"Your serene expression... It doesn't belong here, in this carnage."
There's maiming and killing afoot. Screaming and cursing, the clattering of swords, gunfire. Faces distorted with pain and hate. It's terrifying, but it is to be expected.
But what, when you see peace in the middle of horror? One is smiling — not viciously
, not insanely
, not stoicly
— but calm, gentle... seeming almost enlightened
as they slit throats
left and right. They are the eye of the storm, the calm center of destruction and their serenity is so off
that it's more terrifying than any fury
Villains and heroes can be dissonantly serene in battle mode, but it's rarely the main character who does that. Mysterious and frail-looking characters of whom one wouldn't expect such prowess
often make it look like the easiest thing in the world to vanquish the enemy.
Another deceivingly harmless state of mind, although uncomprehending: Psychopathic Manchild
. Also likely to overlap with While Rome Burns
. The Comically Serious
is this trope Played for Laughs
. Tranquil Fury
seems similar on paper but is very
different in practice. May cross over with Moment of Silence
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Anime and Manga
- Common in the medieval Icelandic Sagas, making this Older Than Print:
Bolli does not kill Helgi on the spot. Instead, he stands quietly by and smiles a little as he listens to the summons. Saga readers know of course what it means to smile a little under the pressure of insult: it means turmoil and violence. The little smile seals Helgi's fate; it is only a question of time. (Theodore M. Andersson)
- Fiver may have used this trope in Watership Down to defeat a larger rabbit by being overly polite and calm for the situation, freaking the other guy out.
- Chiun from the book series The Destroyer matches this. An 80 year old Korean man, he is calm and gentle... as he rips open throats and kills anyone who messes with him.
- In the Star Trek novel Vendetta, a survivor of a Borg attack on his world describes having seen the personification of death. Much like many cultures on Earth, his had portrayed death as a skeletal figure in black, but instead he describes death as a smiling child walking and skipping through the scenes of destruction.
- Captain Tushin and Prince Bagration exhibited forms of Dissonant Serenity during the Battle of Schöngraben in War and Peace. Captain Tushin might have briefly lapsed into Psychopathic Manchild for his disturbing calm though.
- The Dresden Files:
- Warrior Cats: Everyone. They aren't outright happy or excited (except maybe Lionblaze), but no one seems to be at all fazed by all the bloody battles in the series. Quotes from various characters:
"I'd welcome any cat who'd help me rip out their entrails."
"Just a few scratches. Mostly WindClan blood."
"Is there any blood?" (Said by an excited little kitten)
- Most of the time, their battles are non-lethal. They fight to prove their superiority and defend their homes, not to kill, which even in battle is considered outright murder. When a cat accidentally dies during a border skirmish it is a huge deal. When a life-or-death battle actually happens, they are much more serious about it.
- Sol stays calm and composed all the time, even when surrounded by enemies and accused of murder. He is so calm, other cats often find it unsettling. The only times he's lost his cool is whenever he's making a speech (and he's really more "incensed" than angry), and when Hollyleaf apparently pushes his Berserk Button, he recovers in less than half a second.
- Jonah in The Bible, with the boat he's on going through a storm and the pagan crewmen about him frantically praying to their deities... is asleep. So, pretty old trope eh?
- So was Jesus, one of the times they were crossing the Sea of Galilee. Another time he was so zen he was able to Walk on Water.
- Luke and John portray Jesus like this even during his own crucifixion. Mark and Matthew portray him as less composed, asking at one point "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?".
- Over the course of countless pressures, near death experiences, sacrifices and losses and manipulations, Rand Al'Thor, The Dragon Reborn of The Wheel of Time had become increasingly volatile, prone to losing his temper at the drop of a hat (oh, and he heard voices a lot), but in book 12 his slow building psychosis reached its zenith when he is briefly captured by Semirhage and almost forced to kill the woman he loves, and slips into this trope for the rest of the book to chilling effect.
