There's this one person. They're not very nice, although they're probably very [[FauxAffablyEvil polite]], and they can be very [[TheCasanova charming]]... in their own way. The thing is, they like [[ManipulativeBastard playing with your mind]] a lot. They like [[FlawExploitation pushing your buttons]] [[ItAmusedMe for kicks]], and [[TheChessmaster playing you like a puppet]] in some kind of elaborate game.

For some reason, they've got a [[StalkerWithACrush special interest]] in playing someone in particular. Maybe that someone is especially [[TheWoobie pure and innocent]], at the start, in which case they can expect their personality to be [[BreakTheCutie broken]] or at least [[CorruptTheCutie corrupted]]. Maybe that someone is seen by the ManipulativeBastard as a WorthyOpponent and even a [[BastardUnderstudy potential player]] themselves, in which case there will soon be GambitPileup in the future. TheSvengali will tend to have this kind of relationship to their protege(s).

In any case, for [[FanGirl some]] people in the audience, they find all those mind games kind of [[FetishFuel sexy]]. Could be the StockholmSyndrome kicking in, or having a too literal interpretation of the expression "MindScrew" or could be the fact that getting to know someone well enough to play with their mind that way is kind of... intimate. And an excellent fodder for {{Dark Fic}}s.

Usually a subtrope of FoeYay. Not to be confused with the MindScrew (where it's the author who screws with the mind of the audience). Not related to ''Anime/MindGame'' the movie. See also AngelDevilShipping.



[[folder: Anime/Manga ]]
* [[Anime/{{Pokemon}} SommelierShipping]] (Cilan/Cabernet) comes off as this, with Cilan being the manipulator.
* Johan Liebert (the eponymous ''Manga/{{Monster}}'') and Dr. Kenzou Tenma.
** Also, Johan and Anna/Nina. She is probably the only person in the world that he cares about, but he's not above [[spoiler:mind raping her, allowing his henchman to kill her, and manipulating her into nearly shooting herself.]] And not to mention those certain "emails" he sent her about being "born to smother [her] with flowers." ... Whatever ''that'' means.
* Creator/OsamuTezuka's Michio Yuki from ''Manga/{{MW}}'' actually ''did'' have an explicit relationship with his MindGameShip target, Garai. Make of that what you will.
* Seishirou/Subaru from ''Manga/TokyoBabylon'' and ''Manga/{{X1999}}'' are a very iconic and canonical example of this trope. In ''X'', [[spoiler:Fuuma]] also invokes this trope with Kamui.
* Akio and Touga in ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena''. With each other, and with [[EvenTheGuysWantHim both boys and girls alike]].
* ''Manga/{{MAR}}'': Phantom and Alviss. Made ''canon'' in the anime.
* [[Manga/{{Berserk}} Griffith/Guts]].
** Griffith/Casca.
* Creed and Train in ''Manga/BlackCat''.
* ''Manga/HunterXHunter'': Hisoka/Gon.
** Hisoka/anyone, really. And Chrollo/Kurapika is pretty common in fanfiction.
* While not foes in most arcs, Mion and her [[{{Twincest}} twin]] Shion from ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'' count, especially in Meakashi-hen and Watanagashi-hen.
** Before you [[YuriFan get too excited]], you should know that [[spoiler:it ends badly for both of them in both arcs.]]
* Alucard and Integra in ''Manga/{{Hellsing}}'', especially in the manga.
** In the manga Alucard and Integra have something like a BodyguardCrush dynamic since their meeting. The Gonzo Anime, on the other hand, they did have head games with Alucard ''testing'' her when they met (which never happened in the manga, she wished for a knight to rescue her and got it). Alucard's loyalty to Integra is unquestionable without setting her BoundandGagged in an illusion.
** Despite their BodyguardCrush dynamic and his UndyingLoyalty, there ''are'' still shades of this. Alucard tests her quite a few times and constantly goads her, spurring her onwards into killing humans and the undead and then expressing his, erm...''excitement'' over it when she allows him to give them hell. In the {{OVA}} official (Creator/{{FUNimation}}) subtitles, he even asks her if declaring war excited her. Alucard has [[InterplayOfSexAndViolence interesting ways]] of [[InLoveWithYourCarnage declaring]] his UndyingLoyalty to her. While it might not be 'mind games' per se, there are definite undertones of powerplay in their interactions in both the manga/OVA and the anime and they certainly apply.
* ''Manga/PeacemakerKurogane'': Later on, after Suzu goes insane, his love/hate towards Tetsunosuke makes their relationship prime MindGameShip fuel.
* Naoe/Takaya in ''LightNovel/MirageOfBlaze''. They both have been known to give as good as they get.
* Allen/Tyki in ''Manga/DGrayMan''.
** Don't forget Road/anyone, although Allen is the main target of her warped affection.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'': Lelouch with a good number of people, especially Rolo and Suzaku. And to a lesser extent, there's also Mao/Lelouch.
** Some fans like Mao/Shirley as well (make of ''that'' what you will....)
** Not to mention Lelouch/C.C., which persists for the very same reason WordOfGod gave when they tried to [[ShipSinking sink]] it: they see each other as intellectual equals.
* Melfina/Harry in ''Manga/OutlawStar''. Thank ''God'' his MindRape hacking attempts failed. [[spoiler:She still expressed pity for him when he died.]]
** [[spoiler:He died heroically charging the BigBad in a vain attempt to save her. Or out of righteous anger that the BigBad would dare to treat her like a thing. AlternateCharacterInterpretation and all that.]]
