Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl

"Keep your faith, raise your lively face
Just get rid of your broken wings—you're strong enough by now
I'll be your spark when you're lost in the dark
And let me be your song, be your match to
Light your heart up."
Mako Mankanshoku's theme, "Light Your Heart Up", Kill la Kill

The tendency for the brooding, angsty, loner boy to end up with a sweet, gentle girl who will patiently coax him out of his moods.

While the appeal of the brooding boy probably has something to do with All Girls Want Bad Boys, the brooding boy isn't necessarily bad, he's just… moody, troubled. At worst, he'll be an Anti-Hero who's put his bad boy past behind him or at least is trying to. Maybe he has a Dark and Troubled Past. Maybe he's a Hurting Hero. Maybe he made terrible mistakes. Maybe he simply takes his responsibilities far more seriously than the rest of his teammates. Whatever the case, he's just waiting for someone to draw him out of his shell, and that person is the gentle girl.

For her part and unlike her kookier sister, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, the gentle girl doesn't try to actively shake the brooding boy out of his moodiness. Instead, she patiently and persistently offers kind words, either shy or gentle smiles, hugs, companionship, and hope. Usually The Power of Love will eventually heal the brooding boy, and she might learn some things about herself as well, especially if she ends up facing her own demons too.

This dynamic can also show up in a lot of Yaoi and Yuri work. If one of the partners is really cheerful and sweet, the other partner is probably an angst-fest waiting to be unleashed.

