Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl
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 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, 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 Boys Love Genre
works. 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.
- 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-based 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.
- Jack Atlas and Carly Nagisa of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds.
- 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 Mayu Shinjo mangas are supposed to come up as. Bad thing, 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.
- 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 Sangatsu 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.
- 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: In "Everything but the Rain", Ryuuken Ishida and Kanae Katagiri are this trope to the very letter. The flashback is not just Isshin and Masaki's Meet Cute story. With Ryuuken and Kanae as the Beta Couple, we also get to see him torn between his personal desires and his duty to his family, and her hidden feelings for a boy she believes is unattainable.
- Souma and Masataka 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
- The Secret Life Of The Backyard Kids: Jorge and Angela. The former is a rich kid with a lot of issues, the latter is a Na´ve Everygirl who thinks he's cute. Their conversation in Chapter 7 really drives it home.
- Anime versions of Flippy and Flaky from the Happy Tree Friends are definitely this.
- More than one Hetalia angsty fanfiction applies these dynamics to either: Austria/Hungary, Eastern Bloc!Prussia/Hungary, Japan/Taiwan, Romano/Belgium, Switzerland/Liechtenstein, Netherlands/Belgium, Germany/Italy, Sweden/Finland, Russia/Lithuania, Russia/China, Romano/Spain, Japan/Greece or England/America.
- Harry Potter Fanon likes to portray Draco Malfoy's and Astoria Greengrass's relationship as this, if not going the Arranged Marriage route (or combining the two into a Perfectly Arranged Marriage).
- In The King of Fighters fandom, almost any het pairing involving Iori Yagami involves the preferred partner note invoking the trope via becoming the ~only girl~ able to offer him solace, tenderness and rest, "fixing" his massive issues coming from his centuries-long family baggage. Among the canon girls subjected to this, the most common ones are Athena Asamiya and Chizuru Kagura. And it's Hilarious in Hindsight when you consider the Drama CD's...
- Wu Luan and Qing in Legend Of The Black Scorpion, who deconstruct this as the original play Hamlet does.
- Usually subverted, or at least zigzagged in the Death Note fanfiction Story Of The Century. Original Character Erin is not the most patient of people and most of the time she is a Tsundere towards L, who in turn is a (seemingly) unrepentant Anti-Hero who says next to nothing about his problems (Erin does a lot of speculation on her part based on what little is given), but in a few peaceful moments their dynamic dips into this; L seems to act slightly more "human" since they start hanging out and Erin does learn a few life lessons through their relationship. There could also be deconstruction going on too; unfortunately there's only so much "brooding" from him that Erin can take before she loses her gentleness...and in the end she still can't save him.
Film - Animated
- 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.
- 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 his 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.
- 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 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.
- In Smallville, Clark's female companions/love interests tend to play this role to his brooding boy on his bad days. Lana, Chloe, and Lois 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Joe and Ahim early on in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
- 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 Mass Effect 3, a Shepard of either gender will become very brooding after experiencing the Heroic BSOD with the dream sequence. A Male!Shepard relationship with either Tali or Liara takes on this trope.
- To an extent, Tifa is this towards brooding main protagonist Cloud from Final Fantasy VII.
- Aerith was also doing remarkably well, until she died.
- 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. 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 - 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.
- In Halo, the Didact to 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 ask for it. The Librarian is a Friend to All Living Things whose favorite charges are the species the Didact nearly wiped out: humans (they 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.
- Also in Halo, Master Chief and Cortana. 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.
- Fire Emblem:
- 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.
- 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.
- In Bioshock Infinite its the team of gentle Elizabeth and Booker as the brooder (who keeps it mostly to himself).
- CLANNAD: Tomoya and Nagisa.
- His father Naoyuki and Asuko in Clannad: The past path.
- To a degree, Hisao and Lilly in Katawa Shoujo. 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. Somewhat deconstructed; 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.
- 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.
- 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.