"It's nice to meet you China, where the sun sets. My name is Japan, I am from where the sun rises."
"Oh! Well, that wasn't very nice!
This character picks on the short girl for being short. He'll ask a woman for her age. He'll bug the flamboyant guy about his sexuality
. And the worst part is, he doesn't realize what he's doing is rather painful for the person on the receiving end of the criticism. In the worst cases, he might not stop at one insult
and even continue until someone forces him to stop
, or the other person runs away crying. (His reaction to this is probably: "Huh? What did I do?")
What separates him from the Jerkass
is that this person is actually a good guy - he's just clueless to things that people might generally be sensitive to. To him, it was just a fun joke
or an honest assessment
- no offense intended. When others bring up the fact that what he's saying is hurting other people's feelings, he tries to change.
The Idiot Hero
is prone to this. They tend to receive replies like You Know I'm Black, Right?
and I'm Standing Right Here
. Innocent Bigot
is a subtrope. When this is done intentionally, they're a Deadpan Snarker
. Obviously guilty of frequently committing a Fee Fi Faux Pas
. It may also be the result of a Crazy Cultural Comparison
or a Cross Cultural Kerfuffle
. Compare Horrible Judge of Character
A frustrating Truth in Television
. Especially notable are people with Asperger Syndrome
, though this can vary and often the exact opposite is true if said people are hypersensitive
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Anime and Manga
- Goku from Dragon Ball. Though it's implied that he had brain damage as a baby due to hitting his head, and not to mention he was almost totally isolated from others until he was 12.
- Maron, a filler character, in the Garlic Junior Saga, is this when she insults Chi-Chi and Bulma by calling them old ladies (and you can guess how the former reacts).
- Little Marron, Krillin & Android 18's daughter, also qualifies. In a scene in the Great Saiyaman Saga, when Master Roshi asks if he wants to participate in the tournament, she replies with "No way, you're too old!!". For Marron, this is a Justified Trope, as she is only 3 years old and she doesn't know any better.
- One Piece: Monkey D. Luffy's ability to do this is legendary. While in the tower of the Shrinking Violet mermaid princess, he starts eating her food while she talks to him. His mouth is filled with food, so his cheeks bulge out. This is new to the innocent girl, so she pokes his cheeks, and he shouts at her for it. She begins to well up with tears, and he calls her a coward, a crybaby, and says in a completely happy, joking manner, "I don't like you one bit!". He obviously thought he was bantering, since the next thing he says is to suggest she sneaks out of the room to go on an adventure, in as happy and joking a manner as before.
- Takanashi from WORKING!!.
- Yachiyo is like this, usually to Satou.
- Yamada has her moments too.
- InuYasha has his moments. Justified, since he is a half-demon and was treated rudely by humans and demons, decided to live isolated from others and hence doesn't know when something can be seen as rude.
- InuYasha's spiritual predecessor Ranma Saotome occasionally had moments of this, too, but was just as likely to either be retaliating for something rude done to him, or deliberately being rude just for the hell of it.
- Ayu from 7 Seeds can have shades of this. She calls people "resistant as cockroaches", but means it in the nicest way of a compliment. She decides on a group-split-up that leaves her with someone that she is implied to have a crush on and doesn't get it why people react strangely about it. It isn't until Tsunomata points out to her that her straightforward ways can be seen as hurtful that Ayu even wonders why it would seem hurtful.
- Sai from Naruto post-Heel-Face Turn and Character Development. He is trying to become better friends with Naruto and Sakura, but genuinely thinks "ugly" is a good idea for a nickname, and that people always need to hear the truth.
- Miyako in Hidamari Sketch does this a lot. It's hard to be sure when she's just oblivious and when she actually is winding up Hiro.
- An episode of Digimon Adventure was focused on Mimi getting into trouble after she got upset at Izzy, who ignored her in favour of working on his laptop. He had no idea why she was crying, or that he'd been ignoring her at all.
- Haru from Tsuritama who tries to cheer up Yuki about his grandmother's hospitalization by telling him that everyone dies at some point. This is because Haru is a possibly immortal alien who struggles with understanding things from the viewpoint of us Puny Earthlings.
- Bossun from SKET Dance.
- Touma Kamijou from A Certain Magical Index says it's ridiculous that so many people think he's attracted to girls like Index or Mikoto because they're just kids (he's 17, they're 14). While he's trying to say he's not a pedophile, he doesn't understand that they're genuinely and completely in love with him, and he doesn't understand that implying they have small boobs, are not beautiful and sexy (instead of pretty and cute), are short, etc. are their biggest Berserk Buttons.