This relationship tends to be the focus of a Hurt/Comfort Fic. For a related couples trope based on personality dynamics, see Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, Beast and Beauty, Ugly Guy, Hot Wife, Hot Guy, Ugly Wife.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pictured above: Kiritsugu Emiya and Irisviel "Iri" von Eizenbern in Fate/Zero. It does not end well for both of them.
  • This a common main pairing type in Shoujo manga. Despite what you'd believe, it doesn't only show up on het-based lead/beta pairings; it's also very common in male/male and female/female-based shoujo works.
  • Fruits Basket gives us three examples:
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has several:
    • Priest Seto, the preincarnation of Seto Kaiba whose life pretty much sucked just as much the first time around, and the white-haired Mystical Waif Kisara.
    • "Yami Yugi" and Anzu/Tea. Their "date" consisted of large amounts of Yami brooding over his mysterious past/mysterious destiny and Tea trying to cheer him up via talking to him or taking him to arcades before going to the museum.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX gives out the Ho Yay version of this near the end of season 4 with Yusuke as the brooding guy and Fubuki as the gentle guy. In the final confrontation against Darkness-possessed Yusuke, he rants about how lonely he was, and for not noticing what his best friend feels, Fubuki apologizes and he gently said he will patiently wait for Yusuke to completely opened up to him and become friends again, and chance for Yusuke to be forgiven will always be open for him. He did even said if Yusuke doesn't want to come back to the living world, he will come to shadow dimension as well.
    • Jack Atlas and Carly Nagisa of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's.
  • The manga Hana no Namae, "The Name Of The Flower", lives off this trope. The 'brooding boy' is Kei Mizushima, a famous writer of depressing, nihilistic works, who himself has a tragic past and struggles with mental illness. The 'gentle girl' is Chouko Mizushima, the distant relative he takes in after her parents die in a car accident, who grows flowers in his yard, is quiet, soft spoken, and kind, and in love with him. The story revolves around Chouko's desire to love and save him from his depression and Kei's feeling that he doesn't deserve it, or can never bring himself out of it enough to do anything but drag her down with him.
  • Kaya and Kyouhei from Midnight Secretary. Kyouhei is the brooding, jerkass, prideful vampire who always wears black suits. Kaya is his good-hearted secretary, who is kind, gentle and takes care of all his needs without complaint. After some Character Development on Kyouhei's part, her maturity and kindness reforms him (mostly).
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena subverts this (like everything else) with Wakaba's crush on Saionji. It ends in massive tears.
  • What the main couples in the mangas authored by Mayu Shinjo are supposed to come up as. Unfortunately, the "Brooding Boy" ends up as a Bastard Boyfriend and the "Gentle Girl" is almost always a Love Martyr.
  • Gender inverted in Freezing with Satellizer and Kazuya. Eventually played straight, gender-wise, later in the story, when Kazuya starts brooding over some traumatic revelations about his family and Satellizer needs to comfort him.
  • Ranma ½: Akari is the Gentle Girl (and for some, Relationship Sue) to Ryoga's angster.
  • Mary Magdalene is the Gentle Girl to Chrono's Brooding Boy in the backstory of Chrono Crusade, in contrast to Rosette's later Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl approach to helping Chrono out of his moods.
  • It's hinted in the Neon Genesis Evangelion manga that Gendo and Yui Ikari's relationship was this before she got absorbed into Unit-01.
  • Rei Kiriyama and Hinata Kawamoto from 3-gatsu no Lion form this kind of pair whenever they're together and have meaningful one-to-one interaction. Rei has a morose disposition most of the time due to many of the issues he deals with. Hina is cheerful and, while excitable at times, is assertive but gentle and non-forceful in her attempts to get Rei to open up and spend more time with her and her family. However, unlike most examples there are no blatantly obvious romantic overtones in their relationship.
  • Kamisama Kiss features Tomoe (boy despite having a girl's name), who is a introverted Jerk with a Heart of Gold, and Nanami, an extroverted Tsundere.
  • The lead characters Nishigami and Akira are this in Shindere Shoujo To Kodoku Na Shinigami.
  • Gender-inverted version: Shiki Ryougi and Mikiya Kokutou from Kara no Kyoukai. Shiki is, to say the least, highly brooding and unstable, but Mikiya is incredibly kind and patient with her and doesn't stop hanging out with her even after she makes it clear she doesn't want to get close to anyone.
  • Baccano! had Huey Laforet and Monica Campanella back at the beginning of the 18th century. It then subverts it hard by revealing that not only is Monica just as much of a bitter misanthrope as Huey, but she's also the Serial Killer that's been lurking around lately. They bond and fall in love over their mutual desire to screw the world over.
  • In After War Gundam X, Sala Tyrrell wants to become the Gentle Girl to Jamil Neate's Brooding Older Man. Badly. It takes her almost the whole series to succeed.
  • Bleach: Flashblacks reveal that Ryuuken Ishida and his future wife, Kanae Katagiri, were this trope to the very letter. The flashback is ostensibly about Isshin and Masaki's Meet Cute story but includes Ryuuken and Kanae as the Beta Couple. It reveals he was torn between his personal desires and his family duty, and she was hiding feelings for a boy she believes is unattainable.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica:
  • Souma Saiki and Masataka Tagami from Sakura Gari are a male/male version. Souma may not look like a brooder, but in truth he's got MASSIVE issues due to his horrifying Dark and Troubled Past, and one of the biggest reasons why he's attracted to Masataka is his gentle, frank approach to him, offering a contrast with how everyone else is obsessively possessive of Souma himself. And then, shit starts going down for both of them
  • This is how the Heero x Relena shippers interpret their relationship. Since Relena helped Heero re-discover the humanity he thought of as lost, it's not that unbelievable.
    • Also a popular view of Trowa and Quatre, with Quatre as a mix of both Brooding and Gentle and Trowa as a tight-lipped but very warm-hearted Gentle Guy.
  • Puppy Love version: Masaru Yada and Hazuki Fujiwara from Ojamajo Doremi. Ever since the start of the series, Hazuki refused to see Masaru as the delinquent that others thought he was…
