
Showa Kamen Rider series usually has the riders treat their angst relatively quickly, Heisei Riders on the other hand...not so much (Yuusuke and Eiji being notable exceptions).
Some of the Showa series (for non-Japanophiles, "Showa era" means "up to nearly the end of The Eighties.") have angst as an Informed Attribute; sometimes the episode ends with Kotaro hoping to get Nobuhiko back someday but laughing and having fun with his friends for now at the end of an episode as the narrator assures us that despite the soul-searing agony that is the torturous existence of a Kamen Rider, our poor tragic hero shall valiantly soldier on. It's frankly hilarious.
Eiji, on the other hand, is an upbeat guy, but the deeper wounds left on him by his experience in that war zone are very much important to the plot.
Robin from Robin Hood BBC's retelling of the legend spends two seasons head over heels in love with Marian. Then when Marian is murdered, he gets over his grief in one episode. And in Series Three, the hero who declared he'd love Marian forever gets two new love interests without any sign he misses his first.
Also, when he was a little kid, there seems to have been no long-term effects after his father is burnt to death in a fire. In fact, approximately two minutes after it occurred, Kid!Robin is throwing a party for the peasants.
When the gang in Seinfeld hear that Susan, George's fiance, has died from licking low-grade wedding invitation envelopes, they all shrug and go back about their business. Especially George, who angsts far more about the work he needs to do because of her death. This is a case of Crosses the Line Twice.
On True Blood, perhaps as a result of the break-neck pace of the series (they're halfway through Season 3 and it's been—just over a month?—since Bill first met Sookie), no one really has the opportunity to deal with traumatic events for more than half an episode before the plot train comes to take them to the next station. Not that there aren't moments of angst (e.g., Eric's response to Godric's suicide), but they rarely have any long-term effects.
On No Ordinary Family, during Steph and Jim's first outing together as heroes, they accidentally cause the death of an insane pyrokinetic. The angst over his death lasts about five minutes on the car ride back, then they're back to normal.
In the first episode of the UK version of Queer as Folk, Stuart narrates to camera how he lost his virginity: to his PE teacher, when he was eleven years old. While he comments that "I must have been scared to death", he doesn't seem to believe the man raped him (he tells it as though he was the one who instigated the sex), and it's never mentioned again.
Misfits falls into this category at times, probably due to the fast-paced nature of the show - what with there being only six episodes per season, and a lot of ground to cover in that time. Although characters do angst briefly when something traumatic happens to them, the angst is either rarely mentioned in later episodes, or it leads to them immediately taking a level in badass. For example, Nikki's death instigated the closest thing to a Misfit Mobilization Moment the show has ever had.
There were many instances of abuse, death, etc. on Friends where the characters' lack of a sympathetic reaction made them seem very unlikable or tactless:
When Chandler and Joey are robbed of just about everything they own, Monica's reaction is a mundane "What happened?" then telling Rachel about her date with Chip.
Despite having had what most would consider a traumatic life, Phoebe is usually very throwaway about it, even using her mother's suicide to get the last muffin.
Friends has had a tendency to do this several times for a cheap laugh. For example, in one episode, Monica discovers that her Aunt Sylvia died. Instead of being sad about it, she jumps up for joy and cheers, because she can now have her dollhouse. Now, it was implied that Aunt Sylvia was a bit of bitch. But still...
The whole gang also get over break ups pretty fast. Even Ross and Rachel go back to happily being friends after they split. The only characters who react realistically are Monica and Chandler, as the fall out from their various break ups last several episodes. (Both characters seemed to be more romantically vulnerable than the others, though that made them more sympathetic rather than needy). Otherwise characters would shrug it off and be fine by the end of the episode.
In Firefly, River does not angst anywhere near as much as one would expect her to, considering whattheAcademydidtoher. That isn't to say she doesn't have her moments, but she doesn't appear to fall into depression or constantly whine or complain about her situation or the horrible things that were done to her. She does have a couple of sobbing fits, but these have as much to do with her mental instability as they do with her experiences. In fact, she gives off an impression of someone who is trying, in her more lucid moments, to move on from the horrible experiences she's had. Simon even notes in one episode that she seems to be happier on Serenity than she was anywhere else.
The crew in general seem to try to get over various betrayals and deaths as quickly as they can, probably because as outlaws there isn't much chance for mourning. (In Serenity for example, Mal tells the crew to stop mourning the deaths of Shepherd Book and his people because all they can do now is avenge their deaths.
Frequently in Professional Wrestling. Your brother turns on you, destroys your entire life, kills your dog? Some little creep from your past tries to cripple your entire family? Your best friend mauls you to the point of hospitalization and tries to steal your son from you? Some freak with a beard killed your unborn baby? Eh, within a few months you'll have forgotten all about it and probably be best friends again (and again and again). Maybe you can even get Beard-Boy to read a poem at your wedding!
In Supernatural season six, soulless Sam is a good example of this.
Sparrow: Your brother was abducted by aliens?
Sparrow: Oh my god!
Sam: It's ok, I've had time to adjust.
Sparrow: Did it happen when you were kids?
Sam: No, like, a half hour ago.
Narrowly averted in Merlin. In the episode right after his girlfriend dies, Merlin has a line where he mentions that the Lady Vivian is very beautiful. The actor read it in a very matter-of-fact tone that made it clear he was just acknowledging it rather than having any interest of his own. The running gag of Merlin instantly developing a crush on any pretty girl he meets was also abandoned following said episode, and Merlin has grown practically asexual in the seasons following.
Played with in Lost Girl. Lauren has spent 5 years as a slave to a species that despise humans, in a desperate attempt to find a cure for her comatose girlfriend. She later learns the Fae deliberately cursed Nadia into a coma, just to get her services. She really doesn't take that well. Said girlfriend is eventually revived, and in short order possessed by the Big Bad, given a Mercy Kill from Bo (Lauren's other love interest), and dies in Lauren's arms. Lauren spends the next episode going through a realistic process of grief. She's hostile to Bo, admits to having nightmares, looks like she's about to break down any minute, gives a scientific reason for Sex for Solace (but doesn't carry it out), and expresses a desire to simply run and leave it all behind her. It is gone by the next episode, but given how reserved she is (which is heavily implied to be how she got through said 5 years) she probably just isn't showing it.
Ultimately averted in Season 3. After being assaulted in her home, she finally breaks down and talks about the toll the past few years has had on her. She mentions Nada's death, and the problems with her current relationship with Bo aren't helping.
Lennier on Babylon 5 lost family during the Earth/Minbari War when the Minbari warship Drala'fi (Black Star) was destroyed. Despite this, he holds no grudge against the person directly responsible for destroying the ship (Sheridan), nor the person who gave the order that started the war in the first place (Ambassador Delenn).
School Shock's heroine Liu Li has no parents, almost everyone she got attached to was mentioned to have died and she herself has become dependent on drugs to prolong her short life. She is calm, cool and collected most of the time and also downright adorable in other and overlapping moments. Then again, she spent all her life in the military. It's just life to her.