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' is practically brimming with this sort of thing. It doesn't help that most of the characters show signs of having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Of exceptional note is Orochimaru with ''many'' people, especially Sasuke. Later on, Pain and Naruto have traces of this, to an extent. As do Itachi and Sasuke. Additionally, any Kabuto pairing is bound to have some of this- he usually presents himself as this harmless, bumbling oaf with NerdGlasses, but is in fact in league with this villain, and...well...poor Naruto's look of betrayal when he realizes this is almost too much.
** Naruto's whole innocence, gullibility and inspiring-Messiah-like outlook are a lot of reasons why a lot of fanfics either a) mind-screw him over, or b) pair [insert name here]xNaruto ... and not the other way around... It's probably why the author likes to break him so much too.
* ''Anime/YuGiOh'': Dark Marik and Dark Bakura with just about everyone.
** To a degree, normal Marik has this kind of relationship with Yugi/Yami Yugi, as he's explicitly challenging him and playing games with his mind, presumably so that killing him would be more interesting.
* During the third season of ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', the Judai/Yubel ship was also very messed up, though rather one-sided, until the very end when Juudai returns her love and fuses their souls.
* And in ''Anime/YuGiOh5Ds'', we get Divine with Aki playing the trope to the hilt.
* Mukuro/Tsuna in ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn''. Based on Mukuro's obsession with [[GrandTheftMe obtaining Tsuna's body]] at any cost and screwing with his head. And Mukuro/Chrome.
** Also, Byakuran/anyone but especially with either Tsuna or Uni.
* Several interpretations of Light/L (''Manga/DeathNote'') seem to portray their love/hate/manipulate relationship as culminating in a [[DoubleEntendre Two Xanatos Pileup]].
** Shoot, if you paired Light OR L with different people, it could exhibit this trope.
** Also, Beyond Birthday/anyone.
* An example of this that's not FoeYay: Sensui and Itsuki from ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''.
** Kurama/Karasu canonically and any halfway ''realistic'' Kurama/Hiei, considering Hiei dislikes almost everyone, including himself, and kitsune play games practically obsessively. Considering Hiei seems to enjoy being around Kurama beyond anyone, one could say he enjoys partaking in Kurama's teasing.
* The majority of ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' shipping-based fics featuring [[PsychopathicManchild Ru]][[CuteAndPsycho ss]][[{{Yandere}} ia]] use this approach.
** Some {{Alternative Character Interpretation}}s of certain nations can also invoke this trope in shipping fics, like England being a ManipulativeBastard (especially in England/China and England/Spain fics, and some ''ostensibly'' England/America and England/Japan fics have shades of this) and Japan being CuteAndPsycho or a {{Yandere}} (especially in Japan/China fics).
** At least three-quarters of all [[FoeYay Turkey/Greece]] fics run on this trope and TheMasochismTango, with Turkey as the one pushing Greece's buttons and [[ManipulativeBastard loving to rile him up]] or [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty make it clear to him]] just ''where'' his place is in their dysfunctional relationship.
** And then there's [[{{Yandere}} Belarus]], about the only character who can [[MadLove top Russia regularly]]. Or make [[HorribleJudgeOfCharacter poor unsuspecting]] [[DoggedNiceGuy Lithuania's]] life hell if she wants to. And that's not even mentioning when she's paired up with ''[[FoeYay America]]''.
** And let's not forget the [[TheMasochismTango America/Vietnam]] fanworks out there.
** Any Russia/America fanfic will almost certainly either take place during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar or make numerous references to it. Mutual MindRape ensues.
** If China is portrayed as a ManipulativeBastard during [[ImperialChina Imperial]] or [[RedChina Red]] times, this will ensue almost doubtlessly.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', the relationship between Roy and Ed can be interpreted as this. A ''lot'' of people love pairing them together, quite a bit of it having to do with how Roy knows exactly which [[BerserkButton buttons]] to push to make Ed angry, and how much he enjoys doing so.
** Envy/Ed is another popular MindGameShip.
* The interactions between Gauron and Sousuke in ''LightNovel/FullMetalPanic'' are this. Gauron constantly taunts Sousuke and tries to make him [[BerserkButton go berserk]]. He loves reminding him of the past, and makes him feel uncomfortable by being [[StalkerWithACrush creepily]] and [[HoYay overly affectionate]] with him (including calling him "Kashim" and "Honey"). Especially noticeable during the the third season, where [[spoiler:Gauron pretty much mind screws Sousuke by rubbing in how Sousuke's friends caused him to become weaker, and telling him that he had his minion kill Sousuke's love, Kaname. He takes much delight in seeing [[HeroicBSOD Sousuke's reaction]], and continues to goad Sousuke into killing him (which apparently is his idea of consummating their relationship)]].
** [[spoiler:And then there's the whole conversation in the light novel where Gauron says that back when he was fighting Sousuke at the beginning, he fantasized about killing him and then raping his dead body. Sousuke did not react well...]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' has lots of this:
** The relationship between Ulquiorra and Orihime is a textbook example. She's a naive and kindhearted girl [[StepfordSmiler with hidden issues]], who forced to go into a strange land upon [[spoiler:Aizen]]'s orders. He's the one who relayed said orders to her, was made into her jailed and interacted with her the most -- and was also caustic, cynical and emotionless to inhuman points.
** [[spoiler:Aizen]]/Ichigo. [[spoiler:Aizen]]/''anyone'', period. (Except [[spoiler:Gin]], maybe.) We all know what happened to the ''one'' person who gave in... [[spoiler:''Poor'' Momo.]]