  • Oniisama e... has a girl/girl version, with Rei "Saint Juste" Asaka as the Brooding Bifauxnen and Nanako Misonoo as the Gentle Yamato Nadeshiko-in-trainig Girl. However, Rei either kills herself or dies in an accident depending on the version.
    • Mariko Shinobu and Nanako fit in fairly well too, given that Mariko is a Hot-Blooded Broken Bird with severe issues and clings desperately to Nanako, whom she sees as the first real friend she's made in her whole life.
  • Kill la Kill: This trope pretty much sums up Ryuko Matoi and Mako Mankanshoku's relationship. Ryuko is an aloof loner with a vengeful streak and a very Dark and Troubled Past that not even she is aware of, while Mako is a bubbly Pollyanna who supports her patiently and unconditionally. Lyrics from Mako's theme "Light Your Heart Up" even provide the page quote.
  • Ash and Eiji in Banana Fish fit this to a T, except for the "girl" part.
  • The second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 gender flips this with post-Break the Cutie!Louise Halevy and Saji Crossroads.
  • In Private Actress, the lead character Shiho once was the Gentle Girl to a Brooding Boy named Naoya Koshiba, who was both her first "client" as a P.A. and her First Love. Until Naoya died.
  • Genderflipped in Kimagure Orange Road, with Madoka Ayukawa as a Broken Bird Brooder who has been rejected by almost anyone outside her family and use to be a delinquent, and Kyosuke as the Ridiculously Average Guy Gentle one who is rather dim sometimes but still approaches Madoka when almost no one else did.
  • Slayers TRY sets these dynamics between Valgarv and Filia, especially towards the end when she properly learns the role that her ancestors had in his Dark and Troubled Past and tries to talk him out of bringing The End Ofthe World As We Know It.
  • In Fairy Tail, this was Zeref Dragneel and Mavis Vermillion's relationship. She was the first person to show him kindness in all of his 400+ cursed years of life and once she ended up cursed and immortal like him, they tried to give Eternal Love a shot. It doesn't end happily thanks to Zeref's curse being hellbent on making him suffer and killing her anyways, and Mavis could only watch from her existence between life and death as it kickstarted his real Start of Darkness into the current Big Bad.
    • This is actually pretty standard for Mashima. Couples Gajeel and Levi, Gray and Juvia, and Jellal and Erza (if you catch her in the right mood) fit this trope
  • Kaoru Hanabishi and Aoi Sakuraba from Ai Yori Aoshi. Kaoru isn't as brooding as other Brooding Boys, but he has serious emotional traumas from the abuse he suffered from his grandfather and the death of his beloved mother. Aoi's kind and loving personality helps heal Kaoru's mental and emotional damage.
  • In K there is Suoh Mikoto and Totsuka Tatara as a male/male version. Totsuka is the only one able to contain and aid Mikoto in regards to his Person of Mass Destruction. May or may not have been platonic (Word of God claims they had a "special relationship" but does not go beyond that) but it definitely ends tragically. Tatara being murdered is what kicks off the plot and Mikoto dies a mere twelve days later via Suicide by Cop after avenging his death.
  • In the shoujo manga Niehime to Kemono no Ou (The Sacrifice Princess and the King of Beasts), the initially unnamed King is a brooding and very feared beast with a Dark and Troubled Past and human heritage who has been offered 99 girls as virgin sacrifices, but he always secretly lets them go so they can rebuild their lives elsewhere. The ninety-ninth girl, Saliphie, touches his heart with her kindness and her lack of fear of him and the idea of being sacrificed to him, which impresses him enough to have her taken in as his consort instead.
  • In Magi – Labyrinth of Magic, the dynamics between Aladdin's parents Solomon and Sheba manage to mix this and Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl. The Brooding/Gentle part comes from post!Character Development Sheba realizing that Solomon is really broken from the alienation he has always had throughout his life, then deciding to be supportive for him and becoming the only one that decides to be his equal rather than his follower.
  • Danganronpa 3: Future has Kyousuke "Ultimate Student Council President" Munakata and Chisa "Ultimate Housekeeper" Yukizome. Chisa is even introduced tending the wounds of someone Munakata accused (with excessive brutality) of treason. It's unclear whether this trope applied even before Chisa was physically and mentally tortured, then lobotomized by Junko and Mukuro and essentially became a traitor from then on.
    • Keeping their relationship from the second game (even though it chronologically occurs later), Hajime Hinata and Chiaki Nanami. Once again, Hajime broods a lot about his inferiority issues, and once again Chiaki is a sweet gamer girl who tries to keep his spirits up. Then deconstructed as he feels his emotional reliance on her and his own lack of talent make him unworthy of her love, and he sets out to "become worthy", signing up for a project that completely destroys his personality and replaces it with a new one. Chiaki's left waiting for months, wondering why he abandoned her; when he does return he's even more brooding than usual and doesn't recognize her at all. She still recognizes him, though, and tries to help him again...and gets killed because of it, her last words expressing how much she wants Hajime to return to her side.
    • Also keeping their relationship from the game, Makoto and Kyoko. However, rather than being just a Gender Flip as it was then, their dynamic is played a bit more straight when Makoto has a moment of broodiness and fear, and Kyoko is the one to lift him up. They're this close to becoming Star-Crossed Lovers, but ultimately survive.
  • In Shindere Shoujo To Kodoku Na Shinigami, there's Matsushiro Nishigami and Akira Wakanae. Nishigami is as brooding as they come (and with good reason, it seems), whereas Wakanae is far too nice to buy into his 'everybody hate me' facade (while being brave enough not to be scared away, unlike Rin).
  • Sailor Moon Specifically in Sailor Moon R: The Movie. Mamoru's an orphan who was comforted by a very young Usagi in the hospital after his parent's death. Ten years later they reunite and mimic the same pose of her with her head on his knee comforting him. They normally fit more into Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, however.
  • In Marmalade Boy, while Yuu and Miki normally tend to go far more by Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl, it turns out that Yuu is extremely prone to depression at times and specially when it's revealed that his father Youji may not his bological dad. When this happens, Miki attempts to comfort and understand his reasons so she can help him out, plus gives him more than one Cooldown Hug; sometimes it works well, sometimes it does't.

