"Yusa Chiemi! That spin kick you gave me... Hit me in the right spot! Go out with me, please!"
— Hirata, Jun'ai Tokkou Taichou
Sometimes Love at First Sight...hurts.
They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but if that first impression involves you insulting, smacking or punching anyone with an arrogant personality, then you'd best watch out. You may have just made yourself a cruel and brutal enemy...
... and if they don't become your enemy, they may become something even worse.
Yes, that's right. The snobbishly bishonenStudent Council President, the hulking school bully, the stuck-up Alpha Bitch — admire them, grovel before them, and they'll barely take any notice of you. Make a snide, cutting remark about their attitude or launch your foot into their face, and they'll be putty in your hands. It is not known why people with Jerkass tendencies tend to go gaga over the people who stand up to them — maybe because it is so rare for someone to stand up to them, and when someone does they don't just become worthy of respect, but often the only ones they are able to perceive as an equal partner.
The hero or heroine who puts the bully into their place very rarely appreciates his or her amorous attentions. This is because bullies are usually villains, and villains tend to have a rather perverted and/or amoral approach to most aspects of their lives, including love. Bully Love tends to be a rather obsessive and one-sided affair, which can be played for comedy if the object of their affections is equally strong and aggressive (and if they're not, the whole thing can just come off as damn creepy). Some heroes find themselves completely flustered by a bully's attentions, especially if the bully is female and the hero is a male who has qualms about hitting women. An aggressiveheroine with no such qualms against violence may likewise find it hard to launch into a bully who is less physically strong than she is — and even if he's a gigantic brute, the heroine may find herself feeling just a little bit guilty about tossing him into a wall if he's approaching her with hearts in his eyes and a bouquet of flowers in his arms.
Occasionally, the bully may try to reform in an effort to win the heart of his beloved. In series where Status Quo Is God, this oftentimes will not go very well. If the villain becomes pathetic enough in his or her endeavors, the hero/heroine may start to love them out of pity. This can lead to a Slap-Slap-Kiss type of situation wherein the protagonist and the bully enter into a period of bickering which may eventually bear fruit when they graduate to Belligerent Sexual Tension. Death might be preferable.
In a number of situations, it is a form of Meet Cute - haloed in light and slightly out of focus, she's the first thing you see upon waking up from the horrific beatdown she just inflicted upon you. What better way to meet the love of your life?
The stronger version of Defeat Means Friendship, and the lighter version of You Got Spunk. May be a sign of an Amazon Chaser. See also Well, Excuse Me, Princess!. Compare Dating Catwoman. Contrast Best Her to Bed Her, where the defeated is bound by vow/law etc to marry the victor regardless of their feelings; they may overlap.
Not to be confused with the Chinese drama Love At First Fight.
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Anime & Manga
Pictured above: Ookami-san applies this trope to the Cinderella story. Instead of seeing whom does the shoe fits, the prince asks to kick him with said shoe, as the only thing his love did was kicking him unconscious. Unlike all competitors who made sensible kicks, his beloved used Waif-Fu.
Domyouji Tsukasa, the leader of the snobbish clique in Hana Yori Dango, falls for Makino Tsukushi, the Plucky Girl, who isn't afraid to slam her foot into his face and dress him down as a Jerkass. She's the first person outside of his family (the original one being his sister Tsubaki) to ever do so.
Hiei of YuYu Hakusho has this late in the series with Mukuro. She sets him against an old acquaintance who slices him into pieces; after he's healed from this, she fights and defeats him in a tournament. Finally when he annoys her too much, she punches through his stomach and throws him out... and he not only doesn't hold it against her, but he arranges a really, er, nice gift for her.
Chu also has this with Natsumi in the Demon World Tournament arc.
Tenshi Na Konamaiki has the "bully falling in love with the girl who disciplines him" angle as part of its main plot, although this situation has a twist — the girl the bully falls in love with is not what she seems. Well, actually, she is. Kind of.
Akane Tendō from Ranma ½ often became the object of boys' affections because of her Tsundere attitude.
