There are several variant forms of Angst
. There is Wangst
, the angst of whiners. There is Angst? What Angst?
, which is angst that is barely even felt by heroes. And then there is Mangst
, the angst of badass characters
A man who feels Mangst is the kind of guy who carries around a picture of the wife and child
, both of whom were killed by the villain. Every once in a while he picks up that picture... maybe once every three or four days, mind, when no one is looking...
and stares at it for a couple of hours. He never talks to other people about his private pain
. Several things keep him closed up about it. First, he's not the kind of guy to get all weepy
(unless you count the occasional bout of Manly Tears
, of course). Second, he's not the kind of person who loads his problems on other people
Mangst usually involves a man trying to fix his problem, right the wrong, prevent his tragedy from occurring to someone else
, seek revenge
, etc. If he's not doing any of those things, it's because something's holding him back. When a Badass has Mangst, he may have an inner monologue, during which the source of his Mangst gets a regular mention. However, to mitigate potential Angst Dissonance
, the character's monologue often is deceptively calm
One of the things that turns basic Angst
into Mangst is the source of the character's pain. When That One Case
involved someone dying (especially if it was an innocent kid
), the hero will most likely end up Mangsting. Having one's wife or girlfriend horribly killed by the Big Bad
is perhaps the most common cause of Mangst in the world. Guilt over some past misdeed, or from failing to stop someone else's past misdeed, can also be a cause
You don't seem to see many women Mangsting
, though occasionally it does happen. This rarely carries through the entire work, however, as even Action Girls
and Broken Birds
tend to break down crying and need to be comforted
before all is said and done.
Compare Manly Tears
, which a Mangster occasionally engages in, but only in private. Often accompanied by Bad Dreams
or Drowning My Sorrows
. Very often the fuel which powers a Roaring Rampage of Revenge
. Mangst is generally the cause of a Mook Horror Show
. Often combined with Best Served Cold
— though just as often its combined with Best Served Steaming Hot With Lots Of Screaming
Not to be understood
as a Tropemanteau
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Anime and Manga
- Fullmetal Alchemist is a prime example in the manga and second anime.
- To begin with, our hero, Edward Elric carries on his shoulders the guilt of resurrecting his mother as a horrific THING and believing he killed her again, and damning his brother to life as a animate suit of armor in the process. He bottles this up for years and never once asks his brother if he blames him for this, all the while blaming himself. He even carved the date they burned down their home on the inside of his pocket watch so he'll be reminded whenever he checks the time. Note that this started when he was 11.
- And then there's Roy Mustang. A idealistic young soldier who learned flame alchemy to better protect his countrymen. Then he was brought into a genocidal war where he personally burned alive more of his own (ethnically and religiously different) countrymen than most people ever speak to. He's since becomed determined to change the country by becoming the Fuhrer and putting himself on war trials to save his subordinates. This has to be pointed out to the audience.
- Scar is probably the best example here. One of those very people targeted in the Ishbalan Civil War, he lived through a genocide campaign with his country erased, his people nearly extinguished, his family dead and his brother's arm grafted to his shoulder. Just as insult to injury, the arm also means he can use alchemy with ease, an act he as a former monk views as sinful. He embarks on a ferocious Roaring Rampage of Revenge that he implies is supposed to end with suicide by State Alchemist. Some monolouging reveals that he's nearly insane with grief for his people and family, and after encountering the daughter of a pair of doctors he murdered, he begins to change because she cuts close to home for him. Notably, his backstory is never divulged by him: Mei Chang has to learn of the Ishbalan genocide by a disenfranchised officer to realize why Scar pities her.
- InuYasha: Kagome, after breaking the jewel of four souls.
- Code Geass: Lelouch, many times, but most obviously over the whole 'massacre princess' incident.
- Naruto, being a series about Badass characters with plenty of Angst, is naturally ridden with this.
- Naruto himself engaged in this for approximately one arc of the plot (Pain Invasion). Then he immediately went right back into Wangst, but then got out of the overall angst phase. For now...
- Kakashi is a better example. He doesn't usually talk about it, but his family, all of his original team and many of his close friends are dead. He makes sure to spend time every day remembering them (usually while standing in front of the monument to fallen heroes). However, once his angst is dealt with for the day, he returns to being his snarky cheerful self (albeit an hour or two late).