Modest Mouse's "Float On" is the musical epitome of this trope. ("A fake Jamacian took every last dime with a scam/It was worth it just to learn some slight-of-hand/Bad news is coming don't you worry cuz when it lands/Good news will work its way to all them plans")
In fact, the whole reason the song even exists is because frontman Isaac Brock wanted to take a break from writing depressing, angsty music.
9 Chickweed Lane: Gran has just revealed to her daughter Juliette that her real father was an artistic ex-Nazi, not the conservative man who raised her (not-dad knew; it's unknown if bio-dad did). The announcement would have a bit more weight if both Gran and Juliette's daughter didn't accompany the word "lovechild" with fist-pumping motions.
Pearls Before Swine loves to play this for dark laughs. Various crocodiles, Rat and Pig's roommate Leonard, and even Stephan Pastis himself have died (and undied) in the series, with little if any mourning.
It is common among many players of Roleplaying games to overlook the emotional situation of their characters, leading to people that watch their home towns burn and are over it just a round after the incident. Granted, if the group as a whole doesn't care, it's better off that way, but it's a major hindrance to group dynamics when some players want to deepen their characters' deep-seated emotional issues and some players just want to kick asses and take names.
It's also common among most role-players for characters to take a fairly laid-back attitude to the death of other party members. You'd think watching your friend and companion get horribly killed, mutilated, turned to stone or worse would bother someone, but typically they just move on without a second thought. (It helps when they get themselves killed in stupid ways, like Bullying a Dragon.)
It helps, though, that Death Is Cheap. If you didn't despise the deceased, in most cases you could raise them back to life at a price. No Badass is going to cry and grieve for some money.
A different, darker take on this trope comes from the Spring Court of Changeling: The Lost. After being kidnapped by The Fair Folk, horribly abused, and escaping, they decided they would live it up as best as they could, if only to spite their former captors. Subverted in that they really are still heavily traumatized by what happened to them in Arcadia, they're just in heavy denial and/or trying to sublimate their psychological issues through partying.
If your sister got turned into a zombie and showed up at your front door, you wouldn't grab a baseball bat and cry havoc. You'd shit your pants.
All Warhammer 40,000 media include this trope as a matter of course, for two main reasons. Firstly, due to the particularly nasty version of natural selection on which the setting operates, if a character isn't able to mentally shield themselves against tragedy and horror then they won't last long. Secondly, when the types of enemies faced is such that the Sliding Scale of Villain Threatstarts with things that can kill all life on a planet, then having a Doomed Homeworld really isn't something worthy of angst.
One entire race in the 40K universe has this as one of its many traits: Da Orks! A famous Eldar philosopher once spoke of them as being a species completely free of angst: every Ork knows and loves its role in life, Orks by nature have no fear of death, and all Orks get to fulfill a purpose within a society. So while you might find a human, Tau, or even Eldar contemplating the meaning of their life in a cold and heartless galaxy, an Ork considers such business 'mukkin' about' and getting in the way of proper business: dakka, choppa, lootin', more dakka, more choppa, more lootin', etc.
Vyse from Skies of Arcadia, to a really, really amazing degree. The game makes a point of noting this is extremely abnormal, though also a positive characteristic for a leader to have.
In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Trucy Wright gets over both the disappearance and the murder of her father surprisingly quickly. In fact, Apollo seems more shocked than she is. Towards the end, however, it's revealed that she is upset about it, she just avoids showing it to most people.
Phoenix gets over his shock at Mia's death in the first game rather quickly, considering how much she meant to him. He may be channeling his grief into determination to bring the (real) murderer to justice within the three-day trial, however. The effect is also softened somewhat by the fact that Phoenix still gets to see Mia occasionally by way of Maya channeling her, though it is still weird during the case itself.
There's some sort of Law of Diminishing Grief at play in the AA-verse. Maya reacts somewhat realistically to Mia's death in the first game, and is similarly shown to still carry grief for her missing mother. However, when her mother not only appears but is brutally murdered, Maya seems far more hand-wavey. This is explained as her being strong for Pearl's sake, and she does seem pretty upset during her testimony in the final trial, so after multiple installments showing that Maya has kind of a crazy threshold for emotional and physical trauma (being kidnapped and held for ransom, diving in front of a taser, etc.), it's believable. However, in later games, both Trucy and Kay Faraday seem to immediately recover from the deaths of their fathers at breakneck speed — in the former case, the character had been estranged from her father for years, but in the latter the two characters were apparently inseparable and the father had died about two hours before, creating a strange jarring effect. Like... seriously, we're talking about Swiss rolls right now? Your dad is dead.
If Franziska von Karma is upset that Phoenix sent her father to jail for murder, she doesn't seem to show it. Her main concern is defeating him where Edgeworth failed in order to prove herself superior.
Perhaps, given the high Parental Abandonment rate in the Ace Attorney world, people just get over the loss of their parents very quickly. Right after her mother is arrested, Pearl Fey is happily going to the circus and hanging out with the guy who caused it. Though it is later implied that she didn't really understand what that all was about. She was 8 or so at the time, so that is possible. Also, Phoenix had her channeling Mia on the last day so she wouldn't see the trial and verdict herself.
Speaking of Parental AbandonmentApollo is abandoned by his mother who re-marries and carries on with her life, yet no one, including him, seems to care all that much, except for that one brief comment by the journalist Spark Brushel who called Trucy 'lucky' compared to Apollo in that she was kept while he was abandoned. During the fifth game he helps his best friend out with his own mother's death by using his own background as his example, so he's clearly handling it very well.
Klavier Gavin has a lot of things to be down about. During the fourth game his police detective bandmate had smuggled contraband into the country and killed the Interpol agent who was tracking him and his own brother turned out to be a twisted psychopath who is responsible for two deaths, sabotaging a talented lawyer's career, and has a severe case of Disproportionate Retribution. In the fifth game you can add his instructor from high school, a perfectly upstanding and honorable individual, is killed simply because she was trying to be upstanding and honorable to the wrong person. Even if he's able to put aside friend and familial relationships to see justice done, there was no justice in Constance Courte's murder, which would surely send most characters into a swill of cynicism and disillusionment. Yet in spite of all this, his personality always remains a calm, suave, debonair ladies man full of charm and charisma with no hint of internal struggle or pain.
Ann of Jurassic Park: Trespasser does have a few reasonable worries when she realizes she's crashed on Site B—but deals remarkably well with being attacked by a Velociraptor out of seemingly nowhere.
Kingdom Hearts: Sora is worried for his parents (and the rest of Destiny Island civilization) for all of five minutes before setting out to save the world with a big grin on his face. It doesn't hurt that Donald and Goofyspecifically ask him not to angst, and in Sora's defense many people have a pretty high level of optimism at his age — the old "you're a teenager, you can solve any problem" thing. He does slip into momentary depression throughout the series in response to events (before being cheered up by friends/distracted by task at hand), and it is implied that everything that has happened is slowly taking a toll on him.