- Blademasters and others trained in the Flame and the Void technique default to this state in combat: they suppress their emotions, the better to focus on the battle and instinctively meet any threat.
- The final test to become an Aes Sedai demands either this or Tranquil Fury, as the student must demonstrate one hundred difficult weaves in increasingly stressful, dangerous, and degrading situations without ever losing her composure.
- The characters of A Song of Ice and Fire usually react as one would expect if they had to live in the Crapsack World of Westeros, whether they be commoners, nobility or seasoned warriors. An exception to the rule is resident Magnificent Bastard Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, who remains cheerful and upbeat even when betraying everyone left, right and centre, kicking off bloody civil wars and nonchalantly killing anyone who was no longer of any use to him.
- Roose Bolton, Lord of the Dreadfort, is a polite, soft-spoken and unassuming man, as well as the closest thing Westeros has to an Evil Overlord (and a Token Evil Teammate to the Northmen, too). Even when ordering horrible atrocities upon the peasants and prisoners of war, or threatening to cut off his cupbearer's tongue for speaking out of line, he never raises his voice or loses his calm. Bolton believes in purity and self-perfection, practising a strict health regimen for himself, and seems to be of the mindset that emotions are unnecessary, unlike atrocities.
- Mace Windu in Shatterpoint. "I don't like Windu... he has the same look cleaning his weapons as he does using them."
- In the NUMA Series novel Valhalla Rising, at one point the hero Dirk Pitt is desperately throwing stuff at The Brute, but gets his clock cleaned. In steps his friend Al Giordino. The Brute tries to crush Giordino; his response is to reach out and start strangling The Brute, cool as you like. Eventually The Brute, running out of air, is forced to concede.
- Griboyedov in The Death of the Vazir Mukhtar, especially during the attack on the embassy.
- Sir Thomas Maculay in Lays of Ancient Rome describes Mars this way:
He smiles a smile more dreadful
Then his own most dreadful frown
When he sees a thick black cloud of smoke
Rise up from the conquered town.
- Played with in the Dale Brown novel Warrior Class, where POTUS Thomas Thorn's incredible calmness even in tense situations is comforting to some, annoying to others.
- As Rudyard Kipling in "The Ballad of Boh Da Thone" described The Captain remembering old times when he tried to catch his archenemy:
In his eye lit the passionless passion of slaughter
- In the Forgotten Realms novel The Making of a Mage resentful Elminster (age 17) witnessed how one magelord summoned and tried to command Dorgon "Stonecloak" Heamiiolothtar, one of few people who didn't won the office of Magister, but was given it by the gods of magic and remained in it longer than anyone save Azuth himself. Dorgon poked "with mild curiosity" the artifact supposed to make him powerless, ascertained that it is a challenge, teleported through the room and diced half of the magelords and they flunkies present at the party before anyone reached the door. Then disabled, judged and beheaded all present magelords one by one. All the while wearing much the same expression, ignoring their spells and complaining about their inability to throw at him something really interesting.
- In Discworld's Nightwatch, Carcer is this trope. This man will smile serenely as he's stabbing you, and then with a look of childlike innocence, go "Who, me?" to any bystanders, as if he didn't just kill someone in cold blood.
- Carrot is Carcers good opposite. When Angua was kidnapped, he decided to eat and take a nap so he'd be in better shape to deal with the kidnappers later.
- In Thief of Time, this is invoked by History Monk and déjà fu master Lu-Tze, who is surprised that his opponents forgot a vital rule: do not act incautiously when confronting little bald wrinkly smiling men.
- During Act I, Scene III of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, a heavy storm hits Rome, the earth shakes, fire is seen in the skies and lions, ghosts and burning men walk the streets of Rome. And into this, enters Cassius, who smiles contentedly and calls it "a very pleasing night to honest men."
