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"Well her clothes are blacker than the blackest cloth
And her face is whiter than the snows of Hoth
She wears Doctor Martens and a heavy cross
But on the inside, she's a happy goth."
The stereotypical Goth
character, especially in teen shows, is frequently a Snark Knight
or a Deadpan Snarker
, someone whose dark clothes and grooming reflect a pessimistic mentality. Contrariwise, the Perky Goth, who is almost always female, operates on the principle that dark does not always
Sometimes a singular Goth takes on both personalities.
She wears the clothes, but her personality is always cheerful and amiable
(occasionally approaching Genki Girl
territory). Appropriately, this is a Sister Trope
to Elegant Gothic Lolita
(referring to an actual subculture mainly popular in Japan
), as well as a subversion of the Woman in Black
. If she's supposed to be attractive, she has a strong chance of being Raven Hair, Ivory Skin
While the trope is sufficient to cover both, a character who is to Emo
as this trope is to Goth
would essentially be a "scene or cupcake emo", which are notable for their pink/black stripes. This is technically a different subculture than emo, but they're closely related and scene can be summarized as "Perky Emo with a little bit of rave culture".
And to emphasize: perky goth is
an acknowledged part of the goth subculture, not just something made up by media.
See also Strange Girl
and Manic Pixie Dream Girl
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Anime & Manga
- Keep in mind that goth culture is reversed on this point just as in some countries the gothic color is white.
- Misa Amane from Death Note, who wears lots of black, crosses, etc but is always upbeat and cheery. There's also the cheery shinigami Ryuk.
- Yugi, the eponymous character of Yu-Gi-Oh!, dresses either in all black or in absurdly cute outfits, has wild hair (that's natural) and wears chains, LOTS of leather and dog-collars... Yeah, collars. His monster theme is darkness and black magic and he is regularly possessed by a spirit that's at the very least EXTREMELY ruthless. None of this stops him from being a pacifist, unbearably cute, friendship-obsessed and a real sweetheart. And cute.◊
- Death in the anime Kamichu! has a short scene with the god of poverty. She's a bit beyond perky and well into total bonkers◊. Or maybe she just knows something we don't. That's one hell of a Slasher Smile she has got there...
- Yamie from Kure-nai, who is at her perkiest when interacting with Murasaki.
- Another male example: Nekozawa from Ouran High School Host Club. He's the president of the Black Magic Club, is obsessed with curses, and has plenty of fun being generally creepy. Not even the fact that he's allergic to light seems to bother him all that much. Having an adoring younger sister helps.
- Also a girl from Ouran named Reiko, who marries Hunny.
- The disturbingly cheerful Undertaker in Black Butler.
- Perona from One Piece and sometimes Nico Robin.
- Riho Yamazaki, Detective Shido's ditzy secretary, becomes this in Nightwalker. Being a Nightmare Fetishist helps too.
- Road Kamelot of D.Gray-Man.
- Cirucci Sanderwicci of Bleach.
- D.N.Angel: Towa looks like an Elegant Gothic Lolita, but has the personality of a hyperactive Genki Girl.
- Reiko, the first Devil Hunter Yohko villain. In spite of her dark nature, she seems to smile a lot.
- Sawyer the Cleaner, from Black Lagoon, qualifies. In one scene, when she's explaining that the bad smell in a hotel room is from the ooze from rotting corpses she had to clean up in there earlier, she smiles happily, glad to have made things clear, while everybody around her is busy losing their lunch.
- Mirajane from Fairy Tail isn't quite "perky" in her youth - she's Hot-Blooded. She basically had the same personality as Natsu. However, after she loses her sister Lisanna she becomes a Proper Lady.
- Stocking from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, particularly when eating sweets.
- Saki Hanajima from Fruits Basket. She looks rather scary, with wearing black to signify that she is a "sinner" and occasionally threatening people who try to hurt Tohru, but she's awfully nice.
- Gilly Woods from John Kovalic's gamer comic Dork Tower is the quintessential Perky Goth and Trope Namer; along with all of the typical goth mannerisms, she smiles all the time, collects plush animals, enjoys cookies and ice cream, and is perpetually optimistic. This greatly annoys her brother Walden, who is a stereotypical Mopey Goth.
- Death of the Endless, from The Sandman by Neil Gaiman, is described by her author as a Perky Goth. She is not just responsible for Death, though; she also gives the breath of life when someone is born. She's pretty much the person you'd most want to see at a stressful moment like that. Her brother, Dream, fills the Mopey Goth niche.
