She'll liven up your life... whether you like it or not!
I brake for birds! I rock a lot of polka dots! I
have touched glitter in the past 24 hours! I spent my entire day talking to
children! And I find it fundamentally strange that you're not a dessert person; that's just weird and it freaks me out! And I'm sorry I don't talk like Murphy Brown! And I hate your pantsuit. I wish it had ribbons on it or something to make it slightly cuter!
Let's say you're a soulful, brooding male hero
, living a sheltered, emotionless existence. If only someone could come along and open your heart to the great, wondrous adventure of life... Have no fear, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl
is here to give new meaning to the male hero's life! She's stunningly attractive, high on life
, full of wacky quirks and idiosyncrasies
(generally including childlike
playfulness and a tendency towards petty crime), often with a touch of wild hair dye. She's inexplicably obsessed with our stuffed-shirt hero
, on whom she will focus her kuh-razy
antics until he learns to live freely and love madly.
The Manic Pixie Dream Girl may be featured as the Second Love
, in order to break the character out of The Mourning After
. If he's a cynic, her goal may be to convince him that Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!
. Finally, she may be presented as a cheerful variety of Threshold Guardians
, all the way from less uptight to psychopomps
happily welcoming their clients into "another adventure"
It's a long-standing trope, but the term was coined in 2007 by film critic Nathan Rabin
, who found it grating, as he believed it to be the result of Wish Fulfillment
from stir-crazy writers. He explicitly compared it to the Magical Negro
, in that a Manic Pixie Dream Girl exists to help the protagonist achieve happiness without ever seeking any independent goals herself. Unfortunately, the term ended up being misused to describe simply quirky female characters, with many who are actually well-rounded being given this label. Rabin would later disown the term
, because instead of creating awareness of the "lack of independent goals in female characters", the concept instead accidentally ended up suggesting that ALL quirky and fun women automatically merited this trope, whether they actually fit in or not.
Despite all that (or because
of all that), there are ways of utilizing this trope without falling into that pitfall
. Given enough time, Character Development
can add to their personality and interests and pull them away from the MPDG foundation. The story may even be told from their perspective
, revealing that there is more to them than bringing adventure to brooding guys. Deconstructions
of the idea may show that they resent being considered only useful for the benefit of the main character, idolized as something that they are not, or that once the main character reaches their "enlightened" stage, the MPDG moves on to the next person who needs their help.
Occasionally, this trope shows up as a subtrope of Blithe Spirit
. It may be related to Magical Girlfriend
, Loony Friends Improve Your Personality
, and Damsel Errant
. From the girl's perspective, this trope becomes Single Woman Seeks Good Man
, though whether the hero qualifies
, Genki Girl
, Perky Goth
, and Uptight Loves Wild
for similar personality roles. Sometimes the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a Sidekick Ex Machina
. Contrast Nerd Nanny
and Yamato Nadeshiko
for examples of calmer and more mature ladies.
Although not quite Always Female
, a "Manic Pixie Dream Boy" is a much rarer concept
. "Manic Pixie Dream Boys", where they exist, tend to either be young (e.g., a Kid Sidekick
) or immature
. If the latter, expect them to learn
just as much from their cynical partner as they teach
(the cynic learns to enjoy life more while the immature one learns responsibility).
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- A Deconstructed Character Archetype in the graphic novel Demo: A stressed-out businessman meets one of these girls. She encourages him to unwind and enjoy himself, as they meet over meals and he occasionally lends her money. Then one day he gets suspicious, breaks into her apartment... and finds an array of recording equipment. The reason she can say what he needs to hear is because she spies on him.
- Harley Quinn/Harleen Quinzel mistakenly believes herself to be this to The Joker. She did mellow him out a bit, to the point where he didn't kill his own henchmen so often. Aww?
- In Batman Confidential "Lovers and Madmen", Harley does play this role for Jack Napier. Jack was in a rut and utterly bored with his life of crime. Harley — unaware that his "job" was career criminal — told him that it sounded like he had a gift and that he ought to embrace it. Jack takes her advice and goes to his next job which leads to his fateful encounter with Batman that turns him into The Joker. Harley doesn't quite fit the mold since she has her own issues too: she's working nightshifts as a waitress at a bar to pay her college tuition and jokingly tells Jack that if he really wanted to thank her for the advice he can give her enough money to pay her way through college. After he becomes The Joker he does just that.
- In Death: The High Cost of Living, Death's incarnation on Earth fills this role towards the viewpoint character, mostly by means of inexhaustible good cheer rather than engaging in wacky antics. There's no hint of a romantic attraction from either side either, and the viewpoint character realistically finds her kind of annoying.
- Played straight in Charles Burns's Body Horror opus Black Hole. Trippy artist Eliza is adorable and sweet from head to tail.
- David Lapham's Young Liars is an entire series about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl Sadie and her effect on protagonist Danny's life. The trope is played with, as she is legitimately dangerous (she has absolutely no impulse control, and so has a tendency to get into fights—this is besides the Pinkerton detectives hired to hunt her down), and that the reason why she's a MPDG is that Danny shot her in the head and the bullet is destroying the moral and judgment centers of her brain, which will kill her eventually.
- Subverted in ElfQuest. Aroree is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to Skywise, although he barely needs one, but mostly to her tribe, which otherwise consists of very serious ancient elves. She gets broken and develops into a very mature, sad figure, sticking around in the main plot for the rest of the series.
- The Mist in Starman thinks she's this to Jack, even comparing herself to the Kathrine Hepburn character in Bringing Up Baby. Jack pointed out that, unlike the Mist, Hepburn did not kill anybody.
- Some depictions of Doctor Strange's apprentice and lover, Clea, show her playing little pranks on him whenever she thinks he looks too grim and needs to smile.
- Subverted in The Diary of Molly Fredrickson: Peanut Butter as Erica has this effect on the title character sexually with Molly going from "merely" catching her parents roleplaying in her uniform to being the Tagalong Kid in her sexual adventures. There's making out with each other in the bathroom despite no previous interest in girls, with the eponymous food, there's a threesome with her boyfriend; and so on until threesomes and orgies are natural to her leading up to gangbanging the nun Erica has Foe Yay with for prom. Molly then becomes this trope when she goes to college in San Diego, orchestrates/participates in more orgies and opens up Verna, whose only sexual experience was with her uncle.
- Squirrel Girl fits the trope, especially around Speedball who she is determined to rescue from his self-inflicted punishment of being the brooding Anti-Hero Penance.
- In her very first appearances, Mary Jane Watson had a lot of hallmarks of a screwball-comedy heroine (a Manic Pixie Dream Girl with a dark side) in that she was a free spirit, dashed attractive and clearly enjoyed throwing Peter Parker's life into disarray. Her darker side came into evidence e. g. when she on various occasions would flirt with Peter when he was committed to Gwen Stacy and she herself was supposed to be Harry Osborn's girlfriend. Obviously that changed after Gwen's Death.
- Another Stan Lee creation, Janet Van Dyne aka the Winsome Wasp, was this to Henry Pym (Ant-Man, later Giant-Man, Goliath and Yellowjacket) in the 1960s, but again with a darker edge - on thing she liked to do in an attempt to make him come out of his shell was to flirt with other Avengers.
- Nymphadora Tonks of the Harry Potter series usually fills this in fanfiction. She's a clumsy metamorphmagus (meaning that she can change her appearance at will, for example she's usually seen with pink hair), who wears band t-shirts and has more humor than most of the cast. She's often paired with a character the author feels needs to loosen up (Lupin, Harry, Moody, etc.).
- Coined by Nathan Rabin of The Onion AV Club in a retrospective review of the film Elizabethtown, which features Kirsten Dunst playing such a character, and further expanded on in their list of famous Manic Pixie Dream Girls. Rabin defines a Manic Pixie Dream Girl as a character who "exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures". When Kirsten Dunst was asked about the term directly, she didn't like it.
- Judy Maxwell, played by Barbra Streisand in "What's Up Doc?" (1972). Her character enters the life of musicologist Howard Bannister during his trip to San Francisco, and turns his world (not to mention that of several other people) upside down when she impersonates his fiancée and leads a cast of characters on a madcap chase around on the city.
- Sarah Jessica Parker's character SanDeE from LA Story (1991) starring and written by Steve Martin. Although SanDeE is a bit more nuanced take on the character. She is a classic Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but the movie portrays a relationship with her as shallow and self-indulgent for Martin's character. He is better paired with the quirky British woman.
