Magical Projects: Even though Konoha Tough was portrayed as a rude girl that tortures Misao and Samy with intentions of ruling the world, she actually helps Misao by hitting the monster of the week, shows proper care to the popular kid and eventually becomes nicer at the end of the series.
Don't know if it counts, but in an episode of Zoku Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei, Itoshiki reveals that he's actually doing good for society when people aren't looking.
Later segments taking place in his house show that he actually cares about his students; he keeps framed photos of them that they obviously gave to him (ie several of the girls posing in maid outfits). Also there's a photo of Kafuka disguised as a college student who occasionally cooks for him and asks him how his day went, but if he knew that he probably wouldn't keep that one.
Well, probably not...
Black Lagoon's resident Guns AkimboDark Action Girl, Revy, is waiting for Rock in a park in Japan...and ends up showing a bunch of kids who're nearby playing with pop-guns how it's done, including how to die realistically. When she finds that Rock's been watching, she blushes bright red, and begins threatening him with death if he ever tells their friends in Roanapur.
Ichigo Kurosaki at the beginning of the story is a bit of a grump. When mod soul Kon enters his body for the first time, and quickly starts hitting on all the girls, especially Orihime and Tatsuki, Ichigo freaks out to Rukia because he'd spent years cultivating a jerkass image. Once his image is shattered, it stays shattered.
Uryuu Ishida is Not So Different from Ichigo and tries to cultivate the Aloof Ally persona. If someone needs his help, however, he doesn't hesitate to do his best. He's gone from helping rescue so-called enemies to friends to... sewing up a little girl's broken teddy. His facade ends up as shattered as Ichigo's.
Ryuuken Ishida appears to be a sarcastic, hypercritical Dr. Jerk to his son Uryuu. What Uryuu doesn't know is that it's a Jerkass Façade to hide his true feelings as a result of something that happened in his Mysterious Past. At one point, and only once away from Uryuu, he personally leaves work to drive Orihime home because he knows her life is in danger and Ichigo would be too powerless to help her if something happened.
Aburame Shino from Naruto is tall, silent, ruthlessly intelligent and has the creep vibe going for him with his manipulation of chakra-eating insects. He also threatened Naruto to never tell anyone...that he has a sense of humor.
Kurogane from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle starts out very much this way...verbally, he refuses to have anything to do with Syaoran's quest to save Sakura, but you never see him leave the group, either. He wanted to get home, and they had the only means to do so (albeit randomly). Yup. They were his only chance of getting home, and he had a quest to complete at the same time, so he was pretty much forced to stay with them. After he is returned to Japan he has no more reason to stay with the others, but he does so anyway, stating he can keep two promises. Never mind how caring he is towards his travelling companions, even the white manjuu (Mokona).
Evangeline of Mahou Sensei Negima! tries to keep up her reputation as a horribly evil mage, but everyone who actually knows her realizes that that's not really the case. Eva has to keep reminding them that she's really actually evil, because if she doesn't they keep forgetting.
Roy Mustang from Fullmetal Alchemist is a mild case. He pretends to be a ruthless careerist just so that people don't take him seriously and he can proceed with his plan of overthrowing the oppressive military.
Much more so is Olivier Mira Armstrong. She lives by the philosophy of "survival of the fittest" for everyone, but when her scout team is devoured by Pride and her superior prevents her from sending a search party to find them, her response is slash him with swordand shove him into wet cement, and send the search party anyway. When she sends the search party, she tells them that they only have 24 hours to find the missing scout team. If they don't return before the 24 hours is up, they'll be sealed in the tunnel. However, she gave the guard a broken watch, so the search party would not be entombed in the tunnel even if they went over the time limit. When the leader of the search party thanks her for this gesture, she tells him she has no idea what he is talking about. She makes her contempt for her younger brother Alex clear both physically and verbally, but was horrified when he got pummeled badly by Sloth.
Greed also qualifies. A massive egomaniac who operates on an It's All About Me lifestyle, everything he does is under pretensions of helping his goal to obtain everything in the world. He calls his subordinates 'possessions', and will only work with people if they're working for him. But this avarice of his extends to not wanting his 'possessions' taken away from him, which means he'll watch out for and protect his underlings, fiercely, and will stop at nothing to get back at anyone who dares harm them. He'll even dismiss people to keep them out of harms way if they are injured or otherwise not up to the task of fighting. It takes right up until the final battle and some egging on for him to finally admit that his 'greed' was really only a desire for friends.
