In real life, people will sometimes lose, or are born without, a certain sense. Fiction will take this a step further, giving characters little to no emotions
whatsoever. Regardless of what exactly they cannot feel, if such a character suddenly gains whatever sense or emotion they were missing, they are often overwhelmed by it. Depending on the feeling, the character can experience incredible pain, confusion, an In-Universe Catharsis
, or even Go Mad from the Revelation
There is some Truth in Television
, as recent studies have shown that formerly blind people who have their sight restored are often unable to process what they see for a long time, and will prefer to continue relying on their senses they used while blind.
Contrast with I Feel Angry
, where a character experiences a certain emotion that they usually don't and Not So Stoic
, where a seemingly serious person was actually just bottling their emotions up. Can overlap with What Is This Feeling?
and What Is This Thing You Call Love?
See also Sense Freak
and Sensory Overload
. The opposite of Sense Loss Sadness
Anime and Manga
- In Bleach, this actually gets Tousen killed. He's blind, so his new Hollow Resurrecion form grants him sight, he's so overwhelmed by it that he doesn't notice his opponent attacking from behind until it's too late.
- In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon discovers that Emotionless Girl Yuki Nagato set the whole plot in motion by developing emotions and, unable to deal with them, stole Haruhi's powers and remade the world. Kyon even reflects that the fact that she was designed without emotions made her reaction to developing them that much greater.
- A side effect noted in Fullmetal Alchemist by Al, after regaining his body (and sense of touch).
- Spider-Man: While he didn't gain new new senses, Peter Parker has to deal with Sensory Overload when he gets his current ones expanded and nearly goes insane before figuring out how to rein in his supersenses.
- In Supreme Power, a Marvel takeoff of the DC Universe, Hyperion, (the Superman analogue) feels pain for the first time while fighting Doc Spectrum (their version of Green Lantern). Hyperion immediately asks him to do it again.
- After John Preston goes off his meds in Equilibrium and starts experiencing emotions for the first time, he has a very difficult time keeping a stoic expression, and breaks down into tears the first time he hears music while not having his emotions suppressed. (Though, to be fair, it is Ludwig van Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Even the script notes that this is an unfair emotional sucker punch.)
- Meet Joe Black: "Joe" has no experience with love whatsoever and so falling for Susan completely overwhelms him.
- Star Trek: Generations. When Data's emotion chip is first installed, he experiences emotions more strongly than the humans around him. Eventually the chip overloads and his emotions become so intense that he collapses.
- Somewhat justified in that he was experiencing not only emotions from his life at that moment, but his perfect memory caused him to remember thousands of moments, experiences, jokes, etc. from his life, and re-experiencing all that at once through his new emotions would definitely be overwhelming.
- Also I thought that the chip was set too high.
- While it's not their first time feeling, the crew of the Black Pearl in the first Pirates of the Caribbean regain their tactile senses when the curse is lifted. Brought home by Barbossa's "I feel...cold."
- When Q is temporarily Brought Down to Normal in Star Trek: The Next Generation. He finds falling asleep terrifying, gets stabbed with a fork by Guinan, discovers he "can stub my toe with the best of them", and...
Q: (while discussing a plan to push a moon back into orbit) This is incredible.
Geordi: You see something here, Q?
Q: I think I just hurt my back. I'm feeling pain...I don't like it. Uh, what's the right thing to say, 'ow'?
- In an episode of Star Trek: Voyager The Doctor's program is hidden in Seven, and he's overwhelmed by the taste of cheesecake.
- In the third season of ReGenesis, a treatment undergone by high functioning autistic Bob Melnikov to save his eyesight has the unexpected side effect of increasing his empathic abilities well past neurotypical levels to the point where he's almost The Empath. The emotions are so overwhelming that at one point he freaks out and has a breakdown while walking down the street.
- Corner Gas: Davis is revealed to have lost his sense of smell as a child after getting hit in the head with a ball. He regains it after falling out of a tree and at first, he's loving it. Then he realizes that things can also smell bad, and wants to go back.
- Another "pain" example in Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, when Rusty is upgraded with alien technology that allows him to actually feel things instead of just detecting them. But the next time he enters battle and takes damage, he starts to say "No pain receptor--" then cries out in agony. He becomes terrified of getting hurt until he finds a way to rid himself of the alien tech.
- Shows up in My Life as a Teenage Robot when XJ9, annoyed at her inability to physically feel, reinstalls some old nerve receptors, the pain setting of which which makes her unable to fight the Villain of the Week. The problem gets solved when she changes the setting from "pain" to "tickle," and she laughs at him until his strength drains.
- In the Family Guy episode "One If By Clam, Two If By Sea", Peter and his friends get what amounts to a Last Minute Reprieve from their frameup minutes before Steve Bellows, the Serial Killer put away years ago by the force Joe was on, gets to make good on his threat to kill them in retribution. Left to his own devices, he cuts his arm to see how it feels. Realizing the pain, he happens on the revelation that he really does deserve to be locked up.
- On one of the "Tales of Interest" episodes of Futurama, Bender is turned human, and is so overwhelmed by taste that he starts overeating and soon becomes morbidly obese.
- Another episode lampshades this (and gender stereotypes) when an alien accidentally sex-changes the entire crew, plus some passengers and Hermes's wife. At one point the female Hermes turns to her now-husband and mentions "Did you know there's more than two emotions!?"
- As stated above, reports have shown that that formerly blind people who have their sight restored are often unable to process what they see and are constantly confused by it.
- Cochlear Implants are a type of device that can give the ability to hear to someone who is mostly or completely deaf. They may not work for everyone who has a hearing impairment, but when they do work, well just see for yourself.
- All people, (especially children,) deal with this at some point in their lives. There is a first time for feeling any very strong emotion.