** Depending on what sort of...alterations were included in his healing process, Mayuri/[[spoiler:Uryu]] as well.
** [[ManipulativeBastard Gin Ichimaru]] gets his own subsection, because he gets this with EVERYONE he's paired with:
*** Gin/Ichigo. Gin demonstrated that he ''really'' loves fucking with Ichigo's head by [[BreakingSpeech picking at his fear and insecurity.]]
*** Long, long before Ichigo, Gin was already messing with Kira's head.
*** Gin/Rukia. It's canon that Gin scares the shit out of poor Rukia. When she was in Soul Society waiting her execution she stated that even if he wasn't talking to her, she'd get this ominous feeling like "snakes were curling themselves around her" and she could feel "every bead of sweat" on her body whenever he was in her presence. There's the fact that Gin was a total asshole and told her that he would save her from being executed before squashing her hopes down flat, sending the [[BreakTheCutie emotionally broken girl]] into an HeroicBSOD.
** Rangiku, Gin's OnlyFriend, doesn't have it much better. [[spoiler: Yes, his plan was all centered about protecting her since she was the only person consistently kind to him but he '''still''' emotionally screwed her over while trying to protect her.]]
** [[ManipulativeBastard Tsukishima]]/''anyone''. Specially [[spoiler: Ichigo, Orihime, Chad, Shishigawara]], or even [[spoiler: Ginjou]].
* Kira and Flay in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED''. [[spoiler:Though Kira was genuinely in love with her without knowing she initially was just using him, and this becomes a moot point due to her BecomingTheMask. Eventually, she dies before she gets to set the record straight and make it official, so Kira never finds out the relationship was originally a lie.]]
* [[spoiler:Akito and Shigure]] in ''Manga/FruitsBasket''. [[spoiler:Though they got their happy ending in the manga.]] Akito/Anyone qualify, considering how [[NoSenseOfPersonalSpace touchy-feely]] [[spoiler:she]] gets with everyone in the Zodiac, and even [[spoiler:her]] demeanor around Tohru [[spoiler:until she [[CharacterDevelopment gets better]] thanks to Tohru herself]] could be interpreted thusly.
* [[ManipulativeBastard Muraki]], of ''Manga/DescendantsOfDarkness'', with ''everyone'' he interacts. '''And how.'''
* ''Manga/MajinTanteiNougamiNeuro'': Neuro to Yako. (As the image on the show's page suggests.)
* Both Sae Sasaki and Ryo Okayasu from ''Anime/PeachGirl'' play with people's minds by relying on their ability to charm people into doing what they want. [[spoiler: Ryo's manipulation/mistreatment of Sae herself is so bad, though, that it's enough for her to [[HeelFaceTurn change her ways]]. Sort of.]]
** Sae/Momo. The major plot point of the series is how Sae pretends to be Momo's friend and secretly attempts to undermine her because of her own insecurity and jealousy of Momo.
* ''Manga/DeadmanWonderland'' has Genkaku/Nagi.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'': [[StalkingIsLove Tsukuyomi/Setsuna]] and Fate/Negi at least before Fate's HeelFaceTurn.
** As well as Kurt Godel/Negi.
** And Tsukuyomi/either [[spoiler:Fate or Negi]].
%%* Prince Dimande and ''Franchise/SailorMoon''.
* [[DevilInPlainSight Xellos]] / [[PersonOfMassDestruction Lina]] from the ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}'' adhere to this. It doesn't help that Xellos apparently knows all of her weaknesses either, even the stuff he shouldn't [[StalkerWithACrush technically]] know about.
* From ''Manga/{{Loveless}}'' any ship involving Seimei ''will'' be this. Most notably the [[BrotherSisterIncest Seimei/Ritsuka]] pairing.
* ''Manga/PokemonDiamondAndPearlAdventure'' has two instances of this at the ''same time'', when Cyrus manipulates [[spoiler:Mitsumi into rejoining Team Galactic and forcing her to battle Hareta, while all the while taunting her over her headset about how she's alone in the world. By the end, she's so distraught that she basically [[ICannotSelfTerminate asks Jupiter to kill her]].]] Later on she [[spoiler:forgives him and helps facilitate his recovery]]. But the manipulation was intended for Hareta, and so Cyrus launches into an 11-page tirade about how hatred is the only thing humans can feel and that's why he's going to set things right by ending the universe and starting it again under his tight control, concluding it with "You must hate me even more now." Hareta looks up at him and [[spoiler:cries his eyes out, saying "you do bad things, but I don't hate you." Cyrus asks himself if, after all he's done to Hareta, this boy still cares about everyone--and nearly stops his plan until Saturn intervenes. Basically, Cyrus managed to mind game HIMSELF]]. This, of course, doesn't stop Cyrus from trying to kill Hareta again later that volume, but given that this is the only continuity where he manages to [[spoiler:redeem himself]], it's obvious what impact this had.
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': This is one of several reasons people ship Ranma/Nabiki.
* Aion and Chrono in ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'' tend to be written like this in yaoi fanfic. And some of the scenes in the anime actually border on this without the need of fanfic to back it up.
* ''Manga/GetBackers'': Takuma and Ban. It's a bit one-sided on Takuma's part though.
* ''LightNovel/{{Durarara}}''
** Izaya explicitly states in the light novel that he despises Shizuo and would rather be as far away from him as possible. He also hates talking about him in general and seems to get pissed whenever anyone mentions him. Shizuo's the ''last'' person Izaya would try to play mindgames with face-to-face - he just wants him dead. None of this stops the slashers, be they in-universe or not.
