Nah:"I had you wrong. I thought you were colder. ...Scarier." Brady:"So you WERE scared of me! I knew it!" Nah:"But not anymore! Now I know you're really a good, kindhearted person!" Brady:"Gah, stop already! I ain't used to praise. It feels almost as weird to hear ya say that as it does you calling me scary!"
This is where a character is shown to have a very scary, thuggish face — mostly for comedic purposes. The expression will often include a Kubrick Stare, where the face tilts down but the eyes look up. The face of a thug is so scary that normal people are shown to be easily scared off just by looking at them, and can make even tough brutes feel uneasy.
The catch here is that that the character with the face of a delinquent is anything but. Some of them are genuinely nice, even exceptionally so; others are actually cowards surviving solely based on their looks. Generally, though, they are normal people who would rather just have a normal life.
Things aren't that easy, though. Since everyone assumes them to be a Badass of the highest degree, other people will either avoid them for fear of getting involved, or try to rope them into fights far beyond their actual ability. Their actions will usually revolve around trying to make normal people acknowledge their true self, while avoiding that the thugs around them learn the truth about the same.
This can often result in a delinquent who doesn't act like a delinquent. Such a character may even have actual skill at fighting and street survival, not by choice but by simple necessity. Since it was forced on them, they had to pick up those skills simply to survive. Very frequently overlaps with Dark Is Not Evil, since darkness and fear factor are synonymous in aesthetics.
Please note that it doesn't necessarily mean "ugly", even though most of the examples below are. It's more about looking threatening than actually looking bad, and it's possible to look both handsome and fearsome.
Compare Frozen Face, Gentle Giant, The Grotesque, Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold. Subtrope of Paper Tiger. A frequent subversion of Scary Black Man.
Contrast with Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon.
Frequently overlaps with Dark Is Not Evil.
Also a case of Generation Xerox as his Dad is constantly mistaken for a Yakuza (and attacked because of it) and was shown to pretty much have had the same experience with delinquents when he was his son's age.
Kannu from Koihime†Musou is The Bandit Hunter and ironically she gets confused for one and in one episode she is called thuggish
Seiji from Midori no Hibi has a face of a thug. It's why he constantly has a stream of bullies challenging him, which led to how he became so good at fighting. However, underneath, he's actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who wants to be loved.
Oga from the manga Beelzebub, who is known as the "strongest juvenile delinquent." He attempts to scare away a baby who has grown attached to him by making his face even scarier than it already is. However, it backfires, since the baby is actually Satan's son, and therefore actually likes incredibly scary faces.
In Oga's case, he actually is a delinquent instead of just looking like one. Although he is arguably a much nicer person in comparison to other delinquents around him.
To be honest, since about 99% of the cast are Delinquents, most of them count for this trope.
Sig Curtis from Fullmetal Alchemist is an enormous bear of a man, and a butcher by trade. He often frightens small children with his size, looks, and sharp implements. Ironically, while he is usually a kind, gentle man, his much less imposing wife is an easily angered firebrand of a woman (though never to him).
Alphonse Elric is a sweet, gentle 14-year old boy whose voice never broke... whose soul inhabits a towering suit of spiky, badass armor. Frequently mistaken as the Fullmetal Alchemist; only in Super-Deformed do his true colors show. Observe.◊
Ling Yao, a mildly suspicious but otherwise amiable guy who values his comrades and is also one of many heirs to the Xing throne admits to knowing that he doesn't have the friendliest looking eyes when Ed points out he wouldn't trust Ling's face. Ling deliberately keeps his Eyes Always Shut for the most part because of this.
Sousuke Sagara from Full Metal Panic! is shown to have such an intense, intimidatingly scary face that it scares off anyone who approaches him or Kaname. It happens mostly for comedic effect, and he's shown to actually be very attractive when he lightens up a bit. On the other hand, Sousuke is extremely violent by nature (due to being raised by resistance fighters and all that). He's just highly professional about it rather than being a thug.
Kasanoda (AKA Bossa Nova AKA Casanova) from Ouran High School Host Club. He's actually an incredibly gentle soul, who loves cute things. The only problem is that he just scares the heck out of everyone because of his thuggish face. The Host Club try all sorts of ways to "soften" his appearance, but all their efforts seem to only make him seem more unnerving and scary. Eventually, his crush on Bifauxnen Haruhi leads him to be Mistaken for Gay by his Yakuza underlings, and the Host Club's sizeable Yaoi Fangirl clientèle, who start seeing him as Troubled, but Cute.
This guy terrified his father (boss of the biggest Yakuza gang in the city) when he was five, his face is so terrifying. He was just born that way.