- Leeloo in The Fifth Element is zany, tiny, and cute. She falls into Bruce Willis's lap and begins reshaping a life that was on a downward spiral through adventure and mayhem.
- Natalie Portman's character in Garden State. A fantastic representation of this trope. The main character is a guy on anti-depressant and mood stabilizers, she's a bubble of quirk who floated into his life, who randomly shakes about like a kid at one point "doing something that's completely unique, that's never been done before" and advises him to laugh all the time. By the end, he's screaming into abysses and doing dramatic runs through airports in the name of love.
- The eponymous Mr Jones is a male deconstruction, since he has literal bipolar disorder, but does somewhat enrich the female lead's life when in his manic phase.
- Although all of the Band-Aids are trying for this, Penny Lane is clearly the Manic Pixie Dream Girl of Almost Famous. Though she avoids the stereotypical MPDG ending (dead or with the guy) - she almost dies of an overdose, only to be saved by William, then breaks it off with Russell to go live her own MPDG life in Morocco without either love interest. But, of course, in doing all this she shows Russell the error of his ways so that he can make things right with William, helping both of them toward stardom. This is a Deconstructed Character Archetype, as Penny has her own inner life and emotional arc despite hitting many MPDG notes.
- Amy Adams plays a lot of these:
- Giselle from Enchanted, who has the excuse of being a fairy tale character who suddenly fell into Robert's life. She helps him loosen up, and even helps him with his relationship, only to end up falling for him. For his part, Robert helps her find some firmer ground.
- Delysia Lafosse to uptight British governess Miss Pettigrew in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, although there's a bit of sharing going on and Delysia actually matures because of Miss Pettigrew as well.
- Amelia Earhart in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian plays this trope down to the letter for the main character, Larry. Subverted in that Larry doesn't undergo any real changes after spending time with her, she's just there to act as a foil to his more reserved personality.
- Katharine Hepburn as a scatter-brained heiress who loosens up Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby. As this was an early movie Screwball Comedy, Hepburn may be the Trope Maker for this medium. Although she doesn't insinuate herself into his life so much as yank him bodily into hers.
- Maude in Harold and Maude is an unusual example in that she's about 60 years older than the man. A vivacious, eccentric and well-traveled woman, she teaches Harold to live life to the fullest and get over his morbid obsession with death.
- A Deconstructed Character Archetype in Woody Allen's 1977 film Annie Hall. The title character is a cheerful Bohemian, who turns out to be a spoiled, unfocused, pseudointellectual, neurotic child in an adult's body; a horribly broken person. Which gives her something in common with Woody Allen's character, who is likewise horribly broken, just in somewhat different ways. At the end of the movie, it turns out that Alvy was something of a Manic Pixie Dream Guy for Annie, in terms of teaching her how to have more confidence in her abilities and helping her to improve her own life, while most of his problems remain unsolved.
- Killing Zoe features a Manic Pixie Dream Girl caught in the middle of a bank heist. She eventually gets a machine gun. Death ensues.
- Clementine in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is this type of character, though the relationship plays out more realistically. She even references the "you complete me" line, to her distaste, from Jerry Maguire. She also Lampshades this to a certain degree, saying that Joel shouldn't expect her to "save" him, and that she's "just a fucked-up girl looking for her own peace of mind." Joel sums up her MPDG-ness and the film's deconstruction of it during his tape recording for Lacuna:
"I think if there's a truly seductive quality about Clementine, it's that her personality promises to take you out of the mundane. It's like, you secure yourself with this amazing, burning meteorite to carry you to another world, a world where things are exciting. But, what you quickly learn is that it's really an elaborate ruse."
- Subverted with Enid from the movie version of Ghost World: told from the perspective of a sarcastic teen girl as she teaches Seymour, a shy, obsessive older man how to take chances and enjoy living; of course this destroys his life. Enid leaves to build her own life somewhere else. Seymour ends up in therapy.
- Jordan in Real Genius lives somewhere between here and Cloudcuckooland. Although she's not the primary motivator for Mitch's lightening up, she does become his Love Interest.
- Ana from Stranger Than Fiction. She isn't what convinces the protagonist to start living life again, but she certainly shows him how.
- Stella from Gideons Daughter is a middle-aged Manic Pixie Dream Girl for the film's brooding middle-aged hero. Though Stella has her own issues and isn't a chirpy twentysomething, she basically exists so Gideon can enjoy life again.
- My Sassy Girl:
- The trailer shows Elisha Cuthbert playing a version of this. However, instead of simply being "quirky," she is portrayed as being Ax-Crazy, in that she may very well kill the protagonist for a lark.
- In the original Korean movie, Cuthbert-equivalent's character's "quirky antics" tend to have harmful consequences, but the protagonist falls for her anyway and she does indeed teach him to live and love. However, she definitely has issues and motivations unrelated to her man, and it turns out that she's been using him as a substitute for her dead fiancé, who was the protagonist's cousin. Things end up working out, though.
- Gwen Phillips in House Sitter, a con artist and a pathological liar, plays this role for Newton Davis, played by Steve Martin. He's almost as crazy as she is. They're kind of Manic Pixie Dream people to each other.
- An early example is in 1968's I Love You, Alice B. Toklas! (included in the A.V. Club list). Straitlaced Harold Fine, already feeling dissatisfied with life, encounters Nancy, the friend of his hippie little brother, and lets her spend the night at his apartment. As thanks, she makes him pot brownies, though he doesn't realize what they are until he's consumed them. Loosened up, he goes to thank her and they ultimately become lovers. Harold becomes a Runaway Groom to both be with Nancy and fully embrace the hippie lifestyle. But after the initial bliss, the existence and his relationship with her proves as unfulfilling and superficial as his old life was. In the end he chooses to Take a Third Option and find his own path to happiness alone.
- Goldie Hawn played this type in Cactus Flower (1969) and Butterflies Are Free (1972).
- Fight Club:
- A truly disturbing example in the form of Marla Singer, who could perhaps best be described as what happens when the Manic Pixie Dream Girl grows up. Marla is dirty, living in poverty, and clearly suffering some form of mental illness, and gets into a fairly unhealthy relationship with Tyler. The narrator is dissatisfied with social norms and consumerist trends, but lacks the will to break out of the mold on his own, leading to his association with Tyler. Marla actually infuriates the narrator because she simply doesn't care about anything. She even calls him out on all his selfish justifications for his behavior being no worse or different than her own.
- In a way, the confident, flamboyant Tyler is also a MPDG to the uptight nameless narrator. There's a serious homoerotic subtext between them throughout the movie (less surprising when you realize that the author is gay). The narrator just drifts through life until Tyler shows up, and their relationship changes his life and his outlook forever. And then you find out that Tyler was just the narrator's split personality all along. At the end, he kills "Tyler" off.
- Little Bo Peep is this in Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme, a Disney Channel movie from the early 90s. Driving backwards through the patchwork landscape, she teaches the Only Sane Man in Mother Goose Land, Mother Goose's son Gordon Gander, to relax and enjoy life. He's so dull because he's incomplete. Mother Goose couldn't find a rhyme for Gordon.
- Zooey Deschanel is often identified with this character type in general, although many of her other roles play with the trope rather than serve it up straight.
- Allison from the Jim Carrey film Yes-Man, though unusually her love interest Carl (Carrey) also contains elements of the character type, having been dared to "live live to the full" by saying "yes" to everything.
- Her title character in (500) Days of Summer is a subversion as she doesn't want a steady relationship, pulls out hints of What Is This Thing You Call Love?, and at the end, she falls in love with and gets married to someone else.
- Inverted in Elf, where her character is the jaded, closed-off girlfriend of Will Ferrell's eponymous Manic Pixie Dream Guy.
- She plays the role completely straight in the Hollywood film version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, in which her character was Promoted to Love Interest.
- Chungking Express, features Faye the "California Dreamin'"-obsessed snack bar girl: to help a police officer get over his breakup with a flight attendant, she frequently breaks into (and floods) his apartment, switches the labels on all his canned foods, and rearranges his furniture. Eventually, he falls for her, but she stands him up and decides to "see the world" by becoming — yes — a flight attendant. But don't worry: everything works out okay.