** Seiji Yagiri and [[spoiler:Mika Harima]], either. They look like SickeninglySweethearts... and are anything ''but''.
-->'''Seiji''': I'm so in love with [[spoiler:[[ALoveToDismember the scars on your neck]]...]]
* ''Manga/SoulEater'': Medusa/Stein. Canonical seductive touching while Medusa tries to drive Stein [[SanitySlippage insane]]? It's all hallucinated, but that just means it's ''working''. Naturally, fanfic-writing proponents of the couple have taken this concept and run with it.
* From ''Manga/DNAngel'', Krad/Satoshi. Whenever we see the two together alone, it's generally Krad cuddling Satoshi from behind, or declaring that "You are my everything, Satoshi-sama". Would be incredibly sweet if not for the fact that Krad is also a homicidal blonde angel, who only really wants Satoshi for his body.
* Albert and [[MagnificentBastard the Count]] in ''Anime/{{Gankutsuou}}''.
* This is the main appeal of shipping Keith and Matsuka in ''Manga/TowardTheTerra'', given that Keith seems to exert every effort to give Matsuka a vicious case of StockholmSyndrome, and if anything it works a little too well - by the end of the series, Matsuka is willing to [[spoiler:sacrifice his life to save Keith]]'s.
* ''Manga/WolfGuyWolfenCrest'': Haguro towards Inugami. To a lesser extent, Ryuuko towards Inugami.
* Somewhat benign case, but entirely canon, ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'' Miki has a stated crush on Hinagiku, and she's shown that she plays a lot of mind games on her. It's even on her profile as one of the things she likes. Luckily for the [[UnwantedHarem harem]], it seems that she's using these powers to push Hayate and Hinagiku together.
* Sebastian and Ciel in ''Manga/BlackButler'', in the sense that all the moments of HoYay between the two come off more as nightmarish threats considering that Sebastian is a demon and is merely killing time until he gets to eats Ciel's soul.
** Sebastian/anyone. It's one of the many things he does best.
** Season two gives us [[AxCrazy Alois]]/Ciel, which is practically canon. On Alois's side, at least. Also, Alois/Hannah.
** And Claude/Ciel. Thanks to episode 9 which has him practically mind raping Ciel, and declaring how he wants to [[FreudWasRight "stick [his] needle into his soft skin and suck out his sensual soul"]].
** Grell/Sebastian. It also shows up in canon.
* [[{{Twincest}} Knives/Vash]] and Legato/Vash in ''Manga/{{Trigun}}''.
* ''Manga/{{Vassalord}}'': Barry and Rayflo, though Rayflo wants no part of it.
** Rayfell and Charley have a bit of this going on as well. Charley also wants no part of it.
* In ''Manga/PandoraHearts'' Vincent has traces of this going on with Gil and everyone else, but especially with Gil and Ada.
** [[spoiler:Though, after discovering Ada is actually a NightmareFetishist, he started to regret his mind game with her; and after she said she would willingly put her life in danger to protect him, maybe his MindGameShip with her started to grow to a complete love or at least crush]].
* [[Anime/MawaruPenguindrum Sanetoshi Watase]] and ''anyone'' he interacts with. Specially with Himari, [[spoiler:the Princess of the Crystal]], and DOUBLE in the case of [[spoiler:[[HoYay Kan]][[FoeYay ba]].]]
* Hino and Yunoki of ''VideoGame/KiniroNoCorda''.
* Shiki and Akira of ''VisualNovel/TogainuNoChi''.
* Yuno and Yukiteru in ''Manga/MiraiNikki'' have shades of this.
* Ren and Aichi in ''Anime/CardfightVanguard''.
* Rei and Kyoko from ''Manga/SangatsuNoLion''. Kyoko often manipulates Rei when she meets up with him or drops by his place, veiling her words with signs that she may actually care for him despite it all.

* ''{{Spider-Man}}'' with the Venom symbiote, of course.
* The Joker and ''Franchise/{{Batman}}''. Especially in ''Film/TheDarkKnight''.
** There's an awful lot of Joker/Batman shippers out there that find the comic version more fitting of this trope than the version in that film. Especially since in the comics, SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker [[TermsOfEndangerment just]] ''[[TheNicknamer loves]]'' [[InLoveWithYourCarnage to play around]] with FoeYay so the fans don't have to, which the Nolanverse Joker never really does in quite the same way.
* Daken and Bullseye in DarkAvengers. Daken's a manipulative freak with mind-control pheromone powers, Bullseye is [[PsychoForHire utterly psychopathic.]]

* Dean and Jimmy Novak/Castiel in ''Angelface'' and its sequels.
* A lot of [[Literature/HarryPotter Draco/Hermione]] fanfiction ends up like this.
* [[ Sympathy Crime]], a ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' fic, features the pairing of [[spoiler: Yosuke/Adachi, where Adachi manipulates Yosuke's emotions in hopes of breaking up the investigation team, and also for his own sick enjoyment.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' {{Fanfic}} ''[[Fanfic/MLPTheGamesWePlay The Games We Play]]'' sees Mare Do Well making [[TheBet a bet]] with Rainbow Dash: that she can get the pegasus to fall in love with her before Dash can unmask her. To this end, she teases and misleads her to suspect all of her friends, and takes a lot of enjoyment in how much she screws with Rainbow's head.
