Grin of Audacity

"You mean you wish to surrender to me?
Very well, I accept."

"It is a funny thing how differently the various races react to such a situation (under Japanese mortar fire). A British soldier would have called out to me to take shelter and would have made room for me beside him. The average Indian sepoy would have watched anxiously, but said nothing unless I was hit, when he would have leapt forward and risked his life to get me under cover. A Sikh would have sprung up, and with the utmost gallantry dramatically covered me with his own body, thrilled at the chance of an audience. Only a Gurkha would stand up and laugh."
(then) Lt. Col. Bill Slim

An athlete in a race, an adventurer on top of a train, a pirate boarding a ship, a cunning politician executing an amazing plan, a Loveable Rogue during a Swordfight, a warrior during a Last Stand, two friends sparring—anyone facing an interesting and fun challenge with a reasonable chance of failure will sport one of these smiles. It's usually a bit forced, showing the strain and stress the user is under, and there's a certain edge of malice and aggressiveness to it, even insanity: a hint of Blood Lust, to be precise. It's very common against AntiHeroes type IV and V, especially if they are young and/or adrenaline junkies. It is usually coupled with a steady gaze, even a frown of sorts.

The heroic counterpart to the Slasher Smile and the Psychotic Smirk, which are mostly about enjoying the anticipation of hurting others, especially when it's secret and they're unaware of the threat. In contrast, the Grin of Audacity is about relishing the anticipation of winning. Very un-professional and un-business like, since it shows lack of emotional restraint, and comes more easily to Chaotic than to Lawful characters: don't expect characters modelled after serious-minded, saint-like, statuesque, iconic Superman or Batman to sport it often if at all: the heroes wearing these are supposed to be more sympathetic and human. Before the fear and the threats that a hero confronts, there are many ways one would realistically react, and this is one of them: If you've gotta do it, you might as well enjoy it.


Animated Films
  • The Lion King: There's that scene with "I walk on the wild side...I laugh in the face of danger ha ha ha ha!" First it's young Simba, then Nala does it right before the big battle at the end.
  • Mulan is about to be cut down by the leader of the invading army, and stops him by smiling at what's behind him.
  • Eugene in Tangled wears this as he tries to speak an apology to Maximus before riding to Rapunzel's rescue.

Anime and Manga
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann delivers some particularly compelling examples.
    • One good example comes from climax at the first episode. Simon, Kamina and Yoko are in Lagann and Simon has manifested drills on Lagann to defeat the Gunman. The Gunman is being used as an impromptu drill while the trio head to the surface. As Kamina proclaims they're heading to the surface, Simon manages to crack out a confident smile for the first time and giving the audience a glimpse at the true power the young man possesses.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Jail Scaglietti laughs when Fate finally captures him after years of pursuit.
  • In Dragon Ball, Goku is prone to give these when he's prepared to face a strong opponent, something his friend Lampshaded at least once, much to the irritation of his wife.
  • Bleach: The Blood Knight protagonists will often sport this when a fight is beginning to get difficult - a challenge that tends to thrill them. As a result, Kenpachi, Ikkaku, Renji and even Ichigo tend to give one of these when they've acknowledged they have a Worthy Opponent and will therefore have earned the win they're aiming to achieve.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, when, after everything Negi has thrown at him, Jack Rakan still gets up to fight, Negi isn't sad, or angry, he's 'awed all over again!'
    • Also a little bit earlier during a fight with Kagetarou, when Negi realizes he's at a big disadvantage (though this one is with a bit of Bloodlust)
  • In contrast to the bloodthirsty Slasher Smiles sported by many of the cast of Black Lagoon, Rock's badass smiles tend toward these. They primarily come out when Rock has some kind of crazy plan in mind, or when he proposes something that's just... incomprehensible by most villain standards (like asking mercy for their victims). Justified since he stated that he asked for it because he likes it, just like the bad dudes loves to blow themselves up.
    • You first see one on him at the very beginning, when Revy challenges him, a Japanese salaryman to a drinking duel.
    • As of El Baile De La Muerte, Rock's Grin of Audacity has become pretty damn unnerving (and blurring the lines between this trope and the Slasher Smile), to the point where Revy seems uneasy. Case in point.
  • Unless you've seriously pissed him off, Luffy from One Piece has this as his default expression when fighting. Zoro blurs the line between this and Slasher Smile.
  • Natsu Dragneel from Fairy Tail is basically the same as Luffy in this regard. He challenges stronger guildmates apparently just for the fun of it, and wears this while fighting them.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, there is often a scene where Jaden is losing and takes a hard attack, and gets up off the ground looking downcast, seemingly holding back emotion... and then his Hidden Eyes are revealed, he's laughing in joy, and he's wearing one of these. He then proclaims that he's enjoying the duel and will continue to do so, especially because he's about to win. Given the typical state of the game at that point, his opponent is usually dismissive - but he usually proceeds to do just that.