In the second movie, Nihao My Concubine, the prince chooses Akane to be his bride (from the hundreds of other candidates available) after she climbs on his throne, smacks him in the face and gives him a What the Hell, Hero? speech for humiliating her and the other girls. (It is implied that the only woman who ever disciplined him before was his mother...)
Then there's the manga chapter about the young resort heir who is seeking the girl whose foot matches the marks she left in his head — a literal "first impression".
Similarly, Kunō's obsessive love for Akane and "the pigtailed girl" seems to grow the more they beat him into submission.
In the manga, the "Hentai Horde," as fanon dubs it, actually comes back together and resumes its original purpose of ambushing Akane and trying to knock her out cold in order to claim the right to date her when Akane gives her status as Ranma's fiancée to her elder sister.
The trope is actually codified into the law of the Chinese Amazons and thus effectively defines Shampoo's relationship with Ranma: ever since he defeated her while in his male form, she genuinely considers him her husband.
Hell, Ranma and Akane's relationship could be considered to fall under this. Though Akane does initially greet him with the offer to be friends, due to mistaking him for another girl, once the explanations are over after their Naked First Impression, she starts insulting Ranma, who rises to the bait and zings her back by pointing out his female form is more heavily stacked then hers. Akane promptly bashes Ranma over the head with a table, knocking him/her out cold, and the rest is history.
Military nut Giroro on Keroro Gunsou fell for Natsumi after she navigated his booby traps, dodged his missile fire, and smacked him out the window with her school bag. He declares his love just before he loses consciousness.
This is how Miyoshi and Akito start dating in Bakuman。: she finds out he had talked to her just to know about Azuki and relay the information to Mashiro. She (who's trained in karate and boxing and, according to Shujin, "packs a punch like three men together") then decks him in the face. Four times. Then she tends to him.
In Blue Drop, Hagino tries to strangle Mari when they first meet in the dorms. It is needless to say that their relationship is a tad strained for a while after that, although they keep hanging out with each other.
In Jun'ai Tokkou Taichou the school's most troublesome delinquent, Hirata, asks out the main character Chiemi after she punishes him for causing trouble.
Arguably, Ukyō from Samurai 7 only became more obsessed with Kirara after she refused to become part of his harem.
In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Jerid Mesa falls for his commander Lyla after she hits him. In fact, Kati and Patrick are like a more sympathetic version of this and both live unlike their Zeta Gundam counterparts, as both are nominally on the bad guy side, and Kati is for a time a member of the A-LAWS, the Gundam00 expy of the Titans
In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, Mrs. Bradley tells Ed and Al that her first meeting with Fuhrer Bradley ended with her slapping him. Though Fuhrer Bradley is actually the homunculusWrath, and his entire life story is a lie...he makes it clear that he personally chose his wife, so it counts as a straight example.
If anything, Kirie's constant beat downs of Fukuyama actually make him even more determined in his pursuit of her. Same with his sister Lisa whenever Yukinari fights back against her advances.
Tyki Mikk from D.Gray-Man has had a bit of a thing for Allen since the latter cheated him out of everything up to and including his clothes in a poker game. The actual fights have only made it more severe. Road has a similar, more explicit crush on him that dates back to the time she nailed his arm to the wall and he ripped it free to save a friend and an innocent. Since then, she's stabbed him in the eye, kissed him via ambush, and turned one of his friends against him with Mind Rape. Road has issues.
In Peach Girl it's noticeable that after Momo punched Kairi he developed an attraction towards her.
Black Butler: Grell Sutcliff, for Sebastian and Will. It seems she likes them both for the cold shoulders they give her. And the bruises.
Air Master: Sakamoto Julietta: "...that kick... gave me the biggest shock I've ever felt in my life... AND PIERCED MY HEART!!"
Super Dimension Fortress Macross (and by extension, Robotech): Max Jenius and Miriya Fallyna. First they try to shoot each other down in a aerial dogfight. Then she tries to stab him to death inside Macross City. Then they get married. Seriously.
Sumomomo Momomo has this to an extent. In a flashback scene Momoko and Tenka have a friendly duel as children in which Momoko loses. Momoko and Tenka agree to meet again in the future after she gets stronger. He thinks it is so she will become strong enough to be befitting of his bride, while she just wants a revenge duel. Played for laughs, but it is a semi-important plot element as the unrequited love is why Tenka ends up assisting Momoko throughout the rest of the series.