* The main character does this with everyone in the ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' fic ''[[FanFic/KakashisKid Kakashi's Kid]]''. Being the narrator helps even more.

[[folder:Film - Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/{{Coraline}}/The Other Mother. ''Very'' disturbingly {{squick}}-inducing that is.
* Scar and Simba in ''Disney/TheLionKing''.
* Ratigan/Basil in ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective.''

[[folder:Film - Live-Action]]
* ''Film/TheWatcher'': David/Joel. Full fucking stop.
* Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling from ''SilenceOfTheLambs'' are often portrayed like this. Including [[spoiler:in the novels]].
* O.W. Grant from ''Interstate 60'' does this with EVERYBODY. Other characters in this movie also prove to be able to do that.
* Film/RedEye anybody? The Jackson/Lisa relationship is ''built'' on this.
* HeathLedger's portrayal of the Joker from ''Film/TheDarkKnight'' has shades of this with everyone he comes into contact with, especially with Batman, Harvey, and Rachel.
* The Green Goblin and [[Film/SpiderMan Spider-Man]] in the first movie.
* Lili and [[strike:Tim Curry]] Satan from ''Film/{{Legend}}''.
* ''{{Inception}}'': At times, Cobb and Mal can become this. ''Especially'' on Mal's part.
** ''Especially'' when you realize the "normal" Mal is never shown, only the Mal after Cobb's first inception and the Mal Cobb created in his mind. [[MindScrew Mind games]] indeed.
** Since everyone Robert Fischer interacts with in the movie is messing with his head in one way or another, {{Shipping}} featuring him tends to end up this way.
* ''TheChroniclesOfNarnia'': The White Witch and Edmund.
* ''NineAndAHalfWeeks'': ''Everything'' about the relationship on John's part is a MindGameShip -- emotionally, intellectually, sexually.
* ''PeterPan'': Wendy and Captain Hook, as well as Peter Pan and Captain Hook.
** Tinkerbell to Wendy as well.
* ''The Stunt Man''.
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'': The Wicked Witch and Dorothy.
* Marissa's obsession with ''{{Hanna}}''.

* Rhett/Scarlett from ''Literature/GoneWithTheWind'' comes across as this at times; Rhett is definitely manipulating her and toys with her emotions. Subverted in that she causes him significantly more angst than he does her, despite hardly manipulating him consciously at all.
* The eponymous ''Literature/HarryPotter'' with Voldemort and Snape, to a lesser extent.
** Ginny and Tom Riddle in the [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets second book]].
** Dumbledore, in a benign sort of way, to Voldemort.
* ''Literature/KushielsLegacy'': Melisande Shahrizai is like this canonically with Phedre. There appears to be some genuine love buried amidst the casual backstabbing.
* Lara Raith seems to enjoy manipulating [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]] a bit more than can be considered strictly professional.
* In the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' Watch books, the relationship between Vetinari and Vimes.
** Also Vetinari and Moist, although they get less screen time together.
** Vetinari and ''anyone.''
** This is usually how Susan/Teatime is played in FanFic.
* The relation between Valmont and Merteuil in ''[[Literature/DangerousLiaisons Les Liaisons Dangereuses]]'' can be interpreted as this.
* ''Literature/WarriorCats'': Presumably the basis of pretty much any shipping with [[ManipulativeBastard S]][[CompellingVoice o]][[ForTheEvulz l]].
* ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'': When people ship Mitth'raw'nuruodo without making him into a DracoInLeatherPants, this tends to be his characterization. It's not uncommon to see him shipped with [[OutboundFlight Maris Ferasi]], a WideEyedIdealist who sees him as completely honorable and good.
* Hannibal Lecter and Clarice Starling. It started out with mild hints in ''Literature/SilenceOfTheLambs'' and then went full-bore into this trope in the next book. [[spoiler: In the end, Hannibal gets the girl.]]
* ''ForgottenRealms'': Jarlaxle and Entreri are this, though the platonic version. Unless it's SlashFic, in which case there's a 50/50 chance or better of Jarlaxle seriously screwing with Artemis' head for... other purposes. Though in all fairness, he ''is'' a [[MagnificentBastard drow]]. Hey, MindRape is [[RapeIsLove Love]].
* ''ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'': Count Olaf and Violet.
* Enid Blyton (Malory Towers). Gwen and Mary-Lou and later Gwen and Clarissa (until she develops a spine). To what extent this applies depends very much on your personal take on the canon, but the 'pushy, dominant partner in a near-exclusive friendship' theme is very much there, even if you're not prone to [[SchoolgirlLesbians subtextual interpretations.]]
* ''ASongOfIceAndFire'': Fits perfectly for those who ship Littlefinger and Sansa, although it's not a very common pairing, as most prefer [[BodyguardCrush Sansa and The Hound.]] Why not [[TakeAThirdOption have both?]] At any rate, Littlefinger/Sansa entirely canon in one direction, and given what [[MagnificentBastard Littlefinger is]] (bearing in mind that he is prominent in this status in a series chock full of them by normal standards) and [[CorruptTheCutie what he seems to be trying to do]] to Sansa, this trope is in full effect.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* ''Series/BurnNotice'' Michael and Anson. Anson enjoys torturing Michael with his insights way too much.
* T-Bag/Michael from ''PrisonBreak''. T-Bag/anyone really,
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Angelus was apparently fond of it, doing it to Buffy during season 2 and Drusilla sometime in the 19th century. When they bring him back in ''Series/{{Angel}}'', he seems to take a special pleasure in playing with Fred and with Faith. Angelus just loves breaking hotties.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': Ben Linus. With just about everyone. [[MagnificentBastard And it is awesome]].