- Mashiro of Sakura-sou no Pet na Kanojo, who is an Idiot Savant, has No Social Skills, and is seen by most viewers as autistic, runs into this in a close to Once an Episode frequency.
- Higurashi: When They Cry: Keiichi does a minor variation towards Mion in the Watanagashi arc, by not giving her the doll he won, reasoning that she's too boyish to appreciate it as Rena (who takes home anything she finds cute) would; this instance of his calling out her boyish traits (unlike most other times) deeply hurts her feelings. In the original Visual Novel, Keiichi has to get lectured by both Rena and Shion before he finally realizes what he did.
- Masao from Shiki is mostly just a Jerk Ass, but there's many scenes where he comes off this way too.
- Played for Drama in Kotoura-san, when this trope, combined with telepathy that Haruka couldn't turn off, causes her to inadvertently start blurting out her friends' and family's personal secrets, resulting in her schoolmates labelling her as a freak and compulsive liar and her parents' divorce. Although later on she invokes this trope to keep people from being close to her.
- Setsuna in Mahou Sensei Negima! tends to act far too formally and subserviently towards those she feels have a higher social class than her. For example, she always refers to her love interest as ojou-sama/milady and acts more like a servant than a friend. Konoka, for her part, keeps telling her to quit it to no avail. Near the end of the manga, she actually makes Asuna cry by acting even more subservient towards her than she does towards Konoka after Setsuna learns Asuna is actually a princess. Normally, she's Setsuna's best friend, which makes it quite painful to be treated like that. It was a slight exaggeration of how she really felt, but she wanted to make sure Setsuna cut it out immediately rather than make a habit of it.
- Ian in A Cruel God Reigns does this to Jeremy when he actively tries to make their new step-family a happy one. What he doesn't know is that his father is sexually abusing Jeremy every weekend when they come home from their boarding school.
Ian: The plan is to make this a loving household of Lynn Forest, aiming to create a peaceful family.
Jeremy: Will it all...work...out?
Ian: We'll make it work Jeremy! And in the end we'll all be happy.
- In Girls und Panzer, when Ami, temporary tankery instructor for Oarai, sees Miho among the assembled students, she points out that Miho's mother (Ami's tankery instructor) has done quite a bit for her, makes a polite inquiry about how Miho's sister is doing, and says the Nishizumi school has a long history. Despite having no ill intentions toward Miho, Ami ends up upsetting Miho by bringing up her family (Miho, unable to adhere to her family's Second Place Is for Losers mentality, had until recently quit tankery), but Saori quickly moves to Change the Uncomfortable Subject.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Sayaka is this to Kyousuke, the object of her affections. Kyousuke's passion is the violin, so his arm getting paralyzed in an accident was a big blow to him. Rather naively, Sayaka thinks bringing him classical music CDs would relax him. She was wrongnote , and it sends him into tears at first and into an almost screaming Heroic BSOD later.
- Saya of Servant × Service tends to speak her mind without even considering the potential consequences. Particularly evident in Episode 6, where she unwittingly sent the normally carefree Yutaka into a Corner of Woe by passively saying that he's beneath her, and a flashback reveals that she rejected a boy's confession by saying he should've looked at himself in a mirror and thought again (she meant she thought he could do better). Eventually Chihaya had to warn her against rejecting Mrs. Tanaka's offer of marriage to her grandson so as not to cause heart attacks.
- Nia in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, due to her sheltered upbringing. She is completely oblivious to any negative mood, which doesn't endear her to the others, especially after Kamina had just recently died. She also cheerfully turned down Simon's proposal. Fortunately Kiyoh and Kiyal make her realize her accidental mistake.
- In Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, Seo's jerkass attitude is seen by Nozaki as a result of being mood-blind. Probably the best example of this is when Seo tells Nozaki that people ask her for help all the time, that she's considerate of others and that she can read situations...all while ruining a group picture, smearing someone's calligraphy and interrupting a love confession, in that order. However, the rest of the time it's hard to tell whether she really is this trope or genuinely a jerkass.
- An Idiot Plot climax of Seikoku No Dragonar starts purely because the airheaded maid Plum mutters a racism comment that a dragon and a human can't get married. Eco, who's a hypersensitive Tsundere, launches herself out of the castle in despair and right into the enemy's hands.