Seto Kaiba of Yu-Gi-Oh!. He may seem like a Jerk Ass at first, but then you find out what he's been through in his life, including losing his parents, defending his brother from bullies, and being adopted by a jerk who later worked him half to death. Plus, turns out he has a real soft spot for kids, and especially orphans, seeing as he is one himself. In fact, in a flashback, you see him and Mokuba making an amusement park out of sand, and little Seto says "Someday, this will be a real theme park! And all the orphans will get in for free!"
Homura Akemi of Puella Magi Madoka Magica is also a mild case. She behaves coldly, but if not for her selfless actions, the other girls probably would have died several times over. Actually, they did. The whole reason Mami died in the first place was because she didn't take the time to listen to Homura's warning. It's also revealed that her entire purpose is to protect Madoka from the fate of becoming a Magical Girl, having gone through multiple timelines and seen how much suffering she goes through because of this.
Ironically, this becomes a REALLY BAD THING in the movie: her desire and determination to protect her friends from having everything they did undone ends up going against their free will (yeah, blame Kyubey for this awkward situation), which breaks her spirit but not her willpower or love, causing her to become a God of Evil. Homura, now able to bend reality to her will with nobody able to judge her, defies Madoka's wishes... and saves the world, gives Madoka (and friends) her life back, and slows the flow of witch transformations to a CRAWL. All for Madoka. The reason she still "represents evil incarnate" is because she trapped the girls in their pathetic former lives to save them, leaving them unable to help anyone or prevent the eventual destruction of the universe. So now she's the queen of all jerks to her friends, not for torturing them but for BELITTLING them, but she still loves and cares for them.
Gintoki of Gintama occasionally does questionable things, but has always come to people's rescue, even if he has to put his own life on the line.
Dandy from Space Dandy' Is a huge jerk most of the time. He constantly hits on women, tries to grab their asses any time he comes across one he likes, won't hesitate to try to charm women for their money, and has no qualms about abandoning his crew if it means saving his own skin. However, in episode 5, he travels with an orphaned alien girl to register her for money, and leaves her at the motel one night, insisting he's going to Boo Bies leading to an argument. What he really did was spend the night looking for her grandfather, the only relative she had. Later, when she's kidnapped by other alien hunters, he proves that NOTHING, not even being trapped in the body of a stuffed penguin will prevent him from saving someone he cares about.
Discussed with Annie Leonhart, from Attack on Titan. Though she is noted to be aloof and unfriendly, several people express the opinion that she is a much kinder person than she would like to admit. This seems to be an accurate assessment, as glimpses of genuine warmth are seen when she teaches Eren her unique fighting style. Armin even tells her that he thinks she's actually a kind person, something she outright denies. She later spares his life because of this, which comes back to haunt her. Her roommate, Hitch, describes her as being afraid to make friends and she is absolutely correct. Between her father raising her as a Tyke Bomb and her mission as The Mole, showing her kinder nature is the worst thing she could do. Word of God confirms that underneath her cold exterior, she's an "ordinary girl".
In one of Donald Duck comic Scrooge McDuck is being pestered for "not contributing to society", compared with another millionaire. In response, he starts some half-attempted projects to do good for society. Naturally, they fail.Miserably. It was so bad that Scrooge solemnly declares that he wouldn't dare to make another attempt like that ever again. Then it's revealed that the philanthropist millionaire got his funds from Scrooge himself. He did that because he wants to preserve his image as a "tough businessman" while helping society secretly.
Reggie Mantle from the Archie Comics. He's about as jerky as a character can get without being a full on villain and wants everyone to know it, but deep down he does have a definite caring side. One issue has him helping Dilton get a date on the sole condition that nobody finds out it was Reggie who helped him, and another has the gang thinking he's sneaking out at night to pull pranks when really he's sneaking to an animal shelter to volunteer.
Films — Animated
In Treasure Planet, Silver vigorously denies to the other pirates that he actually cares about Jim Hawkins (who he certainly does care about, and who he knows sees him as a father figure). Unfortunately, Jim overhears this.
Accidental Hero. Dustin Hoffman's character is a divorced misanthropic cynical petty crook, constantly declaring that everyone is out for themselves and no-one else. When a plane crashes before his eyes, and it becomes clear that no-one is going to rescue a young child's father in time, he goes into the burning wreck and rescues each person he comes across in turn until he finds the father - then goes off hoping that no-one spotted him. At the end of the film, after his insisting on the Fake Ultimate Hero Garcia having the credit, he finds no-one willing to rescue someone from the bear-pit in the zoo - and stomps off to rescue them, complaining all the time. Garcia planned to confess in a suicide note; Hoffman risked his life in order to blackmail Garcia into tearing up the note, going back inside and taking the credit (which makes him "uncomfortable") in order to keep up all the "do-gooder" stuff, which Hoffman realizes is Garcia's natural role in life, in contrast with Hoffman's card-carrying Jerkass.
