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Freaky Is Cool

"But you're better than normal. You're abnormal."
Fry, Futurama, The Cyber House Rules

A character, moping about being weird, eventually finds someone who likes him because he's different.

The person is usually a child, under the natural assumption that kids have little prejudice, but also find anything with a strange appearance kinda cool.

Sometimes, this only happens because the person the weird person befriends is blind.

Freakiness Shame is a subtrope. See also Ugly Cute and What Measure Is a Non-Cute?. If someone has a lot of pets that qualify under this, you have a Fluffy Tamer.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Happens to Lucy of Elfen Lied when, as a child, she's befriended on two occasions by other children who think she looks cool, being blissfully unaware of her frequent lapses of psychotic misanthropy and ability to tear people apart with her mind. Both occasions end in tragedy for all involved, and generally cause her to slip into even deeper depths of loathing for humanity and callousness concerning harming and killing them - with one crucial exception.
  • Ranma :
    • Most of Ranma's male schoolmates have stated opposition to him losing his Gender Bender curse. This is only evident in the manga, since none of them find out about it in the anime until one of the last episodes. Then again, it's all but explicit that the reason they object is because they like to ogle Ranma-chan; Nabiki is known to sell racy photos of "her" to just about the entire male student body, so they know that if Ranma gets cured, their porn supply disappears. The anime version also has the male members of Ranma's classroom interfere in his efforts to cure Hinako, because they're afraid that she'll be stuck in her child form and so they won't ever see her sexy adult form again. Nabiki also once suggested to Akane that Ranma's curse is going to be "a lot of fun on your honeymoon."
    • When Ukyo found out about Ranma's curse, her reaction was to literally keep switching him/her back and forth with hot and cold water, remarking, "This is so fun/cool!"
  • In Negima, "freakiness" is part of the reason Setsuna never reveals that she's part demon and has wings. (Her wings are white instead of black like they're supposed to be, and she was cast out from her relatives as a result.) When she does reveal them for the first time with that admission, Asuna incredulously points out the obvious: the wings are cool, and to humans she looks like an angel.
  • Even though Zelgadis of Slayers hates having ugly skin due to his nature as a chimera, Amelia thinks he's cool.
    • Many Fan Girls agree.
    • Oddly, in a flashback in Slayers: Evolution-R it's shown how children who used to be friendly with Zelgadis now run away from him shouting "Monster!". Why oddly? Because the same children were also shown happily playing with wolf-man Dilgear and fish-man Noonsa without batting an eyelid.
      • This is because Dilgear and Noonsa, while monstrous, are natural beings. Zelgadis is a chimera, an unnatural fusion of three creatures.
  • When Luffy and Sanji of One Piece notice that Chopper is a reindeer man that can change into a large form, they conclude he must be a monster, sending Chopper running off in shame... right before Luffy and Sanji mention that such a thing also sounds awesome.
    • Same goes for Brook, who is a living skeleton. At first, they were freaked out... but perhaps the fact that they soon arrived on Thriller Bark, which had tons of zombies everywhere helped to ease them into the whole skeleton thing. Plus Brook is awesome.
      • Not everyone were freaked out, Luffy asked him to join his crew right when they met.
  • In Durarara!!, a young man named Shinra is infatuated with a female Dullahan that he and his father have been sheltering for the last twenty years. The fact that she's missing a head just makes her cuter in his eyes.
    • Shinra's fascination with the weird doesn't just stop at Celty. While most people are reasonably afraid of Shizuo's combination of Super Strength and what appears to be some severe rage disorder, Shinra's reaction consists of following him around like a lost puppy all through school and going, "That was awesome! I bet it has some crazy scientific explanation. Can I do a full body examiaaaAAHH AAH ARRGH, MY ARM!...Okay, so that's a "no" then? How about just a blood sample?"
    • Celty also ends up fangirling Shizuo during his fight against Saika's 'children', much like how Shinra did when he and Shizuo were in highschool.
    Celty: He's so strong... No, he's terrifying... No, he's awesome!
  • During the Cursed Island arc of Fairy Tail, this is Natsu's reaction to seeing the cursed villagers transformed into monsters.
  • This trope is the emotional crux of Kimi ni Todoke: It's a pretty normal rendition of the story Single Girl Seeks Most Popular Guy...with one important change; the 'most popular guy,' Kazehaya, is a very compassionate boy who likes her quiet Sugar and Ice Personality and doesn't want to change her. (This, combined with good writing, is the reason the story is so heartwarming.)

