When I was younger, my bank manager would write from time to time saying he was 'saddened' to note that I hadn't done anything about my overdraft. This was no big deal. And nor would it have mattered if he'd said he was 'angry', 'livid' or 'incandescent with rage'. He could have been whatever he liked, but it still wouldn't have altered the fact that I had three thousand pounds of his bank's money and no intention of doing anything about it. But then one day he wrote to say he was 'disappointed' and that changed everything. That meant he'd had high hopes for me and that I had let him down. Suddenly it was all my fault. — Jeremy Clarkson
Instead of being angry, a character is morose and disappointed. This usually has a greater effect on the person they are disappointed with.
Contrast So Proud of You and "Well Done, Son" Guy.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora scolds his friends for allowing themselves into being captured by a bunch of weak Heartless when the trio are captured and zapped into a computer world called Space Paranoids. This is different from the game, where he simply tells them to "show 'em who's boss".
Sora: How careless of you to be apprehended by the Heartless.
The Sandman - Morpheus creates the nightmare known as the Corinthian as a "black mirror" to reflect everything humans aren't prepared to acknowledge about themselves. Then Morpheus gets waylaid and captured by a cult for decades. After he escapes, he finds that the Corinthian has been at large in the human world for some time - and is unimpressed that all he's done is inspire the modern Serial Killer.
"What have you wrought, Corinthian? NOTHING! Just something else for people to be scared of, that's all. You've told them that there are bad people out there. And they've known that all along."
Unohana does this, in chapter 35 of Uninvited Guests, when she uses her Team Mom status to guilt trip Soi Fon into surrendering her hold on Soul Society.
With immeasurable sadness in her eyes, she said, "I just want you to know... I'm not angry, Soi Fon. I'm disappointed."
Soi Fon recoiled as if physically struck. "Wh-what... what was..." She muttered. What had just happened? Unohana had done nothing of note; she'd spoken a few words. They weren't even kido. And yet Soi Fon felt as though a spear of ice had been driven deep into her soul, a deep, crushing chill that permeated her entire being.
"I've done so much for you. I work tirelessly, day in and day out, to keep you and your little friends healthy and happy." Unohana said, still sadly. "I do this because I care, Soi, I really do. And to see you respond by treating me like this... it hurts."
Soi Fon fell to her knees. "S... stop it..." She muttered. "What are you... what are you doing to... to me..."
"Look me in the eyes when I talk to you, young lady." Unohana said firmly. "I want you to understand just how much your selfishness has hurt the people who care about you."
"Oh... oh God..." Soi Fon said weakly, tears in her eyes. What was going on? What was this woman doing to her? She hadn't been so much as scratched, but she felt so weak and terrible and... guilty.
In Boys Und Sensha-do, Miho expresses the sentiment to Mako when a mistake by Mako as driver results in Miho almost getting run over by their Panzer IV.
Simba: You know, you're starting to sound like my father.
Nala: Good! At least one of us does.
Film — Live-Action
A sub plot of The Nutty Professor 2 has Sherman's dad taking Sherman's youth formula to be younger and skinner. When he tries to get his wife to take it, she's angry because she thinks it means that he's grown tired of her. After exiling him to the couch, she says that she's disappointed in him.
Gettysburg. General Lee's mild-mannered rebuke of his cavalry commander Jeb Stuart cows the flamboyant general so much he tries to resign on the spot.
Black Rain. After his partner is murdered the protagonist, an NYPD detective, admits to a Japanese detective that he stole money from drug dealers.
Masashiro: Did Charlie (his dead partner) know this?
Masashiro:[quietly] You shame him. And me. And yourself.
Nick:[long pause] I know.
In Harry Potter, this is a recurring theme in Harry and Dumbledore's interactions.
In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin is quietly disappointed in Harry over the fact that he didn't hand in the Marauder's Map, "leaving [him] feeling worse than he had at any point in Snape's office."
In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry disappoints Dumbledore by not making much of an effort to get a memory from Slughorn, he again would have preferred him to yell; "this cold disappointment was worse than anything."
In Tom Sawyer, there is a passage where Aunt Polly starts crying and berating Tom. He thinks that for a moment, he hoped she'd just beat him.
One Choose Your Own AdventureNarnia book uses this. Aslan sends the Player Character to investigate an island where some of the water can turn everything it touches to gold, which is otherwise indistingishable from all the other water there. If the hero decides to join a gang exploiting the water to get rich quick, Aslan appears, tells them how disappointed he is, and sends them back home, along with their ill-gotten wealth. The hero's deeply upset, realizing too late the folly of their greed, and it's implied they'll never get a chance to atone or return to Narnia.
The quote above comes from one of Jeremy Clarkson's car review collections, while discussing the Mazda3.