Sunako from The Wallflower has a face that isn't so much like a thug, but a ghost. It scares pretty much everyone to death. She's revealed in rare instances to clean up nicely.
Leo Aoi from the manga Beast Master, who looks like he's always giving everyone the death glare. When introduced to the class as the new transfer student, everyone is shown shaking in fear, and even the teacher is shown to say while sweating, "Everyone, please be kind to him. Don't be afraid of him." It turns out that he was raised in a wild jungle, but is actually very gentle and kind. This doesn't stop other delinquents from thinking he's a super violent thug that wants to challenge them.
Ryuuji from Toradora!. It's genetic apparently. He's really quite kind, and enjoys doing housework (especially cleaning). His looks and personality are made to contrast Taiga, who looks cute, but is actually ferociously violent.
Chiba Seiya from Yankee-kun to Megane-chan is really a timid, studious nerd, but has the face of a delinquent thug. Naturally this leads to numerous unwanted confrontations.
Sakaki from Azumanga Daioh. She's tall and imposing, so everyone assumes she's a juvenile delinquent. In reality, she's a shy girl who loves everything cute and cuddly. The bandages she's seen with early on aren't from getting into fights, but because those cute and cuddly animals she loves don't love her back.
Interestingly, one episode had a "dress-up race" and Sakaki dressed like a stereotypical male delinquent.
Principal Enzo from Shin-chan, whose face is so scary and thuggish, it scares not only the children, but also the teachers. It's to the point where the children take to calling him "Kumichou" (which means "Godfather"). However, he has a tender heart, and is shown to actually be a very nice person.
Parodied and subverted in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Mayo Mitama has creepy looking eyes, but since Dark Is Not Evil, everyone is still nice to her, thinking she fits this trope. Turns out they are all Wrong Genre Savvy and not only is she really as evil as she looks, she exploits this trope to do all the villainy she can. However, it is implied that she does all those bad thing hoping that just once, someone would call her out on it.
Misao Zaitsu from Hatsukoi Limited. He also has a Funny Afro going for him, and looks terrifying. But he's as much of a lovelorn idiot as the rest of the cast.
His actual glare is capable of scaring off a street thug. The manga shows a glaring cobra in the background when he does this, just to drive the point home.
Tomoka Kayahara from Muteki Kanban Musume, unless she's enjoying a meal, has a face that frightens children, small animals, adults, and Megumi.
The main cast in Dorohedoro mostly plays it straight only when they have their masks on, and avert it by taking them off (Except Cayman of course). En even manages to be a cute little boy in a flashback (Given, an Ax-CrazyOmnicidal Maniac Little Boy, but hey, it's EN).
Kaidou Kaoru from Prince of Tennis, to a degree. Most of the regulars (from Seigaku and otherwise) and teachers have no problem with him, but practically every other student he meets (especially the younger ones and girls) consider him to be terrifying. In fact, on one occasion, two nasty girls from another school were planning to humiliate him after he won a match against their school—when he turned around to see what they wanted, they freaked out so badly that one of them smashed her can of soda onto her own head.
Humorously, adults (especially elderly couples) tend to find him very nice and consider him a 'good boy', rarely even noticing what he looks like. This usually makes him blush. It does help that he's quite polite and well mannered towards adults.
Captain T-Bone of the Marines is an even better example. He looks like a zombie or ghoul but he is one of the most compassionate and caring people in the whole series, ripping his own mantle to pieces just to provide bandages for his wounded men.
The cut wasn't even that bad...
It was a bug bite.
Simon from Durarara!! is a friendly, peaceful and intelligent sushi tout. He is also a seven-foot-tall Scary Black Man that tends to scare off passers-by with his mere presence. Interestingly enough, the reallydangerousguy in the show, Shizuo, is a slim blond bishonen, and so unfortunate people sometimes underestimate him and are crushed by flying vending machines.
Makoto/Sailor Jupiter from Sailor Moon, sorta. While she did get into a lot of fights at her old school (and still got into some after transferring, even before becoming Sailor Jupiter), she's a Nice Girl who loves to cook and is great at cleaning.
Reina's dad in Yandere Kanojo scares pretty much everybody away because of this trope, along with not being very sociable...though really he's a Shrinking Violet in the extreme and couldn't harm a fly. On the bright side, he met his wife, an actual thug, because she thought he looked like a total badass. She was wrong, but fell head over heels in love with him anyway and they ended up Happily Married.
Kai Shiden from Mobile Suit Gundam has mismatched eyes, a perpetual smirk, and a crooked nose. Personality wise he can be an abrasive Jerkass, but he's also an extremely brave and reliable (if at times difficult to get along with) soldier. He's gotten better (and more badass) by the time the events of Zeta and even Unicorn came around, though he still looks like a Mafia don.