- Although in stories taking place in earlier eras (read: billions of years ago), Death was a bit of a wet blanket herself before she started spending a few days each century with mortals.
- Nico Minoru, a.k.a. Sister Grimm, in Runaways. In the beginning, at least.
- Lex from Gloom Cookie, on occasion.
- The Bride of Nine Spiders from Immortal Iron Fist is sometimes like this.
- Betty Cooper of Archie actually went goth in one issue (really!), and was still generally rather cheerful. Her two goth friends were even more cheerful than she was.
- Emily The Strange routinely dresses in black clothing and likes scary things, but she also loves cats and communicates her excitement through exclamation points.
- Nemi is also a snarky, Sarky Goth. Sort of a Garfield Goth, in fact.
- Lex Luthor's niece Nastalathia in All-Star Superman. Not exactly perky so much as very laid-back and quite fine with her life of villainy as opposed to depressed or moody.
- Death from the old Joe Kelly run of Deadpool was pretty much a Perky Goth. That or just a plain old death obsessed, somehow corporeal, skeleton of some sort.
- Dethany Dendrobia of On The Fastrack.
- Black Betty from Stormwatch PHD.
- The goddess Persephone (formerly Kore) as portrayed by George O'Connor in Olympians: Hades, Lord of the Dead.
- The Ghoulunatics from EC Comics are dark and morbid, but in a fun and gleeful way.
- In The Return conversion into a succubus seems to be synonymous with becoming a Perky Goth. Those Two Guys Sam and Naoko choose to dress as perky goth too.
- Especially Yuki/Nabiki the "cute" succubus.
- Played very weirdly on My Immortal, where the main characters are mostly depressed but have pretty much the personality of the preps they hate so much.
- Travels Through Azeroth And Outland has the narrator meet a draenei named Vasalyan, who loves looking at dark and gloomy landscapes. Nonetheless, he's still as joyous as most every other draenei.
- Felya, a cheery Forsaken priestess, is perhaps another example.
- Mr. Evil's Original Character "Bloody" Mary Rogers is described as "The most energetic goth girl you would ever meet".
- Saga in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fic Under The Northern Lights is an example, though she claims that "Goths are posers!", so she presumably wouldn't use the phrase herself. She differs from most of the examples on this page by being a reindeer.
- Thor fan Savu0211 portrays Hel, the Norse goddess of death, as being one of the perkiest members of her family in stark contrast to her pessimistic father, Loki.
- Anzu Chino of Twilight Pretty Cure counts as this, even though she doesn't identify as a goth per se. She just happens to wear a lot of black, and she's one of the most kind and understanding members of the ensemble. Her classmates, however, are convinced she's not only a goth, but that she's an Emo Teen who cuts her wrists, which isn't true.
Films — Animation
- Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas — although he could also get pretty moody.
- "... Why does nothing ever turn out like it should? Well, what the heck, I went and did my best. And by God, I really tasted something swell..."
- Mavis in Hotel Transylvania, particularly when presented with the opportunity to leave her stifling castle and also whenever spending time around Jonathan.
Films — Live Action
- 'The World's End'' has a male example in the form of Gary King, a cheerful, lively middle-aged fan of classic Goth band The Sisters Of Mercy who wears a black trenchcoat and fingerless gloves. The character of Gary King is actually a parody of the way an older Perky Goth would be perceived by the rest of the world outside of the Goth subculture: as irresponsible and immature, with an adolescent attitude well into adulthood.
- Nora, from We Are the Night. A happy vampire chick, enjoying her powers.
- Almost any goth character on Gap.
- Raven in Cecil B. Demented combines Perky Goth, Badass Adorable, and Cloudcuckoolander in a most intoxicating way.
- Angela in the Night of the Demons series. She remains pretty perky even after going all evil and demonic.
- Morgana from Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies was presumably this, until her boyfriend died in the intro.
- Due to the apparent fetishes/artistic style of the directors, most every character from The Matrix dress in a goth-like manner, but none act the part.
- Jill from The Dead Matter, who loves nothing more than a good seance, and calls dead spirits with a smile! She's also the most level-headed of the entire group when it comes to logically dealing with the Zombie Apocalypse.
- A 1950s example: the title character in Cry-Baby, who has a tattoo of a black teardrop dripping from his eye. He's not exactly "perky," but he's generally optimistic despite his surly attitude.
- In God Bless America It's exaggerated in both how Roxy is Gothic to the point of being psycho and how she's perky to the point of Genki Girl. She's always talking and smiling while planning to kill people. Her clothes and hair are normal though.
- Alice in The Perks of Being a Wallflower counts as such with her clothes and liking for zombies.