Dawn: This the part where you tell me you're "not angry, just disappointed"?
Giles: Pretty much. Except for the bit about not being angry.
And averted by Giles in "Innocence", after Buffy's decision to sleep with Angel releases the evil Angelus, who Buffy (at that point in time) is unable to bring herself to kill.
Buffy: You must be so disappointed in me. Giles: No. (she looks at him) No, no, I'm not. Buffy:But this is all my fault. Giles: No. I don't believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly? You did. A-and I can. I know that you loved him. And... he... has proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn't have known what would happen. The coming months are gonna, are gonna be hard... I, I suspect on all of us, but... if it's guilt you're looking for, Buffy, I'm not your man. All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.
Garibaldi and Sheridan in the Babylon 5 episode "Wheel of Fire":
Sheridan: I'm not angry with you. Not now. I was. .. But Delenn has a .. way of looking at things.. No. No, I'm not angry with you. But I am very disappointed, Michael.
Garibaldi: I'd rather have you yelling at me or angry. Anything but disappointed. I know I failed...
Sheridan: I didn't say I was disappointed in you because of your failure. I'm disappointed because I didn't pick up on this earlier. Disappointed because you felt that you couldn't come to me about this on your own.
Freu will also say this again if Tia uses up her last life against her.
Similarly, in Grollschwert, Raimund will say this to Grolla if she uses up her last life against him in the first phase of the boss battle against him.
In Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, if you fail to complete the game's main goal by the end of the third year, then Keith arrives with Nio in tow and tells Ayesha to consider what it is that she lacks that she wasn't able to save Nio on her own.
In World of Warcraft, Thrall says "You disappoint me, Garrosh" after Garrosh walks in on Varian while he's meeting with Rhonin to discuss their efforts against the Old God Yogg-Saron, who's a threat to the entire world, resulting in Varian walking out, not wanting to cooperate with the Horde. In "Heart of War", Garrosh's short story, he indicates that those words got to him more than he wanted to admit. Much later, after Garrosh is defeated in Siege of Orgrimmar, Thrall says "You disappoint me, Garrosh. You are not worthy of your father's legacy", the most concise and effective "The Reason You Suck" Speech he can give to Garrosh.
In PVP Online, Francis, after revealing to Cole his plan to fool the world into thinking that he's waiting for Star Wars Episode III since Episode II's release with a robotic double of himself, expects Cole to lay into him for this, but instead gets a simple statement that he's disappointed at him. As Cole walks away, Francis realizes that it's even more effective than yelling at him.
Francis: Please yell at me?
In Ink City, Yosuke repeatedly ignores Souji's wishes to lay low and not draw undue attention to themselves, including signing both of them up as the headliner of a 'Butler Fight'. When he plasters posters with their images and names across the City in order to promote the fight, Souji responds this way.
At one point in Cleolinda's Secret Life of Dolls series, Cleo disciplines Edward simply by telling him she's disappointed in him.
Homestuck: Trickster mode naturally ends in self disgust. Jane's dad showing STERN FATHERLY DISAPPROVAL upon seeing Jane's antics. Subverted when Dirk expresses disappointment at Roxy falling Off The Wagon, he admits to Jane that he's actually proud of her for buckling down with the sobriety. Kanaya expresses both anger and disappointment when Rose takes up drinking, as she feels that Rose is both wasting her talents and hurting herself.
In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode 24, Spike was already on edge from being worried that Owlowiscious would replace him as number 1 assistant, and in turn, take away some of the admiration that went towards him, and when Twilight Sparkle finds out that Spike lied to her about the book he was asked to get, she says he is very disappointed in him. Hearing this only drives him into being even less honest.
Princess Celestia throws this at Twilight Sparkle when she accuses Princess Cadence of being evil with flimsy, easily explained "evidence." This is after having, throughout the episode, expressed anger and resentment towards her brother about not being told about his wedding to Cadence sooner and jealousy towards Cadence; causing the whole thing to come off as petty and childish on Twilight's part. Once it comes out that Twilight was correct, everypony's quick to apologize.
In "Arthur the Wrecker" on Arthur, Mrs. Read is "not mad, just disappointed" that Arthur disobeyed her playing on her computer when she asked him not to. And this isn't the only instance of her using this or a similar line in the series.
Family Guy, after Peter engages in some alcohol-induced mischief, Lois says that she isn't mad, just disappointed. Still blitzed out of his mind, Peter considers this a good thing.
In a segment of the revived Beavis and Butt-Head, the two are watching an episode of Jersey Shore where Snookie talks about how someone saying they're disappointed in you hurts a lot worse than if they were just angry. Beavis disagrees. People say they're disappointed in him all the time, and it doesn't bother him none.