- Later Mark Antony imagines a similar situation in which Caesar's ghost stands beside Ate, the Goddess of Vengance "come hot from hell ", he then yells ""Havoc!" " and she lets go of the leashes to a pack of Hell Hounds borrowed from Mars himself, engulfing the whole country of Italy in a bitter war that drags on so long that the people become so accustomed to the carnage that "mothers shall but smile" at the sight of their children's bodies being brought home so horribly mutilated that they are barely even recognizable anymore. Though the fact that these thoughts fill him with the warm an' fuzzies is another matter entirely, one with elements of several Revenge Tropes involved.
- In the Honor Harrington novel In Enemy Hands, when Honor is in State Sec custody, she finds that the "deadness" and "cold-eyed patience" of some is even worse than the others' fiercely delighted hatred. In Echoes of Honor a similar observation is made of Oscar Saint-Just.
- Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: In the book Collateral Damage, Paula Woodley talks to Lizzie Fox about her husband Karl Woodley. She asks Lizzie if she's being too sadistic, and she says this in the tone of someone discussing the weather. She had been abused by her Domestic Abuser husband for years. No decent person could fault her for wanting to make him pay for that!
- In some works of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Luke tends towards this. Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor has a notable example; his voice in the midst of emergency is described as "preternaturally calm". Mara Jade directly points it out in Heir to the Empire, when he's been Brought Down to Normal - no Force skills to draw on, no weapons, unknown hostile world, Imperials trying to find him, wild animals after him, and Mara herself wanting him dead, and far from being wired with adrenaline he's maddeningly serene to the point of being able to fall asleep - though he's still very quick-witted, observant, and far from helpless.
- Probably justified because using the light side of the Force requires one to be calm and collected; if Luke couldn't hold it together in stressful situations he'd risk tapping into the dark side.
- Psmith's attitude towards any brand of fight (from a scuffle among schoolboys to a full-blown Mob War) in the Psmith series. It's Played for Laughs.
- In Galaxy of Fear, the shapeshifting Hoole just frowns in concentration while wresting with the controls of a crashing ship. He's that calm and steady when tossing his endangered niece and nephew something that will help. He's less calm in day-to-day dealings with them, not being a fan of children.
- Valentine Morgenstern in The Mortal Instruments is always calm, even sarcastic, even when ripping out people's hearts.
- In Neuromancer, Molly recounts how she and her companion were stalked by a vatgrown ninja assassin whose face remained serene even as he fought. Later, Hideo is struck blind by a flash attack, yet doesn't even flinch, but proceeds to stalk his enemy by sound, calm as can be.
- In Sheeps Clothing, Doc is able to have a fairly calm conversation about his new-found belief in vampires maybe an hour after he gets his proof in the form of one of them almost tearing his throat out. Justified here in that he is still in shock and probably a little drunk.
- Invoked in The Zombie Knight. Hector is far too shy to shout and snarl in typical action-hero fashion, so instead Garovel teaches him to unnerve people by speaking in whispers and being incongruously polite.
Live Action TV
- From Doctor Who: Information: Kill. Kill. Kill.
- The Cybermen can apply as well. The Daleks have one emotion (anger), but all that's left of the Cybermen is pure logic.
- Series 6 offers both the Antibodies ("You will experience a tingling sensation and then death") and the robots in the Two Streams hospital ("This is a kindness.") Basically, evil robots in the Whoniverse are either absolute monotone or this. No, the Daleks don't count, they're not robots.
- The Doctor himself applies as well, especially the Tenth and Eleventh ones. You know he's mad when he starts yelling and screaming, but when he gets quiet again you know it's time to be scared.
- A famous example from the classic series episode, "Horror on Fang Rock":
Doctor: [with a toothy grin] Gentlemen, I've got news for you! This lighthouse is under attack and by morning we might all be dead!
- In "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship", after learning the fate of the Silurians who built the spaceship, the Doctor informs the space-pirate responsible that he's not going to rescue him from the oncoming missiles. When the villain begs for his life, the Doctor's response?