- Hellabent from Otto; or up with dead people She is calmer than your average perky goth, but definitely has a good and happy attitude; her girlfriend Medea is more serious, but still likes to play as a little girl with her lover.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: Violet's character design changes from a rather innocent 50's girl style to a lolita-style goth.
- Eve Rosser from Morganville Vampires. She dresses Goth to the hilt, but is almost always cheerful and, when excited, jumps about 'like a demented, goth bunny'.
- In the Christopher Moore novels You Suck and Bite Me, Abby Normal is determined not to show her perky side to the vampires she meets or to other Goths, but she does let the reader in on her secret.
- Steven Brust's Dragaera series has two examples:
- Telnan, introduced in Dzur, thinks like most Dzur warriors (as Vlad sarcastically notes) that black-on-black is a wonderful color combination, but acts like The Ditz.
- Sethra Lavode might be a better example, dressing all in black and having an unsettling pallor (she is an eons old undead), but being surprisingly friendly. She also has a disturbingly silly sense of humor. In one book, she passes sentence on one of her apprentices for attempting to kill several of her friends, influence the succession of the House of the Dragon, and start a war. The sentence is to strand her in an alternate, desert dimension with shelter, plenty of food and water and a stick, and instruct her to write "I will not interfere with the Dragon Council" in the sand 83,521 times.
- Wherein hangs the tale: Sethra IS eons old. Having seen so much, there's really only two ways to go, and the other way would either have destroyed her or the world, one way or the other. If there's anyone entitled to live and advocate the sentiment of "Live Here Now", it is certainly Sethra Lavode!
- Molly Carpenter from The Dresden Files has shades of perky goth, 80's Brit-punk, and BDSM fetish going.
- Raven Madison from Vampire Kisses is a mixure of highly sterotyped goth who listens to Him, Marilyn Manson, and strangly enough The Cruxshadows (Strange not because she's goth, but because most music references were ones that are what people think goths listen to), wears mostly black, is obsessive over vampires, and is disliked by most people, but besides that she acts like any other teenager.
- Friday the 13th: Carnival Of Maniacs had an odd example. Pamela Voorhees possesses a teenage goth named Gloria Sowici (nicknamed Glo). So we end up with a woman with a borderline Tastes Like Diabetes attitude inhabiting the body of a girl described as pretty dour and unpleasant to look at. Suffice to say, characters, such as the guy who picks up the hitchhiking Pam-Glo, remark on the contrast.
- Jez from Kingdom Keepers has pale skin and dresses like a stereotypical goth, yet acts more flirty than you'd expect. This could be because she's really being brainwashed by Maleficent to spy on Finn.
- Zanna from the The Last Dragon Chronicles has pale skin, and wears black make-up and black clothes, but is relatively happy and has fun a lot more than normal stereotypical goths. Though she has reformed into more Hipster territory by the time The Fire Eternal kicks off.
- Sephie Beller from Transformers: Shattered Glass is often depicted as being into Gothy clothing, hairstyle, and music, but she's not typically gloomy or depressed in the slightest (or at least no more often than a typical 20-something would be), and seems to be a pretty cheerful technophile. Of course, since this is a Mirror Universe, it's entirely possible that it's the Perky Goth stereotype that's the "norm", and it's gloomy Goths that would be unusual.
- A rare male example occurs with Corey in the Ethan Banning novel Undertow. He's not really a Goth, though, he just thinks the look is appropriate for an apprentice necromancer.
Live Action TV
- Baron Samedi from Voudoun. God of death, dresses like an undertaker (the person around corpses, not the wrestler), wanders the graveyards as a skeleton, and enjoys his "life" to the fullest. His wife Maman Brigitte also counts.
- Lio from, well Liō. He's mute, but his joyous grins and gleeful attitude speak for themselves. He frequently breaks out into hysterical laughter, usually at the outcome of a prank he just pulled. As for the "Goth" part of the equation ... read the comic, but this is a pretty good demonstration.
- Dethany Dendrobia, in On The Fastrack, is a classic example. She's as Goth as it gets, but cheerful, friendly and a real asset to the company—-which is how she gets away with seriously non-corporate clothing and accessories under the reign of Ms. Trellis.
- Former WCW and now TNA wrestler Sting is essentially this, as he kept the costume inspired by The Crow he adopted during the nWo angle, but has gone back to his former upbeat showman persona.
- Jeff Hardy, too, has played up this angle in both WWE and TNA. He wears corpse paint and his fans are known as "Creatures of the Night," but he's otherwise fun-loving and full of spirit.