- The main character in May doesn't remotely fit this stereotype but the art school Bohemian type who meets her seems to identify her as one. They shelve the movie in the Horror section, so you can gather things don't go well.
- Played with in Happy-Go-Lucky. The main character, Poppy, is a free-spirited extreme optimist who starts taking driving lessons from an uptight, closed-off pessimist who develops a crush on her. Subverted in that she doesn't return the feelings, and stops the driving lessons so they won't see each other again after he lampshades this trope with a rant about how selfish it is - even if she ultimately doesn't fit the trope, no one could convince him differently.
- The first half of Something Wild seems to be all about this trope when free-spirited Lulu sweeps into the life of Charles Driggs and "kidnaps" him for a weekend of unplanned adventure. However, the movie undergoes a wild Mood Whiplash when Lulu (whose real name is Audrey Hankel) and Charles encounter her very violent ex-con ex-husband; by the end, Audrey/Lulu is as much changed by her time with Charles as Charles himself.
- Sam Rockwell plays the buddy-movie equivalent in Box Of Moonlight. He wears a Davy Crockett costume and teaches John Turturro to love life; while there's no romance, there's certainly a lot of naked swimming.
- Another male variant is Sam in Benny & Joon, and he affects two characters. Joon is a mentally-ill woman who falls for him as it comes to light that they understand each other in a way other people don't. Her brother Benny, who's taken care of her all these years, is the uptight character wary of her getting involved with someone else, and has to accept that he's not only being overprotective but also neglecting his personal happiness by worrying so much.
- The eponymous character of The Girl Next Door gets the hero, Matthew Kidman, off of his overachieving ass to loosen up and have some fun for once in his life.
- Gender-reversed in the Bollywood movie Kal Ho Naa Ho: Naina is an overstressed MBA student who doesn't believe in the power of love. Then wacky romantic Aman comes to her neighborhood and teaches her to enjoy life.
- The whole point of the movie I Love You Man. Where Peter Klaven's repressed real estate agent is taught how to live life by the maniac pixie dream guy Sydney Fife.
- The eponymous main character of Amélie with har naive and borderline-autistic view of the world. She doesn't really have any goals beside helping others and later get her man.
- Subverted in Martin Scorsese's black comedy After Hours. The girl the hero meets at the start turns out to be seriously disturbed and kills herself halfway through the movie.
- Catherine in Jules And Jim. Subverted, considering that as compelling as she is, Catherine's joie-de-vivre seems to come out of self-centered sociopathy. The questionable aspects of her behavior escalate until she kills herself and Jim by driving them off a bridge in her car out of sheer whimsy.
- Annie Savoy in Bull Durham is sort of consciously a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. She really loves the Durham Bulls, and she knows so much about both baseball and the finer things in life that when she dates a player (she picks one per season) he has the best year of his career. She has a lot of fun with a bunch of strapping young men, helps the team improve at the same time, and makes no apologies for it.
- Subverted in I Love You Beth Cooper. Although Beth Cooper's character does have a lot of these qualities, she's actually very insecure and the protagonist ends up changing her outlook on life simply by showing her that she has a lot more potential than she's giving herself credit for.
- Ellie in Up. Interesting in that she only shows up in the prologue as Carl's beloved (deceased) wife. She is a catalyst for the movie's action, as Carl takes off for Paradise Falls in order to posthumously fulfill his promise to her.
- Watching the Detectives is basically about what happens when Manic Pixie Dream People get together. The main character Neil is a Manic Pixie Dream Guy who aggravates everyone with his strange antics and quirks, but then Violet comes along and out-Manic-Pixies him by taking the reckless and unusual behaviour to quite troubling extremes.
- Juno was unintentionally this for Mark Loring, much to her dismay. Sort of reversed though with Paulie Bleeker- she may be the quirkier of the two but he was the one who opened her cynical heart.
- Molly in Mr Magoriums Wonder Emporium. Though the romantic element of their relationship is downplayed, she helps the new accountant Henry learn not to take himself too seriously, with the assistance of frequent customer, Eric.
- Joan in Playing By Heart is one, but her relationship with Keenan plays out a bit more balanced than is usual for the trope. She certainly teaches him to embrace love and life again, but he's also more mature than her usual boyfriends, giving her some much-needed stability.
- The 2009 ultra-low-budget independent film New Low is another subversion - Vicky is a bigger Jerk Ass than the loser Author Avatar protagonist Wendell, while Joanna would be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl were Wendell not a complete idiot as well.
- The film Waitress has a Spear Counterpart, Nathan Fillion plays Keri Russell's ridiculously convenient and personality-lite bit-on-the-side, otherwise fulfilling all the typical criteria of the MPDG. Interestingly enough, the main character fulfills this trope in the lives of just about everyone around her, if you were to write a film centering on Nathan Fillion's character, or Adrienne Shelly's character, or Jeremy Sisto's character, it's exactly the role she would play (though in the last case it would be very bluntly subverted).
- Daisy in Henry James's story Daisy Miller is the 1800s European aristocracy's version of the girlfriend from Planet Bizarro.
- Fenchurch in So Long And Thanks For All The Fish, although, really, she's probably the only woman on Earth weird enough to fall in love with Arthur Dent. And then she vanishes into an error in space-time.
- Colleen Minou in Ron Koertge's Stoner and Spaz. However, while Colleen helps Ben, Ben is unable to help Colleen and she ends up back on drugs.
- The title character of the Jerry Spinelli book Stargirl worked her magic on an entire high school. That also makes her a Blithe Spirit. Stargirl was interesting because her manic pixie behavior didn't make the main character more popular or comfortable around other people, and clashed with his desire for normalcy. Things didn't work out.
- Laura from American Gods reads like a Deconstructed Character Archetype. Her husband, the protagonist Shadow, thought of her as someone playful and spontaneous who brought excitement into his life. On the other hand, she was the one who convinced him to participate in the robbery that got him sent to jail for three years and cheated on him with his best friend while he was in prison. She tried to justify her affair on the grounds that, even if she did really love Shadow, there were times that he was just so empty that she needed somebody else. She plays a further deconstruction when after becoming a zombie, she helps Shadow by pretending to be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl having a Meet Cute with one of the mooks. He is shown thinking about how her spontaneity has given him a new outlook on life, and is brutally murdered by her shortly afterward.
- Sage from Almost Perfect can be considered this from the moment she's introduced until she tells Logan she's Transsexual.
- The Culture novel The Player of Games has a character, Yay, who is a love interest of the protagonist and has a markedly playful personality. She's something of a subversion, in that her Manic Pixie Dream Girl personality makes her a better fit for the hedonism of the Culture than does the protagonist's discomfort with a life without challenges.
- One of the main criticisms of John Green's novels. Green himself wholly considers them deconstructions and says he hates this trope played straight but, at the same time, recognizes that he may not have been fully successful. As such, reader interpretation is completely valid, because he believes that "books belong to their readers". He wrote Paper Towns to hammer in what he felt he didn't make clear enough in Looking for Alaska (both of which explicitly set out to deconstruct this trope, but in different ways): that the people who are idealized are in fact just as vulnerable, selfish, flawed, and self-destructive as anyone else, if not more so.
- Looking for Alaska: Alaska is a Deconstructed Character Archetype of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl told through the lens of someone who sees her as such. Through Pudge's eyes , Alaska is a goddess, but during the Thanksgiving Break, she points out to him that he likes the fun-loving girl who gets alcohol, not the "crazy sullen bitch". Miles doesn't see her as a real person, but instead as this idealized, untouchable person who can do no wrong. On top of this, with everything that happens in the "After" Section of the book, all of those things that Miles liked about her led to her death. The whole point of the novel could be seen to be that the MPDG is an unsustainable view of someone because it doesn't allow them to be a real person.
- Paper Towns: The major revelation for Quentin is that Margo, his "miracle", was very much an ordinary girl, and a very lost, lonely, and confused one at that.
- The Fault in Our Stars: Subverted with Augustus Waters being mistaken for a Manic Pixie Dream Boy but later proving not to be one. He professes his love to Hazel through contrived, rehearsed outings, complete with memorized "soliloquies" (monologues) and "metaphorically-resonant" sandwiches, but the conviction of their love only feels "real" and "true" when the two of them see through the others' cracks during their trip to Amsterdam, mainly after he reveals to her that he's terminally ill again.
- Will Grayson, Will Grayson: Tiny Cooper is this for Will Grayson (half written by John Green).