Tony Stark is pretty adamant that none of The Avengers other than Bruce ever find out he actually gives a damn. A prime example: when he's alone with Coulson, Tony's seen assuring him that all Coulson has to do is say the word and pick a weekend, and Tony will personally fly Coulson to Portland to make up with his cellist ex-girlfriend and "keep love alive!" Much later in the film, after Coulson is killed, Steve cautiously asks Tony if he had a wife, to which Tony replies "He had a cellist -- I think" and then proceeds to snort derisively and fumblingly call Coulson an idiot for trying to take on Loki while turning away so Steve can't see the tears in his eyes.
Samuel Gerard from The Fugitive. He starts out indifferent to Kimble's plight, seeing him as simply another fugitive criminal, but over the course of the movie, discovers proof of his innocence, and towards the end, practically becomes the only one willing to defend him. In the end, their last lines were:
This is mentioned in Discworld as the anti-crime of "whitemail"— revealing a mobster's charity donations to his collegues, for example, discrediting him as a hardened criminal.
In Men at Arms, new Night Watch recruit Angua finds a list of women's names and dollar amounts. She assumes they are prostitutes paid for by the heavy-drinking, bitter Captain Sam Vimes. She is coldly informed by another guard these are the widows and children of guards who have died in the line of duty — and Captain Vimes is giving over half of his pay to support them, since there is no support network for them.
In Skulduggery Pleasant, Springheeled Jack saves Valkyrie from being murdered by Billy Ray Sanguine, then realises that he helped Skulduggery, and asks Valkyrie not to reveal it. This may also be due to the fact he doesn't want Skulduggery to know he's escaped from prison. Because you're pretty much screwed when you have Skulduggery Pleasant and/or Tanith Low on your heels, no matter how springy they are.
In the Incarnations of Immortality novel "For the Love of Evil," the audience finds, of all people Satan is this. He always honors his promises, and felt the most joy when he performed several truly selfless acts. The key is he is still Satan and has a job to do—bringing out the latent evil in souls and reforming dominantly evil souls. Parry himself, apart from his job, is a truly good man. But he needs to keep this deeply hidden for obvious reasons.
Bahzell: I did remember as how you'd always said a man looks after his own in this world, and lucky he is if he can do it. I'd not thought it through then, but it came to me that perhaps 'his own' was after taking in just a bit more people than I'd first supposed you meant."
Bahnak: It was that, but it's not so very wise to be letting those as wish you ill realize that it does, now is it?
One of the books based on Get Smart had the revelation that KAOS' sinister "Doomsday Plan" was in fact the "Dooms Day Plan" — that is, a retirement party for longtime KAOS agent Arthur Dooms. KAOS was desperate to keep Max from revealing this. Fortunately, the Chief realized that if KAOS were outed as softies, CONTROL's budget would be cut.
Fisk from the Knight and Rogue Series. After his last 'lesson' from his Evil Mentor he became a little bitter and untrusting of others, so he isn't openly kind, even if he has good intentions. He also tries to cultivate his criminal look in the first book, to the point where he won't even admit to liking to read.
Breeze from the Mistborn trilogy is like this, he acts like a cynical, lazy, pompous manipulator, but it's made clear when he gets viewpoint sections that a good deal of his manipulation is well-intentioned, though he prefers to downplay this.
In Jon Stewart'sAmerica (The Book), there is a spoof article in the section on negative campaign ads about Caligula, whose opponents launched a devastating smear campaign portraying him as a "pretty nice guy" by revealing that he helped little old ladies across the street and gave money to orphans. Caligula apparently went into "damage control mode" by publicly sodomizing a puppy.
Mr. Jenkins, the principal in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wind in the Door. Meg spends her entire grade school careeer and a good chunk of Charles Wallace's butting heads with the strict, humourless and seemingly uncaring Mr. Jenkins, but during the book's adventure, Calvin shares with her an incident in which his family could not afford shoes for him, forcing him to go to school in a pair of too-small women's shoes that he had to cut the heels and toes off of in order to wear. Mr. Jenkins bought a brand new pair of shoes for him and clumsily scuffed them in a paper-thin effort to pretend that they were cast-offs.
Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Darcy reveals himself to be this when he steps in to ensure that Wickham marries Lydia, protecting the reputations of her sisters and keeping Wickham from continuing to debauch at the expense of other young girls. He demands that no one but Lizzie's aunt and uncle know about his involvement in the matter, and goes so far as to insist that her uncle take all the credit.