- Because she lacks social skills, Laura Kinney aka X-23 tends to do this. After an adventure in Limbo, Laura sees no problem with telling Surge (who wasn't present) that her boyfriend Prodigy had his heart ripped out (he got better) when all the other students were evasive about it (even implied that this was why Nori asked her about it after the others didn't come clean). When Laura is later attending Avengers Academy and Wolverine brings some of her former classmates from Xavier's there to keep them safe, she greets Dust by telling her she "smells healthy." After Dust reminds her it's not polite to tell someone how they smell, she innocently says that because she can't see her (Dust practices hijab and covers herself in public) it's the only way she can tell.
- Lois Lane, in her attempts to report on poverty, tended to do this.
- Klara Prast of the Runaways once mistook the X-Men for demons, and on another occasion, mistook Tigra for a prostitute. She's also been on the receiving end of innocent insensitivity; Victor and Chase have used the fact that she was once married as an excuse to talk about sex around her, because she presumably already knows about it. It doesn't occur to them that she'd rather not be reminded of that fact...
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise, some of the members of the Yu Dao chapter of the Air Acolytes tattooed their foreheads just like Aang. Who thought they were treating his culture as if it was a game. The members later apologized, saying they never meant to insult him or his culture.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic Brother Bothers, Pinkie Pie is this to Cheese Sandwich and his brother Tomato concerning their nasty Sibling Rivalry. She forces them into a "Brotherly Bonding Time", not realizing that it would only aggravate their already tense feud, up to the point where both of the brothers end up exploding at each other. She realizes this at the end of the fic and apologizes to them.
- In Hopes and Follies, Twilight assures Trixie that she doesn't have to worry about their past conflicts, because nopony holds her responsible for it and they hardly even remembered the Ursa incident until she came back. It's not until after Trixie storms off overwhelmingly pissed that Twilight realizes that a professional showpony would want to be remembered, even as a villain. Not to mention that those events were some of the most defining moments of her life. And Trixie has an overwhelming need to be recognized by Twilight, one way or another. This results in Trixie resolving to become an enemy, rival or problem that Twilight can't ignore... ironically, while Twilight's resolving to become closer to Trixie and accept her as a friend.
- In "Dear Sweetie Belle", Rarity had just found out she was pregnant after a party her roommate had dragged her to. Said roommate sees her crying and asks her if she wants to go to another party. Rarity freaking snaps.
- In the Mork and Mindy fanfic Mork And Mindys Twenty Fifth Anniversary, Beth jokes that "lately people think Daddy's [Mindy's] son anyway", not realizing that this fact is upsetting to her mother.
Film - Animated
Film - Live-Action
- The Purge: The youngest Sandin kid is asking his parents why they don't kill during The Purge. He thinks it's a game and doesn't quite realize yet that it isn't.
- In Elf, Buddy meets Miles Finch, a little person. Having grown up with Santa Claus and his elves his whole life, he assumes Miles is an elf and addresses him as one, asking how things are back at Santa's workshop. Miles is enraged, thinking Buddy is doing short jokes. Throughout the whole scene, Buddy doesn't understand his mistake, even after Miles beats him up.
- Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame always had a little bit of this going all the way back to the original series, due to his being raised in a society where emotions are suppressed in favor of logic, much to the annoyance of Dr. McCoy and the others. Captain/Admiral James T. Kirk was usually more patient with Spock due to their Heterosexual Life-Partners friendship, but in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Kirk, after putting up with an even more Innocently Insensitive than usual Spock (who was still coming off of rebirth) in the 20th century finally loses his temper and snaps at Spock who, upon learning that the window of opportunity to snatch up two whales is rapidly closing (thus placing the future of the Earth in dire peril), bluntly states that their mission won't be successful and states it as if they were running a grocery errand. Specifically Kirk tears into Spock with an incredulous "Our mission? Spock you're talking about the end of every life on Earth! You're half human! Haven't you got any God damned feelings about THAT?!"
- In X-Men: Days of Future Past, after Mystique escapes the peace conference, she is outed as a mutant on the news. She manages to get to a hospital and get her leg bandaged in her normal human guise. The nurse who is doing it is watching the earlier footage and pities Mystique's appearance, wondering "It must be hard waking up each day and seeing that in a mirror". Ouch.
- Hermione Granger comes off like this in Harry Potter at least once a book, arguably downplayed in the movies.
- Princess Eilonwy has moments of this in The Chronicles of Prydain series.
- Depending on interpretation, Sherlock Holmes. Opinion varies on whether he's genuinely socially inept or deliberately spiteful to people who aren't as smart as him. The 2009 film favours the latter explanation, but critics who stress Holmes' loneliness as a character trait favour the former.