Then there's a point in Kingdom Hearts II when an Organization XIII member drops a major bomb on Sora. His practice of wiping out Heartless and releasing hearts is actually furthering the Organization's plans. Sora goes through a short period of "I can't use the Keyblade!", but it takes one statement from Goofy to get him to stop worrying about that and continue fighting Heartless like he always has. Granted, Goofy does have a point; Sora can't just not save people from the Heartless, but you'd think they would at least research some alternate way of subduing the Heartless.
Also, in Chain of Memories, Sora's reaction to learning that he's been duped and the "true memories" of Namine he's recovered are actually all a bunch of lies? Press on and continue being true to his memories, even knowing that they're false.
Aileen Harding from Alien Syndrome has every right to feel relatively down most of the time, but she usually is in good enough shape to not take it too far.
The protagonist of Final Fantasy Tactics Advance both averts and embraces it - while he strives to go home, he does so in a manner free of angst.
In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, the protagonist is dragged alone (at least Marche had his friends dragged with him), he kind of goes with it. At one point, he rather cheerfully admits to forgetting that the whole point of him traveling and adventuring was to go home; he was having too much fun, you know, traveling and adventuring.
By the way, in cause it still confuses you, one of the reason Marche, the protagonist from FFTA, is perceived as such a villain by some fans is because they believed that his friends were getting denied what Luso, A2's protagonist, was enjoying throughout the game. Marche even admits to enjoying his time in Ivailnce as well. Both of them have good reason to both want to go home and worry, for both it's "my world has been replaced by this one" but in different circumstances depending on the game, or staying, "This places has magic and fantastik creatures to learn about."
Zidane of Final Fantasy IX is surprisingly well adjusted for a 16-year-old orphan with a tail that gets dragged along to multiple genocides over the course of the game. To the point where it's genuinely shocking that his true origins can actually cause a Heroic BSOD, which he still gets over rather quickly. Even the adults in this game aren't that well put-together.
And while finding out his origins did freak him out a bit, he immediately pushed it aside and turned on his creator while citing Power of Friendship. The BSOD only occurred after said creator apparently ripped his soul out, and it took the rest of the party's Power of Friendship speeches to help him recover.
Aversion exists with Dagger, Freya and Vivi however. The aforementioned atrocities eventually make Dagger a mute. Freya has a breakdown whenever Sir Fratley is mentioned and some of the most powerful and depressing scenes are when Vivi questions his existence and inevitable fate. Final Fantasy IX was actually really good at dealing with this without invoking Wangst.
Tidus from Final Fantasy X. He woke up stranded in a strange new land and later found out his home was destroyed, but he's always cheerful and energetic. Even when he finds out he's a ghost (of a sort) and will fade away once Sin is defeated, he faces his end with a jubilant attitude. However, he certainly manages to angst about his family issues..
Most of the main cast is actually quite depressed and either repressing it, hiding it or coping in their own way. In fact, the game lampshades this after Home when a character tells Tidus to smile because he'll only worry Yuna if he doesn't. It isn't hard to imagine this is what all the Guardians are doing the same so as to make the Pilgrimage less painful. This is even specifically addressed in the cutscene outside of Djose Temple: Yuna shows up late, and everyone starts making cracks about her hair and generally kidding each other. In the narration, Tidus says that at that point, he was the only one really laughing, the implication being that everyone else was just trying to keep a stiff upper lip in the face of Spira's, and more specifically their, inevitable fate.
Spira as a whole has this feel to it, especially considering their constant terror by Sin. A rather good use of this trope as it's remarkable how they can continue their lives when Cthulu-Moby Dick can wipe out their lives in an instant.
What about Serah of FinalFantasyXIII-2? At the start of the game, she's already depressed about Lightning missing and Snow somewhere in Gran Pulse. During the course of the game, she found out that she has the Eyes of Etro, meaning her life span shortens every time she changes the timeline. She also found out that Snow acquired a l'cie mark, Lightning is in Valhalla (a place she can't leave easily) and the crystal pillar is in danger of breaking. Despite all that, she stays cheerful and optimistic. Then we found out that after defeating Caius, all the time paradoxes get resolved and the only timeline they can return to is 500AF. This means that the people Serah know in 2AF are dead, Snow may or may not be in the same timeline, Lightning may or may not leave Valhalla, Noel may vanish and she may die. She probably know these but she still went ahead with a smile.
Sonic the Hedgehog just doesn't seem to "do" angst. Throw him into space, blow up his home, turn him into a werewolf, he'll shrug it off within five seconds and get back to work. The closest thing to angst we've ever seen from him is a brief moment of reflection during the ending of Sonic Adventure 2, but even then he shrugs it off pretty quickly.
It's explained in Sonic Unleashed by Sonic having an amount of Heroic Willpower off the charts. So much so, that it's the only reason his transformation into the Werehog only gave him a slightly enhanced aggression streak (and he never experiences any real negative influence from it) instead of turning him into a monstrous killing machine.
Subverted in Sonic Lost World, when he accidentally triggers a trap the Deadly Six create to capture him that ends up taking Tails instead he takes it incredibly hard to the point of questioning his own abilities.
Then you have Tails, who is an orphan that lives alone in his laboratory building things until Sonic decides to call him up whenever he needs to use his airplane. It's also mentioned in most continuities that he was heavily bullied before he met Sonic. Yet he still manages to be a Cheerful Child, despite a backstory that should make him every bit as depressed as Shadow.
In Mother 3, every single one of the protagonists have royally messed-up lives, and don't angst a bit about it (except Flint and maybe Salsa, but that's a bit hard to tell since he's a monkey). Lucas was a crybaby before getting an angst-worthy life and then became nice, brave and almost selfless.
It's Justified: Kumatora is an amazon who almost automatically decides to cut off her leg when it gets trapped instead of considering it a bit longer. Duster is the oldest of the bunch and he's been subject to abuse from his father, so he's hardened. Flint angsts in his own way - he spends every day of his life later in the game looking for Claus and visiting Hinawa's grave. Lucas gets almost completely neglected by his father, it's not hard to believe that a child looking up to his brave twin decided to man-up.
Before the game the people of Tazmily Village were blissfully unaware of "sadness" so it's not unheard of that they wouldn't know how to angst about it.
Your party in Baldur's Gate is generally made up of either psychos, megalomaniacs, or people with incredibly tragic backstories. Two people in particular have tragic backstories to spare, but won't let it slow them down: Minsc the cheerfully oblivious berserker is briefly saddened by the death of his Witch... And then promptly gets a new one. Despite having her entire party of companions turned into life-sucking undead horrors, Mazzy Fentan just picks up her blade and goes on.
Minsc at least has some residual issues: his picking up a new witch is clearly shown as his attempt to atone for his failure, and if Edwin is around to keep needling him about Dynaheir he eventually snaps and tries to kill him. The angst is there it's just handled the way he treats every emotion, as fuel for more Buttkicking for Goodness. His biography in 2 also mentions that the death of his first Witch has "obviously not strengthened Minsc's hold on reality", which is shown by some mild Flanderization — Minsc wasn't quite so Boo-focused in the first game.