Comic Books
  • The Flash is prone to these, at least the DCAU version.
  • So are many Robins and Batgirl in the Batman family. Usually: in their case, it's youthful enthusiasm, insecure optimism, and a bit of a prankster spirit.
  • And then there's some of Frank Miller's All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder, when it isn't an outright Slasher Smile. Frank Miller is very fond of this trope in general. Sin City and 300 had many of those, and the movies even more so. Even when heroic, his characters tend to be on the bloodthirsty, violent side: aggressiveness is the key point here, and showing they are unscrupulous heroes.

Fan Fic
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality's fan art, Harry is often represented wearing this, as befits a Young Conqueror, as do his retainers in the Chaos Legion (don't ask). Then a certain Wham Episode happens, some illusions are shattered, and Harry's expressions become much more grim: it's instead Hermione and her group that take up most of the more optimistic kind of heroing.


  • Cyrano de Bergerac's various incarnations often wear this.
  • Morgan and Derry exchange wicked grins in Deryni Rising just before Morgan secretly uses his powers to give a Connaiti mercenary his comeuppance.
  • Tavi from the Codex Alera frequently sports one of these, especially when coming up with a plan or taking on overwhelming odds. His friends and family quickly learn to dread seeing it.

Live-Action TV
  • On Glee, this is the typical expression worn by characters during uplifting songs, especially Barbara Streisand-style songs about extremely ambitious and extremely insecure characters.
  • Person of Interest: Reese often sports these as the series goes on.
  • The Wire: in a series filled with "devious motherfuckers", this comes up often. Omar does a particularly easy, flippant grin, whether he be robbing a drug dealer at gun point or testifying against one in a courtroom.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Third Doctor has a memorable sequence in "The Sea Devils" in which he pins the Master at sword-point, and then starts eating the Master's lunch in front of him while smirking enormously.
    • The Fourth Doctor, an arrogant, reckless and Nightmare Fetishistic adrenaline-junkie and Lord President of the Cheshire Cat Grin, does this very frequently in his more action-orientated serials (like "The Seeds of Doom" where he flashes one while snapping a man's neck, pointing a gun at a room full of villains, and so on). He also does an amazingly big one at the end of "Invasion of Time" to signify that he's returning to acting like himself, after being acting in a cold, humourless and smileless way for the entire story thus far as part of a Batman Gambit. One absolutely heartbreaking example is in "Logopolis", when the dying Doctor glances up at his concerned companions, and flashes his distinctive, terrifying, mad smile for a fraction of a second before mumbling his last words and regenerating.

  • The traditional Border ballad ''Lock the Door, Lariston'' is about a besieged reiver with a cunning plan.
    Why dost thou smile, noble Elliot of Lariston?
    Why does the joy-candle gleam in thine eye?
    Bold border ranger, beware of thy danger,
    Thy foes are relentless, determined and nigh!

Video Games
  • Sora when he stabs himself in the chest with the dark Keyblade to release Kairi's heart in Kingdom Hearts.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, athlete Emi wears this expression when she's running, and the protagonist describes it in great length, as he finds that change from her standard, softer expressions fascinating.
  • This is the default expression for any protagonist in the Ace Attorney series once they start on their cleverer hunches, especially when they're onto something that turns a previously hopeless case upside-down. Then again, this can be said for just about anyone in these games pursuing the legal profession, as it's clear they all enjoy their jobs far too much.
  • Surprisingly enough, Luigi in Mario & Luigi: Dream Team just before fighting Giant Bowser. It is very much awesome.

Web Comics

Web Original

Western Animation