Sensitive Pornograph: Mizuho's violent reactions to Meguro's offers for friendship, or compliments about cuteness don't slow Meguro down a bit from falling for him. Notable Meguro never raises his fist against Mizuho, accepting his frequent beatings with giddy happiness.
Mizuho, on Meguro's face: *crash* *slam* *smash* *splurt* Meguro:Nice punch, Mizuho Nishina ... I'm in love...
At her insistence, since she demanded he emulate rival host Number One, who seduces women by causing them harm.
It doesn't work for Hideki.
Toradora!: Ryuuji's first encounter with Taiga swiftly ends with a SHORYUKEN!
At that point, they don't know they've kinda fallen for each other. Ryuuji intends on pursuing Taiga's best friend, Minori, while Taiga intends on pursuing Ryuuji's best friend, Yuusaku. This mutual agreement to help each other get the girl/guy is what starts them on the path that yes, they have indeed fallen for each other.
Although there are other less volatile, events that create the initial meeting, one of the things Hinagiku does to Hayate in Hayate the Combat Butler is jump from a tree branch to 'accidentally' land with her foot in his face.
Ayumu crashes into Hayate while riding an out-of-control bike, after she'd woken up to dreaming about their first encounter when he'd saved her from going over a cliff in a similar situation, which was admittedly a year ago.
Puppy Love version of sorts: In Hamtaro, Roberto seems to have a slight crush on Laura... the girl who called him out on his Jerk Ass behavior.
In Hinako Takanaga's one-shot Boys Love manga Love Round, the protagonist falls for the Pintsized Powerhouse Komatsuna when the furious punch he gives him after being teased about his girlish looks convinces him that he needs to get him to join the boxing club.
In Batman, this is what Joker says happened when he first met Bats in several versions.
In the case of Robin (Tim Drake), it was love at first 'brick' with Stephanie Brown. After their first encounter, Tim couldn't get her out of his head and proceeded to stalk her civilian identity.
In Bowling King, the bratty, rich Handsome Lech Jen Ni falls for Tz'zun for real (having only been superficially attracted to her before) after she violently refused his advances. "I know, she's playing hard to get!" This, of course, is him being a moron; nobody else in the world would interpret a Groin Attack as anything but "no."
In Preacher, Rev. Jesse Custer's parents met when his mother ran up to his Marine father, spat in his face, and called him a "baby-killer". Later she found him and apologized, explaining that she felt pressured into her actions by the hippies she traveled with.
Additionally, Rob O The Hedge the Hedgehog and Mari-Ann the echidna instantly developed feelings for one another, after Mari-ann kicked his ass - such big feelings that in the same story, she leaves her family to stay with him. Later on in the comic's history, they would be seen married and with a son.
The very first thing Olive Oyl ever said to Popeye was, "Aw, shut up, you bilge rat!" And the two continued to fight for weeks.
Film - Animated
Disney is rather fond of this:
In Beauty and the Beast, Belle is the first person after the Enchantress to actually tell off the Beast for his behavior and stand up to him.
In The Princess and the Frog, likewise, Tiana is possibly the only person besides the King and Queen of Maldonia to confront Naveen about being a lazy womanizer. Of course, unlike his parents, she also takes time to teach him how to take care of himself which is a bit more effective than cutting him off and saying "You're on your own".
While Phoebus seemed attracted to Esmeralda at the beginning of the movie, he openly admires her spirit and cunning as she fights off himself and the rest of the soldiers. "What a woman!" he exclaims, moments after narrowly ducking a flying helmet.
Mulan is all about this. Mulan manages to first win Shang's respect after beating his challenge, then he falls for her after finding out she's actually a girl. She literally punches him at one point during the training montage, which gets a smile from him.
In Enchanted, Giselle and Robert seem to get very close after their "Can you say anything but 'no'?" argument, which was actually the first time Giselle felt angry about anything (she's quite thrilled).
This is the basis of Tangled. Rapunzel and Flynn's relationship kicks off with her knocking him out with a frying pan after he breaks into her tower.