Doctor: Did the Silurians beg you to stop?
- From Joss Whedon's Firefly: River Tam displayed this trait in a few episodes. But then, she was batshit, so that is also to be expected.
- A more typical example is Wash, at least as long as he's piloting; check out the scene in the pilot episode when the Reavers are chasing them: he's the only one in the entire ship who's completely calm. Wash's dissonance works both ways: He's very calm when, say, he's being chased by Reavers or has to pull off some crazy-ass aerial stunt, but he acts panicked when things really aren't that bad.
He is a leaf on the wind. Watch how he soars.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- In the finale of season 5, Dawn realizes that she is going to be sacrificed in a ritual to open up a portal and bring about an apocalypse; she responds by calmly folding her clothing and placing it on a chair, in case that is the only thing left of her after the ritual is done.
- In "Lie to Me" Buffy is placing flowers on the grave of a New Old Flame who'd been killed by vampires. The boy then bursts out of the grave as a vampire, whereupon Buffy coldly stakes him without changing expression.
- Gem and Gemma from Power Rangers RPM have the same cheerful smiles on their faces whether they're talking about friendship, explosions, military strategy, or the horrible conditions at a forced-labor factory they spent several months imprisoned in.
- Subverted by a Japanese monk in Lexx, who serenely keeps meditating and is ignored by the wandering alien probe droids. It turns out he's not meditating, just briefly unconscious from having donated half his insides to an organ-harvesting cult... and the probes only ignore him because the surgery sewed shut his "poop chute."
- Charlie Crews in Life. Most of the time. When he thinks he's on to the people behind his framing, however, he chucks all that Zen stuff out the window. In one scene.
- Snafu in The Pacific. Snafu's usually deadpan calm whether he's just shooting the breeze or prying gold teeth out of a dead Japanese soldier's mouth. When Sledge admits he's scared and Captain Ack Ack states "Everyone is; any man who says he's not is either lying or dead", a quick shot of Snafu makes you wonder what that makes him.
- He also manages to sound calm about things when it's apparent that he really isn't. When Snafu talks Sledge out of taking up his own habit of prospecting for gold teeth among dead Japanese soldiers, his warning about "diseases that'll make you sick" is less his worrying about hygiene and more a cover to let him express his concern about the comparatively idealistic Sledge starting down the same road he's traveled.
- Despite everything, Okinawa almost breaks him: he nearly starts a fight with Sledge, who's probably the person he's closest to, and it's only after Peck climbs up on an exposed ridge and fires at the enemy and Hamm is shot saving him that he seems to go back to his usual self. Even then, there's still a slight change in his demeanor.
- The Sci-Fi Channel's miniseries adaptation of Dune had a minor Harkonnen officer who was a Mook Lieutenant. When said officer's troops get ambushed by the Fremen, he fights back until he sees Paul Atreides calmly walking through all the bloodshed and explosions and coming straight at him. The officer promptly tries to run, but he doesn't get far...
- Not uncommon in Smallville, due to kryptonite being everywhere, and there are ones that don't involve kryptonite too.
Chloe: Lana, hey, I've been looking for you.
(*Lana grabs her head and smashes it against the wall, then throws her down the stairs*)
Chloe: (*Struggles to her feet*) Lana, what are you doing!?
Lana: Killing Chloe Sullivan.
- This is just the start of probably the worst beating Chloe ever got. Lana remains expressionless the entire time. No, they aren't fighting over Clark. Lana is mind controlled by someone who is going to be exposed by Chloe.
- Another episode involves Clark and Lionel Luthor switching bodies. In order to lure Lionel-in-Clark's-body back to the prison to reverse the process, they manage to convince him that the change will be permanent if he eliminates his old body. In order to do this, he stages a full scale prison riot, then walks through the chaos with the most supreme confidence.