In one episode everyone thinks he is being a jerk for refusing to share a giant box of chocolates he got from home. Turns out he's giving the box to a local orphanage but doesn't want anyone to know because it is his family's tradition to do anonymous acts of charity at Christmas.
Klinger finds out about this when Winchester berates the head of the orphanage for selling the candies instead of giving them to the children. The guy points out that the candy would have made them happy for an evening, but the money from the sale can feed them for a month. Winchester realizing his faux pas and humbly backing down ("It is I who should be sorry. It is sadly inappropriate to give dessert to a child who's had no meal.") is part of The Reveal here - Winchester isn't known as one to back down or apologize - and Klinger later reveals his knowledge to Winchester by bringing him the leftovers from the Christmas party and saying it was an anonymous donation.
In fact, Winchester's best moments tended to come when he was separated from the rest of the camp in a plot of his own. For instance, in "Morale Victory", while Hawkeye and BJ were trying to sort out a party, he was helping the pianist who had lost the use of his hand. And again in "Run For The Money", while they were helping Father Mulcahy with the race, he was helping a bullied soldier who stuttered.
He once flew from New York to San Francisco in order to convince Lily to return to her ex, Marshall — but then forced her not to tell their other friends. However, his heart of gold only applies to his friends and family. For other people, he's a complete and utter Jerk Ass, especially with regards to his treatment of women.
He also ran halfway across the city when he heard Ted had been in a car crash and was in the hospital, and then tried to pass it off as having just been randomly wandering around the area (no one believes him for a second).
Brian Kinney from Queer as Folk always helps his friends without them knowing.
Oh, and Barbie? Let's say word were to leak out that Dr. Cox was doling out the feel goods... I'll make you pay. You have no idea. Huge.
Glee: Sue Sylvester has one, though she doesn't use it any more than she needs to, and will often Hand Wave it as a selfish act. Although her sister, and later Becky are out and out Morality Pets. She also takes a zero tolerance stance on homophobic bullying. And as of "Choke," domestic violence.
Leave It to Beaver: Every time Eddie Haskel does something nice he insists that no one tells anyone; he's got a reputation to maintain.
Audrey Horne from Twin Peaks. At first sight she seems to be a spoiled troublemaker who aspires to be a femme fatale (often successfully), but with time it is revealed that she's actually an lonely innocent with good intentions. She also seems to be the only virgin in the whole Twin Peaks town.
The director Todd Holland on Audrey's character: "She's one of my favorite characters because you thought she was such a big slut and she's probably the most moralistic person in Twin Peaks and that's all tremendous fun. The ones like her father feign morality and are incredibly treacherous, but they carry on a good business front."
Red Dwarf: Arnold Rimmer, despite being a truly repugnant individual whose arrogance and selfishness are only matched by his neuroses and cowardice, has the odd moment of sheer compassion and bravery. His alternate universe counterpart shows what he would be like if he wasn't so pathetic.
Gene Hunt from Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes is known by his colleagues and enemies to be a ruthless and brutal interrogator who rarely gives anyone the light of day - but his colleagues also know that if a police officer is in danger, Gene Hunt will risk his life in order to save his comrades. For example: In the first episode of Ashes to Ashes when Shaz is kidnapped, everyone in the office is stuck on how to rescue her when Gene exits from his office and gives his Catch Phrase: "Fire up the Quattro" and storms away to the docks to catch the baddies in his own particular guns-ablazing western way.
Tracy from 30 Rock is a Cloud Cuckoo Lander who actively cultivates a "Bad Boy" persona with his irresponsible partying antics... but, to his friends' shock and disappointment, he has never once cheated on his wife. When Tracy won an Oscar for his role in a gritty urban drama about poverty and abuse, he became a respected serious actor overnight. He was overwhelmed by the responsibility that came with his accolades, so, at Liz's suggestion, he started acting crazier and more offensive than ever so he could go back to his old life. It didn't go well... especially because during his rampage he jumped in a lake to save a drowning man and begged him not to tell anyone. The man did, and Tracy was all over the news as a humble hero.
Jerome Clarke. When you first meet him, he is shown as a manipulative, uncaring person who will gladly blackmail his other housemates and trick his best friend into humiliating himself. However, eventually it is discovered that he really does have a heart, shown when he gets closer to Mara Jaffray, his friend and future love interest. The longer the show goes on, the more his good side is shown, from struggling to help his formally missing father fix their past to protecting and aiding his fellow students when it is needed.
Victor also fits this trope. Despite being the villain, he is proven to really care about the students deep down, when he kicked Vera out for hurting the students and sacrificing his last tear of gold to save a dying Joy Mercer.