- Guts from Berserk. He's got plenty of things to Mangst about.
- Shiki from Tsukihime does this in Akiha's route, over Sacchin's death by Mercy Kill, a Tear Jerker in and of itself.
- Conrad from Kyou Kara Maou has lots of Mangst concerning what happened to Julia and the events of the war 20 years ago.
- Shizuo Heiwajima from Durarara!! is a very broken man. Nonetheless, any sort of angsting he does over it is restricted to occasional quiet chats he has with Celty
- In Sakura Wars, Maria, though female, engages in this kind of angst over the death of a former love interest (which she feels she should have prevented). She doesn't talk about it much, but sometimes she'll sit in her room with the door closed and stare sadly at his picture, and she frequently has Flashback Nightmares about it.
- Bleach is full of this, to the point that it's harder to find a character that doesn't have some kind of Mangst going on.
- Zoro from One Piece carries his dead friend's sword with him always and rarely if not never talks about it to the rest of the Straw Hats.
- Wolf's Rain: What do The Alcoholic with a vendetta against wolves, the gangster wolf Anti-Hero, The Chosen One, and the cynical leader of the pack who works the train-yard have in common? They're sure less likely to break down in front of Cheza than Darcia or Toboe...
- Joe Asakura of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman spends the first series with a serious hate on for Galactor. When he was a child, his parents were murdered by a Galactor assassin — who then tried to kill him.
- Balsa of Seirei No Moribito is the rare female example, living her life as The Atoner and never unloading her feelings on someone else.
- Mangst over the death of his fiance is Stig Bernard's motivation in Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. He caries a holo-locket that she gave him, and often looks at it meaningfully before going into battle. He has a monologue or two, too.
- Marv from Sin City is filled to the brim with Mangst after Goldie's murder.
- Batman. There is a reason his dead parents get mentioned on average every second issue.
- Other heroes tend to either roll their eyes at this or take it way too seriously. The former think his coping mechanism is whacked and he must be dangerously close to insanity because of it, while the latter have gone through much worse (like the Martian Manhunter, whose entire planet was decimated and family killed, and unlike Superman, actually remembers them) yet still think that Batman's experience was so horrible that it excuses Jerk Ass behavior that wouldn't be tolerated from anyone else.
- Perhaps a bit of Fridge Brilliance on the Manhunter's part, if he's aware of the fact that Batman has total recall (which he very well could, being psychic). In that case, it's not what happened to Batman, but the fact that because he has an eidetic memory, the pain of his parents' deaths has never and will never fade.
- The Punisher.
- Eddard Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire is a loving father and husband, a firm and just ruler, a decent warrior, and a honest and down-to-earth advisor to his friend King Robert. However, chapters from his point of view show that he is forever plagued with grief over the loss of his sister Lyanna in the civil war some fifteen years ago. He often recalls a promise he made at her deathbed, but the books have yet to reveal what that promise was. Being a stoic, he never shows any of his inner torment to others.
Films — Live-Action
- Sweeney Todd. Otherwise known as the God of this trope and its surrounding territories. In the Tim Burton version he literally has pictures of Lucy and baby Johanna in his attic, and we can safely assume he takes them out and Mangsts the hell out of them whenever nobody's looking. In fact, the only time he isn't Mangst personified is when he's killing people, or thinking about killing them.
- Khan Noonian Singh. But then, he is portrayed by Ricardo Montalban, so what do you expect?
- The Arnold Schwarzenegger film Collateral Damage, where Ahnold's dead wife and son are the motivation for his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. The first ten minutes or so are him wallowing in angst (while occasionally beating things up); the rest of the movie is him beating things up (while occasionally wallowing in angst).
- You'd think someone as tough as Conan the Barbarian would suffer from no Angst at all, but you'd be wrong. He's a Mangster of the first water.
- Martin Riggs from the Lethal Weapon series.
- The Thin Red Line. Every character. (Mangst).
- Col. Mortimer from For A Few Dollars More is made of this trope so much that it's not until the Dénouement that Manco figures out that he has any Mangst at all.
- Leonard Shelby from Memento. The guy's in a pretty shitty situation (his wife violently raped and killed in front of him, literally not being able to remember anything that just happened a few minutes after the fact), but is so revenge-minded that it comes off more badass than woobie.