- Cure: A doctor calmly states to Chloe that he is going to cut out her heart.
- In Supernatural, a group of pagan gods meet to discuss about the upcoming Judeo-Christian apocalypse. Lucifer finds them, explains his disdain for the pagans to Mercury, and calmly kills each and every one of these gods (except for Kali, who got away).
- In The Mentalist after killing the Red John imposter, as everyone in the mall runs screaming Patrick sits down and finishes off his tea while asking for a check.
- In many cases Patrick displays far more calm and control than seems sane in tense situations.
- Brother Mouzone of The Wire. Whether firing a warning shot into someone's arm, lying on the floor gut-shot, or sitting in a folding chair reading The New Republic, it's all the same to him.
- Same for Marlo Stanfield who orders many murders with the same level of emotion you would expect from someone ordering a sandwich.
- The little girl in Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County is disturbingly unemotional, considering that aliens are abducting/killing everyone in her family. In the end, she is so passe about the whole thing that not only does she let the aliens into the house, but she is the only one seen going with them willingly as opposed to the others, who are all put into trances.
- Data of Star Trek: The Next Generation displays this as part of his very nature. Despite regularly being in life-threatening situations, he is almost always calm and detached. Justified because he's an android and wasn't programmed to feel emotions - he has to learn about them from others.
- As does his spiritual predecessor Spock; though being half-human, strong emotions occasionally show through his cool veneer. Most Vulcans are like this - a good example would be Amok Time, where Spock's grandmother and the other Vulcans are pretty chill while watching two people fight to the death.
- The Female Changeling in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine maintains a calm demeanor throughout the series. Her serene facade cracks in the final episode.
- Todd Alquist from Breaking Bad is always the very picture of calm and personable, whether he's having a friendly conversation with you or putting a bullet in your skull.
- Subverted in Rome when Marc Antony compliments Julius Caesar on his calm demeanor while they're (illegally) marching on Rome. "You look as calm as a cup of water." Caesar replies with a touch of irony, "I'm glad I appear so..."
- In the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode "The Bridge", a character eating lunch in prison calmly continues eating even as super-soldiers bust in through the ceiling to rescue him, brutally dispatching anyone who gets in their way. He even refuses to get up from his seat until he is addressed as "Sir."
- Brian the Milk Guy in Misfits, doubling with Soft-Spoken Sadist as he calmly and pleasantly tells people how he's controlling the last dairy product they ate to kill or maim them. His slender, baby-faced appearance only adds to the dissonance.
- Victoria Times Columnist Adrian Chamberlain made this claim about Blaster Lashley after she had interviewed him about professional wrestling and the combat sports he had participated in.
- Boogeyman has two volumes, loud when yelling his catch phrase and almost quiet at all other times, even if he has glass embedded in his head.
- The Model, Santana Garret and The Supermodel Amy Love have drifted into this area. You'd think it would be hard to make an admitted torture session or the threat of ripping someone's head off sound free of malice but they've done it.
- Bound to happen in Warhammer 40,000, where it's mainly the province of the Eldar and, presumably, the Necrons.
- This is less to do with the aforementioned factions fitting entirely into the trope (plenty of Eldar are quite Axe Crazy in battle and when they speak at all Necrons are more Creepy Monotone) and more to do with how every single other faction is ALWAYS SHOUTING! ALL THE TIME! and as a result they seem positively catatonic in comparison.
- Friend Computer in Paranoia can embody this trope, depending on how the game-runner decides to depict its voice.
- Friend Computer just wants you to be happy. Happiness is mandatory. Failure to be happy is treason. Treason is punishable by summary execution.
- Please report to the nearest Internal Security office for routine brainscrub therapy. Thank you for your cooperation. Have a nice daycycle.