Also, CHARNAME, over the course of the games, lost (for the sake of convenience) his father, his home and a startling number of friends (and Xzar), learned he's descended from the dead and evil God of Murder, and witnessed countless innocents meet horrifying fates at the hands of cosmic horrors and tentacle monsters. The net result, as most people play it, includes very little moping and huge quantities of snark, usually followed by a few explosions, and then carry on as always - including providing therapy for angsty comrades.
In Live A Live, Orsted silently bears all the misfortunes his quest throws in his way as it slowly goes from a very generic "save the princess" plot into the depths of From Bad to Worse territory. He's told that as long as someone's counting on him, he should keep moving forward, and that's exactly what he does. Until said princess tells him she hates him and kills herself rather than be saved by him. Then he, uh... breaks.
There are a lot of people who won't even play the Silent Hill games alone with the lights turned out, but for some reason, none of the main characters ever just break down screaming. The only comment ever given on the situation comes from Silent Hill 3, when Heather says that she used to be bothered by the corpses laying all over the place, but barely notices them anymore. Granted, once we find out who she is, her resiliency isn't all that surprising.
Harry's love for his child, James' near-suicidal need to be with his wife, and Travis' repressed violent urges are the things that drive each of them on in spite of common sense. Henry, meanwhile, seems to simply not process or react any of it, continuing out of sheer stubborness.
Justified in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, in which Harry is actually just a figment of his daughter's imagination. She imagines him as a Big Damn Hero (or a doormat, or an abusive alcoholic, or a philanderer, depending on how you play) and so that's what he is. He still shows signs of "oh god, what the hell is going?"
Kyrie, the main hero of Sands of Destruction, doesn't actually stop to feel sorry about accidentally destroying his village and turning all of its inhabitants into dust. He seems to forgets all of it because he meets this girl... At first.
Likewise, Sigrun of Awakening, despite being the Sole Survivor of a sect of Death Seeking Dwarves refuses to wallow in angst and is about as upbeat as someone in her position can get.
Nathaniel: For a dead woman you're remarkably perky.
Sigrun: I could be less perky if you like. 'The darkness of the Deep Roads is seeped into my soul! The world is dead! My heart is black! Alas! Woe! Woe!'
Nathaniel: Let's stick to perky.
What about the Grey Warden his/herself? First there's your origin, which can have such lovely events as being tainted by a cursed artifact, having your younger brother murder your older brother and pin the crime on you, or having your family's castle assaulted and your entire family down to your young nephew killed. Then there's the battle where you're double crossed and one of only two survivors. You'd think that would result in some issues, which it does with Alistair.
In Mass Effect 1, Liara takes her mother's Face-Heel Turn and death in stride, and is actually surprised if Shepard asks her if she needs any help dealing with it. She does, however, have a very anguished reaction when Benezia regains control of herself late in the fight and again as she is dying, and in the third game, fondly talks about childhood memories with the implication that she misses her mother.
In Mass Effect 2, Shepard seems to take finding out s/he has been dead for two years rather in stride. While its talked about briefly at the beginning — and again when characters from the last game react to seeing their old commander alive — Shepard seems to completely avoid any of the angst or existential crises that one might expect from someone who has killed and brought back to life; and, depending on your dialogue choices, seems downright chipper for most of the story. However, at the end of Lair of the Shadow Broker, s/he can let his/her suffering be known to Liara. There is also a scene in Mass Effect 3 where, depending on who's present and dialogue choices, s/he can reveal that s/he has actually thought about the serious questions of identity in the aftermath of her/his resurrection, and wonders if s/he might just be an extremely advanced computer program that thinks it's Commander Shepard. If the LoveInterest is present, they provide extremely heartfelt reassurance on that issue.
Jacob Taylor of Mass Effect 2 is almost entirely unaffected by what he discovers during his personal mission, beyond briefly getting very angry during the mission but then proceeding to cope quickly, effectively, and without any external help. This is possibly lampshaded in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, where the files on Jacob suggest that, despite his combat skills, the real reason he was put on the Normandy was for the "stabilising effects of his personality" in the Dysfunction Junction that makes up the rest of the team.
Lampshaded by Mordin: despite his loyaltymission forcing him into conflict with his ex-protege and causing him to question his entire life's work, the next time you talk to him he's as chipper as ever. He happily explains that salarians work through emotions very fast, so he's already dealt with all his angst on the flight back to the ship. Mass Effect 3, however, shows that Mordin has not quite gotten over all of it, as he leaks Eve's existence to Wrex and stubbornly goes through with the plan to cure the genophage, fully aware that doing so will kill him, declaring that "I MADE A MISTAKE!"
Used interestingly by your crew if you save them from liquefaction at the hands of the Collectors. Most seem just fine later, a little shaken up but generally fine. But when you ask Kelly Chambers if she's all right, she goes into a horrified flashback and is clearly, obviously not — and yet she pushes this back and doesn't show it otherwise.
However, in Mass Effect 3 it is possible to meet Kelly again, and she explains that she's having a delayed reaction to the trauma, and can't bring herself to set foot on the Normandy again because of it.
If you comply with Tali's request and subsequently get her Exiled from the Migrant Fleet, she's actually perfectly fine with it, seeing it as preferable to the alternative. Considering how badly the alternative option would end for the quarians, it's Justified.
Played with in Mass Effect 3; a lot of the humans, Shepard included, seem superficially OK about the fact that Earth is being invaded and subjected to brainwashed genocide by Eldritch Abominations. The same can be said for the turians' reaction to the same thing happening to their homeworld. This is partially Justified, as some characters will openly admit that they're deliberately stopping themselves thinking about it, and throwing themselves into things they can control as a distraction from their feelings of pain and helplessness. In fact, the only character who has a major reaction to their homeworld being destroyed is Liara, when Thessia is attacked. She does have a severe, if brief, Heroic BSOD, but, like the other characters, she is helped out of it by her True Companions, and joins the rest of the galaxy in not thinking about it, and focusing on things she can do. Various characters will have brief moments where cracks will start to show, but the general consensus among them seems to be that the current disasters must take priority, and they must just ignore their feelings, with their friends to help them stay in control.
To some extent the whole galaxy is doing this, as life continues relatively normally in a lot of the places that aren't actually under attack. However, it is Justified for similar reasons as above, and as the situation continues to deteriorate, certain characters spot a lot of "distracting myself from the crisis" behavior in everyone around them.
For a guy who saw his parents murdered in front of him, saw the Thievius Racoonus torn apart, saw his friends being held captive, been captured a couple of times himself, saw his friend (Bentley) get crippled by Clock-La at the end of the second game, amongst other stuff, Sly Cooper doesn't show much angst.
Actually averted by Murray, who is deeply upset by the accident that crippled Bentley; despite it not really being his fault and Bentley bearing him absolutely no ill will for it, he leaves the team and goes on a quest for spiritual enlightenment to help him deal with it before the events of Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves.
Touhou is famous for numerous characters that are always cheerful, all the time, despite having great cause not to be, with few exceptions. By far the most famous is Flandre Scarlet, who spent almost five hundred years in the basement of the Scarlet Mansion because her ridonkulous levels of power are a threat to everyone and everything, yet she remains a Cheerful Child. Naturally, Dark Fic portraying a Flandre that snaps is very popular.