- An Abundance of Katherines can be read as the story of a boy who, out of insecurity and a inhuman level of neediness, is desperately trying to cast all the women in his life as MPDGs. This leads to him being dumped by no less than seventeen girls.
- Libba Bray's Going Bovine has Dulcie, who is a literal Manic Pixie Dream Girl: she's a hallucination who falls in love with the hero, dragging him through America on a quest to find meaning in his life before he dies of mad cow disease (hence the title). She smashes snowglobes to free their occupants and has a sugar addiction.
- The eponymous Kiki Strike, but replace "soulful, brooding male hero" with "broody, ordinary schoolgirl", and take out the romance component. She's actually the Manic Pixie Dream Girl for six different girls at once (Girls Need Role Models is sort of a thing for this series), but Ananka fits the trope best, being the most "normal" girl Kiki brings in. Later subverted when it's revealed that she had ulterior motives for recruiting them in the first place and has her own problems and goals beyond the Irregulars and the Shadow City.
- In Philip K Dick's short story "The World She Wanted", the protagonist is swept along in the wake of a of a young and beautiful woman who introduces herself by announcing that the two of them are getting married. Subverted in that she annoys the hell out of him and he rejects her.
- Bella Baxter in Alasdair Grey's Poor Things, whose carefree childlike manner mesmerizes a number of men. It's a disturbing example, because she has the brain of a child implanted into the body of a woman. Or maybe not.
- Vianne Rocher from the novel Chocolat is this for an entire town. Zozie de l'Alba from the sequel The Lollipop Shoes, acts as one for Vianne and her daughters - quirky, attractive, bohemian, she blows into the chocolate shop and shakes up their lives, bringing magic back to their craft. Of course, she's also an identity-stealing witch who is more or less Paranoia Fuel incarnate.
- The title character of Haruhi Suzumiya. Throughout the series Haruhi progressed from Chaotic Neutral (blackmailing the Computer Club President in the very first novel) to Chaotic Good (rushing over to Yuki's place in Beta storyline in the 9th novel), all the while irritating Kyon, who has to fix up the mess she inadvertently created (the Cave Cricket incident) or jumpstart the events (Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody). As for "soulful, brooding male hero", Kyon's more of The Snark Knight. He doesn't really have much of a choice, because not helping the three factions keep Haruhi in control could lead to the end of the world/universe.
- Arthur Bechstein, in Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh has two Manic Pixie Dream Individuals: a girl named Phlox and a guy named Arthur Lecomte. The two of them are constantly at odds with each other, something not helped by Art being head over heels for the both of them.
- In Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Rosa Sax is described like this in promotional materials and is introduced in a similar manner, but otherwise doesn't act the MPDG at all.
- According to one interpretation, Miranda from Hilaire Belloc's poem "Tarantella" can be an example of this: a wild woman who falls for the protagonist and gives meaning to his life; so much, in fact, that later when she's gone, his life is devoid of meaning, and he probably commits suicide.
- Clarisse in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 fills this role for a short time for Guy Montag. She basically tells him so, saying "I'm seventeen and I'm crazy," and then she asks him all the questions and tells him all the random thoughts necessary to make him rethink everything about his life. And then she gets run over by a car, pointlessly.
- Anne of Green Gables:
- Anne has this effect on people, but not on everyone she meets, and in fact she undergoes great Character Development over her first book as she learns to become a more grounded, mature, selfless individual.
- Furthermore, the Story Girl from The Story Girl counts, being the emotional core of her little group of friends, and constantly telling enchanting stories.
- Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia, full stop, though she's a little too young for a romantic relationship with Jesse.
- Ivy Carson from Zilpha Keatley Snyder's The Changeling is this for shy Martha Abbott. Ivy believes (or wants to) she is a pixie, or some kind of nymph or sprite, in human form. She leads Martha on adventures, getting into almost Abbott and Costello scrapes at age seven, ending in tragedy years later. Most important, she gives Martha an opportunity and environment to be herself, free of her family's expectations. Both are still alive at the end and ultimately get what they want, although it's an Esoteric Happy Ending.
- Alice Somerfield of A.M. Holmes' The End of Alice is an example that might be controversial. For a twelve year old, she is wildly, uncomfortably sexually precocious (most likely not her fault), has an extensive and pretentious vocabulary and a manner of speech that is self-confessed as "affected," is sarcastic and beyond her years, has a knowledge of many varied and random subjects, claims to paint watercolor images on intimate places and watch them wash away in her baths, and copies famous poems onto the soles of her shoes.
- The novel Steppenwolf has Hermine, who not only gets the protagonist to enjoy life more, but actually saves him from killing himself.
- On the Quotes page is one from Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel describing how stoic protagonist Elijah "Lije" Baley met his wife Jessie (short for "Jezebel"). Despite Jessie's speech, the two have drifted apart by the time of the story, mostly because of Lije unwittingly demolishing his wife's self-image by trying to explain how the biblical Jezebel was a good person instead of The Vamp. The Spacer woman Gladia Delmarre from the sequel The Naked Sun also shows some elements of this trope in how she tries to show the agoraphobic Baley how to be Closer to Earth.
- Midori from Haruki Murakami's novel Norwegian Wood fits this role quite well. The first time she and Toru kiss, they are sitting on her roof, watching a neighborhood fire. Constantly hyper-energetic and quirky, she has no hesitation in revealing her constant sexual fantasies to Toru, who is much more distant and reserved with his inner thoughts.
- Stefanie in The Word and the Void is an interesting Deconstructed Character Archetype. She believes life should be lived to its fullest. She's in love with John Ross, for real. However, she's also a demon, and her idea of teaching him to be interesting is teaching him to forget about morality and live for his own power, including, but not limited to, eating homeless people.
- Maggie Dempsey in How NOT to Be Popular by Jennifer Ziegler ends up like this, much to her annoyance. Her goal of coming off as weird and strange so that nobody would like her (and she wouldn't form attachments when she moved) had Gone Horribly Right.
- Marion Kirby in Topper and Topper Takes a Trip by Thorne Smith as she drags Cosmo Topper out of his staid banker's existence. However, it is a subversion as Marion is a ghost and acts in concert with her husband George (who died in the same traffic accident) and various other ghosts. In the movie version Cary Grant played George Kirby in Topper (1937), but was written out of its two sequels.
- Quite a few Thorne Smith novels have at least one Manic Pixie Dream Girl strewing chaos in her wake, although in a number of occasions closer examination reveals they are in fact subversions or aversions (Turnabout for instance generates its comedy from having a quarreling husband and wife being put into each other's bodies by an exasperated god).
- In The Stray Lamb, T. Lawrence Lamb's life is thrown out of kilter by a mysterious little man magically turning him into various animals, which enables him to approach the object of his affections and to rid himself of his adulterous wife.
- The sprite Megaera in The Night Lift of the Gods enables Hunter Hawk to enjoy life, but the end is bittersweet as he now no longer fits into the world and the two lovers turn themselves into stone, effectively becoming united in death.
- Josephine Duval in The Bishop's Jaegers play the trope fairly straight.
- In The Passionate Witch (on which the movie I Married a Witch is based), the titular character turns out to be the villain of the story. But that novel, Thorne Smith's last, was left unfinished and was completed by another writer.
- Feed is a Deconstructed Character Archetype, basically saying what if the hero didn't give up normalcy while being with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. The girl dies at the end.
- A Deconstructed Character Archetype in High Fidelity: while in college Rob goes out with a girl named Charlie who he perceives to be one of these, and when she dumps him he never really gets over it. Meeting her again, years later, he realizes that she is actually a pretentious, vapid, self-important idiot whose "quirkiness" is merely to cover up that she has no personality of her own, and he was just too immature to realize this at the time.
- La Vita Nuova: Dante Alighieri penned this in the thirteenth century. While Beatrice is already tragically dead by the time Dante is writing to her, as opposed to alive and quirky only to die tragically after imparting valuable lessons through love about how wonderful and evanescent life is, she fits the trope perfectly, and might be the first Western literary example.
- E.F. Benson - of Mapp And Lucia fame - wrote a trilogy of novels about a turn of the 19th/20th century version of the MPDG. But Dodo is anything but good for the men in her life - or herself - until she grows up a bit and earns her happily ever after.