In Pocahontas, John Smith starts falling for Pocahontas after she outright chews him out for his automatically assumed European superiority and racist attitude against the natives - although she, of course, did it through song.
Wreck-It Ralph: Felix and Calhoun meet when she kicks him to the ground and aims a gun at him, thinking he's an intruder. He's clearly smitten from then on.
Film - Live-Action
Gone with the Wind has Rhett Butler falling head over heels in love with Scarlett after witnessing her not-so-ladylike behavior and being on the receiving end of her insults. Likewise, Scarlett probably fell in love with him because of his sexy boorishness and his refreshingly brutal frankness in a world where no one ever calls anything by its right name. (And just note how ga-ga she goes over him after he drunkenly grabs her and whisks her away upstairs to bed.)
In Herbie Rides Again, Mrs. Steinmetz introduces Wiloughby to her caretaker Nicole. She says, "How do you do?" and slugs him because he came as an agent for his uncle, Big Bad Alonzo Hawk. It's kind of a trained reaction to Hawk because she slugs him again when she learns he's Hawk's nephew. It's only later that she realizes he was utterly clueless about Hawk's exploits and was actually an honestly-decent man who eventually joins her side, staring them on the way.
In Just Married, the main couple meet when the guy accidentally hits the girl with a football.
In Scrooged, a trip to Frank's past reveals that he first met Claire after she accidentally flung open a door and clocked him on the bean. It's also where she came up with the pet name "Lumpy" that she still calls him years later.
When Luke Skywalker first met Mara Jade, she wanted to kill him more than anything. She later changed her mind and, ten years later, married him. Talk about a false start.
Vladimir Taltos's first encounter with his eventual wife consisted of her trying to assassinate him for a rival crime boss (she technically succeeded, but coming back from the dead isn't impossible in this setting).
In Anne of Green Gables, Gilbert fell in love with Anne after she smashes his slate over his head, retribution for calling her "Carrots". Anne is a little sensitive about her red hair.
In Guards! Guards!, the tiny swamp dragon Errol sends the gigantic, bullying dragon King tumbling out of the sky using a sonic boom ... and the (female) King starts mewling like a kitten, so impressed that she accepts the pugnacious little critter as a mate.
Discworld trolls as well. At least one couple got their start after a rock being thrown at a head.
This is a traditional method of flirting amongst trolls. For reasons of romance it is often insisted that it be a pretty rock.
The Legend of Phoenix Mountain has the main character's grandfather, who fell in love with the main character's grandmother after she slammed her fist into his right eye.
There is a P. G. Wodehouse short golf story parodying this, where a timid young man falls for a brash, strong willed female explorer who has never married because she wants the type of man who'll drag women around by their hair. He can't bring himself to act like that and gives up all hope of winning her and focuses on golf. When he's in some tournament she stops on the fairway to tie her shoe and he strikes her with the ball. This causes him to tie rather than win and when he find out it was her and not a sheep (his glasses were missing) he throws his putter in a fit of anger. It hits her on the shin quite by chance and as she rushes to kill him he rushes forward to apologize and winds up biffing her in the eye on accident. She's now convinced that they can't both have been coincidences and falls into his arms. He has the sense not to correct her and she ends up his doting and submissive wife.
The Dragaera book Five Hundred Years After mentions a gender inversion (which makes sense since most female Dragaeran characters are Action Girls). Rollondar e'Drien, who was the Warlord (commander of all military forces) fell in love with his wife after she defeated him in combat. It's noted that he receives a lot of ribbing in the barracks because of this.
Somewhat implied with Malta Vestrit in Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders cycle, with her subconscious view of herself and Reyn showing an ancient kidnapping marriage.
And explicitly stated with her aunt Althea, who apparently could never fall in love with a man who asks permission before kissing her.
Live Action TV
In Clarissa Explains It All, Clarissa stands up to a bully to stop him from picking on her brother. Before she can even land the first blow, he starts serenading her. A later episode has her resolve this issue, but before the end he's crooning to her again.
Jackie's sudden crush on Hyde after she breaks up with Kelso on That '70s Show. Textbook example — Hyde never actually changes his relationship to her, mostly consisting of unremitting cruel snark, even after they actually begin dating.
