I'm Crying But I Don't Know Why
A character spontaneously starts crying, seemingly for no reason. When asked about it, even they
don't know why they're doing it. There is inevitably a plot-relevant reason behind this.
Perhaps it's a repressed memory that has just been triggered, or maybe something bad has happened somewhere else and their Spider-Sense
is tingling. Whatever the reason, it's usually because their subconscious knows something that the conscious mind doesn't.
It is particularly likely to happen if the character is The Empath
or has a Psychic Link
to someone else. Another common variant involves a loved one that was somehow erased from existence
For the nasal equivalent, see Sneeze Cut
. Sub Trope
of My Significance Sense Is Tingling
For characters who are just confused because they didn't know they were capable of crying, see My Eyes Are Leaking
Anime and Manga
- In Star Trek: Generations, Data cries when he finds his beloved cat Spot unharmed in the wreck of the Enterprise D. Not understanding why he is crying in spite of this event making him happy, Data assumes that his emotion chip must be malfunctioning. Deanna tell him that it's working just fine.
- Amy Pond does this three times Doctor Who.
- The first time, she thinks she's happy, but she's sad because Rory was erased from existence, and Vincent Van Gogh can sense it .
- The second time, Rory thinks she's sad, but she's happy because she's found Rory, even though she still can't remember him.
- The last time, she's at her wedding, so naturally Rory thinks she's happy, but she's said because she got River Song's TARDIS-themed diary and it reminds her of the Doctor, who got erased from existence, but he gets better because she remembers his stories.
- On LOST, Daniel cries while watching a news report about the Oceanic 815 crash. He says he doesn't know why.
- On Friends, Phoebe goes through rapid mood swings later in her pregnancy. When she goes from hysterically laughing to bawling her eyes out, she just says "I don't know." in response to Rachel and Monica's concern.
- Happens often in the Kingdom Hearts series from Chain of Memories on, usually a character crying because of something they can't remember or a link to another character. It happens to Sora more often than anyone else.
- After meeting the Twilight Town gang at the start of Kingdom Hearts II, Sora starts crying just before he leaves to meet Yen Sid. The kids were Roxas's friends in the Lotus-Eater Machine he was trapped in before merging with Sora.
- After the Doomed by Canon protagonists of Birth by Sleep have met their fates, the four-year-old Sora starts crying without realizing it, to Riku's confusion.
- Also in Dream Drop Distance, when Sora meets Xion for the first time.
- In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword, if you fulfill certain requirements you'll get a secret gaiden chapter in Hector's route. After Nergal's defeat, if you unlocked that chapter Nils will start crying for reasons he doesn't know, but the player has figured out: Nergal was his and Ninian's father.
- At the end of Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals, Tia, who previously had been Unable To Cry due to overly toughening herself since childhood, suddenly finds herself crying uncontrollably without knowing why. It's because her Unrequited Love Interest, Maxim, has just died.
- In Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, Princess Sapphire established herself as someone who is incapable of crying. When Almaz dies, she doesn't shed a tear, only going on about how sad she is. When Almaz comes back to life, she's overjoyed, then confused at the tears streaming down her face.
- The Daffy Duck cartoon Ain't That Ducky has Daffy and a hunter (a caricature and voice of actor Victor Moore) confronting a little yellow duck who does nothing but look into a satchel and cry pathetically. Nobody knows why until the end when Daffy and the hunter get hold of the satchel. A piece of paper that says "The End" is in it.