- Sam from ''The Perks of Being a Wallflower" is a sort of blander interpretation of this trope, probably to balance out the socially awkward recipient of her mania, Charlie.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's works largely avoid this: female characters are either Closer to Earth types or ethereal, magical Elven princesses. But The Unfinished Tales features Tar-Vanimeldë, Queen of Númenor. She was more interested in dancing and playing music than actually, you know, governing the most powerful nation on Middle-Earth, so she left all the boring, practical day-to-day stuff to her consort, Herucalmo. Since the Tale is Unfinished, it's not really clear what Tolkien meant for Tar-Vanimeldë, but she fits many of the requirements, at least by Middle-Earth standards. Possibly a Deconstructed Character Archetype, since it seems Herucalmo was not okay with this: when the Queen died, he finally got sick of being the stable, modest, supportive guy and usurped the throne for himself.
- Barry Lyga's The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl deconstructs this trope with Kyra, whom the protagonist may or may not be romantically interested in. She initially encourages the male lead to be assertive and pursue his dreams, but she also encourages his violent fantasies. Eventually, the protagonist realizes that she is extremely depressed and possibly mentally ill.
- Ida Maclaird in The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw is a straight example of one, if a little mild. Ida's a vague, ethereal little thing who had wild adventures in the past and in the book teaches Midas Crook, a lonely amateur photographer, to embrace life to the fullest before she dies by turning into glass. There's also Midas' mother Evaline and Ida's mother Freya as winsome muse figures who inspired two lonely, jaded academics to pine after them indefinitely, which may or may not count.
- Jenny from The Truth of Rock and Roll has some elements of this, though she also has her dark moments and her own character arc. Also, the protagonist is the one who sought her out.
- Holly tries to enact this role for Phil in Snyper, saying he's a grumble bear who needs to lighten up. What she doesn't understand is that he's actually more reckless and impulsive than she is, which leads to Phil ending their relationship by shooting her in the head with one of his anti-love bullets.
- The Exile's Violin: Clay thinks Jacquie is one of these for him; an exciting and risk taking woman that enriches his dull and unfullfilling life, but personalitywise she's nothing like the standard. Ultimately, the trope is genderflipped because it is Clay that helps Jacquie loosen up and enjoy life, and his personality as a thrill seeking happy guy fits the standard.
- Julia in 1984 is, like the rest of the book, a horrific example. Sure, her presence livens up Winston's life and exposes him to things he never dreamed of, but it's clear that their relationship is based more on rebellion against Big Brother than any actual affection and they often seem to outright hate each other. (At one point Winston casually talks about a fantasy he had of raping her.)
- In Game Slaves, Dakota is a non-romantic examples for her entire team; her questions lead them to question things and search for answers.
- Kagerou Days:
- Ayano tried to be this for Shintaro. It's deconstructed in that Shintaro - while genuinely (internally) grateful for her - was too self-absorbed to show affection back, while Ayano suffered through her mother's death and subsequently finding out that her father is planning to kill two of her best friends alone, which eventually results in her suicide, in an attempt to get an eye power, this in turn the primary reason that Shintaro is a Hikikomori when the story opens.
- Ene also acts as one to Shintaro, constantly urging him to go outside. She just so happens to also be a complete troll when he pisses her off. Notably, she is also the one to sign Shintaro up for the Mekakushi-Dan when he's unconscious.
- The Farseer Trilogy (from the Realm of the Elderlings books) implies that Lady Patience was one to her husband Prince Chivalry in the back story of the characters. She's very eccentric and many in the royal court thought she was unsuited to be queen but Chivalry preferred this to "proper" ladies.
- In Mahou Shoujo The Glowing Jennifer fits this trope. She comes into Colette's life, introduces her to being a magical girl, and Helps her get over Sarah's death. They eventually enter a romantic relationship.
- Elly from The Behemoth is an interesting deconstruction: she's actually a fairly normal young woman, with her own life and aspirations, but her best friend — the lead character, Roger — sees her as something like this and develops an emotional dependence upon her as a result, despite never being able to romantically approach her.
- Marina deconstructs the trope. The titular girl is presented as looking from the lonely protagonist's dreams, and in fact, she turns into the main source of light in his otherwise joyless and somber life, also becoming his Love Interest. However, at the end she dies and he is left to his darkness again with no direction to take. The subsequent Heroic BSOD is what moves him to write the story.
- REEL double-subverts the trope with Likaï: they use a blue-skinned woman as an avatar for the first half of the novel, befriend REEL-addict protagonist Neru, introduce him to the more realistic aspects of The Metaverse, and Neru is quick to fall in love. But then Likaï steals Neru's account to enter a prestigious tournament in his place. Neru spends the rest of the novel trying to find out Likaï's true motivations and whether or not it was all a lie.
Live Action TV
- The 2010 BBC series Sherlock had the titular detective meet John, and they quickly became friends. Sherlock knew John was looking for a purpose in life, and that his limp was psychosomatic since it turned out that he missed it. Awkward. Majorly awkward. Cue John thinking "Okay, awkward. How did my friend I know I was an adrenaline junkie?"
- Phoebe seems to act as this to the rest of the group, as well as in most of her relationships. Notably, the group occasionally finds her actions annoying or intrusive, and in the 10th season, Phoebe admits that she has never been in a relationship which lasted more than a month. Occasionally, being an Manic Pixie Dream Girl seems to actively work against her, such as the first time she was ready to move in with a man, and then broke up with him shortly after when he impulsively shot a bird with his handgun. On another occasion, she ends a relationship because her boyfriend is even more of a Manic Pixie Dream Guy than she is, and she can't stand him.
- Monica gets a personal non-romantic Manic Pixie Dream Girl for one episode in the form of the "other Monica", an eccentric woman who stole her credit card. Monica follows her, first to see her and possibly report her, but she enjoys tap lessons and crashing parties with her way too much.
- Emily Waltham, Ross's girlfriend, had shades of this trope and similar effect on Ross. They spontaneously went to Vermont and enthusiastically watched animals and enjoyed the autumn there, he played rugby because of her, she made him pierce his ear and enroll in helicopter lessons. Though he says she won't be around for long enough for him to actually frequent the lessons.
- Frasier had one of these in the form of a Girl of the Week, Caitlin the quirky artist, but the trope was subverted by having their relationship not work out because they shared no similarities - just very hot sex.
- In 21 Jump Street there's an episode featuring a girl named Quincy, who sort of positions herself as this, dragging the straitlaced Hanson around and trying to convince him to "lighten up". Of course, her idea of fun is crime sprees and potentially-fatal thrill-seeking. She terrifies him, and ends up shot to death by security guards while robbing a house.
- Chuck does fulfill this role for Ned in Pushing Daisies, but she has plenty of her own characterisation.
- The video of ''Wings'' (NSFW-ish) by the German electro-punk group Frittenbude has a rare, gay Spear Counterpart example.
- With The Sugarcubes and solo, real-life MPDG Björk has been preciously chirping songs about date rape and spouting quotable enigmas since the late 80s.
- The Dead Milkmen's song "Punk Rock Girl" plays this trope enthusiastically straight, with a dweeby narrator describing a series of playfully violent encounters with an unnamed female other.
We went to the Phillie Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said "Well no
We only have it
So we jumped up on the table
And shouted "anarchy"
... We got into her car
Away we started rollin'
I said "How much you pay for this?"
She said "Nothing man, it's stolen"
- Tess from the song with the same name by Peter LeMarc is a classic example.
- The girl in Gianlucca Bezzina's Eurovision Song Contest entry for Malta, "Tomorrow", is this to the guy. Be warned, this song could only get cuter if puppies were the ones performing it.
- The girl described in the song "Her Eyes" by Pat Monahan. In all honesty, it seems like most of the songs written by Monahan, solo or with Train, are about describing the interests and quirks of these kind of girls. I'm thinking Monahan likes this kind of girl.
- "Lilly" by Pink Martini describes either a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or a very enthusiastic puppy dog ("Lilly comes when you stop to call her, Lilly runs when you look away, Lilly leaves kisses on your collar, Lilly-Lilly-Lilly-Lilly stay!")
- In Pick Up The Phone by Dragonette the singer stars as one of these singing to "Cherry", reminding her not to be very serious and singing about all their exploits "painting the town till it was up in smoke". Though the film clip tends to zig zagg it because in the end it's all in her mind.
- A lot of songs that came out in the '60s
- The Associaton's "Windy" is one of the stand-out examples.