  • Dream and Death from The Sandman are this. Ironically, Dream is the brooding one as he is constantly caught up in his responsibilities and the issues that result from them. Death on the other hand is a Perky Goth who is constantly upbeat, kindhearted, and ready to listen to Dream and offer support as his big sister.
    • Part of this may be that the Endless are, in a way, both what they represent and their opposites. So while Dream often gets too caught up in the realities of his life to enjoy himself, Death has been around so many people with regrets that she, more than anyone, appreciates life.

    Fan Fic 

    Film - Animated 
  • Disney's Beauty and the Beast, though only started resembling the trope after Beast did something else than brooding and yelling at Belle (read: saved her from a pack of wild wolves.) From then on Belle realized that there was more to Beast than cruelty, tended to his wounds, and started helping him to become a better man… well, man-beast.
  • Hercules has a gender-flipped version with Megara (Brooding Girl) and Hercules (Gentle Boy). Megara was hurting badly after she made a Deal with the Devil with Hades and that backfired badly on her, so she was set as a Honey Trap of sorts for the super-strong Kind Hearted Simpleton Hercules… but Herc's cheerful approach to life and genuine care for people made Megara actually fall In Love with the Mark.
  • Zootopia: Judy's emotional support and faith in him help Nick acknowledge his hardships from discrimination against foxes and she inspires him to believe in himself again and become the first fox police officer. This soon gets deconstructed pretty hard; while Judy is sweet-natured and supportive to Nick, she isn't perfect and her flaws bring trouble to their relationship. Her subconscious bigotry flaring up during a public interview almost ruins their friendship and the eponymous city itself for good.

    Film - Live action 
  • Basn O Ludziach Stad has a brooding, angsty, loner girl end up with a boy who aimed for Adorkable and overshot by a couple hundred metres.
  • In Panna A Netvor, a Czech adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, Netvor (the Beast) is a bird-like Animalistic Abomination who broods about being neither human nor monster, but is increasingly moved by Julie's (the Beauty) kindness and innocence.
  • Inception has Dom and Ariadne. The former is a fugitive who is still haunted by the memories of his dead wife, while the latter is the Naïve Newcomer whose more optimistic views helps him get through the job and eventually get over his issues.
  • Star Wars: Padmé Amidala is the Gentle Girl to Anakin Skywalker's Brooding Boy.

  • Twilight: Edward "This is the skin of a KILLER!" Cullen and Bella. In New Moon, however, gender-flipping this is what kicks off the Jacob/Bella relationship, with him being the gentle guy to Bella's "My boyfriend dumped me so my life is over" brooding.
  • Fifty Shades of Grey has broody and troubled Christian Grey and sweet, submissive Anastasia.
  • Mara, Daughter of the Nile: Thutmose and Inanni would be this if Thutmose was the least bit interested in going through with their Arranged Marriage. Inanni even has an Internal Monologue about how she "would be a good wife to him and comfort him when he headached" (She has been led to believe that severe headaches are the reason he is a Mood-Swinger.)
  • Leafpool and Crowfeather of Warrior Cats are this; as is Crowfeather's first relationship with Feathertail.
    • Jayfeather and Half Moon are worth a mention, even though they have limited interaction in the books, since they don't even live in the same time.
  • Ashley and Melanie in Gone with the Wind. Ashley, although respected by his community, is not quite one of them—he's more bookish and intellectual and less inclined towards the hunting and carousing his friends and neighbors enjoy. Then, after the horrors of the Civil War, he becomes even more withdrawn and brooding. He describes the sweet, kind Melanie as the "gentlest of dreams".
  • Rafael and Skylar in Gives Light, but they're both boys.
  • Gender inversion in The Hunger Games with Katniss as the more troubled hero and Peeta as the gentle, compassionate one.
  • The backstory of Michael and Julia in Vikram Seth's novel An Equal Music ended with a tragic version of this.
  • Eventually it seems to be Rolf Carlé and Eva's dynamics in Eva Luna. Not that she has not lived her woes, but he's the one most traumatized after going through Hell in World War II. One of their most iconic scenes has Rolf explaining said WWII woes as well as how his mentally-handicapped sister died in a psych ward, and Eva turns the sad story into a more hopeful one to re-write the circumstances and offer him solace.
  • The Tairen Soul protagonists are this before Character Development kicks in. Rain is a centuries-old warrior who scorched the world, and Elysetta is the young, seemingly human woman who gives him catharsis and finds it difficult to adjust to Fey politics. One of the ways Rain courts her is by playing with her little sisters.
  • Rodion and Sonya from "Crime and Punishment", with Rodion as the broody protagonist and Sonya as the downtrodden but nonetheless gentle prostitute.
  • Forbidden: Maya and Lochan have this dynamic. They share the burden of taking care of their family (which is the same family) and so they're both somewhat brooding, but Lochan has the additional burden of social anxiety, and Maya helps ease that.
  • Finding Snowflakes: Subverted. The guy, who is usually stoic and reserved, has a relatively positive outlook towards life whereas the resident Genki Girl, is actually really a closet cynic.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow has Adorkable I.T girl Felicity and broody vigilante Oliver. An ongoing theme throughout the series is Felicity helping him to open up about his tragic past and trust people again. Given the Trauma Conga Line he's gone through, it's not surprising he needs a little help in learning to be happy again.
  • In Smallville, Clark's female companions/love interests tend to play this role to his brooding boy on his bad days: Lana Lang, Chloe Sullivan, and Lois Lane have all played this role at various times, and Lois ends up being the one who helps him move out of his formerly brooding ways completely by the end.
  • Clare and Eli from Degrassi are like this. Clare is a sweet, mostly innocent Christian girl, and Eli drives a hearse.
  • Not explicitly romantic, but there's plenty of Ship Tease between Daryl Dixon and his Morality Pet Beth Greene in The Walking Dead.
  • Angel occasionally moved in this direction. Fred played "Gentle Girl" to both Gunn and Wesley. In Season 5, Angel's "Gentle Girl" was a werewolf. No, it never worked out happily.
    • Well, when Gunn and Fred began expressing interest in each other, neither were particularly broody. Wesley on the other hand...
    • Connor and Not-Cordelia. With a twist in that the Gentle Girl is evil, is only gentle while he's watching, and is manipulating him into serving as her Dragon.
    • For that matter, Buffy would play this role to Angel, and later Faith would step up after the events in the comic series.
  • Arthur and Guinevere can be this at times on Merlin.
  • Dillon and Summer on Power Rangers RPM.
  • Dylan and Brenda fit this from Beverly Hills 90210.
  • John Sheridan and Delenn on Babylon 5—he doesn't want to burden her with his problems and thinks he has to do it all himself. She disabuses him of that notion rather quickly.
  • Stefan and Elena from The Vampire Diaries. Stefan is the mysterious, brooding vampire who falls in love with Elena, the sweet, cheerful girl next door, who often makes Stefan crack a smile.
    • When Damon takes a break from being the Deadpan Snarker to rival his brother for the brooding championship, Elena plays this to him as well.
    • Anna and Jeremy definitely fit here. While she is more of an Abhorrent Admirer a first, their eventual dynamic, especially after her death fits this trope down to a t.
  • Joe and Ahim early on in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
  • Veronica Mars had Logan and Hannah during season 2.
  • Gilmore Girls's season has Jess and Rory. Jess is the cynical brooding boy who falls for the town princess Rory, after he discovers she has a passion for books and music similar to his own. Bonus points that both teens were a product of Teen Pregnancy but with two wildly different upbringings. note  A recurring theme is Rory believing that Jess can do more than everyone - including him - expects and that it doesn't have to be him against the world. Although they eventually break up due to Jess's issues, he later returns having got his life together, lost the brooding aspect and acknowledged he couldn't have done so without Rory believing in him.
  • Rose and the Tenth Doctor from Doctor Who are a pretty archetypical example.
    • Later, Clara Oswald has this effect on both the Eleventh Doctor (when an incarnation of Clara coaxes a brooding Eleven out of self-imposed retirement) and the Twelfth (where Clara "prime" becomes his Morality Chain and The Heart of their relationship).
  • In Riverdale Jughead is a very moody, sardonic and intense boy from the South Side of town who has teamed up with Betty, the kind, compassionate Girl Next Door in order to solve the murder of a local teen. They work very closely together and eventually develop feelings for each other, becoming a couple midway into season 1.