Woo-Soo Choi, of Quantum Mistake is a studious boy who has swapped bodies with Kang Too-Jee, a delinquent who spent most of his time getting into fights. Woo-Soo Choi, relying on Kang Too-Jee's reflexes, is capable of putting up a fight, but most of the time, just wants to talk it out with the other guy. (This pretty much never works.)
Slam Dunk: Sakuragi is considered scary, but that's mainly because of his bright red hair. Miyagi's delinquent aura seems to come 100% from his face, however.
Gotou from Sangatsu No Lion has a rather rough face, and several characters comment on how scary it is. Smith even claims that he feels a Yakuza vibe coming from Gotou.
Sotomura from Waratte! Sotomura-san is feared by all, primarily because she can't seem to smile without somehow looking like she's about to shank you. The plethora of misunderstandings that follow her around don't help, either.
Yuki Sanada from Tsuritama has frequent panic attacks in social situations, which causes his face to twist up and turn red until it resembles a demonic noh mask. The people around him tend to think he is extremely angry or has a bad attitude when he is actually just shy.
In Attack on Titan, Armin claims that Eren and Jean both have the same "vicious" expression. This is used to justify having Jean act as a decoy, disguised as Eren. Eren is insulted by the idea that he looks anything like Jean, calling him a "horseface".
A Bishōnen version of this is Renjou Hotsuma from UraBoku. He is seen frowning more often than not, especially in public, appears to be constantly annoyed at something and scares a small girl upon his second or so appearance. This is mostly a defense mechanism, though to keep people at arms length, because he is scared of losing control of his powers again. Around his partner Shuusei though, he becomes caring and gentle, smiles warmly, is very considerate and devoted.
Orihime of Bleach used to think Ichigo had a scary face due to his constant scowling... then she considered it a bit more and realized it was actually kind of funny-looking.
Nozaki in Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun occasionally comes to school pissed off and covered in bandages. Everyone thinks he might've been fighting, but that's how Sakura knows that he's been on deadline—he is, after all, a mangaka.
Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man, when outside his armor, is one of the few Superheroes to wear a mustache and a goatee, making him look more like a traditional villain than a good guy. However, while he can be a Jerk Ass and has poor communication skills, he struggles hard to be a good person in spite of his innate flaws.
MMA fighter "Mistress" Ayane in Gold Digger would love to be a Face, Unfortunately, she has the coldest, cruelest eyes on the planet and a wicked smile to boot. It's hard to be a hero to children when they run screaming whenever you look at them. It's so bad that even all-powerful sorcerers and dragons wince when they meet her gaze. In fact, when she met a guy who could look her in eyes and not flinch, she was desperate to win his heart so she could finally be with someone who wasn't terrified of looking at her. It's even implied that her unnaturally cold and fiercesome stare might be because she's actually not human.
Films — Animated
The shark trio of Bruce, Chum and Anchor from Finding Nemo seem like they'd be fish-eating monsters - trailers played up Bruce as the Big Bad, in fact. Turns out they're pretty nice guys who have sworn off eating fish... Except for stinkin'dolphins. Just don't let any of them catch a whiff of blood. Oddly, out of the shark trio, Chum, being a shortfin mako, and Anchor, being a greater hammerhead, are the ones most likely to subsist on a diet of fish at their size. A great white of Bruce's size would mostly eat marine mammals... Like dolphins.
Films — Live-Action
Glen from Seed of Chucky. Despite being depicted as an ugly doll, and at the beginning of the film, we see him kill a girl's parents, we find out the Glen was having a nightmare and that he's really sensitive and despises violence, unlike the rest of his family.
Lucas Davenport from John Sandford's Prey novels has a scar across his face from a rogue fish hook accident and, later, a tracheotamy scar on his neck. While being a well-known cop and the main character of a long-running detective novel series, pretty much everyone agrees that he looks like a thug or tough guy. Of course, that often works to his personal advantage.
Mildmay the Fox, from Doctrine of Labyrinths by Sarah Monette. He is a former assassin, but he's not nearly as thuggish as most people assume.
Doomsday Book has Father Roche, a rough-looking, burly man who is nevertheless a meek and patient Good Shepherd. The fact that the "cutthroat" that the delirious main character saw in the forest was actually Roche is a major revelation late in the story.
"Marwyn wore a chain of many metals around his bull’s neck. Save for that, he looked more like a dockside thug than a maester. His head was too big for his body, and the way it thrust forward from his shoulders, together with that slab of jaw, made him look as if he were about to tear off someone’s head."