- The BBC series Sherlock seems to use a bit of both - he once asks John whether a comment was too insensitive, but also makes fun of everyone for not understanding his deductions. We haven't seen much of the loneliness outright yet, but he sure does get upset when John's in danger.
- In the BBC series, he is apparently a Sociopath, as well.
- He claims to be one, to be sure, but the fact that he shows genuine concern for another human being pretty clearly tells that if he has a disorder, it's not as serious as he thinks. Or perhaps John is just the exception.
- Both presentations may be correct. Individuals with exceptionally high IQs often have difficulty with proper social interactions, usually coming off as either distant, patronizing, or outright arrogant and insulting (even when it is not their intent). Psychologists think it comes from their altered viewpoint of reality. People with high IQs easily make intellectual connections and usually have a better understanding of things. But even when they know intellectually that it is due to their high IQ, they can't always grasp why no one else gets it or may be frustrated by how they need to explain "simple" things. For Sherlock, who likely has a very high IQ, he doesn't get why everyone else can't see the world the way he does. To him, he is pointing out things on the same level of obviousness as "The sky is blue" and then dealing with people who are so dense they need it spelled out to them (even though no one else would ever make those connections).
- Brainless Beauty Christine from the Discworld book Maskerade, an opera hopeful with the looks but not the musical talent, is apparently oblivious to the fact that her very presence is trampling over the ambitions of Fat Girl Agnes Nitt, who has the musical talent but not the looks. She also says at one point that Agnes is lucky about not having to watch what she eats.
- Gray Wing from Warrior Cats: Dawn of the Clans tries (poorly) to comfort Wind Runner by saying that her son Emberkit was in a better place. This, however, makes Wind Runner angry at him, yelling at him that the best place for a kit was at its mother's belly and wishing him grief, saying that he's as bad as Clear Sky and she'll throw that comment back at him. But when Turtle Tail dies, she apologizes to him.
- [Voltaire] has the song "Dunce" from his album "Almost Human".
- Red from Solatorobo. His sister Chocolat is constantly chiding him for not understanding girls' feelings, and Elh calls him "an idiot with a bad mouth" when he continues to stick his foot in there.
- Minsc in Baldur's Gate being a brain-damaged warrior with the mind of a child, has a few banters that paint him in this light. Everyone realises his true intentions, and nobody ever gets permanently insulted. Boo is also quick to correct him when he puts his foot in his mouth.
- Girl!Morgan in Fire Emblem Awakening is a kind-hearted Genki Girl, but she can be sometimes rather pushy with her love interests. May be somewhat of a Justified Trope as she not only has heavy Laser-Guided Amnesia but seems to be the youngest of her group of friends and thus is more sheltered than them.
- The King of Fighters:
- Athena Asamiya shows some traces of this, specially in KOF XIII. She launches in a Rant Inducing Slight when she sees Kula fighting despite her willingly being there, inadvertently embarrasses her friend Kyo via asking him if he did graduate from high school...
- Kyo's girlfriend, Yuki was like this in the manga. After learning that he and Athena fought in the previous tournament, she becomes angry at Kyo for "beating on girls". Being a martial artist herself, Athena feels insulted.
- In Persona 4, the first time Youske, Chie, and Yukiko meet Nanako he challenges Chie to a cook-off, offering to have Nanako judge and saying that one of them would probably "make something that ranks up there with your mom's cooking." Nanako points out that her mother died in an accident, and forgives him for saying that when he quickly apologizes.
- Katawa Shoujo:
- Shizune Hakamichi can come across as being very blunt to point where she comes across as being flat out bossy. This is in part the result of her being deaf and because of this communicating with others directly is difficult for her along with the fact that she cannot perceive vocal cues of emotion and intent in other people. It does not help that her interpreter Misha seems to have her own troubles reading social cues in other people, leading to more than a few "blind leading the blind situations" including the panic attack incident in Hanako's route.
- Hisao himself falls into this at times, especially early on when he's not sure how to talk to people with disabilities. This can be a problem in Hanako and Emi's routes; in the former, he can deeply upset her if he pities her too much, and in the latter, he can anger Emi if he is too aggressive in trying to protect her.
- Sakuya Shirogane Le Bel from Hatoful Boyfriend. Classist (to Ryouta and the player character), racist (to Yuuya, Anghel, and the player character), ableist (to Oko San), and a royal Upper-Class Twit, and it takes him most of the game, if the player's on his route, to even acknowledge that these are bad things. However he also has a Freudian Excuse: his father raised him to believe himself above everybirdy else, and Sakuya cannot comprehend that his father could be wrong. In the Bad Boys Love route, finding out that not only was his father wrong but not even his father gives Sakuya a full-blown Heroic BSOD. In Anghel's route, Sakuya says quite a few racist things about Anghel in the presence of the player character, who echoes them later.