- In Dungeons & Dragons Fourth Edition Monks are portrayed this way, at least in the fluff. Although obviously up to the player on how they act, most powers are described as something along the lines of "floating through the chaotic battle like a leaf on the wind." While, incidentally, executing Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs or simply sending entire enemy groups (or one giant dragon/demon/abomination) flying with a "mere flick of the wrist."
- In Mother 3, at the end of the game, once you've reached the very top of the tower, before you face the Final Boss, the happiest, most light-hearted songs from the trilogy play. As for the boss himself, the mastermind behind the Crapsack World your home has become, Porky Minch, he's surprisingly calm and cheerful, despite the bombastic battle themes and the fact that he's now an Omnicidal Maniac.
- Wilhelm, the Big Bad of the Xenosaga trilogy. He's eternally calm and placid throughout all three games and only appears to exhibit bemused intrigue over everything. His Villainous Breakdown moment in the Grand Finale consists of a single audible gasp. Dude is ice cold.
- Neverwinter Nights does not possess the capacity for characters to change their facial expression. So people in combat and close to death have exactly the same expression as people sitting in a garden eating breakfast. The voices and the music do change in combat, though.
- The lack of Dissonant Serenity was an early clue to Bastila's eventual Face-Heel Turn in Knights of the Old Republic. She was visibly snarling in the flashback sequence of her dueling Revan.
- Samara from the Mass Effect series fits this one: snarky pilot Joker remarks that she could probably shoot him "in a very tranquil way...which does not make me feel any better about it."
- The LOKI mechs also count; their calm and polite "please reconsider your agressive attitude" lines while being set on fire or shot to pieces are actually quite creepy.
- Joker himself. Well, at least in Mass Effect 1, he's dead calm when doing the impossible (with everything on the line). In Mass Effect 2, he's more laid back in such situations, though still pretty stoic.
- Sephiroth as he destroys Nibelheim in Cloud's flashback scene in Final Fantasy VII.
- And during his battle with Cloud in Advent Children. His expression upon being defeated is a look of mild surprise.
- In fact, Sephiroth's been made to be a Triumphant Example of this Trope. You will rarely hear him raise his voice or shout (even when he is being struck by a weapon), he never loses his composure, and he will usually have either two looks: an amused smirk or a just a simple frown. Oh, and don't ever expect to see him bleed.
- Yuna subverts this trope when you find her in Bevelle. After the Mexican stand-off where Seymour threatens to kill the party if Yuna doesn't calm down and marry him she threatens to jump off a fucking huge precipice to her death. She gets her own way, but threatens to do it anyway, insisting "I can fly." Okay, sure, crazy lady. As she falls, she summons Valefor, proving that her confidence and serenity was perfectly justified after all.
- Half-Life's G-man remains cool and businesslike in corpse-littered, alien-ravaged Black Mesa.
- In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, arms warriors get the Deadly Calm talent, which gives them 10 seconds during which their abilities cost no rage.
- In Metal Gear Solid 3, the Cobra Unit each used a codename taken from the emotions people feel on the battlefield. Thus, The Pain, The Fury, The Sorrow, The End. What was The Boss's codename? The Joy. She does stay relatively calm throughout, too, even as she knows she'll die.
- Interesting case. Although The Joy remains relatively calm, she is not shown smiling through much of the game. The Sorrow on the other hand is rarely seen unhappy, even as he's sending the ghosts of everyone you killed after you.
- In Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire, you can go fishing in the same area that Kyogre and Groudon are battling.
- This trope is DEFCON's bread and butter. As all of civilization is destroyed in a nuclear war, the player watches things unfold through a tactical computer depicting the carnage through simple wireframe models and numbers. This is accompanied by quiet piano music.
- One of the endings in Anchorhead involves the player character, who has by then Gone Mad from the Revelation by reading through the black book in the church, calmly clawing her own eyes out.
- Super Smash Bros.
- Wii Fit Trainer spouts during battle the same motivational lines she says in Wii Fit while savagely beating up her oponents with yoga poses, adding to her whole Fighting Clown style.