The Lord of the Rings: Frodo decides to trust Strider in spite of his appearance, saying that an agent of the Enemy would "look fairer, and feel fouler."
Persona 4's Kanji Tatsumi, the tough guy who can take down a biker gang with his bare hands, is often mistaken for being in a gang, and... likes to sew. And is incredibly good at it.
Takeharu Kirijo, Mitsuru's father, from Persona 3. When he first appears, he's described as "scary-looking" (complete with an eyepatch!), but he proves to be a surprisingly noble man and a genuinely caring, if stern, father who admonishes Mitsuru to work in harmony with others rather than try to shoulder everything alone, and feels guilty that his daughter and her friends are forced to clean up after his father's mistakes.
Will Powers is a Gentle Giant with a face that scares small children. Kind of a handicap for an actor in children's shows, so he takes roles that involve wearing masks.
From the fourth game, Wocky Kitaki's father. He used to be the head of the local Yakuza, and has an extremely intimidating face...but by the end of the case, it's shown that he's a loving father who brought the family out of the mob business so that his children, especially Wocky, wouldn't have to put their lives in danger.
Detective Badd is an imposing, gruff figure, but he's practically a second father figure to Kay. He gives her Swiss Rolls and distracts her with 'important detective assistance' to keep her mind off her father's death.
From Dual Destinies, Mayor Tenma, who is vilified for his scary looks and because he wants to or rather was being blackmailed into merge Tenma Town and Nine Tales Vale. He is really a kind man, loving father and popular pro-wrestler of the "face" variety.
Not to mention, he really wishes he could be a preschool teacher, and his wish is revealed to be "I wish my face didn't scare children" (which can double as a Crowning Momentof Funny).
And then there's Gannon in Sunshine Islands. He's got a pretty creepy/ugly face and walks/looks kinda like a gorilla, but once you befriend him, you see he's actually really nice. And even prior to that, his adorable daughter Eliza says that while he "talks like a hooligan, he'll never leave my side." Awww.
Corpse Party has Yoshiki Kishinuma. He enjoys teasing Satoshi, but so does everyone else, and he's a pretty decent guy overall.
A large amount of the cast in Inazuma Eleven look like thugs and bullies like Someoka, Builder, Tobitaka, and other recruitable characters whose faces are just plain scary and weird. To put it, Someoka looks very similar to Garret example above.
In Iron Tager's Story mode in BlazBlue, he is attacked by Bang, who claims he looks evil and will probably do something evil someday. This is not the case: Tager is a decent enough guywho's just doing his job, and won't harm you unless you in interfere with his mission or Kokonoe orders him to, but he does look like a hulking red ogre. Then again, this is Bang we're talking about.
In Axe Cop, all mermaids are good but have mean-looking faces, apparently because they thought scowls indicated happiness and smiles indicated anger. Axe Cop, unaware of this, murders one by accident. After learning that mermaids are all good and that this is the first time he ever killed a good guy, he immediately breaks down in tears.
Joe Raposo, best known for writing songs for Sesame Street, is described as looking and sounding "like a tough Italian street fighter from an urban ghetto."
Singer Aaron Neville had a brief appearance in one movie as "Man with gun," an intimidating character the hero confronted in a slum area. His voice has been described as the voice the angels wish they had.
Billy McGuinness, rhythm guitarist, harmonica player and backing vocalist for the Irish band Aslan looks tough, but is actually very friendly. To look at him without hearing their music, one would think the band play a harder form of music than the radio friendly melodic rock they do. As the most noticeable member of the band it's no wonder he handles most of their interviews.
According to an afterword in volume 18 of Fairy Tail, the mangaka Hiro Mashima has one, as mentioned by his fans that in the photos of him, he looks like a criminal. Of course, it doesn't help that he admits to having a natural scowl, making it harder for him to have a natural smile.
Veteran character actor M.C. Gainey has this to say of his own appearance: "With a face like this, there aren't a lot of lawyers or priest roles coming my way. I've gotta face that was meant for a mug shot and that's what I've been doing for the past thirty years. If I play a cop, it's always a racist cop, or a trigger-happy cop or a crooked cop - but by and large I play cowboys, bikers, and convicts."
In dear old Blighty perhaps the best example is Ray Winstone who combined with his debut role in Scum and thick East End accent make him almost the posterboy for this trope. He's spent a career playing cockney hard-men (in a surprising range of genres) despite being one of the nicest men in showbusiness.
Other Brits with this attribute include Vinnie Jones, Ross Kemp, James Cosmo and John Prescott.