- In RWBY, Jaune — being unaware of Pyrrha's feelings for him — sees nothing wrong with pouring out his romantic woes to her.
- Katherine of Wapsi Square is remarkably observant, but lacks any social skills, so it makes sense that she would fall into this trope at times.
- Marty of Dubious Company. He has no idea why Elly isn't into him or why Sue wants to shove her boot up his rectal cavity. He is able to recognize when he pisses off his brother, though.
Something needs to be done about Walter
Yeah. No fair keeping all the cute ones up on the bridge. All we get is Sue here
- Jake of Homestuck. Most likely due to his upbringing as an orphaned, isolated inhabitant of a deserted jungle island, Jake has a tendency to be oblivious to the feelings of others, mostly Jane's. It's also implied that in his previous incarnation as Grandpa Harley, he was similar and ran away from home and from Nanna without apparently considering how it made her feel.
- Girls with Slingshots:
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Parodied in a Family Guy skit about high school kids (and no, this isn't taken out of context):
- Futurama: Done repeatedly in "War is the H-Word", where Leela is pretending to be a macho guy, and Bender unknowingly "compliments" her on the macho stereotypes least suited to a woman:
Bender: You're my kind of soldier, Lemon. A foul-mouthed, barrel-chested, beer-bellied pile of ugly muscle.... But sweet girls aren't for you, eh? You hard-fighting, hard-farting, ugly, ugly son of a—
Leela: Stop! Stop flattering me!
- Cyborg in Teen Titans in the episode "Troq", when he calls Starfire by the title word. Throughout the episode, the racist Val-Yor has been calling her this, and Starfire told Cyborg it meant "nothing" (without explaining that it meant "nothing" as in "worthless"), meaning he didn't realize how hurtful it was. Becomes a case of Bullying a Dragon when you remember this is a race of super-strong beings who have Eye Beams and energy-hurling abilities.
- The Legend of Korra:
- Korra was trained for most of her life in a compound where she could be taught the four elements in safety, but as a result when she enters the world as a teenage girl she has No Social Skills and winds up greatly exacerbating a Love Triangle she winds up in because she has no firsthand experience with romance. At one point she plants a Forceful Kiss on her crush after he admits to liking her and honestly doesn't seem to grasp that it's a problem (at first), since he's already in a relationship with someone else.
- Tenzin's declaration that the Air Nomads will help restore balance until Korra recovers from her injuries at the end of Season 3; while it might not seem that bad, earlier Korra had seen hallucinations of previous villains telling her she was no longer needed, and here's her mentor implying the same thing. She doesn't take it well.
- In SpongeBob SquarePants, we have the title character himself. All though SpongeBob means well, he unintentionally ruins other peoples' lives. Just ask Squidward or his boating school teacher Mrs. Puff.
- Moral Orel: Orel Puppington falls under this at times. He's actually a kid with good intentions, but as he's young, naive and often misinterprets advice from other adults, he usually ends up causing more bad than good for people.
- Dee Dee of Dexter's Laboratory is this at her worst. For the most part, she's just trying to have fun, but she constantly ends up wrecking Dexter's lab and causing him no small amount of grief in doing so.
- King of the Hill: Dale doesn't realize his son Joseph's true parentage, leading to this exchange with John Redcorn (Joseph's biological father):
John Redcorn: Joseph hates me...
Dale: Why would Joseph hate you? He barely knows you.
- People with poor social skills — children and shy people who haven't had much chance to interact socially especially — are also prone to this. It's a recognized symptom of Asperger's Syndrome, since sufferers are bad at picking up non-verbal cues that would alert them to other people's feelings.
- Can also happen when you go to another culture. Even if you speak the language, the complexities of social interaction can take a while to learn, and it'll often involve a lot of unintentional insults to the people whose country you're in before you figure out what you should and should not do.
- This can also happen in avowedly progressive circles. Black feminists frequently complain about the feminist movement focusing exclusively on issues that affect white, middle-class women and ignoring their own privilege. A book by well-known feminist blogger Amanda Marcotte contained racist illustrations from an old comic. Although Marcotte apologized and the book was reissued, the black feminist blogosphere has never forgiven her.
- A French blogger launched a website where women could post the most sexist lines they heard all day. One newspaper article accompanied this with a cartoon where two women said as much to an impressed man, who answered that, "It's nice to finally see women who've got a pair."