    Comic Books 
  • Often experienced by Nightcrawler in the X-Men franchise. Every time he feels a little put off by his appearance, he meets someone who really likes it. Usually an available woman whose fetish is, coincidentally, pointed tails, blue fur, and Cute Little Fangs. This is enough of a theme in his life that "chicks dig the fuzzy guy" is the default view on Kurt's appearance; it only starts being portrayed as genuinely freaky when it's his turn in the X-Men Angst Hotseat.
  • Beast was also popular with women much of the time, especially during his stint with the Avengers. There's just something about blue fur and Cute Little Fangs. Brains don't hurt either, plus he's a Walking Shirtless Scene.
  • Beast's fellow Avenger, Tigra the Werewoman, was equally popular with the men.
  • Hellboy.
  • Ben Grimm, with his blind girl friend Alicia. Hell everybody loves Ben Grimm.
  • Disney Adventures magazine once ran a Simpsons one-shot comic about Lisa venturing under the school to discover mutant substitute teachers. The mutants loved to teach, but were forced to hide underground ages ago because people were afraid of their hideous appearance. Lisa assures them things are different now...and the last page shows one of the mutants substituting for Mrs. Krabopple's class. Children cry out, jump, Bart shouts out "He's a mutant freak!"...and then they erupt into cheers, shouting how cool it is, and "Teach us everything you know, Freak-Man!" And the mutant smiles, shedding a happy tear.
  • Ragdoll and Black Alice share this view.
    Ragdoll: It just goes to show that sometimes the scars are on the inside, like with Luthor and that Vandal fellow, and my friends, too. Which is much less fun and only half as sexy. I pity them, to man, if you must know. Better to be odd and whole than normal and broken, I always say. Rats. I sure hope I start to decompose soon!
    Alice: Now, Ragdoll. He's creepy and deformed and geeky and effeminate and all covered in twisty scars. That's so hot.

    Fanfic 
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen Of All Oni, not only do we have the canon Hak Foo, but Jade, who LOVES how she looks creepy know, and likes her new powers a LOT.
    • In fact, after a Smug Snake Evil Sorcerer named Lung (Daolon Wong's old apprentice), kidnaps her and tries to break her to his will with Cold-Blooded Torture, nearly killing her, she comments that practically the only positive part of the experience was that it resulted in her looking even creepier (and just in time for Halloween).
  • One reason why wingfic doesn't really work as a set-up for a Hurt/Comfort Fic is that readers are liable to wonder why there's so much wangst involved in something so cool as acquiring a pair of wings.

    Film 
  • Subverted by the horror film May. The title character meets a semi-Goth filmmaker artist type who finds her No Social Skills quirkiness attractive. As it turns out, she screws up, badly, by revealing her strangeness to the point where she just freaks him the hell out.
  • Tim Burton's career thrives on this trope and the people who love it.
  • In first Hellboy movie where Hellboy hangs out with a little kid. It's a little less used in the second one, where Hellboy's some combo of urban legend come true, celebrity, and feared monster. Who is also ugly.
  • Another instance of this trope going awry comes in Mary-Lou's fondness for the quiet, odd Thomas Jerome Newton in The Man Who Fell to Earth: Early on in their relationship, she says "You know Tommy, you're a freak. I don't mean that unkindly. I like freaks. And that's why I like you." She becomes his mistress, but she doesn't know the basis for his oddness — he's actually a well-disguised Rubber Forehead Alien. Their relationship is already struggling when he reveals his true form to her, and she reacts with horror and revulsion.

    Literature 
  • The Fablehaven series has Raxtus, a tiny, gay fairylike dragon. Never accepted among his own species, he becomes a great ally for the humans, because he's one of the only friendly dragons in the whole series.
  • Michael from the Knight and Rogue Series is so freaked out by the idea of humans using magic that when he gains the ability thinking about it can make him sick. Fisk is too logical, and to a degree, too fascinated, by the magic to think of it as anything other than a gift.
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Jakob was attacked by a magician and left with permanent black-and-gray bands on his skin as a result. He spent the next few years locked in his room. Bartimaeus barely noticed the "hideous" bands and assumed they were intentional. Apparently the Banja people of Zimbabwe will pay magicians to use that spell on them.
    Bartimaeus: Anyway, from their point of view you look extremely eligible. (Beat) Except for your hair, which is pretty bad. But so's my master's, and it doesn't stop him from flouncing about in broad daylight.
  • Hypatia in Baudolino, who is revealed to have goat legs under her dress (her father was a satyr). Baudolino is already so in love with her by that point that he decides they're beautiful.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oz is attracted to Willow because of her shyness and social awkwardness.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys does this with centaurs. In one anvilicious episode about prejudice, a maligned centaur travels into town and gets lots of hard glances even with Herc around... except for a bunch of little kids who think a guy with a horse for a butt is pretty awesome.
  • Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, several times counting both in the TV series and the movies.
    • And amusingly, his best friend in the series itself is blind. (Though he can "see" via a technological aid, and Data is actually a lot cooler to look at than most other people because he has this freaky electromagnetic aura and other cool stuff...)
  • The Doctor, from Doctor Who. He often reacts this way himself to the Monster of the Week and stands around cooing over it when he probably should be running.
  • In Big Wolf on Campus, Lori thinks the werewolf thing is kind of hot.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Tieflings (demon-bloods), overlapping with Freakiness Shame, have +1 Intelligence and Charisma (and -1 Strength and Wisdom) in AD&D 2. Example: factol Rhys of the Transcendent Order is goat-legged, but it's not like her portraits left everyone guessing why she has Charisma 18 (on a scale of 3-18 for humans). Especially one in The Factol's Manifesto — looking best when in action is normal for Cyphers, and calling her "Action Girl" would be an understatement.