- Ross Rhea from Goon. After a teammate takes a vicious elbow to the face, Rhea smacks the offender in the head with his stick and is suspended and sent down to the minors. He winds up at St. Johns where he grew up and got his start playing hockey. When on TV, he is glad to be back home, but throughout the movie is shown sitting alone night after night in an all-hours dirty spoon by himself with no friends, no fans, constantly keeping tabs on an up-and-coming player who has been labeled by the sports media as the "next great enforcer." Turned Up to Eleven when he faces the younger version of himself, when his normal level of thuggery on the ice turns brutal as he doesn't want to be remembered as going down as a "Nancy-Boy Fuck."
- Desmond on LOST does this plenty.
- Derek Reese from The Sarah Connor Chronicles did this a lot.
- His brother Kyle, from the original movie qualifies also, though less so.
- A female (sorta) example of this is Cameron, who shows the closest thing to emotionless angst over the various problems she has, including a private but deep-down fear that she will "go bad" again and try to kill John. In fact, this fear and the conflict in her programming is a defining element of her character. It is mostly internalized and she doesn't talk about it, except very occasionally when she contemplates issues about suicide, or when she asks Sarah if she's like a bomb waiting to go off.
- Giles on Buffy tends to do this quite a bit. Notably, he did this when Joyce Summers died. He sat in his house, drinking scotch and listening to Tales of Brave Ulysses, a song that both he and Joyce had enjoyed.
- Buffy pulls this in season five, and it's part of Riley's own angst. When her mom is sick, she waits until she's alone to cry about it, and turns the music up real loud, to boot.
- Faith in season 4 of Angel: after being defeated by Angelus, and just narrowly escaping, she cries while taking a shower of mangst and takes her frustrations out of the tiles.
- Patrick Jane epitomizes this trope: intense tragedy about which he generally will not speak, revenge seeking, and a single bout of Manly Tears - all wrapped up and hidden behind a Jerkass Façade with a side helping of The Atoner.
- Leroy Jethro Gibbs; for the first three seasons neither the audience nor the other characters are is aware of the fact that his first wife and child were murdered by a Mexican thug after witnessing a crime. Gibbs being Gibbs, the drug lord has been more than dealt with. The emotional issues, though...that's another story.
- In The Wire Omar Little, the ultimate badass, does this quite a bit. When his boyfriend is brutally tortured and murdered, he channels his pain into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. He does the same thing in the fifth season when his friend Butchie is murdered to get to him. It doesn't go well.
- The Winchester brothers from Supernatural can be like this, though most of the time it's just Wangst.
- Bobby, however, fits this trope to a tee. He secretly mangsts about the death of his wife and her zombification, which he mainly deals with via alcoholism and gruffness. One good thing about the Bobby character is that he tends to get the Winchesters to man up and not be so wangsty. And Meg seems to mangsts a little about Lucifer's death, although of course, she might just be acting.
- When John dies to save Dean's life, Sam keeps asking Dean if he's all right and tries to get him to express himself, but Dean just refuses to talk about it. When he's alone, however, he smashes his beloved car.
- Cain from Tin Man. Considering he's an Darker and Edgier counterpart to Nick Chopper from the original Oz books, this makes sense. Eight years in a metal coffin with the holographic recording of his family's torture on an endless loop...Yeah, he's got some of this to burn off.
- Vince of The Cape, who started out as a devoted and loving father but is framed and supposedly killed. The only things he can do for his family now is to protect them as a costumed vigilante and occasionally give his son "messages from his father".
- Vorenus from Rome. His total stoicism is ironically the cause of much of his angst, since he has trouble adjusting to civilian life with his family after years of fighting in the army.
- Harold Finch (of Person of Interest) had to fake his own death because the government is after him to kill him and anyone connected to him because of the wildly powerful computer system he built for them, letting his fiancee believe him dead so she will be safe and can occasionally be seen gazing at a photo of her or very occasionally watching her from a distance.
- Oblivion, the opening song of Crack the Skye by Mastodon absolutely drips with this trope.
- The entire album pretty much falls under this trope.
- The Rolling Stones: Paint It Black. Classic.