* ''Series/{{Oz}}'': Ryan and Dr. Nathan. Then there's the chaotic Chris/Beecher relationship and the FoeYay-tastic rivalry between Schillinger/Beecher.
* In a much milder way this is how all of ''Series/{{House}}'''s relationships need to work, from the love of his life to the one-off characters he flirts with. Shipping him with Cuddy depends on this.
* Before their FoeYay became so unsubtle it could be carved with a [[ChainsawGood chainsaw]], the Doctor and the Master of ''Series/DoctorWho'' fit this trope. Their Jon Pertwee and Roger Delgado incarnations in particular took a certain amount of delight from their mutual manipulations and betrayals.
* The ''{{Firefly}}'' fandom's tendency to ship River and Jayne often uses this as an aspect of it, as River ''does'' like to screw around with people's heads, when her own head isn't screwy itself.
** Ditto for Simon/Jayne, and even for Mal/Jayne.
* Lots of (good) [[PortmanteauCoupleName Mylar]] ([[Series/{{Heroes}} Sylar/Mohinder]]) will fall into this category. It's that screwed up a pairing.
** Sylar/Claire and Sylar/Peter are also rather heavy in this, with the ship element of the first being practically canon, at least from Sylar's side. That's just what Sylar's like.
** After gaining immortality, Sylar points out to Claire that as much as she might hate him, unless they both lose their powers, eventually it's going to be just the two of them for the [[WhoWantsToLiveForever rest of time]].
** Now that there's Elle, she's sometimes the aggressor with Claire, sometimes the subject with Mr. Bennet, and at least once even with [[CrackPairing Monica Dawson]].
* Patty and Ellen from ''{{Series/Damages}}'' are the definition of this, except now Ellen is also showing her ''ManipulativeBastard'' skills too.
* The entire second season of ''GossipGirl'' saw [[BelligerentSexualTension Chuck and Blair]] competing over who could envoke this trope the most.
* ''Series/{{Justified}}'' Raylan and Boyd. Boyd is one of the few people who can really push Raylan's buttons due to their shared past.
* ''TheMentalist'' has Patrick Jane, the man who flirts with everyone while screwing with their heads. He reserves his most magical bits of mind-screw for Lisbon.
* Series/{{Sherlock}} gives us Sherlock/Irene and Sherlock/Moriarty.
** As does ''{{Elementary}},'' especially since [[spoiler: that is in fact the same 'ship.]]
* Justin and Alex fit this trope to a tee in [[Main/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace Wizards]]
* The developments between [[MagnificentBastard Jim Keats]] and [[FishOutOfTemporalWater Alex Drake]] in season three of ''AshesToAshes'' makes this one near-canonical. Keats wants to [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything tempt Alex away from Gene]] and [[TheCorrupter use her to bring Gene down]]. While there's no explicit sexuality in their relationship, they flirt during multiple episodes, and in the finale [[spoiler: Keats gets ''very'' touchy-feely with her under the guise of "comforting" her. Of course, it's revealed that he's quite possibly ''the Devil himself'', so the mind game elements are a lot less surprising]].
* Head Six to Dr. Gaius Baltar and Head Baltar to Caprica-Six in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}''.
* ''RizzoliAndIsles'': In canon Hoyt has this kind of relationship with Jane. Jane wants no part of it.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': [[MagnificentBastard Crowley]] tends to toss around double entendres like they're going out of style, but whenever he faces off against [[FallenAngel Castiel]], the "sub" just goes out of the {{subtext}}.
* Hannibal Lecter/Will Graham on ''Series/{{Hannibal}}''.

* ''Music/MindGames'' by Music/JohnLennon: the title track deals with mind games between people and says that "love is the answer".

* ''Theatre/AStreetcarNamedDesire'': Stanley/Blanche. They are somewhat attracted to each other at first, but Stanley eventually sees through [[StepfordSmiler Blanche's mask]] and his continued involvement in her life causes her to descend into permanent insanity.
* There are interpretations of [[Theatre/{{Othello}} Iago and Othello]] like this.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* This role can be played by SelfDemonstrating/GLaDOS from ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}''.
* Sephiroth from ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' did this to Cloud quite a bit in the original, but by the Compilation his sole ''raison d'etre'' seemed to be to touch Cloud's brain in intimate places, and it's marvelous fuel for the [[FoeYay Cloud/Sephiroth]] shippers.
** It gets played up even more in ''KingdomHearts'' and ''DissidiaFinalFantasy'', with Sephiroth exhibiting definite StalkerWithACrush tendencies toward poor Cloud.
* This is also how [[VideoGame/{{Bully}} Gary/Petey]] is usually played. It probably helps that one of the earliest times we see Gary and Petey interact it's Gary getting up in his face to taunt him about liking to watch the swim team and alternately calling him a sick sad pervert and sick, sad and closeted gay. And he expresses a desire to make him into a real man. (Or a woman. Or ''something''.) ''Un''fortunately, some people don't seem to quite grasp the subtle delights of a good old-fashioned mind game, and [[DracoInLeatherPants turn Gary into just a misunderstood, gentle, good-hearted woobie]].
* Any pairings involving [[ImplacableMan Pyramid]] [[MemeticMolester Head]] of ''Franchise/SilentHill'' will inevitably be this trope, due mostly to his role of penetrating (ahem) a character's mind and doing all sorts of nasty things with it.