Byakuren Hijiri is a more recent example, and manages to surpass even Flandre by being imprisoned in Makai (essentially a demon world) for more than one thousand years because she thought it would be nice for youkai and humans to stop fighting each other, yet remains probably the friendliest, most caring person in the series. There is a reason she has acquired the Fan Nickname of "Youkai Jesus".
In inFAMOUS, Cole loses Trish, gets backstabbed by Zeke, discovers that his future-self is a huge asshole, and learns that there is an unstoppable world-destroying monster on the way that only he can fight. In the sequel he's back on good terms with Zeke and seems all-around fairly chipper. This may or may not be a façade depending on your interpretation. Zeke had to work to prove that he was still Cole's friend, bringing up the topic of Trish around Cole is a Bad Idea and in the good path he never shows interest in any other woman, he will react very poorly to the mention of his similarities with Kessler, and he spends almost every waking moment trying to find ways to fight back against the Beast. His lack-of-angst about the destruction of Empire City is still very strange, however.
Carefully subverted in any games where the graphics allow emotion to show on Link's face, however. To give two specific examples, he's incredibly devastated by what befalls Tetra in Phantom Hourglass, and Twilight Princess actually gives him a gorgeous range of emotions. There is also one moment in Ocarina of Time, when Link returns from the temple of time to a Hyrule Castle transformed into Ganondorf's fortress base, surrounded in lava and unrecogniseable as the cheerful scene from seven years ago. The expression on his face is a mixture of shock and despair.
Dwarves in Dwarf Fortress have an odd way of measuring their moods; it's a strict positive/negative thing. Did their wife and children just get killed by a Forgotten Beast? This can be balanced out by a eating in a really nice communal dining room, sleeping in a nice bedroom, and obtaining a well-made pair of socks, leaving them at least "quite content" overall.
Half-Life has the one and only Gordon Freeman, a young physicist who never saw combat before the Black Mesa Incident and afterwards has spent almost a week fighting for his life, with any respites lasting no more than an hour at a time. Granted, as a Heroic Mime the player never gets to see his reaction, but at this point he should be huddled in a corner somewhere, not facing the next deadly monstrosity guns blazing.
The HEV suit automatically dispenses morphine, antitoxin and other substances as the need arises, plus whatever they have in those instant-heal medpacks. It's likely he's riding a nigh permanent morphine/adrenaline/drug rollercoaster, with too many ups and downs for him to stop and think about what's going on.
Corpse Party deconstructs this. While Seiko Shinohara is secretly a bit of a Stepford Smiler, her apparent lack of angst despite being trapped in a nightmarish situation causes her best friend Naomi Nakashima to accuse her of being creepy. This leads to an fight between the two and they separate. The next time they meet, Seiko is hanging from a pillar in the girl's bathroom. And there is no way for Naomi to save her.
In Baten Kaitos Origins, Sagi is surprisingly optimistic and agreeable throughout most of the game, despite the various misfortunes and defeats he suffers. He does have a few moments, but his default mood seems to be very cheerful.
Two of the three playable Servants in Fate/EXTRA, Red Saber and Fox Caster have shades of this, (the third servant is Archeryes, that one) despite having Broken Bird level histories neither one of them really laments on their past lives. It might be because they have had time to deal with it, but even over the course of the game, where things keep going From Bad to Worse, they are the rock that keeps the protagonist going.
In stark contrast to many other vampires, Valvatorez from Disgaea 4 spends very little time on brooding over tragic events. He's even cheerful about his fall from Tyrant to the lowly position of Prinny Instructor.
Valvatorez: Plus, by falling into Hades, I discovered sardines: an excellent source of nutrition. Actually, I should be thanking you for that.
Artina: Oh, Mr. Vampire... I'm trying to be serious right now.
Valvatorez: I'm being serious too.
Subverted in Spec Ops: The Line. After the white phosphorous incident, Lugo and Adams start freaking out and yelling at Walker. Walker's reaction? A brief silence, then "We need to keep moving." In reality, the guilt over what he has done causes him to experience a mental breakdown and start hallucinating.
Prince Alexander of King's Questspent most of his life as a mistreated slave, but you'd be hard-pressed to tell in King's Quest VI where he seems to be a appropriately well-mannered and gracious gentleman, other than a few wistful comments he makes alluding to the matter. (He is rather quiet and reserved, but not more so than you might expect someone who's a scholarly bookworm by inclination would naturally be.) The Expanded Universe and fanworks almost invariably respond to this by altering his behavior in some way to be more "realistic".
Arcueid of Tsukihime is the last remaining sane True Ancestor (until the Nasuverse needs more, anyway) and the strongest one ever. Why? Because she's a living weapon. No life experiences, no memories, no friends, no family (except a 'sister' that she does not get along with, and her father the... moon? Skip that one for now) and then we get to the first person she ever really talked to, Roa. Who tricked her into drinking his blood, causing her to kill all the True Ancestors and stole some of her power, then goes around being all vampirey just so she comes and chases him. 800 years later she has so little life experience that she's ecstatic over a simple conversation. Oh, and before that she never spoke to anyone nor had anything she thought of as fun. This isn't even really getting into more than the surface stuff, yet she's probably the sanest/most well adjusted character in the series (except when she goes yandere) apart from Arihiko. She doesn't even really care and is a big goofball all the time.
Arcueid might actually be an odd example. During the 800 years that she's hunting Roa and his various incarnations, her mentality is like a machine's. After Shiki kills her the first time, she mentions that what Shiki did caused something to break inside her mind. So it could almost be said that Arcuied went insane, but by going insane she became sane. Or something.
Also Shiki, which was intentionally done and is noted upon several times. Presumably it was done in order to contrast him with the likes of Kohaku, Hisui or Ciel who just can't leave the past alone, and it kinda helps that his memory is Swiss Cheese due to his stepfather's actions, to the point that he doesn't really remember two of the most traumatic instances of his childhood except subconsciously. Though the one time he realized that he was suppressing his guilt over murdering Arcueid, he was completely horrified with himself and immediately began apologizing to her.
As long as we're on it, Arihiko himself. Looking at his behavior in the main storylines, you'd never guess that his backstory involved almost his entire family being killed in an earthquake and guilt over wishing that his crushed grandmother would die faster so that she wouldn't cause the rubble to shift while trying to reach him where he was pinned for days in the wreckage.
Sayaka in Suika, which only serves to make her an even bigger woobie somehow.
Lilly of Katawa Shoujo does not bear any resentment toward her parents for leaving her behind in Japan with her sister, prompting Hisao to point out that she's "too kind" to them. She is, however, also a Stepford Smiler and The Stoic who rarely lets her emotional guard down, so it's difficult to tell whether this is how she actually feels.
Lily in Mia's route from Duel Savior Destiny after seeing all her friends outside of Taiga turned to stone (forever, for all she knew), Mia seemingly fall to her death, and her mother being arrested. Though it's more that she can't, since breaking down would cause Taiga's horrible mental state to become even worse, which would almost certainly lead to Ruin winning.