- Daffney Unger, from both WCW and TNA, was known for deliriously screaming and laughing during her own matches and those of her friends.
- It's implied a lot of Sin-Eaters are like this. They were given the chance to come back from the dead and gladly accepted, so why shouldn't they be happy? Their general culture is one of celebrations and gatherings in the vein of the Day of the Dead and New Orleans funerals.
- Penny Dreadful from Mage: The Ascension lives and breathes this trope. It's also implied that just as many of the Hollow Ones are perky goths as are traditional ones.
- Eclipse Phase has the newscaster Momo von Satan, the host of a comedy news program. Imagine The Daily Show if Jon Stewart was a tiny Japanese woman who continually argued with a giant grey CGI penis wearing a horned Viking helmet about journalistic ethics, and who filled the show with cracked-out one-frame Easter Eggs, and you'll pretty much have the idea.
- The Perky Goth card from the Chez Geek expansion Chez Goth.
- Lash from Advance Wars is a Perky Goth villain. In the "defeat" conversation at one point in the third game, she even growls, "No more miss nice perky goth!"
- Jennifer "Jen" Tate, main character of Primal.
- Misery from Cave Story — most of the time.
- Luste Teuber from RosenkreuzStilette; she also gets Stripperific and Token Mini-Moe bonus points.
- Sigrun from Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening is a member of the Legion of the Dead, dwarves who have symbolically died and consider themselves dead to the world. Their normal mindset is quite gloomy, but Sigrun manages to subvert the expectations despite her dark, tattooed exterior. This is even lampshaded by Nathaniel who thinks she ought to be a bit more grim to suit the image.
- Ashlotte from Soul Calibur 4.
- Nina Cortex from Crash Bandicoot. She's paler than the Addams Family, Darker and More Cynical than Marvel's Death, Yet loves animals and laughs, she has times when she's moody and aggressive, but that's because of her evil Mad Scientist uncle.
- Subverted by Morinth from Mass Effect 2. She seems like one of these when you first meet her, but she's a Serial Killer obsessed with dominance, violence and death.
- Cube from Jet Set Radio counts, though only since the localization of the first game. The Japanese original had her in more traditional skater-punk style.
- The websites Suicide Girls (NSFW!) and Gods Girls (NSFW!) (as well as their Tumblr pages, just google either one with the word tumblr also, Tumblr sites as NSFW!) exist to document these women in their natural habitat. And naked.
- "1-800-Tech support" has Erica who, while into black makeup, mummifying her dead cats and so on, is generally fairly chirpy...unless it's that time of the month.
- At least one of the hosts from the podcast Lime and Violet alludes to having been one of these in the past, after a teenage stint as a more typical Mopey Goth.
- Moria from Gaia Online kind of drifts between this and Regular Punk depending on her characterization. (Though she was a vampire for about a week once, which ranks pretty high on the goth scale.)
- The writer of this Agony Booth recap declares that most Goths actually are like this, and that Repo! The Genetic Opera gives them a bad name for this reason.
- Survival of the Fittest has Anna Chase of v4 and Keira MacDonald of the spinoff Evolution. Anna's a little more downplayed on the perky part, and while not a Shrinking Violet, can come off as seemingly rather meek at times. However, she still definitely fits the description. Keira, however, is played completely straight; her "power" is that she coughs up smoke at irregular intervals, for crying out loud!
- Sara Waite of Whateley Universe appears to be a goth due to her natural coloring, and, as a lust demon, she's rather perky.
- A Squid Called Zelda, especially since she started wearing black makeup in her movie reviews.
- Ralis Kahn of Wayside Creation's "Mad Monster Lab".
- Bones Cloud from Equestria Chronicles. Your friendly neighborhood mortician pony.
- Youtube vlogger Miss Hannah Minx is probably the most gratuitously perky goth in the whole world, especially in her Jinx and Elvira personas. Example.
- Ask A Mortician, a Youtube webseries where a licensed mortician cheerfully answers people's questions about death, burial, cremation, and other such things.
- She has a Crowning Moment of Funny when, to answer someone's question if it's possible to bake someone's cremated remains into a chocolate cake (no, really, that was the question), she does precisely that with some fake remains (with "Sorry U Died" written in icing). The cake was apparently quite disgusting, and the whole thing was hilariously absurd.
- RWBY has Ruby Rose, whose character design◊ can be described as "goth meets Little Red Fighting Hood". Some fans upon seeing the "Red" trailer presumed that she would have a more muted personality. As more material about the series came out (including her brief appearance at the end of the "Yellow" trailer) and once it officially started, however, it became clear that she was a bit more upbeat.