- "Ruby Tuesday" by The Rolling Stones fits this trope nicely.
- So does Pink Floyd's "See Emily Play".
- "Little Wing" by Jimi Hendrix
- "Paper Sun" by Traffic is a bit of darker take on what can happen to a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
- "We'll Sing in The Sunshine" by Gale Garnett is sung from the point-of-view of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
- "California Girl and The Tennessee Square" by Tompall and The Glaser Brothers is a country music example from that period.
- And one that reminisces about the '60s "Summer of Love": Richard Thompson's "Beeswing" live performance with full lyrics in description
- "Diggin' Your Scene" by Smash Mouth:
Tell me why we're all gluttons for pain
The girl is totally insane
She doesn't know the meaning of tame
Still, I can't put out the flame
- Vanessa Carlton's "Ordinary Day" is about a male version of this trope.
- Edison Lighthouse's Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes
- "Any Old Wind That Blows" by Johnny Cash (written by Dick Feller), though the narrator's feelings about the MPDG are a bit ambiguous:
She's a butterfly in mid-July
Who just can't wait to try her brand new wings
On brand new things
And she needs no rhyme or reason when she goes
Her mind is on what lies beyond
That wall of blue horizon, I suppose
And heaven knows
She'll go sailin' off on any old wind that blows
- "Jane" by Barenaked Ladies is about a girl getting fed up with being the MPDG to people, including the narrator.
- Bessie from "Up on Cripple Creek" by The Band, who rips up winning horse racing tickets "just for a laugh".
- "Head First" by John Waite and the Babys could be interpreted this way. The narrator isn’t sure about her at first, but he’s drawn to her more and more every time he sees her. The cover art of the album this song appears on carries the idea further: it depicts a girl wearing mismatched shoes falling backwards.
- Played straight or possibly subverted by The Grateful Dead in Scarlet Begonias, definitely subverted in the Sublime version.
- Miss Impossible by Poets Of The Fall appears to describe such a woman.
As she is beautiful, she's unpredictable,
Damned irresistible, is it plausible to hate her?
She is my common sense, revels on decadence,
But what's the difference, it's impossible to bait her.
- If the female love interests in "Girl" or "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" don't count in The Beatles' catalogue, "Lovely Rita" just might.
- The eponymous girl in the Matchbox 20 song "She's So Mean".
- The girl in Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca".
- 4Ever by The Veronicas is sung from the perspective of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
- The Monkees' "Sunny Girlfriend" fits the type, but the last line makes it a subversion, making the MPDG's emotions a pretense.
- The music video for "Cradle of Love" by David Bowie is all over this.
- British Girl Group the Pipettes arguably have this as their joint image, especially in their former incarnation as of their first album, We Are the Pipettes; the track "ABC" is the song of a girl who is clearly the manic pixie dream for a book-smart but introverted nerd.
- "Josie" by Steely Dan is about a local wild party girl returning home to everyone's delight after being away awhile.
- "Skateaway" is about a mysterious carefree girl who roller skates around the city's streets in the middle of the night.
- The eponymous character in Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne" from Songs Of Leonard Cohen is perhaps a borderline example of this trope: she shows the narrator all the secret places around the docks, is "kinda crazy", and almost becomes a kind of mythic figure by the end of the song.
- A favorite MPDG of film and televison, Zooey Deschanel has turned her preciousness into a mildly successful music career as well, singing in the band She & Him with M. Ward.
- The titular character in Train's first hit "Meet Virginia."
- In Neil Diamond's "Shilo", the singer remembers inventing the eponymous Imaginary Friend as a child due to his father not having time for him and the other kids ostracizing him. As he gets older, he meets and falls for a MPDG who helps him find his confidence... then dumps him, which sends him back to longing for the imaginary friend.
- Mimi to Roger, Maureen to Joanne and Mark, and Angel to Tom in the Musical RENT. The entire Musical is basically about this trope played with in multiple ways. Of the three; Mimi and Maureen both rail against their lovers' objectifying them as such, dealing as they are with their own respective emotional turmoil. The only true essential Manic Pixie Dream Queen is Angel, not just for his lover Tom Collins but for the entire show, as his joie de vivre, boundless generosity and loving energy serve as both a model and moral compass against which every other character measures his or her own self-defeating behavior and emotional incontinence. Of course he dies in act one thus fulfilling the transient aspect of the archetype.
- Marcy from I Love You Because, and the song "Coffee" is nearly an in-song definition of this trope.
- Classic example: Maria in The Sound of Music. She's often overlooked as an example of the trope, because she's really trying her best to be a mature, motherly type (in addition to being a nun).
- Deconstructed as far back as Ibsen's A Doll's House, in which the heroine Nora is a (seemingly) flighty, vivacious, kooky child-woman who gradually realizes that she's been so working so hard at playing this role for her more conventional husband — even through bearing him three children — that she has never really grown up and has no idea of her true self, and that their relationship is thus only a game, not adult love. She leaves him to try and learn how to be a fully formed human being.
- Subverted in the musical Cabaret: Sally tries to be a Manic Pixie for Cliff, but her determined spunky optimism and unwillingness to grow up make her ignore the threat of Nazism and drive Cliff away from her.
- Susan Hollander from Woody Allen's Don't Drink The Water is borderline the definition of this trope as her only personality trait other then that she is a Satellite Love Interest for major screw-up Axel is that she is somewhat of a hippie (the fact that the show was written and set in The Sixties helps).
- Carmen deconstructs this: she's a Hot Gypsy Woman who seduces and enchants the lead male, Don Jose, with her free-spirited nature, but quickly tires of him as he proclaims his everlasting love for her. Turns out she's not so much for the forever love, and she leaves him for someone much more exciting. As a result, he kills her out of jealousy at the end of the opera.
- The Neil Simon play Barefoot in the Park explores the relationship of Manic Pixie Dream Girl and her dull love interest; fun loving Cory flickers between trying to spice up her housewife roles and pouting that her new husband won't pay attention to her, while Paul struggles with his wife's playful nature he loves and focusing on the career he kind of needs. It's a romantic comedy but does show the MPDG Cory as childish and needing to grow up if she wants her marriage to really work. It ends with them switching roles and Cory learning to worry a little about the result of her actions.
- In Bells Are Ringing, Ella Peterson steps into and improves the lives of three clients of the telephone answering service she works for. She helps a dentist realize his ambitions to become a songwriter, makes a washed-up Brando wannabe actor stop mumbling, buy a suit and get a part, and a struggling playwright overcome his Writer's Block and, incidentally, fall in love with her.
- Wicked has a whole song about the trope, sung by Elphaba, who watches unhappily from the sidelines as Glinda effortlessly charms everyone. Gets deconstructed a bit in the second act, though.
- Marta in Company acts this way, but it's a subversion as she does not really seem to have any major effect on Bobby's life.
- The title character is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl; she's the Player Character's quirky Australian girlfriend who has a limitless supply of pet names, makes gifts like origami trophies or custom snowglobes, is indefatigably supportive, and loves the Player Character even after he/she destroys all the aforementioned gifts in order to, among other things, shut out his/her ex-girlfriend. She both lampshades and deconstructs the trope as you continue playing and more backstory comes along: Violet admits that a lot of their problems come from the fact that she can't just be the protagonist's funny little girlfriend all the time, that she is also a real person with real hopes and desires and she's getting tired of putting her life on hold waiting for the protagonist to finish the work s/he was supposed to finish ages ago.
- Also of note is that the character we know as "Violet" is really just the way the protagonist imagines her voice in his/her head. So it's an even bigger deconstruction, because the story focuses purely on how she viewed, not on what she actually does.
- Excellen Browning of Super Robot Wars Compact 2 towards her boyfriend Kyosuke Nanbu. Towards other people: slightly the same, but a different story. And yup, she also died...on the day she and Kyosuke met, in fact...but she got better. Subverted when it turns out she had severe loneliness issues herself. Presumably, Kyosuke saving her from certain death in their backstory is what caused her to embrace this trope and declare herself his quirky girlfriend.
- Neverwinter Nights 2:
- Depending on how you play, your character can be one of these for Casavir, or a male version for Elanee.
- Gann can be a male one for the player in Mask of the Betrayer.
- Neeshka seems to play this role in some parts of the main campaign.