In Ship In A Bottle, Ship takes being stuffed away for a century oddly well, mainly because she's immortal. Alan provides the requisite lampshading, but Ship does hint she's hurt that her former master, Ronald, forgot about her.
Daisy's had her leg amputated and has been held prisoner/tortured for at least the past three months prior to her arrival on the show. We can justify some of her dissonance by assuming if she IS Scout Arael, she's been conditioned previously to withstand some of what happened to her and that on top of this, her Autistic traits make it harder to notice if she's angsting.
Jigsaw's also been hiding away from her family and everyone else in the three months between turning into a vampire (and believing she murdered her sire). She's been surprisingly calm since.
Slick's been in jail for six years for a crime he didn't do — though there's at least a couple on the list he probably did do, he most definitely didn't kill his own father.
White Noise has been in jail for forty-seven years although in his case he definitely did the crime, he just claims he was ordered to do it. Granted, he also became filthy rich while he was locked up, but still.
In Misfile, Ash angsts constantly about the problems from his-now-her Gender Bender. But she never angsts (or even notices) that her pre-Gender Bender life was in some ways worse; he had no mother, his father was cold to him, he had a grand total of two friends (or, for that matter, people he even talked to), and so on. In fairness, the intense mental and emotional effect of suddenly becoming the opposite gender and having your entire life and past changed to something you don't even know everything about overnight isn't exactly easy. Furthermore, a fair amount of angst is because his life is better as a girl.
Emily just lost the last two years of her life. Oh, and all of her former "friends" didn't make the jump back. So, she's isolated, stressed, and confused, and she rarely complains about it. She even says so, which pisses off Ash since he's NOT happy with the change. Then they have a big "I want to help you, but I like my own life" thing, where she probably was about to admit she'd love for Ash to be a boy again, because she wants in his pants, but not as a girl.
Psyk: The long of it is, he does not explore consequences in depth, so he has no unknown fears to confront. And his memories are limited, so he has no fears from his past. The only things he seems to "fear" stem from simpler things we would not even regard.
Torg:Hey, are you saying I'm too stupid to be afraid?
Psyk: That's the short of it.
Averted with Angela, who has to be committed to an insane asylum after the "KITTEN" adventure, while the main characters go off to have fun in the sun.
Sabrina Online has Sabrina learning that Zig Zag had a difficult childhood with Abusive Parents. However, Zig Zag has put that behind her and is adamant that she doesn't want to talk about it; she's doesn't want her sexual appetites to be treated as a source of pity.
Although there is the implication that some of Zig Zag's behavior is a result of her coping with her bad childhood.
You have to admit that resorting to cheap Freudian Excuse to justify her various excentricities has to be irritant anyway.
The Homestuck kids have had their homes destroyed by meteors, they're in the middle of some weird paradox land and given a mission nobody thinks they can complete, they have a much higher chance of dying than succeeding (and there are timelines in which some of them have already died), and they're destined to screw up the game even worse than they already have. The Rule of Funny seems to be the only thing keeping them from breaking down at this point.
Though Dave does eventually does eventually have a Not So Stoic moment after he fails to pull the sword out of his freshly killed brother's chest.
John is still a good example of this, he watched Jade sacrificed her dream self to save him, was woken up from dreaming right before being reunited with his father, and is still being told over and over again that You Can't Fight Fate, but none of it seems to have had any significant effect on his optimism yet.
John's becoming a better example every day. He's watched himself bleed to death. He has recently stumbled across his father's corpse—How is he still so cheery? He seems much more worried about his friends' troubles than his own.
Once he actually runs into his father's killer, however...
In a couple panels, Nepeta is smiling even as she's sitting next to the corpse of her beloved lusus crushed in a cave-in. She may have known by then that she could resurrect Pounce, in a way, but still.
Sollux even goes as far as adopting a more casual attitude after his matespirit is killed, there are two Axe Crazy psychopaths on the loose and he's been blinded.
Anyone and everyone from Sonichu. When two characters are killed off panel, they mourn all for about one panel, before they instantly get over it and return to doing whatever they were doing. They don't even linger on it.
El Goonish Shive: Elliot has to use his Gender Bender power every few hours, or it'll trigger at a random time. He also has to sleep as a girl, for the same reason. For him, this is more inconvenient than it would be for other people. He has never once complained about this.
Grace has had the most horrible life out of all the characters. When confronted with it, she reacted appropriately, but once it's all over? It's like she never suffered years of trauma at the hands of Damien, who beat her when she displeased him, and intended to use her to breed an army of chimeras! Nope, it's all swept under the rug. She's the most upbeat, positive character in the comic.
Played for laughs in Goblins, where Biscuit the Orc states that 600 years of demonic torture barely fazed him since members of his clan are taught to accept loss without pain or regret to become immune to emotional pain. When told that his clan was wiped out 200 years ago, he responds with a simple "Meh, oh well".
In True Villains, cheery little girl Mia doesn't let much get her down. Not the fact that lives in squalor, nor the fact that her entire town and only home is destroyed in a fiery blaze of death and destruction.
Although this is played straight, weirdly enough, when she and Ysengrin talk about his attempt to murder her. Seriously, it's like five lines of dialogue and then she stops distrusting him completely and they're back to being friends. Made all the stranger because Ysengrin's motivation for doing the above spoiler was so flimsy as to be psychopathic. Of course, Annie's odd choices in who to trust and who to distrust were a well-established character trait by that point.
Chaka of the Whateley Universe. Turned into a mutant, the mutation changed him from a he to a she, had to leave home and go to Whateley Academy, targeted by more than one campus villain, has fought supervillains who kill people, and never angsts. A lot of the reason is because the old Tony hated his life, because he knew he was transgender, so the change to Toni is everything he'd ever dreamed of. Everything else is just side-issues to her.
The Winds of Change universe features this a lot. Everyone in the world is suddenly transformed into anthropomorphic animals - of various degrees too, some are even forced to dramatically alter their lives because some of the most high-degree morphs would practically be just like a standard wolf with hands! Some of the poor Aquatics got a load of people who didn't understand exactly how they function in charge and making decisions and had to alter their lifestyles the most out of anyone. Then there are those people who either got lost entirely to animalistic instincts or had lost family members to said instincts. And yet maybe 1% of the population actually seems to have any issues with those...Especially in America.
Metamor Keep, a story universe that shares several authors with the Winds of Change, often has this too. There are people who're transformed into anthropomorphic animals, some are transgendered, and others are regressed to a child. This obviously doesn't stop anyone from enacting acts of the Renaissance in the Keep valley or enjoying themselves! Some start out whining about how they can't return to normal society or am now a woman or something, but they get over it and there are some who came to Metamor specifically so they could be transformed.
Vindicator of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe was kidnapped via mind control by a telepathic supervillain. She was then used as a sex toy for about a week before being rescued. You'd never know she was physically traumatized by how she acted later.