  • In Country Music, songs about this trope could practically form a subgenre. If the male narrator in a song refers to himself melancholically as a "cowboy" and applies spiritually charged language to the object of his affection, it's probably this Trope. Bonus points are awarded for implying that the woman's love saved him from a dangerous path in life. These songs can either apply a lot of emotional weight in a short time by relating to concepts already present in the fandom's psyche, or degenerate into a bad Strictly Formula piece.
  • Tsukiko Amano's song Bodaiju can be seen very easily as being written from the POV of a Gentle Girl and directed to a Brooding Boy.
    You come closer and then move away again, and the temperature of your body drops
    How much strength do I need?
    When the tips of your dreams pierce your chest even deeper, I’ll be here, I’ll always be by your side
    Don’t hesitate anymore, I’ll pull the blunt thorn out of you and cover the wound until the day you smile
  • In Franz Liszt's "A Faust Symphony," this well describes the relation between the first two movements, "Faust" and "Gretchen." The former has all the brooding and passion of a Byronic Hero, while the latter is gently melodious and intimately scored.
  • Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush's duet, Don't Give Up could be seen as this trope. Gabriel's character is a serially unemployed man and ex-soldier whose home has been destroyed (Word of God say's it's set during the Dust Bowl/Depression era), edging towards suicide, and Bush sings wispy, gentle words of encouragement. It's set to a vaguely African, vaguely synth-pop beat. (It's also Better Than It Sounds.)


  • Hamlet and Ophelia from Hamlet could be seen as deconstruction of the pairing. It is suggested that they were quite close and affectionate before Hamlet's father died. Then, when Hamlet's stress of seeing the ghost of his father gets to him, poor Ophelia is stunned and has no idea how to help him. From then on he's acting mad, and his next scene with her has him denying their relationship ever happened. Then she goes crazy for other reasons…
  • Sam and Rose in Street Scene.
    Sam: What's the good of having brains, if nobody ever looks at you—if nobody knows you exist?
    Rose (gently): I know you exist, Sam.