- Rinoa in Final Fantasy VIII is a subversion: she comes off as a classic Manic Pixie Dream Girl at first when she's playfully urging Squall to dance at the SeeD graduation ball, and while it soon becomes clear that she does in fact have her own problems as a member of La Résistance against the Galbadian occupation of Timber, she has much more well-meaning enthusiasm and optimism than she has the skill and experience needed to follow through with her big plans. However, she gets a rude awakening as to just how high the stakes are by the end of the first disc, and while she continues to encourage Squall to open up to her and others throughout the game, it's no longer in the manner of this trope.
- Marta Lualdi of Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World. Perhaps not the typical variation in that there are some...rather important other concerns as well, but she seems to tie just about everything back to her unrequited crush on Emil. She also works as a Deconstruction of one, as her love for Emil and attempts to better his personality only work in making Emil more annoyed. So by trying to be the girl who can change the cynical shy boy with no friends, she instead ends up driving him away and worsening their relationship. It doesn't help that until her Character Development, she doesn't acknowledge Emil's real personality and is really imposing her own heroic views onto him.
- A supporting character variation in Tales of Graces with Pascal for Hubert. He starts out completely cold, withdrawn, and mistrustful, but by the end of the future arc Pascal has completely worn him down with her friendliness and wacky charm, and around her he's either a stammering dork, an aspiring romantic, or a knight in shining armor, depending on the context. It's a last minute subversion, though, because she has no idea about his feelings for her even once he pretty explicitly tells her he's in love with her. It's hinted she might return his feelings, but they're stuck with a Maybe Ever After.
- Shiki Misaki of The World Ends with You is a subversion: she has the job of a Manic Pixie Dream Girl: she gets Neku to begin to come out of his moody, loner shell and learn the game's Aesop about trying to connect with other people. However, she does have a number of her own problems, not the least of which is she's only pretending to be this type of character because in reality, she's just as shy and lonely as Neku.
- Milla Vodello in Psychonauts appears to be this, but once you find her memory vaults and her nightmare room, and uncover her tragic past she turns out to be a bit of a Deconstructed Character Archetype. However, she and Sasha Nein are heavily implied to be a couple, despite the fact that they could not be more opposite in personality.
- Pretty much the only thing keeping Kay Faraday in Ace Attorney Investigations from being a textbook MPDG to Miles Edgeworth is that their relationship isn't portrayed romantically. The same can be said for Phoenix Wright's relationship with Maya Fey, or just about any assistant of the main character.
- Flonne from Disgaea: Hour of Darkness initially joins Laharl to see if demons are capable of love, and starts lecturing them.
- Catherine from the Atlus puzzle game Catherine. Deconstructed, in that Catherine's a literal pixie dream girl, being a succubus who's taken on the form of the main character's ideal woman.
- In Persona 3, the female protagonist has some elements of this in her relationship with Shinjiro Aragaki. It's most evident in about the eighth rank of his Social Link; having previously thrown a party for the rest of the dorm at the protagonist's instigation, he reflects on how good it felt and how he wouldn't have done it if it hadn't been for her influence; by the end of the game she has given him a new lease on life, only to herself die as a result of performing a Heroic Sacrifice to stop The End of the World as We Know It.
- Dragon Age II
- A silly!Hawke who romances either Anders or Fenris becomes this for them —- especially for the latter, who is the epitome of brooding, pessimism, and dark and troubled pasts.
- Merrill, a cute, lovely, innocent, naive, curious, helpful elven maiden that apparently loves to swing around on the large chandelier in Hawke's mansion. Although you probably should ignore that she's also a blood mage. This is the case if romanced by aggressive!Hawke, who is grumpy, stern, cynical and lacking in social graces. Isabela is also one for them, with her fun-loving, upbeat personality.
- In Namco High, Valkyrie's chirpy demeanour, rampant use of internet acronyms, and sheer joie de vivre put her into this role - coaxing Cousin to try new things, giving everything 100%, and just generally having fun with stuff. Then, at the end of her route, she has to go back to her own time and never returns, which typically kicks the player right in the feels in the process.
- Sentimental Graffiti: Emiru's manic-ness made her a social outcast with everyone except the protagonist.
- Yume Miru Kusuri subverts this quite harshly. Nekoko seems like a literal Manic Pixie Dream Girl, being a quirky and cheeky counterpart to the sulky, brooding male protagonist. In her route you learn that she's neither a pixie nor a dream girl, but a shy and troubled drug addict that tries to escape her dull life.
- In the Flash-based visual short story Air Pressure, a nameless young man is re-evaluating his continuing relationship with Leigh, an MPDG who came into his life a few years ago. How closely she fits this formula depends on your choices. Ultimately subverted after a couple plays through when the addiction subtext sinks in.
- Haruka from Little Busters! seems like this on the surface, with her Genki Girl behaviour, wild antics, and propensity for pulling silly pranks and dragging Riki along for the ride. However, the trope is subverted, as it turns out Haruka does all of this very much for her own sake: namely, as a way of getting back at her straitlaced, 'perfect' twin sister Kanata who is supposed to be controlling her while at the same time proving that her own rule-free life away from her extended family from which she has been exiled is much better than her sister's under their control. It doesn't work, and as her route goes down the facade breaks down more and more, revealing the incredibly insecure, socially awkward girl underneath.
- Questioned in xkcd ("Quirky Girls: Do you actually mean it?"), and also played straight on occasion.
- In A Girl and Her Fed, said Girl is indeed manic, and said Fed is rather unsurprisingly a stuffed shirt. However, she didn't so much break him out of his funk so much as break him out of a brainwash given by the government agency that is now likely to kill them for it at some point, as the super intelligent koala pointed out. Also, her antics were kept under control in the past by the ghost of Benjamin Franklin. It's that kind of comic.
- Subverted in Shortpacked!, where Robin's attempts at this usually do just wind up annoying the hell out of Ethan, Amber, and whoever else she might decide to latch onto.
- Missi from Misfile. Of course, this puts her directly between Ash and her canon love interest, leading to Missi catching a lot of flak from some fans.
- Ghastly's Ghastly Comic:
- Several male characters in initially thought that Freddie would be this for them. Surprise!
- The series also has the appropriately named Kwerki, a Cloud Cuckoolander who acts like she's looking for someone to play this role for. In her more lucid moments.
- This Sex, Drugs, and June Cleaver◊ strip points out some of the implications of this trope, with Bree imagining herself in this role.
- Nils in Platinum Grit. Though honestly, Given all the weirdness in Jeremy's life, it's actually up to the other girl, Kate, to be the inverse of a MPDG and pull him back to reality.
- Maytag from Flipside is an unabashed hedonist and nymphomaniac who takes it upon herself to break shy people (of either gender) out of their shells. She's also an interesting variation because her outgoing personality is largely a function of her outfit; her mask persona is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for herself.
- Briefly parodied in Sinfest here.
- Subverted in the Ciem Webcomic Series, and also gets a Gender Flip. Denny was the Manic Pixie Man that stirred things up for Candi, allowing her to (somewhat) get over the loss of her ever-brooding (but kind-hearted) Donte.
- Maple from Hazard's Wake is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl in her own mind. (In reality, she's more a Manic Girl with romantic delusions.)
- In Red String, Hanae serves this roll for Fuuko. She breaks her out of her shell and shows her that it's ok to love someone, even if she is a little different. Deconstructed when Hanae's finally outed to her mother who doesn't take this well - and it's Fuuko that has to be Hanae's pillar of support and strength.
- Ménage à 3
- Zii fits the pattern. Irresponsible, almost always "up", and easily distracted, she has left a trail of hurt feelings and disrupted relationships behind her. Despite that, her interactions with Gary, DiDi, and Sonya have shaken them all out of assorted ruts and induced them to try something different, while Erik seems to have had something of a romantic MPDG image of her. Things get more complicated with and for her as the comic goes on, and the consequences of her manic pixie irresponsibility sometimes come back to bite her; notably, while she was only looking for a short-term fling with Sonya, Sonya has become infatuated with her.
- Gary is something of an MPDG magnet. After Yuki has split up with him, Sonya gives him a crash course in basic sexual activity, but turns out to be more interested in pursuing Zii for MPDG services. But shortly after that relationship ends, Senna crashes through his door, tells him a series of colorful lies, and drags him off to Paris by way of the Mile-High Club. Mind you, Senna is more of a dangerously narcissistic flake than true MPDG material. Gary's big problem in all this, though, is that he's far too passive to learn any useful lessons about life and love from any of them.