In Avatar: The Abridged Series, Aang takes the extermination of his people and the fact that everyone he grew up with was probably horribly murdered fairly well. Possibly subverted as a few seconds later, when he calls Momo a kitty and gets corrected by his companions, he enters the Avatar State in a rage.
Demo Reel usually averted the trope, playing abusive pasts and issues dead straight, but in "The Review Must Go On", Tacoma, Karl, Quinn and Rebecca are disquietingly serene over losing Donnie and finding out they never actually existed.
He doesn't dwell on it, sure, but he angsts plenty whenever something forces him to think about. He went into a Heroic BSOD when they found Monk Gyatsu's skeleton. He is also a reincarnation, so he's sort of been through every possible emotion already, and probably has a better grip on it than most 12 year olds.
Katara has a breakdown at the end of the Puppetmaster episode after learning the Dangerous Forbidden Technique against her will. In the next episode she seems to have gotten over it, probably since she now has the means to exact her revenge...or so we (or she) think(s).
In "The Desert," Aang becomes furious over Appa's (one of his two remaining friends from over 100 years ago) disappearance, unfairly lashing out at his friends for seemingly not caring and Toph for not saving Appa (she had to choose between saving Appa and saving Aang, Sokka, and Katara, and chose the latter). This climaxes in him finding the thieves and going into the Avatar State until Katara calms him down. In the next episode, "The Serpent's Pass," he tries to keep his feelings inside, following this trope, until, with Katara and a refugee family's help, he learns that he should express his feelings.
In the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon, a group of preteens barely seem upset at all over being trapped in a harsh fantasy world where everything is trying to kill them and their mentor is unhelpful in the extreme. The one exception is Eric, who is always portrayed as a whiner who needs to snap out of it already. The Complainer Is Always Wrong, even if it's about impending bloody death.
A notable exception is the start of "The Dragon's Graveyard", where after losing yet another way home the entire group is sunk in depression, and the youngest breaks down in tears.
Well, "The Dragon's Graveyard" is an example of why this trope was constantly in place: Executive Meddling contrasting quite harshly with the writers, who were determined to write a dark Deconstruction of "kids go into magical world" by having them actually be panicked and frightened for their lives, but this was the 80s, so the higher-ups wouldn't let them. In the episode, the kids get sick of constantly being inches from home, so they decide to seek out and kill their nemesis to stop him interfering. How they got that past, no one knows, but it's an example of what the show could have been if they'd been allowed to write what they wanted.
In one episode, they learn that time in the real world passes differently from time in the fantasy world. So, they can at least take comfort in the fact that they haven't been gone long enough for their parents to be worried.
Philip J. Fry of Futurama takes all of five seconds to get over the fact that he's a thousand years in the future and all the people he knew are long since dead ("I'll never see any of them again... YAHOO!"). While entirely justified by both his previous life sucking ''hard'' and him being a crazybuffoon, the fact that he does agonise about it in a few episodes makes it weird when it goes away after awhile.
It could have just taken a while for it to hit him.
This trope is later subverted big time as his failure to live up to the standards of his fellow employees (especially Leela, who gradually becomes the love of his life) force him to deal with his shortcomings.
One of the segments in the film Heavy Metal features Den, who gets snatched from Earth and flung to some far-distant planet, never to see his home again. The fact that he's turned from a scrawny nerd into a perfect physical specimen who gets to have sex with hot babes sorta takes the sting away.
In the relatively Darker and Edgier second season of the Legion of Super Heroes cartoon, Lightning Lad gets his arm fried in battle, only to wake up to find Brainiac 5's replaced it with a robot arm. His response is to shrug "Cool," and revel in his new lightning-cannon powers. Cartoon-Brainiac 5 of all people might have something to say about tossing away human bits of yourself so casually.
In the Superman: The Animated Series "Little Girl Lost" two-parter, Superman discovers Krypton's devastated sister planet Argos, hears the holographic recording of an Argosian woman's detail of her planet's gradual apocalyptic collapse in the face of Krypton's nearby explosion, and finds the woman's family frozen in stasis, and every member but one, Kara In-Ze, has died. Any trauma Kara might have from watching the death of her entire planet and waking up only to lose her family is forgotten with the "Two Weeks Later" card, because now she can fly through the Kansas sky and that's the most awesome therapy ever.
In The Spectacular Spider-Man, one of Peter Parker's oldest friends, Eddie Brock, becomes the supervillain Venom. You'd expect Peter to be very upset over the fate of his "best bro" and try to reason with him, with the hope of redeeming him. Instead, he spends surprisingly little time dwelling on this issue and treats him like just another villain in subsequent fights.
It's made pretty clear that Peter doesn't think he's fighting Eddie, rather the symbiote who's warped Eddie's mind. He refers to Venom as "the symbiote", and does his best to get the symbiote off him. He even attempts to get psychiatric care for Eddie afterwards.
The Ninja Turtles occasionally acted this way in the most recent series. While they would occasionally angst - for example, during Splinter's post-'Return to New York' disappearance or Leo's arc during the first half of season 4 - their reaction to stuff like being accidentally trapped in the late Cretaceous or losing Splinter in cyberspace was surprisingly - and sometimes jarringly - subdued.
There are examples of this, but the Return of Savanti arc — the Cretaceous incident, mentioned above — was par for the course at that point (April even lampshades it in-episode: "I can't take you guys anywhere!") and, as to Back to the Sewers, it depends on which character you're talking about. Don most certainly did not take the cyberspace thing in stride— almost a fourth of the season passes before he snaps out of his fervor, and it takes a variation of the Friend or Idol Decision to do so.
The main characters of South Park embody this trope. They never show any emotion, besides their trademark line, when Kenny is killed. This is even noted in the episode "Gnomes":
Gnome: Holy crap, we killed your friend. That's all you have to say?
In later episodes, they even say their lines with boredom more than anger. They probably just get tired of it happening every single week.
One episode reveals that Kenny is the only one aware he ever died. Everyone else forgets it ever happened the next morning. And Another episode had one of the boys feeling very angsty over another one being near death. Kenny is pissed that they never feel this way about him. And yes, he dies 10 seconds later, but no one notices.
One episode reveals that Cartman remembers his deaths when Kenny's parents sue him for causing his death of the episode and he protests, "Who, Kenny? He dies all the time!!!"
Deconstructed in "Kenny Dies," which has Kenny diagnosed with a terminal disease and plays it straight. As an added twist, this death actually stuck; the creators intended to have him Killed Off for Real, but did eventually resurrect him by the end of the next season.
Butters has an especially bad childhood. He's essentially the in-series Butt Monkey and The Scrappy and his parents are abusive however he stays an oblivious idealistic kid.
He probably counts more as a Stepford Smiler, since he's clearly terrified of his parents half the time and comes off as very neurotic.
Used in Street Sharks. The protagonists get kidnapped by a ((mad scientist)) and his two monsters, find out that their dad went missing, nearly die from an injection, and then turn into shark hybrids with possibly no way to turn back. Their first thought? To eat a hot dog stand. Goes even stranger with an out-of-towner named Melvin, who turns into a shark hybrid purely by accident, spends all of two seconds confused when he wakes up, and then decides to go enter a music contest.