- Inverted with Shana Festa of The Bookie Monster and author of the Time Of Death novels. She looks like someone's perky neighbor yet ones one of the biggest horror book review sites around.
- Lydia, from the Animated Adaptation of Beetlejuice. (Not the near-suicidal emo kid from the movie, although she did lighten up at the end of the movie, and new wardrobes are expensive.)
- Jinx from Teen Titans.
- Perfectly opposite to the darker Raven. And given Jinx's Heel-Face Turn at the end of the series, one wonders if they manage to get along now.
- Vanessa Doofenshmirtz of Phineas and Ferb...whenever her dad's not around to embarrass her.
- Actually addressed in one episode, where Vanessa informed her father that she and her friends were "Punks, not Goths."
- Ditto Triana Orpheus in The Venture Bros., in sharp contrast to the unrelenting weirdness surrounding her home life.
- Creepie Creecher from Growing Up Creepie.
- Debbie of American Dad! seems to have an obsession with death and the dark side, but for the most part seems very friendly and well-adjusted.
- Shareena from animated series Detention.
- Danny Phantom: As mentioned above, Sam Manson is very clearly one of these. By outward appearance, she's your stereotypical Goth girl. But she's actually quite happy with the way life is! It generally appears as though Sam considers herself a Goth because she likes the style... or because she wanted to rebel against her parents.
- Carl Squared: Ironically not Carl Crashman's sister, Chloe, but her boyfriend Damien.
- The 1999 direct-to-video Scooby-Doo movie, Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost, features "The Hex Girls", a rock-band trio of friendly Goth girls. They identify themselves as "Eco-Goths", are deeply involved with environmental causes, and the lead singer's Wiccan background becomes key in dealing with the titular Witch's Ghost.
- Count Duckula, on his own show at least.
- He's mostly this in Danger Mouse as well, being a Harmless Villain who only wants to make it big in show business rather than a genuine threat.
- In Xiaolin Showdown, Jack Spicer is this role.
- Serena from Downtown is definitely this.
- Miko Nakadai from Transformers Prime is totally this.
- Though she's more punk than goth.
- Practically everyone in Ruby Gloom aside from the appropriately named "Misery".
- Ingrid Third in Fillmore! is pale, raven-haired, dresses only in black most of the time, and cracks wise all the time.
- Julian from Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja definitely fits this trope. Despite being fascinated with creepy, dark places, and instruments of torture, Julian is actually rather perky.
- Gwen from Total Drama begin as a normal Goth and develop later in this.
- Cassandra "Elvira" Peterson built an entire career out of being cheerful, sexy and dark. The character she was an Expy for, Vampira, was also sexy, but otherwise a more "traditional" style of Goth.
- As one website owner maintained, Salvador Dalí.
- Photophobia didn't bother the late Church of Satan founder Anton Le Vey, either. After he got rolling, the witty religious rebel played off and played jokes on, off, and with his own image and reputation to a level you'd expect out of (irony noted) the Devil. This was even noted in a interview with him prior to his death undertaken by the pornographic publication High Society magazine.
- Voltaire. No, no, not the eighteenth century French author; Voltaire Hernandez, the twenty-first century songwriter, author of humorous perspectives on being a Goth, and occasional stand-up comedian. That Voltaire. He also does music for the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, so that makes him doubly cool.
- Tim Burton and his girlfriend, Helena Bonham-Carter.
- The Lady of the Manners, webmistress of the Gothic Charm School.
- Who, although she'll probably never admit to it, has shown some distinctly mopeygoth leanings in the past.
- She's also the real life inspiration for Gilly.
- This t-shirt.
- Lee Presson and the Nails, a Gothic Swing band.
- Grey DeLisle (the voice of Sam Manson) abuses this trope, going into "Are you sure she's really goth?" territory.
- Noel Fielding.
- Christina Hendricks in high school.
- Taylor Momsen
- Avril Lavigne is more punk than goth but definitely fits the perky part.
- Neil Gaiman.
- Whitby Gothic Style!
- Heather Brewer, writer of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod and The Slayer Chronicles. She wears purple-highlighted hair and black dresses, and she calls her fans "Minions" (the fans call her "Auntie Heather").
- Christina Ricci has this reputation after playing Wednesday Addams, much to her chagrin.
- And just like her NCIS character, so is Pauley Perrette (see page image, in her mid-40s, no less).
- In the Monster High toy line, young vampiress Draculaura fits this trope to a T. Her friend Frankie Stein really belongs here too.