    Video Games 
  • Gabriel Belmont and his wife Marie were heavily hinted to be this in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Her death is what starts Gabriel's downward spiral.
  • Kyosuke Nanbu and Excellen Browning from Super Robot Wars Compact 2. Note, however, that Excellen is not gentle per se (she's a certified Manic Pixie Dream Girl, more genki and teasing), which should be a subversion of this trope, but she's genuinely sweet, patiently loves him and provides the emotional support and companionship he needs.
  • While in King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow Prince Alexander just comes off as at most maybe slightly too serious and reserved, the Fan Sequel The Silver Lining seems to portray his and Cassima's relationship as being more heavily this trope.
  • Any relationship with Fenris in Dragon Age II will have tones of this. Even at his most charming, he's still rather dry and bleak. A relationship with Anders has tones of this as well. In both cases, the dynamic is reversed temporarily after "All That Remains", when it's Hawke going through some serious trauma and consequent soul-searching. Still, even Fenris does his best to gently ease Hawke's brooding, despite how far out of his comfort zone he must stray.
    • The twins, Bethany and Carver, had a brother-sister version of this dynamic, at least, before one of them dies.
  • In Mass Effect 3, a Shepard of either gender will become very brooding after experiencing the Heroic B.S.O.D. with the dream sequence. A Male!Shepard relationship with either Tali or Liara takes on this trope.
  • To an extent, Girl Next Door Tifa Lockheart is this towards brooding main protagonist Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII. The biggest example is Tifa's Journey To The Centerof The Mind in Cloud's psyche, where after he goes through a massive Trauma Conga Line, she's the one who gently helps him pick up the pieces of his shattered psyche and helps him recover.
    • Subverted by Cloud and Aerith Gainsborough, who looked very much like the trope—but since Aerith was sassier, more cheerful and more outspoken than the average Gentle Girl, they fell more in Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl. They do play it straighter in Advent Children, however.
  • Though it's never been confirmed, if Laharl and Flonne got together after the canon end of Hour of Darkness, this trope would largely sum up what that relationship would be like.
  • Persona 3 Portable's Moon Arcana S.Link, between the Female Main Character and Shinjiro Aragaki. They're the very definition of this.
  • While it was more of a brother and sister relationship, Shadow from Sonic the Hedgehog had this kind of dynamic with Maria Robotnik—he's a brooding Anti-Hero, while she was the Littlest Cancer Patient and The Pollyanna. It got worse for them, however, as she died and Shadow almost became a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
    • As Shadow watches the space station Ark fall to Earth, Amy Rose begs him to help the others to stop it. She mirrors his long-deceased friend so well to Shadow that she is able to make him regain his true memories, which leads to him making a Heel–Face Turn.
    Shadow the Hedgehog: I've got to go now! I have to keep my promise to Maria… and you.
  • In Halo:
    • The Didact and his wife, the Librarian. The Didact is a stern, dedicated warrior who won't hesitate to call down the full strength of 3 million worlds upon your kind if you're asking for it. The Librarian is a Friend to All Living Things whose favorite charges are the species the Didact nearly wiped out: humans (the two even met while he was fighting them). The contradiction is lampshaded by most everyone, but if there's one thing that can soften the Didact, it's the Librarian. Unfortunately, the differences between them only widen after the Didact is driven to insanity, with the Librarian forced to turn against him in order to save her beloved humans from extinction.
    • The franchise's main duo, the stoic professional Master Chief and the cheery and friendly Cortana (though the latter is somewhat more snarky and ruthless than most examples). Chief actually finally breaks down and shows emotion in his voice and expression when Cortana "dies" at the end of Halo 4.
  • In The King of Fighters CD drama The Sun and The Moon, Iori Yagami and a girl named Kikuri Tanima (the little sister of his bandmate Konoe) fit this to a T. It doesn't end well: Iori leaves the Tanima sisters as he goes to the USA to not have them caught in his deals with Orochi, and since Kikuri is a frail Ill Girl, she dies a few days later.
    • It's not hard to see Kyo and Yuki's relationship as a milder version of this in the "King of Fighters: KYO" semi-canon continuity. At the same time Yuki receives some development and spotlight, Kyo is revealed to have more insecurities than one would believe…
  • Fire Emblem, as a long runner, has many of these.
    • If you pair them, Erk and Priscilla in Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword. Ellen and Chad are kind of like this in the sequel game Sword of Seals, too.
      • Jaffar and Nino as well.
    • It's a rather popular "reading" of Kent/Lyndis as well… but in the hands of many fans, it ends up with Lyndis being subjected to Chickification rather than her and Kent handling themselves like this.
      • If you prefer your Ho Yay, Raven and Lucius are the very incarnation of this.
    • If you pair them, Cormag/Tana in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.
    • Princess Raquesis and her "knight" Finn become a genderflipped version in Mitsuki Oosawa's Fire Emblem: Seisen no Keifu manga. To the point that Finn deliberately stabs himself with Raqesis's Earth Sword to stop her from harming herself after the death of her older brother/first love Eldigan.
    • Micaiah and King Pelleas in Radiant Dawn, though you can't actually pair them. (Sadly, for some.)
    • This is a popular interpretation of Henry and Olivia in the Fire Emblem Awakening fandom. Nevermind that Henry is much less brooding (at least on the outside) than the standard and that Olivia, despite her good heart, can be slightly insensitive and self-righteous while trying to help him—if anything, they fit more in a genderflipped version of Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl.
      • It's also applied to Lon'qu/either Cherche or Olivia, Tharja/either Stahl or Kellam (genderflipped), Gerome/either Noire or Lucina, and Cordelia/either Libra, Stahl or Frederick (gender flipped). Also gender flipped in Lucina/boy!Avatar fanworks, though that particular match-up tends to be… a bit more polemic as it often overlaps with Lucina being massively chickified into a weepy maiden that boy!Robin must "heal".
      • Subverted by Gaius and Sumia, who at first sight seem to play this straight… but in reality are a Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl match.
      • Also subverted by Tharja and Libra. Brooding Girl Tharja ends up shocked and almost terrified when she realises that Libra, apparently the perfect Gentle Guy, is actually a Stepford Smiler with an inner darkness even worse than hers.
      • Ho Yay/Les Yay shippers also apply this trope to Gerome/Laurent and Severa/Noire, with Gerome or Severa as the brooders and Laurent or Noire as the gentle ones.
    • Fire Emblem Fates doesn't lack ships like these, either.
      • Among those that play it straight are Xander/Nyx; Xander/Female Avatar; Takumi/Female Avatar; Leo/Female Avatar; Leo/Sakura; Saizo/Sakura; Saizo/Mozu; Subaki/Sakura; Takumi/Azura (though this one has detractors for being too close to Brother-Sister Incest); Niles/Azura; and Male Avatar/Azura, though the last only plays it straight on Conquest (where he broods more) — they Gender Flip it on the other two routes (where she does).
      • gender flipped examples include: Silas/Beruka and Benny/Beruka; Male Avatar/Oboro; Forrest/Rhajat; Shigure/Rhajat; Subaki/Nyx, and Leo/Nyx.
      • There's also the Bi the Way options, with Avatar/Rhajat (with Rhajat being the brooder) and Avatar/Niles (where Niles is the brooder), which could end up playing this straight or not depending on which gender the player pick.
      • Those who prefer Ho Yay or Les Yay can get the same dynamic by flipping the gender of the Avatar in the above pairings. It's also commonly seen with Takumi/Leo works and Niles/Leo fanwork (again with Niles as the brooder, though once in a while Leo plays the role).
  • Geron and Nuri of Chains of Satinav fit this trope. For extra Foil points, Geron's basic magical power is the ability to break things, whereas Nuri has the power to mend them.
  • BlazBlue gives us Ragna and Celica. While not an official couple, the shiptease is immense. Ragna is the brooding, cursing, hot-headed criminal while Celica is energetic, sweet and all around nice person.
  • Shadow Hearts has a great example of this when you look at Yuri and Alice's relationship.
  • Genderflipped in Guilty Gear. Baiken is a Broken Bird, one-armed and one-eyed Action Girl who's always serious and goes Walking the Earth, Anji Mito is a Walkingshirtless Scene man who fights with two big fans and tries to help and cheer her up when they meet. And while Anji's well-intentioned but often misguided attempts to aid her don't always work, Baiken doesn't kick him out of her surroundings either.
    • Testament and Dizzy play this trope to the very letter, too, since it's only after meeting her that Testament begins to actually recover from the terrible life he led util then.
  • In Bioshock Infinite its the team of gentle Elizabeth and Booker as the brooder (who keeps it mostly to himself).
  • Harvest Moon:
  • The Mega Man Zero series has a textbook example. Zero is a stoic Amnesiac Antihero who solves most of his problems by stabbing them with a plasma sword, and Ciel is a Wrench Wench mixed with Friend to All Living Things in a world where half the population are Ridiculously Human Robots called Reploids.
  • From Azure Striker Gunvolt, Gunvolt and Joule qualify... when Lumen isn't out to play, at least.
  • In Baldur's Gate II, many joinable NPCs have some trauma or issue that Charname can help them work past. So perhaps it is not surprising that all four original romances have this as a possible dynamic, though only one plays it straight and three are gender-flipped.
    • Aerie is deeply depressed from the loss of her wings and somewhat Wangsty about it, but a nice male player character can help her move past it as the Gentle Boy.
    • In Jaheira's romance, she is coping with the loss of her husband and dealing with treachery from fellow members of the Harpers. She's a little more snarky than usual for a Brooding Girl, but it still applies. Successfully romancing her involves helping her get over Survivor's Guilt and deal with her feelings for Charname, which means being a Gentle Boy to some extent.
    • Anomen's romance plays this trope straight; to successfully complete it, a female Charname has to help him deal with his anger problems and daddy issues. The incident with the Master Wraith notwithstanding, this dynamic is mostly gone by Throne of Bhaal, with some hints of a role reversal.
    • Viconia is a Brooding Girl because of her exile from Drow society, which encouraged cruelty and ambition. She'll gladly bed Charname, but admitting she loves him is much more difficult for her. Though Charname has to be somewhat self-confident and cocky to get her attention at first, he can be the Gentle Boy to win her over and possibly redeem her in Throne of Bhaal.

    Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD: Tomoya and Nagisa.
    • His father Naoyuki and Asuko in Clannad: The past path.
  • Almost all the Katawa Shoujo routes have elements of this and will bring up three big-ass deconstructions of the concept:
    • Hisao/Lilly: He broods because he has just found out that he has a severe heart condition and has just arrived to a totally different world, she's gentle and an Onee-sama despite her blindness. Their relationship helps Hisao open up and become happier, but doesn't do the same for Lilly. This, and Hisao's overdependence on her, nearly destroys their relationship—he will be reluctant to voice his objections to her leaving for Scotland despite how it will make both of them unhappy and she really doesn't want to leave, and "trusting Lilly's judgement" on it will tear them apart.
    • Hisao/Hanako: A genderflipped example, where Hisao tries to support Hanako since she not only is a Shrinking Violet, but has very serious self-image issues due to being Covered in Scars. If Hisao goes overboard, he'll go from Gentle Guy to "white knight", and since Hanako also has issues with being pitied she will end up screaming at him in their Bad Ending, calling him out on what she views as Hisao "using" her to make himself look good.
    • Hisao/Rin: Another genderflipped example, with Hisao playing the part of the Cloud Cuckoo Landers Minder to Rin's Cloudcuckoolander/Mad Artist. Taking care of a person with serious emotional and mental issues, and one who's under heavy pressure as well, can be incredibly draining; one small mistake can either make the "caretaker" give up after the first fight or not be able to stop the other person from destroying themself.
  • Inverted in the Kaori Route of Tokimeki Memorial 2: the main protagonist there is the Gentle Boy who patiently loves and supports Kaori, the Brooding Girl. The same can be said in the Novelization of that Route, Anata o Shinjiteru, although Shunta Torigoe (who takes the place of the main protagonist there), while having the same dynamic with her, is more energetic.
  • Makoto Naegi and Kyouko Kirigiri in Danganronpa are a Genderflipped version. After Kirigiri spends the majority of the game unable to trust anyone and feeling she has to take on the mystery alone, Naegi tells her You Are Not Alone and she just slightly begins to open up to him by the end of the third chapter. After he goes so far as to take the fall for her in the fifth chapter, she's decided to trust him completely as True Companions. Finally, when she seemed closest to the edge of a Despair Event Horizon in the final trial, he saves her from that despair, leading to the remaining students finally escaping.
  • Surprisingly, the Player Character from True Love Junai Monogatari can become the Gentle Guy to more than one of his love interests, nevermind his stupidly high libido. The more striking examples are Mayumi Kamijou (who hides huge self-esteem probems under her Goodbad Girl facade and later goes through a very traumatic Attempted Rape) and Ryouko Shimazaki (an Idol Singer who hates the turn her career is taking but feels she cannot do anything to change it since her manager is her brother AND caretaker).