- Roomie from Go Get a Roomie! is the Anything That Moves "Bi-in-name-only" variety. Subverting the trope is Matt, the Only Sane Man who just happens to have fallen for Roomie, but she refuses to even slow down her antics for a second.
- El Goonish Shive:
- Ellen invokes this trope intentionally to differentiate herself from the rather-straitlaced Elliot. Non romantic example, as she is his Opposite-Sex Clone, and they see each other as more like brother and sister. Though she tries to act much the same way with Nanase, too.
- Grace can be like this to Tedd, especially in the "One Way Road" arc where he's gotten too wrapped up in Mad Science to the detriment of his friendships and social life.
- Katie from Regular Guy possibly sees herself as this and seems to fit the trope for Reg... it ends unpleasantly.
- Played from a lesbian perspective by Winter in Girly. Interestingly, this seems to be a personality she developed purely to get Otra. Before her, she was a very cultured, dull and incredibly selfish girl. In other words, Otra played this role for Winter while having none of the personality normally involved with it.
- Two scripts by John Allison invoke this:
- In Scary Go Round we have nerdy Eustace Boyce (aka "The Boy") and his Perky Goth girlfriend Esther de Groot. They became a couple during a trip to Wales, which Esther had initiated relatively spontaneously.
- The one-shot strip Cupcakes McKenzie is subtitled "Manic Pixie Dream Girl".
- In Bobwhite, Georgia sees his girlfriend Shoshanna as someone exciting, someone who does things. Everyone else sees Shoshanna as a drug abuser whose lack of inhibition turns every conversation into a trainwreck.
- Nepeta, a quirky, ship-crazy, roleplaying green-blooded troll, whose moirail, Equius is far more serious and dogmatic regarding the blood caste and acting superior to lowbloods, despite her best efforts to make him more tolerant of the lower castes. Due to how troll relationships worknote , theirs is not romantic.
- Jane becomes this in Trickster Mode. Unlike most examples, however, this is not a good thing. Ultimately deconstructed.
- In Penny and Aggie and QUILTBAG, this is Lisa's primary character trait… [so much so that when being one doesn't or can't work, she falls into a (brief) funk.
- Blossom in Rhapsodies There's quite a bit of circumstantial evidence that suggests this might be literal
- One strip of Critical Miss invokes the title verbatim. Twice.
- Girls Next Door subverts it with Jareth and Sarah, since Jareth has the Manic Pixie part down pat on his own and really needs a Canny Human Dream Girl to keep him in line.
- Janet from The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes tries to be this for her ''kinda'' boyfriend Hank.
- Gender Inverted in Teen Titans with Kid Flash and Jinx.
- Similarly, Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender could be considered this not only to Katara, but to the entire world. This messiah's message is pretty much, "have fun, not wars."
- Zooey Deschanel (of course) played one of these (explicitly referred to as such) in an episode of American Dad! designed to resemble a stereotypical independent film.
Steve: Um, hi. Uh, can I help you with your cello?
Girl: No, it's my suitcase. I just don't think all suitcases should be rectangles, y'know? I think sometimes suitcases can be cello cases with clothes in them.
Steve: ... What are you doing here?
Girl: I'm travelling cross country taking Polaroid pictures of people walking other people's dogs. It's pretty hard to tell, but I didn't become an artist because it was easy.
- In the same episode, Steve acts as a Manic Pixie Dream Guy for Snot by trying to get him to come to terms with his feelings about his fathers death, even though Snot doesn't think he cares about it.
- Edith "Big Edie" Bouvier-Beales of the Grey Gardens documentary / musical / HBO movie certainly seemed to be this: she loved to sing and dance and host parties, to the annoyance of her staid lawyer husband. Unfortunately she was as stubborn as she was "manic" and refused to leave the title 28 room summer cottage even after the money ran out and she and her daughter "Little" Edie (a creative MPDG herself) became total recluses.
- Stephan Pastis claims to have known such a girl while at college - someone who, to quote him "opened up my tiny serious world and and forced me to grow and be more free-spirited." Years later, as he was working as an insurance attorney, he visited her gravesite and felt terrible that he had given up on his dream of becoming a cartoonist. So he went home and mailed out his Pearls Before Swine comic strip to the syndicates - and the rest is history.
- Rielle Hunter, John Edwards's mistress, is a great example of the dark side of this trope. Depending on how you view John Edwards, either she was cheerfully motivating him to cheat on his terminally ill wife with her or she was a loonie hippie snared by a Manipulative Bastard and who was one of many mistresses. All her talk of helping Edwards "develop his potential" and "find his greater truth," not to mention a business card that reads "being is free" fits the Manic Pixie part. But read her article on the Other Wiki to find out the long chain of horrible experiences that made her a manic pixie, including possible child abuse, and Muse Abuse by the literary Brat Pack in the 80's.
- Edie Sedgwick, a woman who hung around with Andy Warhol in his day, seems to have been this. She was anorexic and addicted to barbiturates. She eventually fell apart, went in and out of rehab a few times, and died of a drug overdose. Which tends to reinforce that this trope doesn't work very well in real life.
- The late Gilda Radner, judging from her husband Gene Wilder's description, seems to have been a real-life version of this trope for him throughout their relationship. This quality is particularly explored and evident in Wilder's memoir Kiss Me Like a Stranger.
- Deconstructed with Margaret Trudeau, former wife of Pierre Trudeau. While Pierre Trudeau was taken with the vivacious flower child, in reality Margaret was bipolar and her partying, drug use and rumoured affairs help put such a strain on their marriage that they were separated after six years.
- Joy seems to have been like this for C. S. Lewis.
- By some accounts, Billie Piper credits her first husband Chris Evans (not this one) for being her Manic Pixie Dream Guy. The pressures of being a pop star had left her with massive stress and crippling eating disorders. She credits Evans with bringing her back from a Creator Breakdown and getting her to enjoy life again. She claims he saved her life.
- Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms, described in a Dragon article a MPDG named September he met at university. Greenwood - though not exactly a stuffed shirt - credited the theatrical, costume-wearing and playfully seductive September as getting him hooked on Dungeons & Dragons and inspiring him as a Dungeon Master in a notably cinematic way, thus leading to his successful career in fantasy and gaming fiction. Looking at mentions of what goes on in his games, this start influenced his own style as a DM, too. He seems to be a magnet for them. The Hooded One, his player and spokeswoman on the fan forum, is like this. As to his fangirls:
Ed: My wife didn't believe half of what used to go on, in the early bloom of popularity for the Realms... until the time I was propositioned at a con by a VERY beautiful lady, while standing with my wife on my arm. I gently pointed out that said attached glowering female was my wife, whereupon the ardent fan said brightly, "Oh, that's okay: the bed is plenty big enough for three."
- Zelda Fitzgerald was this for her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald. She was his muse and the inspiration for many of the heroines in his novels and short stories, and they lived the ideal Roaring Twenties lifestyle together, but she had a fragile grip on reality and eventually ended up in a mental institution.
- To many a troubled teenage girl in the 60's, one strange man with quirky and unique outlook on the world, urging them to follow him into a series of adventures in togetherness, could qualify as a manic pixie dream guy. That man was Charles Manson.
- How John Lennon perceived Yoko Ono.
[on the writing of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"]
"There was also the image of the female who would someday come save me - a 'girl with kaleidoscope eyes' who would come out of the sky. It turned out to be Yoko, though I hadn't met Yoko yet. So maybe it should be Yoko In The Sky With Diamonds."
"[The press and public were saying] 'What are they doing? This Japanese witch has made him crazy and he's gone bananas!' But all she did was take the bananas part of me out of the closet more, that had been inhibited by the other part. It was a complete relief to meet somebody else who was as far out as I was." - From the RKO interview, recorded the day he died.
- A rare positive real life example was Grace Anna Goodhue, the wife of President Calvin Coolidge. Goodhue was described as being the exact opposite of the quiet and serious Coolidge and yet the marriage of the two was by all accounts happy. In his autobiography Coolidge wrote "We thought we were made for each other. For almost a quarter of a century she has borne with my infirmities, and I have rejoiced in her graces."
- Friends of Harlan Ellison (including Neil Gaiman and Robin Williams) describe his wife Susan this way, in that she "makes his demons go away."