* Maleficent and Riku in ''KingdomHearts''. Well, it's either that or a MrsRobinson deal, depending on your perspective...
** [[TheStarscream Marluxia]] and Namine have ''definite'' [[{{Squick}} undertones of this.]]
* Alma and Becket in ''VideoGame/FirstEncounterAssaultRecon 2'': Project Origin to a very disturbing degree.
* This is generally accepted by the ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'' fandom to be Joshua and Neku's relationship and primarily because Joshua mixes MindScrew with HoYay like Reese's mixes peanut butter with chocolate. This comes from [[AlternateUniverse Another Day]], which uses alternate universe versions of the main characters. {{Yaoi Fangirl}}s have picked it up and run off with it anyway.
--->'''Joshua:''' I could never live with myself if I let you go alone. Let's spend some quality time.
--->'''Beat:''' Whoa ho ho! You guys are... Like, you ain't...
--->'''Shiki:''' Blue and Pink!? Sure, they go.. but I didn't know they went LIKE THAT!
--->'''Neku:''' Now look what you've done!
** Joshua also lays it on thick right from their very first meeting, after he forces them in to a pact:
--->'''Joshua:''' The name's Yoshiya Kiryu. But Mother and Father call me Joshua.
--->'''Neku:''' Please don't tell me...
--->'''Joshua:''' I guess you can call me Joshua, too - seeing as how you're my dear, dear partner. Hee hee...
** He openly admits in the same conversation that he was watching over/stalking Neku, and was impressed with him. The HoYay continues with Josh's teasing and Neku's attempts to fight it dwindling as he starts to finally get used to his eccentric 'partner'. When [[spoiler: [[TearJerker he 'dies' saving him from Sho]]]], we all end up liking him, and it makes the MindScrew elements that much harder to deal with. It's revealed that [[spoiler:he escaped to a parallel world (one obsessed with Tin Pin, according to the Reports) during his HeroicSacrifice]], and he glibly tells Neku that [[spoiler:he ''had'' tried to kill him before the Game]], after Neku had been guilt-ridden for the whole week thinking that [[spoiler:Josh was innocent and that his mistrust got him killed.]] Despite this, [[spoiler:Neku risks his own life and the existence of Shibuya to avoid shooting Josh]], even after he's revealed himself to be [[spoiler:the [[BigBad Composer]] who wants to destroy Shibuya (to save the rest of the world from its corruption) and challenged him to a duel with pistols. [[KickTheDog Josh ''does'' shoot]], but he also [[PetTheDog resurrects them all and leaves Shibuya alone]], [[HeelFaceTurn changing his mind]], and in the ending, while Neku says that while he can't forgive him, he still trusts him.]]
* While [[BigBad Mephiles]] from VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006 probably [[CanonDiscontinuity won't be showing up in any other Sonic games any time soon]], there are those who like the character enough for him to fit in this trope as the manipulator. Being one of the biggest [[ManipulativeBastard manipulative bastards]] the franchise has ever seen (meta-wise) doesn't hurt.
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' FanFic likes to do this with Kristoph Gavin/anyone (especially Phoenix).
* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', [[MagnificentBastard The]] [[MemeticMolester Spy]] in pretty much any pairing, and the Medic when {{wimpifi|cation}}ed.
** Ironically enough, this is [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] with the (RED) Spy's canonical love interest, [[BrattyHalfPint Scout's]] [[YourMom mother]]. Despite the initial implication he's just with her [[ItAmusedMe to piss off Scout]], [[PetTheDog he's shown to actually care for her.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' fic, this is involved in pretty much any pairing that includes [[BigBad Yggdrasill]].
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfGraces'' anything [[HoYay between Richard and Asbel]] could be seen as this [[spoiler: if Lambda gets involved. Particularly when he's in Richard, since that spices Richard's obvious crush on Asbel with flavours of {{Yandere}}]]
* Link and Ghirahim of ''TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword''. In a strange case, Ghirahim isn't really that manipulative, but he gets really close with Link when they meet.
* No subtext needed, this is pretty much the ''actual'' relationship between the PC and [[spoiler: Damien]] in MagicalDiary. It starts as a romantic pairing, and gets [[FalseFriend progressively]] [[MoralEventHorizon more]] [[BecomingTheMask messed]] [[BastardBoyfriend up]].
* Vamp and Raiden in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid''. Shows up in canon too.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Battler and Beatrice from ''VisualNovel/UminekoNoNakuKoroNi''. Beatrice is a witch with absolute power of life and death over Battler, to the point of casually killing and resurrecting him to prove a point, and is always gloating over new and extravagant ways to make him question his grasp on reality. Battler, in return, adamantly refuses -- to her face -- to believe in the existence of witches or any power these nonexistent beings might or might not have over him. By the end of the fourth chapter, though, the one thing neither can deny is the heaping amounts of {{UST}} that exist between them. [[spoiler:They get married at the end of Episode 6.]] In Beatrice's own words: [[LargeHam "Let's start torturing each other, USHIROMIYA BATTORAAAAAAA!!"]]
* Taichi and [[spoiler: Touko]] from CrossChannel, albeit a surprisingly ''real''/different example where both parties are insane. Taichi's the only one playing mind-games, but after he realizes what [[spoiler: Touko]]'s "problems" are, he hurriedly tries to cut the relationship short, leading to [[spoiler: Touko ''stabbing herself'' in an attempt to get Taichi to love her again.]] Given that the story takes disorders very seriously, this example is especially tragic.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* [[Webcomic/MegaTokyo Miho/Anyone.]]