- Even while in battle, the Villager keeps his signature cheery smile almost at all times. Depending on the point of view, it's either hilarious or unnerving.
- Many of the inmates in Outlast have a very calm attitude despite the living hell around them. Notable examples are the duo you encounter throughout the game who watch you from a distance calmly discussing that they are going to give you a running start before tearing you apart, and who gets what body part. Also the doctor who chats with you like friend even when he is torturing you, cutting off a couple of your fingers, and later chasing you.
- This is showcased in the epilogue of Spec Ops: The Line. After days of constant fighting and traumatizing revelations, Walker is dead silent, with a face as blank as stone and hollow eyes. Even should he choose to fight the rescue team sent to pick him up and take him home, Walker's demeanor does not change in the slightest, serving as a stark contrast from his frequent dialogue during earlier battles in the game. If he's hit, he'll grunt in pain, but he won't say a word.
- Five Nights at Freddy's has the Purple Man that appears in the mini games. This mysterious fellow is always seen smiling, even when he's murdering a kid and making him/her cry very hard. He's also seen smiling after he finishes killing five other kids. There's also a second Purple Man that appears (rarely) in one mini game; the character you're playing as tries to save the kids, but this Purple Man stops you from doing so…with a big smile on his face.
- Colonel Glass from Spinnerette seems to behave like this quite often, as he does here.
- Oasis from Sluggy Freelance gets this a lot. For example ...
- She also flies in to impassioned rages at the drop of a hat. I.E. The very next strip.
- This the basis of the xkcd "Roller Coaster Chess" (aspired to meme): people taking advantage of cameras on roller coasters to get in pictures of themselves pretending to focus on a game of chess instead of throwing their arms out and screaming like the rest of the riders.
- Frankie And Stein has Stein acting this way... a lot. From graverobbing grinningly, to stealing a brain with a grin on his face, to excitedly explaining what he's going to do next half-way through creating his own Frankenstein's Monster with blood all over his face. Only, he's a little more upbeat than serene. This strip, in particular.
- In Troopsof Doom, this is part of what makes Legonians so creepy. They always have that little smile on their faces, even when they're snarling out threats of gruesome revenge.
- Nuzlocke Comics: The creator's White run uses this a lot. Cheren and Bianca are Creepy Children with perpetual smiles even after Hilbert's suicide, and N's Pidove at Nacerene City does nothing but softly coo as it turns Hank the Pansear into a Gory Discretion Shot. Coo.
- Dragon Ball Multiverse: After being thwarted in absorbing Broly, U4 Buu returns to the arena pissed off, and looks like he's about to kill Vegitto, Bra, and Gohan (and probably would, considering how weakened they are) and then... calmly congratulates them, thanks them for a fun fight, wishes them luck, and walks back to his booth. It comes off as incredibly creepy and foreboding.
- General Asanee from The Salvation War, whose calm is so scary she doesn't need to swear.
- The radio host Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale is usually relaxed and cheerful as he describes attacks by Eldritch Abominations and the activities of the local Secret Police who are spying on everyone. When he loses his cool, it means something's happened that's messed up even for Night Vale.
- From Killerbunnies, we have Valeriemissy Hearton is described as being cheerful and has the overall appearance of just being ditzy, however, she is capable of giving death threats with said smile
Snow: She was constantly smiling and was strangely cheerful and childish, giggling and smiling, overall jovial and zany, almost friendly, yet capable of giving death threats with a smile.
- We have this picture of Amoridere, called ''I didn't do it...'', which has her covered in blood, holding a bloodied knife behind her back, and a covered dead body next to her, all while smiling. If it makes you feel better, she drew that when she was upset.