In Stargate SG-1, when Daniel and Vala first meet, Vala shoots him with an energy wrist blaster and later beats him up (including whacking him in the groin with a fire extinguisher) and Daniel shoots her with a painful stun gun twice. During the fight, she comments "You know, we could've just had sex instead," and, in the last episode, they have a last minute50-year relationship.
This is a Shout-Out to her introduction in Farscape - John Crichton becomes The Hero of his series in less than ten minutes - by being shot into a distant part of the universe, making a vicious enemy and is thrown into a cell, where he meets his Dream Girl, the lovely and deadly Aeryn Sun. Who immediately beats the crap out of him.
One of the later season episodes of Red Dwarf has the crew looking for excuses to get into the prison sickbay. The Cat decides the best method is to provoke a fight with the biggest, baddest guy in the prison block — shoving him, stealing his food, and so on, culminating in calling him the Cat's "bitch". Given it's being cited here, the results are obvious.
Joyce: Honey, did you somehow, unintentionally, lead him on in any way? Uh, send him signals? Buffy: Uh... I do beat him up a lot. For Spike, that's like third base.
This is part of why Spike likes Joyce so much as the first time they met she hit him with an axe and threatened him (with Spike later saying that she impressed him). The other reason being that she treats him with a modicum of respect (which none of the others do)
Reinforced in one of the After the Fall comics, where a supporting character suggests that Spike only digs girls who can kick his ass.
He isn't a bully as such, and certainly isn't portrayed as a villain - more a caustic, shambling, one-man hurricane of snark - but Nathan from Misfits does form a very strong attachment to Kelly, the one person who regularly beats the crap out of him. Admittedly, no one is actually afraid of Nathan and pretty much everyone tells him to shut up when he's being a jerkass, but apparently the message just doesn't get through unless accompanied by brute force. Slight variation in that Kelly does return Nathan's feelings (the fact that she hits him a lot is neither here nor there - she hits everyone) but Nathan does specifically say that he likes her partly because she will stand up to him and hit him when he deserves it.
Leverage: Nate the insurance investigator is protecting a painting, when he sees Sophie the thief/Grifter trying to take it. Their eyes meet, a quick smile, then she shoots him in the shoulder and turns to leave only for him to shoot her back.
Sophie:(offended) "You WANKER!"
John Rogers is proud to have written "The first Meet Cute sequence I can think of that involves the principals shooting each other."
Animal keeps interrupting Rita Moreno's performance of "Fever" on The Muppet Show. After repeatedly scolding him to get things under control, she grabs a pair of cymbals and crashes his head in them. Animal's reaction? "That my kind of woman!"
Once Upon a Time: Prince "Charming" met Snow White when she robbed his carriage. Taking off after the thief, he tackled her, and when he was having a momentary bit of shock over finding out he'd been robbed by a woman, she took the opportunity to whack him with a rock and run away. This...explains a lot about their daughter.
In the JAG episode "Pilot Error", Lt. McKee, a tomboyish fighter pilot, gets into a one-sided brawl with a Marine officer in a bar (he insulted her wingman who had died in a crash recently, but refused to hit a woman, so she hit him twice.) The next evening, she returns to the bar and runs into the same Marine officer, who politely apologizes for his behavior and invites her to share a drink with him. She declines.
Older Than Feudalism: In Greek Mythology and Epitome of the Bibliotheke, Achilles falls in love with Amazon queen Penthesilea at the precise moment that he kills her in battle and then orders a magnificent burial for her as an apology, which is very tragic.
And also killed Thersites for making fun of him crying over the body. Or saying "She's still warm."
Bernice Summerfield: when her son, Peter first met Antonio, Antonio made the mistake of treating Peter like a puppy (complete with cutesy noises). Peter did nottake this well. A few lines later Antonio was still calling Peter cute but in a different way.
In Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, Petrucchio finds Katherine's shrewishness, wit, and stubbornness not only impressively equal to his own but a sporting challenge to overcome.
Beatrice and Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing get a double dose of this: They're equally matched masters of wit who save their best efforts for each other; their constant volleying of insults has lasted for years. This makes them dear friends at the start of the play — each one genuinely enjoys the wordplay and battle of wits — and by the end of the play they've realized that they're actually in love, and get engaged. None of this stops them from zinging each other.