* Rojo of ''Webcomic/CuantaVida'' keeps talking about how he likes Bleu. The first time he said this was immediately before putting out a cigarette on Bleu's face.
* Wanda of ''{{Erfworld}}'' has a definite thing for Jillian Zamussels, her "favorite prisoner" and frequent torture subject. There are explicit instances (such as their first interaction in the strip) and constant overtones of FoeYay and LesYay, not to mention MoreThanMindControl when Jillian is later released with the intent of becoming TheMole. Even after all this, Jillian still feels strongly for Wanda and continually tries to persuade her to defect.
* In ''Webcomic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'', King Radical towards Dr. [=McNinja=] (in a totally awesome way).
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' features a veritable queen of this trope, [[Characters/HomestuckTrollsThree Vriska Serket]], who has mind control powers and throws them around in a frankly cavalier manner. When she's not forcing people to cripple themselves for her amusement, she's systematically undermining their self-esteem and basically just making them cry. Naturally she gets shipped with everyone. We also have [[BlindSeer Terezi Pyrope]], who doesn't even need mind control powers to manipulate you, and gets under Vriska's skin more than anyone else in the universe. Naturally she gets shipped with Vriska and also everyone else. In fact, a good quarter of ''Homestuck'''s main cast is populated by [[OurTrollsAreDifferent members of an alien species]] [[BizarreAlienReproduction whose romantic lives revolve entirely around this]].
** Dirk Strider seems to make [[GenreSavvy more or less deliberate attempts]] to fit into this trope towards his crush Jake, but rather than the ironic puppetmaster he wants to be seen as, [[WrongGenreSavvy he comes off as]] clingy, overbearing, socially awkward, and stalker-y. All of which is accurate.
* From ''Webcomic/{{Roommates}}'' the Mr. King / Mrs. Norrington ship qualifies and they are pretty evenly matched in the mind games department. MagnificentBastard / TheGadfly, one manipulates for his own agenda the other ForTheLulz (and because she can).
* Billy Thatcher and Amical from ''[[{{Webcomic/morphe}} morphE]]''. Amical is a kidnapper who flirts aggressively with his captives and uses a number of kind and cruel tactics to turn his students in to friends, allies and sometimes (at least it is implied) romantic partners. Billy is desperate to use all the weapons at his disposal, including Amical's tendancy to flirt, to help him win freedom. Any scene that involves them throwing barbs and trying to work the other has a very noticable undertone of this trope.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Any pairings with [[WebVideo/AskThatGuyWithTheGlasses Ask That Guy]] ''will'' be this trope, especially when the fandom ships him with WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic or [[WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment Dr. Insano]].
* ''HappyTreeFriends'' fandom sometimes does this with [[AxCrazy Evil Flippy]] and Flaky, or [[ScrewYourself Good Flippy and Evil Flippy]].
** This is carried on in the show as well, especially in the latter episodes, where Flaky becomes terrified of Flippy and tries to get rid of him in any possible way, even though he doesn't kill her anymore and acts really nice to her. In ''Without A Hitch'' he acts nicely and tries to help her, but she constantly thinks he's following her to murder her so she ends up [[spoiler: stabbing him]].
* GrandmasterOfTheft has Deus canonically doing this towards Cassidy. While he generally enjoys causing trouble to anyone for sake of drama, she interests him more than anyone else because of her abilities as MagnificentBitch and drive to capture him.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'': Eric Cartman/Kyle. And Cartman/Butters.
* Mr. Incredible/Syndrome from ''TheIncredibles'' and Syndrome/Violet.
* The eponymous InvaderZim's rivalry with his archenemy Dib has shades of this.
* Slade/Robin, Slade/Raven, and Slade/Terra from ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''. There's also Red X/Robin, Red X/Starfire, Malchior/Raven, Jinx/Raven, Trigon/Raven, and Cyborg/Brother Blood. The show has definite [[FoeYay undertones]] to support each shipping.
** Red X/Raven is getting to be a popular MindGameShip on FanfictionDotNet.
** Blackfire/Starfire.
** Terra/Slade is ''canon'' in the comics.
* Similar to [[WesternAnimation/TeenTitans Slade/Robin]], ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' gave us Vlad/Danny.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': Azula/Zuko, which is made weirder by the [[BrotherSisterIncest other implications]]. She also has traces of this going on with [[strike: Suki, Sokka, Aang...]] '''everyone'''. (That's what happens when your core concept is [[ManipulativeBastard Manipulative Bitch]] Everything else about her character stems off controlling others.)
* ''ThePowerpuffGirls'': It looks like some might see this in Him and Bubbles, since Him tends to target Bubbles before the group as a whole.
* ''CodenameKidsNextDoor'': Numbuh 1 has a bit of this going on with the [[CreepyChild Delightful Children From Down The Lane]].
* ''GeneratorRex'': Van Kleiss and Rex.
** Later, Breach starts canonically trying this on Rex after she decides that messing with his head is far more fun than [[CollectorOfTheStrange adding him to her 'collection']]. Naturally, he's not pleased.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'': Discord and... [[LauncherOfAThousandShips any of the Mane Six]] or Celestia.
** In the both the show and fanon, [[ManipulativeBastard Discord]] has this going with any other character he interacts with.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* UsefulNotes/PeterMandelson towards then-Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer "Boy" George Osborne. They've since apparently made it up. No, [[RealityIsUnrealistic probably]] not like that. [[TemptingFate Who knows]].