    Video Games 
  • In the epilogue of Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden finally meets his son, who initially recoils upon seeing him. Raiden asks if he's scared, but the kid says he thinks Raiden's like a comic book superhero. Apparently he was watching (or told about) Raiden's big scenes. He even flourishes his toy katana like Raiden did in MGS2. Also doubles as a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
  • Rider of Fate/stay night. Despite actually being cursed for being as attractive as she is, she's still immensely shocked to hear Shirou admit she's quite beautiful. Also in reference to her eyes, which apart from the dangers they can cause are also apparently incredibly beautiful, though she also seems to feel that they are freakish in appearance.
  • One of the audio logs you can find in BioShock 2 is a love note to one of the Little Sisters from a little boy who thinks her glowing yellow eyes are pretty. D'aww.

    Webcomics 
  • Gunnerkrigg Court. Where to start? Ah, right, from the first page.
    • Attitudes toward the folk "with a predetermination towards etheric sciences" in the Court... vary. Anja hid from her crush the fact that she's a magic-user (not that being put in Chester house wasn't a telltale sign). Surma advised her to solve this problem by ignoring it. When a shrub-dog attacked them and Anja bounced it away with a "purple bubble thing", Donald thought it was cool.
      The author's comment: See, he's into it, Anja.
    • Jack has finally figured out that he's got a crush on Zimmy, of all people, a be-fanged and hollow-eyed girl who has no control over her ability to inflict reality-warping nightmares on other people (same nightmares she suffers constantly herself) and who acts like a massive jerk to absolutely everyone so they'll keep their distance for their own safety.
  • In Drowtales, Kiel'ndia and Naal'suul's relationship began this way.
  • Used in Dominic Deegan in regards to Nimmel. Normally, he keeps his facial scar hidden under his hair. But when he meets the werewolves of the Winter Archipeligo, he finds that they think scars are cool. Later on, he styles his hair so that the eye is always visible.
  • The cast of El Goonish Shive... they aren't easily freaked out, to the point where Goonmanji in "Newspaper" failed to impress them much. Especially Tedd. In-continuity he wasn't even surprised when his crush turned out to be a shapeshifter and commented on various hybrid forms she assumed later exclusively in Fetish Fuel terms. His reaction when Susan demonstrated magic-related knowledge?
    Tedd: Yeah. Do you have creepy psychic powers that you haven't told us about? Because that would be cool.
  • Used in one particular Sam and Fuzzy, where a newly turned werewolf decides to remain one rather than being turned back to human, because he and his girlfriend are "into that". Sam doesnt see the appeal.
    Sam: Why did I decide to help people? People are disgusting.
    Devahi: Prude.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In Teen Titans, Beast Boy's reaction on first finding out that Cyborg is half-machine: "Cool!"
    • In the comics, Beast Boy himself was something of a Teen Idol, despite his green skin and hair. (In the comics, he originally lacked the Nightcrawler-esque pointy ears and Cute Little Fangs— but they've been showing up in recent versions.) He also starred in a TV series. Yeah, THAT Gar Logan.)
    • A scene in the comics, also replicated almost verbatim in the TV series, had Cyborg— bummed because of his state—get cheered up by running into a kid with a prosthetic hand who gushes that Cyborg's parts are much cooler because they're "all shiny and stuff" ..and not, say, because he's a frikkin' super hero who saves the world.
  • Apparently, when Hak Foo goes through certain magical procedures that increase his powers in Jackie Chan Adventures, and doesn't care about the side-effects. Noted when Jackie fought him after he became Daolon Wong's servant.
    Jackie: Look at yourself, Hak Foo. You've become Daolon Wong's servant, his slave. Is this how you want to spend your life? As a freak?
    Hak Foo: Yes.
  • Gargoyles uses this trope quite a bit, most notably when Hudson befriends a blind man (though he later learns that the man figured out he wasn't human).
    • Don't forget Elisa and Beth's conversation about Gargoylian(?) beauty, right after Beth first meets them. And possibly Derek's wards, the people who live in the sewer/tunnel systems.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    Wilt: Hey, how ya doing? Name's Wilt.