Anton Chekhov's short play The Bear: the boorish Large Ham Smirnov is at first very disdainful to his debtor's widow Popova, finding her prissy and pretentious, but becomes smitten when Popova reveals to be a Hidden Badass.
Fiyero meets Elphaba in Wicked when his cart almost runs her down. In his defense, he was sleeping at the time.
In Skies of Arcadia, Handsome Lech Vigoro becomes obsessed with chasing Aika after she is part of giving him a violent smackdown and insults his manhood afterwards.
In the Mitsuki Oosawa manga adaptation of Seisen no Keifu/Geneaology of the Holy War, it seems Rebel Prince Lex and Action Girl Ayra fell for each other this way: Their first scene together is him fighting her outside Genoa castle, and after that part of the chapter is wrapped up they're shown sitting side by side, awkward and blushing.
Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana has Lita thrown an insult at the protagonist when they first meet because he couldn't beat a hawk monster on his own, and we're supposed to know they're a couple from the intro a few minutes before that.
A client elf in Atelier Iris 3 falls in love with the short receptionist Phenyl after she beats him continuously. Following this scene, he is referred to as having newly-discovered "masochistic tendencies" in the character codex.
In Shadow Hearts: Covenant, Karin was consistently hostile to Anti-Hero Yuri Hyuga, and once gave him a slapping. In one particular dungeon, she begins to hallucinate and Yuri slaps her out of it. She immediately starts acting gushy and switches to permanent Tsundere mode.
In Skyrim, one of the NPC's you can marry becomes an option after beating her in a bar brawl.
In Princess Maker 2 the younger dragon at the ruins coming to propose to your daughter after she kicks his butt refusing to pay a toll.
In Sengoku Basara 3, Keiji proclaims his undying love for Magoichi immediately after she delivers a flying kick to his face. Magoichi ignores this, until he starts following her everywhere.
In Mass Effect 2, Garrus tells Shepard about his first love from his cadet days. The two were at the top of their class and when they sparred, it ended in a draw because they were evenly matched in their own ways: "I had reach, she had flexibility." Later that night, they got together for a...rematch: "I had reach, she had flexibility."
The dragon falls for the protagonist in Dra Koi after he manages to hit the reverse scale on her neck, which is her weak point.
In Schlock Mercenary Scab dropped a few lewd comments toward Elf, but after she performs a Neck Lift on him, he's aimlessly dreamwalking around his gang's "headquarter" and rephrasing "She was totally hot" in different ways.
Karin-dou 4koma: Rindou falls for Elza after Elza (in child form) suddenly confronts Rindou for "stealing her role" and punches her in the face. Granted, Rindou has a habit of proposing to little girls anyway, but this time she zones out and eats bananas afterwards until Shigure and Sachi correct the issue by force.
When Van Helsing (in his younger years) from The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy couldn't find the thing that was missing in his life, he meets a girl on the street and she knocks the crap out of him. Of course, this was the thing that he had been searching for.
Unfortunately, she falls for Dracula instead, which is why Van Helsing wants to kill him.
Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender doesn't initially take Suki's Amazon Brigade seriously. After she shows him why he should, he swallows his pride and asks to be trained by them, impressing her. Suki falls for Sokka right away because Sokka showed humility to someone who is both a warrior and a girl, and Sokka falls for Suki right away because she's an amazing girl.
Airachnid ended up rending him limb from limb and leaving his body for MECH to find. Guess it wasn't reciprocal.
In the 101 Dalmatians: The Series episode "My Fair Moochie", both Mooch and a visiting wrestler fall for Cadpig after she beats them up.
Adventure Time: Finn developed his crush on Flame Princess after she smacked him in the face with her (burning) hand and nearly destroyed his house with her fire powers.
In the second volume of his memoirs, Russell Brand mentions that he fell in love with Katy Perry when she flung a bottle at his head during rehearsals for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. They got married in 2010... then split up the next year.
In some cultures, when a girl hits a man, it means she likes him.
Along the same note, some younger kids will pick on someone because they have a crush on them.