- From The Simpsons: As an epic Mafia war unfolds on their front lawn, Marge urges Homer into the house, but he points out that the one of the Yakuza is just standing in the middle of the fighting, arms crossed, not doing anything. "The little guy hasn't done anything yet! He's gonna do something, and you know it's gonna be good!" Homer still gets pushed inside, and immediately afterwards we hear the sounds of one loud karate yell, one connected blow, and about three bodies hitting the ground. Cue Homer's disappointed groan.
- Futurama: Bender's cigar starts a fire in a museum exhibit containing very rare, and flammable, silk tapestries. Soon the whole room is ablaze, with everyone cowering in fear. Except for Fry, who spent the whole episode drinking coffee (spending his $300 rebate on 100 cups of coffee). He drinks the last of the 100 cups and turns from a gibbering mess into a paragon of peace and serenity. He is able to put out all of the fires and rescue everyone while moving in extreme fast motion (Leela would later attest to seeing only a bright, orange blur).
- Overlapping with their Casual Danger Dialogue, in the Kim Possible episode "Ill Suited" once they sort out their relationship problems Kim is all smiles while fighting a battle-suited Ron, even though the person remote-controlling the suit is trying to kill her.
- The Disaster Girl meme embodies this to the fullest, the picture being a girl no older than five smiling almost sinisterly into the camera while firefighters are putting out a burning house in the background.
- Title of a Sports Illustrated article: "Joe Mauer Will Serenely, Politely Crush You."
- In traditional art, angels are often portrayed this way when in battle with demons, they could be exhibiting Tranquil Fury, but the former is more likely.
- A fundamental characteristic of Hindu gods. Under absolutely no circumstances are they to be portrayed with anything other than a completely stoic, non-emotional face no matter what the situation is. A god can be neck-deep in demons and oceans of blood and fire, but he's gotta be cool about it.
- In a stare-down, the guy who stays composed in the face of bluster, threatening gestures, maybe even a brandished weapon or two can be far more intimidating than the other. Only a fool or someone supremely capable can remain calm in a volatile situation.
- An arguable real-life example would be in Canadian Politics; during the recent Leaders' Debate, Stephen Harper (the current Prime Minister) managed to remain very calm even as the debate got increasingly heated and the questions from his rivals increasingly armor-piercing. Sure, it isn't VIOLENT so to speak, but it got pretty intense, and Harper managing to keep as calm as he was is either impressive, or creepy, or both, depending on what you think of the guy himself.
- It really helped him that he was being grilled on all the wrong issues and that his\Conservative core values were hardly questioned at all. Just as one example, the PM put forth a plan to buy jets to replace the ones that will be retired in 5 years. Instead of attacking the plan for only researching one company, supposed kick-backs, not a good value, etc, the opposition continuously and passionately argued that we simply shouldn't buy more jets. So Harper calmly explained that a country can't operate militarily without jets. That said, he acts calm under fire too.
- #10 on this Cracked list.
- From the realm of sports, specifically MMA, Fedor Emelianenko absolutely belongs here. Never has a a man made whaling on another man's face look more serene.
- As another Real Life example, military envokes this. For example, radio protocols state what you are to say in most "What if" events. Say, you are a radio operator and you and your platoon are on a patrol, then you have contact, and you are being shot at with RPGs, AK Ms and Dsh K and what not. Company command has reports of gunfire being heard, and contacts you over the radio, asking for sitrep. Your answer? Instead of "Holy shit we a being shot at!" or something, it's "Contact-contact, Wait, Out". Similarly, MEDEVAC 9-liner (my buddies just got shot, get them outta here!), Contact Report (We were shot at, killed bunch of dudes and some of ours were!)... It's justified trope, however, since communication is vital and should be clear and easily understandable at all times, even more so in critical situations.
- Police, trauma doctors/nurses, EMTs and firefighters, as well as other people with high-pressure, intense jobs are often this as well.
- Likewise, chemists and chemical engineers tend to be like this when encountering strange odours or substances. Hmm. Pungent odour. Smells like hydrochloric acid and oligopeptides...