    [Mac and Bloo stare up at Wilt for a long time]
    Wilt: Yo, guys! Hello? Oh, I get it. Is cool, is cool. I know I'm all broken, with the wonky eye and the stubby arm. Probably freaks you out, huh? Don't worry, I'll get someone else...
    Mac and Bloo: (awed) You're taaaall!
    Wilt: Oh, well, yeah.
    Bloo: You should play basketball.
    Wilt: Oh, well, actually I used to... sure. So, how about that tour?
  • Sam in Danny Phantom. She loves all things strange and unique, so she is immediately excited and drawn to Danny being half-ghost long before he eventually got around to accepting himself for his abnormality.
    • She also got on his case when he temporarily gave up his powers and became normal again in the Grand Finale, though she was probably more disappointed that Danny gave up being a hero.
  • Subverted in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. Grim befriends a Goth lady who's enamoured with his macabre and misanthropic disposition. However, when he reveals himself as the Grim Reaper, she freaks out and runs away screaming.
    • The way that he did it (taking her to a real zombie and demon bar in the underworld and then practically exploding in hellfire) was certainly convincing but I can't help but think that it would have ended better if he went a little slower with it.
  • Kim Possible herself invokes this in the episode where Ron accidentally suggests the creation of a love ray. After seeing it's effects he frets about the idea that Kim might have one.
    • Heck, Kim even made it clear that she found Ron weird but liked him anyway when they first met in Pre-K.
  • Not only is Amanda Sefton in X-Men: Evolution okay with the way Nightcrawler looks, his appearance is what made her pursue him in the first place. After all, chicks dig the fuzzy dude.
  • When one of Fry's friends gets singled out for being different, Fry will inevitably stand up for them and defend them for being unique because that is what makes them special to him.
    • This probably has a lot to do with him being from the 20th century. Everything in the 31st century is new and cool to him, even things most people of the future consider abnormal or unappealing. His attitude is perhaps best exemplified in the very first conversation he has with Bender:
    Bender: You really want a robot for a friend?
    Fry: Yeah. Ever since I was six.
  • Sanjay And Craig: Sanjay and Craig love Darlene's gross hospital stories, and in "Brett Venom, M.D." they sneak into the hospital and are fascinated by all the freaks they find there.
  • B'wana Beast, of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, has the power to make instant Mix-and-Match Critters. Most characters look at his pigeonrats and spiderhorses and call him "eccentric", except Captain Marvel, who's a ten-year-old kid.
    Captain Marvel: A kangaroo and a lizard?
    B'wana Beast: Yep.
    Captain Marvel: An earthworm and a rhinoceros?
    B'wana Beast: Easy.
    Captain Marvel: A dog and a... a slightly smaller dog?
    B'wana Beast: Do you really have to ask?
    Captain Marvel: Awesome!

    Real Life 
  • Jerry Lewis, in France.
  • Ask the Transhumanists. They even founded their own movement: Extropianism.
  • Cyberpunks, Ravers and Cybergoths.
  • When not Wangst, this is basically the appeal behind Goths, especially to casual non-goths and children.
  • Just take a look at the fringe end of the tattoo, piercing and body-modification scene. We're talking transcutane implants here. Horns. Claws. People who have appeared on Ripley's Believe It Or Not.
    • Not to mention the multiple people who have cut their tongue partly in half so they can look more like snakes. Apparently you can learn to cross the two halves over each other like two separate... limbs or something.
      • Gives a whole new meaning to the old American Indian saying "He's talking with a split tongue".
    • Mr. Paul Lawrence, a.k.a. The Enigma, and his Cat Girl-ish wife.
  • The Juggalos apply this to the Monster Clown look.
  • Deep-sea fish in general... ask around a bit, and most people who know what a stoplight loosejaw or a coelacanth is will start spouting trivia. And there's probably a Hagfish, Lamprey, and Leech Anti-Defamation League somewhere.
  • While not precisely "freaky", Christopher Titus mentioned that he was one of the most popular kids in his class as a kid because, instead of furniture in his living roomnote , he had an inflatable raft. "I can actually be Captain Crunch!"


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