Winx Club fans find it a bit suspect that in the S4 finale, Aisha had apparently made peace with the death of her intended in about a day, though season 5 shows that she hasn't entirely gotten over it.
Nightmare Moon's thousand-year banishment in the moon doesn't seem to have affected her sanity (or Luna's) either.
On the other hand, both villains were quite eager to enact their revenge for the centuries they spent imprisoned. And in Discord's case, he's effectively insane in the first place, so it's hard to tell how he might have been affected, though he does hint almost immediately that he's more upset about his Fate Worse than Death than he lets on.
Discord: Being turned to stone doesn't keep me from hearing every word Celestia says, although I admit it makes rolling my eyes a challenge.
A non-Discord example is the season 2 finale. The only ponies who angst over anythingthat went on were Twilight and Cadance, the former regretful over her impulsive attack on Cadance (who was revealed to be a fake) and the latter upset that said fake is taking her place and marrying her fiance. Everyone else see nothing to cry over, not even the civilians of Canterlot who were attacked by the Changelings. In fact, everyone just danced the night away like none of it happened... Granted, it all worked out for them...
Justified in the Young Justice episode "Failsafe," the team seems oddly unaffected by the deaths of the Justice League and Wolf... because they knew it was a training simulation. But then Artemis "died" in front of them and everything went pear-shaped.
In the follow up episode "Disordered", Superboy expresses guilt because he didn't angst one bit during "Failsafe" even when he thought everything was real.
Gargoyles begins with a massacre that wipes out the entire gargoyle population of Castle Wyvern, except for three young brothers, the clan leader, their aged father, and one pet. All their other friends, siblings, children, fathers, and mothers (gargoyles have multiples of each) are dead along with the leader's wife, and the survivors find the castle littered with the dismembered pieces of their corpses. They are also, as far as they know, the last of their species on Earth, and there are no females or eggs left. Then they're put into a magic sleep and wake up 1000 years later in modern New York, completely Fish Out of Temporal Water. Almost immediately, they learn that the leader's wife actually survived somehow, but she and their only human friend in the world had betrayed the clan and caused the massacre, and she's now a genocidal maniac out to murder her husband. Yet after the first couple episodes, they don't go through the mourning, angst, or survivor guilt one would expect after such trauma.
It's also used to clue the viewer in Owen sticks his hand in a cauldron and it turns to stone. Xanatos, who normally cares about him, reacts as though nothing is wrong and gives him none of the sympathy you'd expect to a guy who just lost his hand. He's actually Puck, and he can shapeshift.
Where to start with Finn from Adventure Time? The best place to start is the backstory. Much like the above example of Aang, the human race is dead (unless you count the Un Reveal of Susan Strong and the Ice King) thanks to war. But unlike Aang, Finn had no direct involvement with its destruction. He was completely helpless as a baby. In addition, his toddler years were a crapshoot, as highlighted in "Memories of Boom Boom Mountain". His adopted parents are dead. As a thirteen year-old, he contends with every villain in Ooo while the various kingdoms tend to sit on their asses and do nothing. Besides Jake and the on-and-off help of Marceline, he's on his own. No one else is helping him take down the villains despite the fact that Princess Bubblegum has enough intelligence to end WWIII. There are hints (most prominently in how he acts incredibly needy in his love life) that he is repression crushing loneliness and depression, but given what he's gone through and continues to go through, it's amazing that he's functional at all, and on a day-to-day basis, very upbeat.
The Ice King is a somewhat more explicitly tragic example; he seems to immediately forget about trauma because his crown forces him to.
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes had the Incredible Hulk get arrested for a crime he didn't commit. None of other Avengers show any distraught over the loss of one of their oldest and most powerful members, not even the heroes who had become his closest friends over the show's course. They don't seem to bother freeing him until the series finale becomes imminent.
Issued at times in Sonic Satam. Compared to the games' usual scenario, Dr Robotnik was treated far more seriously, and his methods of robotizing characters (which had no current method of reversal) was considered tantamount to being killed. While there were genuine moments of heartbreak and emotion in the series, a lot of serious scenes were broken up by comedic banter or the cast acting less than horrified ("Sonic Boom" and "Blast To The Past" for example feature one shot characters being captured and robotocized, which in both cases the main cast mourn unconvincingly for almost ten seconds).
Utilized similarly in The Legends Of Treasure Island with the numerous sinister threats in the show, the fear of the crew losing each other was always prominant. Disney Deaths were frequent in many episodes, and very few got a particularly shattered reaction from the others (with a couple of exceptions, usually when Jim was in protective mode towards Jane).
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: In episode 20, Shaggy wants to re-establish a relationship with Velma, but she just wants to remain friends. It shatters Shaggy, but moments later he's up for pizza.
This is the basis of the Japanese cultural ethic of gaman — endurance — of keeping a stiff upper lip in times of great hardship.
One example need to be mentioned is Tokugawa Ieyasu. He was allies with Oda Nobunaga, and Nobunaga ordered Ieyasu to kill his own wife and son. Ieyasu endured it and never let this become a reason against Nobunaga.
The British used to have a heavily stiff upper lip attitude through the Victorian era until the 60's, and though it's fading, it's still present to the extent that they will still internalise and repress their emotions rather than make them known.
In some British schools, it's socially acceptable to smile only when laughing at someone else's misfortune. If you show genuine happiness too often, it can cause people to think you're gay or stuck-up. Both of which can lead to bullying.
Flat or blunted affect is a symptom of many mental disorders such as schizophrenia, psychopathy, and depression.
People cope with trauma in different ways. Two people could go through the exact same circumstance, such as losing a loved one. One person could fall apart and slip into a depression, while another might mourn and be sad, but be able to handle it much better. And yet another might be twice as devastated as the first but go through the motions of life without saying a word, due to simply not being the type to show much emotion, or to forcing him/herself to maintain the appearance of normalcy to be strong for others, not appear weak in general, or a number of other reasons. Sometimes people in the third category have a finite ability to do this, and when that tank hits empty, it ain't pretty.
In extension to the gaman example above, this is the entire point behind Buddhism, which is a major religion in Japan as well as in other Asian countries.
Freudian psychology recognizes a quite a list of immature and mature defenses at play in the psyche. A few would fit this trope, such as the mature reactions humor and suppression (deciding to not think about a problem, but still aware of it) and the immature defenses repression (being unable to think about it), intellectualization (becoming a Straw Vulcan in response to a problem), denial (denying the existence of the problem), and so on.
Leaving Freud behind, Conversion Disorder is a well-documented disorder where a person suffers some extreme emotional trauma and begins experiencing some physical limitation that is entirely psychogenic (which doesn't mean unreal). They then neither care about their disability nor their other problems, leading to the definitive hallmark of Conversion Disorder, la belle indifférence.
Patient: "Doctor, my arm won't move at all."
Doctor: "When did this start?"
Patient: "Oh, just last night, a couple days after I saw that cheating, no-good jerk with my sister. I can't figure out why my arm won't move."