Ice Tray from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Aunt Vivian dislikes the youth for his thuggish demeanor and lack of intelligence, but Will ends up revealing that when they were children, Tray would beat up the bullies that used to hassle Will because of his love of reading.
Ambulance Chaser Arnold Ripner from Barney Miller is struck with sheer moral outrage when he meets a former client who has been turned into a vegetable via Lobotomy and threatens to sue the man responsible pro bono if he ever tries it on someone else. When Barney points out that such words could be considered "noble," Arnold threatens to sue him for slander.
Nick from Left 4 Dead 2 is infamous for his Jerkasscomments, but when healing Ellis or Rochelle, he'll often say something along the lines of, "Don't tell the others... I'm only doing this for you."
He will also say it to Coach, but only very rarely.
Nick has a combination of both Jerkass lines and extremely sympathetic lines (you can hear them all in the audio listing). While some lines are callous, especially regarding Ellis or Rochelle's deaths, in others his rather simple lines are delivered with heart-felt grief or compassion (even for Ellis). Especially true for Coach's deaths, some of which sound like Nick is utterly crushed by the loss of the heart of the team.
Don Paolo does this in Professor Layton and the Unwound Future. Despite being Layton's self-determined nemesis, the Big Bad of the first game, and also causing trouble in the second game, he comes to the aid of the heroes, most notably by repairing Layton's car (and giving it Crazy Awesome upgrades) so the professor can rescue his adopted daughter, who has been kidnapped. When Layton attempts to thank him, he snaps at him. "Don't get emotional on me, Layton. I'm only doing this for Flora."
In Star Wars: The Old Republic, light side aligned player characters in the Sith faction pretty much live by this.
When feeling particularly charitable, a Smuggler will sometimes ask the person he helps to not say anything about it, for "he has a reputation to uphold."
In Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden can invoke this when speaking to Leliana if the player so chooses. In one of their conversations, Leliana will mention that the Warden has a very intimidating presence. If the Warden reacts well to one of her stories, she will remark that it's good to find out that the Warden is secretly a romantic, to which the Warden can reply "But don't tell the others."
Sten is also guilty. If put in the travelling party with him, Leliana will remark that she caught him doing things like "dangling string for a kitten." Sten, of course, vigourously denies this, claiming he was helping it train.
Even Morrigan can develop one if the player can get her approval high enough. When she first joins you she responds very negatively to altruistic acts if she's in the party, but as her approval gets higher she's much less likely to complain, and will actually begin expressing affection for you rather than just tagging along because her mother said so. Harden her, and she'll genuinely admit to seeing you as a friend (in a true Tear Jerker and Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, her voice actually breaks and she's on the verge of tears when she says it). If romanced she'll even confess that she loves you. Of course she remains as vicious to Alister as ever and still leaves you at the end of the game (though the Witch Hunt DLC can end with the Warden and Morrigan staying together for good).
Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Paulo and Lucy; Paulo tries to keep up an outward appearance of being a Ladies' Man, but deep down he actually respects the women around him and is always happy to help them out for completely altruistic reasons. Likewise Lucy has a prickly exterior but is a total sweetheart towards her pets.
The Nightmare Knight from Cucumber Quest might be an ancient evil that has tried to conquer Dreamside for thousands of years...but we do get to see a few glimpses into his softer side when push comes to shove.
The first is any time he interacts with Princess Parfait. He saves her from a couple of bullies, is willing to engage in a very heartwarming conversation when she's alone, and secretly delivers letters to her boyfriend.
The second is from a Wham Shot in chapter two: his minions Noisemaster and Mutemaster are about to successfully blow up the city of Trebleopolis...until the blast is dissipated by a starry, purple barrier that is very heavily hinted and confirmed to be put up by the Nightmare Knight. He lets someone else take the credit for it, of course, because he still needs to be known as the bad guy.
Both Sasha and Daichi have one in Greek Ninja. Also, Electra.
Duncan from Total Drama Island. When DJ loses his pet bunny, he lures a new one close by with food and pretends it must have just been hiding. His "girlfriend" catches him, and he denies it at first only to admit he lost a pet once too and didn't want DJ to suffer like that. He got called on it again in a later episode by Leshawna, (his girlfriend told her) when she denied his claim that he was completely heartless.
The final episode of TDA showed that he would wake up in the middle of the night to tuck Harold in while he's sleeping. All together now: awwww.
Rattrap of Beast Wars wears his callous contempt for everyone and determination to put himself first like a badge of honor. Too bad it's not really true.
In an episode of The Simpsons, Flanders recognizes Moe as the guy who reads to children at the hospital. The latter's response?