  • Spoofed in this Penny Arcade strip.
    "I should warn you. My shit is way tormented."
    "I still love you. Even though you're so cool and rad."
  • Eiji and Reika of Red String.
  • Gender-Inverted in Sin Fest, with Fuchsia and Criminy.
  • Reversed in Lackadaisy with Bobby and Elsa of the Arbogast funeral home.
  • Homestuck's Feferi is the Gentle Girl to Brooding Boys Eridan and Sollux.
  • Subverted in Crepuscule with Setz and Carne. They certainly look the part, but as time goes on, it becomes evident that though Setz has his issues, he's at least trying to cope; once Carne's problems come to light, she's far more unstable. It doesn't take too long before their positions are swapped: Setz is the one who has to reassure the mentally ill Carne and ultimately try to save her when she goes insane. It doesn't end well.
  • Played with in Matchu. Matchu and Amber fit the bill personality-wise, but are also Star-Crossed Lovers who can't interact without something bad happening to either of them.

    Web Original 
  • Downplayed in Off the Page and into Life. Most of the time, Gail is willing to gently talk Henry out of one of his moods… but if that doesn't work, she's just as happy to use shouting and snarkiness, too.
  • Julia and Syrius from The War Comms are a (mostly) platonic version of this trope. That's not to say she doesn't try to make him smile, but she has enough experience to know that all he usually needs is a shoulder to cry on, or someone to bandage his wounds. And she's more than happy to give that.
    • Come to think of it, Ralph and either Molly or Syrius fit rather well. Both Syrius and Molly are prone to lots of self-deprecation, and as said above he is very prone to self-harm and heavy depression, but whenever either of them is seen depressed the usually energetic Ralph comes up with surprisingly gentle behavior to make them smile.
  • Gender flipped in RWBY with Blake Belladonna and Sun Wukong. Blake has a very Dark and Troubled Past, and feels she alone has to fight against the world's problems, and frequently suffers from Heroic BSODs over her various issues. Whenever Sun sees Blake in distress, he often tries to cheer her up, usually to be ignored or coldly dismissed by Blake.

    Western Animation